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                  Pelton, Kevin. "Dear Jennifer": The Collected Letters of Captain S. Bird. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2010.


Bermuda, May 7, 1756


Dear Jennifer,

I apologize for taking so long to reply to your last letter. Diana and I are both a little under the weather at the moment, so you must forgive any mistakes I may make and perhaps also the length. There is a sickness spreading across the island at the moment, and while we are usually fortunate to avoid such maladies, alas it was not to be the case this time. Diana has spent the better part of today lying on the bed, but as she has been repeatedly asking me to lay with her, I do not truly really believe that she is that seriously unwell. I will probably join her once I finish this, as it was a disturbed night due to a number of coughing fits and I am a touch weary.

I hope that you, John and the children are all well. It seems like such an age since we last saw each other, and I’m sure that I would no longer recognize the babes. Diana and I have discussed the possibility of making a trip over to Philadelphia, God willing, so we may visit our various friends and acquaintances in the area. I am certain you must have already heard the news, but we only recently discovered that Rebecca is with child again and it has been many years since we saw her and her family. I will also admit that I would like another gown from Swin – there is just no dressmaker on the island who can do what she does. I wish I could persuade her to move here, but alas, her heart lies in Pennsylvania! I must admit

May 8 –

Once again I must seek forgiveness, as I stopped mid-sentence (something which would have caused Miss Dailey severe conniptions, I am sure!) yesterday. I came over rather light headed and was forced to retire to bed sooner than I had intended. I do feel better for it, although Dr. Spencer will be calling on us today regardless. He is a nice enough gentleman, who cared for Diana after her last ill-advised jaunt on the roof, but at times like this, I admit that I do miss Katie Smith. Which is hardly surprising, as she was such a fixture in my life for such a long time. I wish we hadn’t lost contact with her and Lindsey, but unfortunately that is such the nature of life. I must be thankful with those who I still hear from on occasion, especially considering the comparative isolation of Bermuda.

Diana has just passed by, and has reminded me that she wishes to send her best to you as well. She is a little more active today, so I presume she is feeling better as well, although I will acknowledge that it may just be her inability to keep still for any sustained period of time! It's something which I know annoys many, but I just find it endearing. I suppose that's what love is really, or at least a part of it. Sometimes I wonder70

70What Bird was wondering is not known as this final letter was never finished. Parish records show that Bird passed away the next day, May 9, 1756, due to an unspecified sickness, with Taurasi succumbing, presumably to the same illness, the day after. The news of their deaths was conveyed to Bird's sister in a brief note sent by Jenna Stigliano, the eldest daughter of former Governor Geno Auriemma. Following the news, Jennifer Harrington, escorted by her second son, William, made the journey out to Bermuda, taking a number of her sister's personal effects back to Philadelphia with her, as well as shipping a selection of Taurasi's to her sister, who still lived in the same South Carolina town in which she had been born. A number of Bird's possessions have been passed down through the generations and still remain in the family to this day, such as a formal family portrait of Bird, Taurasi and Caroline, dated 1731, first editions of all of Bird's published works and a number of pieces of jewelry, including a silver locket with miniatures of Taurasi and Caroline inside.

Bird and Taurasi were laid to rest together in the graveyard at St. Peter's next to where they had buried Caroline a number of years previously. On her visit, Harrington also placed an order for a headstone, which can still be seen today. Underneath their names and dates is the passage from Ruth 1: 16, "Wither thou goest, I will go; and where thou lodgest, I will lodge: thy people shall be my people, and thy God my God: Where thou diest, will I die, and there will I be buried" and a more personal epitaph, "Sacred to the memory of Sue, who has started on her next big adventure at too young an age, and to Diana, who couldn't live without her and who died of a broken heart." At the bottom, until recently covered over by vegetation, there also reads, "Also in memory of their daughter Caroline, who the sea did them giveth and also taketh away in the year of our Lord 1738." In recent years, the graveyard has seen a significant increase in traffic by tourists who wish to view the headstone, and the church has been forced to implement a policy of not allowing any headstone rubbings in order to preserve its integrity.





For Every Storm a Rainbow: Part 6
References
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