ella x char

Sometimes I wondered what would happen if I told Char that I was just the right age to marry. With each of his letters I fell more in love with him. But I couldn’t tell him. If I said I was old enough to marry and his question had only been the continuation of a good joke, he would be horribly embarrassed and our easy friendship would be ruined. He might stop writing, which I couldn’t endure. If he wasn’t jesting, it was for him to say so. Until then or never, I treasured our correspondence.
—  Gail Carson Levine, Ella Enchanted
Dear Ella,
Impatience is not usually my weakness. But your letters torment me. They make me long to saddle my horse and ride to Frell, where I would make you explain yourself.
They are playful, interesting, thoughtful, and (occasionally) serious. I’m overjoyed to receive them, yet they bring misery. You say little of your daily life, I have no idea how you occupy yourself. I don’t mind; I enjoy guessing at the mystery. But what I really long to know you do not tell either: what you feel, although I’ve given you hints by the score of my regard.
You like me. You wouldn’t waste time or paper on a being you didn’t like. But I think I’ve loved you since we met at your mother’s funeral. I want to be with you forever and beyond, but you write that you are too young to marry or too old or too short or too hungry – until I crumple your letters up in despair, only to smooth them out again for a twelfth reading, hunting for hidden meanings. Father asks frequently in his letters whether I fancy any Ayorthaian young lady or any in our acquaintance at home. I say no. I suppose I’m confessing another fault: pride. I don’t want him to know that I love if my affections are not returned.
You would charm him, and mother too. They would be yours completely. As I am.
What a beautiful bride you’ll be, whomever you marry at whatever age. And what a queen if I am the man! Who has your grace? Your expression? Your voice? I could extol your virtues endlessly, but I want you to finish reading and answer me quickly.
Today I cannot write of Ayortha or my doings or anything. I can only post this and wait.
Love (it is such relief to pen the word!), love, love–
Char
—  Gail Carson Levine, Ella Enchanted