Daughter Bertha

by Jim Farrar (1977)

My Dear Daughter Bertha,

I haven't much time. I feel as though my mind is surely crumbling in upon itself. There is no one I can trust. Your uncle has conspired against me, just as certainly as night follows day, and your mother will do all that is within her power to force her will upon your future. If there is a God in Heaven, He will deliver you from that future, from the prison, that your mother has designed for you.

Your mother has cast my fatherhood into doubt. I don't know that I can bear to live with the knowledge that you may not be my own flesh and blood, though, when I look into your eyes and when I hear you speak, when I observe the wanderings of your thoughts, I somehow delude myself that indeed we must share similar spirits, the same soul.

Whether this is fantasy or fact I no longer know. What I do know, sweet child, is that I have been bent as far as a man can be bent, lest he break.

I fear I must break soon, for your mother will not stop until all that I hold dear has been shattered. Even now, I can feel them plotting. When or where or how it shall end I have but an inkling. All I know is that it must end soon, and that I will be in no position to claim the advantage.

I write this letter, then, because I love you. I want you to know that I tried to give you what I wanted most for you – your own life, free: a freethinker, if you will.

I will make my peace with God soon. If I die with the knowledge that, in one way or another, you are mine, then I shall not die a fool.


Your Loving Father

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