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June 27th, 2014

Letters to Lilith From London II

Dearest Lilith:

I hope you are having a wonderful time with Grandma and Papa! I love you so, so much!

On Thursday, your dad and I went to the Tower of London, an incredibly historically significant castle that sits on the Thames. It was founded a thousand years ago, long before television, cars, or iPads existed. I have read so much about English history throughout my life that seeing it for the first time felt like meeting an old friend. I felt my heart catch in my chest the moment I laid eyes on it.

One of the Yeoman Warders gave us a tour of different parts of the castle. It was very, very interesting, and he was quite funny. He made a good joke about Americans: “If you lot had just paid your taxes, all this could have been yours.” The Yeoman Warders are also called Beefeaters, but no one is really sure why.

There are many interesting things about the Tower of London, but I think the ravens are what you would like most. At least seven ravens live at the Tower at any given time. The Tower ravens are very special: it is believed that the Tower will fall and England will collapse if the ravens ever leave. It’s a good thing that the ravens seem very happy there!

The ravens are friendly, and a few of them came very close to us to say hello. There was one raven singing a croaky song for a group of schoolchildren. I took some photos for you!

There is a Beefeater that is in charge of taking care of the ravens. He is called the Raven Master. He makes sure that the ravens are all well-fed, heathy, happy, and loved.

Actually, now that I think about it, I think you’d like the Crown Jewels even more than you’d like the ravens. Most of what was on display were the objects associated with the coronations of England’s kings and queens. All together, it is referred to as the Regalia. There were many beautiful crowns, swords and scepters, orbs, bracelets, and robes. You would love the crowns; almost all of them are made of purple velvet and gold, and they are covered in rubies, emeralds, diamonds, and other precious stones. The Imperial Crown of India was covered in so many brilliant diamonds that it almost hurt my eyes to look at it! One of the royal scepters - the Scepter With the Cross - has the largest diamond in the world, the Cullinan Diamond, mounted in it. It is huge and so beautiful. The diamond is about as big as your fist, and glitters like it has all the stars in the sky inside its heart.

We weren’t allowed to take pictures of any of the Crown Jewels, but your grandma and papa can maybe google photos for you if you’re interested in seeing them. Someday I will take you to see them in person!

Lots and lots of ghosts live at the Tower. I didn’t see any while I was there, but that’s probably because the hordes of tourists made them feel shy! Maybe they’ll come out and say hello to you!

After we left the Tower, your dad and I came back to our flat and took a nap. We were at the Tower for around five hours, and were super tired. After our nap, we got dressed and went out to Camden Town to get dinner. It was raining! We had dinner at an Indian restaurant that had lovely dolls all over the ceiling, and then took a little walk so we could look at some of the theaters. I love going to the theater, and I hope you will someday, too. Television and movies are wonderful, but there is something really special about seeing a play or a musical live, and there is something absolutely magical about performing on a stage in front of an audience. I don’t think there’s any feeling in the world like it.

Today, we went to Westminster Abbey and the British Museum, but I’ll save that all for my next email. Your mom and dad love you more than life itself, more than the sun and moon and stars. You are our heart.

I will email soon! I think I’ve figured out how to move photos to my computer, so I should be able to send you photos next time. We love you!