"My Dear, Dear Ted"
"Please, when I am gone, teach the children to bring all their troubles to you"
In her surviving correspondence, Sieveking does not discuss her own marriage, despite the significance it must have had for her, given her political commitments. This 1898 letter to Edward Sieveking, the only one in the collection written in Isabel's own hand, highlights her expectations regarding his parental role as a father and gives us limited insight into her marriage. To be read "in case of [her] death," as its envelope asserts, the note mentions previous discussions of faith, particularly Edward's lack of "real" religious belief and his desire to attain it for which Isabel has "often prayed." Sieveking's letters hint at least at a communication of values akin to friendship between the two.
The intimate salutation and signature of the letter, to "My dear, dear Ted" from "Your loving, Billy," also indicate a sincere affection for her spouse. However, the letter is far from passionate. Its overall tone might best be described as pleading, its most frequently repeated word being "please." This is not a love letter or even, apart from its concluding line, "Please forgive me when I've vexed you, dear," a final tribute to their relationship. Its purpose is limited to practical instructions about how she would like her children raised in her absence. Sieveking primarily desired that Ted raise them to "be good men," to continue to allow them "to go saying their prayers" despite his more secular leanings, and to take his paternal duties in dealing seriously and "carefully" with the "troubles" brought to him by the children. She also exhorts him to speak of her often so that they will not forget her after her death. The model of fatherhood Sieveking lays out for him is distinctly an assumption of her own philosophy of motherhood.