Letter 6 - Exile

Miss Adeline Westley
23 rue Saint Paul

11 July 1902

Dearest Addie,

It all sounds so terribly romantic on paper, but I suppose the reality of crying your eyes out at a Paris ball is not something I should envy. I do, though, Addie. I know I shouldn’t, but I envy your exotic Julien and your exquisite ball gown and even your puzzle of an uncle. Do you ever wish we could switch places? Would you rather be sitting in the park in an everyday brown frock, as I am, after a long and tedious day of listening to Peter and Mum argue about the reputed talent of certain cricket players (Mum insists that the Australians will take home the Ashes this year, Peter begs to differ), writing a letter while the sun sets over the pond? I suppose it is better than being exiled, and I do love London, but my life here is so fantastically ordinary that I find myself daydreaming about the lights of Paris, sultry evenings and summer gowns, and all the fun we could have if we were together.

I’m sure Miss Hoity-Toity Highmore would be scandalized if she knew she had a rival for Peter’s affections, but in all truth she is much more boring than she is beautiful or clever. Not that Peter values cleverness in a girl, until recently, it seems. Perhaps he is tiring of the slow and insidious torture that is an evening of conversation with Frances Highmore. At any rate, the idea of you and Peter together is endlessly hilarious to me. All I can imagine is a great, gangly insect walking hand in hand with a perfect porcelain doll. Besides, Peter may have better taste than I once suspected, but, honestly, if his nose gets any higher in the air he will suffocate for lack of atmosphere. I did say hello to him for you and he looked quite startled over it, the shock dissolving into a sort of guilty nervousness until he finally mumbled something about, “really should be going,” and exited the room. Addie, it is the best entertainment I’ve had since you left me here alone.

In light of my current state of perpetual boredom, I am delighted to have a destination to attach to my quest for the identity of Rabbit and her admirer. I shall plan a visit to Sir Rothschild forthwith and relate the adventure in my next letter.

Addie, I find myself envying even your discomfiture at being doubly kissed by a handsome French gentleman. I am lonely as ever.

Sincerely yours,

Maitland Bristow

14 Bathurst Mews


Andrew C. said...

Maisie does like long sentences, doesn't she?

Her exuberance is a wonderful foil to Addie's more sedate pace--or is it the other way around? The two are working well together.

Andrew C. said...

Reading through this a second time, I'm beginning to wonder if Peter really does like Addie--or if something else is going on.

We'll have to find out later if I'm terribly clever, or too clever by half.