Miss Maitland Bristow
14 Bathurst Mews
19 August 1902
I am afraid I have only news that has depressed my spirits. I received a letter from my mother and it alone is enough to cause me to mourne. She writes:
My dear child,
It does my heart well to know of your safety. It is urgent for you to be aware that the man whom your father brought home for you to marry still intends to collect on your father's debts. Adeline, you must never return to London. As for Mr. Westley's portrait, pay the little girl no mind, lest you be haunted by her as I am.
I am more resolute than ever to discover the mystery of the little girl in the painting. Mother should know I am not so easily placated. Whatever could she know of that little girl? And what of the man in London? To never return to England is unthinkable. I know now, my heart is sure, that I may as well be dead to both my father and my mother. Am I truly so hard to love, Maisie?
You might think I would have something of good cheer to recount, but there is only more disappointment. Mr. Westley has insisted I be tutored in French whilst I am here in Paris. My tutor, Mr. Vaughn Rousseau, is a senior student at La Sorbonne. He is handsome enough, although he seems a decidedly rigid man. He is never late; he says, to be late is like unto stealing--only it is the stealing of another's time. His English is quite good, though--I am quite certain he conjugates verbs in his spare time! Dull as he may be, I had thought it such a gift to find a friend in him, until it became clear he means to court me. Always now, he greets me with daisies or a box from Le Chocolatier. What is worse, I believe Mr. Westley to be encouraging the situation. I have caught the glances he and Mr. Rousseau exchange, and it is insulting to my person that the both of them assume I am not keen enough to decipher it. If I ever find myself in such a malleable circumstance as to wed a man after the manner of Mr. Rousseau, I would likely be found dead the following morning; having been bored to death the entirety of my wedding night! Oh, Maisie! What would Ms. Beale say to such language? It cannot be helped. I do not fit into the confines of French high society, no matter how much Mr. Westley should want it. No doubt he has felt the need to step in, since I apparently have made my reputation as the prudish lady of London who does not wish to be kissed when greeted.
I am sorry your visit with Sir Rothschild was all for naught. Perhaps Mr. Bellefeuille's daughter can be found.
As for Peter, I suppose he has made his choice indeed. Even if he did have some secret affection for me, it is apparent that I cannot compare with Frances Highmore and her connexions. It would seem it is Peter that is too good for me--the too bold Westley girl with no inheritance. After all, he could not even manage to return a simple, "hello." Maisie, my heart has taken more than it can bear.
23 rue Saint Paul