Miss Maitland Bristow
Do not fret over me, Maisie, I am so very pleased with the announcement of your engagement to Stuart. Mr. Hill has always been one of my favourites when it comes to Peter's
I am not surprised to hear of Peter's rash behaviour towards you. It did not make much sense to me at first; but, then, hasn't Peter been making rather a pastime of causing you grief of late? I can hardly bear that Peter has not once written me since I left
As for Mr. Rousseau, he has been kind, indeed. I hardly think he has any intention aside from being my friend. I do not accuse Mr. Rousseau of any crime--except, perhaps, an unrealistic hope that the two of us should become an item someday. Poor Mr. Rousseau!
On a more pleasant note, Madame Fifi and the maid have begun to decorate the estate for the holiday. Mr. Westley gave me a little more than his usual in the way of an allowance, and I made an afternoon of shopping. The gas lamps hissed as I walked down the wintry avenue. I pulled my coat in tighter at the collar, and looked down so as to avoid the sight of a happy couple as they strolled by, arm-in-arm, laughing. Aside from being alone, the scene around me in out in the open air was quite enchanting. A crèche, complete with beautiful hand-painted santons, was displayed in each ice-frosted window fronting the row of shoppes. Parishioners stood at the steps of St. Augustin, collecting alms for the poor. I could not help but feel a bit happy despite all my efforts to remain otherwise. I made my way home and was welcomed to a setting quite different from the one I had left: the fireplace in the parlour is draped with evergreen boughs and red velvet ribbon. A small but perfect Christmas tree has been planted on a round mahogany table, and dressed with wooden trinkets, candles and fruit. The air is sweetly scented with orange and clove. Andre is busily cooking something divine in the kitchen. Christmas Eve is here.
I am posting this today. I doubt, however, that I will be able to keep myself from writing you again tomorrow. Merry Christmas to you, my cherished friend.