August 28, 1885 (Elizabeth)

Cincinnati, OH 

Dearest Imogen,

 I apologise for this long interval between letters.  My old complaint has blown up again, worse than before (if that can be imagined!).  The air gets worse every year, and when the days become so warm and close as now my lungs seem to lose their capacity to draw the air in.  Then it does not matter how strong Cook brews the coffee, nor how much of it I drink.  I do try, but then I both cannot breathe and cannot sleep, and so am in a very bad state.  I drag myself around like a pitiable worm!  It is infinitely frustrating to have to lie down half the afternoon, exhausted merely by the effort of going downstairs to lunch!  After a while I feel rested, my breathing eases, and I remember all the things I meant to do and want to be doing.  But five minutes’ activity drains me of all energy, and cursing my weakness I am grateful to collapse once more on my couch.

We had some plans to go to the mountains this summer.  New Hampshire is so pretty this time of year.  I have heard that the air in Montana is restorative as well, but the fuss and bother of packing up house and dragging eight or ten individuals with me (for the boys and Kathryn and Aunt Lena could not be left home alone) made the prospect unattractive.  Besides, last summer was not so bad, and I am always able to fool myself that I am getting better.  Then too, I was busy arranging the charity ball for the new Archbishop (how his predecessor, may God have mercy on him, managed to run the Diocese into such a mess, I will never comprehend!) and did not have time to think about it.  Now, however, I am regretting my foolish optimism.

For now, I am a little better.  Sweet old Doctor Stein has given me pastiles to be burned in my rooms, which helps a little.  He is trying to persuade me that opium might help, at least with the pain, but I do not like it.  The best thing for me would be a change of climate.  I am so tempted to join you in your mountain retreat, dearest!  However, I shudder to think of what would happen to my family and household.  Father talks of building us a new home futher up the tall hills that surround us.  There, perhaps, the air would be purer and healthier for me.  I confess that at times like these, when the pain is so bad, I am willing to consider almost anything for relief.  However, I know that while Father says that he will oversee it all, soon he would be distracted by some problem at the plant and the whole thing would land in my lap.  Then I would be the one overseeing architechts and workmen, spending my days choosing baseboard trims and upholstery fabric.  I saw Mary England go through this purgatory, and though her new home is lovely (in the new Queen Anne style), I do not know that I want to do the same.  And, too, I would miss our friends and neighbors so.  The neighborhood may be crowded, but it is so homelike, with its German architecture and streetnames.  I think of moving away to live among strangers and can only feel sad.

I miss you very much, dearest.  I have not heard from you in so long!  I have hopes that perhaps in a month or so – when the days become cooler and the air is easier to breathe – I may be able to start thinking of travelling again.  I would love to come visit you a while.  But – we shall see what God and Dr. Stein say.

 Affectionately,

Elizabeth

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Published in: on August 30, 2006 at 1:32 pm  Comments (3)  

August 2, 1885 (Imogen)

Dear Elizabeth,

Here I have done the same thing to you twice–though there really was a crisis on my hands at that moment. I’ll go further into it a little later, but since I left off where I had just heard the names of my cousins. Cousins, plural! And they were such melodramatic names, as though their mother intended them to act in operettas–or, perhaps, recreate them.

The first of the young ladies curtseyed and quite visibly elbowed the next, who did so with considerably less grace. I was so flabbergasted at this point that I actually looked to Aunt Clara to see if she could help me out, but she had sunk into a leather chair, and was dabbing at her eyes, in tears once more. Mr. Simms fluttered at her side attentively, so there was no help from him.

Thus it must have been up to me to say something. “Girls,” I said, “I’m your Cousin Imogen, and your Aunt Clara came with me to see you.”

“Oh, I’m so glad!” said the first, the one who’d curtseyed. “Izzy has been saying that you’d be horrible old maids who were coming to lock us up!” She rushed over to me and embraced me, much to my surprise. “I’m Melisande, actually, Mimi–is it really true that you never heard of us until last week?”

“Ah–yes, in fact, I didn’t even know that there were three of you.”

Melisande–Mimi–shook her head with a sad smile. “Oh, Papa. He never did bother with anything but business. Well, let me tell you about us. I’m the oldest–I’m going to be eighteen in October–and Izzy is the youngest, at thirteen. Thiz just turned sixteen in June.”

“Thisbe,” the second girl corrected meticulously, though there was an element of familiarity about the correction–I got the impression that Thisbe fought for her whole name regularly.

Izzy spoke up for the first time. “We call her Thiz, or Bebe, whenever we can. It makes her so mad!”

I shot a sympathetic glance at Thisbe, who was frowning at the youngest. “I fought a battle against being Immie, Gennie, and a whole host of other nicknames, growing up.” Thisbe’s frown, if anything, deepened and her look at me was just a touch shy of being a glare.

At this point Aunt Clara was revived enough to stand and greet her nieces, and I had a chance to stand back and observe them for a few minutes, to take stock of what I saw.

Mimi talked a blue streak the whole time. I like the girl–I do–but she hasn’t any notion of when to hold her tongue. She uses Western slang promiscuously and gestures wildly as she talks. Her whole demeanor, I surmised, would offend Grandmother’s sensibilities greatly. She is, though, a very pretty girl. She is petite, with rounded features and huge greenish-blue eyes. The Western sun has freckled her nose, though Izzy has borne the brunt of the freckling. Her hair is curly (it looks very similar in texture to mine, all things considered), but hers is unfortunately very, very red. She looks very Irish, all things considered, and I immediately knew Grandmother would be very put out to have a member of her family look and act so common.

Since I mentioned her freckles, I’ll describe Izzy now. She’s got nearly the same coloring as Mimi, though her is was straight and quite a bit lighter, close to a reddish blonde in color, and her eyes are a darker blue. She’s got white eyebrows and eyelashes, though I suspect that, once she stays out of the sun, they, like her freckles, will eventually resolve themselves. Unlike Mimi, Izzy looked a perfect fright–her hair in two tails, but flying out of them in every which direction, her clothes rumpled and worn and, frankly, inappropriate for a tall girl of thirteen. She’s already passed Mimi in height and is at that gangling age that some girls get to. Her neck, arms and legs are all absurdly skinny, with her joints knobby. However, her underlying bone structure is good, and I suspect that in a few years she will rival her eldest sister for looks.

Thisbe, now–at the time I was convinced that she was “the plain sister,” though I think now that it may have been the sullen expression that she kept up during that entire time. Unlike either of her sisters, she is not fair at all. Her skin is light, but she was utterly without color, and her eyes had bruised-looking dark circles underneath them. Her hair is a deep mahogany brown. It was braided back that day and curling out of the braid with vehemence. And her eyes are unusual–at first I thought she had blue eyes like her sisters, but upon closer look I saw that they are hazel, actually a clear gold color, quite unnerving, actually, with a darker ring around the iris. Add to that her slender height and delicate features, and she has a presence about her. But all that really struck me then was that she looked worn and surly.

All three were dressed in cheap-looking faded black dresses. The two younger girls’ fit them extremely poorly, indeed. Mimi’s, while a little better-fitted, accented her brilliant hair and made her look like a little Irish widow. I found out from her later that a local woman had found them the dresses so that they might meet us and be in proper mourning and Mimi was able to make some alterations to her own so that it fit. (Why she didn’t do so for her sisters was a question that occurred to me, but I chose not to ask at the time.)

Mr. Simms took Aunt Clara and me aside to discuss the business side of what was occurring. It appears that the girls’ father made more than a small fortune out there, and he left no real directions as to its use. The girls will of course inherit it all, and I believe that they are to split it evenly, but what I eventually asked Mr. Simms to do was to contact Grandpapa at his office to deal with the money matters. I could, perhaps, have dealt with it, but I would have been sure the whole time that I was doing something terribly wrong with their money.

Of course it didn’t help that any time we’d get into a discussion and Aunt Clara and Mr. Simms would meet each other’s gaze, they’d both lapse into incoherency. I swear, it was rather like being with a lovesick adolescent.

At the girls’ boarding-house (their father never bothered to buy a house, and apparently never really took care of them–their mother died after Izzy was born–and they’ve never had any real upbringing), I took stock of the situation. None of them had any decent clothing. Apparently Izzy tends to run around wildly wearing men’s clothing and riding horses bareback. Mimi is interested in being “a lady” but has primarily had the example of the . . . “ladies” . . . who inhabit the town (mostly dancing in the saloons–all the other respectable women look old and staid, and for a young girl who’s had no real upbringing, I can see why the vivid silks, satins and laces of the dancing girls look like real fashion).

A missionary’s wife taught them for a time with some other children from the region, so they’re not entirely ignorant. Thisbe adores books–the first time she looked at me without a glare was when I mentioned our library in passing–but she regained her composure and glared at me all the more vehemently when she realized she’d betrayed her enthusiasm for books. I sense a kindred soul in her, but I could be mistaken. She seems determined to be all prickles, so I have not chosen to invade her privacy.

It took a week to arrange things to our liking. After extensive telegraphing back to Grandmother, I arranged to stop over in St. Louis to get the girls clothed and set up as befits Stuarts. We probably should have done it in New York or Boston, but judging from their half-wild looks and demeanor just now, we decided it might be best to “scrub them up” first, in order that they not horrify those of our connection who will be around when we bring the girls to Newport.

So after a week of preparation, packing the few belongings of the girls, and trying to keep track of the wild Izzy (she is trouble incarnate!), Aunt Clara and I and the girls met the stagecoach and crowded in. Mr. Simms, who had been assiduously tailing us whenever he could manage it, said some sentimental goodbyes with a weeping Aunt Clara. I might have imagined it, but I think I saw him press a letter into her hand. She tried to secretly open it in the stagecoach–Mimi noticed and started to ask her about it, but I distracted her with a question about millinery (she will always be diverted with notions of fashion), and she forgot about it. Thisbe noticed, and glared at me, and Izzy noticed nothing, but sulked in the corner, because I’d made her wear her dress and made her brush her hair and turn her braid up with a ribbon, neatly. She prefers to wear two tails of hair like the Indian women in the region do.

We made it to the train with no real troubles, and I was very thankful that we had only two trunks to keep track of. Once on the train, Izzy perked up and kept me at wit’s end by insisting on exploring the entire train, end to end. Mimi came with us half the time and asked a thousand questions, but Thisbe turned up her nose and kept to her seat. Aunt Clara absorbed herself in writing pages upon pages of letters, which she mailed off in secrecy every time we stopped. Since she has never showed any tendency toward writing before now, I suspected that these may be a correspondence with the dapper Mr. Simms.

However, with no real incident, we made it to St. Louis, established ourselves in a blessedly modern hotel, and prepared to visit the shops to get the girls ready to return to the East.

I’ll continue my narrative later, dear Elizabeth, because the size of this epistle is getting unwieldy at present.

Yours truly,

Imogen

Published in: on August 5, 2006 at 11:05 am  Leave a Comment  

July 12, 1885 (Imogen)

My dear Elizabeth,

 I had promised to myself that I was going to follow up shortly with another letter to you, and look, it’s more than a week since I wrote previously! In my defense, however, I have been besieged with unexpected responsibilities. That is, they are unexpected in one respect–and not in others. Oh, good heavens, this letter isn’t going to make sense unless I attempt to narrate it in a more straight-line fashion. So let me attempt to do so.

 I wrote to you the night before I (thought) I was going to finish my journey to Arizona Territory and the town rather ill-omenenedly named Tombstone. As it was, that night there was a terrible thunderstorm and flash flooding wiped out the part of the railway to the town of Tucson, which is where we were due to finish the rail part of our journey. We had to wait for a day in order for the water to go down. Incidentally, I find this landscape very strange–bare earth that bakes under the sun, with odd-looking plants sticking up at intervals, all of which bear scarily sharp barbs and spikes. I hear that many of these plants actually bloom during the spring, but I can’t imagine how or where they would do so. Anyhow, flooding is an odd notion when one looks over these bone-dry plains, but apparently the dry gullies that natives call “washes” or sometimes “arroyos” can fill, virtually in seconds, with rushing water that sweeps away anything in its path. When we finally made our way to Tucson, all that one could see was a muddy floor to several of the gullies in question, where smooth-surfaced mud rapidly dried and cracked in the inferno-like heat.

 The one thing that really stood out to me as being unusual was a certain smell that rain brought out over these deserts–it’s hard to describe, really, but it has a sharp tang to it and the locals told me that it was caused by moisture bringing out the natural scent of the shrubs on the desert. Anyhow, Aunt Clara, horrified by the vehemence of the thunder and lightning of the storms, frightened herself into vapors and I had to haul her about the next day with a hand always at the ready for her smelling salts (though in my opinion if she were not so prone to tight-lacing she might be less likely to faint).

 It was a good thing I had the smelling salts at the ready, for the stagecoach ride from the town of Tucson to the town of Tombstone was an experience unlike any that I would care to repeat (though I did make it back via stagecoach, too, but that is a story for later!). We were crammed aboard a dusty, rickety stagecoach with four men in Western attire who eyed us interestedly. It was already hot as blazes, and the close quarters did not help at all. My dark brown travelling dress had already been soiled beyond recognition, and the heat and increasing queasiness of the rocky ride and attentions from the seeming ruffians in the coach did not help me at all. I was very glad to disembark, even though the place where we descended looked like the last outpost before the end of the earth.

 Actually, as I discovered the next morning (all that I was capable of doing that night was to find rooms for Aunt Clara and myself at a place named, oddly, The Gilded Lily), Tombstone is very highly-populated for a desert outpost. There are even a few civilized-looking folk walking through the streets, though of course the bulk of them are outlaws, miners, and other rough sorts who have decided to come West to make their fortune or to evade the law. The town’s central claim to fame seems to be a shootout that happened four years ago in a place that they call the “O.K. Corrall”. From what I gather (though I have been too wary to inquire too much), two rival gangs shot one another full of holes there, right off the main street of Tombstone, and there was some revenge-killing afterwards. I gather that things have quieted down by now, with the majority of the ruffians moved on to (quite literally) greener pastures or, perhaps, remoter outposts.

 Aunt Clara seemed to wish to continue with her fit of the vapors, until I sat her down that morning and had a long, rather frank discussion with her. She (of course) dissolved in tears, but after I pointed out that we needed to be strong and not look like vaporish Eastern ladies–because to do so might attract the exact sort of unwanted attention from rougher sorts–she has somewhat reluctantly managed to trail around after me and look, if not courageous, at least semi-placid as we wander the streets. I would imagine that the stony expression I have adopted as a counter to her flightiness may be part of the reason why we have been unmolested so far. I am rather glad that I managed to develop that “stay far, far away” face long ago in balls when the least likely of the boys would start skirting around the walls in my direction. (Then again, now that I am a quite decided spinster, I wonder if it might not have behooved me to have been less prickly toward those that I considered “undesirable” back then!)

Nonetheless, we found ourselves at the office of Mr. Simms that morning, having notified him the day before of our impending arrival (I did so from the train depot). All things considered, our delay may have been a blessing in disguise because from the looks of the men around here, the roughousing may have gotten out of hand for Independence Day. I’m not sure Aunt Clara’s nerves would have stood up to it.

 Mr. Simms was a blessedly civilized sort, wearing a bowler hat and a gray flannel suit. He doffed his hat when we descended the staircase into the lobby of The Gilded Lily and swallowed rather nervously. I couldn’t see why–though I’d made an effort to revive our clothes, the travel had ruined them rather terribly. Aunt Clara’s crape, in particular, had suffered when she’d been caught in the initial (and surprising) downpour three days before–it was shriveled and spotted in places, as crape will do.

“Mrs. Stuart? Miss Stuart?” he asked, looking from Aunt Clara to me.

“I am Miss Stuart,” I assured him, “and this is my aunt, Mrs. Stuart.”

“Reginald Simms,” he introduced himself. Really, he was a very small man–barely cleared my nose. He continued to stare past me at Aunt Clara.

 Aunt Clara acted very oddly indeed. Her eyelids lowered and she looked at him through her lashes almost flirtatiously. “I’m so pleased to make your acquaintance, Mr. Simms,” she said in a manner most unlike herself.

The scrawny Mr. Simms colored deeply and bowed over the hand she presented to him. I swear, for a moment I thought he was going to kiss it! He stared into her eyes, evidently forgetting to let go of her hand until, a beat later, he jumped backwards like a grasshopper and shook his head.

“I–that is–I’ve–Well, then.” He looked at me and cleared his throat, though his eyes were already straying back to Aunt Clara. “I thought I would take you to my office to meet your cousins.”

“Cousins?” I asked, surprised, “I thought there was only one!”

This startled him enough to tear his eyes–for a moment–from Aunt Clara. She shot me a positively murderous look, then simpered at the lawyer. I wondered if she’d heard what he said.

However, I wasn’t able to get a cogent statement out of him during the walk to his office–he’d start to say something, his eyes would stray over to Aunt Clara, and he’d start muttering and stammering incoherently. I pressed my lips together in a way that I’m sure Grandmother would recognize in the mirror and marched on with him, trying to hold my increasingly frayed temper.

 We entered his storefront offices and three young ladies hastily stood and faced us, looking at me and Aunt Clara with varying shadings of hostility, wariness, and suspicion.

“May I present your nieces, Miss Melisande Stuart, Miss Thisbe, and Miss Isolde,” Mr. Simms managed, “These are your Aunts Clara and Imogen.”

“Actually . . .” I started, but bit my tongue. We could sort out the exact relationship later. The names had just sunk in. Melisande, Thisbe, and Isolde? What sort of absurd romantic had named her daughters that?

Oh, good heavens–I am called away to deal with a teen-aged crisis. I will resume writing as soon as I find time!

 With love,

Imogen

Published in: on July 17, 2006 at 3:16 pm  Leave a Comment  

July 6, 1885 (Elizabeth)

Dearest Imogen,

 You have no idea how much I envy you these days.  I think of you in your mountain retreat as we swelter in the Cincinnati heat and humidity, and how I sigh for your ability to get away from all this.  All this, currently, includes the following: Aunt Lena, overcome by the heat, secluding herself in her room bathing her brow with lavender water; father worried and preoccupied about the socialist agitators that are rumored to be arriving in droves this Fall, Kathryn pining artistically about the house since John Post has gone to the mountains with his family, and the boys in a constant state of uproar about the wins of our Cincinnati Red Stockings, and the great exploits of men with names like Bid McPhee, Hick Carpenter, and Pop Snyder.  I myself would give almost anything for two moments together of peace and quiet.  Even this note I write in haste, knowing that Cook will be coming in soon with the initial plans for Kathryn’s debut.  Still, any letter is better than no letter at all.  I send this off in haste – it has been quite a while since I received anything from you.  I hope you are well?

 Sincerely, Elizabeth

Published in: on July 10, 2006 at 12:32 pm  Leave a Comment  

July 2, 1885 (Imogen)

My dearest Elizabeth, 

No doubt you will be surprised to see a letter from me that has been sent from some tiny desert outpost (I do not know which, yet, because it depends upon when I finish writing and when one of our stops will yield a post office that I can reach between the mad rush to gather sustenance or find a reputable place to sleep). 

Before explaining my unprecedented voyage cross-country, however, let me begin, well, at the beginning. You see, this all started a week and a half ago when Grandmother summoned me from my self-imposed exile at Timber Lake to her grand palais in Newport. Forgive me, I mean her cottage. I was less than ecstatic at the summons—at the time, I assumed that it meant she had not given up in despair when I passed my thirtieth birthday last winter, and that she had found some new potential victim to thrust me upon.  

One does not disobey Grandmother, however, so I summarily answered her missive, and two days later warily entered the marble halls of Ebenthwaite (where she invented that name I will never know), seeing none but the usual activity—servants doing their duties, looking harried as always, and a few of my relatives milling about. Interestingly, Aunt Clara was there—Grandmother has never, as I may have mentioned, had a high opinion of Aunt Clara. I greeted the family members but they all directed me to Grandmother, so with some trepidation I climbed the stairs and entered her chambers. 

“It took you long enough to get here, Imogen,” was her greeting, acerbic as usual. She lifted her pale cheek for me to kiss. 

“Forgive me, Grandmother,” I replied, having long since decided that meekness is the best approach with the matriarch of our clan. “I was detained by the weather.” Indeed, we’d had an unusual bout of storms this summer, some perpetual rainstorms and travel had been difficult. 

She waved it away irritably. “I’ve had an interesting communication from the West,” she said immediately, and waved me toward a chair. 

I nodded, not knowing what she meant me to make of this news. 

“It seems that your Uncle Bertie did not die in the War, after all, but ran off to the Western territories and built up a bit of a fortune for himself.” From the way she pursed her lips, I gathered that this fortune may not have been gained by reputable means. 

Oh—I suppose you don’t know who Uncle Bertie is. He’s somewhat legendary in the family. The youngest of the six children, he was always a bit of a headstrong lad, apparently, and when he was fourteen he ran off to join the Army, right at the beginning of the War. He was never heard from again, and was on the lists of “missing, presumed dead.” There has always been a little bit of speculation on what might happen should he return—apparently he and Grandmother frequently butted heads, but he was the apple of Grandpapa’s eye. 

“So we have found Uncle Bertie?” I asked, when it became apparent that she was waiting for a response from me. 

“Found and lost, I’m afraid,” she said, looking displeased. “I have heard from a lawyer in Arizona Territory that his—progeny—is left orphaned and in need of family. Bertie apparently left no word of what was to happen to them in the event of his death. Typical of him.” 

“Ah,” I said, rather stupidly, trying to take it in. Then, “progeny?” 

“The communication was unclear. They seem to assume that we will dispatch someone at once to take the child back here.” She frowned. “And that we shall. I should like you to go at once, with your Aunt Clara.” 

“I?” I said, startled into questioning one of Grandmother’s pronouncements. “With Aunt Clara?” 

“She’s hardly capable of dealing with the details herself,” Grandmother replied, “and while you are of an age where you need minimal supervision,” (This with a glare to remind me that I had failed at the all-important task of finding a husband.) “I hardly think it proper that you would travel into the wild alone.” 

I swallowed. This unlikely situation was already beginning to present itself to my imagination. Aunt Clara as a chaperone—while her age was right, in all reality it would be me supervising her rather than vice-versa. And where was I to travel? 

“I’ve sent William to book your tickets on the next train out of here,” Grandmother said to me, “And your closet here should yield appropriate traveling apparel.” 

My interview was over—Grandmother returned to her letter-writing and I left her apartment with rather more questions than I had entered it. 

“Did she tell you?” Aunt Clara accosted me breathlessly when I was well clear of Grandmother’s rooms. Her round blue eyes grew rounder, and her plump little mouth trembled as though she was on the verge of tears. Aunt Clara is always on the verge of tears, if she is not in them. She married my Uncle Henry while he was on leave during the War, and when he died a month later donned full mourning and hasn’t left her comfortable crape ever since. She couldn’t possibly have known him well enough to enter into lifelong mourning, but I’ve always suspected that the romance of being a war-widow enchants her muzzy little brain. I’m sorry—that was unkind of me. Anyhow, Grandmother insults her at every given opportunity—to her face, often!—and she merely wells up into tears (but she does that if one is gentle with her, as well).  

“Yes,” I replied, trying not to snap at her. Though she is somewhat dim, she means well—in her way. “I hear that you and I are to head West immediately, to pick up a child of long-lost Uncle Bertie. Do we know where in the West we are going?” 

Tears spilled over her cheeks. “I . . . I don’t know,” she said helplessly, pulling out a black-trimmed handkerchief. 

I sighed. “Never mind, Auntie. I’ll talk to William.” William is Grandmother’s butler, and a more capable man you could never find.  

In the midst of packing what sensible travel clothes I could—stout wool in plain dark colors—I managed to get word to William that I needed details. An attorney had contacted Grandmother via telegram, and the situation was rather delicate—apparently there are not many reputable people in this place called Tombstone where the child is now staying, and we needed to proceed to remove this previously unknown member of our family into our care. I suppose that I should be flattered that Grandmother thinks I have enough sense to take care of Aunt Clara as well as whatever child could have resulted from this long-lost uncle of mine. However, all I can see is that it takes my presence out of her sight and out of her mind. 

So we have sped off into the Wild West—and a hot and dusty trip it is proving to be! Between the smoke of the locomotive and the dust of the journey and the heat that seems to increase with every mile we go west, I have that disgusting sticky feeling that one gets with long days of travel. The hotels we have discovered on the way (due to the late-notice arrangements for travel, we were unable to book Pullman cars on the way there, though I have higher hopes for the way back) have been increasingly disreputable. Additionally, the ubiquitous uncouth men leer at both me and Aunt Clara (widow’s weeds and all), whilst spitting into the equally ubiquitous brass spittoons that sprouted everywhere around the time that we crossed the Mississippi. I’ve had to give more than one of them the evil eye in order to discourage their approach. As it is, they smile and doff their hats in an odd mockery of the gentlemen they most certainly are not, and make snide remarks to one another about us. (Or so I would imagine from the snickers and glances.) 

For all that, I’ll have to admit that I’m enjoying the adventure! I have no idea of what lies ahead, and I’ve taken to moving a chair in front of the door at night, in case any of these ruffians gets ideas, but tomorrow I should encounter my hitherto unknown cousin, and take this Western child back to the bosom of our stuffy Eastern family! It’s quite intriguing, all things considered. 

Ah well, the light is growing dim and I should try to sleep for the rest of the journey and our meeting tomorrow. I hope that this Mr. Simms (the lawyer who contacted Grandmother) isn’t quite as hairy and coarse as the bulk of the men who prowl around these towns, but I don’t hold out much hope that it is so. 

So, until later, I am 

Sincerely yours, 

Imogen

Published in: on July 8, 2006 at 10:17 pm  Comments (1)