Paris, (the man not the city) had wit, breeding and was fair to look upon. Which is more than I can say for certain members of your family. A cove indeed. I would count myself quite lucky if I could find such a man amongst the ton, and promptly run away with him. Unlike my namesake however, I would not run off if I had a prior engagement, so to speak, or if I knew it would launch ten years of war. If that is the difference you speak of, I’ll allow it. But if you’re making some crack about my appearance, I won’t. This may not be the face that launched a thousand ships, but I’m fond of it just the same.
Oh, Joshua, your letter is full of so many interesting items that I hardly know where to begin. I suppose I should start by mentioning that I have enclosed a copy of the Charter. But of course you have no doubt already discovered it, being a bit more substantial than this slim little epistle. I hope that you find the information that you are looking for and that it is to your best interest. In my heart of hearts I believe you have little cause to worry. Surely even Uncle Thaddeus could not be that careless.
Now, that bit of business out of the way, I shall attack your letter as it was written. My dear cousin, in your last letter you wrote to me of your father’s indiscretion. Something which, even though I am of age to be married, as a proper young lady I am not supposed to understand how it came about. After all, don’t your brothers all come from the cabbage patch? And you swear. Now you write of cut-purses and, to quote your letter ‘birds of paradise.’ If these are the things you do think are fit for my reading, I can only imagine what you must be censoring for my innocent eyes. Make up your mind, Joshua. Am I a child, or your confederate?
Théophile sounds like a little dear. A hellion perhaps, but aren’t all Sutcourts? I am astonished and delighted that you seem to have some kind of paternal instinct. I only wish I could be there to see it. Have you any idea why he dresses in such an absurd manner? From your description I do not think a powdered wig would suit him. Perhaps I speak too lightly here. If what you say is true about his father’s long absences my heart goes out to the boy. That is no way, and no place for a child. When this affair is over with perhaps his father may be persuaded to let Théophile come stay in Dorset with my father’s family. He is about the age of Thomas and Kermit, and the wholesome density of the Endicotts would do him good.
Joshua, you say you have begun to read tea leaves but you do not tell me the message in your cup. You would not mention it if it were not important. Do you enjoy being this maddening? No, of course you do.
There, I believe I have finished with your news, and shall accordingly proceed with mine.
I was a fourth at whist with your mother and the twins, I had thought to try and weasel more information out of them, when the butler brought up a card from a Richard Sherringham, 5th Viscount of Durville. Aunt Emmaline quickly sent off for tea and had the guest shown into the drawing room.
The Viscount is an exceedingly tall man, but well proportioned, neither too thin nor running to port. His hair and eyes are both dark, and should be unremarkable at the least, but they’re not. His manner and appearance are well enough, and, I detest the phrase, but there is something distinctly cat-like about the man.
After having politely introduced himself to all of us, he just as politely declined Aunt Emmaline’s offer of tea, saying he had business with your father and was promptly called up to Uncle’s study.
Do you know anything of this mystery man, Joshua? I have never before heard of a Viscount Durville, and I believed myself acquainted with anyone who would seek out your family for business. I have the niggling feeling that I’ve forgotten something, and this Troubles me. The feeling is much like what I imagine vision without spectacles must be like for those who need them.
I probably worry over a trifle. I’m sure it was just that I saw him at Almack’s but wasn’t introduced or something equally silly. Because I am left with little more to do than parade around like a horse at Tatt’s waiting for someone to buy me, I must be making mountains from molehills. Please let me know if you know of any young men in the Marriage Mart this season whom are affable enough and not too hard to look at, and of course who would leave me to my own pursuits. Then I may end this farce and continue my studies.
Do not hesitate to ask if there is anything further you require for yourself or young Théophile.
Your loving cousin,
P.S. Your post scripts have gotten out of hand and I refuse to answer them.