Thank you for the books you sent, they have been a lifesaving to me, Aunt approves of my assiduous study of the latest modes while I am in fact puzzling over Italian clauses. I also thank you for the earrings, they are lovely. You neglected to mention what sort of enchantment has been placed upon them, and at first I hesitated to don them. But I reasoned that you wouldn’t have given them to me if there was anything malicious to them. Instead I had taken them as a lucky charm and wear them always. After last night I am having third thoughts, but I know that I should start from the beginning.
Before I address the main point of your letter I must first state that if you were to lead your troops like a society matron they would be much too terrified to mutiny. I am convinced that you men keep us women from becoming soldiers and sailors, not out of fear of our frailty and weakness, but because we’d be far more efficient than you. I admit I may not be able to load a cannon, but have you ever heard of an intelligence network that rivals the most featherwitted lady’s gossip? Your mother I’m sure would have supplanted the Emperor and conquered Russia by now.
I am glad that you survived your adventure in the Musée with nothing more than a headache. I am doubly relieved that Chevalier de Brissac seems to be trustworthy. May I please remind you that Théophile’s father, who was involved in the same affair, has gone missing? Keep your wits about you and kindly do not fall unconscious in the company of strangers again. I distinctly dislike having to worry for your safety, especially when you seem oblivious to any danger. Your mother describes Claude Laurent as a man of good common sense. And if he has disappeared, you, with very little common sense should be on your guard.
On another topic all together, Joshua, I am not taken with the Viscount Durville. Very far from the truth. But I thank you for the information. You say he is a ‘shocking rake, a spendthrift, an inveterate gamester and a total loose screw, but other than that a very honorable man.’ By which I assume you mean he does not cheat at cards or abuse small animals, as you haven’t left him much to be honorable about. Forewarned is forearmed in my case.
Last night I attended a ball at Mrs. H____’s. And who should be there, but your ‘honorable’ Viscount. I spent most of the night trying to avoid him, mostly because you noted that he was a mage and I didn’t want to risk Aunt Constance haranguing me afterwards. However I wasn’t given much of a choice. Miss Wodehouse, with the best of intentions, made the introductions, and then I was forced to either dance with him, or spend the rest of the night alone.
“Those are very unusual earrings, Miss Endicott,” he said.
He raised an eyebrow and looked me in the eye. “I didn’t say they were pretty, I said they were unusual.”
“They were a gift,” I told him. And I cannot tell you how tempted I was to trod all over his feet at that point.
“From Captain Lord Rooke, I suppose?”
I was surprised at his mention of you, but I did do my best not to show it, and I believe I managed some small degree of success. I smiled sweetly at him and said, “That’s right. I’d forgotten you were a friend of Claude-Laurent’s.”
“I hadn’t,” he replied. “Nor have I overlooked your involvement in this affair.” Clearly insinuating that that was the only reason he condescended to dance with me. I won’t bore you with everything that was said, but eventually he admitted that he was actually hoping for information.
“I do not know what it is you expect from me,” I told him, “you are on good terms with the Sutcourts. Surely they can tell you more than a simple debutante.”
“True, but Lady Sutcourt does not wear baubles such as these,” He said and brushed my earrings.
“They…they wouldn’t go with the dress she is wearing tonight.”
“Be careful what trinkets you choose to wear Miss Endicott, if you do not know where they come from, or who they rightly belong to.”
Luckily the dance ended then and I could tear myself away. Did I do right? Should I have given him the earrings if they belonged to him? You said Claude-Laurent was smuggling items to him, what sort of items? I find myself wondering again, just what sort of intrigue you’ve gotten yourself into this time.
I hope that you and Théophile remain well and safe, and my prayers continue to go with you.
Your Affectionate Cousin,