And my news that shall surely astound you greatly is
that…I have received a Proposal of Matrimony from Sir ______ of ___________!!!
Forgive me, Sister, that I cannot divulge his name in this letter for fear of
prying eyes. I shall tell you of his identity once I am returned home. Be
content for the moment to know that he is a most respected member of Voldarian
society and a third cousin, twice removed, to the current Head of the House
Lothari. He is balding, in his fifties and a widower. His first wife, Lady
__________, passed on after an adverse incident with a bad clam, I have heard
tell. The man was, by all accounts, devastated and could never eat or even
glance at a clam, be it bad or good, after that.
I was sitting demurely with one of Lady Celladyn’s daughters during Countess
Mhera’s mourning memorial for her pet ferret when Sir _________ came up to me
and begged that I momentarily retire with him to a discreet corner as he had
something he wished to impart that was for my shell-like ears only.
Although he is bald, I agreed to his request for he is still a third cousin
twice removed to a Voldarian Council Member and so the two of us retired to
behind a rather large and leafy potted fern that shaded us from inquisitive
Upon my word, I did try not to stare at the balding patch, sadly ill-concealed
by a few wisps of graying hair on his forehead, overly long but I am afraid I
may have failed for it was so very shiny…
Then, with a sudden motion that surprised me from my subtle scrutiny of his
head, he grasped my hands with a desperate fervor (I do wish he had not such
clammy hands. I had to surreptitiously wipe my palms on a shawl that someone had
draped over a chair later) and told me in hoarse, reckless tones that if I do
not consent to become his Wife, he shall waste away from a Decline of Shocking
Be gratified on my behalf for I blushed properly as he finished and stammered in
maidenly confusion. Happily, years of training have prepared me for such a
moment as this! I refused him with poised tact, citing that I had far too much
respect for him to accept his suit.
As he began to refute my claim fulsomly, I fluttered my eyes wide in a doe-like
expression of placid wretchedness and continued, saying to him that I have to
decline the great honour he has bestowed upon my lowly
self for the gulf between our stations is too wide and my mind being too flighty
and yet unformed to be a suitable Companion against his mature astuteness.
Sir ________’s eyes welled with tears, overcome by my noble misery and resigned
sadness I believed, and he went into an abject state of dejection whereupon I
swiftly murmured all that was conciliatory and made my escape.
Brydda, I trust you will not be foolish as to harangue me for not accepting his
Proposal. Needless to say, of course I had to reject him! Did you think that I
would actually deign to marry a man, no matter who is his third cousin twice
removed, when his breath smells as if Countess Mhera’s lamented ferret had
crawled inside his mouth and was quietly rotting there?!
Good Goddesses, it took a momentous effort of willpower and all the social
niceties that I could summon just to stand there in front of him and not reel
backwards in a faint. I was surrounded with the stench of a thousand dead fishes
every time he opened his mouth. I should say that even Ximaxian wizards could
take a lesson or two from me in self-control and resolution!
I would sooner marry that awful person who accosted and tried to abduct me the
other day as I was making my way home to Kyiri’s house. At least his breath did
not smell of stinking dead fishes as Sir _______ of ___________ does.
I myself take conscious care every morning to rinse my own mouth with a
concoction of minty water, flavored with lavender, to ensure that every word I
speak will be accompanied by a cloud of pleasing fragrance. So many women, more
ravishingly beautiful though they may be than me, neglects this most important
of detail and often I would hear them bemoaning in a corner at some social
engagement, why no eligible men will engage their hands for a dance though they
be splendidly garbed or artfully face-painted to show off their every charm to
the fullest extent.
I could have told them that sour breaths puffing into one’s face is as repulsive
as clammy palms and a braying donkey-like laugh. But I do not. It is not my
concern if they do not find the reason behind their shunned states.
While we are on the subject and still a half of a parchment to go, I had better
tell you of that barbarian who so rudely waylaid me as I was walking home from a
dressmaking session with Cetin. Cetin has been assigned to be my personal maid
by Cousin Kyiri for the duration of my stay in Voldar. I regret to say that she
is a very unsatisfactory servant with a slovenly appearance and a pert smile.
She does not do my hair the way I tell her to and furthermore, out of a jealous
spite towards me I suspect, she deliberately burnt a lock of my hair as she was
curling it with the heating tongs this morning and pretended it was an accident!
Once too I caught her peeping at one of the letters I was in the midst of
writing to you and had left it on my desk when I was called away on a matter.
Sly little minx. I shall have to speak to Cousin Kyiri about her deplorable
attitude one of these days.
It was growing late with the sun already set and the torches and lamps lit as I
was walking with Cetin. I had not realized I had spent an inordinate amount of
time at Madame Hovery but the latter is the most sought after dressmaker in
Voldar and it is notoriously hard to secure an appointment with her! Thusly I
was determined to commandeer every precious second that I have with the Madame
to ensure she will create a breathtaking gown out of a length of blue silk that
I had recently purchased which will make me the teeth-gnashing envy of every
Voldarian noblewomen alive. Therefore all details must be perfect from the
triple flounces on the hem and the length of the sleeves! You know how it
distresses me so when even the tiniest stitch on a new gown is wrong.
I finally exited Madame Hovery’s establishment after eliciting promises from her
that she would sew the grandest, most wonderful gown possible and with Cetin
remarking in an impudent tone that Cousin Kyiri will not be pleased if I miss
dinner. The servants have became conscious of a certain chill of manner towards
me from Kyiri and have taken advantage of that by according less than the proper
respect given to someone of my rank, treating me as if I was some poor relation
from the country and a parasite sponging on our Cousin. I find myself sometimes
on the verge of furious tears to be treated so but you will be proud to know
that I bite my lip when that happens and blink away those treacherous signs of
weakness before the lower class. In front of them, I am still the brave Lady
with gracious manners and a perfectly coiffed head held high.
So there I was reprimanding Cetin on the proper demeanor befitting a lady’s maid
when not two streets from Kyiri’s abode, two hands came out from the shadows to
grab and drag me without a by your leave into a niche between two
I could not even express my extreme displeasure at being hustled like this as
one of those hands was clasped tight over my mouth! Well!
Cetin, the silly chit, gave a scream and went bounding off without even lifting
a hand to help me. Really. It truly is so hard to find good help these days.
In my mind then, I had no doubts that this was a heinous abduction of lascivious
intent which one often hears about and spoken in hush tones by others during
dinner parties. Where the unfortunate maiden of impeccable lineage is usually
abducted by a tall, dark, devastatingly handsome man with a sinister secret in
his past and who is, in truth, revealed to be a disgraced scion of some noble
family, wronged and slandered by a wicked Brother who was intent on seizing the
family fortune. The Dark Captor is forced to reveal his love and undying
devotion for said maiden by this unpardonable method of abduction and months
later, word will inevitably arrived to the grieving Parents that the poor girl
is now living in sin with her attractively brooding captor in a windswept castle
on a lonely moor off northern Xaramon.
Now, I have no objections to be snatched in such a manner by a disgraced and
darkly fine-looking scion of a respected family for I am relatively sure I can
persuade him to abandon this ill advised action and convince him that my quick
wits and charming deportment is imperative for helping to restore him to his
rightful place in society and bring down his depraved and corrupt Brother.
Whereupon he shall then profess his eternal gratitude and love for me, as his
Benefactress and I shall, as befitting, accept his suit naturally since the poor
man had suffered enough already.
However, I absolutely refuse to be abducted wearing what was my second-best
gown! Why, I can just hear the malicious gossip of those horrible society
harridans as they shake their heads to each other and remarked with barely
concealed glee of how I was brought away to a windswept castle for passionate
ravishment in a second-best gown!
Oh, the ignominy and the infamy! I shall not and will not stand for it!
Fired with longing thoughts of my best gown, white satin and lace that came from
the needle of an elven lace maker I was assured by the
shopkeeper that sold me that roll of lace, I bit into the palm of the hand
across my mouth most savagely, drawing blood with my teeth. It was a very
appalling thing to do, I admit with shame and Mother would swoon to see a
Daughter of hers behave so, but compare this to being carried off like a sack of
potatoes in a second-best gown, I am sure you can understand and exonerate me
for this trespass of decorous behavior.
My Dark Captor gave a rather girlish yelp of pain as I bit him, a sound not very
fitting for a tall, wronged noble scion I thought. Should they not give a
thwarted cry or curse of manly proportions instead? I confess I have had very
reticent familiarity with disgraced Scions, hence my ignorance.
He let go of me immediately and with a face adorably tinted a rosy red and my
bosom heaving from the indignations I have just suffered, I turned to face him,
ready to enlighten him that there was really no need for him to display his
undying ardor for me in such a fashion, that I would be more than glad to assist
him in his noble venture to wrest his rightful name back from his iniquitous
Brother and I did not care for living in sin in a drafty castle although I would
look astonishingly alluring in a gown of white satin billowing in the wind
across a darkened moor.
A bright flash of light illuminated the dark passage subsequently and...
and (Pardon me for I need a brief moment to compose myself here) it was
to my profound dismay, that instead of confronting a tall man dressed all in
black with a seductively good bearing, I was confronted by the appearance of
someone not tall or decadently handsome in the least! Yes, well, he was dressed
all in black but that is not the point.
Moreover, to my deep consternation, I recognized whom it was that had so
boorishly laid hands on my delicate Body and heaved me around as if I was
nothing but a common street wench. I have seen him before!
“You!” I exclaimed with righteous wrath at the craven coward as I pointed one
shaking finger at him and clutched my heaving Bosom with the other hand.
You will never believe who HE was, his name is… oh, I
have reached the last bit possible on this parchment. I have better end here
then. Do remember to send my love to everyone back home. I was excessively sorry
to hear about the recent infestation of sheep in the house. But if Father do
insist on riling them in the pastures, making them run around in circles,
whenever he goes riding out on his horse, he has to expect certain
And I know the burning question that must be on your mind and in your heart now
as you reached this last few concluding lines and learnt of my unfortunate
Adventure. I hasten to assure you that your worry is unnecessary and unfounded!
For despite the confusion of being dragged and cruelly manhandled, I have
managed to keep the skirts of my second-best dress from being stained from the
mud in that disgusting alley.
Your most affectionate and tenderly ill-used Sister
P.S. Although I have declined Sir ________’s Marriage
Proposal, I have managed to glean from him a potion for excessive hair growth.
It does not appear to have work prolifically for him but nevertheless, Father
might be glad to know of it. If it works, our dear Parent needs not wear that
awful rat’s nest on his head anymore in a bid to hide his utter baldness. Mother
will be pleased.