As always, thanks for your card. The plot here thickens. If youre worried about saying the wrong thing, right now I dont think youll be safe talking to anyone. Scandal abounds, and unfortunately, Im in the middle of the worst of it.
The good news is that our financial woes have been solved. The state was forced to pay up--which they have--and now our lawyers are pursuing them for damages. So, we could end up with more money rather than less after all this.
Money, however, hasn't made everything alright. Ive made such a mess of things!! The portrait of Fanny Rawlins Blake was auctioned off at Christies last Thursday, and I invited Emma and Chester to come up to London with me. I knew Simon wouldnt comehes taken a real dislike to even the idea of the portrait, and anyway, were still barely speakingand I wanted some moral support. Since the auction finished late, I booked us three rooms at the Savoy for the night. I got the painting for a great price, and shes wonderful. I love her! As a matter of fact, shes hanging up now, and I can hardly keep from going to look at her a hundred times a day. Whatever Simon says, I think she belongs here.
The bad news, unfortunately, is that Chester got it into his head that I invited him along for a night of passion. The three of us went out for a few drinks after the auction, and we were a little tipsy. Emma left us to go to bed, and Chester volunteered to help me up to the room with the painting. When we got there, he leapt on me. Chester! Can you imagine? No, I suppose you cant, since you havent met him yet, but youll understand when you do that the whole notion of passion between us is absurd. Hes been a good friend, but to be honest, hes too much like me for there to be a spark. I told him no and he got all huffy and said he was in love with me. Im afraid I wasnt very sympathetic. How could I be? I think Im still in love with Simon, in spite of everything. I criticized him for believing I could just "get over" being angry with him, but in a funny way, he was right. As soon as Chester made a pass at me, I realized that I wanted Simon.
Its all so embarrassing. I just hope Chester doesnt say something stupid to anyone. Not that anything happened, but Simon doesnt need to know about any of this. Hes never liked Chester and has a habit of threatening to beat up men who upset me.
Emmas also stirred up a bees nest. She interviewed two little old ladies that have lived in Puckering since the Flood, and they let slip that Shirleys daughter had an illegitimate child. Emma triumphantly confronted her with this little piece of family history, and Shirley has been spitting mad ever since. Now shes not speaking to me, not only because I sent her friend to jail, but because I employ a "sneaky little weasel."
Emma and Frank have also had some sort of falling out. I havent had to energy to pursue it with her yet, but hes moved back into the Hermitage, and shes steadfastly remained here.
Its all getting to be too much. Simon is distant, Emma is pouting, and Shirley wont speak. In fact, the only one who does want to talk to me is Chester, who keeps earnestly suggesting that we get together and "sort this out". I dont want to talk. I just want him to back off.
I am looking forward to a long talk with you. Come as soon as you can!