Chere Julie, dear Jules (Part 10)
Jules Lablagues xx
My dearest Julie,
I was so moved by your letter I shed copious tears. The thought of your suffering sends shivers and chills darting through my body. If I could only be there to comfort you through your darkest hours. Whenever you feel lonely think of me and feel assured that I am with you in spirit.
I have chosen design number three and not because it is the one chosen by you, although that was a consideration, but it is the first choice of both my family and myself. You will have to let me know how I may send payment to you. The prices on the designs seem very low and I hope you have taken all the possible expenses into account. Jacqueline likes all your designs and said that if ever she gets married she would like you to make her dress and for all of the bridesmaids as well.
In your letter you express your fears that I would be offended by your getting personal with me but you really have no need to worry. I am not only interested in hearing about your life, your family and friends but also in hearing your thoughts and sharing your feelings. These things are a vital part of you and I wish to know the whole Julie, not just the external expression although I find the accounts of your friends' activities very interesting. I know not a single person who has been in prison or even threatened with it. My ancestors, of course, were incarcerated, without trial, in the Bastille. A very black day in the history of France. Luckily they had influence and were able to purchase their freedom after just an hour or two but the loss of their liberty, if only for an afternoon, must have been traumatic for them.
You also express fears about meeting me at my cousins' house but you need not worry about a lack of privacy. We could sit in the orangery with no fear of being disturbed or, the weather being clement, we could take a walk along the river. I, too, would like some time alone with you in order for us to become comfortable with one another before we mix with the family in the house. They are all very eager to meet you but will understand if I wish to have some time with you alone.
I do not understand this about your father becoming permanently disabled and I think you have forgotten to tell me how it happened. Was there an accident? If he is incapacitated, how will he ever climb up to the loft to look after the pigeons? This must be a terrible blow to your family and my thoughts are with you in this dark hour.
You ask me how often Jacqueline spends the night and I must confess it has become quite frequent during the past few months. She says that she feels more at ease with our family than she does with her own at the moment but I wonder if she is not going through a personal crisis. Until just a few months ago she was a strong, independent person who was not given to too much emotional expression but, recently, she has become very moody and is prone to tears. I worry about her. She follows me about the estate when I am checking for fallen trees and sits in the kitchen when I am preparing the meal. I enjoy her company but it seems she has lost interest in her own life and finds solace in sharing mine. It is very unlike her.
On the advice of Jacques' mentor we have erected a small tent around him and keep his room at a steady body-heat temperature. This worries me. It is very hot and I can stay there for only a few minutes at a time but the mentor says we have to recreate the condition of being in the womb and it is very necessary for his transition. I have no idea what this means but I trust he knows what he is doing. Apart from a great loss of weight Jacques seems extremely healthy. The mentor now sits outside the room and makes notes.
One of the villagers has come to present his pubescent daughter to the household and we must make the ceremonial presentation of a live goose so I must stop now,
I wait with impatience to hear from you again,
With great affection,
13 Beach Street
My dearest Jules,
I know its been four days since I got your letter and I normally writes back right away but I just couldnt collect my thoughts. I've been so excited and I dont know why and I cant sit still and I cant stop smiling. People has started to notice and my dad wondered if I was on drugs. I feels like singing all the time and when nobodys around I sings along with the songs on the radio at the top of my voice. I hope they cant hear me next door although Sharon says I got a good voice and shouldnt be ashamed. Dave Roberts said I could sing at his club once but when I went to see him he showed me this little topless outfit that he wanted me to wear when I was singing. He also wanted me to lay on top of the piano with one leg in the air although I dont know what purpose that was supposed to serve. He offered me lots of money but I turned it down. I couldnt sing proper if I was laying down. I tried it at home. I would have felt stupid doing it anyway in front of all those men. Its a men only club. But it was a lot of money and he said I would get tips as well if I sang good. I was only eighteen at the time and I wouldnt sing topless now although I got nothing to be ashamed of in that department but I just wouldnt do it. It dont seem right somehow.
It was really kind the things you said in your letter about wanting to know me better but maybe if you really knew me you wouldnt want to know me at all. That would be horrible. I dont know what I would do if you stopped writing to me. I gets really sad just thinking about it and my eyes is all filled up with tears and I can barely see what I'm writing. I sits around waiting for the postman every morning and always hopes theres a letter for me from you. Even if I got one from you a couple days ago I still hopes to get one from you and I gets really disappointed if theres nothing. When I gets one of your letters first I kisses it and hugs it because I'm so happy and I carries it around for a while before I opens it. I hope you dont think thats stupid. I dont want to finish it too quickly so I reads every line two or three times and when I gets to the end I wishes there was more. I pictures you in my mind when I'm reading it and pretends that I can hear your voice.
I had a really strange dream last night like I was this Lady something or other and I was always having parties and I lived in a big house with about a hundred rooms. In my dream it was late at night and everyone was gone to bed and I was wandering around the house looking for my bedroom. I was getting more and more confused because every door I opened was someone elses room. I checked all the rooms at least twice and I was getting really tired and fed up so I finally just goes into one of the rooms and climbs into bed with whoever is there although I dont know who it is. Somehow I knows its alright and I wasnt worried at all. Then whoever it is realises I'm there and starts screaming real loud and thats when I woke up in bed with Kirsty and it was her that was screaming. Then my dad comes in and my mum was waiting outside the door holding a walking stick. About five minutes later Fred our neighbour came knocking while we was all having a cup of tea in the kitchen and said that he heard some screaming. My dad said that he took his time and we could all be dead and Fred said that he couldnt find his trousers. Its the first time I ever walked in my sleep and Kirsty said that if I did it again she was going to start tying me in bed. She thought it was a rapist.
I have started on the wedding dress and I'm being really careful because I dont want to spoil it. I took all the measurements two or three times and got Sharon to do it as well to make sure I'm right and I've started to do the pattern. I'm glad you chose the same one as me and I hopes I can model it for you at your cousins house. I could bring it with me but your going to have to tell me when it is because my dad is talking about having a family holiday in Blackpool. We used to go there when I was smaller but money was always short and I didnt get to go on many rides. Dad says we'll use some of the redundency money and for once we'll have a decent holiday. If you can just give me a rough idea of the dates when I would be welcome. I hope they dont expect me to go shooting pheasants with them because I dont believe that I could. I could probably learn to fire a gun but I dont know if I could shoot little birds. If I had to go then I would miss them on purpose. My dad says that if I had a gun he wouldnt come within a mile of me and I think he's right. My mum found a recipe for pheasant in her cookery book and she says it looks disgusting. She says that you got to wait until the pheasant is rotten before you cooks it and you had to serve it with some sort of jam. I hope I'm not expected to eat it at your cousins house because I dont think that I could. What other sort of things do they eat.
I know I mustnt worry but I do worry a lot about not making a good impression. I know you wont be critical if I makes mistakes but the others dont know me and if they laughed at me for using the wrong spoon I'd be really embarrassed. I went to a formal dinner once and I used the wrong knife for the fish and when the waiter took my plate away he really stared at me and then he picked up my clean fish knife and took it away and came back with a clean knife like the one I'd used. I was really embarrassed.
I am really looking forward to seeing you and talking to you. I got heaps of things I want to say and loads of questions but mostly I am looking forward to being with you. I hopes we gets along as well as you and the Comtesse Jacqueline de Montfort except for the sleepovers that is. I dont think I could be just like a sister if I was in bed with you if you catch my drift.
I'm going to carry on with the wedding dress now but I hope you writes soon and tells me what date I will be expected at your cousins so I can start making plans. My mum says that I should take a gift or something but I got no idea of what would be suitable. Maybe you could suggest something,
Your really good friend,
P.S. My dads not really permanently disabled he only says he is so he dont have to sign on and pretend he's looking for work. Theres nothing wrong with him really but he's got a sick note to say he's done his back in and cant do any work that involved standing up sitting down or carrying things. He says they cant prove if youve done your back in or not and he gets more money if he is disabled then if he was just unemployed and he's going to see if the social will supply him with a car because they do sometimes if you has difficulties getting around but I think thats more to do with your legs than your back. I hope I didnt worry you too much.
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