Chere Julie, dear Jules. (Part 26)
13 Beach Street
My darling darlingest Jules,
Thank you really much for your letter. Its really good to get your letters because sometimes I thinks that I'm dreaming everything thats happening to me but when a letter arrives I knows that its real and you are my boyfriend and I loves you and you loves me and I'm the happiest person in the world. I cant believe whats happening to me. I'm just Julie Sanders from Brineham and I'm really ordinary but all these amazing things are happening to me.
Just a couple hours after I got your letter your cousin Julien turned up at our house. The chauffeur came to the door and all the neighbours were out in the street gawping. Luckily I got your letter first or I wouldnt have known why Julien was come and it was a bit strange really because he kept bowing to me and kissing my hand and calling me my lady. None of my family had seen him before and I hadnt seen him when he was wearing the white wig like a judge so it was a bit of a surprise for me too. He looked like one of those charming princes you gets in pantomimes with a red coat with bits of gold on it and silver buckles in his shoes. I would have invited him in but it was only ten o clock in the morning and the cleaning wasnt done yet and the place looked a real mess so I went down the cafe with him and he bought me a cup of tea. I didnt know what to say to him and everyone was staring at us because of the way he was dressed and because of the big feather in his cap and the monocle. If I hadnt been with him I dont think they would have served him because he looked like a loony. He tells me that he wants to learn me French and I told him about your letter. Then he pulls out a little book and opens it and says when do I want the lessons and I says I dont know and so he says how about every day at twelve o clock and we can go for lunch and he can learn me French at the same time and I didnt know what to say so I says yes. The upshot of it is that he's going to drive down here every day including the weekends or at least his chauffeur is going to drive him down and he's going to give me French lessons and he's going to start tomorrow. I dont know what I have let myself in for but he caught me by surprise and it was hard to say no. When he left he said he was going to look around Brineham for a nice restaurant where we can do the lessons and I told him that it wouldnt take him long because theres only one real restaurant round here whats called the Pheasant Plucker and all the rest is just cafes and takeaways. The Pheasant Plucker is really posh and they got cloth napkins and tablecloths and separate toilets for men and women and carpets on the floor and stuff. I hopes we goes there and he says that he's going to pay for everything.
My dads got a job in a factory where they makes paving stones with a great big machine and he's got to see that it keeps filled up with cement or something. All he's got to do is press a button now and again and the rest of the time he just stands around and he got to sweep the floor sometimes. He says that he got to stand next to the machine and it makes a lot of racket like really much and it makes his whole body tremble and shake when it goes off which is about 2 or 3 times a minute when its pressing slabs and loads of steam comes out the top. He told us about it when he came home the first day but he couldnt hear a thing we said because he was completely deaf. He told the boss that he was gone deaf but the boss said it was only the first couple of days that he'd be deaf and that he'd get used to it and they all did and some of them been working there for years. One thing he noticed though was that they all used sign language when they was talking to each other. My mum got really worried and said that he was going to damage his hearing and she didnt want to have to learn sign language. He's been there three days already and he's still deaf and he dont seem to be getting used to it. He says that he cant hear the machine anymore but it still makes him shake when it goes off. He comes home covered in cement and mum got to wash his clothes every night or they would go as stiff as a board.
You worries me a bit when you says about letting Jacques hypnotise you and I'm not sure I likes the idea. Even though when I met him he seemed quite normal all the things you wrote about him before makes me a bit worried and that thing about the cat is terrible. It made me think about Shaky. I dont think he should practice his hypnotising on innocent animals who dont know whats happening and cant defend themselves.
I hope I didnt offend your aunt by dressing myself in the morning but I didnt like th idea of someone putting my clothes on for me. I thinks its a really personal thing and I'd rather do it for myself because it seemed a bit silly with me being grown up and having someone dress me like I was a child. I knows they all does it but I wouldnt feel comfortable letting a complete stranger see me with no clothes on.
Sometimes I just sits here and thinks about when I was at your cousins place and though it was only about six weeks ago it seems like ages. I remembers one day when we was by the pond with all the carps and the sun was shining and we was sat there for more than four hours without saying a word and I just sits here and remembers what it was like. I think thats the happiest I've ever been in my life and when the footman came to tell us that dinner was ready I didnt want to leave and I wasnt hungry anyway and I could have sat there for ever. There was this sort of halo in your hair and I dont really know how to describe it but you looked a bit like an angel like they used to tell us about in Sunday school but without the wings. I knows what I means but I dont know how to say it. I felt really calm and I wasnt afraid like I usually am. I'm usually a bit scared of something or other or I got problems and stuff but when I was at your cousins place I was trying to be on my best behaviour so I was a bit more nervous than usual but that afternoon I felt more peaceful than I ever did in my life. When I was little I used to think there was angels around my bed when I was falling asleep and that I had nothing to worry about because they would protect me but when I was about twelve I stopped believing in them because of something that happened. I been a little bit afraid of things ever since but with you I wasnt scared at all. Your like a real living angel and I loves you.
I talked to mum about what you said about me going to France for Xmas and she wasnt too happy about it and said I should ask my dad and I wrote it down for him and he said that he never heard anything so rediculous and went on and on about how I'm only a young girl and when he was my age children wouldnt even dare suggest such a thing to their parents. He went on about all the dangers there was for a young girl abroad and reminded me of what happened to a girl a few years ago from Brineham who went to France as an au pair and she ended up being cut into pieces and found in a river and they never did find out who done it. Anyway he told me to forget it. The problem is that nobody in my family ever went abroad except my grandad who was there in the war so you cant really count him because he went with thousands of others and they was all soldiers. I told them that you would look after me but he wont hear about it so thats that. Its a pity though because I would have loved to see where you lives and I would have loved to see you but never mind. Maybe another time. I hope your not too disappointed. I got to go and clean my grans teeth now so I'll put this in the postbox on the way. I love you more than I can tell you and I always will.
I'll put a thousand kisses in the envelope,
Jules Lablagues xx
Julie, mon amour,
Your letters fill me with such joy that, at times, I am almost physically incapable of bearing such pleasure. At night I sleep in the cradle of your laughter and by day you are the beacon indicating a safe harbour. You are never far from my thoughts and always in my heart.
I have taken your advice concerning Jacques and told him that I do not wish to be hypnotised. He took it quite calmly and said that he would use our grandmother instead. As she spends most of her time in a trance-like condition I do not know of what use his research will be or even how he will know that she is in fact hypnotised. When he proposed his intentions to her she immediately agreed but this means nothing. If he had proposed tying her to a stake and burning her as a witch she would also have readily agreed to the suggestion.
I hope Julien did not embarrass you too much with his eccentric form of dress. Whenever he leaves the estate he dresses as a Marquis would have done in pre-revolutionary times. You must insist that he teaches you modern French as I know, at home, he speaks only a form of Ancient French which is the equivalent of the English of Chaucer and totally incomprehensible to anyone other than a scholar.
I was, indeed, disappointed by your parents blunt refusal to allow you to visit me and my family at Christmas, although I had expected it, but I did not think it would be on the grounds of their fears for your safety. That they would not wish you to leave them at a time of family celebration would have been a totally acceptable reason which I could readily understand but that they have concerns for your well-being merely because it would involve travelling to another country is totally beyond my comprehension. You would be as safe and secure here as you are in your own home and would be treated with the respect and dignity deserving of a well brought up young lady. If you think I could put their minds at rest by writing to them and assuring them not only of my honourable intentions but also of the love and affection that would be accorded you by my family then I will do so but I would not wish to interfere or appear to exert pressure on them. Their trepidations are groundless and I am sure you would have a wonderful time. I am all too aware of the constrictions of a close family but it is these same limitations that provide our freedom. To love and be loved is liberating but also the chains that bind us. Please speak to your parents once again and try to convince them of the innocence of your endeavour but if they remain adamant then I will accept their decision and say no more on the subject.
I remain a vegetarian and my family, with the exception of my father, seem to be accepting of the matter. Although I still salivate at the thought of an escalope de veau with capers and anchovies or a darne de saumon with hollandaise sauce I am finding that it is possible to enjoy a wide variety of dishes which do not require the slaughter of an innocent animal. Lentils, cooked slowly with herbs and spices and a selection of fresh vegetables seems to satisfy my craving for the flesh of a sentient being but nothing can replace the sensation of cutting into a fillet steak, cooked rare, placing a morceau of the succulent beef in the mouth and chewing it while the juices explode on the palate and run down the chin. What blissful times I have enjoyed with something as simple as a dozen oysters yet those joys are denied me now of my own volition. My resolve is firm and never again will I desecrate my body and mind with the dead remains of a creature with whom I once shared a common existence.
Yet, at times, I am riven with contradictory emotions. What harm could there be in the consumption of a slice or two of braised lamb? Would the beast ever have existed without a demand for its existence? Sheep might very well be extinct if it were not for the farmers who have nurtured and protected them from the scavengers and predators who have no such moral scruples. Does the fox cry for the slaughtered hen? Does the eagle swoop on the rabbit and apologise to its intended victim? The carnivore has no choice and I wish the decision was not my own. Like a drug addict I have a physical and mental craving for that which, in the past, has brought me pleasure and, like the junkie, I know that the relief would be short-lived were I to capitulate and give in to my carnal desires. It is not easy to abandon the habits of a life-time.
If only I had Jacqueline in whom to confide but she, too, is consumed by the fires of self-doubt. I have tried to communicate with her but she speaks nonsence sentences in a mixture of foreign languages using no known syntax. She looks at me with staring, glassy eyes seeming not to understand, as if I too was speaking a foreign language. She ignores all the basic conventions of personal hygiene and wanders the fields talking to herself. She has worn the same clothes for the past two weeks and they are torn and dirty. Her hair is matted and she constantly scratches herself. Her family ignore her and even her faithful dogs growl when she approaches. Jacques says she is deranged and is willing to counsel her but it is up to her to make the first move.
I must apologise for the sombre tone of this letter but I would not hide my true feelings as I have done in the past. Rest assured that my love remains as steadfast as ever. I hope to hear from you soon.
I love you a la folie,
Published on writebuzz®:
> Stories & Scripts