For those of you who have read from my blog archive,(or indeed my letter from Bath below) you'll know that one of my friends who works in TV, is as much of a Jane Austen fan as I am. We write missives to each other when life requires a bit of silliness. It's on going and here is Fanny's latest letter that I shall reply to very soon. (Fanny isn't her real name, because she is undercover!)...Poor, poor desperate Fanny.
Please forgive me as this missive is long overdue and I keenly feel the reproach with which it must surely be regarded. It is however with good reason that my quill has been silent. But where to begin? I wish you to reach for your smelling salts before you read any further.
My personal situation is so altered that I feel you should not recognise the dear person of whom once you were so fond. I am all but shunned by my family who find my refusal to marry brings disgrace and ruin on the family. They have placed me in lodgings - from where I write - in the Kensington countryside. While pretty enough, it cannot be described as an area blessed with what one always hears being referred to as 'good society'. I know only too well that the purpose in placing me in such an exile is expected to bring me back to the fold, to realise that surely at 30 I am already too old to marry but if I tried harder may perhaps be fortunate enough to be considered by a lonely widower. I am to think upon this and leave my "childish ways" behind me. It really is too much. I shall not ever make them happy and I for one refuse to spend the rest of my life serving a miserable old farmer with acres of dull flat land in Cambridgeshire. I hope you do not judge me too severely? But I fear there is worse to tell.
I am forced to turn my hand to some form of employment.
Distressing as it is for my family I instead rather find it brings me a good deal of satisfaction and I am proud of my situation. Should you feel I am no longer suitable as a companion, indeed even a correspondant, you need only send word and all contact shall be severed. Your reputation must be upheld, that is something I at least understand.
So I find myself leading quite the dramatic life. I have no fear of what is to come and am even considering venturing into politics. Until then I content myself with my work as a writer of receipts - I hear tell of a Mrs Beeton and some great work on household managment that she hopes to publish. I wonder if I mayn't achieve a similar success myself.
I have three ladies dining with me this evening. I have of course informed them of my reduced situation but they see fit to continue to patronise me and so there is much to be done before their arrival.
I shall therefore have to leave you my dear and hope this letter doesn't bring you too much distress.