Wednesday, October 6, 2010

A Correspondence

Aside from spending money like water, my first wife did not engage in the sort of behaviour depicted in the correspondence below. Yet my own introduction to her former in-laws, the Warringtons, was something of an inspiration. And come to think of it, the woman described below could be imagined giving her daughter a roughish time, as my wife did to our daughter Flavia. And expensive glassware was often broken in our home. But sad to say, the only relative I can imagine driving a Mercedes through the scullery is my dear granddaughter, Pamela. In her name, I propose a toast to the ice princesses and impossible, hysterical women of the world.


A Correspondence


Dear Nathan,

It was so pleasant to enjoy your company last weekend here at Oak Hill. To relax with old friends in such a setting is truly a pleasure.

I hope your memories of this weekend won’t be marred by the unpleasantness of our last afternoon. I trust Jill’s injuries weren’t serious.

Yours,

Charles



Dear Charles,

Thank you for the gracious hospitality you showed Jill and I this weekend. You two certainly have a lovely home. I particularly enjoyed the amber Nicaraguan rum. You have spoiled my usual fare. One must, of course, imbibe cautiously. Indeed, I wonder if, had you heeded my advice and tried to prevent your wife from emptying the last third of the bottle in one impressive, vile gesture, this incident might have been avoided. Jill and I spent the night in hospital. She has suffered a concussion and a tooth seems to be missing. I’m not certain what effect this will have on the commercial.

Sincerely,

Nathan




Dear Nathan,

As you can imagine, I’m relieved to hear that Jill’s injuries weren’t terribly serious. You recall what happened to Mrs. Whitman at our Christmas party. Although to be fair, I’m told she has largely recovered and Dr. Higganbothom believes she may one day walk again. As soon as I see Helen I’ll tell her this good news about Jill. After she finished that bottle of rum (you’re right, it is very fine stuff!) she went on a bit of a bender and since then I’ve only seen her on her way to the toilet or to grab the car.

Helen does indeed seem refreshed by Jill’s company. I suppose I can be a bit trying at times, what with my constant puttering about between the garden and my study. But Helix aspersa is important to me. It is a demanding calling, and I used to fear that Helen would not be able to adapt to my lifestyle. Indeed, it’s funny to recall that at the time of our marriage I was concerned that the routine of cohabitation would dull the singular pleasures of life. But now that our lives have relaxed and domestic quiet is the dominant mood in the house, we find each other’s little foibles charming rather than exasperating.

Well, I must adjourn for now, as I can see Helen’s Mercedes through the window. I had better clean the glass up.

Cheerio,

Charles


Dear Charles,

I’m afraid that Jill’s injury has cost her the job with the commercial. Her dental work, undertaken at considerable expense, was not a success. The director felt he had little choice but to let her go. It is a toothpaste commercial, after all. His exact words were, “You’ll never work again in this town looking like that. Jesus.”

The timing could hardly be worse. All of our profits are put back into the orphanage, and I believe we will have to default on the mortgage. I am particularly concerned about the effects of our financial strain on young Henry. As you know, it can be quite a burden caring for a handicapped child.

Under the circumstances, I feel it necessary to breach a difficult subject. Given our crisis, your wife’s vast tobacco fortune, and her part in this affair, perhaps she could be persuaded to save our young family from disaster.

Awaiting your reply,

Nathan


Dear Nathan,

I sympathize with your financial difficulties. Just last week we had to undertake some repairs on our home after my wife crashed into it. Thus we’re faced with trudging off to our New York home, or possibly to Banff, to spend the next couple of weeks. So as you can imagine, it is quite impossible to send you a gift of money at this time. We are still paying for the yacht (the racing yacht), and my wife’s charitable work cannot simply be abandoned. As you know, she is a generous supporter of the work of Defense of American Patriots. There are many former military officers facing difficult international prosecutions desperately in need of her support.

I do have some good news for you, however. I’ve found your wife’s tooth! I was scrounging about the lawn, observing a superb specimen of Helix aspersa, and there it was. I could still make out a couple of flecks of blue paint on it. You know how Helen always chooses the blue croquet mallet. I have cleaned the snail mucus off it, and it appears to be good as new!

Keep your chin up,

Charles

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