Rose Cottage
The Gables
Mill Lane

Myrtle Whipchick
Fanny Smart’s Finishing School for Young
Mr Minions

Monday, April 28th, 1927

Dearest Myrty,

Please forgive my tardiness in responding to your latest missive! How terrific to hear such news of your accolades – top of the class in deportment AND decorum! How will I keep up with only my book of etiquette to guide me? I know dear aunt thinks I am quite squiffy. She does not seem to realise that society’s only hope of redemption from its profligacies is our education in the correct ways of propriety and etiquette!

Oh Myrty when are you coming home so that we may once again delight in our favourite ices and sweets along the sea front? Strawberries and cream! Blackcurrant and Licorice! I nearly jumped into the sea the other day but decided, even for Miss Maybud, it was too nippy. I do miss you a great deal dear chum. Life here can be lonely: Aunt is very much her own soul, and fusty with it, dear as she is; and then there are the wretched bridesmaids forever badgering me to marry. It is most vexing! What are they about? However did there come to be an endowed corps of professional bridesmaids residing in this tiny port? Are they the mad sorts no one knows what to do with? I certainly think so. And they are all so common.

That said I do seem to get caught up in all manner of incidents and happenings here in Rederring. Only this morning, I found poor Willie ‘one-eye’ lying face down in a ditch along Widdle Lane having fallen whilst looking for his glasses. He seemed to think it was a butterfly he was trying to catch (hence the need for his glasses! In the ditch?), but it eluded him and – plop! – he was face down with legs akimbo. Clearly his marbles have gone but what matter. I rather wish mine would go and I could chase butterflies with him. Oh golly, what is to become of me Myrt? You will be a lady, whilst I – merely an aspiring one! It shall never do!

Oh Myrty I must confess there is a boy I like. You know there is… you guessed way back in church that day I flushed so red I thought my hat would catch fire! It is that darned Robin Oakapple in whom I have professed to have no interest. He is quite the sweetest and funniest boy I’ve ever come across. Every time he sees me he flashes pink and darts the other way as if I might bite him; and yet everyday methinks he finds a way for our paths to cross. For a gentleman of such prolific means, with such a stead to tend to – what is he about wandering the village in the middle of the day? When do his Oxen get their gruel? (Gruel! I bless the day when Aunt decided I was buxom enough to do without the wretched stuff!).

So this is it: we meet most everyday on our way about town – I’m sure he has his eye on me to know when and where I am about – and then he runs away almost as soon as he has parked his feet in my direction! What am I to do? Nowhere in my book does it allow for a woman to give pert encouragement to a gentleman. But is this dance to go on until I am in my dotage?

Oh goodness – Aunt is calling! It is time for me to go and take old Captain Bird his tea. He does complain so when I am not punctual! Do keep writing! And keep up the good work!

With fondest good wishes,

Your friend Rose