I thought it best to contact you by mail, considering the events of this past week. You don’t have to read this, of course – I’m sure you are very busy, after all – but I hope that you do. Perhaps it will do you good to hear an explanation of events from a point of view other than your own.
After the events of the dance on Friday night – I’m sure I don’t have to explain that in detail – it seems a vital misunderstanding of the importance of our … tryst (shall we say) … has begun to blossom in your mind. Yes, I enjoyed myself very much – as I hope did you – but I thought a man in your position would have understood, as seemed clear to me, that this was simply an enjoyable dalliance rather than the precursor of something, indeed of anything, deeper, or more personally committing.
Now, it is possible this misunderstanding arose from the manner of my departure, which I admit was in haste, and taken without the necessary politenesses which such occasions surely warrant. So please forgive me for my sudden disappearance – although I should say that the hour was exceedingly late, and indeed not just you but most of your guests seemed slightly worse for wear by then. Even in my haste, I did still call out a ‘goodbye’ across the room to you, but it seems that my words did not rouse you sufficiently from your slumber for you to recognise it as my farewell.
It seems however, that my words did, indirectly, contribute to our misunderstandings this week, as apparently you were awakened enough by them to have subsequently watched my departure through the windows of your room, catching a glimpse of me fleeing through the front gates as if pursued, and I assume this is where your belief that I had been kidnapped, or was in some way being held in servitude, was formed.
In point of fact, I was simply hurrying to catch the final carriage of the evening, for it was a cold, wet, and very long walk home for me if I happened to miss it, and I was very much determined not to do so, not least because of the clothes I was wearing – I had not even brought a coat, nor boots, and the thought of my gown being ruined by a mile or more of walking through puddles and mud made me shiver in an anxiety probably unknown to those such as yourself, who have others to worry about such mundane matters as the washing of clothes.
Now, having laid out the facts of the evening in question, and having made clear that I accept some fault for the misunderstanding that has, evidently, occurred, I would like to turn to your behaviour in the week since.
It is of course very flattering to discover that you enjoyed the evident delights of my company so much that you’ve since been searching the city to find me – or ‘save me’, as you have reportedly been putting it – but that does not give you the right to barge uninvited into my home, insult my mother, accost my sisters, and accuse all and sundry of god knows what crimes and misdemeanours against me (‘an innocent’, as you kindly put it, although innocent of what I do not know).
My mother has been in tears ever since, and is simply inconsolable. To have someone of your power and standing insult her so brazenly, and with so little foundation, was deeply upsetting for a woman of her years (and long-avowed patriotism), and was, I believe, genuinely shocking to her on a spiritual level. If even half the things she alleges you said to her are true, then, well, I too am truly lost for words.
At least, if I am to search for small mercies, with my mother you were merely verbally abusive. Yet in your overzealous attempts to save me from my own family, you inflicted, beyond the spiteful insults towards their appearances, such grievous injuries on my two sisters that I fear it will be months before they can walk again. I have never seen wounds of such severity inflicted outside of a war, and even with months of rest I am not sure their feet will ever fully heal.
I am truly sorry I was not here when you called, as perhaps all this upset could have been avoided, although, in my darkest hours, I fear that, in fact, it would have been much worse. As it was, I happened to be working when you arrived – which is what you no doubt consider my servitude, but to the rest of us is known simply as employment.
Of course now, not only do I have to continue to support myself and my mother on my meagre earnings, but my two crippled sisters, too.
So it seems, even if after all this I somehow decided to consent to attend another one of your parties, there is much less chance of my being able to find the time to attend. I suppose I should consider that at least an amusing irony of the whole affair, and one which presumably would have made me laugh if not for the horror and harm inflicted upon those I love in service of it.
Thank you for the return of my shoe.
Please do not call at my house again.
1. Written on October 13th, 2019
2. This was previously posted here as Tale #102
3. But is now being reposted (with some slight editing differences I expect)
4. Due to it being performed at a Liars’ League event
5. On 14th February, 2021
6. Where it was performed wonderfully by Martine McMenemy
7. Whose reading I enjoyed very much