Friday, June 5, 2009

Un Billet Doux

Faithful readers,

Our humblest and most sincere apologies for this four fortnight lacuna in The Rakish Life. According to MacDowell family tradition, the Feast of St. Fergus is always celebrated in the old country at my Great-Uncle Uchtred's castle in Garthland. Gaspard had been recently, to put it politely, shitcanned, so he came along with, as he is a member of the One True Church as well. In the midst of our religious fervor, we mistakenly challenged some old Seaforth Highlanders to a drinking contest. For several weeks thereafter, all was black. We came to at a ресторан in Minsk, surrounded by a collation of black bread and vodka. We arose from the table and demanded steamship passage to Italy, so that Gaspard could venerate St. Angelo--to whom he has a particular devotion--on his feast day. We were stymied when the locals, through primitive hand gestures and yelling, convinced us that Belarus was, indeed, totally landlocked. Never daunted, we headed north for the Baltic. We seem to recall taking extensive notes of our odyssey, but fate intervened. About seventy kilometers outside of Tallinn, we discovered that, in Estonia, a MacBook G4--the very one that included our journals--is worth a goddamn king's ransom of Vana Tallinn and the Pagan chieftain's twin daughters--being as it was St. Thethmar's Day, how could we refuse?* This sent us off into the abyss for another couple of days. But, finally, a fortuitous dice game allowed us to book cheap freight passage out of Helsinki. Païens ont tort et les Chrétiens ont droit!

And so, here I am again, safely ensconced in my local public house in New York and bringing you a special treat as compensation for our long absence. One day last week, Gaspard invited me over for a round of early afternoon cocktails. I arrived while he was still performing his toilet, and by chance I happened to espy a folded piece of heavy ply écru paper on my friend's writing desk. I read it, of course, and seeing its obvious pertinence to the rakish instruction that is the point of our journal, I committed it to memory. Here it is in its entirety:

My beloved xxxxxxxxxxx [name redacted],

Hither and thither I have gone, but I must warn you that I have been thinking of nothing but you for these past months. And what is more dangerous, I cannot yet expel you from my thoughts. Even merely hearing your name excites in me such heat that I am like a man on fire. Deciding whether boldly to confess my secret passion to you, or to soldier on in lonely agony, has been like a war of the worlds in my breast. Having seen so much of the world recently, I have decided that I can do nothing but, at the closest opportunity, give you all the ecstasy that you deserve. It will be no simple task to achieve this union--we will have to weave a charlotte's web of deceit to find ourselves alone. Even then, we may have only two or ten minutes while the iron is hot, but strike I will. Hardly did the walls of Cluny ever see such depravity--but I must be careful! With but a glance and a half-smile, you have awakened passion in me such as I have never felt. Though you are only newly made fifteen, the glances that have passed between us would put dumbfound both Catullus and Lesbia. I will teach you things that are barely even thought of in the realms of the unreal. I cannot now write any more, as I have a guest about to arrive. Keep these words in your heart. I will write you again at the coming of the new moon.

Je vous prie de croire, Madame, à mes sentiments les meilleurs,


* If in the near future any of you happen upon a ".ee" website containing risqué photos of your sisters, daughters, or several New York society "It" girls, please inform us, as we will have to take legal action. To get in on the profits.

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