Index > The Post Office > The Flask Letters
The Flask Letters
Mrs Reneau sits at the dressing table in her room at the Gibbs' (one of the family rooms,there had been no pretense that her residence was a temporary arrangement), and stares at the quarto sheet before she puts quill to paper;
Enclosed is an item which I have been informed you misplaced, and unfortunately ended in the hands of Miss Gibbs, of whom I am a relation by the marriage of my daughter to her great-uncle. I make no accusations nor claim any knowledge of what your motivations for leaving it with her were; however, I would request you reconsider how you express your sympathy to young ladies of my relation, no matter how distant. I am sure you comprehend what the consequences of Miss Gibbs' possession of this item-or, indeed, /any/ item belonging to you-may have been if it had become widely known; I am sure that none of either of our families desire to suffer them.
An unliveried hallboy arrives with the parcel, knocking at the servant's entrance, and insisting on leaving the unmarked, boxed parcel with no-one but the butler.
A maid brings a curious Emerson to the servant's entrance. He knows better than to ask questions and receives the parcel with a brief murmur of thanks. He peeks inside and sees a canvas bag and a letter addressed to Mr. Stanton. Wasting no more time, he brings the box to Mrs. Stanton, who is seated at her writing desk in her private parlor, working on correspondence.
"This just arrived most clandestinely, madam," Emerson says, placing the item next to her and bowing before exiting.
Mrs. Stanton eyes the parcel with curiosity and opens both it and the canvas bag, inside of which is a silver flask with her grandson's initials. She spies the letter addressed to him and hesitates for an honorable five or ten seconds before breaking the seal and reading the contents therein. She frowns throughout reading, it deepening still further when she reaches the end. "Of all the utter ridiculous things to do..." she mutters as she stuffs the letter back into the canvas bag and pulls out a fresh sheet of paper.
I expect a detailed explanation as to what on earth could have possessed you to give this item to Miss Gibbs. Have you any idea how fortunate you are that this incident has not been made public? Thank heavens this Reneau person had it sent discreetly here, I daresay. A less intelligent person could have done far worse. I do not think I need to remind you how important it is that you refrain from starting more rumors, at least until you and Miss Ellis can be married, or she is likely to not have you at all. And if that were to be the case I will insist on your marrying someone of my own choosing, perhaps Miss Gibbs herself, if this foolishness has not turned her or her relations against you entirely already. Or, perhaps allow events with Miss Sokolov to simply continue the course in which they have already been set.
Come for tea tomorrow. I will expect you to be prompt.
Letter complete, she gets out a fresh sheet to write a quick, but sincere note of thanks to Mrs. Reneau for her discretion and quick-thinking in the matter. That matter finished, she gets up to prepare to attend her to her dear friend, Mrs. Sokolov, who sent a most distressing letter of her own just the day previous.
Upon receiving the note, Mrs Reneau's gratitude for the gesture is constrained by the concern that one more person having this knowledge is unlikely to be a boon to the situation.
|Posted 7 months ago|