December 2, 1889
Lady Flora St. Ives
You will be delighted to know that the girls and I and Rosie the chicken are back in England, as I intimated in my letter from Charlottetown, which I hope you received safely. The Viceroy, Lord Peterborough, was so kind to send my letter on the viceregal airship with his reports to Her Majesty—I do hope you were not alarmed by its appearance over Gwynn Place. The letter would have gone with the Dunsmuirs, but dear Lady Lucy is nowhere near as fast as the new B3 model Zeppelin. The Viceroy was very good to us in other ways … not only did he open the doors of his home to me and the children, but he managed to accommodate Mr. Malvern, the Dunsmuirs, and the officers of the Lady Lucy as well, for more than two weeks—and the Palace is not even finished yet. I must say that he is a kind and generous man, and Lady Peterborough is a saint.
You will have seen in the Times that Mr. Meriwether-Astor, whom I believe you met on the lawn at my graduation from St. Cecilia’s, is ruined—not only ruined, but confined to his own continent, where he may or may not see any success in rebuilding his shipping empire. Only the fact that he escaped the skies of the Canadas a white feather’s breadth ahead of the Royal Canadian Airborne Police saved him from gaol, and I understand that should he attempt to fly in said skies or those of the Empire, he will be imprisoned immediately.
I do not know what exactly has happened to his daughter Gloria, who was one of my classmates, though I did make clear to the tribunal that she was instrumental in saving lives in direct opposition to her father’s wishes. I hope someday to meet her again. I suspect that if she manages to separate herself from her father, she will be a different person than she has been heretofore.
I have an airship of my own, now, called Athena. Could you ask your steward to prepare a mooring mast in the field nearest the orchard? I should very much like to spend Christmas with you and Nicholas. Lizzie and Maggie are looking forward to seeing Gwynn Place again, and my secretary Mr. McTavish will be joining us also. I know you will wish to extend every courtesy and joy to the girls—Lizzie is very proud of the diamond ring the Prussian Kaiser sent as a personal token of his esteem, though I only permit her to wear it on special occasions. Maggie cannot be separated from her Burmese ruby pin—she even wears it on her nightgown when she goes to sleep. It would seem we have friends for life in Count von Zeppelin and the Prussian court.
Which brings me to the exciting news I mentioned in my letter. Count von Zeppelin has made us a very generous offer indeed, one that will change our lives. I will not speak of it here, but I very much look forward to talking it over with you when I see you. I have missed you all dreadfully, and am so anxious to be home again that we will likely lift by Friday.
Kiss Nicholas for me, and know that I am
Ever your loving