December 5, 1889
Lady Claire Trevelyan
Dear Lady Claire,
Upon receipt of your tube yesterday, I paid an afternoon call on the proprietors of the Morton Glass Works, your neighbors upriver, and was ushered into the office of Mr. Ainsley Morton III, the current director of the company. I conveyed your wishes that the importunities of his subordinates should cease immediately, as you had no intention of selling the property.
Mr. Morton is a man of business upon whom the joys of home and hearth appear to be utterly wasted, though it was made clear to me that his own home in Kensington is quite substantial and happily in no danger of being overrun by, say, a steambus manufactory. He reiterates that he is now willing to double your investment and offers you the sum of one hundred pounds, with the property to be vacated in thirty days’ time.
My lady, while I would not presume to speak on your behalf without consulting you, I do feel that this is a fair offer and you would be well advised to accept it. Even if you were to remain in Toll Cottage, the prospect of having a glassworks crowded up to your very gate is unpleasant in prospect, and I suspect that Mr. Morton would make it exceedingly unpleasant in reality, in efforts to force you to move. At that point your bargaining power would be diminished and you would likely get not much more than a pittance for your trouble.
In regard to the other subject on which you consulted me, that of Carrick House, I am happy to report that repairs have been made to the front prospect and to the flooring and windows on the ground level. By the terms of his lordship your father’s will, this property is still technically yours. It was to have been transferred to Lord James Selwyn, of course, upon your marriage, but since that joyous event did not occur (may his soul rest in peace) it remains in your hands. Sadly, it represents the bulk of the capital that must go to pay your father’s debts of honor. With your permission, I will begin to solicit suitable buyers—though this will not be difficult, as I already have a list at least twenty names long. Wilton Crescent is an exceedingly desirable address, and now that the house may be shown without embarrassment, I will proceed to give the land agent permission to do so.
And now I have a query for you, my lady, and that is this: Are you certain you made the correct decision in transferring all your interests out of the Midland Railway and into the Zeppelin Airship Works? One must proceed with extreme caution when investing in foreign interests, as your father’s unfortunate experience has abundantly shown us.
I await your instructions, and trust that you are in good health.
I remain yours very truly,