December 27, 1889 (evening)


Dearest Claire,

I simply cannot keep up with you since we left St. Cecilia’s … if it had not been for your letter Christmas Eve I would never have known you had left town—or of your adventures! I trust this will find its way to your airship—honestly, dear heart, you are the only female I know of who possesses one. Fancy that. Remember how proud you were of your skill at the helm of your landau in the face of the Wellesley carriage and four? Next you will be flying about in the sky with one of those ridiculous rocket rucksacks (say that five times fast).

Yes, the papers have been quite truthful about Peter’s and my engagement. We had wanted to keep it quiet, but there was no stopping Mama from trumpeting the news far and wide. So little makes her truly happy that I could not begrudge her that. But as you can imagine, we must wait to be married until Peter has Selwyn Place in habitable condition. Having seen it, I predict this will take every one of the four or five years that our engagement must last. However, for him I am willing to wait and work … I shall have no end of hemstitched tablecloths and tatted antimacassars and pillowcases four inches deep in crocheted lace to scatter about my new kingdom if and when we ever take up residence there.

What you may not have read in the papers is that I have had some small success with my little inventions. Remember the Multi-Nib Scrivener? I patented it following your excellent example with the Malvern-Terwilliger Kinetick Carbonator. And lo and behold, a firm in the Midlands has begun production of it—I think they supply barristers’ clerks or some such. In any case, I receive a license fee for each one that is sold. It is a very small amount, to be sure, but Peter is as proud as if I’d built a difference engine and housed it in Parliament!

I really am fathoms deep in love with him. Dearest, I hope that some day you will look beyond adventures and inventions and sailing alone about the sky, and settle on a nice man who deserves you. In fact, Peter has several very nice friends—one of whom has a lovely Georgian house in Surrey, close enough that we could see each other often. I shall contrive to introduce you! Every woman deserves to be as happy as I am.

Now I must cease my blathering. Mama is determined that I shall have a trousseau—though four years from now everything will be sadly out of date. Have you tried one of the new swan corsets? I swear Peter’s eyes nearly fell out of his head when he saw me at dinner. It does quite wonderful things for the figure.


Emilie Fragonard

1 thought on “December 27, 1889 (evening)”

  1. davinderdavinder

    what a plesure to hear from Emilie! I do hope that we will hear from a certain much abused groundbreaking scientist shortly…..

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *