Chere Julie, dear Jules. (Part 3)
13 Beach Street
Thank you for writing back to me because I was beginning to think that you wasnt going to write again and I was wondering what I done.
I told Kirsty you would break Dave Roberts neck and she said that she was going to tell him. Dave goes to France sometimes on what he calls business so dont be surprised if he turns up at your door. Dont hurt him too bad. Remember he's got three kiddies to provide for. Be careful for his gun as well.
Its all over between Sharon and Keith. She found out about Margie. She caught them together in Keiths room. He said she was learning him French. She went on a school trip to France once and says she knows how to speak some of it but Sharon says that the only French Margie knows got nothing to do with speaking if you gets my drift. It would stop her talking if anything. I feels really wicked saying this to you. I hope you dont get offended. I dont know how else to put it.
I still dont have a boyfriend. When Sharon finished with Keith he came to me and asked me out. I told him to forget it. He said that he always fancied me more than Sharon and only went out with her because I was going out with Johnny Tippet at the time. I wasnt going out with Johnny Tippet we had a few dates but that was all. He was covered in tattoos or thats what he told me. I only saw the ones on his hands and face. I promise. I cant stand them. I hope you dont have any. I dont mind if it is just a few.
You didnt say if you got a girlfriend. I knows its none of my business and you dont have to tell me if you dont want to but I would be interested to know. I am interested in knowing everything about you and not just because you are French. In your photograph you are really good looking and the girls are probably lining up to go out with you.
Your Pierre sounds a bit cruel to me. I know he only does things for a laugh but tying Jacques to a tree dont seem very funny to me. I wish I had a brother though not like Pierre. I'd like a big brother who would bring his friends around. Dont get me wrong about Pierre. I am sure he is very nice but he dont sound like my type. I goes for the quieter type of man who likes reading and talking about things. All Johnny Tippet used to read was comics. I dont mind comics but these was horror comics about torures and beatings and cutting peoples limbs off. He used to try and get me to say what I would do if I had someone tied up and could do anything I liked to them. I wouldnt do it. I dont like talking about things like that. The best one he liked was with melted lead and petrol. He made me listen to it and I couldnt sleep afterwards. I still gets nightmares.
Good luck with your thesis whatever that is. We did Shakespeare in Miss Collins class and I didnt understand a word of it. He writes really strange and we had to speak it out loud in class. I dont know what it was called but I read the part of a young virgin who wants to join a convent and didnt think it was strict enough. She really wants to suffer. Theres a man like a king or something who wants to get off with her and she fools him into getting off with her mate instead and he thinks it is her because its dark.
I wouldn't want to live in a convent but with me not having a boyfriend I'd just as well. Its weeks since I had a date and that was with George Moss and I dont fancy him one bit. I only went out with him because I was bored but he was even more boring than sitting at home. All he wanted to talk about was football and no matter what you are speaking abaout he always connects it with football. You can be saying something about a red dress you seen and he says Manchester United plays in red and for the next 20 minutes you got to listen to him talking about wingers and crosses and stuff like that. This happened to me. Then his mates turned up and he went off with them. I stayed by myself in the cafe for a while and then I went home.
My dad says to tell you that his dad was in France during the war and he thought it was very nice. My dad says that he'd like to go and see places where the British soldiers died but he dont have anywhere to stay over there and a hotel would cost too much. He says that if it wasnt for people like his dad you'd all be speaking German now. He says that he sometimes wonders why his dad bothered but he's only joking. He's always making jokes about foreigners but he dont mean no harm by it. He always says live and let live as long as they dont live over here but thats just because there are no jobs over here and he dont want them being disappointed.
Although it is really nice hearing about your brothers and sisters and everything I would really like to hear more about you. Next time you write could you tell me what one of your normal days is like and then I'll write back and tell you one of mine. I'm really looking forward to hearing from you again.
My dear Julie,
Thank you so much for your letter. I have put it with all the others.
I am sorry to hear about Sharon and Keith breaking up but maybe it is for the best. If he is cheating on her now then there is no reason to think he will not do it later when they are married. He deserves a good thrashing for his behaviour. Somebody once toyed with my beloved sister Genevieve's affections and Pierre, being the oldest, had to go and sort the fellow out with a horse whip. My ancestors would have used a gun or a sword but we are unfortunately restricted in our natural behaviour by the emasculating laws of France.
In answer to your question, no, I do not have a girlfriend at present. I went to the theatre last week with the Comtesse Jacqueline de Montfort but I have known her all my life and she is like a sister to me. She is the same age as myself and when her family would visit mine, when we were babies, we would be put together in the same cot to sleep. This habit has continued though our lives and, except for a year or two during adolescence, she still shares my bed if she sleeps over. We drink hot chocolate and talk half the night. We shine torches around the room and make the bed-clothes into a tent and pretend we are camping.
In your letter you ask me to describe a typical day in my life but I think you will find it very boring. I get up at seven o'clock and roll naked in the dew on the lawn. I am usually the first but the rest of the family soon join me. My grandmother is no longer able to roll of her own accord so we have to help her. It takes three of us to get her started but once she is rolling one person is enough to keep the momentum going as the lawn is on a slight slope. Rolling in the dew is very invigourating and we do it both summer and winter. We encourage our visitors to do it. I would advise you to do it if you get the chance. Do you have a large lawn?
We eat breakfast in the main dining-room. (See. I told you it would be very boring.) My father considers it to be the most important meal of the day. It is the only thing he admires about the English; their habit of starting the day with a main meal rather than a snack. Consequently, there is always a cold roast joint on the table and some sort of smoked fish. Some days I cook an English breakfast with bacon, kidneys, black pudding, fried eggs, grilled kippers and baked beans. My father would like to eat like this every day and envies people like yourself who do.
I spend the morning walking the estate. I must see if any trees have fallen down in the night or if any of the gates have been broken. At eleven o'clock I return to the main house and prepare lunch. My mother sometimes helps me. We are all too busy to spend a lot of time dining in the middle of the day so I prepare something light. There are always a few hors d'oeuvres; grated carrots, cucumber salad, sliced tomatoes, a choice of two or three pates, some salami, sardines, that sort of thing. For the main course I usually cook something quick and easy such as veal escalope with sauteed potatoes and green beans or a slice of poached salmon with new potatoes and hollandaise sauce. There will of course be a cheese board and we will finish off any desserts left over from the previous evening. Are you sure you want to read all about this?
After lunch we all go to our rooms to sleep. After my siesta I usually work on my thesis for an hour or so and then I start preparing supper. I will not bore you with the details of what we eat. There is always soup, of course, and I try to vary the meat; one day hare, the next a leg of pork, then a rib of beef.
After dinner I usually go to my room and listen to radio four while reading the Times that I have been too busy to read during the day. Then I sleep. I told you that it wouldn't be very interesting. Now I am looking forward to hearing how you spend a typical day.
As today is the 23rd December there is great excitement all through the house and even my mother gets caught up in the festive occasion. Tomorrow is Christmas and that is always a day of rejoicing with us. We get up as usual but breakfast is eaten speedily and our roll in the dew only perfuntory before we retire to our rooms and busy ourselves wrapping presents. There are many friends and relations who, during the day, will call and share a Christmas drink with my father. We exchange gifts with them all and this year I have had to find more than ninety presents. To the staff, of course, we give the usual dozen bottles of champagne and a sum of money. They are very easy but it is a difficult matter finding something for a second cousin who one only sees once a year when he arrives at Christmas and brings a gift. I have received some very strange objects in the past and I am sure I have given some very inappropriate presents.
We will employ two chefs for the evening as, after sharing a Christmas glass of punch with many of my close relations, I will be in no condition to prepare a meal fitting for the occasion. There are two brothers who have performed this task for the past many years and you could not wish for a finer cuisine. They have a restaurant in a nearby town for which there is a seven year waiting time. The restaurant is always closed for two weeks at the end of the year and so the brothers are able to help us.
By the time you receive this letter, Christmas will be past and I hope you had a very wonderful day. I hope I will hear from you soon.
With my highest esteem,
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