Chere Julie, dear Jules. (Part 12)
Jules Lablagues xx
My dearest Julie,
Thank you for your wonderful letter. In reading it I felt you were in the room with me, whispering the words into my ear. You write incredibly vividly and although I have made a wide study of the finest oeuvres in English, and hence, world, literature, I have rarely encountered such depth of feeling translated to the page. There are clever writers who are able, through verbal dexterity, to supply a brief insight into the struggle of the tormented soul but you, my dear Julie, paint a clear picture with just a few simple words and easy phrases.
Your unnecessary feelings of lonliness pain me no end and I curse the cruel uselessness I feel when I read of your vile suffering and know there is nothing I can do.
I have spoken again to my cousins and they will be ready to welcome you on the 2nd August. It is good you arrive at the beginning of the month as it gets very busy later on. I wish to have a lot of uninterrupted time to talk to you before my father and Jacqueline arrive on the 4th. For a few days, just before and just after the Revolution Ball, the house will be full with more than fifty people. They come from all over the world and most of them are distant relatives so I am obliged to spend some time with each of them.
I do not quite understand the concept of 'signing on' but you give it as a reason for having to be in your home town on the 16th. It would be a shame for you to miss the Ball so may I suggest, if you so wish, that I could drive you to where you do your 'signing on' and then drive you back to my cousins' house afterwards. Think about it because I would not wish our time together to be shortened unnecessarily.
There have been developments in Jacques' condition over the past couple of days and it might be due to the shock he received. His mentor believes that he will soon experience his rebirth and the worst will be over. Thank goodness. We will know when his reincarnation is imminent and will have several hours to prepare for it. Jacques' mentor refuses to inform us of what to expect but he insists that we must all be present at the occasion. I am, of course, delighted that Jacques is going forward rather than back but it is with some trepidation that I wait the near future.
You wrote some time ago about your sleep walking and I know exactly what you mean. My whole family is prone to it and, some nights, as many as three or four of us meet in the kitchen and not one of us is conscious of where we are. Usually one of us opens the refrigerator and the light comes on and we all wake up. The strange thing is that my grandmother who, during the day, is barely able to stand up, not only walks freely during her sleep but is able to climb on a chair in order to reach a biscuit tin on the top shelf. We wonder if, during the day, my grandmother feigns her invalidity.
You are wrong to think I am not interested in babies. On the contrary, I get along very well with small children and when there are any visiting it is usually myself who entertains and plays with them. I like to read to them and make up stories for their amusement. I frequently prefer their company to that of the adults. I know of no greater pleasure than having a small baby fall asleep on my lap.
I think it is admirable that, at the tender age of twenty two, you already know where your future lies. I think your worries about not finding a husband are unfounded; you have just not yet found the right man. Please promise me that you will not settle for less than a man who is truly worthy of your love. You deserve a man who would be willing to die for you as I would give my life for the woman I love. While the position of wife and mother is the highest expression of the female psyche it can only be fully realised when the complementary male principle is present. I dream that one day I will find true, all-consuming, love but, as you do, Julie, I will wait for the right person. If it is my destiny then it will happen.
Eight years without a holiday is a long time and at my cousins' house I will ensure you get plenty of rest and tranquility. It is possible to walk around the estate for many hours, and even days, without meeting another person. Most of the people who stay at the house rarely leave it except to sit on the front lawn so there will be ample opportunity for unhurried, uninterrupted walks by the river or through the woodlands. I do so hope you enjoy quiet country pursuits.
I regret starting my thesis, Shakespeare as an early existentialist, and woder whether I should have chosen another title or subject, yet I have done so much research into this area that it would seem like so much wasted time. But can time be wasted? Surely time can only be used and who is to judge whether one's time, ultimately, has been put to good purpose? What might have seemed like a waste of time when seen from close up may, from a distance of years, prove to be a vital turning point and essential for one's continued development. I envy you your practical nature and your engagement with physical things. I admire a woman who is able to take a few threads and weave them into a beautiful tapestry.
I talk to you in my thoughts and we have long, warm, friendly conversations where we agree on everything. I long for the day we will meet.
With love and affection,
13 Beach Street
My darlingest Jules,
I hope you dont mind me calling you that but its what I feels like after reading your letter. You surprises me every time with what your writes because I dont expect a man to talk about love and babies. Keith would run a mile if Sharon started talking about babies and he only tells her he loves her when theyre snogging and thats only because he wants her to go all the way with him but she wont because she believes in waiting until your married. She's always been like that but I tells her that she'd better watch out or she'll end up an old spinster. I'm only joking because with her looks she could have any man around. I dont know why she sticks with Keith. He's alright and everything but I dont think he'll ever settle down not proper and he dont show no signs of it at all. All he talks about is having a big window cleaning business where he is the boss and he's got lots of others cleaning the windows for him and making him lots of money. Keith says that unless they invents self cleaning windows then theres always going to be work for window cleaners and theyll never invent windows that cleans themselves. So I said what about self cleaning ovens. They didnt have them when our parents was our age.
Kirstys going out with Dave Roberts and Mike Norris at the same time. It seems that Dave and Mike came to some agreement where they shares her out. I dont know how they works it but she seems to spend more time with Mike than she does with Dave. I dont agree with it myself because it makes Kirsty really confused and sometimes she dont know which one she is supposed to be with. One day she turns up at Daves club and he tells her that she's supposed to be at Mikes. I think he should give her money for a taxi but he dont. Then she got to walk half way across town and Mike says he's been on the phone to Dave and theyve come to a new agreement and he gives her a packet and says she got to give it to Dave. But he did give her some taxi money so she didnt have to walk another three miles. Dave looked really happy to get the packet and told Kirsty he was too busy to see her so she came home. She wasnt too happy about it I can tell you. She dont know whether she's coming or going and she's fed up with the whole situation and would like to dump the both of them but she's scared to.
My dad says he would like to meet your dad but it would have to be down here where we lives. He says he wouldnt mind having a few pints with him down the social club and maybe a game of darts but he's not going to ponce around some great mansion where everyones too scared to sit down unless they messes up the furniture. He says that if your dad wants to come and visit then he's really welcome but he wouldnt cross the street to meet your dad. He dont really mean it. Its just his way and youll have to excuse him. His dad fought in the war and used to tell him what it was like abroad and what the foreigners was like so my dad grew up not liking foreigners any of them no matter where they comes from. He knows you and us was on the same side in the war but that dont matter to him. He says what about the war before that and the war before that. The other day he found some snails in the backyard and asked if I wanted to make a snail sandwich or would I prefer deep fried snails and chips. When we saw a programme about frogs he licked his lips and asked if they made me hungry. You dont seem foreign to me. I knows your French and you does some things different from us but just doing things different dont make you a foreigner does it. Those English people I saw on the telly in their stately homes did things different from us and it didnt make them foreign and when it comes down to it they wasnt really different from us except what they did. I bet they worries about the same things as us and in that programme I saw they was all worried about not having enough money. They all had big houses and loads of land and servants but they was worried about money. I worries about money sometimes but not very often. You either got it or you dont and I can always borrow a fiver from one of my sisters until my Giro arrives.
I'm afraid you lost me with all that talk about wasting time and using time and stuff and I got no idea what you means. Do you mean that if I wastes my time in the morning I got to work twice as hard in the afternoon. Thats why I likes to watch morning telly because although your not really doing anything except watching telly your learning things at the same time. Today I saw a programme about how to make a boat out of reeds the way they done it in the bible. It looked really easy and I'm sure I could do it if I wanted to but I dont know where you gets the reeds or this stuff like tar that they uses. There was another programme on about wolves living in Alaska and how they survives snow storms. Another one was about rewiring a house but I didnt really concentrate on that one.
You said in your letter that the Comtesse Jacqueline de Montfort will be at your cousins from the 4th onwards and that disturbs me a little bit because I cant help feeling jealous when I thinks of her and I wonders what it would be like to meet her in person. Do I have to curtsy when I meets her. You didnt tell me if she speaks English or not and if she dont then its going to be really hard to talk to her. How long is she staying because if its only a couple of days then maybe I could come when she was gone. When I thinks about meeting her I gets a huge pain in my chest and tummy and I cant breathe proper and my eyes goes misty like I'm going blind. Its happening to me right now and I can hardly see what I'm writing and I forgets to breathe and I'm really scared. I got to keep telling myself that it will go alright on the day but I dont really believe it. I hopes you likes me when we meets because thatll make me feel better about meeting all the others. I'm sure I'm worrying for nothing but right now I cant see what I'm writing so I will stop. Please write back soon and tell me more about what I can expect.
With lots of love,
P.S. Its my birthday today. Sharon tells me I'm Aries. Whens your birthday.
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