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My darling,

To quote our friend Miss Woodhouse, it is a good letter, much better than I would have expected.  The manner is gentlemanly and confident but not arrogant, indeed I think I may call it sweet.  But, my dear, you’ve left out some rather crucial details!  To whom was it written, and who wrote it to begin with?  Or is it a mystery that you have just stumbled upon?  Of course I hope to hear it from an admirer of yours, therefore write again and more explicitly as to the particulars behind it. 

Also, I still have your birthday gift sitting on my desk as we speak, can I at all prevail upon you to call on me today (my business will not let me leave my writing table I’m afraid)?  If not, I will wait upon you at your convenience tomorrow at any of the cafes or tea shops in town.

Yours conspiratorially,
Miss Kirk

My dear ladies,

I came across this letter from a gentleman and must ask your opinion.

Dear Miss — :

During this past year, which it has been my singular good fortune to be recognized favorably amongst your host of friends and admirers, I have been tempted, time and again, to confide to you a secret which lies nearest of all to my heart; but until now I have been restrained by an irrepressible doubt of my worthiness to aspire to so great a happiness as that which I now am about to ask at you hands.

Ever since I first had the honor and extreme pleasure of your acquaintance I have felt creeping upon me, with ever-growing force, signs of a sentiment far stronger than that of respectful regard and admiration.

If this frank avowal does not fail to meet with a disposition on your part, at least, to cultivate a responsive sentiment, should such not yet be the state of your feelings, will you do me the honor to recognize my suit and accept me as an ardent aspirant for your heart and hand?

Earnestly hoping for an early and favorable reply,
I am, very respectfully yours,

Mr. —

Is it a good letter? The penmanship is confident. I must hear your opinions.

Sincerely yours,
Lady de Mimsy-Porpington

Dear Miss Wollstonecraft,

I find myself in a similar plight of having no money yet wanting and needing new things. However, my delightful friends, the ladies of Cranford, have taught me much about “elegant economy.” Elegantly make-do with what you already have. Find new things out of old. Be scrappy. Finally, and most importantly, turn to your friends for love and support.

Elegantly yours,

Lady de Mimsy-Porpington

My love!

Your wedding was an absolute sucess!  Your dress was a dream (are you sure it hasn’t come straight from Paris?), your whole person was lovely, and your countenance was radiant!  I hope Mr. Tilney is just as enthusiastic, but I rather suspect he is too busy being perfectly happy to be bothered by such bubbling mirth.  Do write as soon as ever you can and give up the insights of a newly married matron,

Affectionately,
Miss Kirk

My darlings,

I’ve been thinking a lot about the problem I posed in my last letter and have come to some conclusions.  Do let me know what you think.

The unpleasant truth is that it is all very well for one to say “follow your dreams,” but what you are seldom told is that dreams and ambitions come with a price, even good and noble ones.  That life boiled down to its basics is little more than cold economics: what will you borrow, trade, steal or barter to get something else?  And certainly no one ever says that living life (and I don’t mean just existing, I mean participating in the chaos) is a lot like playing the stock market, learning to balance wild speculation with prudence.

No dream or hope comes free I am learning, although like most of us I don’t think I’m always aware I’m constantly paying a price.  The price of comfort and a roof over my head is employment.  The price of employment is that it often becomes hard to concern myself with more than the day-to-day.

I don’t think people give up their hopes, at least not until the very end of desperation.  I think more often than not dreams change, and we pay the price for those changes (soul searching to the point of seriously annoying even our best friends, guilt, the mind-wrenching existential questions about what might have been, etc.).  We stack new dreams onto old ones, reorganize them, air some out after a few seasons when they are fashionable again, and even donate a few to charity.

I find it hard sometimes as a person and as a woman to organize my expectations, or whatever you’d like to call them.  My hopes for myself are often at odds with those of my friends, family, or society at large.  How does one love another fully without losing one’s sense of independent self?  How does one pursue one’s literary ambition without becoming entangled in the mundanities of common life?  How can one be clever and spirited without sacrificing one’s serious influence?  How, in short, can one have and be all that one wishes all at once!

Make no mistake: life, my dear, is not for the faint of heart.  Ruthless reason and passionate enthusiasm are required simultaneously, the one thing that we must guard against at all costs is apathy!

Yours, very cordially,
Miss Kirk

Hello, darlings,

I don’t often do this but I would like to bring some of my other writings to your attention.  At the root of the question I address in this missive, I think, lies a fundamental problem for women like us who aspire to be true ladies with all of the graces, elegance, and and general savoir faire that implies…but are still women with our own follies, ambitions, flaws, and personalities.  Your thoughts please.  I think history shows us that our sex has often passed over being full blooded women, with passions to say nothing of thoughts, in the pursuit to be a lady;do you think we make sacrifices in the other direction?  And how does one balance these two sometimes similar, sometimes conflicting goals?

Yours thoughtfully,
Miss Kirk

My friend,

Our tete-a-tetes always leave me feeling absolutely invigorated, and I quite long to be schoolmates again.  Best of luck with your endeavors this weekend, and at some point we must convene with dear Mrs. Elliot for our usual “mending of fashions and spoiling of reputations.”

Yours cordially,
Miss Kirk