John Julius Norwich
My dearest darling,
That partridge, in that lovely little pear tree! What an
enchanting, romantic, poetic present! Bless you and thank you.
Your deeply loving Emily.
Mr dearest darling Edward,
The two turtle doves arrived this morning and are cooing
away in the pear tree as I write. I'm so touched and grateful.
With undying love, as always, Emily.
My darling Edward,
You do thinks of the most original presents: whoever thought
of sending anybody three French hens? Do they really come
all the way from France? It's a pity that we have no chicken
coops, but I expect we'll find some. Thank you, anyway,
Your loving Emily.
What a surprise - four calling birds arrived this morning.
They are very sweet, even if they do call rather loudly
they make telephoning impossible. But I expect they'll
calm down when they get used to their new home. Anyway,
I'm very grateful - of course I am.
Love from Emily.
The postman has just delivered five most beautiful gold
rings, one for each finger, and all fitting perfectly.
A really lovely present - lovelier in a way than birds,
which do take rather a lot of looking after. The four
that arrived yesterday are still making a terrible row,
and I'm afraid none of use got much sleep last night.
Mummy says she wants us to use the rings to 'wring'
their necks - she's only joking, I think; though I know
what she means. But I love the rings. Bless you.
Whatever I expected to find when I opened the front
door this morning, it certainly wasn't six socking
great geese laying eggs all over the doorstep.
Frankly, I rather hoped you had stopped sending me
birds we have no room for them and they have already
ruined the croquet lawn. I know you meant well, but
let's call a halt, shall we?
I thought I said no more birds; but this morning I
woke up to find no less than seven swans all trying
to get into our tiny goldfish pond. I'd rather not
thinks what happened to the goldfish. The whole house
seems to be full of birds - to say nothing of what
they leave behind them. Please, please STOP.
Frankly, I think I prefer the birds. What am I to
do with eight milkmaids - AND their cows? Is this
some kind of a joke? If so, I'm afraid I don't find
it very amusing.
Look here Edward, this has gone far enough. You say
you're sending me nine ladies dancing; all I can say
is that judging from the way they dance, they're
certainly not ladies. The village just isn't
accustomed to seeing a regiment of shameless hussies
with nothing on but their lipstick cavorting round
the green - and it's Mummy and I who get blamed.
If you value our friendship - which I do
less and less - kindly stop this ridiculous
behaviour at once.
As I write this letter, ten disgusting old men are
prancing abour all over what used to be the garden
before the geese and the swans and the cows got at
it; and several of them, I notice, are taking
inexcusable liberties with the milkmaids. Meanwhile
the neighbours are trying to have us evicted. I shall
never speak to you again.
This is the last straw. You know I detest bagpipes.
The place has now become something between a
menagerie and a madhouse and a man from the Council
has just declared it unfit for habitation. At least
Mummy has been spared this last outrage; they took
her away yesterday afternoon in an ambulance.
I hope you're satisfied.
Our client, Miss Emily Wilbraham, instructs me to
inform you that with the arrival on her premises a
half-past seven this morning of the entire
percussion section of the Liverpool Philharmonic
Orchestra and several of their friends she has no
course left open to her but to seek an injunction
to prevent your importuning her further. I am making
arrangements for the return of much assorted livestock.
I am, Sir, Yours faithfully,