Beatrice and Clancy: the letters: volume 1

For some reason my good friend Andrew and I began writing to each other in the style of maidens from the early 1800s. This made us laugh so much that we just kept going until he hotfooted it across the globe and I started having babies. However in a recent shed clearance exercise I found the letters, which I had printed out and lovingly preserved. Some are mouldy – so I’ve had to retype them.

Please find below the first communications between sisters Beatrice Montgomery-Smythe (Andrew) and Clancy Cuntingly-Hoare (Bernadette).

The racy and controversial content of the letters called for a cunning disguise:

Good Day Sister
My fair temperament is being truly tested with the promise of the coming reunion this weekend. I am trying not to show my excitement for it is not correct that a lady allows herself to lose control of her feelings. I am in a calm state of optimism. I am sure that we will have a pleasant afternoon. Perhaps we will even go into town for afternoon tea? I shall ask my Master if I may take charge of his coach and horses. Mother is stitching me a new hood for the occasion. It is of finest brown silk and will go quite well with my red bustle. Oh I must stop with this vanity at once. I apologise for I am getting quite carried away. Have a safe journey dear sister and pack lots of sugar for the horses.
Yours in anticipation


Prithee Young Maiden
I shall arrive in the first tier of the new marvel that is the steam engine. I remain in awe of this scientific breakthrough. I fear that man seems to have no boundaries and that God will soon know his place. Although blasphemous it is preferable to the two day wagon journey. However is it really necessary to transport the lower classes to the same engine in steerage? I hear that consumption is still rife among the poor.
Until Saturday

Oh Dear Beatrice
Exercise good care if you really are to embark upon such a perilous voyage. Those Stevensons will surely burn in Hell for their denouncement of the Good Lord. What next? Will man be taking flight and visiting the heavens?
I am quite mortified. Mother has taken to wearing stockings and the whole house knows. She has been flaunting herself in front of the good doctor again and he will no longer visit the house.
Please tell the drivers to keep you far away from the working classes. I dread to think of the ailments that may be passed on.
I too have been drawing in my hooks…..there is a gentleman that I am trying to impress.
Until the weeks end – unless my mortal sinful soul has burned in Hell.

Dearest Clancy
I am most disturbed to hear that your Mater is gripped by a wild fever that is causing her to flaunt her womanhood. I suggest that Batley, your footman, de-louse the man servants that Giles brought home from the colonies. Lady Agatha experienced a similar gripe after Charles returned from his expeditions in india. Although procuring the finest silks beknownst to man, Charles found Agatha quite incorrigible – she even dared show her petticoat! He has temporarily solved the issue by having her commited. I therefore understand your unease and have this taken it upon myself to contact the local apothecary. Although much to her chagrin the apothecary has suggested a liberal covering of her person in the bathhouse with leeches. Quite revolutionary my dear!
As for man taking flight to the heavens???? Popycock my dear (excuse my loose tongue). Next you will be suggesting a trip beyind the moon when cows stop profucing cheese. Can you imagine? You really must keep such sentiments to oneself as such drivel could ensure a public lashing.
I try my best to keep away from the lower classes to counteract vile illness. My snuff box contains arsenic dust, which numbs one’s nostrils to their odour. You really must try it my dear.
Prithee tell me of your suitor. I hear that Master Huntingly has come of age?
With fondest regards,



Author: Bernadette Ballantyne

Freelance journalist and former engineer writing for business magazines and blogging about working parent issues

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