The Duke and Duchess' stay was cut even shorter than your family's - I write this in haste, because Silas is in a dreadful state at the moment (it's most unlike him) and I must go and attempt to straighten things out. What seems to has happened is that Silas made one of his dry, throwaway comments about the Duke's behaviour towards me - you were quite right about him, as it happens - and the Duke took offence. Now he is claiming that Silas' pamphlets are full of libellous rumours, and he is threatening to press charges. I do believe he will, too; he is being quite relentless about it, but as I keep telling Silas, I doubt his accusations will ever hold up in court.
All of this fuss has prompted Mother to visit, too, and she'll be arriving tomorrow. Knowing Mother, though, she'll be quite clear-headed about it all, so I'm not too concerned about her making things worse. Then again, Silas is usually very clear-headed, and as I said, you should see the state he is in now. It would make you look calm and composed, Cassie, and I know you won't be offended at my saying that we all know you're anything but that, don't we?
How are things at Elmwood, anyway? Your mother isn't really to be giving you and Matthew a younger sibling, is she? I do hope you aren't too furious if she is.
Before I go - a word of warning: the Duke is pedalling the most scandalous rumours about you and Elizabeth Redwick. Knowing what I know about you and Beth, I must implore you - both of you - to be careful. If people begin to suspect - well, I fear it's something you won't be able to charm your way out of.
Oh dear - I think Silas just smashed something. I do hope it's not Mother's china doves - she'll be sure to notice they're missing whilst she's here, if it is. I'd best go and try to salvage the situation (and whatever Silas has broken).
I'm both utterly shocked and completely unsurprised to hear about the Duke. The pig! The stupid, crude, oafish idiot! I suppose you know what I'm going to say next, don't you?
I'm going down to London.
I can see you now, narrowing your eyes at this letter and grinding your teeth in frustration, but dear Evelyn, you couldn't dissuade me even if your words would reach me in time; even if you were here in person. I intend to speak with the Duke and sort out all this business myself. You and Silas are like family, and if you think I'll simply sit by and let that awful man ruin Silas, then I fear you really don't know me at all. I'll simply put him in his place - remind him of a few choice bits of information I know about him from Susan Stoneley, and that should get him to keep quiet. I shall write and let you know how I get on, anyhow.
Incidentally, Beth is in London at present, too, and she is having some sort of family altercation, so yes, I intend to see her. I will be careful, though, so you can take that pinched, disapproving look off your face this instant, Evelyn Haynes. I shan't be staying with the Redwicks, anyway - you've met Beth's sisters, haven't you? So you know how utterly deplorable they are. Well, Rebecca isn't too bad, I suppose, though she hasn't got much...sparkle about her. But Celia is an abominable woman. Do you know she's engaged to that awful Andrew Mellison, now? I do hope he isn't there, else I shall probably end up saying something I regret to him.
Anyway, I really must go now. Susan is on her way, and we are to go into town so I can pick up some things for London.
Write soon and give Silas my best,
SOPHIE: BtN's resident whimsical insomniac fairytale-junkie!
“Hope is the thing with feathers"