I have taken advantage of the lull in the fighting to send the following letter to my Aunt Maggie in Yorke. I copy it here because I have no doubt it will come to the attention of Mr. Trout, and when one's mail is likely to be read it is wise to keep track of what one has written. Not that having a copy will save me, should it come to that, but the truth should be known.
Dear Aunt Maggie,
The fortunes of war have kept me from writing to you since last June, but now I am taking advantage of His Majesty's victories to let you know that we are well—all three of us! Yes, Amelie and I now have a beautiful little girl, whom we have named Anne-Marie. She is adorable. I have had no time for drawing, or I should send you a picture.
I have not much news beyond that; life here in our little village had been much upset by the war and the depredations of le Maréchal's men, but that has greatly eased due to the valor of HIs Majesty's troops and the current blockade. May it long continue!
Indeed, the mood here in Bois-de-Bas is joyful; there is no love for le Maréchal or his regime in my part of Armorica, I can assure you, and if there is no great affection for Cumbria still there is admiration for Cumbria's role in putting down le Maréchal's navy. I gather sentiments are similar in Mont-Havre; for the people there, being much more dependent on trade than we are here in the country, have suffered much by its lack, and now are reassured by its increase. In time, I am sure, overt sentiment in favor of His Majesty will decline in the hearts of many, but for now the sight of a Cumbrian emblem on a sky-freighter is much lauded, or so I am told.
I do have two requests for you. First, I should very much like news of Jack. I have not heard from him since the war began, and I have been greatly fearing for his safety. I trust he is well and unharmed? I should like to hear from him, if that may be arranged. And second, I should wish you to know that my master's chain arrived in good order, and accompanied, to my surprise, with words from my father! Was it necessary for you to go to the Guild, to Master Netherington-Coates? If so, I must be sure to send him my thanks as well.
In the mean time, please convey my news to my mother; and if it seems good to you, please also convey my thanks and best wishes to my father.
A final note. Previously I had requested you to write to me in care of Madame Truc's boarding house; at this time, you had best write to me in care of the firm of Suprenant et fils, also in Mont-Havre. M. Suprenant is my friend, and will ensure that I receive your letter.
Your affectionate nephew,
There is so much I do not know. My father was clearly involved in sending me my chain; only he would know what passed between us on my twelfth birthday. But did he send my chain of his own free will? Was he pressured by His Majesty's government? Will Aunt Maggie receive my letter, or am I simply writing to Mr. Trout's master? How I wish things could go return to the days before the war, when my new life was beginning and everything seemed so simple and grand.