Letters from Armorica- Dashing over the Snow (17 December 36 AF)

First Letter

Dear Jack,

You were quite right about the weather, and I beg your pardon for being alarmist. Yesterday we had our first snow of the season, a prodigious storm that begin early in the morning and kept all of us by the fireside for the rest of the day. We took turns reading to each other from Dikkon's The Mystery of David Silverfish, a difficult but engaging effort for most of my family group.

But today, ah, today! Today dawned clear and beautiful, with the sun shining on all the new snow!

You remember I wrote you about my sky-cart, that Patches the Goat pulls me to work in? Recently, as part of my war preparations, I outfitted it with a full set of properly balanced blocks for movement as well as floating. It isn't a full sky-wagon, as we used in the last war, it can't ascend into the sky; but it will happily go by itself over the snow, the rocks, the streams.

It's rather hard luck on Patches, who genuinely does like to be useful in her abrasive way. But now I shall have an easy time getting to and from the wagon works in even the worst of weathers!

But that's not the point. The point is that we have built a similar cart for Marc Frontenac, who unlike me needs to be at the works daily, and who, though richly supplied with goats, is less inclined to coddle them. And so today Amelie prepared a picnic, and I took her out for a ride in my goat-less sky-cart. We wrapped up in warm rugs and headed north to Marc's farm, where we met with Marc and Élise in Marc's sky-cart, and the four of us went out on a pleasure excursion to the lake below L'Isle de Grand-Blaireaux.

It is a much different thing, I find, to explore the edge of a lake from the water rather than by walking around it—much more restful, in truth, especially when one needn't be concerned about getting wet.

At noon we found a quiet inlet out of the breeze, and joined the two carts together by means of clamps that Marc had brought with him from the wagon works so that we could converse more easily, and sat there over the water and had our picnic. There was much laughter, I can tell you!

After our luncheon we removed the clamps, and had a race back to Bois-de-Bas. There was much hooting and hollering, and it would have been utterly unsafe if anyone else had been on the road. As it was, the snow was already melting, and the road is in such a state that no one who had to come in contact with it would willing do so.

Amelie examined her coat and frock after I let her descend to our porch, and exclaimed, "And not even a speck of mud!"

A small boy called to me today, as we returned home—for if no one was abroad, certainly all of the small boys were outside their homes throwing snowballs at their siblings—he called to me, "Mais, ou est Patches?" And I had to explain that the weather wasn't good for Patches, so I had left her at home. But I can see that will have to let her draw my cart as soon as the snow sets firmly and the mud is gone, at least when the weather is fine.

Would His Lordship care for a sky-carriage, do you think? We should have to work with a coach-builder from Mont-Havre; there is no one here in Bois-de-Bas with the skill to do the fine work such a carriage would require, not unless we could lure one here. Not that the standard in carriages in Mont-Havre is anything like we used to see in Yorke; but perhaps that's a good thing. In fact, I'm sure it's a good thing.

Cheerfully, your cousin,

Armand

Next letter

____
photo credit: dsgetch Fern Ridge via photopin (license)