Letter 1 : Madame de l’Orme to Miss Esperanza Gorst

Maison de l’Orme
Avenue d’Uhrich, Paris

My Dearest Child,

Yr letters are the greatest comfort to me. I keep them by me constantly, & re-read them as often as I can. For I, too, need to take courage; & with yr own example before me — so brave! So strong! — I am better able to ask of you what must be asked. Mr. Thornhaugh also sends to say hat he has nothing but the highest admiration for the way you are conducting yourself under the exacting circumstances in which you have been placed. I worry constantly about you, dear child, but Mr. Thornhaugh has been a great support to me, having an unshakeable confidence in you, from which you too should take comfort and strength.

In yr last letter, you begged me again to reveal our ultimate ambition. It would be prudent to wait just a little longer before doing so, until yr relations with Lady Tansor are firmly established. But I promise you, dear child, that I shall satisfy you on every particular, as fully and as clearly as I can, in my third letter, before the year is out.

Be assured, dearest child, that injury and injustice have been done to you by this woman, who now calls herself yr mistress. I cannot say more — yet- for fear, as I have said, of jeopardizing yr position, before you have comfortably secured yr mistress’s regard. And so I must submit to patience as you must.

Mark but this. Lady T’s present condition — the state of material and social grace that she has enjoyed for so long — is founded on duplicity, treachery — and worse. Proof — substantive and legally unanswerable — of her transgressions is what, for the moment, is lacking, but which I hope you will eventually help discover. By securing such documents, yr own interests will be served in ways that you cannot possibly imagine.

And so I must finish. Write soon, my dearest, for we ache to hear yr news, and to know that yr resolve is as firm as ever. Take every possible care, and believe that I shall always be.

Ever yr devoted,
M.