I can see that I am going to have to take a hand here. Miss Stokes, while a lovely girl (for a Colonist), has a troubling lack of attention to detail. She gets lost in her writing, and simply forgets the day-to-day matters that must be dealt with – well, daily.
On the other hand, while I might not spend my days working as a barrister – goodness, these modern women! – I have finely honed talents for organization and management. You twenty-first century women may scoff, but the life of an eighteenth century noblewoman was itself a career. I must manage seven large houses, dealing with the needs of our staff and my husband’s tenants, oversee the rearing and education of the next Duke of Danesleigh and his siblings, and maintain the lifestyle expected of a member of one of the oldest, noblest families in England. Not to mention making sure the Duke is well-pleased at all times. (I blush as I write this, but I know Miss Stokes and her readers have a great deal of interest in this aspect of my life.)
Hmm. I am not accustomed to this modern lack of attention to etiquette, you know. As Miss Stokes has failed to observe the proprieties, I will introduce myself. I am Susan Gerard, nee΄Lanier, Duchess of Danesleigh. You have, no doubt, heard of my husband, Edward, Eighth Duke of Danesleigh. He is quite renowned as an expert on Natural History, or what you moderns call a “scientist.”
Miss Stokes was kind enough to write a history of our courtship and the early days of our marriage. While it was somewhat distasteful to see the intimate details of one’s life in print, Edward says that the public has a never-ending curiousity about the lives of the nobility, and that we must submit gracefully to the intrusion.
Thus, I take pen in hand – No. Let us be precise, as dearest Edward would say. I take this device, a netbook as Miss Stokes calls it, in lap, to write a brief essay for inclusion on Miss Stokes’ “blog.” What a hideous word! It sounds rather abrupt and misshapen, do you not agree? Surely, even with the coarseness of modern communication, you people could have called it something more attractive.
I refuse to use such an unpleasant word. I shall henceforth refer to Miss Stokes’ posting of essays, artwork and other ephemera as her “Electronic Journal.” And each entry I compose will be referred to as a billet-doux.
Yes, I know that a billet-doux is, strictly speaking, a love letter. But after all, Miss Stokes feels a great deal of affection for her readers. And with the other liberties you Colonists have taken with our lovely English language, a slight deviation from definition should trouble you not at all.
Thus, on behalf of The Duke, our children, and our amanuensis, Miss Stokes, I welcome you to this Electronic Journal. If dear Miss Stokes gets caught up in the demands of her day-job and rearing her family of lively young misses, I shall step in to send her readers a billet-doux from time to time.
I thank you for stopping by, and I look forward to corresponding with you in the future,
I am, most cordially yours, etc.