Archive for the ‘Found letters’ Category

A reply from Frederique to Elizabeth, also recovered from the archives of the Perth library. Unfortunately Elizabeth’s entreaty to Frederique, to ask her to marry him, has been declined. Miss Wagner suggests that the letter does not paint a favourable picture of Frederique’s character  – he comes across as somewhat self serving. And one might question the quality of his declared friendship loyalty to Elizabeth given that he has actually spelled her name wrong. But as always, Miss Wagner will allow the readers to decide for themsleves.

My dear Elisabeth,

I must apologise for my tardiness in replying. If I were but half the gentleman that you are a lady, I would have rushed to reply to your urgent post.  But I have an excellent excuse. I have been involved in a horrific car accident.  Elisabeth – I know you will draw in your breath sharply at this – I narrowly escaped death. Of course, it was the other driver’s fault.

It meant a lot to me that you think I am similar to honeycomb. I definitely prefer a crunchie over a violent crumble, although I’m not sure whether that’s relevant.

Elisabeth, you are a treasured friend, which is why I invariably seek out your wise counsel at times of need. Of which there are many.  I had thought you might appreciate the Freudian analysis of my relationship with my mother.  Had I known that it would bore you, I would never have raised it.

Please consider this a grateful and dignified rejection of your generous offer for me to ask you to marry.

I am not ready. There is no better woman than you (at the moment), but I am simply emotionally unavailable.

I hope we can continue to be friends, to drink coffee by candlelight, and to smell the scent of ambrosia together, but without any romantic undertones.

And of course, I understand if you wish to look for another suitor.

I am ever your loyal (but platonic) friend,

Frederique Von Trapp.

PS. I cannot help but admire your passion, as I too, am an artistic and passionate person. But please do not do anything rash.  

**Miss Wagner is pleased to announce that she has almost finished her research findings in Perth and will begin the long trip home tonight. Sadly, much of her research was stolen just before she was about to leave. As was her money, a book, some lipstick, a SkyBus ticket, and her cell phone. But as the Honourable Miss Gillard would say – ‘moving forward’!


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Letter from a lady to an admirer, enclosing a miniature portrait

Emboldened by Miss Wagner’s found letter from Eliza to Frederique, I ventured to write to Mr Lawrie, who as I state, has a special place in my heart.  Unfortunately, he has now violated one of the key rules of letter-writing: the letter-recipient should reply if possible within 24 hours of receipt of a personal letter. How common it is to see this rule neglected in present society!  Perhaps I might revise my estimation of his gentlemanliness.

Dear Mr Lawrie

How might I begin to write of the deep regard that I hold for you?  On our recent outing to the snow, I confess I was taken by the boldness of your telemark turns and the vigour of your skiing!  And yet, this is but one of example of the sincere pleasure that I take in your company.  Spent with you, hours pass as if they are mere minutes.  Your enquiring mind and lively conversation are a constant source of delight for me.  I think often of our time together, and look forward to your presence each time we part.

May I be so bold as to confess that you hold a special place in my heart?  I hope only that your feelings towards me are similar.

Humble as it is, I enclose a miniature of myself as a token of my enduring affection.  I hope that you might keep it with you and think of me often.

Please write, my dear Mr Lawrie.

Ever yours.

Ethel May Beeton


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Readers – I found this letter in the national archives of Perth’s public library. It was not dated, but I suspect it to be written in the 1940s/50s. It is unclear who Eliza or Frederique are, their ages, or whether Frederique ever accepted Eliza’s invitation. The letter is badly written, and violates one of the key rules of letter-writing, i.e. never write in a letter what you would not say in person. It also begins sentences with ‘But’, which is strictly forbidden by the DLO. Of course, this dictum applies equally to electronic communications. Despite this flaws, this letter is exhibited here because of the purity of sentiment conveyed. Because Eliza speaks from the heart, much else is forgiveable. She is also extremely bold – until recently, it was unheard of for women to propose to men or to express such unabashed passion. Regards – Ms Wagner.

Dear Frederique,

I was so pleased and excited to see you last night. As the train set off to our friend’s house, where I would meet with you once again, I said ‘God speed.’ Even the remarkable efficiency of the Transperth bullet train could not carry me to your side fast enough.

Last night was the perfect opportunity for you to ask for my hand. Our friend, tactfully, left us alone for a few minutes. Then, under the mesmerising influence of candlelight, Brahms playing on the wireless, a mild hint of ambrosia on our tongues, the time was right for you to raise the prospect of our future.

Frederique, I wanted you to speak of a gay wedding, little ones, renovations, and a house in the countryside. But instead, you spent the time talking about how your mother continues to insist on sewing your buttons back on, which makes you feel infantile. I did find this interesting, but I was madly, hopelessly, wanting you to touch upon other matters.  

Your dark past is no secret to me, nor is your existential angst – Frederique, I would love it all, because – you are – as golden as honeycomb to me.

I am growing increasingly frustrated. I fear I shall keel over from desire. Please, I beseech you, cut yourself loose from your mother and give yourself to me. It will be an irresistable cocktail of unconsumated passion and lifelong commitment, and you will be a better man for it.

I am ever yours, if ever you want me, just please don’t wait too long,


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