The Seventeenth Letter of Henry Adam Wood

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Highgate, February 1898

Dear Madame Buerre-Blanc,

It is with much curiosity that I imagine you to receive this letter from me.  Indeed, since our paths crossed for mere minutes more than a decade ago, this correspondence must elevate your attitude to a level of surprise that is only exhibited among women of a French persuasion.  And though I do try to make it a habit of surrounding myself with the best sort of people, it appears our paths did cross and an explanation and apology is due, to which I will set forth in the course of this letter. 

I am writing at the behest of my physician who has recently informed me of the balance of my mortality and advised that should I have amends to make, they had best be made sharp. Thus, I pen this letter.  As I am only too keenly aware of the level of histrionics a French woman is capable of, I wish you not to labor under the assumption that this incident to which I refer has been of a burdensome weight these past years… It was merely a trifle; but in the interest of a clean slate, I am compelled to oblige the good doctor.

You may recall some ten years ago, hosting a party, following your arrival in London to which I was in attendance with one William St-John-Glue, lately of Hownslow.  I remember very few of the specifics of this gathering, only that the general décor of your drawing room aired on the flamboyant side.  I have lately been informed that this is in fact known as the “French-Style”.  However, between being an English man, and the sheer quantity of feathers and red velvet; I must confess, I found myself rather lost upon crossing your threshold.

While any man might mistake your address to be that of a bawdy house, it is with sadness that I reflect on the misapprehension I made in assuming your eldest daughter to be in “employment”. Had I know I was in the French Ambassador's home I would have been far more discrete with regard to the proposition and gone to greater lengths to purchase favor after you set me right.  I can only offer cultural barriers in my defense; and had you been as well versed in the art of hosting as an English lady might, you would appreciate the term “Madame” has alternative connotations.

Thus, it is with utmost sincerity, I offer my apology, though the issue may have been curtailed had you attempted assimilation.


Henry A, Wood, Esq.

P.S.  In the interest of Anglo-French relations, and your restitution; I have enclosed the receipt issued by my tailor for the replacement of my waistcoat.  Your daughter, while not being particularly forthcoming, had remarkably good aim with a glass of claret.



Created: Mar 17, 2014

Tags: apology, letter, claret, hooker, french, prositute, madame, house

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