In the Event...

The Retreat
Little Fuddleford
Royal Berks

My dearest darling wife [1]

Just a little note to tell you how I've been keeping. I assume from your silence that you've been terribly busy [2] so I won't bore you with the gory details. Suffice to say that I'm much recovered [3].  I may even manage to sit at this desk for a quarter of an hour without having to rush to the bathroom [4]. Now that the delirium has finally subsided I've had an awful lot of spare time with nothing much to do except lie here and think. And all I can think of is my dear darling goose [5]. I think that we'd both agree that we've had troubles, especially in the Bucks and Herts region [6] but I do hope you can agree with me gosling dear that if we try really hard, and if we really love each other, we can overcome everything.

I'm sure you'll be interested to know that I've begun another novel. I know I'm always foolishly confident at this stage, but really this time, I'm absolutely positive that this one will make a big splash [7]. In fact, I have almost the same good feeling about this as I did about the very first one [8]. I'm certain you'd want me to tell you that I've heard from Mahoney about the building work. Although, I'm sorry to say that it isn't good news. There are, it seems, further "problems" with the plantation house and he writes asking for a further £400. This really is impossible, but what can one do at such a distance [9]? I am resolved just as soon as I am well to journey out there and manage affairs myself. Ah but then again, if I were well I should want nothing but to be with you my little gosling. And to ride out to Wexburgh in the Bentley and take tea at the oysterage and watch little Bertie and Henny play in the waves. Yes, if I could just do that, I should be happy [10].But for now darling, I know I shouldn't waste any more of your time, I know that you must, as I say, be very busy. Kiss the children for me and be certain that I remain,

Your ever loving husband,


1.  This letter is not dated, but it is fairly certain that it was received before 15th February, the day Murcheson received letters from Lady Murcheson's solicitors informing him of her intention to file for divorce.
2.  Lady Murcheson's neglect of her husband can be perhaps explained by her affair with Lady Petunia Caulkes-Fergusson which that summer was at the height of its passion.  They later parted after an argument centring on a pair of galoshes.
3.  Murcheson's assessment of his health was a tad optimistic.  He had an undiagnosed case of amoebic dysentery and only two months to live.
4.  This was also optimistic - see his letter to J. Covey and Son, dry cleaners, 16th February.
5.  "Goose", and (used later here) "Gosling" were Murcheson's pet names for his wife.  She was known to loathe both appellations.
6.  Murcheson's euphemism for sexual relations (as in Beds., Bucks. and Herts.). This irritated his wife immensely, who in all correspondence with her wide array of lovers referred to intimacy as "fucking".
7.   This is the novel "Giddy Aunts", the chapters of which are extant and published for the first time here as appendix A.
8. Murcheson's first novel, "Who Should we Ask to Dinner?" sold well initially.  However, it became confused with an illegal translation of a French novel, "Aprés le Dejeuner qui?", regarded by some as quite risqué. Unfortunately large numbers of "Who Should we Ask to Dinner?" were mistakenly impounded and ultimately incinerated by illiterate officers of the obscene publications squad.
9.  It is perhaps a blessing that Murcheson was never to see the malarial swamp in Vankroogensland into which he had poured most of his fortune.
10.  He never was.  He never did.  He never was.

7th March 2001