The most marvellous preparations are being made. One would think it was a journey to the South Pole. Aunt Maria spends hours each day in writing and rewriting lists of things she must have with her, and then Uncle John protests that only the smallest amount of luggage can be taken. So she consults with Janet Mackintosh, her maid, and then she turns to me and in a loud whisper says that of course she has to be patient with poor Janet as she is a newcomer and does not yet know her ways! She has been with her five years now, ever since her last Methuselah died, so one would have thought that long enough to learn, wouldn’t one, Mamma?
The automobile is most remarkable, as it has a rumble on the back, because, as Aunt Maria explained, her maid and Uncle John’s valet went in the rumble of the carriage on their wedding journey, and it is the proper place for servants, so she insisted upon the motor being arranged in the same way. Janet and the valet will have a suffocatingly dusty drive—enveloped in complete coverings of leather. Agnes is to sit beside the chauffeur and we three inside. I suppose everyone will scream with laughter as we career through the towns, but what matter! I shall go down to Cannes with them and join Octavia there if I find it too boring, and Harry cannot have a word to say to my travelling with my own relations. I feel like crying, dearest Mamma, so I won’t write any more now.
Your affectionate daughter,
Hotel de la POULE D’OR,
(Somewhere on the way to Dijon.)
Dearest Mamma,—We have got this far! Never have you imagined such an affair as our trip is. Coming across the Channel was bad enough. Aunt Maria sniffed chloroform and remained semi-conscious until we got to Boulogne, because she said one never could trust the sea, although it looked smooth enough from the pier; on her honeymoon she recollected just the same deceitful appearance and they took five hours and she was very sick and decided not to chance it again! Uncle John had to hold one of her hands and I the bottle, but we got there safely in the usual time and not a ripple on the water! The motor had been sent on, and after sleeping at Boulogne we started. The little gamins shouted, “Quel drole de char triomphant! Bon voyage, Mesdames,” and Aunt Maria smiled and bowed as pleased as possible, not having heard a word.
Uncle John was as gay and attentive as I suppose he was on the journey—this is how they speak of it—and made one or two quite risque jokes down the ear trumpet, and Aunt Maria blushed and looked so coy. Apparently she had had hysterics at Folkestone originally—did you have them when you married, Mamma? I never thought of such a thing when Harry and I—but I did not mean to speak of him again. Aunt Maria wears the same shaped bonnet now as she did then, and strangely enough it is exactly like my new lovely chinchilla motor one Caroline sent for me to travel in. We have the car open all the time and in the noise Aunt Maria hears much better, so one has only to speak in an ordinary voice down the trumpet.