Group Captain R_. C_., RCAFVR, DSO, DFC (Bar),
What a relief! First, the war in Europe is well and definitively over. Second, I am not to be repudiated by the family! I cannot thank you enough for your support in the matter of assistance. I wish that Uncle George were here, since it strikes me that some naval architectural advice would go far to alleviating the risks involved. The last thing the family would want is another 'white slavery' fiasco. The number of elders of the community determined to provide their grandsons with picture brides is amazing to me, but what am I to say? I shall have to bring up the matter of support and novel ventures again in a moment, but the whole thing is so strange that I shall leave you on the hooks for a moment!
Oh, I am sorry, my manners! I hope that the war finds you well in Australia. One would think that it would! My latest letters from Uncle George and James breathe relief at the end of the dreadful Ryukyus campaign, while it increasingly looks as though the Australian project will come to nothing. While I do not know much about strategy and diplomacy other than what I read in the papers, it seems as though we must look forward to a Japanese peace before my time, the turn of the leaves, or the arrival of British bombers in Okinawa. Next year in California!
"Miss V.C." has gone to the Couer d'Alene house for an extended stay, promising to be on the train the moment she hears of my confinement. She wants to thoroughly investigate the papers there, and has promised in return to supervise some long-pending modernising. Indoor plumbing and replacing the wiring to support something more robust than 60 watt lightbulbs in every room might be a bit much to ask given the lack of labour, but I have a promising lead on an electric furnace, a suitable appliance for the new main we must have anyway --we can then have either radiant heat in the rooms when the house is wired, or persist with the forced air ducting, although it is much too big, I am told, for that to work out well. The same excavation (or wire hanging) can then bring in a telephone, very much overdue.
Miss v. Q is in a tizzy over the expected confinements, but much soothed by her rapid progress towards an American driver's license, which apparently she simply must have for teaching in the fall, as life on the Berkeley campus would be, I am told, unthinkable without it. There is also talk of a business visit to a country house in Virginia known to Lieutenant A. --near Washington, I am told with a juvenile wink--. The Lieutenant is here and there and on about the country with manic energy since Wong Lee's little adventure, and not least where "Miss V.C.' is to be found. Although if I find him to be doing the Engineer's business, I shall be cross!
Returning to Miss v. Q., I am not so naive as to wonder whether she needs quite as much practice driving as she claims, but it is a beautiful summer here, and there is so much to see, and Professor K. has invited her to the Napa house several times already. He thinks her a good influence on Miss K., who chatters on about everything except what the good Professor things a young lass should be concerned with. Miss v. Q. takes a more tolerant view, which puts her on good terms with both. And she does need distraction.
On the matter of her beloved, in so much more danger than mine, we have good news. Our new agent has returned from his voyage to Vladivostok with the package, a heavy bundle of prewar banknotes, carefully concealed with all of Fat Chow's art. I have passed it on to Cousin E., with strict instructions that Uncle Henry is to buy ten year bonds with it, which seems a long enough time frame for the Oahu project. No car factories, steel mills, airports, flying boats, hospitals, or other brainstorms, in other words! It is distressing to think that we are securing the money of the same clans whose sons now aim their aircraft at my beloved's ships, but they are old, old partners.
Now, the bizarre matter: we have placed a great deal of trust in our new agent, and, of course, he wants something more than money, or he would have taken his chances in stealing our package! Specifically, he wants to be a science fiction writer. I am no judge of literary merit, but he seems more than talented enough by the standards of the competition, although your youngest writes from Michigan that he is put off by the man's style. On the other hand, a striking and odd style is, I am told, apt to gather a devoted following if delivered well. This said, using family influence to secure a placement in some odd literary magazine would be a spectacular waste of effort. I am open to suggestions.
Finally, with the letter, a puzzled note from Fat Chow, who has been approached to reactivate his pretended role as an exiled Kalmyk prince. Something is going on in far Sinkiang. I assume that it is just a matter of the Russians muscling in, but I can't help recalling Sir Eric's assassination.
|A cloverleaf! How romantic.|