Mélanie’s fourth birthday photo: Bonnie Glaser

Hope everyone’s holiday season is fun and not too hectic. It’s a busy time for us with Mélanie’s birthday on 13 December and lots of fun celebrations with family and friends. It’s also a busy time for the Rannochs/Frasers. I realized that a holiday letter for 1818 would contain spoilers for where the series is going. Last year I posted a letter from Suzanne to Blanca at Christmas 1817. Here are excerpts from a few other letters and notes written by the characters over that holiday season.

Happy holidays!!


Suzanne to Lady Isobel Lydgate

The trouble with the holidays is that at the same time one is scrambling madly to get everything ready, there is a constant round of frivolity and one feels positively guilty for not enjoying it or for regretting that a party of pantomime or round of holiday calls takes one away from shopping or wrapping gifts or assembling baskets for the servants or the dozens of other things that need to be done. Not that I don’t enjoy it. I do, far more than I ever would have thought. But at times I feel as if I’m jugging ten plates at once. Lying in bed last night trying to remember if I still had one more parcel to pick up from the toymaker and if I had sent in the measurements for Jessica’s new frock, it occurred to me that Malcolm (who was sound asleep) doesn’t have the least idea quite much planning truly goes into the holiday. Or perhaps he appreciates the amount of work (he certainly says as much) but doesn’t know quite how frazzled I get. Because, of course, I’m at pains not to let him see…

Lady Frances to her sister Marjorie

I trust Father is settled in. I rather regret him not staying in London for the holiday, but I expect he will enjoy it more in the country. I confess to feeling rather more holiday-ish than I usually do. Perhaps it’s the children. Claudia keeps looking about her with wide eyes at the decorations. I don’t think she remembers Christmas last year so she’s delightfully free of expectations. But Chloe never stops peppering me with questions about her gifts. Archie Davenport is keeping the puppy until Christmas Eve, which is very kind of him. I can only imagine the chaos our household will be thrown into by a small dog, but I confess the creature is quite engaging. I went to see the puppy at Archie’s yesterday. Raoul O’Roarke was there as well, and Malcolm and Suzanne have invited him for Christmas. Rather nice to have him about again. We go to Malcolm and Suzanne’s Christmas night. She seems to be outdoing herself this year – the tree is magnificent, garlands wound round the bannister, burgundy ribbon everywhere. Malcolm, thankfully, seems to have the sense to appreciate her efforts. In fact he’s seems more than usually solicitous of her this year. I  almost wonder— But I won’t speculate.

Malcolm to David

I trust you are surviving Carfax Court. In truth, my memories of holidays with your family are some of my happiest until I married Suzanne. Not that I am not fully appreciative of the stresses. I’m glad Simon went with you,though of course we miss you both. I expect I shall particularly miss you Christmas Day when I put together Colin’s new castle. Do you remember the hours we spent arranging yours in the Carfax Court nursery? Have I said lately what your friendship means to me?

Cordelia to Suzanne

Did Livia leave Portia in Berkeley Square this afternoon? Underneath the console table in the drawing room? And what are you wearing tonight?

Malcolm to Suzanne (left on her pillow Christmas morning)

The holidays never really meant anything to me until you. That’s never been more true than this year. Happy Christmas, sweetheart.