photo: Raphael Coffey

photo: Raphael Coffey

Happy Valentine’s weekend! As a Valentine’s treat, here are some snippets of letters between the characters. They’re from Valentine’s Day 1818, before The Mayfair Affair (to skip ahead to Valentine’s Day 1819 would spoil about the next three books).  Malcolm is responding to Suzanne’s letter that I posted last year.

What’s your favorite romantic line from the series?

Hope you all have a wonderful Valentine’s Day!

Harry Davenport to Cordelia Davenport

One of the areas in which I’ve never doubted myself is my ability to put pen to paper. At least when it comes to translating the words of others. Or writing my own commentary on them. Or drafting field notes, in or out of code. But when it comes to you I’ve never been very good at putting things into words, on paper or in person. Suffice it to say, only you could make me take seriously a day I have so long sneered at. Happy Valentine’s Day, Cordy, with all my heart.

Lady Frances Dacre-Hammond to an undisclosed correspondent

I can’t remember when I last wrote to anyone on St. Valentine’s Day. Or acknowledged the holiday at all come to think of it. I’ve received some rather dull overblown verses on 14 February through the years, but actually writing myself? I rather feel I should fight against this traitorous impulse. And yet I feel the most absurd compulsion to pick up my pen and write Happy Valentine’s Day, darling. You see what you’ve brought me to?

Bertrand Laclos to Rupert Caruthers

It’s only a day after all. I know that’s why you’d say. And a day we never could acknowledge very much. And what does a day matter now we’re together most days. And yet— When I got the news from France my first thought was “But it’s Valentine’s Day.” Rather absurd, given what we’ve been through, but it’s not Valentine’s Day so much as Valentine’s Day with you. Which of course shouldn’t stand against helping those in need, which I also know you’d say. Which is one of the many reasons I love you. Happy Valentine’s Day, beloved. I’ll be back as soon as I can.

Aline Blackwell to Geoffrey Blackwell

I never used to understand why Judith got so excited about Valentine’s Day, long before she was old enough to have a Valentine of her own. All the fuss about trinkets and ruffles and quoting (often bad) poetry. I still don’t carry about all of that. But I do quite like spending Valentine’s Day with you. No different in a way than any other day of the year, and yet— Happy Valentine’s Day, Geoff.
Lord Carfax to Lady Carfax

How many years is it? And how many 14 Februarys have I spent in meetings or buried in my study or been gone for entirely? You understand, of course, Amelia. You always understand. No man could have a better wife.

Simon Tanner to David Worsley

The problem with being a writer is that one expected to come up with clever things on occasions that involve the written word. Particularly hard on an occasion that drips in sentimentality. An occasion I’d once have been inclined to mock but now find I have no desire toYou mean the world to me, David. I hope tonight you’ll give me the chance to show you just how much.

Malcolm Rannoch to Suzanne Rannoch

Tears welling up in one’s eyes while in the midst of discussing political strategy has a most interesting affect on a group of M.P.s gathered at Brooks’s. I wish you could have seen it. You’re letter meant an incalculable amount to me, sweetheart. I’ll be home soon. Happy Valentine’s Day.