Of Monkeys and Mermaids

February 3, 1843

My Dearest Sabrina,

Having momentarily sated what you once aptly termed my “Herculean appetite for lethargy,” I rouse myself dutifully to pen this somewhat belated missive, all too aware that you, my beloved sister, must be starved for news of your Charleston friends.  Everyone inquires about you, of course, & I invariably assure them that motherhood flatters you & that you and your amiable Yankee husband grow daily more prosperous.  But, alas, I have little in the way of gossip to retail.  I dine once a week, as always, at the Planters Hotel with a few of my bachelor familiars, where we remind one another of the horrors attendant upon the matrimonial state.  Aside from that comforting ritual, I socialize very little, pursue my bookish habits, & return most invitations with some politic expedient or other.  My gout seems to be flaring up a good deal of late!

Speaking of matrimonial matters, I do have one alarming scrap of gossip for you.  You will no doubt be shocked to learn that your old schoolmate at Madame Talvande’s, Sue Petigru, has recently announced her engagement to none other than Mr. Henry King.  It is widely supposed that Susan will now retire her quiver of poisoned darts & terrorize our drawing rooms no more.  If I were a betting man, I would wager that, contrary to popular opinion, we will hear more from our...

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