In a perfect world I would recommend painting over your father’s soldiers in your favourite colours and setting them out for a picnic romp – I like to imagine that the sight of his tin men cavorting would nauseate your father to the point of giving them up. But as he would probably have an apoplexy and burn your house down instead, I think you must continue to give up the tea table to the War of the Lilacs. Which actually seems like a sweet use for a tea table.
Or so say I, miles away, who need not be inconvenienced by holding my cup, saucer, and biscuits all in my lap, and by living in dread of stepping on the odd tin lance and having both a poke and a fuss for my pains. I hope this shows that I do understand your frustrations, Kate, but I can’t help but be amused by such scenes as you describe.
Indeed, your letters always make me miss my uncles and my father, as well as detest the sticky-faced, littlest cousins, more than anticipated. I even wish that my father had a pastime like yours so that you might write to me about his antics, and then I might shake my head and laugh like you do.
I should come to visit soon. I have lapsed into idleness, spending afternoons and evenings in visits, and spending my days reading cheap novels and tinkering with the kitchen waterclock. I am ignoring the impending office job. I have seen His Superiorness twice more, and been twice more reminded of how well I can imitate a prosy snot when in his presence. Could he be a balm for my acting abilities?
Speaking of the waterclock, I have been unable to discern what the water has to do with keeping the time. It is as though there is a miniature windmill inside, but put to no use except by being a miniature windmill. I will have to read something by someone much smarter than I in order to reach some degree of enlightenment. Some, some, some.
My mother is most annoyed about the clock, which I cannot put back together any more than I can tell how it works, and which I may have taken apart just to twiddle its delicate brass innards between my fingers.
P.S. Although my last statement about the waterclock sounded delightfully flippant, I must clarify that I am not engaged in pointless destruction of household property! In fact, I am giving my mother a fine new clock for her birthday tomorrow (one with bluebirds on its face), and I wanted to make room in advance.
P.P.S. This is not to say the delicate brass innards held no attraction.