An Epistolary Introduction to the World of Charles & Mélanie Fraser
When I decided to write an epilogue for DAUGHTER OF THE GAME'S reissue as SECRETS OF A LADY, I knew from the first that I wanted to do it in the form of a letter from Charles to Mélanie. When my editor, Lucia Macro, asked me to write something for the A+ extras section and said it was sort of like DVD extras and I could do anything I wanted, I knew at once that I wanted to write a series of additional letters between the characters. I did the same thing for the reissue of BENEATH A SILENT MOON, writing a letter from Charles to Mélanie for the epilogue (I at first thought I'd make this one from Mélanie to Charles, but it seemed to fit the book better for Charles to write the letter) and writing more letters for the A+ section.
I saw them last night. Charles Fraser and his wife. Lady Frances gave a ball to welcome them to London. I must say Mélanie Fraser dresses superbly—that was plain when they were here two and a half years ago, and now one can tell she’s had all her gowns made in Paris. They certainly don’t hang about each other unbecomingly. Charles danced the first dance with her, then spent a good portion of the evening in the library with David Mallinson and Oliver Lydgate and Gideon Carne and some others. Harry went in at one point and told me they were discussing Habeas Corpus. Mélanie Fraser danced a number of dances in her husband’s absence and didn’t seem in the least concerned. Nor did Charles look the least bit jealous when he returned to the ballroom late in the evening to find his wife surrounded by a throng of admirers. So the whole idea that she someone how seduced and bewitched him and addled his reason is nonsensical. Not that I ever gave much credence to it. The whole idea of Charles Fraser being bewitched by anyone is patently absurd. If there’s one thing that man is not it’s a besotted fool. She’s certainly done very well for herself to have escaped Spain (which cannot be at all a comfortable place to live just now( and married a man so comfortably situated, but who can blame her. A girl with no family and fortune must look out for herself. She has a very elegant manner—a touch informal but doesn’t put herself forward disagreeably. And she does seem genuinely fond her children. I’ve seen her in the park with them several times.
Gisèle Fraser, by the way, danced two waltzes with Val Talbot (rather closer than I would care to see Minny dancing with anyone when she’s of an age to dance). I think they would have danced a third time had Evie not gone up and pulled her cousin away. Such a sensible girl, Evie Mortimer. Honoria didn’t look best pleased either. Of course, I suspect she found the whole occasion of the ball uncomfortable, but to her credit she behaved beautifully. She went to talk to Charles and his wife as soon as she arrived. She didn’t linger overly long, but she appeared to say everything that is proper, just as she always does. I wonder if she’s more likely to marry now that Charles is definitely taken. She’d make an excellent match for Fred—just the sort of wife a diplomat needs.
Quen put in an appearance late. For Charles’s sake, I suspect, Quen’s always been fond of him. He danced once with Evie and once with Mélanie Fraser. Kenneth Fraser also did not stay long, though he did dance with his daughter-in-law. Lord Cowper says he heard Mr. Fraser murmur that he’d never expected his son to do so well for himself. Every time I sigh over my own family, I remind myself that I could have been born a Fraser. Or a Talbot.
Yours most affectionately,