January 24th 1925


January 19th, 1925

My dear Betty,

I am livid. Absolutely white-lipped with anger. I am enclosing a copy of an article that ran in the Tattler on Sunday detailing the events of Friday night. Although it does not name me, Mother put two and two together while I was away in Massachusetts and decided that fulfilling the dying wish of a man is not the proper behavior of a widowed woman.

Remember I told you I was to meet with Miss Erica Carlysle? Cancelled! Mother had the affront to reschedule it for me, claiming I was suffering from the vapors. The vapors! As if I've ever had the vapors in my life! There I was sitting in my receiving room with Cook's delicious cucumber and watercress sandwiches waiting all for nothing. Eventually Mother came and told me of her malicious plans, fretting what I would do to the Vanderbilt name by "gallivanting off" as I had. Never mind that her son and heir had done the same, nor that I was not the only lady there, nor that I am quite capable of taking care of myself.

That woman may have produced Searle, but if I could give you one piece of advice it is to marry a man whose mother has already passed on. Mother-in-laws are a law unto themselves and one cannot simply shun them, as tempting as that might seem. I am quite certain that if I had been living with my own mother, God rest her soul, that she would have seen the nobility of what I was trying to do.

And speaking of Jackson, Mother did at least allow me to attend the funeral, which was very touching. The entire affair she had me by the arm like a bold child and wouldn't even allow me a few moments with Violet. Lou wasn't much help either, as he's been out of the house since we returned- no doubt actually working to solve the mystery Jackson's death has left us. He would never put up with this house arrest. It makes one feel so useless.

If Mother doesn't relent by tomorrow morning I think I shall have to plan a prison escape.

Your unjustly incarcerated cousin,