My dearest Betty,
I would feign disinterest in the subject of this letter, but you know me too well to be deceived. It's been all I could do to keep my eagerness for the details from being written all across my face. I know Louis would never have given me the details had he realised just how desperately I hung on every word.
It's not that I'm a romantic. Well, of course I am, but honestly my interest is mostly fueled because these are the two most important people left in my life. Violet is my best friend, and I have longed for her to find even a small semblance of the happiness I had with Searle. And Louis...
It can be difficult sometimes. Of course I wish him all the best, but there are those moments, flashes when the light hits him just so, and I forget who he is. Or rather, who he isn't.
When Louis first returned from the Legion, I struggled with how to deal with him. At times he is so like my lost husband, but then it passes and I see how truly different they are. Louis laughs easier than Searle ever did, but he has a darker side, an impetuosity that throws him deeper into darkness than my late husband. He is such a congruity of parallels and differences that he confuses me at times. But the fact remains, he is my brother-in-law and we have known each other for so long that I cannot do otherwise than wish him all the happiness in the world.
And so, with all that in mind, to the heart of the matter.
When we crossed the Atlantic Ocean on the Mauretania, one of our companions in First Class was a Count Kurosov, some Russian nobleman with paranoid bodyguards who failed spectacularly to protect him during an assassination attempt. Indeed, it was Louis and Lord Covington who stopped the attempt.
Violet and Count Kurosov saw much of each other during that voyage. I actually think she was quite taken by the man. I can't blame her. The Count was a perfect gentleman, rich, handsome, and charming. The idea of being on his arm sounds like one of those fairy tales my mother used to read at night. Brothers Grimm was it? The Little Cinder Girl! I know at the time I wistfully thought it could be Violet's path to happiness.
Of course, the boat ride was magical in and of itself, and like all magical things was all too fleeting. I'm quite sure Violet, like myself, thought she would never see the good Count again. Had I been her, I would have tucked my memories of the Mauretania into a neat box to warm me in the dead of winter for the rest of my life. Violet hasn't had the depth of experiences outside New York that I have, and no doubt it was that much more powerful for her.
But as I said, these things end. England and its peculiarities beckoned, and then we were off to the Mediterranean which holds its own charm. I will admit I do not know precisely when they found each other again (I was, as you might guess, somewhat less observant and concerned for others on that part of our journey), but sometime on our leisurely cruise across the Med, Louis and Violet renewed their passions. Or at least, so it was for Louis.
He speaks of her longingly, wistfully. I truly believe he still cares for Violet. It is difficult to say whether he would have ever made an honest woman of her (there are fraught complications especially now that he is not just the heir, but head of our branch of the family), but I do believe he would have seen to it that she was treated well. Obviously, her profession makes for some awkwardnesses, although money can buy everything, even the silence of wagging tongues if need be.
In truth though, I'm not sure that until now Louis had thought very much about her profession at all. You see, despite their relationship, which in fairness is still quite a fledgling, when Violet found out Count Kurosov was in Cairo, she renewed her acquaintance with him. From my reckoning, she has spent quite a bit of time with the good Count and really, I can't fault her.
Louis, meanwhile, has been off enjoying the city as only a man can. It is perhaps a sign of our times that he seems utterly unfazed by his own indiscretions, but hers are another matter entirely. I gather that he simply asked where she had been all day the day before and she very simply told him that she'd spent it with the Count. Violet has ever been a forthright woman and not one to play coy, but I do wonder whether she realised the ramifications of such a proclamation.
Louis is now entirely conflicted. His feelings for her are in disarray, and he is finally having to deal with what her profession might mean for their relationship- if they are even calling it that. I'm fairly certain if you asked them both there would be a difference of opinion on that score.
Regardless, I told Louis he had to really think on his feelings for Violet. If he loves her, he needs to figure out what that means for him, for her, for them, the family... At times like these I am quite happy not to be a man with all their responsibilities.
I've tried to catch Violet for a heart to heart, but her schedule has been frightfully hectic it seems. I worry that she is burning the candle too much and will fall ill with all her coming and going. The only time I've been able to speak with her at all was at meals, and I could hardly ask her about such matters in public.
Hopefully it will all turn out for the best. I pray that Louis finds it within himself to take the situation firmly in hand rather than wilting away under the implications.
As for myself, I've been keeping busy with the titles Doctor Kafour suggested. He seems to appear at my shoulder frequently when I am in the Egyptian Museum Library, but he has not been anything other than genteel. In truth, with my lack of knowledge of Egyptian he has been quite helpful on occasion when Lord Covington was not around providing explanation of certain colloquial phrases.
I shall write when I know more. I feel our time in Cairo is borrowed, waiting upon the New Moon. In ways, our departure might solve many problems.