Collected Letters of Francis St. James, Letter 1
(3 days past Land’s End)
My Dearest Theodora,
I must begin, my love, by apologizing for the unseemly amount of time I have allowed to pass before sending you a letter; in my defense, the sheer amount of activity occurring since we sailed from Portsmouth, made our way through the Channel, and finally bid a fond farewell to Land’s End as we set sail (I do not know if this is a truly accurate term, since the throb of the ship’s engines disturb my sleep still) for parts known and unknown has been, quite overwhelming. I fear that the Do Return is rather understaffed, and I have found myself pressed into services that I must confess I do not fully understand. They tell me that once we cross the boundary zone, ‘twixt water and magnetism, that the ship will sail itself; until then, I find myself a reluctant sailor.
But all that is nothing, a mere apologetic prelude to an epistle of love and yearning. For I yearn for you my darling Theodora. I ache for your presence, for your smile and your laughter sweet as springtime. I think often of that magical time, in the dead of London winter, on one of those clear nights that is so very rare these days, when we danced under the stars outside your father’s rooms on Threadneedle, only the lonely sound of a weary accordionist accompanying our waltz. I think about that night and wonder, in my thinking, if I have a fellow thinker, rememberer in you.
But I know, oh I know with such a bitter, weary heart, that I have neglected you, sorely neglected you. I have not given you the love you deserve, not showered you with kisses and flowers, not made my every waking moment a monument, a prayer to our love.
And if I do protest that this neglect was benign, nay required, by the ferocity of my studies, by my devotion to the sublime theories of Professor Zakharov (who you dislike, yes, but who is a genius, unjustly ignored, whom I have sworn to rehabilitate), by my heady dives into the noble currents of essence that swirl ‘twixt the branes of this universe and the next; if I do utter such a protest, may my mouth run dry, may my tongue swell and may my jaw lock ‘til the words fall into silence - such things should not be said, such excuses do not justify your treatment by me, treatment that you returned in kind with interest.
And while it may seem outlandish, I do believe, deep within my essence, that my current adventure will redeem myself to you. I will prove, my love, a service to a purpose higher than my mere intellectual aspirations (valid though they may be), a duty to a calling greater than any I have yet seen. I will sail the magnetic seas until, in the end, I will inevitably ‘Do Return’ to your arms.
I remain, always and forever,
Francis St. James