|Erin Austen Abbott|
Your day in the life was exactly the distraction I needed. I think your friendship with Bell sounds very similar to my friendship with Sam. I know I've not mentioned Sam much lately; please don’t chastise me. It’s just I’ve been so caught up in research for the new book. Come to think of it, I may have neglected to mention the book, too. If I give you some info about the story, will you forgive me?
It all started with an obituary notice. (I've always wanted to use that line)…
Bordage, Mrs. - January, 1893
It is with sorrow to announce the death of Mrs. Bordage, who died in New Orleans last week at the age of 71 years and 2 months. Mrs. Bordage was a resident of Belle Rose. ~ Source: Sea Coast Echo 01-21-1893
Can you believe that no first name was recorded? I've read it over and over hoping that a name (Cynthia) will jump out from between the lines. Seriously, who doesn't have a first name? I've checked all the obituaries for Assumption Parish, for the year 1893, and get this this is the only one recorded without a first name. You know me; I'm not going to let this go. The only way I can do this story justice is to go to Louisiana.
I know what you’re thinking - such a hardship! I just read that many of the folk in the Parish still speak French. Why haven’t I enrolled in French classes yet? You were meant to push me on that one!
I've a feeling that Mrs. Bordage is going to turn out to be a descendant of a fille à la cassette. 'Cassette (for short) is the term used for single French women who were shipped to Louisiana to marry French men in the early 18th century'. According to Wikipedia these virginal ladies packed all their earthly belongings into one small cassette sized bag. It seems far-fetched, but I've found other sources that verify the origin of the term, and the size of the bag. I can’t wait to find out more about these women. Imagine leaving your homeland for a strange country, not knowing a soul, and then marrying a stranger. Makes me wonder what was happening in France at the time. I must brush up on my 18th century French history.
Mrs. Bordage is going to be married to a swarthy-hued Louisiana lawman, with a proclivity for moonshine. I'm sure going to have fun with that part of the story!
That's all the info I'll give you for now. I'll send you a draft of the first chapter when I'm done.
I know, I know, where is my day in the life. You'd agree this is better; right?
You and I might not be as pioneering as Mrs. Bordage’s great-great-cassette-grandmother but, we are brave. Even if Sam thinks I live too much in Victorian daydreams and, your beloved thinks you live too much in the 1970’s. I reckon it's brave the way we live in two worlds, and we do it magnificently!
As Rizzo sings in Grease…'There are worse things I (we) could do'.
You must write me right back with your thoughts on Mrs. Bordage and, if you can visit me when I'm in Louisiana. I plan on being there for at least six months, if not longer. Can you picture us sailing down the Mighty Mississippi from New Orleans to Baton Rouge, and then catching a train (similar to the Orient Express) to Fairhope, Alabama?
I’ve enclosed a photo of the room I've just booked…don't you think it's perfect? You know Louisiana isn't that far from Melbourne? Sam can’t make it; you just have to???
God I miss you,
Your ever loving and forever Victorian-Southern belle,
P.S I just read the term flea-market meets grandma chic, that’s our style to a tee!