Dear Dr Lemmbe,

As I said in my card, my deepest sympathies, and my apologies on your loss.

You may think I’m mad to apologise for this, but, when I read in your bio about your partner Anna, I assumed it would be safe for you to visit here. I’m an old lady – I forget what science can do these days.

I know you planned to write in your book that story of the end of the Dreyfuss line pure fantasy; a story for tourists. I showed you the record of the private hanging of Albert Smith for seduction, and the lady’s interment five months later – her funeral gown concealing both throat and belly. You’ve seen the records for the death in childbirth of every wife who carried a boy ever since. The line was defunct in 30 years – but the daughters wed widely.

I knew your ancestry, Doctor – it’s a hobby of mine. If I’d thought… I’d never have allowed you near the premises.

I can only thank modern medicine for your survival, and wish you a speedy recovery – and condolences.

Miss I. Barnes,
Dreyfuss Manor