January 21, 1914
To Mr. Crowley Madigan.
I hope this letter finds you well. It has not been an easy month for any of us, I know, with the winter coming along hard and the ongoing news of death and destruction across the Atlantic. I know you have relatives in Europe and I know you are no stranger to the horrors of war. Allow me to extend my sympathies and commiseration to you.
I write today to address a matter which is most essential to the wellbeing of both our families: namely, the intentions of your son Castile and the future of my youngest daughter, Hazel. I know the matter has not been officially brought to my attention, but Hazel is a most loquacious girl and I could not help but overhear some of her ministrations to Alethe, my eldest. She is quite clearly under the impression that Castile intends to court her, Mr. Madigan.
We all knew this day might come - they have been friends since early childhood, after all. It is precisely due to the long friendship between our families that I feel a pressing need to communicate frankly with you.
Firstly, please understand I am not inherently opposed to the idea. Hazel would have a good life with Castile, I am sure, and I wish only for her happiness and wellbeing. Certainly she can find no better match anywhere in the filthy backwater around us.
But I must confess my deep concern over the rumors surrounding your Castile. I’m sure you know the ones to which I am referring. I am loath to recount them here for fear of offending you. Nevertheless, given your son’s evident intentions and the importance such a union would hold for both our families, you cannot begrudge me for asking, one friend to another: is there any truth to them? You must understand the impact it would have upon Hazel’s reputation if I allowed them to marry before quelling these rumors once and for all.
I have known Castile since he was a young boy. I remember how he was then: precocious, yes, but good-hearted. Has he changed, Crowley? Has he grown into a good man?
I trust in your reply. I have long known you as a man of integrity. I hope you will forgive my boldness in this matter.