26 September 2013. A Letter from Lady Catherine
To Miss Kelly Clarkson, on the return of Jane Austen’s ring to the nation.
Dear Miss Clarkson,
My character has ever been celebrated for its sincerity and frankness, and in a cause of such moment as this I shall certainly not depart from it.
Thrift is only one of innumerable virtues on which I meditate daily. Not so much for my own benefit – more to instil in those, such as yourself, whose need is far greater. For example, I find it incomprehensible that you were prepared to part with £152,450 to purchase a ring; a ring, moreover, consisting of semi-precious stones of dubious provenance. Madam, I fear you have been taken in!
By comparison, one of my thrift instruction courses would cost a mere £10,000 and equip you to practise wise economies for life. I hold these select gatherings at Rosings, my country estate in Kent, and occasionally in the local community, as I sally forth to inspect the slovenly habits of my less privileged neighbours. I am excessively attentive to all those things.
If, however, you persist in wishing to own something of true historical value, then £150,000 would purchase several of the wonderful memorabilia bequeathed to me by my late husband, Sir Lewis de Bourgh. I have in mind his diamond-encrusted nasal hair removers, his musical snuff box which plays ‘Greensleeves’ (an unfortunately frequent occurrence for my poor husband, whenever he partook of its contents) and ‘Collins’, his favourite Berkshire pig which I had stuffed and mounted as he lay on his deathbed. (My husband, that is – not the pig.)
I would be honoured to place any of these rarities at your disposal, provided you pay (in full) the removal costs to your home in the United States of America. This time, I can assure you that there will be no objections or campaigns; indeed, the Minister for Culture has informed me that he will personally lift any export bar that might apply to these priceless national treasures.
I await your earliest reply.
Lady Catherine de Bourgh.
An invitation to spend...
Whilst we eagerly await Miss Clarkson's reply, we would be honoured if you spent more time with Juliet Archer on her fine website.