Quill to Quill is based on the characters of Joyce DiPastena's medieval novels. All material on Quill to Quill is copyrighted and may not be used without permission from the author.

Monday, July 19, 2010

Siri to Heléne, September 21, 1179

To Lady Heléne de Bury, Countess of Gunthar

My dear Countess,

I own, I was both surprised and pleased to receive your letter.  In truth, nothing could give me greater joy than to call you “friend”! Triston speaks of you with the greatest fondness. I regret that I have not yet met his brother, who remains at the Young King’s court, but Triston says that you and Etienne grew up almost as brother and sister. If so, then surely that must only add to the bond between us, as well. I, too, look forward to the day when you and I may meet!

Your nephew, Perrin, does well. I do not know if you are aware that there were some dark days between him and his father after his mother’s death, but all seems to be mended now. Triston has not fostered him yet, I think because of the days he feels were lost between them and which he hopes to make up before he sends him away to begin his training as a page. In the meantime, Perrin continues his lessons from Triston’s chaplain, Father Michel, learning to read both Latin and French, as well as arithmetic, and even geography! I do not know what Triston hopes he will do with such knowledge as that one day. I think perhaps he secretly wishes that Perrin could attend the thriving cathedral school they are calling the University of Paris when he is older, where they are said to teach such things as geometry, astronomy and rhetoric! But that is where clerks and younger sons go to try to make their fortune, not a rich knight’s heir. And Triston is rich now, thanks to my inheritance, though he maintains his modest ways. There is no choice but for Perrin to follow the traditional path towards a future knighthood of his own, though I am sure that Triston hopes to place him with some man who will agree to let Perrin continue his studies. Suffice it to say that you would be more than proud could you see your nephew now.

Pray tell the Earl you husband how I appreciate him sparing one of his own men to bring me your letter. I do not wish to make him linger away from your husband’s service longer than is necessary, so I will end this now.

Your devoted Cousin,

Lady Siriol de Brielle

Lady Siriol de Brielle
Sent from Vere Castle in Poitou
The twenty-first day of September in the year of our Lord, 1179

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Heléne to Siri, September 6, 1179

To My Lady Siriol de Brielle,

I have tapped this quill against my lips so many times that my nose has been sorely tickled while I rack my brains for the best way to introduce myself. There seems to be no delicate way, or if there is, I have not discovered it. Dare I call you “Cousin”? The most incredible tales have reached these shores of an uncanny resemblance you bear to my late sister, Clothilde, but my father writes that the stories, in his opinion, are exaggerated. He has investigated for himself the claim of our kinship, however, and says it is true that our grandmothers were twins, so that if some should see in you some memory of Clothide, it might indeed be understood. Perhaps we shall meet one day and I may judge for myself. I pray that day might truly come, for I should dearly love to meet you!

Does that surprise you? In truth, it is why I write. I fear lest you might think my family should shun you as a usurper to my sister and mother to my nephew, Perrin. I wish to assure you that it is not so! Nothing could bring me more joy than to know that Perrin is well cared for, and although we have never met and Triston undoubtedly fears to write to me—there remains, I regret to say, some small tension from the past between my husband and yours—I know he would not take to wife any woman who would not love and cherish his son. It saddens me that I had so little time to become acquainted with Perrin before my lord husband swept me off to England after our wedding. All I remember is a sturdy, mischievous boy, with his father’s black curls and my dear sister’s eyes of blue. How much he must have grown since then! Three years… He must be seven now? Has Triston already fostered him to train as a page? I am sure that Triston has chosen well, and yet I have some hopes…

But how I rattle! These things can be saved for a future time. I hope you will accept this letter with kindness from the hand of a cousin, once unknown, but who this day extends her friendship should you wish to receive it.

God’s blessings be upon you.

Heléne de Bury, Countess of Gunthar

Heléne de Bury, Countess of Gunthar
Written from Lamhurst Castle
Kent, England
On the sixth day of September, in the year of our Lord 1179