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Life is a Masquerade

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My dearest Mac,

I was so glad to receive your letter. It is reassuring to hear that you have found a suitable source of whiskey in Wagga, though your success has robbed me of an excuse to fly over and bring you a care package.

It is entirely too bad that work has taken you away for a whole month as you have missed my fabulous All Hallow's Eve celebration! I hosted a fancy dress party tonight for our usual group of friends and family. I was rather pleased with my Aphrodite costume. It has cascades of blue silk that swirl around me as I rise from the sea. Do remind me to show it to you when you return.

Dot had a terrible time choosing a costume. I suggested all manner of goddesses and queens and mystics and she declared each of them scandalous and would have none of them. A bit of close questioning suggested that she required a costume in which she was demurely covered from collar bones to knees. I suggested perhaps a nun, but apparently that was blasphemous rather than scandalous. Priest was even more blasphemous! And so, equipped with a sword, Dot defended the faith as Joan of Arc. I do not quite understand why dressing as a Saint is less blasphemous than a nun, but I didn't like to ask in case it put Dot off again.

Bert and Cec came as a pair of clowns. They were entirely too funny with yarn wigs and floppy shoes. Tall, solemn Cec had painted on a colorful frown and had a squeeze horn hidden in his pocket to surprise us with honks. Vivacious Bert was the opposite with a painted on smile and a pocket full of juggling balls. I had no idea that Bert was such an accomplished juggler! Those two never cease to amaze me.

Dear Jane came as Anne of Green Gables, a very suitable choice according to Dot. Aunt Prudence was regal as Queen Victoria. She truly has the bearing and posture to carry off a crown. Jack made a very dashing pirate, though he still refuses to sing me anything from Penzance, and poor Constable Collins came dressed as a priest. I am quite sure he was trying to impress Dot with his pious choice and had no intention of blaspheming, but I fear it will be some weeks before he regains his former spot in Dot's good graces.

Mr. Butler outdid himself in the refreshments department. There was champagne for those who would take it and plenty of beer for those who preferred plus ice-cold lemonade for Jane and Dot. We nibbled on shrimp and caviar and then had a proper feast of jellied consommé for starters, beef Wellington with new potatoes and spring asparagus and, to finish, a deeply decadent chocolate mousse with our coffee and port. There is nothing I enjoy more than luscious food and diverting conversation with my dearest friends.

Mr. Butler tried to beg off from having a costume, protesting that he was not a guest. When I insisted, he said that in my honor he would attend as a literary detective. I thought perhaps he would be Sherlock Holmes in a deerstalker cap, which seemed like a characteristically sedate choice, but in the end he turned up with a magnificently lush, paste-on, handlebar mustache as Hercule Poirot! Much more contemporary than musty old Holmes.

And now I am tucked up in bed with the last of the champagne, writing to you, my dear, to share a tiny bit of the joy of the party with you.

Counting the days until your return,
Phryne