Read the full Letters & Texts ~ Episode 3
Episode 3: Emma's Journal, 1909
8th August 1909
It’s been a delightful summer. We were allowed to spend most of our time with Aunt Florence. She said that we have grown tremendously since last year and that we were old enough to learn a little bit more about life. Aunt Florence is as wise as she is mysterious. She always leaves us with the utmost curiosity. Today, during lunch, she said she had a surprise for us. She told us to take a basket and go to Bonny, who would help us find some fabrics and blankets. Bonny was baking a pie and the kitchen smelt scrumptious. On the table, we could see that she had already prepared a tray with fancy crockery for tea time. She took us to the wardrobe where she kept the fabrics and gave us a couple of them. She also gave us candles. We were most intrigued.
When we went to the library to meet Aunt Florence, one of her cabinets was open and she was holding a book in her hands. Inside the armoire, there were dozens of books, a few scrolls and hundreds of papers. She lifted the cover of the book, exposing that it was not a real one. It was a hidden place for a key. She picked it up and walked a few metres towards the wall. She drew back a heavy velvet curtain, revealing an arched wooden door. The key unlocked the door and we entered the room after her. The chamber was rather dark, but somehow, it felt warm, joyful and welcoming. There was a large table with at least ten chairs, all in a robust dark wood. Hanging from the walls there were beautiful paintings, most of them of flowers and meadows. There were stones and branches and all sorts of natural treasures. Before we could even ask her a question, Aunt Florence began to talk. ‘This is where my friends and I meet from time to time. The next gathering will be in autumn, and I would be delighted if you two join us. It will be a very special occasion, so bring the dress you love the most.' Rose and I were astonished and could barely speak. We knew that Aunt Florence wouldn't tell us more than she wanted, so we didn’t ask her anything and simply thanked her for such a compelling invitation. ‘Oh, and think of the name of a flower that you like that has a special meaning to you.’ She added before changing the subject. ‘Now my little witches, it is time to learn and have fun.’ Aunt Florence began to examine the fabrics we had brought and tied a knot on each side. She pointed to a corner of the room and we could see that hooks were hanging from the walls. She then released a cord that fell from the ceiling and fastened the fabrics together forming a canopy. Bonny came a few minutes later saying that the pie was ready. Aunt Florence said we would have tea at five o’clock since we still had a lot to do. We lit several candles and opened a little secret window hidden behind a brass air vent. Thin rays of sunlight seeped through the tiny holes, bathing the long table in a warm golden glow.
Aunt Florence took some books and illustrations from the cabinet next door, which we read thoroughly in our comfortable nook until tea-time. I wish I could write everything that we have discovered today. But it is rather late and my eyes can barely see anymore. Tomorrow morning we will ask Aunt Florence about these women we read about and we will also tell her that Rose and I have already thought about the flower we will choose for the gathering. It will be a dandelion.
Episode 3: Letter from Rose to Winifred
Bermothill, 19th August 1976
My dearest Winifred,
It made me very happy to know that you will treasure her things. Emma kept them safe for a very long time. When she passed away, your grandfather gave them to me. Oh yes, of course I knew him. James was an extraordinary man and I am glad I could call him my friend too.
You asked how I met your grandmother. That is an easy question. We went to the same school together. But our true friendship began a few weeks later when she was the only one in class who didn’t laugh at me when I entered the room wearing one of Aunt Florence’s hats. She thought it fascinating. She was so curious about it.
I see you are curious like her too. Aunt Florence used to tell her “everything happens in its own time”.
My dear Winifred, I will be leaving Bermothill this week, my son is taking me to his house in Riverbell. They have a lovely garden where my sweet granddaughter, Chloe, reads to me. I will stay there until my condition improves. I just remembered. When we were young, Emma used to bake biscuits for me when I was unwell. They never failed to comfort me. I hope you find her recipes among her pages one day. They were truly delicious.
The dandelion pact. Well, well. You must forgive me my dear, but I am afraid that if I tell you about it, I would be breaking it myself. I am sure you will find out more about it soon. Isn’t it wonderful to know that there is always something new to learn awaiting?
You said you feel Emma is guiding you, by your side. I have had the same feeling for more than twenty years. I have no doubt she takes care of us, but whenever you feel otherwise, remember that our loved ones never leave us, if we allow them to live in our hearts.