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I attended three events with James last week, met Mr. Saturday Night at The Palm, despite some misgivings, and twice attended to Madeleine’s growing desires. Being a diarist fell by the wayside.

Then there is the subject of Hugo’s note, stuck at my fingertips. Best then, to have out with it.

Bianca, he wrote, I am dying. Not soon; don’t fret. Within the year, most certainly, if the doctors are to be believed. The cottage is yours when I die, and all its secrets with it. Regretfully, I must leave the car to Remy. My brother will be adrift, and I know he will turn to you. Please continue to be the friend you’ve been to him since we were all children. All my best, Hugo

There is a knot in my belly I cannot soothe with liquor, company, or passion.