Yesterday Number Ten and I took the ferry to New York state to visit a couple of her acquaintances in Wadhamshire. We passed a happy afternoon on their lovely estate, strolled around their park, and dined on a robust lasagna before making our departure, full of effusions of gratitude, solicitations for their future good health and happiness, and requests that they write often by letterpost. As a native of Louisianashire, I still consider New York far-away and exotic, and the concept of being in Vermont, then New York, then Vermont lends itself to my own quiet felicity.
(We've also been reading Pride and Prejudice in our spare time.)
Last night at the soup kitchen I spoke to a male guest who told me he was worth trillions in exotic stones. I heard him out, and I have to say, he was nothing if not convincing. He keeps the stones in a tan bag hanging from his belt. At the end of our conversation he handed me an "orange quartz, worth 1.7 trillion dollars."
Needless to say, I inhaled sharply, pocketed the stone, and chose my words carefully. "That's the most generous present I've ever received, friend. Thank you. My own mother won't even send me an Easter basket."