“Dispatches from Hempstead on the Hudson”
by Johnny Heller
From the FOR THE HELL OF IT Blog
From the Desk of Felicity Llewellyn:
So, I have a great deal of time on my hands and no idea how to spend it.It is rare for me to reach out in this fashion. To share, as it were, my diary with you but I feel I must speak out as I am absolutely without any activities to keep me occupied – save, of course, from my horse-back riding, my piano lessons, my French language lessons, my computer time, my social-influencer goal plans, meals with my family, pilates, yoga, and tai chi workouts and my on-line shopping.
When we were asked to quarantine, the first thing I needed to know was how would that affect my salon appointments? Who would do my nails? I have, and please don’t spread this about, alarming large cuticles that require nearly daily attention.
On the plus side, I don’t have dangling nose hairs like Rebecca Montague. My God, those things are like a trellis. Romeo could climb them – of course, he’d get to the top, take one look at Rebecca and dash right back down!
(I’m not worried that she will learn of this jibe. I have never seen her read.)
I suppose you are curious about who I am and what we are doing to weather this coronavirus pandemic. I am Felicity Llewelyn of the Hempstead Llewelyns. We live in a fairly large manse – some 32 rooms – called Hempstead on the Hudson. You’ve likely never seen it. We have control of the air rights above and, of course, the dogs on the ground can be a bit of a deterrent as well.
My family came to these shores shortly after the Mayflower landed– in a much nicer ship of course – and we settled in a far nicer area than the Mayflower folks. It was my ancestors who brought the Indians and the Europeans together on the Manhattan Island sale. We’ve always been irritatingly rich. Not like the hated stock traders or fund managers of today with their grubby little fortunes and slicked back back hair and their cocaine addictions and love of ticker tapes and what not. I am talking real wealth. Wealth not earned so much as kept and tended like a giant redwood.
And I know how hard it may be for you to like me because of my family name and houses and islands and cars and servants and general air of arrogance but believe me, I have my pants put on one leg at a time, just like you.
It’s not our fault that we are filthy rich. Way back in our lineage, my ancestors worked very hard to amass a fortune and we remain wealthy today even though no one in the family has done a single bit of work in the last 3 generations. My father’s Grandfather was the last of us to actually go anywhere to do anything. After that, if became clear that money simply makes more money if left to its own devices. Sort of a financial photosynthesis one supposes.
We wake up every day richer than when we went to sleep. I don’t understand how it happens, but it does. My father is a member of some boards, but he really doesn’t do anything. His father and his father’s father were also do-nothings, but they were all quite important in their day. They remain best known for their large mustaches.
At any rate, Papa is here with us and his mustache of course. Mama is here with her mustache as well, but we try not to notice it.
We are absolutely isolated here with only the immediate family – Papa, Mama, Uncle Cecil -who stays in his rooms in the east wing trying to get his mustaches to meet around the back of his head for some reason, Cousin Eunice – who is really darling, Cousin Reggie – who isn’t, me of course and my younger brother Samuel who rarely leaves his rooms where I am convinced he spends his days immersed in Japanese Tentacle Porn videos. I think it’s wonderful that he has a hobby.
We also have the staff staying on. We offered them to work from home, but their homes are not nearly as wonderful as our home and their personal families not nearly as interesting as we are, so they all voted to stay.
There are 10 of them I think. They all dress alike so I get terribly confused.
Cousin Reggie is quite abusive to them – shouting out “Hey You!” instead of “Scullery Maid!” Or “Groundskeeper!” It’s really rude of him not to make an effort to get to know what they do around here.
(Of course, I have no idea what a scullery is but I imagine it’s quite important or why would be have a maid for it?)
Anyway, I shall check back with you periodically as I suspect you are dying to know how we are coping with this forced quarantine. Don’t worry. Our larders are full, and we can always have someone shoot something and cook it if we get peckish. I did note that there were no kippers for breakfast this morning and I believe someone will have to chat with the kitchen staff about that. I don’t like kippers, but they really should be there – don’t you agree?
I’m off to find the library. Apparently, we have an enormous one. I wish to look at the dust jackets. I adore dust jackets. I do not like dust however so I shall take a servant and have them dust the jackets first. I do hope they know where the library is!
Do take care! One supposes that even you are important in some mysterious way to someone. I shall write again if the muse strikes. Goodbye!
For more of the FOR THE HELL OF IT blog: https://johnnyheller.com/category/for-the-hell-of-it/