Work Header

my own goes wandering round

Work Text:

Skirmidge House

Stoke St. Milborough

10 October 1903

Dear Fen,

I arrived safely yesterday evening. Jonty met me at the train station with the motor car. I tried to convince him to let me drive, but he wouldn’t be persuaded. I told him your father allowed us to use his, but he didn’t seem overly convinced about my capabilities. I, of course, neglected to tell him about the time we drove it into the cow field, but maybe he had an inkling. Brothers, you know. 

Perhaps I’ll convince Bill to give me a lesson while we are all here. You know I do so love to master a skill. Then I could give you a lesson, and I know you do so love our lessons. 

It’s dreadfully peculiar being back at Skirmidge House. Olivia has put her own touches on the house, as I knew she would. Her taste is quite modern, but I do have to admit I like what she’s done with the place. Enough is the same that I can still see the echoes of how things were when I was running the household, but I can see that leaving was the right decision. Olivia has risen to the occasion, as I hoped she would. 

Now, I can hear you shrieking in my ear that I’ve written three paragraphs and have yet to mention the newest Merton. Oh, Fen, she’s a wonder. Millicent--Millie--Helen Merton. I’ve only just returned her to her nurse to write you, otherwise she’s been in my arms all morning. The grip on her! She wouldn’t let go of my finger! A future champion gun, mark my words. I’m eager for you to arrive and meet her. 

I’m eager for a lot of reasons. 

Oh Fen, I know a fortnight isn’t terribly long, and it made sense at the time for you to arrive later, but I have to ask what were we thinking? Ah well, at least I have my darling new niece to occupy me until you arrive. I think I will talk Bill into taking me out in the motor car. You know how I love a challenge. 


Your Pat.


King’s Norton

20 October 1903


My darling Pat,

You see, you’ve vexed me and I do so hate to be vexed. I think you’ll find that most people find me very agreeable. But, what were we thinking, my dear girl? I seem to remember a rather long conversation where I argued that we should travel together and you argued that you wanted to go along ahead and make sure things were settled. 

You know how you get, darling.

But how wonderful, a little girl! I am beyond excited to get to meet her in only a few days. I’m sure you’ll have her as a seasoned gun by the time I arrive. I’m so looking forward to meeting her, and Jonty and Olivia. I hope I shan’t be too much of an imposition on their hospitality. 

It’s been terribly quiet since you left. Daddy is off on one of his trips, as you know, and while I generally enjoy the privacy of having the house to ourselves, it’s been a challenge getting on without you. I hadn’t realised just how much I’ve come to take your presence for granted.

So really, you see, you should definitely listen to me the next time I say we should travel together. Besides, I’m certain between the two of us we would have no problem convincing Bill to let us take the motor car for a spin.

I’ll see you soon my beautiful Pat. Perhaps even before this letter reaches you. 


Yours always,



[Written on the personal stationary of Fenella Carruth, undated and unsent.]


Dear Daddy, 

I hope you received my last letter - I haven’t had a response yet, but Pat and I are visiting Sir Hubert and Lady Armstrong in Peakholme. We’ve been invited for a house party, and both thought a change of scenery could be good.

Oh, don’t roll your eyes at me. I can practically hear you saying that Pat gets enough of scenery on her walks. I suppose you’re right. Pat would be perfectly content to roam the countryside at the estate. It’s really me who needed a change of pace. 

I love our home and I love Pat, just sometimes I feel - itchy. I don’t know how else to explain it. I suppose it’s part of the reason why I got myself into the spot of trouble, you know what I mean. I don’t mean to, Daddy, you know I don’t. Luckily, I have Pat to keep me in check.

The weather has been lovely, and we’re having a wonderful visit. The other houseguests have all been extremely kind and interesting.


That isn’t true at all, you know. You really shouldn’t lie to your father. 


It’s rude to steal the pen right out of my hand, you know.


The other guests are horrid and you know it.


Mr. Curtis and Mr. da Silva seem lovely.


Fine. But the rest of this place… 

I don’t have a good feeling about this house, Fen.


I know. I don’t feel good about it either.

What should we do?


Keep our guard up. Keep our eyes open.

Be careful.


Yes, you’re right, Pat. Keep our guard up. 

I’ll start thinking of reasons to leave in case we have to make our excuses.


Oh, and Fen?


Yes, dear?


Should we talk about…

Your itch?


Probably, yes. We should.

Perhaps a bit more privacy first.


Yes, good idea, darling.

But we will talk about it. 

We’ll figure it out.


I know we will.

3 September 1905


Dear Fen,

Thank you for your last, my lovely. It’s so nice to hear from you. It’s only been a few weeks since we were together, but it feels like an eternity. I was happy to hear all the news from home, especially the developments between Johnny and Susan. It really does seem like he has finally pulled his head out of his arse, but we thought that last time too. Hopefully by the time I return home we’ll be planning a wedding.

The shooting is going well, at least. As much as I like to be a gun with the boys, it really is nice to spend time with my fellow lady guns. Margaret Williams is here: she's the one I was telling you about. She came in second place last time, and she’s determined to take first place this time. I’m determined not to let her, of course. 

If I didn’t hate to lose almost as much as I hate to disappoint you, I would be on the first train home. I know you wouldn’t want that for me. I don’t want that for me either, but I’m worried about you, my love. Don’t think I didn’t notice how much of your letter was about other people, and not about you.

I haven’t forgotten about your itch. You’ve been so supportive of me and my school and my ambitions, I want to make sure that you’re getting as much attention.


Your Pat.


15 September 1905


My darling, 

Only you could write me a letter from your shooting competition and say nothing about it, other than it’s going “well.” You had better return home with another first place trophy, or I shall be cross with you.

When we first met, you were adrift. It’s one of the greatest honours of my life that you trusted me with your dream to open the school. That I could be by your side while you took your idea from dream to reality. It’s been so wonderful to watch you grow into a beautiful woman and teacher. The way you help women develop this real world skill and learn to have a fraction of the confidence that you have is so wonderful. Truly, truly wonderful. 

I remain so grateful to be your first student and your partner. 

I don’t know what my ‘itch’ is. It’s nothing to do with you, I hope you know that. You make me so happy, and there’s nothing I love more than our life together. I think I still have some growing left to do. I’m excited to see where that takes us both.

I do have another kind of itch I know you can help with… 

I miss your fingers. I love the sight of them wrapped around a gun. I love the way they feel pressed against the palm of my hand. I love the way you touch me with them. I love to watch them curl into our sheets when I touch you. The sounds you make, they just completely undo me. 

I love to make you squeal. The way you taste, the way you move against my mouth, it makes me wild to think about. I long to have you here next to me, I want to sink myself into you and get lost. I want to be tangled up in the blankets and stay there until we’re both shaking and exhausted. 

I miss you, my darling. Come home soon.




27 June 1906




I ran into Bill on my morning walk in the park this morning. I know our plan was to meet back at the house for luncheon, but Bill invited me back to his boarding lodgings and since I have not had a chance to properly catch up with him in several months, I was eager to accept. 

Jimmy is here too, but they both insisted you’re welcome to join us, and I think you should, if you feel up to it. It could be good for all of us to catch up properly. Their address is enclosed with this message. 

Hope we shall see you soon! 


Your Pat.


[Written on the personal stationary of Fenella Carruth, dated 29 June 1906.]


Good morning my Fen,

I’ve headed out for another early morning walk. No plans to get waylaid by errant brothers this morning, but one never knows. I shouldn’t be out late, we can have an early tea together and head out to the shops later this afternoon.


Your Pat.


30 June 1906



Dear Amy,

It was lovely running into you at the modiste’s yesterday. That dress was such a charming shade of pink, I can’t wait to see you wearing it! 

I know there wasn’t time to chat, so would you please stop by the house to see Pat and I? You were asking about Pat’s latest championship, and even though she can be dreadfully modest at times, it isn’t too difficult to get her talking about shooting. I’m sure she would love to tell you all about it--and offer you a lesson? 

Please do visit regardless. 


Yours truly,



[An ad in the London Times dated 7 July 1906]


WANTED Modern Women looking for Shooting Instruction from 3 TIME LADIES CHAMPION GUN Patricia Merton should send their inquiries to Miss F Carruth, King’s Norton.


13 September 1907


I’ve sent this note out with Johnny, I hope he is able to find you out on the grounds. The two new students scheduled to arrive this afternoon have been delayed, and won’t be here until next week. Should you wish to extend your walk to one of your ‘long romps,’ it would be an ideal day for it. I asked Cook to make you a sandwich, and sent it with this note. 

Enjoy your day, darling! 





PS. A shipment of switchboard materials was delivered, and Daddy’s steward is away until the end of the month. Never a dull moment!


15 September 1907



Do you plan to come out of the workshop any time soon? I know you’re excited to learn all you can about the telephone machine, but you’ve been down there for hours without a break, and I’m starting to worry you’ve been lost to the depths of the basement. 


Your Pat.


15 September 1907



Did you know the telephone is a truly amazing thing? I had only the vaguest understanding of how it all worked but now I can think of almost nothing else. I think I shall move down to the workshop and live among the circuitry. 

Remember me fondly.



15 September 1907



Sounds like you found the perfect thing to scratch your itch.

Should you discover another with which you desire my assistance, you know where to find me.


Your Pat.