Flash fiction. Letters to Constance, by Melanie Mulrooney. Image: the silhouette of a 19th century woman in a fancy hat. On her silhouette are words hand-written in elegant calligraphy.

Letters to Constance

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Mayfair: April 27, 1814

Dearest Constance,

The excitement of our arrival in London cannot overshadow my continued despair that you shall miss this season. I petitioned Mama without end during our long days in the carriage, yet she persists in her view that I must present first. Most unfair!

Though you shyly guard the details, I believe your heart has been yearning. Please do not hate me for your disadvantage, dearest sister. I cannot bear it!

In three days, Mama and I will attend our first Mayfair ball. I promise to relay all news of fashions, gossip, and eligible bachelors.

Your devoted sister,


Mayfair: May 1, 1814

Constant Constance,

I write by candlelight to capture all that is fresh in my mind.

The fashion at the Walkerton ball was a feast for the eyes: luscious silks, intricate embroideries, outrageous feathers. The Duchess of Estabrook wore deep amethyst in the finest silk taffeta. Mama agreed you should have a dress in this precise colour; it would make your green eyes sparkle.

Alas, other sights were not so inviting. Lord Hampton—older than grandpapa, bedecked in a putrid yellow waistcoat—stalked about looking for a new young bride. Deep in his cups, he tripped into Lady Worthington who was attending to her needs behind a curtain. There was an escaped Bourdaloue, a cacophony of screams—quite a mess, as you might imagine. Horrors!

Best of surprises, Mr. Charles Bentley was in attendance! He has certainly filled out his frame since those childhood summers playing in Cook’s vegetable patch—do you remember, Sister? And he initially believed me to be you! I assured him we are used to such things, and jested how you would blush whenever he was near. He insists he was unaware—feigned humility, no doubt. He is perfectly charming and made promises to call on me.

I must end here. The sun rises and my eyes grow heavy.

Sleepily yours,


Mayfair: May 4, 1814

Darling Connie,

Papa’s money is quite a draw for suitors! Most bring beautiful bouquets and pretty words describing my accomplishments—both real and imagined.

Charlie was among the callers today. His gift was rather practical—a muff for my ears, as he recalled I often complained they were cold when we were children. I thought it unkind to remind him it was you who caught those frequent chills. He is thoughtful, even if misguided in this particular attention.

We promenade to-morrow.

Affectionately yours,


Mayfair: May 13, 1814

Sister Dearest,

I write with exciting news: Charlie has proposed! I have of course made swift acceptance, relieved to remove us both from the marriage market. I confess some concern that he often remembers me as you, but this seems of small consequence. Your lifelong admiration of his strong character affirms our engagement. I shall have a suitable husband, and you a trusted brother!

I hope you also see that my quick action is in part for your sake; Mama decrees it early enough in the season that you need not wait for your own debut! She is writing to Aunt Charlotte to arrange your immediate travel to London. Oh, joy!

Dearest Constance, I believe the man that holds your heart awaits! The modiste is fashioning a purple silk for your first ball, where you’ll have the pick of eligible bachelors. Perhaps we shall have a double wedding.

Excitedly yours,


Melanie Mulrooney

Melanie Mulrooney lives in Nova Scotia with her husband and a gaggle of kids. She’s a 2024 Writing Battle contest winner, and her work is published at Metastellar, Martian Magazine, Flash Point SF, and others.


When not writing stories or wrangling children, she can be found devouring books, volunteering in her community, or strolling through the woods. 

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