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Common Sense Advice

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Dear Mrs. Collins,

My felicitations again. I hope you had an enjoyable honeymoon and are settling into to your married life with as much satisfaction as I saw at your wedding.

I'm writing to ask if you might do Woman's Choice Magazine, and myself, the favour of once again lending your empathy and good sense to our advice column. Our most recent Artemis has left the publication with very little notice, and frankly no one currently on staff suits the position so well as you. I hope you do not take offence at my suggestion, having so recently established your own household, but I thought you might enjoy the diversion. The rates would be the same as our previous agreement, plus ten percent.

Do you have any word of Phryne's return? I've had nothing from her since her arrival in London. Melbourne doesn't feel the same without her.

Warmest regards,

Regina Charlesworth
Editor in Chief
Woman's Choice Magazine

* * *

Dear Mrs. Charlesworth,

I would love to! When do I start?

I haven't heard from Miss Fisher either, but the Inspector writes my Hugh. They were in Belgium last month. I hope they come back soon.

Dot Collins

* * *

Dear Artemis,—I am a divorcee of middle years, who is able to live independently without entering the workplace. Indeed, I have lived alone since the dissolution of my marriage, and thought myself quite comfortable. Recently, however, I have begun to find myself at loose ends. Most of my childhood and school friends have married and drifted away, and the abrupt end of my last relationship, along with other events, soured me to the rest. I know that my problems sound small compared to those of most of the women applying for your advice, but I feel as though by failing to become the woman I expected to be, I have lost myself. I don't know how to begin again, or if I should try.


* * *

My dear "Restless,"—Each of us faces our own trials, and when we're in the middle of a trial, there's no sense comparing it to someone else's. Everyone who writes to me needs a little help, and I'm happy if I can be of use to them. The Bible tells us that "to every thing there is a season," which some quote meaning that you should wait for a better one, but I've often found really means that you may think you're in a different season than the one you're actually in. This may not be your time to love, it may be your time to build up, or to plant. It may even be your time to have an adventure, even if it frightens you. Think about a time when you did something you've loved for its own sake, something that made you happy. If you're able to go out, perhaps you could join a volunteer society related to your interests. Many of them do not require much training, simply a good head on one's shoulders, a ready smile, and neat penmanship. It might be frightening to ask strangers to accept you, at first, and you may not find a group that suits right away, but I think you will in time. I wish you the best of luck.


* * *

Dear Artemis,—I am very grateful for your reply to the letter I wrote three months ago. I followed your advice, have joined several associations and charitable societies, and did indeed find that what I needed was a little adventure. Although this has led to new friendships and satisfaction in my work, is has also caused me to apply again for your assistance. My problem is that I think that I may be falling in love with one of my co-workers, a senior member of our society. My co-worker is tall, handsome, brilliant and incredibly gallant towards me, everything, in short, that the last two men in my life were. Both of those relationships ended in ruin, and I suspect that courting the same disaster a third time will make a fool of me yet again. I also do not want to think of myself as the kind of woman who joins a charitable society simply to find a match. I am too old for such nonsense. Please tell me if the best course might not be simply to grow up and get over this silly crush.


* * *

My dear "Heartsick,"—In answer to your second concern: I have it in your own handwriting that you were not setting your cap for a husband before you started. Unless you are planning to leave all your responsibilities on your marriage, simply reply to naysayers that people find love in all all sorts of unexpected places, even charitable societies. About your first point, you sound like you are old enough to know a "silly crush" when you feel one, and know what "falling in love" is like, too. Telling someone to trust their heart can be overused in this kind of column, but I think that it's good advice in your case. You must remember that adding another person to your life doesn't make you any less your own woman. This is the 20th Century, after all! Go out with your co-worker, take him for a walk or to the pictures, get to know him outside of work. If you still think you're falling in love then, this may be your season for it.


* * *

Dear Mr. & Mrs. Collins,

You are cordially invited to a house warming party for

Doctor Elizabeth Macmillan
Miss Rose Sanderson

To take place
At Seven in the Evening
On the Twelfth of October.
Drinks and light refreshments to be served.

PS: Pass this along to Phryne and Jack, if they've surfaced.