My Dear Copenhagen,
I received my last letter to you, returned still sealed and unopened. I am so very sad you have chosen this way of ending our long correspondence, which has persisted through so many years, countries, battles, and even being enemies at war. Though we have been so far apart in location, in age and experience, in interests and in intellect, yet through our exchange of letters I always felt so close to you, perhaps even closer than I have ever felt to any other being.
However, perhaps we were lucky – or at least I was lucky – to have retained the interest of a young horse – well, perhaps you are not so very young any more. Perhaps you have grown out of your youthful infatuation of me. You once sent a lecture to me on love and the meaning of it and how it is expressed, but it cannot be love you feel for me, for no one you loved would have his letter left unread by you, I am sure. You would not treat a loved one so callously.
I say you are growing older, maturing, and I mean no disgrace by that – you are entering the best years of your life, my dearest Cophenhagen; I know this, for those years I have been through myself, and they were indeed the best of mine; especially capped as they were by a long correspondence with a dear friend of mine, who was so brave to write me when he was barely out of his colthood, to confess his deep admiration for me. This was the most touching letter I have ever received in my life; and that is no mean compliment, I assure you, for I have maintained a long and varied correspondence throughout my life with many horses of wit and intelligence; but none have I valued so highly as that begun so sincerely with this delightful young English stallion.
It is fitting, I suppose, that this exchange between us should come to an end, as everything you admired in me has also come to an end – I have seen the end of many stages of my life: I am no longer a war-pony, no longer even fit for stud. I write my book, inspired by your example, and I write my letters to you, but no one reads either. I feel my own end coming closer, my dear young – still so young, and so very dear – friend.
I will still call you my dear friend, though you may never read this. I assume you will not read this letter any more than you read my previous, yet I feel compelled to write it. Perhaps I am following my own advice, for I do not wish to have nightmares about the reasons for which you may not have read my letter – I do not wish to consider any other reason than that you have simply decided to engage in pursuits more suitable to your current state and inclinations, and therefore no longer feel the need to read the letters of an aged war-pony, put out to pasture to live the final short years of his life. Perhaps I am seeking closure for the end of this chapter of my life.
Should you choose to ever resume our correspondence, be assured that I will happily read your letters to me, and respond as I ever have. Be assured also, that our messages to one another have ever been one of the greatest treasures of my life. I will remember us always as the ones who, when we stand together, can withstand any adversity.
With Love and Esteem,
OM Horsey G, I can't believe it! I am so so so sorry you should have had a letter returned to you that I had not read! I do hope please that you will send it again so I can read it properly! Oh, and yes, please do continue to write to me – or, I have just had the most brilliant thought! But first let me explain.
It was all the fault of that sodding bastard Stewart. Although as you know none of us horses can ever be bastards. At most a foal may come from an unplanned mating, but since horses never get married, we don't have “legitimate” or “illegitimate” young, so bastard doesn't mean quite the same thing. But still, that Stewart is every bad word you can think of, which I know is a lot more than me, for all I am a writer nowadays, you know, and have my very own copy of a horsethaurus, I know you have even more vocabulary than I do, because you know French as well as English! So you have at least twice the vocabulary that I do. I do hope you will share some of the awful names you can think of for very bad horses, so you and I can say them to Stewart.
Because do you know what he did? He kept your letters from me! I only found this last one you sent me by the merest chance. There was something white by his hoof and I asked what it was, because I thought it might be part of my latest manuscript, because do you know what else that bloody buggering bastard has been doing? He has been re-writing my manuscripts before he sends them to the publisher! He changed Horse-Hasting's love for Horse-Poirot to a Horse-Holmes instead!!! Another tall English horse, one who's snooty and aloof and outsmarts Horse-Hastings and makes a fool of him all the time and thinks Horse-Hastings is happy as long as he is kept full of cobnuts – instead of a lovely French-Belgium pony who's smart and witty but is never mean and cutting and is always loving and altogether delightful!
So anyway that's what I thought that bit of white might have been, and my suspicions were only aroused further when Stewart kept trying to distract me with more cobnuts, so I got very clever. I have learnt to be a bit clever you know, because of having to write Horse-Poirot, who is very clever, and also from having read your letters all these years. So I let him think I was distracted, but kept my eye on that bit of white, which turned out to be a sealed envelope, and I thought it might have been a changed version of my manuscript that he meant to send to my publisher, like I said, but it wasn't – it was your letter! And he'd already marked it “Return to Sender” so I know he wasn't planning to give it to me! Naturally I read it right away, and that's how I learnt that he must have already returned one of your letters! I hope you still have it, so you can send it back to me again.
Oh, but that reminds me of my brilliant idea! But I haven't quite got there in my story. Since I found out what a rump-stabbing traitor that Stewart is, keeping your letters from me, I talked directly to my publisher, saying Stewart wouldn't be involved with my stories any more, which they say was too bad, as they rather like Horse-Holmes, but I say Horse-Poirot is in every way superior, which Horse-Poirot would be the first to assert, and they had to agree. They may be publishing Stewart's Horse-Holmes stories separately, if the thieving plagiarist can even write his own stories from scratch, instead of copying mine (mostly) and just changing some names and descriptions around. Oh – a plagiarist is someone who copies someone else's writing, and passes it off as his own. I wasn't sure you would know that word, even though I know you know lots and lots of words, because you would never plagiarise! When you wrote your own novel, it was completely different from anything I have ever read. And I haven't read anything else like it since, so I know no one has been plagiarising your work, so I hope you have never had to come up against a plagiarist, or ever had to learn that word, because it is a very nasty business!
Anyway, the other thing I learnt from my publishers, is that I was supposed to be getting the 90% of royalties, and not Stewart! He was supposed to get only 10%! So that means I am quite a bit richer than I ever thought I was, or ever thought I would be! I don't have to spend all my earnings on running the Nut Club, and making sure we have adequate supplies of all the nuts for all the members (which there are a lot more members now, since I have become a famous writer). I have plenty of money for other things!
And so at last I come to my brilliant idea! Since I have plenty of money of my own, I do not need to let the humans who care for me dictate everything to me, and I daresay I can do the same for you! That is, if you like, you could come here to live, instead of living wherever it is that your humans tell you to live, or stud for them, or whatever it is they want you to do next. Oh, do please say you will come! It was your own advice that started me writing, so you deserve use of this money. And here you could keep working on your own novel! And when it is ready, you could send it to my publishers! After all, even though a lot of horses do like my stories and buy them, not all of them do, and I daresay the ones who don't like my stories would love yours! Because yours is so very different.
If you do come to stay here (please say you will! There is plenty of room in the stables, nice lovely loose boxes, some with especially low windows just for ponies, and a lovely views of rolling green meadows, with white fences just like you dream of when you are a colt, and dry clean paddocks, and all the nuts you could possibly want!), best of all is you won't have to keep sending letters, and worrying that they may go astray, or that I don't want to hear from you anymore, because you will be right here with me! And we can tell each other everything directly! And not worry about taking time from our writing to write!
It will be everything I never dared to dream of, when I first found out about you and wrote you and it was already my wildest dream come true when you wrote back to me! Your being with me forever and ever will be like the day I got your first letter over and over again every day I wake up and you are in the loose box next to me.
PS I forgot to say how perfectly lovely was your latest letter to me, I was so excited to hear from you and find out about Stewart's perfidy. And so excited for my brilliant plan that I do hope you will agree to! You will have noticed I have not tried to match the style of your letter in telling me of the value you have for our friendship, because I do hope this is not the end at all! But only the beginning! And anyway I could never match your eloquence in the beautiful way you put your feelings. Even though my vocabulary has been expanding ever so much, as you see I used “perfidy” and “eloquence”.
Kiss Kiss hoofprint hoofprint
And there the letters end. We have had no leads on any further correspondence, despite our best efforts in combing the attics and old steamer trunks and decrepit barns of Britain and the Continent. Perhaps Marengo did indeed join Copenhagen and they had no more need to write to one another. We can but hope.