In the space between when Sheridan went home and when I saw him again there were a few letters were exchanged. Here are some of the ones that went through my mailbox.
Received from Switzerland in January of the next year:
It's been almost a month since you gave me my son back. I am so happy to have him back, and I wanted to thank you. I'm "Eternally grateful" and all that. No, I really mean it.
He definitely goes in the, "work in progress," category. I think that he and Leon have come to accept each other's existence. I sometimes have the feeling that he asks Leon for advice on everything not pertaining to homework. It must be awkward for Leon, having his elder brother ask him for advice so often.
He's very close to his grade level in math, thanks to those little books you sent with him, but many of his other subjects here are dependent on his German or French. Actually he is picking them up quickly. Well, more quickly than should be expected for someone his age, he is 12 after all, actually he'll turn 13 next month.
Maybe you already know this, but he's reading English a little. He is held back there by his limited vocabulary as with everything else. I find it very frustrating trying to remember that he is almost a teenager, and he really wants adult answers to the grownup questions that he tries to ask me, even though he doesn't have the foundational vocabulary to talk about those concepts. Very often I think that he already understands some of the foundational concepts to some of his questions. Yes, I guess he would have to or he couldn't ask.
He positively adores Mackenzie; although, I don't think that they can understand each other very well. Mackenzie, who talks mostly German with some French, Italian and English; although, he understands as much French and Italian as he does German, and almost as much English, but can't be counted on to use one sentence structure, or one lexicon consistently.
Kyle is under a tremendous work load just now, and I don't know whether to ask him if he wants to write something or not. Sheridan says, "Hello," and, "Please send me a picture of your family and your cats."
P.S. Mackenzie insists that I tell you that he says, "Bon-ju"
I understood about Sheridan and Leon coming to accept each other's existence. Being an oldest child myself, I remember wishing that my younger siblings weren't there; whereas, To Jean, I was a fixture, but he occasionally wished that it could be the same as before Marguerite appeared.
Both Leon and Sheridan on the other hand had each been an only child, or more precisely in Sheridan's case, the only human in the district.
Sent 2nd of February:
Dear Mrs. Gaelan,
Thank you for your letter. Enclosed are the pictures that Sheridan asked for. If I can be any further service to you or to Sheridan please let me know.
It has come to my attention that Sheridan's escape from his kidnapper involved a substantial Taxi fare, which my sister felt called upon to sponsor. Apparently with very slight hopes of being reimbursed.
Also that some time after the transaction between Marguerite and the cab. Sheridan carried out a threatened scheme of giving Marguerite his winnings from the National Circus Performers Conference.
Sheridan's reasons for giving Marguerite the money are unclear but appear to have nothing to do with the Taxi. In fact he gave her his winnings almost as soon as he could. [In the time] between receiving the money and getting kidnapped, he didn't have a chance for anything more than a minor argument about whether she would let him give [the money] to her. To complete this complex picture Marguerite's ethics in dealing with the money appear cryptic if not totally taboo, except that she considers it to be Sheridan's money, held in trust.
Marguerite was very specific that she was keeping the money separate from hers. At this point I believe that it is invested in CDs in Marguerite's name at my parent's bank near our house. ('Near' being a relative term, At the present moment I'm three quarters of the continent [to the] west [of that bank].)
I've told you everything I know about the situation, at least what I can find the words to express. Now I'm dumping the sticky mess in your lap.
Your favorite ^ Tiger trainer.
P.S. Sorry I almost always close like that when I'm not talking to my family. I forgot that in your case it would need qualifying.
I'm not sure what my problem was, my vocabulary seems to have gotten out of control in this letter. I would blame it on my dad if it were possible, but I don't see how it's possible since it was sent in February, so Dad's effects should have worn off in the two months since I had been around him.
Received early March:
Your letter did get here by the 24th, in time for me to give Sheridan the pictures for his birthday.
I asked Sheridan discreetly about the money and he said that he had given it to Marguerite because to quote him: "She deserved it more than I did," He won't go into further detail except that "Besides. I couldn't have done it with out her." As to [sic] the the taxi money he seems as mystified as the rest of us as to exactly what Marguerite might have been thinking when she paid the fare.
Kyle's solution is to wait until just before the CDs mature and reopen the discussion, at which point whatever emotions are involved will have lessened and things can be discussed more objectively.
Personally, I see no reason why the difference between the fare and the winnings couldn't be calculated and paid, or, if it makes people happier, I could reimburse Marguerite and She can give Sheridan back whatever money is involved between them. Especially since she seems to be keeping it separate for that reason.
Kyle says that he wonders if there are promises involved that we need to be careful not to ride roughshod over. It is/was Sheridan's money after all, if he wants to give it away, or merely entrust it to someone else, there's no reason why he shouldn't be allowed.
He's probably right about the promises - They seem to be secretive enough about it all. Some children are known to have a fascination for promises to secrecy.
I really enjoyed reading your letter. It reminded me that I was an adult and was allowed to know big words. I find it distressing that Sheridan is learning half his German vocabulary from Mackenzie, even if he does check with someone else as to how the words are actually pronounced. The other aggravating thing is that Mackenzie has started squealing again, and Sheridan seems to be encouraging him.
I don't understand what you were making the fuss about in the close of your last letter, I don't think I have a favorite tiger trainer; Although, you might qualify as my favorite guardian angel or something.
P.S. I guess that Sheridan will be sending his own letter also.
Dear Michelle and Marguerite,
Thank You Michelle for the pictures. I have them on my wall. I sing for you and your family every day on the way to school and before I go to bed.
School is hard when they use French or German. I can understand better when they use English but I can understand a lot of French and German now; sometimes I'm not sure whether a word is French or German though. I am trying to read one of Leon's books, which is in German. Leon is my biggest little brother.
Mackenzie is my other little brother. I am also learning to talk to Leon's cat. It uses the same sign language as tigers, but it does not sound the same. Together Towtdi Tim and I are teaching Mackenzie to hunt and talk like a cat. So far there is not anything that is big and slow enough for me or Mackenzie to catch by pouncing, but Towtdi and I can catch rabbits by stalking. Actually I caught only one, but since I do not have to catch my own food anymore I gave it to Towtdi.
Now I just almost catch them and then let them get away. Mackenzie is getting quiet enough to sneak up on things now. He has not learned to pay attention to the wind yet. I wish that he would. If I knew he could remember to pay attention to the wind, then I know that he will also be able to remember not to try to catch sick animals.
Messing with sick animals is a good way to get sick. People's tummies aren't as good as cats. Also people's skin does not have enough fur on it either, to protect it from getting bit.
It's also cold here. The mountains here are different than in Nepal but they are very pretty.
I've tried to fix enough of the paragraphing, punctuation, and capitalization in Sheridan's letter for it to be readable; although, the rest of the syntax was better than I would have expected.
I was very pleased to see Sheridan's progress in communicating his thoughts and in writing. I think that this was possibly reflected in my next letter to Mrs. Gaelan. I sent the following letter to Marguerite and enclosed Sheridan's original with it.
Dear Marguerite, Darling Sister, Favorite female peer and confident, etc.
I am afraid that I have betrayed your confidence about the prize money with which Sheridan finally managed to present you. I informed Mrs. Gaelan, Sheridan's mother about it, as well as share that you had paid his cab fare.
You didn't specifically say that you didn't want me to tell anyone, but the way you only spoke of it in private, communicated that preference quite plainly at the time. I'm sorry, it was terribly indiscreet of me. Would you forgive me?
I thought that I should warn you and apologize. What should I do from here? I told Mrs. Gaelan that it was a somewhat private matter and to keep it from Mom and Dad. I don't see them doing anything unethical about it somehow.
Here is a letter from Sheridan.
Your loving, thoughtless, and humbly repentant sister.
P.S. I have enclosed the Gaelan's address in case you want to write Sheridan's parents and discuss things more directly, and you already know mine. I thought I would tell you that the current thought is to not worry about the prize money is until the CD's are almost ready to mature.
Dear Mrs. Gaelan,
I was pleasantly surprised to hear of Sheridan's progress, and witness it myself in his letter. Good luck and all that.
Sheridan's letter hinted to me that Mackenzie's squealing maybe linked to Sheridan teaching Mackenzie to cat sign to Towtdi Tim. I don't know your feeling on this but, if the noise bother's you more than the concept, you may try banning squealing in the house, or maybe with in a certain distance of the house, rather than trying to ban it altogether, which would inevitably meet more resistance by orders of magnitude.
It suddenly dawned on me that I should have gotten permission from Marguerite and possibly from Sheridan before discussing the money with you. Therefore please be discreet as possible.
Now that I think about the public relations aspect of the problem from Marguerite's point of view, My first guess is that Marguerite has been given an adult sized problem with all the financial and moral trappings to go along with it, and she just want's to try her hand at solving it for herself without another adult, like myself, stepping in and rescuing her until she wants help. More than likely she wants to recruit her own help as needed rather than have it volunteer.
I'm not really in a position to easily communicate to Marguerite right now. I've sent her a letter and forwarded Sheridan's including your address. I don't expect her to receive them anytime soon. Maybe just under two weeks. That's because the forwarding or double, possibly triple forwarding involved in receiving a letter when on the run. Then there is return time.
If she writes you at the same time that she replies to me, very likely you will receive something from her before I do.
I received both of the following letters within the same week.
I was going to write you and thank you for the advice about the squealing. It's been relegated to the outdoors; therefore revitalizing the myth that all mothers don't like cats, which, or course arose from the fact that most mothers have to be realistic about almost everything, cats being one of them.
I just received a letter from your sister. She has thoroughly explained to me her understanding of the money situation. She hints that she would not mind giving the money to me for safe keeping in lieu of a good excuse for her to have given Sheridan his money back.
Do you prefer to go by Michelle or Mz Aubrey? I normally use the rule of thumb Americans who don't have titles I call by their first name and everyone else I call by their title and sir name. If you would prefer to be addressed some other way I can.
Here I paraphrase Marguerite's letter and its post scripts because she obviously wrote most of it in her sleep after staying up half the night studying.
Thanks for the letter. Sorry for taking so long. I might write more later.
The money was in fact somewhat confidential. Not because it was private, but because Sheridan has strange notions about the contest and feels insecure about handling money. Therefore I don't trust Dad to handle it tactfully in the right ways. I'm doing what I think is right which is, since I can't give it back yet without hurting Sheridan, I'm taking care of it the same way that I would, and am, my own long term savings.
Then she goes off rambling in an abstract way on the abstract ways that she knows how Sheridan thinks, and on the random everyday implements and customs that he thinks about. Eventually she closes the letter three times apologizing for being sleepy, therefore unclear, and having a project to work on.
There were letters exchanged between Marguerite and Mrs. Gaelan which I heard bits and pieces of, but never saw. Neither party deemed them important enough to keep and they are no longer in existence.
Eventually I heard that everything had been settled, and just before the beginning of the next season I was called upon to arrange for cashier's checks.
In the meantime though there were more letters.