Epilogue: Letter No. 4, from Albert to Candy

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Translated from Italian publication of CCFS Vol.2. pp217-222

For the little witch Candy

Dear Candy,

There's no need to cast such a strange spell: I remember very well the birthday of a certain person! About this, I've already spent a long time looking for a present for you. I'd like the fruit of my sweat and tears to be a gift that will leave you absolutely ecstatic! Therefore, I pray, excuse me if your magic has no effect. I myself, more than anyone else would like to take a holiday, but George says with great severity that I had taken a break sufficient to last a lifetime. He is right.

Don't pull that angry face, Candy. Instead why don't you return to Chicago? Annie would like to celebrate your birthday and if you come here, it would be easier for me to have a free moment.

When you overcome the disappointment, and if you decide to accept my proposal, I will immediately send a car to get you. Naturally you would like all the Pony House to participate as well.

Certainly a celebration organised in your orphanage would be lovely, but I think even in Chicago it wouldn't be too bad. Your children could take an educational trip, and I would like the Directors to be able to rest a little.

So, are you still annoyed? When you receive my present, however, I am sure you will show a big smile!

In spite of everything, I think your magic has partly worked. Since I received you letter all I do is think about the past.

You asked me what I was doing that day on the Pony Hill, in Scottish dress. You should know that at that time...rather from when I was small, I was severely prohibited to go out freely, but even to present myself in public.

As you already know, I was only a child when I had to fulfill the role of head of the Ardlay family. There are complicated reasons that led to this circumstance: for the Ardlay, in fact, what matters most are the blood ties. My father, William C. Ardlay, was an excellent businessman and he had right the family since he was young. His sudden death created instability and there was no one but I a small boy of eight years of age to succeed him. The role as head of the family is handed down William and William through the direct line of descent. Great Aunt Elroy, my father's eldest sister, and the family elders reflected on what to do, because they knew that amongst the Ardlay's there were those who wanted to occupy my place.

You don't need to know the details of these internal conflicts, now everything is resolved for the better.

Any way, the elders had decided to entrust me with the role of head of the family and to occupy themselves with everything until I was old enough. Following a well thought out plan, they made sure that they spread the word to the family and the world of business that Mr. William A. Ardlay was an eccentric man, but particularly skilled in his work. Fortunately, it was a large family, and only a few people knew the truth. On the other hand, having heard the same story, people believed it. The effects of this plan were very frightful. With time, the memory of me disappeared from the memory of the few relatives that I had spent my infancy with. Even I don't know how these things came to be. I was a puppet, and very alone.

My only company constituted discreet domestic servants and private tutors, carefully selected and specialised in subjects that ranged from business administration and law. So, I grew up with stern looking adults. I had beside me my sister Rosemary, and I managed to bear everything with serenity. She was the only one who was able to understand me. She worried about my situation and for my stolen identity. Then, even she left me.

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