My Dear Cousin —

In this year of unrepentant disaster unimagined even by the scribes of the Old Testament, I write to offer some assistance. I could not help noticing your repeated laments on the parenting forums of Facebook. As you said, the truth universally acknowledged is that a household in possession of multiple children must, somehow, provide for their education. I am here, an Ariadne throwing you the thread to guide you out of this labyrinth. In short, you need a governess.

I understand that your children are too old for a nanny, yet too young to apply themselves to their studies independently. Also, the chance of permanent damage from attending school (whether from personal illness or the fear of the demise of beloved teachers and friends) is too great to bear. You find a “pod” both insufficiently supportive of the public school system and also overly public. A governess is a tidy solution for your quandary, and for an old friend such as yourself, I can make myself available. Naturally, quarantine rates apply.

You may have heard of our recent social media marketing campaign: Governesses, Not Just for Royalty Anymore. If not, allow me to describe my typical duties.

  • Drilling your child on the pianoforte just one room away from where you are on a videoconference. Some parents promote a full ten minutes per day of this enriching activity
  • Teaching your children enough Latin to pass muster in medical or law school, whichever you prefer, and enough Greek to accurately pronounce all of the fraternity and sorority names they may encounter in their university days. If, that is, such institutions are still “a thing” when they reach the age of majority
  • Teaching manners and deportment, including “staying six feet away from me at all times” “don’t touch that” and “dirty looks for that family down the street that ’doesn’t do masks’”
  • I do not follow any methods such as Montessori or the like, but rather the Brontë Method, which primarily involves long walks in a cold rain, over moors if available, without complaining
    *Proper mask-wearing etiquette including when to wear a mask (outdoors), when to remain unmasked (indoors), and when mask-wearing is contingent on the company at hand (such as on the veranda)
  • Engaging in vigorous daily calisthenics, including rolling a wooden hoop, coordinated marching, and, where available, rowing boats
  • At no time will your children be forced to wear clothing assembled from curtains
  • If you lack other household staff, I will assist by feeding your children morning gruel to aid digestion
  • I don’t do dishes or Mathematics above rudimentary Algebra

You will recall that I am inherently unsuited both in temperament and appearance for romance. Hence, you need not fear that I will add to your family’s potential exposure by engaging in recreational Tinder-ing activities.

In addition, not having succumbed to typhoid or consumption, I am certain my hearty constitution will sustain me through the current contagion. But for the sake of safety, I do intend to quarantine for two weeks prior to my arrival, as that is roughly how long I expect my journey to your household to take by carriage. My late aunt also gifted me with her collection of elbow-length opera gloves, for protection against inadvertent viral transmission.

I can provide excellent references, none of whom I have nearly married only to find their wives trapped in the attic.

I await your reply with warm regards,

Your Cousin,
Trained Governess