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A Bridge of Letters

nice, and it is something I shall look forward to. They say you are
doing well at school, which is good news, so keep working hard. If
you get the time, it would be nice to get a letter from you to hear
your news. The address at the top will always get to me.
With much love, Dad.
The address at the top was just „Dept. OS 19, The Foreign Office, London, SW.1.’
Peter wrote back, almost at once, thinking his Dad would do the same.
Dear Dad,
Thank you for your letter. I hope you are well. I am alrite
and getting used to things. But I miss you and Mum of course.
School is OK and I am playing football. We have started
French which I like and am good at. Please write again soon.
Love Peter, xxxx
But he didn’t write soon. In fact, he didn’t write for a month or so, during which
time Peter had sent at least two more letters. Eventually, they managed to keep up a
pretty regular flow of correspondence, which, in time, became the only contact
between them, as Maurice spent more and more time away. His letters to Peter never
contained much news, and always seemed to be posted in London. I never have
much news, as nothing much ever happens for me to tell you about. I
just seem to work all the time”, he once explained. Peter, on the other hand,
always had plenty to talk about, and the older he grew, the more he enjoyed writing
about his life. It was obvious to his father that he was doing well at school, and that
he was particularly good at languages. He eventually started talking about his own
future, and even thought he might one day join the Army, if he could get to university
first. Maurice was delighted to read this, and was full of encouragement.
It was some years since Peter and his father had met, and yet through all this time,
their exchange of letters was maintained to the point that they both felt that they knew
one another quite well. But Peter was curious to know more about what his father
did, and where he was, to the point that he once even phoned the Foreign Office. He
didn’t really know where to begin, so asked to be put through to the mysterious
“Dept. OS 19”.
“I’d like to know the whereabouts of Mr Maurice Northcot, please,” he asked the man
who answered the phone.
“I’m afraid I’m not allowed to tell you that,” replied the man.
“Why not?”
“I’m just not allowed to, that’s all. But I could pass a message if it’s urgent.”
“But you must know where he is, because I write to him at your address all the time,”
protested Peter.
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