Question submitted by Jane Mayberry:
You sound like an old friend of mine called Tabatha Fortescue? I seem to remember you marrying someone with a name similar to Sinclair. Please do let me know if you are one and the same. Yours in hope your old freind Jane Mayberry.
I am ancient dear, you must not expect that I will recall every person with whom I have been acquainted throughout my life–and you evidently did nothing interesting enough that the memory of you outlived your society. That said, I have been convinced for years now that my maiden name was Fortinbras, but now that you mention it, Fortescue does ring a bell, and therefore an acquaintance between us cannot be ruled out. You did not inform me of your maiden name, assuming you can recall yours. It may loosen my memory to hear it, though considering I have already forgotten what I had for breakfast, I do not think it wise to depend upon it.
Oh yes – you are undoubtedly the same Tabitha I knew as a young woman. I was perhaps a little hasty in claiming friendship; we were merely fellow debutantes after all. I have never married so please do not exert yourself to remember me by any other name than Jane. No matter. I would not have brought such a trifling acquaintance to your attention were it not for a one thing. Upon seeing your name it brought back to me a memory of the wonderful afternoon cake served at your house, the receipe for which you once promised me, but which I never received. The cake had a most unusual flavour that I have never, to this day, found in any other confection. Are you now prepared to reveal the secret ingredient that somwhow always lightened the mood of us gals at your otherwise dull afternoon soirees.
Ah, now it all begins to make sense. That cake has been responsible for wiping many a memory, almost all of them best forgotten. It is no secret, though. Juniper is your mystery ingredient–preferably of the distilled variety. Indeed, preferably without any of the other ingredients either, but I cared more in those days about the appearance of sophistication than I do now. May it bring you good cheer. You clearly need it.