A frosty wintertide splashed the landscape of Bearton Abbey in a shimmering wave of snow. Steerforth Beartram snuggled within the warm embrace of the parlor sipping tea when Hobbs, the butler, rushed in.
"Sir, I was advised to deliver this telegram post haste."
"Thank you Hobbs."
Opening the parchment correspondence Steerforth read,
Although my stay has been enjoyable I am eager to return to Bearton. Due to inclement weather conditions my voyage home has been delayed. All means of transportation have been halted and being ardent to get home I have arranged passage by way of the mail system. I realize snail mail is not a favorable manner in which to travel but I am in earnest to return. I feel certain you will receive this message prior to my arrival. Please give my love to all and inform them my health is much improved.
Your loving sister,
Bear hugs and snuggles!
Steerforth was overjoyed at the prospect of his sister’s return to Bearton as the house was bearen and listless without her presence. A grand reception in her honor must be held. However, without an exact time of arrival all preparations would be hampered. At that moment a solution infiltrated his cotton filled head. Cousins Burl and Pearl could help. Burl was a savvy thinker while Pearl was exceptionally talented at planning large celebrations. An invitation to tea was quickly composed.
Burl and Pearl,
I am in great need of your assistance. Please come this afternoon if possible. We can discuss my quandary over tea.
Your Appreciative Cousin,
Steerforth tugged the bear pull summoning Hobbs who materialized in the doorway without delay.
“You rang sir.”
“Yes Hobbs. I need this delivered to Burl and Pearl tout de suit.”
“Of course sir.”
Without delay Hobbs headed expeditiously to Cavedweller Hall, residence of Burl and Pearl Bearwell.
Later that afternoon…
“Burl and Pearl, thank you for responding so promptly. I received word that Georgiana is en route by way of snail mail.”
“Snail mail? Oh my! How undignified! Has she fallen off the honey pot again?”
“Gracious no. She assures me her health is much improved but weather conditions have made suitable travel unavailable.”
Pearl raised a questioning eyebrow at this but accepted Steerforth’s explanation even though she felt in her stuffing that all was not as it seemed.
“Well Steerforth, how can we help?” Burl queried.
“I would like to plan a reception for her homecoming. Of course, I immediately thought to enlist your services.
Pearl puffed with pride at the compliment.
"My dear Steerforth, how flattering! We would be honored! Georgiana should receive the most elegant of homecomings in the fashion due a bear of her stature.”
“I knew I could count on you. However, there is an issue with her time of arrival.”
"What seems to be the problem?"
"There is no specific time of arrival."
Silence fell as all three bears pondered the dilemma.
“Hmm, that is a sticky situation.” Burl muttered while contemplating a solution.
“One thing is certain, we need not reveal her means of transportation. After all, to arrive by way of snail mail is so undignified!” declared Pearl.
“Her travel arrangements are inconsequential, so long as she arrives safely! Honestly Pearl, you can be such a snob!" Then turning to Steerforth, "please forgive my sister's pretentious statements."
Glaring at her brother’s insult, Pearl growled,
“I will have you know I am not a snob! Why just last week I spoke to the bear that brings us fresh honey every Friday!”
“Are you referring to Beartrice? You don’t even know her name! And besides, you must speak to her if you want your honey!"
This further ignited Pearl’s anger.
“I will not be spoken to in this manner! Apologize at once Burl! I am not pretentious!”
“Very well, I apologize for stating the obvious. Can we get back to the matter at paw which is planning a homecoming celebration for our cousin Georgiana?”
“Of course. I do apologize Steerforth. My brother can be such a bear at times. He knows exactly how to ruffle my mohair!"
But before another world was spoken Hobbs abruptly entered the room...