Running Mad

What a chaotic and unsettled few days it has been. Interruptions, quarrels, endings, deaths — not always an ending, as denizens of the Neath know — it’s the kind of strife best loved by Hell, one supposes. Sufficient explanation for why it must happen here with dismaying regularity!

I have recovered from my personal breakdown over the weekend and now feel rather aimless, drifting the twisted streets of this city like a wraith. The Shuttered Palace has become tiresome diversion. My time in the Forgotten Quarter I must limit — as long as I may focus on The Correspondence, all is well. Now that I know the truth of the hunting horns in the distance… hearing them stirs such anger, such indignation. I would that I could ride to the rescue of those poor unfortunates whom the devils hunt and yet I am prevented, as well all are. It is yet another fact of this place I wish I could unknow.

There are so many of them. It’s no wonder we all run mad here occasionally.

I have taken to wandering Watchmaker’s Hill, Spite, and Mrs. Plenty’s Carnival to divert myself, rather aimlessly accepting employment from the various ministries and seeking anything that might provide stimulation. I fear this creeping boredom worst of all, it has ever been my Nemesis.

The most pleasant happening in recent days was the privilege of spending a quiet afternoon renewing a friendship with dear Tobias, whom I have missed dreadfully during his recent absences. His quiet strength and solicitous attention were just the anodyne I needed to soothe the troubles which had plagued me so. Afterward he very kindly set about my usual haunts, quelling some of gossip being spread about me with such deftness and diligence that I find myself untouched by any sort of scandal whatsoever, for the first time in a very long time.

I have been quite fortunate in those of you who’ve chosen to befriend me, truly. No woman could ask for better.

As ever, dear friends — the Tea Room remains open, if you wish to drop by and chat. Also, our next Open Salon is scheduled for July 31st, August Eve. I hope to see you there.



  1. Narcissus said,

    July 20, 2010 at 6:01 pm

    I don’t know what overcame me. I became so enamored with the expedition and my team — learning zee-shanties from my strong men at the excavation site, rating booksellers in Elderwick with my students, asking impertinent questions of my clay men, trusting each of them to do what they were best at, let the deviless and the doctor do their worst! I forgot how ill-suited I am to leadership. If I call off my expedition, I shall be in your position soon, I think, wandering the city in hopes of distraction. But it would unlivable without friendship, I know. Thank you for yours.

    • Lin-Sjian Yujao said,

      July 20, 2010 at 6:09 pm

      None of that. You’re suited well to leadership; it’s discipline you’re wanting. We’d make a fine team, actually.

      • Narcissus said,

        July 20, 2010 at 6:16 pm

        *a smile* … You know, when you say it, I feel obliged to believe it. It must be that captivating presence of yours.

        • Lin-Sjian Yujao said,

          July 20, 2010 at 6:17 pm

          What do you think — partners, then?

          • Narcissus said,

            July 20, 2010 at 6:27 pm

            Why not? Let’s toast to it, once my stomach’s out of knots.

    • cl0ckw0rks said,

      July 20, 2010 at 7:45 pm

      Narcissus, you must finish your expedition there. You must. I can’t stress enough how important it is for you to return to the Forgotten Quarter and pick up where you left off. You owe it to that girl and to the rest of your team to reach your goal and cover them all in success.

      With Yujao at your side, it should be a most unforgettable dig!

      • Narcissus said,

        July 20, 2010 at 8:51 pm

        You’re right, of course. Of course you’re right! How could anyone say it better, or be more an inspiration? What a pitiful story I would have made of my dear student, of all of us, if I ended it there. Our adventure needs to end on a note of triumph and ecstasy, not on my slinking away in self-pity — I forgot, for a moment, that if I am a poor leader, I do know how to spin a pleasing story. And how much I needed you to remind me!

  2. Henrik Paulsen said,

    July 20, 2010 at 6:22 pm

    Perhaps, if you can find nothing to do, then you must instead find something to teach — make use of what you’ve learned in your studies, and share it with us, and try to work out the puzzles of this place.

    • Theodor said,

      July 20, 2010 at 6:36 pm

      The conversations the three of us have had about the Masters and the nature of the Neath have been most animating and enlightening for me … though I should not presume to say what they’ve been for anyone else.

      • cl0ckw0rks said,

        July 20, 2010 at 7:42 pm

        I have learnt much from you and Henrik as well, dear Theodor. I do not see you as much as I used to, something I hope will change in the near future. If I must have you and Henrik over to compare notes on the Correspondence, the Masters, Hell, and all of Fallen London to entice you into my company, then I shall — and gladly.

        • Theodor said,

          July 20, 2010 at 9:11 pm

          I would not value my company at a farthing, and I cannot say how high I value the substance of our discourse … It seems a disproportionate exchange. But one I would accept, nonetheless.

          • cl0ckw0rks said,

            July 20, 2010 at 9:27 pm

            Why Theodor — that was a compliment! Obscurely turned, almost cryptic and therefore quite “Theodor-esque” indeed!

            Thank you. *dimpling* You’ve made my evening.

            Obviously I do tend to value your company and your thoughts. The way you think reminds me of my grandfather, somewhat — a highly intelligent and introspective man. Brilliant in his field. I miss his insights, but yours make up for that lack admirably.

            • Theodor said,

              July 20, 2010 at 10:04 pm

              English is not my first language and I endeavor to be precise, though at times I must be elliptical and at times I — over-explain in a haste, as I am doing now. In truth, I think that has nothing to do with multilingualism. But it’s enough, I should think, that you are complimented.

              Indeed? I don’t what to say of my own insights, but I confess I am curious about his. What was his field?

              • cl0ckw0rks said,

                July 21, 2010 at 10:11 am

                He was a man of diverse interests and lived long enough to attain a level of competence in most of them, I believe. However, his primary love was always mechanical engineering — an inventor of a most unusual turn of mind. He was my first tutor in mathematics, chemistry and engineering and is credited with many inventions and devices, especially in the field of airship technology.

                He could and did discuss philosophy intelligently and at length but would not do so with my grandmother in the same room. I understand they differed stridently on some points, but I was never permitted to know what they might have been (though I can guess, after having sounded her out on several occasions).

                Poetry, the arts, sculpture — Chinese porcelain, he particularly adored that — and cryptology, his not-so-secret passion…

                I should hope to live long enough to achieve even half his level of accomplishment in half the fields in which he excelled, I do declare.

                • Theodor said,

                  July 22, 2010 at 6:39 am

                  You are capable of it. He has, I think, given you his example as much as he has given you education, the evidence that one can have a breadth of interests without sacrificing depth, and if you did not have it already, he has certainly given you the ambition. One should not underestimate the diversity of successes you have had, nor your natural aptitude and intelligence. You may yet surpass him.

                  … I would also be such a man and live such a life.

    • cl0ckw0rks said,

      July 20, 2010 at 7:35 pm

      I should indeed attempt to codify all the strands and threads I’ve learnt about this place in my sojourn here, I suppose. It would be a worthy endeavor to occupy me while we all wait for the roadblocks on our respective paths to be removed. And certainly less deleterious to my health than certain pursuits I’ve taken up on Watchmaker’s Hill.

      As long as I stay away from the Correspondence, my wardrobe might even survive. Henrik, I do not know how you stay so well-dressed, for I know you must have experienced the painful phenomenon, too.

      • Henrik Paulsen said,

        July 20, 2010 at 8:07 pm

        I’ve worked to cultivate patience. When I fear that a challenge might not be met with success, I try to hone my skills beforehand in order to be better prepared — would that I could apply the same ethic to my relations with my friends!

        • cl0ckw0rks said,

          July 20, 2010 at 8:27 pm

          I suppose I take most such setbacks in stride, really. I was an inventor, back in my surface life, had I told you? When I did not achieve the ends I desired with an invention, I never considered it a ‘failure.” Rather that I’d succeeded in finding one more way not to do what I’d intended to do!

          One learns as much from failure as from success, I find. If not more.

          Where the Correspondence is concerned… it is the success that causes one to have to worry about one’s wardrobe, not failure.

          • Henrik Paulsen said,

            July 20, 2010 at 8:43 pm

            Quantitatively, I suspect that one learns somewhat less from failure than from success.

            • cl0ckw0rks said,

              July 20, 2010 at 8:48 pm

              For the Correspondence specifically? Or for failure in general?

              • Henrik Paulsen said,

                July 20, 2010 at 8:51 pm

                In general, although I concede that both failure and success are inflammatory in terms of the Correspondence. Success, though, tends to come with less bleeding from one’s delicate orifices.

                • cl0ckw0rks said,

                  July 20, 2010 at 9:20 pm

                  *laughing* I’ll concede the point.

                  But you, dear friend — if I might paraphrase Shakespeare — consider the uses of failure. You wanted me to teach, well… I know more about “failure” and its uses than I know about aught else, it’s likely to say. So please just consider it, won’t you?

                  • Henrik Paulsen said,

                    July 20, 2010 at 9:22 pm

                    I will. I fear that learning it will bring irrevocable madness — but I will.

                    • cl0ckw0rks said,

                      July 20, 2010 at 9:34 pm

                      It won’t. It’ll just make it easier to cultivate that patience of which you spoke, for the rest of us fallible mortals.

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