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.

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Hunger is an Annoyance

  • The Unaccountaby Peckish kind has mostly been a minor annoyance, one that lessened considerably when I enjoyed the last of the fresh food I smuggled in from the surface earlier in the week. I can find no real use for the hunger except to cause me to experience cravings that revulse me and so I’ll be glad when it’s gone.
  • On a related note, I believe I’ve found no fewer than five counterfeit heads of St. John the Baptist since this silly season started.
  • Loneliness is an underhanded, pernicious kind of hunger. It’s a more serious annoyance than the peckishness, if only because its remedy seems far to seek, indeed.
  • In dealing with such unwelcome solitudes I’ve made the acquaintances of the exquisite Rhian Jenkins and a lady who goes by the unlikely psuedonym of “woogawoman,” a moniker I find delightfully intriguing. What is its origin? Why does she use it? Perhaps she’ll trust me enough to confide the truth of it, one day.
  • Also, the formidable Madam Ella Kremper bade me come share a bottle of that wretched (wonderful), evil (liberating) Black Wings Absinthe with her. Even after consulting our dear Commodore about the contents, I was out of sorts enough to accept the invitation and drink the inky black stuff. “Blacker than an idiot’s shadow” indeed — and I think I had to be completely idiotic to drink as much of it as I did. Still… it did ease some of the restlessness, though I’m not sure I care for what I remember of the rest of the night. The Scandal, in the aftermath, was fairly entertaining….
  • Oh, the poem! Thank you, those of you who’ve shared your feelings about it, your feedback (and even critique, in one case) was much appreciated. No, I haven’t heard from Huffam as yet — I rather doubt I shall, as I doubt it’s the kind of poem he generally cares to publish.
  • Rather than continue to ask me the identity of the mysterious “you” in the verses, perhaps you’ll all consent to consider it simply an abstract, or a generality and leave to good breeding any other speculations you might have? Thank you ever so….
  • Ambition is a kind of hunger; this one is not an annoyance though what I must do to achieve it is. I am so sick of the Forgotten Quarter I do wish I could forget it, but until this thing with the relics is over I am doomed to return there, it seems. Quite candidly, if I didn’t need the echoes for a rather stunningly expensive purchase, I wouldn’t return at all!
  • I did remove myself to the Shuttered Palace after a time as it turns out my cures for certain illnesses are rather well-received. Those luridly bright green tongues! I have seldom laughed so hard…! Almost payment enough! Almost.

Outside of hunger, I again contemplate throwing my doors open to all of Fallen London for an Open Salon. Again, I solicit you, my dearest delicious friends, for advice as to dates and times, if you have any. As for purely physical hungers, I have dinner invitations to keep me… sated. Or as close as I ever get to it, these days.

A Little Laudanum Never Hurts

I was quite correct. It all does look so much better this morning.

Narciso, charming man that he is, has forgiven me my clumsiness and failure and given me the opportunity to try another unauthorized entry into the Museum of Mistakes on his behalf. It is so far a much simpler process than it was before, as my previous experiences have indeed stood me in good stead. I have laid a good ground work this morning and should have good news for the dear fellow before the week is out.

Indeed I must have it before the week is out, for news has reached me of a most uncommon expedition, on the surface, to the wild American northwest. I am to go and am somewhat excited for it, though it will restrict my activities here in the Neath somewhat. Fortunately, I have skills in that other world which are not prized and do not seem to apply here in the world of the Masters. With them I shall construct an Aetheric Two-Way Communicator that should allow me to stay in touch with my delicious friends here in some small way.

Last night, I also renewed a friendship with the handsome and knowledgeable Mr. W. and could not be more thrilled. I had not seen much of him since he relocated to premises at the Bazaar itself, which saddened me greatly. It seems I am to help him with a small matter, since he has fallen into upstanding and reputable times — I know those rumors to be misleading. He is a complicated man, as much a rake and a dissolute as any I have known, one who understands the need for stimulus, any stimulus, to fight off the hellish ennuí of boredom.

I do hope he will be a more regular visitor here for I greatly prize his company.

In a spate of more good news I have greatly reduced the threats to my archaeological expedition that Dr. Orthos and Virginia posed — at least for now. I do not delude myself that either has been completely eliminated as a threat, but I do have it on impeccable authority that I’m further along in my preparations than either of them, and intend to keep the situation just so. Best of all, just before I retired for the night I took a walk to clear my head and found that rare moment’s peace that was simultaneously inspiring and restful. I barely needed any laudanum at all to sleep the night through.

Two new acquaintances whom I hope shall be visitors here and delicious friends… and a plan to attract more ladies here, for though I adore my gentlemen friends thoroughly there are times when only the sparkling company of a lovely lady will do. Scandalous, I know… but then, what else did you expect? I cannot spend all my time in church (though one must confess that the curate and his sister made such attendances extraordinarily worthwhile…).

Another day, another scandal

I awoke this morning to discover I’d made the silliest of mistakes. I’d gifted a friend and fellow collector of First City coins with some of what I’d acquired, thinking it was “extra,” only to discover that I had not yet parted out my stake in the Marvellous. I don’t know how I made such an obvious and short-sighted error, but at least it was rather easily correctable. It did mean another rather odious visit to the Numismatrix, of course. I resumed my planning of an informal entry into the Museum of Mistakes shortly afterward and was well satisfied that I’d concocted a plan that would get me in, the coins acquired, and get me out again with no one the wiser.

To my utter astonishment and shame, I failed.

The details are a blur now. I know I took a spill off a slippery rooftop. There was something about a reflection in a glass, and snakes. Worse yet, I was sighted — oh the burning shame of it — and now I am on the “persons of interest” list the constabulary keeps.

Nightmares. Suspicion. Scandal. How I missed adding Wounds to that I’ll never know.

I’ve only ever felt worse than this once. The consequences of that incident drove me to Fallen London and the arms of the Bazaar. I have nowhere else to go now, except into laudanum’s embrace, perhaps. A night of sleep, or what passes for it. This will look better in the morning, I’m sure.

.-*-._.-*-._.-*-.

I’m scarcely faring any better in that silly archaeological dig in the Forgotten Quarter. I still don’t know how I ended up agreeing to that. One too many glasses of Greyfields 1882, no doubt. In any event, Dr. Orthos is hiring all my best assistants away from me and Virgina, that deviless with whom our dearĀ  Commodore Creazil is so enamoured, has had her minions spying on me almost ceaselessly. I’d been treating this whole expedition in a rather light-hearted vein, but after my abysmal performance at the Museum of Mistakes I do believe I’m about to get serious, very serious, about digging for relics in the remnants of the Fourth Stolen City.

Ah well. The night beckons, and another round of chances and opportunities. Good night, Fallen London. Sleep tight. Don’t let the sorrow spiders bite.

First Things

I have often cursed myself for lack of proper foresight and never moreso than now as I realize this journal should have been started months ago, when I first arrived in Fallen London. Of course I ended up in New Newgate, just like everyone else, penniless, clueless, friendless, frightened out of my wits yet so determined not to fail. One is not permitted the niceties of pen, paper and ink in prison, nor is a properly bound journal at the top of the priority list when the struggle for survival is one’s entire world. But oh, the adventures I had! Such excitement, which now can only be recorded through the veil of memory — the unexpected kindnesses, the successes and the setbacks — unfortunately, with all the internal editing that must occur in a memoir.

That’s what this is, as much memoir as journal, a place to record those things for which Fallen London has no space. It’s my history, my narrative, mine and mine alone, as we are all inevitably alone here. Though I have betimes attempted to bridge these lonely gaps, to reach out to others in hopes of creating shared narratives, I’ve found little interest in it so far among my friends and comrades in the Neath. Perhaps they don’t feel the loneliness as I do — I could envy them that, if it’s true.

I only hope it shan’t be boring. Of all the things that sometimes plague me here, I find I fear boredom the most.

Tomorrow I go back to work, having been sucked into an archaeological expedition in the Forgotten Quarter and investigating the security around the Museum of Mistakes. My friend @narcissus_echo has asked me to look into the acquisition of a few rare coins for him and I find that the challenge keeps me occupied and content — thus out of the Singing Mandrake and The Parlour of Virtue.

At least, for now.

If you are a resident of Fallen London and would like a mention over in that column to the left, leave me a note in the comments saying so — I’m delighted to make your acquaintance, or further the one we already have.