Fears, Strategies, and other errata

It should have been no surprise to Henrik at all that young Master Harry Duffins rolled in through an open window, landing on the worn rug of his sitting room with only enough noise to alert the occupant that he’d, in fact, arrived. He was dressed in “street finest,” as Merri had once put it, the disreputable rags he typically wore when he needed to rejoin his mates in the Flit, but the blond hair, freckles, and grin were undeniably Harry.

“Oi,” he said by way of greeting. “I was to see yer alone, and not `enaged wif ovver persons over ovver mattuhs’.” It was an amusingly good reproduction of Merri’s accent, even if some of the words were mispronounced. “An’ since yer not, that I c’n see anyways, Merri says I should ‘and you this note…”

[[He’s patting down his pockets for it, if Henrik would care to speak… :)]]

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The Mornings After

The first salon was a qualified success, I do believe. Considering its spontaneous occurrence and that I was more than a little manic to be back in the Neath, it was well attended and quite diverting. I credit much of this to the guests, and the “Shroomgria,” (ETA: this term was coined by the linguistically adroit Dr. Mason) which was a hit. By the time I closed my doors behind the last of the guests I was exhausted and slept dreamlessly, for the first time since shortly after I arrived here months ago.

Yesterday, inspired by the artistic landscaping I’d done for the Duchess, I planted a tiny mushroom garden on my balcony. Strictly ornamental, of course, nothing medicinal or mind-altering at all (well, I think not, anyway). It’s simply a way to have something lovely to enjoy close at hand, reminiscent of the lovely wildflowers I enjoyed during my recent expedition to the surface.

In other news, I took dear Theodor’s instructions to heart about that silly counterfeit head of St. John the Baptist and placed it by my bed as I slept. I awoke with the knowledge of yet one more thing I probably did not wish to know as well as that ravenous hunger that one only gets from nightmares in this place. The last two times I have come away with this voracious appetite I’ve sought the remedy right away. This time I believe I shall live with it awhile and see where it goes. If any of my, erm, delicious friends would care to share their experiences with me, I would appreciate it greatly.

In the meantime my adventures in learning about the Correspondence Stones continue. After the blood running from my eyes ruined three good blouses, I decided to seek out some expert help. The first antiquarian who thought to decipher them exploded in flames right before my eyes — whyever he thought sleeping with them on his chest qualified as a “good idea” I cannot begin to say — but I have found another who also seems quite enthusiastic about the process. It is an intellectually fatiguing study, one that is assisted by the smooth, ordered, crystalline beauty of a good chess game and the liberal application of laudanum before bed. I hope to have some kind of breakthrough with the Stones before my “day” here is done.

Many thanks to all of you who’ve indulged my most recent chess-playing spree. The insights I’ve obtained have been well-employed, I assure you!

Ah. Nightmares, is it…

Dear God. The nightmares about the burning children are the worst. I need a river of laudanum afterward.

Let me say here, before begin — well, before I continue, at least — that my last foray into the Museum of Mistakes was an unmitigated success. I treated myself to an evening spent in the Parlour of Virtue to celebrate. I must be something of a favorite there, for they did not charge me the full fare and then let me out a side door to escape scandal. How extraordinarily kind of them.

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

I understand that the most serious nightmares here are all of the same order. Death by water, the reflections in the mirrors, the game of chess — and the fire sermon. The first three I can usually shrug off with the usual devices — laudanum, intimate companionship, a bit of peace and quiet in a park someplace. The last one… that is the one that will send me running for any stimulation, any diversion, anything so that I will not have to risk reliving a personal horror in my sleep.

I thought I might be able to write about it now, but I cannot force myself to sit still long enough to keep my pen moving across the paper. I’ve sent notes to some of you, asking for your help in allaying these horrid night terrors. I’ve sent for several bottles of laudanum too, for I dare not leave these rooms until the terror has abated.

Would that it could be enough, this time.

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.