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May 28

Last Night in England

Tomorrow morning we are departing for fortune and adventure in the Indies, but tonight we celebrate. Well, some of us do. Patrick is too nervous about the journey and has retired to bed early, but Sean and I have a night of revels planned to mark our last day in merry old England! We set sail tomorrow at dawn.

May 27

Departure

I have not posted in a couple of weeks now, as preparations for our departure for the Indies have consumed my every waking second, and even in my rare moments of leisure I am forced to occupy myself with Patrick's incessant worrying over the most pedantic details and Sean's increasingly paranoid rantings about "protecting our interests back home while we are overseas." Sean's latest affectation is perhaps his most preposterous yet, worse even than his ill-fated (and extremely messy) attempt to have a contraption of funnels and pipes installed in his chambers, that he might drink wine without rising from his bed. He is paying a gentleman, who professes to be an expert on "investments" and "accounting" to help him to manage his money. Sean refers to him as his "financial adviser," which title adds an air of absurdity to the already ridiculous business that is almost too much to bear. Nonetheless, this gentleman has been nothing but trouble, meddling where he does not belong and filling Sean's head with questions that are as difficult to answer as they are detrimental to our primary goal, which is to make me as much money as possible.

The ship sets sail on Tuesday, and our captain assures us that the weather forecast is propitious and that our journey will be without event until we reach the Cape of Good Hope, at which point we must put our trust in God's hands. Given the fact that our captain is a thieving, mongrel Spaniard, I am very much looking forward to reaching the Cape, where I can remove my trust in his questionable seamanship and place it with the Lord instead.

May 14

Panic

I awoke this morning in a panic. Our ship is set to leave for the Indies in two weeks' time, and we have hardly begun to prepare! Though it was not yet light, I hastened to awaken Patrick and Sean (neither of whom appeared particularly pleased with my solicitude on their behalf), piled them into my carriage and headed forthwith for the docks where our ship is being loaded for the journey. Despite Sean's constant stream of complaints (which I dare not repeat here for fear of scandalizing any lady readers of this blog), my apprehension turned out to have been entirely justified, as we arrived at the scene to find the dockworkers we had hired in the process of removing all of our provisions from the ship. Since Sean had fallen back into a deep sleep from which it was impossible to rouse him and Patrick's deep phobia of commoners prevented him from exiting the carriage, it fell to my part to approach the dockworker who appeared to be in charge and attempt to discover what was going on. The conversation proceeded something like this:

ME: Gad, man, what in Heaven's name are you doing?
DOCKWORKER: We're getting the provisions out from this here ship.
ME: Yes, I can see that, but why? You're supposed to be loading them onto the ship.
DOCKWORKER: T'ain't what it says in the contract. 
ME: What do you mean it's not in the contract? I drew up that contract myself, and it stipulates quite clearly that "The provisions shall be moved betwixt the port and the ship at the rate of 8 pence per day per worker."
DOCKWORKER: Exactly. It says "betwixt port and ship," but I didn't read nowhere that it says which direction the goods should be movin'. Or when they should stop, for that matter. My men have been workin' very hard indeed to move your provisions onto the ship, and now they're workin' again to move them back to the port. "Betwixt port and ship" just as Your Grace has taken the trouble to stipulate.



Very few times in my life has anything made me so angry as the way that man said "stipulate," but, as the brute was nearly twice my size, there was very little I could do but ask what we might do to add a clause to the contract which would provide that the men leave the goods on the ship once they had brought them there. "Oh," he told me with a smirk, "I wish you'd said that earlier—it would have saved us a good deal of trouble. That will cost you tuppence extra per worker on the daily rate. It requires a good deal more effort just to leave the provisions on the ship, as we'll have to worry about what's the best place to stow them in that case." I had little choice but to raise their rates, and I returned to the carriage in a foul mood which was not improved by Patrick's frightened stuttering or Sean's oblivious snores. It will require a superhuman effort for us to be ready to embark in two weeks, especially given that two of the three men involved in this venture are God's prize idiots.

May 1

An Unpleasant Memory

It has been a week now since I inadvertently walled Patrick up behind a bookcase, but he has still not allowed me to hear the last of it. During this confinement, he evidently discovered a book dedicated to me by the late lamented Mary Carleton, which he will not cease to jibe me about, though it does vex me greatly to speak of her. Mary was a woman of prodigious beauty and a facility with society and conversation that generally made up for her difficulty in grasping certain fundamental aspects of morality. You may remember that her arrest was much publicized some years ago after she was exposed as a bigamist, a thief, and a cheat, and I should note that I was present at her execution myself, though it gave me little pleasure (I arrived rather too late to get a good view of the hanging). 

But all this talk of Mary has put me in a pensive, melancholy frame of mind, for which, in my experience, there is only one certain cure. And having applied that cure rather liberally for some hours now, it is only with great difficulty that I am able to apply myself to the task of posting, and though I must needs be up early tomorrow to meet with the gentleman who will be captaining our ship to the Indies in a few months' time, the desire to while away an hour or so with the ladies at the Crimson Unicorn is becoming more and more difficult to ignore. Indeed, it is my experience that once such a thought has entered my head, there is little use in attempting to push it aside, so you will, I hope, forgive my abruptness in taking my leave of you.