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July 29

A Flushing Toilet

After having mulled it over for some hours, I have decided against turning Sean in to government agents on the offchance of receiving some sort of reward. He is, after all, a good friend. What I shall do today instead is research the possibility of installing a contraption in my home called a "flushing toilet." I was first tipped off to this novel idea by a young gentleman named Wilf, to whom I am greatly indebted for the notion. This brilliant invention, which was first used by Queen Elizabeth herself, evidently uses a system of levers and pulleys to dispose of waste in one's home. Although such an expensive folly is unlikely to catch on beyond a few enlightened households, I must say that I am quite taken with the idea of having one installed. Wilf also mentioned the necessity of finding something called a "plumber" to ensure the smooth running of the contraption, but I shall attempt to deal with that obstacle when it arises.

It is always difficult to find worthwhile diversions on a Sunday, but I am, on balance, glad that I have opted for home improvements instead of sending my friend to the gallows.

The Problem of Sean

I have been musing, this morning, on the propriety of my having such a close connection with Sean, whose advantages in being a more than amenable drinking companion are, perhaps, overshadowed somewhat by the drawbacks of his being a filthy Papist dog. In the current climate, with whisperings at Court about a widespread conspiracy amongst the Catholics to put the Duke of York on the throne and convert our great nation to a slavish outpost of Rome, it is perhaps a trifle impolitic of me to be consorting with a man who has been jailed in the past for making subversive comments about the Pope. (Though it must be admitted, I suppose, that I played no small role in that unfortunate incident.) Nonetheless, should it come out that Sean has been involved in some kind of vile Papish plot, my reputation would almost certainly be tarnished by association.

I wonder what sort of a reward he would fetch.

July 26

A Brilliant Ruse

The rancour between Sean and me appears to have subsided somewhat. I have endeavoured to smile at him on every possible occasion to show that I bear him no ill feeling—until he begged me to stop, saying that my face, unaccustomed to contorting itself in such a fashion, was making him uneasy. But since then, we have been cordial to one another, and yesterday afternoon, over a jug of ale, we fell to discussing both the business of Lloyd's & Co. (and their aggravating suspicions that I have defrauded them by burning my ships to collect insurance money from them), and the threatening letters we have both been receiving from a mysterious gentleman who identifies himself only with his initials, "EJT". Sean noted that the Lloyd's problem might be dealt with quite easily, if only we could find a way to cast suspicion for the unfortunate accident with my ships on someone else. Then it would fall to their part to prosecute their new suspect, and they would have no choice but to pay me my dues and have done with it.

Before I had time to compliment him on having uttered what may well be the first intelligent sentiment of his entire life, I was struck with a brilliant idea of my own. A new letter, which I had received from EJT that very morning, was all that was required to give both parties exactly what they deserved and rid ourselves of our worries all at once! With some deftly applied ink and water to create the appearance of a stain, EJT's tedious rants were transformed into an unequivocal admission of guilt. Fortunately, I posted the original letter last night, and you may view that here in order to fully appreciate just what a bit of careful and judicious editing can do. The new letter, or should I say, "evidence", is posted below.

July 25

More Rantings from EJT

What I have done to deserve this, I do not know. I cannot tell which is worse, the anxiety produced by receiving such unpleasant threats on one's person, or the aggravation attendant on being forced to read such abominable prose. You may judge for yourselves. This is the latest missive from the ludicrous "EJT".  It would appear that this gentleman has taken against me for some reason, and doesn't even have the decency to wait in line like every other fool I have parted from their money.

July 24

Lessons without Carols

Things that have been learned in the past week before a less than triumphal return:

1) It takes more than a week to return from Chatham to London if one is inclined to make a scientific study of all the bawdy houses between the two points. I can now say from experience that the women of Tewksbury are especially accommodating, while those that reside in Salisbury suffer badly from the Scabies, and water down their ale.

2) Jack is a thief. Worse still, according to Lloyds, a very stupid thief. As much as I am inclined to snap his scrawny neck, it is far more prudent to “get mine back” at a later date, When I do, it shall be an especially loathsome and drawn out punishment. For now, I shall content myself to sleeping with his scullery maid.

3) I am not alone in being hunted. Jack has also received a message from the exceedingly tedious EJT. Furthermore, the nasty little piece of work was not content to send just one.

Papist Dog –

You and your Dwarven friend have only a short time left before Judgement. On the 10th of August you may expect Retribution in its purest and Most Virulent form. The Ocean shall be your grave, and that grave shall be a wet one.

Yours in Hatred and Intense Dissatisfaction,

EJT

July 22

EJT

Sean returned home yesterday, walked straight into the kitchen without saying a word, picked up an empty wine bottle from the table, and hurled it in my direction. The missile shot past my left ear and exploded into a thousand pieces behind me. Thankfully, no one was harmed (unless you count my manservant, who was knocked unconscious by the exploding bottle, leaving me with no one to clean up the mess for several hours). Evidently, Sean's financial people have been filling his head with garbage about the money he stands to lose if Lloyd's Insurance (which company he has a considerable stake in) is made to pay me for my two trading ships that were burned in a terrible accident two weeks ago, after I filled them with gunpowder and set them alight.

Fortunately, Sean's head for business is even worse than his aim, and I was able to persuade him that it is in both of our best interests for Lloyd's to pay up, since an insurance company that is seen to be publicly reneging on a gentleman's agreement with a man who has done nothing but stand by and watch, in anguish, while his beautiful (albeit termite-ridden) ships burn to the ground will not be likely to attract investors in the future. After we were friends again, Sean told me of a threatening letter he had received, signed only with the initials EJT. The news filled me with consternation, as, that very morning, I had received an ominous note from the same lunatic! I have posted it below for my readers' benefit. If any of you have information as to the identity of this fellow, I would be grateful to hear it.

Sir,

As my net draws ever closer around you and your ugly, feeble-minded friend, it will be my considerable pleasure to watch you both squirm. You may expect retribution for your abominable actions at any moment, though the punishment that it is my duty to impose upon you for your crimes against my family will be as nothing compared with the eternal punishment you will receive at the hands of the Lord for your crimes against honour and religion.

Yours, etc.

EJT

P.S. In case it wasn't clear, the punishment I have planned for you is exceptionally nasty.

My first assumption was that the letter came from my mother-in-law, as the tone of the message bears considerable similarities to the missives I am accustomed to receiving from her, but her initials are not EJT, and she never fails to include some advice in her letters related to my personal hygiene. The "ugly, feeble-minded friend" the note refers to must be Sean, as the only other candidate who fits the description is still lost at sea somewhere, to the best of my knowledge.

An odd business, to be sure. I shall post again once I have delved further into the matter.

July 14

Tagged

I received a disturbing missive this week from a woman calling herself "Christine Swint" and informing me that I had been "tagged" and that I must provide her with eight facts not just about my own doings but about those of Sean and Patrick as well. She did not tell me what consequences I might expect should I fail to comply, but it is not a risk I am willing to take, especially in my present circumstances—hounded as I am by the increasingly burly representatives of Messrs. Lloyd and Co., who continue to accuse me of defrauding their insurance business.

Since eight does not easily divide itself by three, I have opted to include three facts about myself and Sean respectively, and only two about Patrick, because he is a bore and thus less worthy of analysis. If you are inclined, you may take that piece of information itself as a bonus third fact about Patrick.

Three facts about me:

1.) My favourite pastimes are cribbage, theatre, and public hangings.
2.) I have a weakness for ale, but finally gave up drinking for good on Tuesday of last week. Also Wednesday, Friday, and Saturday (twice).
3.) The two things in this world that anger me the most are bigotry and Papists.

Three facts about Sean:

1.) Sean's inferior brain and Irish ancestry make it exceedingly difficult for me to carry on a conversation with him.
2.) Sean's favourite pastimes are whoring, drinking, and drinking with whores.
3.) Sean owes me three shillings. 

Two facts about Patrick:

1.) I first met Patrick 13 years ago in Jamaica — he was suffering from an infected monkey bite, and I found his hallucinations extremely diverting. Our paths have often crossed since then, and I know him better than any man living.
2.) Patrick is a fool and a stutterer.

July 12

"Suspicious Circumstances"

I have had a most vexing week indeed. Evidently, I congratulated myself too early on my clever little scheme to burn my ships and collect the insurance money. Those tight-fisted, mammon-worshipping thieves at Messrs. Lloyd & Company who had so few qualms about accepting my money when the boot was on the other foot have had the audacity to accuse me of fraud! I received a pompous note from Mr. Lloyd on Wednesday full of base accusations about "suspicious circumstances surrounding the fire," which have rendered his company "unable to pay in full until such a time as the exact cause of the incident can be determined." This note was followed by a most unpleasant visit from a low, servile little man who asked me impudent questions about why I happened to be present at the fire and whether it was true that I had been seen purchasing quantities of gunpowder the previous week, with such an obsequious manner that I had no choice but to set the dogs on him.

A second visit, an hour later, from Sean's ludicrous "financial adviser" made matters a good deal more complicated. In an infuriating piece of ill timing, the fool had invested a sizeable portion of Sean's estate in this very company, and was "exceedingly interested" to hear, as he put it, my "side of the story." And so my poor, exhausted dogs were set to work again. I have a good mind to charge both of these gentlemen for the extra feed I have had to give the overworked animals on their account.

A letter from Sean this morning informed me that he is returning to London from God knows what den of infamy he has been holed up in, and that we have much to speak about. I hope very much that at least he will be reasonable about this unfortunate misunderstanding, but I will keep Rex and Cerberus well rested nonetheless.

July 8

The Dutch are coming, yet have not come

I haven’t returned home in what seems like a fortnight. Instead, following the events of what I like to call the ‘2nd Medway,’ I mounted Ajax and tore north until I found a remote, yet well provisioned bawdy house. I am certain that the Dutch are well on their way to London, burning and pillaging as is their wont.

Strangely, I have had no news of further incursions, but I am certain that is due to messengers being caught and executed. More confusing still, the daily post is operational, with no mention of the rapacious Dutch. Indeed, during my stay at the Lion's Nightcap, I have received two letters, each more worrisome than the last.

The first:

Hon. Sean Fagan –

It has come to our attention that the balance of your ledger has been dramatically threatened due to the events of July 4th. The explosions that took place upon that day have been flagged by our office as ‘suspicious’ and it is of the utmost importance that you contact us regarding the events of that day.

                                                                                                                       Lloyd Insurance
                                                                                                                       Tower Street
                                                                                                                       London

This news was enough to throw me into hysterics, but it was soon followed by an even more sinister missive.

Villain!
I knowest what thou has done. Expect a just Christian Retribution for your actions. He Will be recovered, with or without your willing endeavors.

                                                                                                                        Your Deadliest Enemy.

                                                                                                                                EJT

I now stare at a life without silk cuffs and the possibility of another knock on the head. It is past time to return to London.

This is NOT India

Though Captain Araoz insists otherwise, we have made landfall somewhere other than India.

Some startled but welcoming Jesuits have lent me use of their facilities for a moment, for which favor I am now greatly in their debt. Even better, they also lent me a map, which I will present to Cpt'n A to demonstrate further that, wherever we are, it is NOT India. As if the flora, landscape, and melodic, clearly NON-INDIAN native population were not proof enough.
Old_map_of_vietnam

The man begins to try my patience.