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August 18

Glorious, glorious day!

Today has been doubly-blessed!

First, the good Captain Araoz has sailed his ship right back into our bay!

I admit I was not so gracious at first as would have been proper - my initial joy at seeing the ship's sails above the horizon worked itself into blind rage in the hours prior to its arrival, and I spent some time chasing the Captain along the beach hurling coconuts and vile curses - but upon regaining my wits I embraced him and lead him back to the mission.

The day being twice happy, another, even better piece of news: Captain Araoz has born a letter from my poor dead brother! (Who is not dead after all!)

The Captain had sailed off to revittle at a small Spanish port passed a week before our arrival here. ("Did you not receive my note?" asked the jackass when I suggested I would have appreciated knowing his plans prior to his departure.) While taking on stores he had also picked up mail for his crew, which included a letter to me from Edward! It started its journey East on the doorstep of the Society - it missed my departure by mere days.

This is exciting beyond words. What tales he must have!  I wonder what he will make of London apres fire?  I must speed our return...

I believe he and Sean will hit it off famously. Two men more closely aligned in their passions - beer and whoring, chiefly - may not exist otherwise on this good earth.

August 16

The London Gazette

It has been five days since the funeral for Patrick, and I am no closer to understanding the mystery of the fearful ghost that manifested itself in order to terrify the guests, and – I am quite certain, as I was keeping count – eat the last two slices of cake. Our little event even received a write-up in that dreadful rag, The London Gazette. Sean is so pleased with it that he has affixed a copy of the article to the wall of his room, and insists on reading it to anyone who is unlucky enough to find themselves in the vicinity.


August 13

Premonition

I awoke with a shudder the other morning, in the very young hours of the day, as if someone had walked over my grave.

The rain pounding through the leaves outside my room and collecting in pots inside, and the scuttling across my lower leg of some swift creature, which I will call a lizard lest I begin to speculate about its true nature, convinced me that I was still entirely whole and still very, very far from home.

Unsettling nonetheless.



August 11

A Ghost

Well, I awoke ten minutes ago with a pounding headache to find myself naked beneath the table in my study, clutching an empty tankard of rum in one arm and a jar of dead leeches in the other. Sadly, this is not the first time this has happened…

But I digress. My recollection of today's disastrous memorial for Patrick is somewhat shaky, but I remember enough to know that it was a fitting sendoff for him, populated as it was by a procession of anxious scholars who were more at ease with the palsied ape that had been procured for the event than they were with the parade of whores, thieves, and gibbering idiots who filled out the list of attendees that Sean had spent the last three nights feverishly rounding up. Oh yes, and there was also a ghost.

Not content, apparently, with classifying the different orders of mollusk that can be found at the bottom of the ocean where his body lies, Patrick's spirit evidently felt a need to intrude upon our little service and terrify the beleaguered guests – who were already on the verge of rioting after sitting through Sean's (two-hour-long) eulogy, which had finally arrived at an interesting segment in which Sean had pulled open his shirt and was beating his chest in anguish, while the whores shouted catcalls and the scholars from the Royal Society attempted to hide beneath their seats.

I do not pretend to understand this apparition, and I am in no state to make sense of it at the present moment, but I know that I saw with my own eyes two figures – both the very likeness of Patrick himself (though very much the worse for wear) – standing on the outskirts of the crowd and looking on with a mixture of disgust and what appeared to be constipation. Since, by that point in the proceedings, I was seeing two of everything else, I am willing to concede that one of those figures was likely a figment of my imagination, but there can be no denying the fact that a disturbingly Patrick-like individual was among the guests at Patrick's funeral.

I may comfort myself at least with the knowledge that should this spirit choose to haunt me, he will be hard-pressed indeed to aggravate me more than Patrick did when he was alive. I shall look further into this mystery tomorrow, when the world is spinning less vigorously.

August 10

We come not to Praise Patrick Thrasher, but to bury Him

The day started with such promise.

Dawn broke bright and clear and Jack and I set in to a mammoth pre-funereal breakfast. The bacon was crisp, and for once Jack showed remarkable restraint in partaking of only two mugs of Posset.

From there, things took a turn for the bleak.

My Ape came down with the pox. His handler, some noxious little Spaniard, indicated that he could not be expected to either caper or gambol, but was only capable of shuffling about morosely. Worse still, the creature refused to wear the hat I had designed for this specific occasion.

Other matters, of which I had labored on the majority of the week, likewise turned to Ash. Instead of a choir, Jack and I had to content ourselves with a group that only sang madrigals. When I asked them to sing “Alasdair MacColla” they gave me a look like I had horns sprouting from my head. The final straw was that the butterflies, to be released when Patrick’s coffin was lowered into the ground, had all died overnight in their box. The leeches were a difficulty in their own right; they resulted in Jack’s maid paying an morning visit to the Physick.

Furthermore, Patrick’s OTHER friends are asses. I speak not of the Royal Society members, who pawed at the possessions in Patrick’s coffin with Unchristian Envy, but of people I had never met before in my life. Scullys and Maxwells and other such dubious “friends” of Patrick came not to pay witness, but instead to hoot and catcall as if they were attending the theatre.

I must also confess that I also made a strategic error in inviting Odyllia and the ladies of the Unicorn. Odyllia’s eulogy, which I can not bear to repeat, was a thing of tragedy. Suffice to say, she repeatedly referred to Patrick as ‘Philip.’

Jack's method of crisis management was to aggressively drink himself into a stupor. Placed firmly at the threshold of the church, he roundly denounced each guest in turn. It almost came to blows with the Maxwell boy after Jack accused him of being a "lob-headed Welshman." By the time we reached Patrick's gravesite, he looked quite green, and was grabbing hold of his nearest neighbors to pull himself upright.

Just as things had reached their calamitous end, a raggedy figure came trundling down the hill towards the gravesite. He moved at a deliberate pace, arriving only when the motley congregation had let out their final ragged “Amen.” At that moment, his visage became clear.



August 9

A Eulogy for Patrick

I have won out against many a stubborn adversary in my time. I was able to make my first wife admit that I would never have been tempted by the scullery maid had she been more attentive to me in the first place. And on more than one occasion, after hours of haggling, I have persuaded a pauper that it was in his best interests to give me a ha'penny. But Sean's obstinacy is like nothing I have ever encountered. He insists on having a funeral for the late Patrick tomorrow, and tomorrow we shall have it, though it pains me more than I can say to spend more time and more money on a gentleman who made it his life's work to try my patience and drain my wallet.

Fortunately, not only do I know when I am beaten, but I know how to make the best of it. As part of our agreement, Sean volunteered that he would attend to the preparations for tomorrow's funeral provided that I would compose a few choice words to say about Patrick during the event.

And compose I did. I holed myself up in my study all day today, and with nothing but a bottle of rum for inspiration, I was able to piece together a statement on Patrick's tragic life that is at some times witty, at some times moving, and at all times faithful to the spirit of his personality and the mark that he left on the world. I touched on his remarkable abilities as a cribbage player, his difficulties pronouncing certain words and understanding certain basic concepts, the amusing tendency he had to sweat profusely in the presence of women, and his endearing habit of taking a surefire business proposition and turning it into a financial disaster. I mused upon his unique ability to take an hour to tell a story that would take another man five minutes, and his dogged persistence in believing that people were still listening to him talk long after they had given up. 

None of this was good enough for Sean, of course. Indeed, he seemed quite vexed by my speech when I read it to him. But considering the sentimental nonsense that he is intending to read tomorrow at the funeral, I am not particularly inclined to think much of his advice as far as eulogies are concerned. After breaking into tears halfway through his attempt to read it, he handed me his speech and begged me to read it for myself instead. I have posted it below, for your amusement.

Oh woe is me. Woe, woe, woe. Dear, dear Patrick, you were my dearest friend. Apart from my second cousin Maureen. Oh, Patrick, I do not know how you died, but I know that you died bravely. Did the Kraken swallow you up as you rushed to save your companions from drowning? Or did Poseidon himself rise from the ocean and take you into his bosom? Oh, woe. [pause here to allow the audience to collect themselves]. Woe!

It goes on.

I am not looking forward to tomorrow.

Going Down With the Ship

There is much to do and very little time. I have spent the week rushing about and purchasing items that I have deemed INTEGRAL to a proper burial of dear Patrick. I think that, wherever he may be, he would be exceedingly pleased to know that I have at last acquired an ape for the reception after the service, which will gambol and cavort while diverting our guest’s minds from Patrick’s fate. I have also managed to hire a troupe of actors to reenact the possible scene of Patrick’s heroic demise, and have been informed that it will not only involve a wooden boat constructed for the occasion, but also a HIGHLY realistic Kraken.


Patricks_demise_2

                      I await the reenactment with anticipation.

I think I have done my best towards Patrick. Jack, on the other hand, has yet to pull his weight. I rousted him this evening from his study so that we might recite our eulogies to one another, and share a few final laughs and stories about our beloved friend. Drunkenly, he recited a speech that had obviously been prepared only a few moments before and its contents left much to be desired.

(Clearing throat)
I dislike all men, but I disliked Patrick a bit less than most. Since his demise, which took both my fortune and future with him, I have done little but think what my life might have been like if we had never met. Firstly, I would be three hundred and eleven pounds richer.

(Baleful gaze)
I might also not have this persistent rash on my left buttock.

Nonetheless, I shall miss him. When not flailing about and spluttering, Patrick could be quite eloquent. He was also useful for diverting unattractive maidens.

(Long Pause)

And Cribbage, he was a decent partner at that too.

(At this point the words came rushing out)
God Speed Patrick Thrasher. Know that, when I reach Heaven, I expect to be paid in full.

Having finished, Jack abruptly turned from me and slammed the door of his study. The only sound that could be heard was his fumbling with the lock.


August 6

Breaking and Entering

It is with a heavy heart that I begin the preparations for Patrick’s funeral. Jack has warmed to the idea, if only at the thought of spending my money. The problem, as oft the case of what to do with men who meet their demise at sea, is what to substitute in lieu of a body. I decided that the best course of action was to open the door to Patrick’s long shuttered room, and fill the coffin procured from Mr. Morland’s with the choicest of Patrick’s possessions.

I was, however, unprepared for the site that greeted me upon entering his domicile. In fact, words quite escape me.

Patricks_room_3


Faced with such a cornucopia of choices, I selected the following items to substitute for Patrick’s lanky frame:

1 Large Turtle Shell
3 Small Beetles with Very Large jaws
6 carefully labeled jars of what appear to be leeches (my Latin has never been strong)
1 statue of a tiny man who has been carved with Inappropriate proportions
1 microscope given to Patrick by some foreigner named Leeuwenhoek

I truly hope that Patrick appreciates my efforts as I help him towards his Eternal Reward. I only regret that there was nary a stuffed monkey to be found.

A Funeral (of all things)

Sean is trying my patience. Allow me to rephrase that: After trying my patience for almost a year now, Sean has finally succeeded in breaking it irreparably. His latest notion, which he will not leave off, is that we must hold a funeral for the late Patrick, who was lost at sea. What would be the value of such an event, I do not know, but he has become increasingly maudlin about it, clasping my arm and blubbering about "paying our respects," though why I should pay my respects to a man in death who never commanded my respect in life, I am at a loss to explain. It has always been my firm policy not to pay anything that I do not have to, and I do not know why this should be an exception.

But, as I say, he will not leave off. Though I told him last night, flat out, that I will not even countenance the idea, he burst into my chambers this morning with a list that he had written of preparations for the event and pressed it into my hand. He had obviously been up all night, and though I pray that it was but an hallucination from having been awoken so suddenly, I could almost swear that he had been weeping. I have posted Sean's list below. I do not feel that it requires any further comment.

Plans for Dear Patrick's Funeral

Item 1: Refreshments for 100 guests (we must invite the Royal Society)

Item 2: A pine coffin from Mr. Morland's

Item 3: A full choir – I will ask at St. John's if we can have them fitted with angel wings

Item 4: 15 white swans (do you think they can be trained to form into the shape of a heart?)

Item 5: Mr. Pachelbel (the German composer) has written some lovely elegies. Might he be commissioned to do a requiem?

Item 6: We will need someone to give a eulogy. I was thinking the Earl of Shaftesbury (he has a way with words), or else that chap Newton that everyone's going on about (nice to have a fellow scientist?), or myself of course.

Item 7: Would it be considered poor form to invite the ladies from the Crimson Unicorn? 

Item 8: I have a notion of releasing a thousand butterflies into the air at the moment that his coffin (I suppose we shall have to find something to fill it with, as his body is at the bottom of the ocean somewhere) is consigned to the ground. Or is that overdoing it?

August 4

The Sixth Worst Day of My Life

Miraculously, The 6th worst day of my life involved Jack only indirectly: four weeks ago, I watched my ship set sail without me aboard.

The Worst of All, of course, was the day I met those damn macaques, and worst days 2, 4, & 5 were the subsequent three days in the gaol with the chills&shakes from their cursed bites. Worst day the 3rd is private.

I wonder if Jack and Sean even remember I am gone. If they do they likely assume me dead and, having broken into my chamber, no doubt have taken to playing "cavaliers" and "roundheads" with my beloved  collection of coleoptera.

It's very likely they are drinking heavily and singing bawdy songs while doing so. Except for musing on the size and ferocity of the sources of the terrible jungle noises heard nightly; and, except for quelling the slow yearning for home and for Odyllia, and the gnawing fear I shall never return, this place has begun to bore me.

I must also post about my adventure, during which I believe I have found a true Font of Youth; should I ever leave this lush and awful land, our fortunes will have been made 1,000 times over. But not now. The good father must complain to Rome once more -- something expensive and unfathomably Papist, a Censer or somesuch, has broke Again -- and so I must cede the terminal to the urgent Needs of the Lord.