Running a bawdy house is proving more difficult than I had anticipated. There are, it turns out, some rather delicate matters related to managing the personnel that require a softer touch than I have been accustomed to in directing affairs at a shipyard or a loading dock. By way of an example: this afternoon, when I informed Ms. Mary Walker (who is generally a model employee and a top money-earner for the business) that she was looking particularly burly today, not to mention a good deal older than her years, and could she perhaps lose five pounds and find a way of concealing her wrinkles by Monday, she suddenly burst into tears and ran from the room, leaving me to wonder whether she had caught a gnat in her eye, or remembered some awful event that had overwhelmed her upon recollection. When I attempted to discuss this strange behaviour with the others in the room, no one would look me in the eye. Sean was even quite short with me when I asked him what I had done to elicit such an odd reaction from the girl.
I have since learned from Patrick that one should never broach the subject of a woman’s weight or age without exercising an extreme amount of delicacy and care. Apparently, raising topics of this sort can provoke a chemical reaction that directly affects the tear ducts, and, occasionally, certain lobes of the brain which can cause an otherwise gentle woman to become irrational and violent. The reason for this, Patrick tells me, is that overly scientific talk, such as the discussion of body mass and its fluctuations, or the physical effects of aging, is so distressing to women (whose brains are not equipped to comprehend mathematical or scientific concepts) that too much of it can send their bodies into a kind of apoplexy, which is extremely unpredictable, and sometimes quite dangerous. I am very fortunate to be acquainted with a man like Patrick—whose understanding of the female gender is unrivaled—or else I am quite certain that I would make mistakes of this sort all the time!
I had vowed to post on this blog at least twice a week from now on, but, since my difficulties with the staff may make such an undertaking close to impossible (and I have no desire to frustrate my readers), I have asked Patrick’s brother Edward to fill in for me during my busier times. You may look forward to the occasional guest post from him in the coming weeks—and I can assure you that if you look past the unfortunate fact that he is a religious fanatic and a homicidal maniac, you will find a great deal of interest and good sense in his writing. In the meantime, I will let you know how things progress with the staff—now that I know what makes them tick, I am certain that they will grow to love me in no time at all.