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April 28

The Week Underground and Beyond the Blade

I have enlisted some capable, discreet gentlemen to aid me in the recovery of those parts of my magnificent collections that S&J buried this Autumn passed. We are now past the final frost, and as soon as this cursed rain passes and the ground has dried, we shall dig (!). I am equal parts apprehensive and giddy as a new bride. I fear that six months underground will do the wings of my coleoptera no good whatsoever.

In good news, I am told that J has had a productive first meeting with my colleague, Dr. L, a self-proclaimed expert on the Abatement of Anger Without The Use of Leeches or The Blade. While I have  serious doubts about the scientific validity of this method, Jack does seem in slightly better spirits, though perhaps only because, rather than flowing towards every person he meets, his excessive Bile has been focused entirely on Dr. L. He has not stopped heaping scorn on the man since his meeting.

April 27

Meeting With a Madman

I have had a very strange day. On a tip from Sean—who has been irritatingly pleasant to me ever since I had a fit of regrettable (but entirely justified) temper and publicly referred to his new ladylove as a “nasty, controlling dragon-woman”—I went to see an acquaintance of his who has some experience in the Hospitality business. I had been hoping that this gentleman (who Sean has called the preeminent expert in the field) would help me to develop a strategy for opening a second whorehouse in London to build on the success of the Crimson Unicorn. I was deeply mistaken in this hope.

When I walked into the gentleman’s home, he flashed me a smile that was eerily similar to my own Emergency Smile No. 17 (for when a new mother insists on making me look at her child), gestured to a daybed in the corner of the room, and bade me recline upon it. Not wishing to upset this eccentric—who, if Sean speaks truth, would be an exceptionally valuable business contact—I acquiesced and lay down upon the divan, at which point we engaged in the following utterly baffling conversation:

Me: I had been hoping, sir, that you would be so good as to help me solve a problem that I have. 
Him: My, my. You are in much better shape than I expected after speaking with Sean. If you can admit that you have a problem, we have already taken the first, halting steps towards a cure.
Me: [stalling for time with Emergency Smile No. 3 (for halfwits)] Yes. Very good. Yes, I see that. ... Perhaps we can start by talking about “syndication”, which, as you know is all the rage amongst London merchants nowadays. What I’m trying to do …
Him: It’s very interesting that you should use the word “rage”, is it not? What made you choose that word?
Me: It’s a fad, a fashion. A trend. A method that is first practiced by thinking men who have a pragmatic need for it, then blindly followed by blithering idiots in search of a substitute for thinking.
Him: [serenely] Very interesting indeed. And how does that make you feel?
Me: [my dudgeon suddenly rising] Sir, if your intention is to waste my time, I would thank you, respectfully, to stuff it. I am a busy man, and I do not suffer fools unless I stand to make a considerable amount of money out of them.
Him: Let it out. Just let it all out.

By this point, I was so incensed that I was unable to speak at all and just sat there working my jaw muscles and blinking at the man, who was clearly either drunk or mad. After we had sat like this for some minutes, he turned to me with that same chilling smile and said, quite matter-of-factly: “We’ve made some real progress here today. Please come back at the same time next week, and tell Sean that I will take on his case pro bono. Very, very interesting indeed.”

And so I left, considerably more confused than when I had arrived, and headed back towards Hampstead, making a brief stop at Smithson’s Emporium to buy a sturdy walking stick with which to beat Sean about the head when I returned home.

April 7

Sean's New Woman ...

...if “woman” she can be called. I would say that she is more like a snake, except that snakes cannot hiss at you with the same malice that this harpy exudes from every pore of her body. I am not exaggerating. Last night, Sean brought this new lady out with us to attend a performance of Middleton’s Women Beware Women. Sean was acting nauseatingly coy, in a manner that I have not seen since the day that he sold me a pair of silver candlesticks which I later discovered he had stolen from my own dining room.

Although I was justifiably suspicious of this obsequious behaviour, I went out of my way to make the girl comfortable, and even attempted conversation with her during the first intermission, asking whether she might not be more comfortable backstage fawning all over the actors than listening to us discuss matters that were far removed from her interest and intellect. But despite my Herculean efforts to make her feel welcome, she spoke only to Sean the entire evening, and (oddly) she never once changed the subject from his finances. Such an unpleasant, ungrateful bore of a woman I have never met in my entire life. It's no surprise that Sean is besotted with her.

April 5

All hope with Jack Shepherd is Lost

I have been remiss in mentioning that I have made the acquaintance of a Young Lady. This is not due to any reticence on my part, but more from a fear of what Jack would do upon discovery. Based on recent actions, he is most likely to call her a “snuffling whore” and deposit her into the Midden

Of the Young Lady (whose name I shan’t mention, we shall simply call her B) her qualities are too numerous to list here. However, she has shown a keen interest in finance, and while could be seen as most unbecoming of a Lady, her insights on how best to invest my wealth have been invaluable.

More importantly,B represents my best chance on gaining entrance into Society. She has several Contacts of great Import who could only serve to further my career of which she says I am wasting in the acquaintance of Mssrs. Shepherd and Thrasher.

Tomorrow we are to go hawking. I have never been myself, but have heard Jack deride it as an activity for “men who can only find pleasure in life by galloping about the countryside without a thought in their heads.” I am sure I shall enjoy it immensely. 

Recap

Things achieved this week

1. Mucked out Buchephalus’ stable.
2. Finished six pints at the Griffin.
3. Avoided fencing “practice.”
4. Hired five new girls at the Crimson. Three redheads!
5. Learned the proper use of the word “discourse.” It turns out not to be dirty.

Things NOT achieved this week

1. Posting more regularly.
2. Finally beating Jack at cards.
3. Avoiding one of Patrick’s interminable lectures.
4. Breaking in one of the three redheads. (You would think they would have checked their morals at the door!)
5. Went to church.

The week has been more or less successful, though I would be inclined to go with less.

April 3

More fun at the CU

I must say S & J have been making quite a go of the Crimson Unicorn. Bar seats have become so lucrative that I have been forbidden from lingering there without "paying my way," which, given the margins they seek, requires buying at least three quarts of ale and a tussle with a two-pearl (minimum) wench. And - as I believe I have mentioned already - cash only, upfront.

As I do not have the income, stomach, or inclination to commit myself to such an outlay by simply walking through the doors, J and I have negotiated an alternative arrangement. If I can improve their take on their slowest evening (Sunday) by a specified amount, I may be exempt from the minimum drink/whore requirements. As S so clearly put it, J & S pick up on a slow night what they lose on my slow, cheap arse on a busy one. It's little wonder they've done so well.

At the time this seemed like an excellent deal for all, but I begin to think I have gotten the short-end of the stick.