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September 23

Sludge, and an unwanted visitor

I have been much distracted, recently, by a study that has kept me rowing around the harbor in search of new forms of sludge and pondering how to remove them. The Thames River harbormaster, heeding complaints about the sight of the waters that lap the boards of England's proud merchant fleet, to say nothing of the smell, has asked me to see what may be done to improve the quality of our local waterways. One easy first step, I quickly advised, would be to convince Jack (and others like him) to forbid the men on their rum-runners from emptying their rum-soaked bilges into the harbor. The rum, or at least the sort Jack peddles, soaks into the already unpleasant detritus found in the bilge of a standard brig, rendering it extremely flammable. Jack's men very much enjoy setting this effluvia a-blaze as they pump it out, giving the ship the appearance that it is urinating fire. It is an extremely dangerous habit around wooden ships, of course, and burning these wastes seem to release foul stenches that would otherwise remain contained.

The study pays quite well, I should mention.

I leave the task of convincing Jack to discipline his men to others, as I have good reason to doubt my capacity as a negotiator. As you know doubt know if you follow Twitter feeds with any sort of attention, Sean has taken refuge once again in Jack's house, to escape the harpy he must now refer to as "wife."  She soon followed him there, and, as

1) Sean was senseless with drink;
2) Gustavo had immediately fled through the pantry, citing a sudden need to "revictual"; and
3) Jack was holding firm on his oath never to speak to a woman again unless money changed hands;

I was chosen to negotiate her immediate departure. Not only did I fail to remove her from the doorstep, but thanks to her swift, womanly wiles and demon-inspired sophistry, I: allowed her to stay in Jack's house, permanently; promised an expensive, labor-intensive breakfast - something with quails' eggs - to be readied for her daily, at some ungodly hour; and sworn upon my dear mother's honor that rum was henceforth forever banned from our house.

I gave up so much, with such dispatch, that Jack valued the reversal of my concessions as actual money regained and stepped in to achieve what I could not. Tho' I do consider the use of hounds an ungentlemanly way to improve ones terms.

September 22

Of Prostitutes and Penury

You will doubtless be expecting some sort of an apology from me, after my faithful promise in my last post that I would be more diligent in keeping this blog up to date. You will receive no such thing. Indeed, now that I think upon it, it is I who should be demanding an apology from you: To think that I provide a free service in this diary about my life, which is of inestimable value to the community at large and to those who hang upon my every word, that they might distill the precious nectar of wisdom from the blooming flower that is my prose ... and you expect an apology from me for not updating more frequently. The imposition is almost too much to be borne. You may leave your regrets and imprecations in the comments section. I am quite put out.

Fortunately, my awareness of a greater purpose requires me to forebear for the time being and acquiesce in providing you with that precious insight into my daily life and doings which is, doubtless, quite as important to your moral sensibilities and your ability to face life with courage and Christian virtue as a nutritious diet is to your physical wellness.

Yesterday, at the whorehouse where I work, there was a scene of such chaos and anguish that I had half a mind to burn the place down upon the spot—whores and all—and collect the insurance money. I will not say that I was surprised to learn that Rebecca Fagan, Sean’s she-devil of a wife, was to blame ...

She had been, evidently, to the Crimson Unicorn the night previous under pretence of looking for her husband (who is at present hiding in my home, as she well knows). While there, she took it upon herself to fill the heads of my employees with such poisonous nonsense that it will cost me a fortune to undo the damage she has done. To wit: I now stand accused by my entire staff (and this is a word-for-word quote, I assure you—I could not fabricate such nonsense myself) of “not respecting their boundaries as women.” This notion—whatever it might mean—is perhaps the most dangerous idea to enter a respectable den of prostitution since it was first posited that members of the fairer sex possess souls and thoughts of their own. I have already been forced to increase wages throughout the entire establishment—and I hesitate even to guess at what further strains upon my purse this devilry will lead to.

That is all for now, but you have my assurance (little though you deserve it) that I will post on this and other topics with more frequency and variety in the coming weeks.

September 2

The Dark Tower

My absences from this space have always been easily classifiable:

1. I was drunk.

2. I was in gaol.

3. Some combination of the above.

If these reasons were irresponsible, I took heart in the understanding that my readers would assume that I had once again been overcome with the “exuberance of youth” and that I upon my return I would have an amusing tale to tell.

Such is not the case.

When last I left you, I had informed you of an attachment to a young woman whose expertise with figures almost matched the curvature of her body. Both her brains and beauty both defied logic, and I could say that love in its purest and most cherished form had taken refuge in my heart.

That refuge is now a debtor’s prison.

Rebecca’s (call her Becky or Succubus if you like) first action as my newly wed wife was to remove me (more or less physically) from Jack’s house to a “more affordable” location in Cheapside. Her argument for relocation was that my “malleable nature” had been steadily corrupted by both Jack and Patrick, and that the further away I was from the lot of them, the sooner my “soul” could begin to heal. My compatriots expressed their regret in my leave-taking, but I would hasten to add that two days after my departure, Capt. Araoz was installed in my berth. Her second action was to take away my access to contact you, my gentle reader, and alert you to my whereabouts. In large part due to her discovery of smutty etchings that I store upon this machine, she forbade me access to it and placed it under lock and key. Worse yet, she has hired an inscrutable man-servant who is to follow me at all time and ensure that the following rules (helpfully posted around our hovel) are observed at all times:

1. Sean is not to drink.

2. Sean is not to smoke.

3. Sean is not to write.

4. Sean must attend Church. (and not a Catholic one!)

5. Sean is not to consort with any women.

6. Sean is not allowed to invest or grant money.

7. Sean must be in coat and tie at all times.

8. Above all, Sean is not allowed in the company of Patrick Thrasher or Jack Shepherd.

I write this to you my friends not in the spirit of misery, but as an explanation for what is to come next. For tonight I break free of these shackles. I shall speak sternly with my wife, walk out the door, and by the stroke of midnight be asleep in the stables with Bucephalus after a night of carousing at the Griffin. If you do not hear from me again soon, fear the worst. Or send the Watch to Cheapside.