Cher Onc’ Herbert,
We now have quite a bustling little place here on L’Isle de Grand-Blaireau, and I am beginning to worry about supplies.
In the long term, I am worried that we will not have enough, either here or in Bois-de-Bas. The Provençese forces either have control of Mont-Havre and the roads thither, or they soon will; and surely they must soon begin to believe that we are not loyal to Le Maréchal. When they do, it will be the easiest of all things for them to deny us supplies from the city. We must be self-sufficient, and we must put off that black day as long as possible.
To that end, I think we must get rid of the sloop Rubicon. It is useful living space, I grant—but will not les cochons keep looking for it, so long as it is not found? But how would it be if it were found in the woods, say a night’s distance from Bois-de-Bas, crashed in the forest and much burnt, and if possible with the bodies of the crew on board. Perhaps it might even be blown asunder by a spark in the magazine. It would be the easiest of all things: leave it in mid-air, set a fuse, and abandon ship by sky-chair. In a short time, the Rubicon is spread across acres of forest, and it appears to be an accident.
Moving on, I am not to be advising you in matters of prudence: you and the other good folk of Bois-de-Bas have been ahead of me ever since I arrived. But it seems to me that the more goods and food we can stockpile here on Grand-Blaireau, the better off we will be on the day the Provençese decide to take and garrison Bois-de-Bas. Judging by the loads I see arriving on our two sky-wagons, you must agree with me.
And that leads me to my present worries. Many things have been brought here already, with more coming every day…but there is no one here to manage these things, or to keep track of them. There are piles of goods haphazardly spread on the decks and through the holds of the two sloops, and in the midst of the encampment; already it is becoming hard to find things. We need a proper store, and a proper clerk to run it. We need someone to bring order out of chaos. More than that, I know these goods are being provided by the people of Bois-de-Bas in light of the current crisis…but all of them ought to be recompensed for their contributions, I think. But we cannot do that, we cannot even honor them as they deserve, if we do not track those same contributions.
I cannot take on this role, for I am fully engaged with Jacques in extending our fleet of sky-chairs and wagons. Amelie is well-qualified, but cannot so easily move around the sloop; it was not designed for a woman in her condition. And even if she were, we have none of the ledgers we would use to record the information.
To that end, I think it necessary that we begin moving the remaining contents of our store from Bois-de-Bas to Grand-Blaireau, starting with our ledgers, pens, and ink. But that will be to no avail without the clerk I speak of!
Finally, we need someone in overall command here on the island. Everyone here has a task already, and is intent on doing it come what may, and we have had more than one fist fight over tools and materials. (They are good men, but tensions are high.) We need someone who can judge which tasks must be done now, and which may be delayed, and make it stick. (And having a central source for supplies will help!)
I do not know who best to appoint to these roles; I am still very new to Bois-de-Bas. But I trust you will understand both the need and your people. Please do not delay!