25 April 1017
My dear cousin Amelia,
I have just received your letter of 20 February, in which you so eloquently expressed your distaste with the speed of the post betwixt the Old Lands and Armorica; and may I say that I quite share it.
I loaned my packet the Amelie to Lord Doncaster, as you know; and he traveled to Yorke, as you know; and he raised an uproar, as you know.
What you do not know is that on arriving in Yorke he sent the Amelie directly home. She and her crew arrived here over a month ago, with great news—great news, I say!—of how she performed in the deeps of the Abyss, news with which I am greatly pleased. But they brought me no news whatsoever of Lord Doncaster’s reception in Yorke beyond the most trivial, to wit, that the crowds were as surprised to see the Amelie settle in the street outside the Houses of Parliament as I was to hear of it.
You are distressed that all you know of the affair came through the diplomatic pouch from London; I am distressed that all I know of the affair came from you, and that I still do not know how it all played out.
You wrote of a joint meeting of the Lords and the Commons with his Majesty to consider His Lordship’s fate, a meeting yet to be held at time of writing; and I presume His Lordship waited on the results of this meeting before writing to me, and that his words are currently on the wing. I presume further that he carried the day, as he did so often during the war, and further still that the Shipwrights’ guns have been spiked. I presume that I shall know all, if I will but have patience.
But though I am filled with presumption, as Amelie is quick to tell me, I do not know any of these things, do you see, and it’s all I can do not to leap aboard the Amelie and come calling.
Yes, I hear you cheer.
And yet, I remain bound here for the time being. I cannot leave the wagon-works without a master former in residence for the required period of time; and until young Luc completes his journeyman time in Yorke and returns to us for his master’s chain there will be no master here but myself.
Speaking of Luc, I have had word from Grandmaster Netherington-Coates in Yorke; it seems that Luc is doing well. He is gifted, both at forming and at getting along with those larger and older than himself; you may remember that while Bertrand was the leader of the boys on L’Isle du Grand-Blaireau during the war, Luc was his prop and stay. John tells me that while Luc came in for some abuse for his accent and provincial ways, he took them in good part and has proven to be not only respected but liked.
I have warned John that his own journeyman, William Graves, might choose to live in Armorica in the end; I am somewhat concerned that Luc might choose to remain in Yorke.
All that is as it will be. In meantime, here I sit, forming my heart away while the world moves on. Oh, you mustn’t think I am ill-content; Amelie and the girls are a constant and ever-present joy, and I am much taken up with my duties and responsibilities here in Bois-de-Bas. My heart is here; but my thoughts, currently, are elsewhere.
A final thing: you will have no doubt been speculating upon the large peculiar object accompanied this letter, and been waiting with ‘bated and curious breath to know what sort of thing it may be. Know, then, that I am experimenting with a new way to allow a sky-ship to find its way across the Abyss, and this object is part of it. You will notice that there is a hole in it, though which one might pass a rope or a cable or even a large stake. If you are pleased to oblige me, then find a place on the grounds of L’Ecole and secure it there. One of the rooftops would be a perfect spot, if there is a suitable place that is accessible; it is hardened, and so perfectly impervious to the weather. But it must be fixed quite securely, mind, or it will fail of its purpose, and might even be a danger to those in its vicinity.
If you will let me know when you have done so, then I will be able to take the next step. And do feel free to speak of this with Dr. Laguerre and the other masters; I trust in their discretion.
Your postally-irritated cousin,