My dear diary,
As you are no doubt aware, I have been missing for quite some time. Time! La! What a concept that is. I find myself unable to name a proper year. I have seen so many of them that it is now difficult to keep track.
It began with Mr. Robonaught. His business took him to Paris. He invited me to join him. Naturally, I was most eager to forget my cares in an exciting metropolis. At first, I thought Paris merely ahead of the rest of the world with regard to technology as well as the fashion and culture for which it is so well known. Horseless carriages were available here and there. Fashions tended to be a bit different. Mores seemed slightly loosened. That was all well and good. And then I saw an enormous lattice-work steel structure. At the base of this “Eiffel Tower” as it is called, an information plate declared it to have been built in 1889. 89! Two decades into the future is no small leap.
Like time, I run ahead of myself. Let me amend my pace. I wish to walk you through the particulars of my strange case. I cannot do so if I proceed at a gallop!
My uncle and I lodged outside the city proper. We chose a sleepy little burg about an hour’s drive (by conventional carriage, that is) away from Paris. We arrived hungry and exhausted. I barely had time to appreciate the hotel’s country charm. After a brief repast, we retired to our rooms to find one of them accidentally doubly booked. I sat by the fire while my uncle spoke with the landlord. I must have dozed off in the chair; travel is so very fatiguing. I awoke at sunrise to find myself still dressed – though divested of my stiffest, outermost garments – and laid gently in the bed. Mr. Robonaught must have taken up residence on the sofa. At any rate, he had gone to order breakfast. When he returned he informed me in a rather clipped manner that ours was the only room to be had. I would have objected, but before I opened my mouth to do so my uncle had all but inhaled his food. He had work to do. The mission could not wait. Hurriedly, he exhorted me to remain at the hotel until he returned from his business and then he left the room without even a backwards glance.
Whatever his activities may have been, mine were decidedly boring. By noon I could wait no longer. I am a young woman, after all, and I have never been to Paris until now! How could he expect me to sit in a dreary hotel when the attractions of gay Paris stood nearly within my sight? Quite fed up with waiting, I left a note and then I hired my own carriage. An hour’s time found me in the City of Light, that famous birthplace of enlightenment and revolution. My progress through the city was slow and stumbling. Crutches are rather an impediment to the intrepid traveler. Still, I crutched along quite well until evening. Just before dusk, I realized I had become lost, sweaty, blistered, chafed, hungry, and – worst of all – lost. Until then, though, I had a wonderful time.
What wonders does Paris not hold? By this point, I had not yet recognized the jump in time. I positively marveled at the technological innovations of the French people. Without the benefit of Caledon’s native cavorite, they had managed to build and employ in vast quantities inventions and designs only just being invented back home. The horseless carriage as a relatively common mode of transportation is a prime example. A motorized pleasure wheel consisting of several passenger capsules allowed for a soaring, rotating view of the city. Everywhere I went, tourists and locals dressed in flamboyant, close-fitting garb delighted me with song, conversation, or even photographs. In an out of shops I soared until, at length, the crowd began to change. Fewer ladies and children were to be seen on the streets. The sun hung low on the horizon. My palms ached and my stomach growled until I realized my folly.
Fortunately, my uncle located me and took me to a restaurant. He seemed a little vexed at having combed the city of his wayward charge, but I cannot call him surprised. More than any thing, he worried after my health. He did not have to lecture or convince me on this matter; by the time he discovered me, I already knew too well the extent to which I had exceeded my limits. As I intimated before, my condition was rather poor. I suppose my uncle took pity on me. I fully expected him to be very cross at my having disobeyed him, but my true contrition along with his fears for my health must have ameliorated his temper. He treated me kindly and took me back to the hotel to rest, reminding me several times that I am too injured to abuse my just-healing body in this manner.
Goodness! There is more to come, Diary, but I am too tired to tell it! You must leave me resting at the hotel for now. I promise to share more of my adventure after I have gathered my strength. Believe me, there is much more to come.
–Miss Palabra Puddlegum–