My memory of that night it rather hazy. My uncle put me to bed, but his concern for my health was such that he felt obliged to administer a rather strong dose of some sort of opiate. It was not mere laudanum, as this was provided directly into the bloostream vis-a-vis a needle. The drugs were quick, to borrow an expression from the bard, and my wide eyes soon traced colorful patterns and images in the swirls of the ceiling plaster.
My uncle lay next to me and stroked my hair. The conversation seems as muddled to me now as were my drug addled intellects then. I have a rather strong sense, though, that I confessed to my uncle the fact that another man loves me. I also shudder to recall my uncle’s declarations of affection. Affection, I call it, but it was certainly mingled with lust. He actually spoke aloud in anticipation of — and please forgive my crassness when I recite for you his words — entering me. But this, he assured me, was yet to come. This night, he would only tend to me as I recovered from the day’s exertions.
I awoke groggy and parched of thirst and, shockingly, clothed in but my under garments. My uncle lay by my side, attired in only his shirtsleeves and trousers. I immediately leaped from the bed, dashing my injured leg upon the bedside table in my haste, and pulled the bedsheets up to cover myself. I cursed. I blushed. I hopped about in a dizzying dash as I hurried to array myself in decent attire. My uncle was quick to allay my fears, noting that nothing untoward had passed between us. He was a gentleman, he insisted, and not such a brute as to take advantage of a lady in a compromised state. An awkward breakfast followed.
Surprisingly, so did my nurse. Gillie knocked at the door and demanded to tend to her charge. How she arrived in Paris I shall never know. My uncle declares that he only left for her a note indicating our destination. With such meager funds as hers, though, I cannot imagine her journey an easy one. At any rate, she ejected Mr. Robonaught from the room forthwith and immediately set upon torturing me as only a nurse can. She observed with displeasure my dilated pupils, perspiration, and other minuscule signs of the drug that my uncle had administered and clicked her tongue. When she asked what I had taken, I told her to ask Mr. R., who had delivered the drug into my system. She shook her head and said something to the effect of “we’ll see about that.” Truly, she seemed most dissatisfied. I expect strong words to be exchanged between my nurse and her employer regarding the matter of over-medicating a patient.
She did, however, agree to let me go to the city proper for an afternoon’s light entertainment. My uncle and I had decided to visit the tower we had seen during the previous day. Convinced that the change in air and altitude would do me good, my nurse reluctantly consented to the trip. She and my uncle both insisted that I travel by carriage (horseless or otherwise) as often as possible. I agreed to this precaution and soon found myself atop the Eiffel Tower, the building date of which was my first clue that the time was not exactly the same decade as that which we had left. Indeed, the city seemed different, somehow, as it buzzed and hummed with activity below. I felt I could almost reach out and touch the sun, but this was a foreign and smog-covered sun. This was a future sun and there I stood, two decades between me and solid ground.
I am not sure that something was rotten in Denmark, but something was certainly unusual in Paris.
— To be Continued —