Monday, January 17th, 1870

In the attic of the New Babbage library, I found a deck of tarot cards. Curious, I set out a simple three card spread. The cards I drew were: The Lovers, The Moon, and the Three of Pentacles. The nearby instruction book seems to indicate that good things are to come of my craft. I hope that means writing. It seems that I will find (or have found) love, that unfathomable force which compels otherwise sane persons to fling aside their well laid plans in favor of their passions. Then, the moon governs a wild, frightening, and primal land of magic and creativity. The traveler is advised to “go with the flow,” as it were. The book cautions against getting trapped in the land of perpetual night, filled as it is with things that go “bump.” Finally, the three of pentacles indicates an effort that is about to pay off. Hmm… I really think I must mend my pen and purchase an excess of paper.

But fear not, dear diary… tonight my paper and my pens are reserved for you. After a fatiguing day, I little know whether to narrate today’s adventures or those of long ago. I think I shall summarize today before I delve into the more painful subject of what befell my person in the 21st century. So, here we are, then: today, I journeyed to New Babbage. In a cafe there, I met the remarkable Miss Hermit. She is from Japan, can you believe it? And she’s a genuine shinto priestess. Will the wonders never cease? She has a ghost for a maid. I know I am not one to talk, having a clockwork person as my maid, but I truly never imagined that a ghost might choose to manage the household affairs of a living woman. At any rate, the lady took me back to her home. She then took a handkerchief that a gentleman at the cafe had given me and promptly chucked it into the fire! The nerve!

She spoke of wards and dreamcatchers. Apparently, the man had nefarious designs. His handkerchief bore some sort of symbol that might open the door to my dreams. Then again, it is possible that this shinto priestess lady with her ghostly maid is off her nut — or, worse, like Mr. Plutonian! I left as quickly as was politely possible. After my dealings with Mr. P., I find myself hesitant to spend too much time around too much magic. Perhaps I am painting all mystics with too wide a brush, but there it is. I am ashamed to be prejudiced against those who dabble with the otherworldly, but I cannot help myself. There shall be no more demons – no more cursed baubles, either – for me!

Almost immediately after I made my goodbyes, Mr. MacBeth accosted me in the streets! It seems that he decided I should continue with my training. The best way to do that was with a knife. Blast! And now my gown is torn. Really, my fighting is not quite up to snuff. I drew first blood, but he bested me easily shortly thereafter. Knife or no, it is nearly impossible for a lady to gain the advantage whilst wearing heeled boots beneath three layers of crinoline. My teacher simply insisted that I need more practice.

We finished with tea at the library, and now here I am, safe and sound in my temporary residence at Miss Ember’s house. My hostage is as morose as ever. I think he plans to annoy us to death, what with his constant drinking and whinging about his children. I don’t know why he can’t just enjoy civilized society while we find a way to send him back. So few from his time are permitted this pleasure. Why, he should be grateful!

That brings us back to the point, then: the 21st century. And what happened. Oh, bugger! Damn and double damn. I cannot write this part without trembling all over. I must be an evil woman, or at least a magnet for evil men. Or perhaps there is some sort of destiny in life after all. In a situation remarkably similar to that which befell me with the madman, I encountered a very uncouth and disagreeable man in the 21st century. He pointed some odd implement at me. The prosecutor called it a cell fone. He – the man, not the prosecutor – called me vulgar names. He advanced, leering. I think he meant to rob me, at least. What was a lady to do? I mourned this man as deeply as I mourned the other, but that is all I will say to my credit.

With experience on my side, I enlisted the aid of a friend. This man worked as a barista at a local bookstore. He assisted me in burying the corpse in an overgrown mess of brambles that had once served as a pasture. You see, I had taken up squatting in an abandoned farm. This madman had family, though, and soon the police came looking for me. I really hadn’t expected it. Had I known what would happen, I suppose I would have used my teleporter to travel back home. Unfortunately, the blasted police arrested me. They took the wrist strap into which I had fixed the travel device, and then they stood me up in court to defend myself against this man yet again. But how does one fight a ghost? he was dead and I wasn’t, and therein lay proof enough. The judge seemed as little impressed with my reasons for defending myself as convinced by my demonstrations of contrition. In the 21st century, my standing as a gentlewoman counted for naught.

I have glossed over this matter too lightly, diary. Please do not think me a hardened criminal. I tell you truthfully that I really felt my life – or at least my honor – to be in grave danger. But the judge was correct. I cannot deny it. A life was taken. Perhaps I should have done something differently. Perhaps if I had called for help rather than run away… Or I could have informed the authorities rather than burying the man so callously in a shallow grave on an abandoned farm. Hardly a day passes that I do not look back and ask myself what I could have done differently. I apologized profusely to the man’s family. Sometimes, I still feel frightened of myself. I am a danger to society. A menace. I shoot first and ask later. Buckets of blood bathe these dainty hands. I don’t think they will ever be clean.

But diary… as sorry as I am for what I’ve done… I do begin to think red suits me.

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