Monday, March 7th, 1870

Dear Diary,

It has been quite an eventful week. Last Monday, while I worked in the garden by the dock, I heard a rustle on the grass behind me. I think I had just set up a fresh batch of pretzels. I looked up, and who should I find but my very own newly discovered half-sister? She stood, taller by a head at least, staring down at me with a smile that seemed comprised of two parts joy and at least one part mischief. I curtsied daintily.

She became my first “customer,” offering a donation in appreciation of the refreshment and of the scenery, I suppose. I then offered to share my picnic with her, so we settled in for a long, sisterly chat. Her conversation tended toward the bawdy, a subject I insisted more suitable for the boudoir, but buried beneath those laughing eyes of hers was real concern. Her shop is in danger of closing, poor dear. She isn’t sure what she’ll do or where she’ll live should the Laird decide upon that course of action. She hinted that she might have to do something she’d rather not mention, at which comment I blushed furiously.

She thinks I am too innocent for such talk, so her insinuations and innuendo came punctuated with apologies. For my part, I said nothing to dispel her of such notions. First, I really did feel rather scandalized by the sorts of details she divulged. Her former lover, Tiny, was not terribly tiny, for instance. Good Lord! Who discusses such things on a public dock? My blushes were real. If she interpreted them as innocence, so be it. I kept my own cards rather close to the vest, as they say. I do not yet feel comfortable sharing the intimate details of my private life with so new (and so unrefined!) a sibling.

I do not yet feel comfortable sharing those details with anyone, which is why it is unfortunate that Matilda (nee Gordon) discovered a card from the Pearl Club in my laundry. He pressed the issue until I offered a confession of sorts. I think he read my answer more in what I didn’t say than in what I did. He chose not to judge, for which I am grateful, and then he treated me to a relaxing bath and an expert massage. One would expect porcelain hands to be too cold and stiff for the task, but warmed by the rose-scented water in the tub, Gordon’s skin felt as real as the next bloke’s. He massaged away my worries along with my aches. Afterward, he left me to my slumber. I felt not only loved, but understood and accepted as I drifted into peaceful dreams.

The problem of the sergeant still looms over us. Matilda has taken to locking up the expensive liquor so that he cannot drink us out of house and home. My dear Mary’s absence is felt keenly, almost like a ghost wandering the halls, but Danyell’s primary concern seems to be his impending wedding to Miss Nayar, blast it all. I may have to seek out another werewolf to find my wayward ward. The books on Gordon’s Matilda’s altered condition befuddle me, also. I am neither a mage nor a scientist, although I fear I may have to become both in order to help him or to send our sergeant back to his proper time without leaving a trace. Work on the house continues at a snail’s pace, stopping and starting as I earn the funds necessary to pay for materials and labor.  These are the daily trials of my life, but I would like to think that I face them with aplomb.

Yours,

–Miss Palabra Puddlegum–

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