Monday, May 9th, 1870

Dear Diary,

Again, I apologize for my prolonged absence. I seem to be doing that rather often as of late.

Today, I traveled abroad. I dare not say exactly where I traveled, as my intent was to track down my undercover uncle during one of his missions. I found him living a life of luxury, his domain a stately and tastelessly decorated manor house within close proximity to a major city, whilst leaving me on my own with little contact but for the occasional telegraph.

My uncle being out when I arrived, I proceeded to make myself comfortable. I borrowed a pinch of his tobacco. I seated myself regally in his leather armchair. I stoked up a roaring fire. No one came to either boot me out onto the street or attend to my needs, so I must conclude that my uncle keeps no staff. The house, I find remarkably clean for the home of a bachelor. I must keep this in mind. If the man can do housework on his own, I don’t see why he shouldn’t raise a finger when he’s at home in Caledon. I don’t run a hotel, you know.

My uncle wore an expression that seemed equal parts pleasure and surprise upon finding his niece smoking in his easy chair. We might have exchanged pleasantries, except for the fact that my tone was not at all pleasant. I did not follow him to beg for money, exactly, but rather to inform him that his lack of presence at home is not at all appreciated. If he is determined to act as my guardian in accordance with the wishes of my parents, he does a damned poor job of it. My house is half-built. My maid offers to obtain secondary employment in order to assist with the groceries. And let me not even mention the ignoble occupation to which I have been reduced. How can he call himself my guardian when I live in a half-finished house and he lives in an upscale manor?

My sister, who visited shortly after I returned from my little argument with my uncle, laughed. She commented that not having a porch hardly rendered me destitute. We both giggled at that. It’s true, I suppose, that I am a long way from destitute. But that is not the point. The point is that I’ve not seen so much as a shilling from my so-called guardian. I have a right to expect that he keeps a halfway decent roof over my head. Not being destitute is not quite good enough.

The result of my interview with my uncle was that Matilda gained a raise in wages (the amount was not specified), while I gained an allowance of 1 crown per week.

((OOC: To put this into perspective, allow me to do the math for you: 1 crown = 5 shillings; 5 shillings in 1870 money = 11.43 British pounds in today’s money11.43 pounds = 18.72 U.S. dollars in today’s money; and 18.72 U.S. dollars = 4605 Linden Dollars as of the time of this posting.))

I’d like to say that I found my uncle’s offer generous. In truth, it came with certain strings which I’d rather not mention. Still, for a crown a week I’ll shut my gob and do as I’m told. With an allowance like this, I can pay the guv’nah his rent and still have some little left for groceries. To earn the same at the club, I’d have to entertain some two or three clients per week. I left my uncle’s home away from home feeling rather sore and wobbly, and yet satisfied with the amount in my purse. Such is the life of the demimonde.

Later, I entertained my sister. Once I pulled her up into the porchless, stoopless house, she declared my sitting room quite lovely. We two spoke at length about Mary’s disappearance. Her solution is to introduce me to a man. I’m beginning to think my sister was very aptly named, as a man seems to be her solution to every problem. Still, to hear her talk, this man has money, skills, looks, and curious abilities which may enable him to assist in my search for my lost ward. The interview has been set for one week hence. If this man can do even half of what Randy insists he can do, I think he must be a bloody Greek God.

Randy thinks I will fall in love and that he will change me for the better. I hardly share her optimistic attitude. First of all, I don’t have time for love. I’m trying to find my ward, to dispose of a hostage, to re-humanize my clockwork maid, and to please my uncle whilst keeping him in the dark about all of the above (save for Mary’s disappearance). Secondly, I am no stranger to men of renown. My father was a baronet. I am a courtesan. I flirt and tipple champagne with knights and noblemen all day long. One of them ripped my new frock today, as a matter of fact. It was quite vexing! I should know better than to play En Garde in my good clothes. Expensive bills of service from my tailor notwithstanding, the fact remains that my daily interaction with men of rank and distinction renders me a rather difficult woman to impress. He’ll have to be an Adonis, indeed, to melt my cold heart.

I think I will give this fellow a chance to save Mary, though. I’ll simply leave the love part to my sister. Yes, that should work nicely.

Until the next time, I remain:

Your Jaded,

–Miss Palabra Puddlegum–

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