Monday, January 16th, 1871

Dear Diary:

A lady’s period of confinement is insufferably dull. I sit with my sewing basket day in and day out. Sometimes, I read. Mostly, though, I employ my nimble fingers in sewing up new clothes for the baby while letting out my old dresses. In the midst of all of this boring busy work, I’ve even found the time to create a couple of costumes:

A Medieval Peasant Dress

A Roman Patrician Gown

 

The art of the seamstress is only one of the options available to me when it comes to the difficult question of how one is to earn a respectable living. As fate would have it, I find myself uniquely qualified to provide my services as an investigator of.. hmmm… shall we call it phantasmagorical phenomena?

It just so happens that my old friend Mr. MacBeth, whom you might remember, called on me yesterday. His was more than a friendly visit. While walking along the shore of his home in Winterfell Absinthe, he discovered a most atrocious sight: the water-logged corpse of a murdered vagrant woman! The currents were such that the woman must have come from Caledon Cape Wrath, which is just across the strait from Winterfell Absinthe. No mere drowning, the victim most certainly ran afoul of some rather foul play. According to Mr. MacBeth, the corpse had been nearly drained of blood. Etched onto her skin with god knows what implement, a five-line riddle had been written out in ancient Sumerian script. And who, dear Diary, is the only “person” I have ever known to exhibit both a propensity for slaughter as well as for rituals of the ancient Sumerian and Babylonian variety? Mr. Plutonion, that’s who.

Worse yet, what I can make out of the “text” inscribed upon the victim’s person seems to indicate that more victims may be forthcoming.

Mr. Plutonian! Oh, Diary, can it be? Could he be back – or nearly so? Or is it, instead, one of his cohorts or cousins or however that works with demons? Do we have a case of an entirely human killer, instead, one who dabbles in the dark arts? I cannot know for certain, but I must be sure. Firstly, I cannot be sure that I am not on the list of intended victims. Secondly, if Mr. P. or someone related to him is the killer, Matilda might also be at risk. Finally, I cannot sit around with my knitting needles when my experience renders me uniquely qualified to investigate this case. Perhaps Mr. MacBeth, Matilda, and I can stop this mad murderer before any more lives are lost.

The good doctor advises against travel in my precarious state. While my injured knee has healed, I draw close to my time. It will not do, he says, to bear my child on a train or in a carriage. He felt it unwise to risk the health of my child. When I argued that I might save the life of another potential victim, however, he found himself unable to argue the point.

So it is, dear Diary, that Matilda and I find ourselves in a flurry of activity as we pack for the windy north country. Mr. MacBeth arrives tomorrow to escort us to the train. From there, we seek our destiny.

Wish me luck, Diary. I fear I might need it.

Your Fretful,

–Miss Palabra Puddlegum–

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