(Continuing the narrative that began here.)
Letter the Twelfth: Sir George Purvis to Miss Amelia Purvis.
My dear Sister,——
I write to fill the Interval, infinite and interminable, between the cold grey Dawn and the first Stirrings of the House: Which is to say, of Doctor Albertus; as for the antient Housekeeper, she rarely appears, nor do I perceive very much Evidence of her Work. Doctor Albertus (so he tells me) reserves these early Hours for his Workshop, wherein he fabricates those mechanicall Toys, or clockwork Contrivances, which the justified Fame of the Automaton has rendered the most desirable Objects in London.
My Sleep was uninterrupted last Night: No Spirits came to rouse me from my Rest, and I do believe that Doctor Albertus was correct in saying, That the Spirits were to be sought in my own febrile Imagination, and not in the House. There is something a little shameful in so easily succumbing to the Inchantments of an antient Pile of Stones and Mortar; and I am resolved no longer to allow Fancy to rule Reason, nor to fear that which I know to be naught but Phantomes spawned from my own Mind.
I shall leave you now, as I hear the heavy Steps of Doctor Albertus without; and my excuse for this abbreviated Letter shall be, That I wish to have more Experience of that remarkable Automaton, so that I may write of it to my dearest Sister. A longer Letter will follow; until which Time, you may believe me
Letter the Thirteenth: Miss Honoria Wells to Miss Amelia Purvis.
My dearest Amelia,——
I write to ask whether you have heard from our beloved George of late; for I have not heard of him, since some five Weeks ago: Which is a longer Interval than he has yet allowed to pass between Letters. I have moreover had some Correspondence from London, which tells me, That George has not been seen there this Week, and that he has retired into the Country, tho’ which Part of it my Correspondent could not say. I am not by Nature suspicious, but a Fear has crept over me, that some Ill may have befallen George. For well I recollect, that Pirates have abducted Men even in the Heart of the City, as we learn from the exemplary Romance of Inezella, whose Abramo was taken from Sevil by Turks and sold for the Price of a Lemon. ’Tis true, that in the ample Leisure I have, my Thoughts have more Freedom than perhaps is conducive to my Repose: For I invent a thousand imaginary Mishaps, each more dreadful than the last, and see my George abducted, or imprisoned, or murthered; or even, as in the Tale of Rozina, wandering the Earth, with no recollection even of his own Name. But tho’ I perswade myself that there is nothing rational in my Fear, yet my Fear is not thereby extinguished. Wherefore I beg you for whatever News you may have, and subscribe myself
Your trembling but ever-faithful Friend,