Thank you for passing along His Lordship’s plans. A proper canteen at the encampment (which I suppose I must now refer to as “The Fort”) will aid matters greatly; and yes, I am confident that some enterprising fellow will open a tavern nearby as soon as the weather permits. It is the time between now and then that concerns me. But please inform His Lordship that I conveyed his words to the leading men of the town this afternoon (you needn’t mention the hot springs) and they were much comforted.
Leon has written me; he has a line on grand-blaireau pelts from St. Denis, one of the newer settlements to the west of Mont-Havre, and he suggests that it would be a fine thing to make our “wagon coats” out of blaireau fur. I am forced to agree, given Tuppenny Wagon’s pre-history on L’Isle de Grand-Blaireau (not that we will talk about that). He is making arrangements with a tailor to design the coats, and should have the first few in short order. Winter is nearly over; but I have suggested to him that we should give some away to our earliest customers now and plan to sell them when the weather turns cold this coming autumn. In this way, we can get the wagoneers to drum up business for us.
I am shocked and surprised to learn that you have heard nothing about Amelia from either her or your parents. It isn’t as though you are out on maneuvers; letters should reach you as soon as anyone in Armorica, and probably sooner than most since they could come by government packet. I begin to wonder whether more went on than Amelia has said. Or, perhaps, they considered it no matter worthy of note. But I am concerned.
Yes, Jack, I know: I am always concerned. It seems to be my usual state these days.
What impresses me even more, however, is the rapidity and regularity with which I have been receiving her letters: two months from time of writing, smack on the dot, and more or less weekly. When I first came to Armorica the Courier’s Guild ran only two packets, the Herbert and the Robert between Yorke and Mont-Havre; and as the trip took two months each way, we saw one or the other about every two months. Now someone (I do not even know whether it is the Courier’s Guild) has packets arriving once a week; and they are speedy enough that a letter can get from Wickshire to Yorke to Mont-Havre to Bois-de-Bas in those same two months. It is a veritable fleet! Of course, His Lordship has been good enough to ensure prompt mail service between Mont-Havre and Bois-de-Bas; it would not be the same to other towns in this part of Armorica.
I have now written to Amelia, assuring her of my pleasure at hearing from her, and inquiring if there is anything I may do to be of service; not that there likely is, at this remote distance. And course it will be four months before I might receive any direct response.
For the first time, Jack, this strikes me as a hardship. Armorica’s remoteness from Yorke was always its great attraction to me—though I have found others, since, of course; Amelie is by my side as I write, and Anne-Marie and Margaret Elise are playing at my feet. I have made a good life here, Jack; but now, for the first time since I arrived, I wish that it were possible to more speedily exchange letters with Cumbria, and perhaps even to visit.
It is a foolish dream, of course. The Abyss is what it is, and cannot be argued with.
photo credit: Fan.D & Dav.C Photgraphy The silence It’s a few things that you can listen to via photopin (license)