Some days ago I had retired to my country estate to receive Miss Puddlegum. We were to commence negotiations vis-a-vis my proposal of marriage. Gordon had quite diligently cleaned the house and on the night in question I had a few moments of peace to compose myself before my guest arrived.
I sat in a comfortable chair in the parlour. Gordon spun slowly in her display case. I had dressed her in a lovely pink summer ensemble with knee-length ruffled skirt and wide-brimmed bonnet that beautifully set off her blond curls and the newly painted color in her cheeks.
Zebrati was making a circuit of the grounds and Dame Sans Merci was absorbed in her own preparatory meditations elsewhere in the house. The only sounds were the cheerful twittering of the songbirds in the garden and the soft muffled ticking of Gordon’s clockworks, the beating of her heart as it were.
I watched Gordon spin on her stand, a serene passive expression on her face, and found myself reminiscing about how she had come into my service. A little more than a twelvemonth ago an eager young clerk came to my offices at Thistle Hill in hopes of securing financial backing. He had heard through various sources about how I had generously assisted a few other poor souls in like manner.
He explained as how he worked for a minor shipping house and had come across an opportunity to buy into a shipment of spices that he was sure would turn a tidy profit on the market. He even let on that he hoped to be able to win a certain lady’s hand with the moneys thus acquired. He was so earnest I found it hard not to like the young man. I say he was young, but that is only in relation to myself. He was in his 23rd year, although his appearance might cause one to question that. His features were more like those of a younger lad. In fact his face was so delicately featured as to be nearly effeminate, an impression that was reinforced by his habit of wearing his hair rather long.
Perhaps it was his disarming earnestness or the evident gentleness of his spirit that moved me to positively consider his request. Before I could comfortably invest such a sum as he sought, however, I needed to look into the matter a bit further. I therefore sent Gordon on his way with the assurance that I would give his proposal serious consideration. I dispatched my aide, Zebrati, to investigate this supposed shipment, the young clerk and this heiress of whom he had spoken. As you may have already guessed, gentle reader, her reports all came back favorably and I agreed to front Gordon the capital he had requested.
Unfortunately, there was no way to account for a sudden storm at sea and the entire shipment was lost, and with it a substantial portion of my personal resources. A few days later Gordon came to me with hat in hand. I still held the note of course. I knew there was very little chance of recouping the loss if Gordon went to gaol and it so happened I had need of a domestic. I offered Gordon an indenture and the rest, as they say, is history.
I chuckled to myself recalling the early months of Gordon’s service. He was entirely unskilled, of course, and had to be trained an instructed in every task, with the sole exception of making tea. Gordon has always made excellent tea.
At this point my guests arrived. Miss Puddlegum was accompanied by Captain Wytchwood this time which boded well for the civility of the proceedings. After welcoming them in and seeing them seated comfortably I took Gordon off the display stand and awoke her so she might serve the tea. Dame Sans Merci and Zebrati joined us and the evening passed rather amicably, for a change. After some idle pleasantries we got down to the matter of Miss Puddlegum’s conditions. The only one that gave me any pause was the adoption of her ward.
The precocious young lady displayed some rather surprising qualities on our last meeting. I don’t like surprises much. Therefore, I deferred on this point until Zebrati had a chance to investigate Miss Mary and if possible to determine the true nature of her emerging feline qualities. If they prove to be a simple case of neko or therian emergence, or even lycanthropy, then all is well. There are other causes of such transformations, however, which would be a reason for concern.
Miss Puddlegum objected to my request to have Dame Sans Merci officiate the ceremony. I assured her that the Lady was well-respected and highly placed in the Fae Court and therefore had sufficient authority and bearing to legitimize the event, but still Miss Puddlegum refused. Thus, at an impasse on those two points we concluded our otherwise congenial and fruitful negotiations. We parted with an agreement to continue at a later date.
Miss Puddlegum’s account of the evening: Thursday, Sept 2, 18*9