My dearest Harriet,
I hope that you are well and that there is an abundance of pleasantries to divert you, I know how acutely you suffer from your nerves in the month of May. I believe that my narrative, to which I have applied myself with some zeal considering my general malaise, will relieve some of your ennui.
Despite the discomfort of the situation, I was the happy recipient of some good fortune. My deceit had remained secret. It would seem that all upon the HMS Fugitive believed Mr. Charles Lotte to have perished tragically at sea, and that Miss Charlotte was a passenger aboard the unfortunate HMS Catastrophe. The only one amongst us to know the truth was Mr. Smith who showed a shocking lack of gentility with his repeated attempts to reveal my identity, however due to his unfortunate brow and sickly complexion, his claims are generally felt to be the result of inebriation So my dearest Harriet, it would appear that I have succeeded in commencing a new life free from the attentions of poets. I must cling to this one happiness so as not to be overwhelmed by despair, for there is nothing more detrimental to one’s complexion than hopelessness.
It would appear that we succumbed to folly, glutinous folly! The effects of Lady Winifred’s impromptu ball are currently felt and lamented by all amongst us, both constitutionally, for such an abundance of salted meats is neither palatable nor advantageous to the digestion; and practically, we now find ourselves with a supply of food so greatly diminished as to leave us with a sense of some foreboding with concern to our continued survival. Particularly as, despite Lady Winifred’s fervent assurances that we should be rescued by and by, we have yet to witness such a happy scene.
By the fifth day it was suggested by Lord Foot, who is a man with a sense of moral obligation I find most admirable, that perhaps some sort of order ought to be restored to us. For we should certainly descend into fevered anarchy should we not be subject to some form of convention and pretence at propriety. I confess I whole heartedly agree for I had been forced, on the night prior, to dine beside Midshipman Roberts, a churl with the unhappy fate of having two wooden legs and such a distinct lack of personality as to render him quite intolerable. Thus we promptly separated ourselves. As not one of us present wished to flout the laws of polite society the peasants and those of lower birth or rank were afforded the less picturesque portion of the beach, which we affectionately named Cheap-side.
The natural order of the world was further restored by our taking the peasants into our employ as servants, and setting them to fishing and waiting at table and building our new homes. I have designed for myself a large house with window shutters in the Italian style, which I feel lends itself perfectly to the exoticism of our landscape. Indeed, Lady Winifred was enraptured with it and declared that, had she not felt with every fibre of her being that the Earl of Struthermore’s wife should no doubt have felt her absence from society and sent half the ships at Nelson’s command to rescue her, she should have commissioned such a one. As it was however, she would not waste her time and engaged herself instead in fashioning new gowns from the silks she had saved from the ship, and taking long costal walks with the other ladies. It was on such a walk, that I devised a plan of genuine ingenuity. I was accompanying Lady Winifred and Mrs Barnes, a woman of such vulgar countenance as to render it necessary to avert ones eyes while conversing with her. The two ladies were trying to discover what day of the week it was.
“I believe it is a Thursday. It feels like a Thursday.” Said Lady Winifred.
“Nay My dear it cannot possibly be a Thursday for if it were my Hair would be in a chignon, as it is, it is braided. Therefore I deduce that it is a Monday.” Replied Mrs Barnes in voice that incensed me to the brink of madness.
“Oh I do so prefer Thursday to Monday. Somehow it feels a far more felicitous day. I think I shall choose to be Thursday!” Lady Winifred was all earnestness.
“But Lady Winifred Whist is a game traditionally played on …” I could endure no more and abruptly interrupted Mrs. Barnes.
“Oh, enough! It is of no consequence what day it is!” I said forcefully, then seeing the shock upon their visages I continued. “Forgive me I have something of a headache!”
And with that I turned and hastened back the way I had come. During my brief sojourn as a man I had enjoyed such liberties of thought and deed that men have, and I found the return to polite inaction quite intolerable. On my return I turned my thoughts to conveying a message to passing ships. By the time I had returned my scheme was complete. I hastened over to Admiral Inkpen, who was the man that all seemed to consider to be our leader.
“Admiral Inkpen, you are the man that all consider to be our leader.” I said.
“Indeed.” Replied he, gazing at me through his telescope.
” I have had an Idea as to how we may send a message of distress to a passing ship, If we took one of the sails from our own vessel we could paint our message upon it and secure it atop that hill. Thus, any boat passing within a few miles would distinguish it and come to our aid.” I concluded with some satisfaction.
“Upon my word Madam,” Said he after a pause. “that is a plan of some considerable cunning for someone as female as yourself.”
Before I could decide if I ought be affronted Admiral Inkpen had hastened off to retrieve the sail, and we set about painting it.
Before too long we had written in a clear and elegant hand “WE ARE STUCK UPON THIS GOD FORSAKEN ISLE! PRAY SAVE OUR SOULS!”
Admiral Inkpen assembled a party of men to accompany us to the top of the hill, however as we stepped toward the thick forest that grew just beyond the beach, we noticed something that filled us with the sort of fear one usually associates with entering a room full of new acquaintances.
The trees upon the horizon were moving in a manner that was most unnatural! They appeared to dance as though caught in an autumnal breeze, the sort that disarranges ones coiffure in the most vexing way, before falling as though felled by the strongest of men.
“Upon my honour, those trees seem to be falling before our eyes!” Said Lord Foot who was amongst our party.
“Why Foot, I believe there must be something afoot here” Admiral Inkpen concurred.
“There be wickedness in them woods! You mark my words if we go in there we will all go to the deuce!” Cried Midshipman Roberts who then proceeded to run mad and faint.
We stood quite rooted to the spot as though we had all been struck by paralysis. I confess Harriet that such a sight has left me battling the temptation to throw myself into the paradisiacal oblivion of a fainting fit. Instead my dearest friend I comforted myself in writing this account to you.
Yours in fear of the unnatural phenomenon,
Post Script: I have it on the best authority that if I burn this letter the resulting smoke will reach you and become legible before your eyes. If this is the case, I must prevail upon you to send for help.