I was asked today by tomwbond how to pronounce the name Lethe. As I mentioned before it’s a greek word, It’s not only a synonym for amnesia it’s a mythological river in Hades that causes forgetfulness. I am told the correct pronunciation is Lee-Thee.
I also want to thank writingpiecesofme for suggesting that I include cats, at least three. They have been worked into the story. Suggestions for characters, plot twists or anything else are always welcome, and I will always try and work them in!
I hope you enjoy it.
Charles Lethe’s Lodgings, Bath, Soon After The Chaise Arrived.
Miss Eliza Heroina and I entered my apartments at Bath with a quiet cautiousness. As we stood in the hall we were nigh on overwhelmed with that disconcerting feeling that we were not alone.
“Colonel Lethe, I believe I am nigh on overwhelmed by that disconcerting belief that we are not alone.” Miss Heroina whispered in tones a delicate alarm.
“I too am of this suspicion. We must proceed with some caution so as not to be caught out by the odious villains!” Said I in a voice indicative of the desire to evade ambush. I armed myself with a weighty walking cane that rested by the door. “Pray, remain close to me.”
We proceeded to the drawing room with footfalls of such silent quality that we should undoubtedly have been the envy of the most accomplished thief. While we were soon enraptured with the elegant rooms, (for though I could not recall it, it soon became apparent that I was a man of excellent taste. The furnishings alone spoke of the refined elegance of a nobleman, and I was all but distracted from my quest to decipher my true selfhood by the collection of gilded clocks upon the mantle shelf.) we felt no more secure. Just as stepped forth toward the dining room I heard a noise, a strange and strangled cry from the parlour beyond.
“Miss Heroina, did you hear that?” I enquired.
“It scarce sounds human, they must be wicked fiends indeed if they find themselves inclined to strike fear of the supernatural into the hearts of their quarry!” Said I in tones of disbelief, for how could any churls stoop as low as imitating ghoulish apparitions? Such daring led me to believe that we were being hunted by the most depraved of men! The noise came again, I stepped forward that I might better shield Miss Heroina, and raised my cane aloft.
“Oh Colonel Lethe!” Miss Heroina’s cry came from behind me and I knew that I was too late. I had been outflanked and the deuced peasants had doubtless taken her hostage. I was overwhelmed by nervous hysteria and, trembling with dread, I turned to see Miss Heroina upon the floor, in an attitude best suited to a nervous seizure!
“Colonel Lethe.” Said she again. “look It is a cat!”
She moved her hand aside to reveal the source of the ghostly voices, a small white and brown cat.
“Oh and look, she has kittens! Oh Colonel Lethe, are they not the prettiest things you ever beheld?”
Two kits of similar hues had followed their mamma and were mewling and wailing at Miss Heroina as though they could sense her adoration.
“Oh you adorable kits! Where did they come from?” Asked she without raising her eyes from the bundles.
“Madam, I cannot recall my own name, how can you expect me, therefore, to recall from whence these cats came? Such delightfully selective control of my recollections are still beyond my power!” I found myself to be more that a little vexed with the cats for leading me to believe that I hade walked into an ambuscade once more and was about to meet my own doom.
Fortunately, I soon regained my composure and my sentiments of curiosity.
“Miss Heroina, I shall recommence my search for indications as to whom I might have been, and perhaps more importantly, who was pursuing me with such murderous zeal. Would you care to join me?”
She still did not look up, and instead addressed the kits in tones of childish delight.
“We believed you to be murderous villains, indeed we did! Pray dear kits are you murderous fiends? Were you intending to dispatch us? Were you? Nay, you are far too sweet for such deception!”
I left her, thus diverted, and ventured forth to the bed chamber to search through an armoire of deepest oak. Beyond the clothes of excellent tailoring and sombre hues, concealed behind a greatcoat was a uniform of the militia. I pulled it from the closet with a growing excitement to better admire it. It was black and decorated with so large a quantity of gold brocade that one could easily become entangled in it.
“Miss Heroina, I have discovered something. A uniform of the militia, however tis of a regiment I do not recognise.” I gave the garment closer scrutiny still. “There is a small medallion upon it, it bears a coat of arms I have never before seen. Madam, what make you of this?” I hastened back to the drawing room with the regimental coat to show Miss Heroina so very promising a find.
Enigmatically Arcanum Location, London, A Little Afore Lethe’s Arrival In Bath.
I had been taking agitated turns about the room for these three hours together, since I had received word that my men had, once again, lost Lethe. The news had been delivered to me by a footman who’s wig was so inclined towards being askew that it was very nearly insolent.
“Lord Riddle, Sir,” As he addressed me his countenance altered with such severity that he soon strongly resembled a phantom. “I am afraid Lethe has evaded us.”
“Again?” I said in some surprise.
“Yes Sir, He overpowered our men at the Nark’s Club.”
“What?! All of them?
“Yes Lord Riddle.” Said he. “He struck them heartily, that he might better enable his escape. He fled from the Club and from there we know not where he has gone.”
“This is unaccountable! I have at my command one of the finest rings of espionage ever beheld in England; Lethe is but one man, and while I grant you he is uncommonly handsome, I am not aware of him possessing any power usually associated with the supernatural, Are you Whitby?” That was not the fellow’s name but I did not recall it so Whitby would suffice.
“Nay Sir.” Was Whitby’s reply.
“Then how has this beauteous beau managed to elude us with such consistency?” I enquired.
“I know not Sir.”
“Whitby I suggest you devote all your accomplishments, limited though they may be to finding Lethe. For in this game of cat and mouse, Whitby, I would rather like to think that I am the feline and not the vermin.”
“Very good Sir. I have laid tea in the parlour should you wish for some refreshment.” Whitby bowed and departed.
While Whitby’s foresight was was admirable and tea would have been highly desirable, I found that once presented with the genteel repast, I was entirely sans appetite. Thus I paced in a manner that was beyond simple turbulent discomposure. Every footfall leaving me more distressed than the last.
Then, just as I was upon the very brink of despair hope appeared with timing, so perfect in it’s essence, that it was as though I were a character in a farcical story, penned some two hundred years into my future. A footman burst forth into the room and declared, as passionately as though he were announcing his love, that he had found Lethe.
“Lord Riddle, We have found Lethe. He is travelling by chaise and four. With a young woman. This young woman, our portrait artiste painted these these of the pair in a tailors shop.”
” A young woman?” Said I taking to watercolours I was all astonishment at such scandalous conduct. “Has he no shame? No sense of decent decorum? Tis one thing to very decidedly evade capture, but tis quite another to involve a young woman in so foul a scheme. Do we know who she is, any notion of her rank and circumstance?”
“Nay Sir, however we do know that they travelled, with some speed toward Bath. In all likelihood they shall be heading for Lethe’s lodgings there.” Replied the footman.
“Bath? We have a man in Bath do we not?” My mind forming a plan afore he had replied.
“Then dispatch him this instant. Tell him to finish the task at hand, swiftly. We cannot fail again. Lethe must perish.” Concluded I with feeling.