Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Charley to Francis: Norway

May 1868

This is disturbing news indeed!  Marlene had the key on her person and I fear it may be lost and she with it.  In her last letter she mentioned that the key fit a locked cabinet in the workroom.  I sent a wire to my contacts in Singapore and received a reply that Marlene never arrived but rather a man by the name of Robert Arsenault and that he had done the fitting for the Buckingham’s.  Something is surely amiss!  I will attempt to rendezvous with you in Paris as soon as I am able.  I am presently in Norway with Mary.  She has decided to purchase a prized herd of diary goats from the Balstads in Harstad, whom I believe you know.  I believe she is more interested in a certain cheesemaker but that is a story for another day when less pressing matters prevail.  If Msr. B has harmed Marlene in any way he shall rue it – I promise!

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Francis Laird to Charley: Singapore

April 1868
Dear Charley-I am afraid I have rather disturbing news. As per our agreement, I met with Msr B and he agreed to employ my services as his soliciter, which would give me access to all his personal and business financial records. When I arrived at his studio, I was informed that Marlene had gone to Singapore to attend the wedding of John and Mary Buckingham. Marlene had helped design the lovely dress you see Mary wearing and was to help with the final fitting of the dress and with wedding preparations. I found it off that Marlene had gone to Singapore alone! And Charley, I am sorry to tell you this, but her seamstress basket has been left behind! With all of her tools in it. I fiind this very odd and alarming! When I asked Msr when he expected Marlene to return, he gave a very vague answer. I fear for Marlene's safety. Please advise. Francis

Sunday, April 1, 2012

Charley to Marlene: Turkey

January 1868

Dear Marlene,
Mary and I have found ourselves in the most exotic of places!  While travelling home to Scotland we met the most interesting man who is in the business of railroads!  His name was Solomon Willard.  His father developed machinery for an early tramroad in Massachusetts and Solomon was on his way to Izmir to observe the Ottoman Railway.  He was such an enthusiastic man!  I found his descriptions of Istanbul to be fascinating.  Mary just smiled and nodded, already acquiescing to what she knew was coming!  I am such a rascal to her it is a good thing she loves me so!  So after a short stay at home I am off again on an adventure, but this time with the delightful company of my daughter.  We are wandering the alleys and nooks of Istanbul, letting our noses drink in the exotic smells of spices and tobacco and sounds most foreign to us.  We were privileged to observe a dervishman or also known as a  “whirling dervish”.  He is a muslim “holyman” who spins round and round.  It is a most interesting spectacle to see.  His robes are very full so that when he spins they flare out most dramatically Mary has rendered him very accurately and beautifully for you along with the Turkish word for their god, Allah.  Before we left Fintry I sent a fella who works for me to Paris.  His or rather our plan is for him to ingratiate himself with Msr. B.  His name is Francis Laird and he is a most able and resourceful man.  He should arrive by the end of the month so do be on the lookout for him.  Once his is there and settled in the two of you have work to do!
Affectionately, Charley