Tue May 16, 2017 6:32 am
Another letter arrives for one Glenn Burnie, this one again in the heavy-handed slop that is Aloisius Treadwell's script. Accompanying it is a fairly long box, perhaps three feet or so, addressed "TO: MR. BURNIE" and "FROM: ALOISIUS," and containing a masterfully made umbrella with a crimson shade, a wooden shaft and spiral-carved handle, and a small garnet embedded in the base.
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Fifth month, 217 A.R.
From my office at the Church of Tubbius, Myrkentown
It has only been a few months, this time, rather than a year, as these things usually go. In one of your last notes, you had said something about my being a center of peace and normalcy in Myrken Wood. I write you today to let you know that such is still quite the same. I have changed none, save getting a little older and a little rounder. Of my siblings, only Langley, my elder brother, remains, though he has taken on being my right hand in Church affairs recently and is settling into that very well. My wife Alice still stays at home with the youngest of the children and the family servants. Of pets, Arnold, my horse, still lumbers along pulling my coach; Pinky, my--as you once noted!--"thrice-damned sow," still occupies her favorite wallow of mud with easy access to her slop. Of my eldest children, in order, Babette is still off doing whatever her silly, young woman's head wills; Gideon still works as a baker for two of my loyal faithful; Nicholas is growing into manhood, so he began working for me in the toy shop last winter (a wonderful craftsman!) and joined my Church three months past; his twin sister Arella is becoming a young woman. That I have bumblingly put into her step-mother's hands, as I have only raised one daughter from infancy to womanhood, and that was when Babette was born over thirty years ago.
Of the youngest children, Egbert and Gwendolyn are but eight years. They are taking well to their tutoring and studies, with the two of them showing a liking for cooking under my butler, Gregory, in particular. We shall see what becomes of that, I reckon. Frederick, now six, has taken to helping out around the house where his little legs can take him. He usually is quite the mess at the day's end, showing a certain favoritism toward helping his old father with Pinky when allowed. It suits him, of course. He was born with the tail of a pig, after all, so why ought he not enjoy spending time with them? In years to come, he will, after all, head the largest of pig farms outside Swinstead, though he certainly does not know such yet. Gabriel and Gertrude, the youngest twins, are but four, now, doing little more than playing and eating--young Treadwells, yet! And last, Harvell--my dear Harvey, the child of my old age!--turns three years in just under two months! With him, it has been a most trying season, dear Glenn! He is, however, well-mannered enough for the occasional ride with his father in the old tub's wheeled chair from time to time.
As for the rest of the town, Myrkentown is still quite in order. It seems to me that the mess with the False Tubbians that I mentioned earlier has resolved itself without my doing much. The Broken Dagger is doing splendid business, even if someone did steal my cushioned barstool at some time and has never seen fit to return it. My toy shop is doing excellent and well; I have even taken as of recent weeks to making toy boats for children to sail and working umbrellas for their parents to keep cool as they go to enjoy the lake. I tell you, sir, that those little crafts are bothersome enough to make, but, dear me, they help line the pockets!
You shall find one such for you in the box accompanying this letter. It is some of my best work, I think. I have tested it myself, and it should be quite the boon in these summer months.
Now, I ought to go see to writing this next meeting's sermon and enjoying a late lunch.
Your "flabullient" friend (as you spelled it once),
Aloisius Horatio Treadwell
Fri May 19, 2017 4:51 am
I cannot tell you the last time I received such a gift. This is primarily because I cannot recall the last time I received a gift in general, something more than a lone coin at least, the sort a doting uncle might provide upon your birthday. Of course I had no such uncles growing up and certainly no one to dote, but that will lead us to a point below. There are bribery attempts, of course. You know a thing or two about those, I imagine, as a tax collector. I don't accept them, however, even when they are of the shapely, wanton sort. Anyway, they can hardly be counted as gifts.
More so than the umbrella (and it is fine to see you well at work at creating instruments of function as well as toys of form), the gift you give is one of numbers. Of all those things that you have in abundance, and that is a wide and far-reaching category I think we can both agree, it is the numbers you have listed that are most impressive. You write of the bounty of life. Look at those in your charge: children of a wide range of ages, animals, customers, taxpayers, and I suppose worshipers, though that is a thorny subject in and of itself. Perhaps we can joust later on about the purpose of religion. I wonder sometimes if religion is not the right word for you and yours. I think it, like most things, a matter of scale and intent.
But I deviate from my point. That can be a talk for another time. I especially appreciate the numbers you have listed for I have none. All I have relative to you is my youth (you may think of me as thirty now, if that would please you; it's as true a number as any other) and a certain freedom of movement that comes with having so little. Regrets, perhaps, of the sort I do not think you have carried for a great many years.
I am glad your worries have resolved themselves. Yours was the first kindness I knew upon my arrival to Myrken. Without it, I may not have decided to stay. It was a small thing for you. It's always a small thing to give very little when you have quite a lot. Some might say that the accompanying feeling of power and moral superiority is worth so small a price. I think it is more your nature to seek out comfort and to stamp out discomfort where you may find it. It is hard for you to be comfortable if those within eyesight are toiling. Of course, your vision is not what it was.
I am now, however, outside of that vision and one would think out of mind as well. Despite that, you have supplied me with a gift. I thought about sending you the aforementioned Coin in return, and then to proudly inform she who gave it to me what a fine, fine use I got out of it. Oh, what better use a gift as such than to repay a friend so thoughtful and revered. That would be a fine letter indeed, letting her know that her thoughtfulness was repaid in kind to none other than Aloisius Treadwell, high chief Tubbian, a veritable deity in the flesh. Can you imagine how one might feel to hear that? My hesitation, however, would be that, despite all of my best efforts and explanations, it might cause you displeasure, for you would see it not as a gift but as my rude and tawdry attempt at payment. I could not bear such a misunderstanding, so I do hope you accept nothing more or less than my true regard in return instead.
Thank you for thinking of me, Aloisius, and thinking of me kindly. I imagine not many do either anymore. Stay healthy and well. You are one of two polar institutions in this Age of Myrken Wood and I would hate to see the place unbalanced.
Your friend in gratitude,