Dear Mr. Arnold:
As tomorrow is the 29th day of February in the Year of the Builder 188x, we both must acknowledge that you have successfully fulfilled the terms of your contract with me. You have performed your duties with utmost competence, and I will tender a letter of recommendation if you wish.
Within this envelope you will find renumeration for your effort. These foreign monetary notes, Mr. Arnold, are called “greenbacks.” You will find that when exchanged by a reputable financial institution for local currency that they return a handsome sum. My recommendation, however, is that you save these notes instead; their value is certain to increase with time as the young republic which issued them grows in wealth. Regardless of how you spend it, the value of your labor on my behalf–indeed, the value of your labor for Mr. Lighthouse as well–could easily be said repaid.
If you receive this letter with a broken seal, you must alert me at once. The messenger is being overpaid as it is and I won’t tolerate thievery.
Given that your service to me has concluded, you need not report for service tomorrow morning at the customary time.
One final piece of business: should my neice and Mr. Lighthouse not arrive in New Babbage waters by midnight tomorrow, I have retained a more, shall we say, “effective” solicitor from Armada Breakaway. He will act on my behalf to protect Juniper’s interests by engaging an impartial third party. (I deposited a copy of the contract as well as the letters from Mr. Lighthouse’s merry band with said third party last week.) In this fashion legal proceedings may progress toward the distribution of property as set forth in Mr. Lighthouse’s Last Will and Testament. If such dire circumstances come to bear, which surely we both would find dreadful, please know that you will still, most definitely, receive the Tesla cannon.
Yours most sincerely,
Mrs. Abigail Sharp
P.S. — White lampblack and benzene ashes…you’re a clever one, Cat.