22 May 18XX
Mrs. L. Rossini
in the care of
Babbage Square, Babbage
My dearest Leia,
I have just come from reading your last letter and I am pleased New Babbage has been filled your days with suitable entertainment and culture. I trust you have your travel pistol nearby and stay away from the unsavory types that the city undoubtedly attracts with such a large port. I know you can handle yourself, darling but do be careful.
We are having little success at finding any of the materials or parts we need to fix the submersible and I fear our adventures may come to an end here. To write these words now, does not sadden me in the least, for I am in paradise.
You have never seen such wondrous vegetation as is here, my darling. It is greener and more lush than in any place we have visited together. The flowers are abundant and many varieties I have never seen elsewhere, though none as lovely as you.
The plantain are succulent, plentiful and sweet. They are just one of the delicacies here you would so enjoy. They cook them in rum and cane sugar so as to form a sauce and I have had them so regularly. In fact, my dearest, I have so enjoyed the gastronomy, that I am sure I have put on a stone in the short time we have been here.
We took in the springs in Soufriere, where they have a volcano, of all things. Though the sulphur smell was strong, the wondrous heat from the water was healing, and I can attest to the medicinal qualities as my back no longer hurt for several days afterward.
The rum is aplenty and Mrs. Delia makes the most delicious version of rum punch. I daresay my love, this maid is built like an ox and instills fear in men, but she has the most delicate disposition that you would enjoy. She repeats the recipe as though in prayer each time she makes it: “one of sour, two of sweet, three of strong, and four of weak” and then adds a dash of amargo aromatico* and pinch of nutmeg. I have included a small bottle of the secret herbal elixir for you to try for yourself which I hope arrives safely to you.
O Leia! You would so enjoy it here. The sun is brighter and warmer than any land we visited in our adventures. Many of the locals speak French, and you could practice again. Some days I swear I can hear you laughing and singing out “mon petit chou chou” from the garden.
Darling, as soon as I can secure a vessel whether flying or floating, I will come for you and bring you to this land I know you will love as much as I do. We can open that tea shoppe that you’ve always wanted. We are meant to be here, you and I.
All my love,
Leia carefully unwrapped the item on her lap, layers of paper revealing a small bottle, slightly longer than the length of her hand. It had arrived intact and she turned it over, examining it as though in slow motion. She looked at the label but the words blurred. She sat like this for several moments, cradling it in her hand.
She stood, her face expressionless. In one swift move, accompanied by a pain-laden, guttural scream, she hurled the small bottle with all her strength against the wall and let it shatter. A rusty-brownish splotch formed on the lightly-patterned wall covering and dripped down the wainscoting.
(sorry Mr. Cleanslate, i’ll pay for cleaning!)
*better known as Angostura Bitters, conceived and concocted in 1824.