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Four Brief Letters Home

Sunday, October 9

Dear Mrs. Namori-Swift,

Through recent correspondence with my major-domo, Mr. Arnold, I learned of your recent marriage to Mr. Akidami Swift. I apologize for the fact that I was unable to attend the festivities. I would most certainly have joined in celebration had I not been otherwise engaged in an adventure of a most remarkable nature with my squire, Mr. Malus. We recently had a narrow escape from the town of Bump after I engaged in sword-play with a 12-foot tall troll, outwitted and out ran 30 heavily-armed men, and tamed two raging mutant elephants.

As I write this correspondence I sit high above the clouds in an airship of truly breathtaking splendour. This is without doubt the epitome of luxury and modernity. Why just last night I stood upon the bow of this magnificent vessel with my arms spread and imagined I was flying.

Along with this brief congratulatory note, I am sending a small parcel with a most extraordinary gadget as a gift to honour your union. It may in fact be the most unique wedding gift ever exchanged. It is a clockwork bread toaster that toasts two slices of bread simultaneously. Simply add coals from your furnace to the three chambers, wind the key then press down on the lever. When your toast is ready it pops up automatically. I know what you are thinking… how can such a device be possible? But it does more, Mrs. Namori-Swift, it also has a little music box that regales your tired morning ears with Reveille. These are truly remarkable times in which we live. Now we just need to invent some means of slicing a consistent width of bread.

Yours Truly,

Emerson Lighthouse

Monday, October 10th

Dear Mr. Mornington,

Through recent correspondence with my major-domo, Mr. Arnold, I learned of the current zombie plague raging across the city. Well done sir.

Having said that, it is not my purpose to congratulate or tease (well, perhaps to tease just a little) but to update you on my progress. After vanquishing a giant-troll with a sword thrust through the heart, battling my way through one hundred of Bump’s most nefarious criminal element, and capturing two re-animated wooly mammoths, I am currently enjoying some well-earned respite aboard the most luxurious airliner ever to sail the skies. I have learned a lot about hydrogen in chatting with the crew and engineers of the Henri Giffard XVI, these past few days. With what more safe and efficient substance could one hope to fill one’s gas bladders?

Captain Smith, has guaranteed me a place on the return voyage. I look forward to strolling the streets of New Babbage once again, perhaps as early as November 4th, a full week ahead of schedule.

Sincerely and in great anticipation of our next glass of Chivas,

Emerson Lighthouse

Tuesday, October 11th

Dear Lady MacBain,

My major-domo, Mr. Arnold, forwarded me the letter you left on my desk. He further mentioned that you had the opportunity to enjoy the apple pie I left on the counter in the kitchen. I am delighted you found it to your tastes. However, if you really want a treat, you should stop by some afternoon after my return to New Babbage and sample my pumpkin spice pie. I’ve always felt that the secret to a good pumpkin spice pie is all in the blend of spices one chooses. My exquisite blend happens to be a family secret. Let me just say: it aids in digestion, reduces nervous anxiety, and generally improves one’s humourous disposition. What’s a little tingling in the fingertips when one is enjoying such a gastronomic delight, I always say.

As to your concerns regarding my safety, have no fear. After having saved an orphan girl from the clutches of a family of hideous giant trolls, rounding up a heard of stampeding elephants (twisted by the very hand of sorcery into the most vile and grotesque creatures you can imagine), and punishing the darker elements of Bumpian society, I am feeling pretty well near invincible. Dare I say it… I feel almost as if I were the King of the World.

Kind Regards,

Sir Emerson Lighthouse

Wednesday, October 12th

Dear Mr. Arnold,

I must be brief as the purser aboard this wonderful ship upon which Squire Malus and I now soar is delaying the air-post in order that I might sneak in this one last correspondence.

As you know, Mr. Arnold, honesty has always been the very foundation upon which I build the moral structure in which I reside. I must confess to you now that the night I departed New Babbage, I entered into a wager with Victor Mornington; and I have been troubled, Mr. Arnold, in one tiny aspect of that wager. In the unlikely event that I had lost, I would have been required to add one small task to your major-domo duties. Perhaps it was hubris, yet so confident was I in victory that I felt safe in offering your scullery services to Mr. Mornington as part of our terms of wager. No need to run to a dictionary, Mr. Arnold, it would have meant a year of scrubbing dishes and mopping the floors of the Muirsheen Durkin. But not to worry, victory is all but assured. You may be breathing a sigh of relief just about now… but I never had any doubts.

Yours most appreciatively,

Sir Emerson Lighthouse

PS: Would you be so good as to deliver the enclosed correspondences for me. Thanks, EL

PPS: As you know I am a little disorganized when it comes to paperwork. I forgot to document before I left that in the extremely unlikely event that misfortune should find me, thus preventing my return, I name you, Mr. Arnold, my sole heir and beneficiary. EL

PPPS: Mr. Murdoch and Mr. Moody, the ship’s first and sixth officer of this fantastic airship respectively, have offered to show me both the steam-engine room and the hydrogen bladders. I am very excited. They’ve told me I can’t bring the hookah… but I may sneak in a little leaf rolled in newsprint. What could it harm? EL


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  1. Mr. Arnold Mr. Arnold October 18, 2011

    Five seconds after reading.  *TWITCH*

    Reads the letter three times again. *TWITCH!* 

    Crumples it in his hands repeatedly. *TWITCH!*

    Resists ripping it and the other letters apart cursing. *TWITCH!*   

    Begins to threaten Mr. Lighthouse’s life verbally. 


    The top of the Piermont probably heard him.

    A few hours later, after he’s feeling calmer and more sensible, he ignores all facts and logic and writes a letter to Mr. Lighthouse that read:

    Dear Emerson Lighthouse,

    I will consent to honoring that bet of yours when you lose, cleaning Victors dishes and mopping his floors.  I do however want to make one thing very clear, you may want to keep your hair as gray as possible because when you get back home, whenever that may be…

    YOU will be the mop.

    Sincerly, Arnold.

    PS.  Whether you’re alive or not at the time won’t be an issue, I’ll manage it somehow either way.

    PPS.  Do you know a good taxedermist?!

    PPPS.  Despite the fact you probably killed everyone else on that ship through your negligence, I still can’t believe you died in that crash.  So you had better make it back before November 11th, for your sake.

    PPPPS. However if you think that running away or dying before November 11th
    will grant you some form of escape I just want you to know I’m still
    going to come after you anyway, s
    o again, do try to make it on time!

  2. Victor1st Mornington Victor1st Mornington October 18, 2011

    *opens the letter and starts reading*

    “Hydrogen…ohhhhh dear…that might explain the crash of the vessel”

    *shakes his head sadly and puts the letter on the table*

  3. Mr. Arnold Mr. Arnold October 18, 2011

    Arnold delivered the letters early in the morning, to Victor in person and the rest to mail boxes though Macbain’s he kept on him since she was staying there so often.  He then went back and looked for something to eat.  There was some of that pie left, and Macbain must have had some at some point so it had to be safe even if it did smell different.

  4. Junie Ginsburg Junie Ginsburg October 18, 2011

    ((“What could it harm?”  We know where questions like that lead New Babbagers…into the drink!  Another great installment, Emerson!))

  5. Yang Moreau Yang Moreau October 18, 2011

    ((::dying in tears of laughter from both the letters and the responses::))

  6. Bianca Swift Bianca Swift October 19, 2011

    Bianca simply stared from letter to device, to letter again. She smiled warmly though, hoping that the appreciation would somehow be felt through the ink on the paper and sent away with flourish to the author of it.

    “What a kind thought,” she whispered to herself before looking up to see her beloved husband trying to shove a whole loaf of fresh baked bread into one side of the device, muttering expletives with the look of hope on his face that by doing such, the device would eventually do as he said.

    Her lips turned downward into a slight frown before she gave a cant of her head unsure of how to feel regarding the sight before her. It wasn’t until she saw him reach for a mallet that she finally intervened.

    “La la la habibi!! Perhaps Mr. Emerson was on to an idea when he mentioned this ‘consistantly thinner sliced bread’ yes?” She said holding the bear of a man by his waist. Akidami stopped and looked down to his wife with a smile.

    “Perhaps you are right. I will go grab the saber instead then.”

    “That is much better a method my husband…and safer for our wedding present. I will begin to write a reply of gratitude and we will enjoy this sliced bread and try our new gift.”


    ((Once again Mr. Emerson thanks soooo much for the fun reads and I know I speak for the husband and I when I say we are flattered for the gift of being a part of your grand adventures!))

  7. Orpheus Angkarn Orpheus Angkarn October 20, 2011

    Second Yang’s comment… also, only in New Babbage would the toaster be invented before sliced bread.

    Mr. Angkarn plots a devious scheme in his head. “As soon as the timelock is lifted, I shall jump into the past and invent sliced bread. Then I shall come back and every time I have a better idea I shall proclaim it ‘the best idea since sliced bread!’ “

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