My Dear Mother,
I have arrived safely in Kingstowne, and the landlady, Mrs. Brougham, showed me to a comfortable apartment that had been reserved for me. There is everything I could need – a desk, shelves, chest, closet, bed, sofa and breakfast-table. The fireplace and hearth look very good indeed. I do not think I will be cold in the slightest.
Are you all well at home? I hope the new clock is still working well. I do not think there is anything else I shall need here, but if I should think of anything, may I ask you to send it over by the next airship? I can wire the postage to you.
Your loving daughter,
It was difficult to see much of Kingstowne, arriving in the night. I believe it is a good-sized town, and at any rate, they have given me good rooms. Quite three times that of my bedroom at home.
This matter of all your papers coming due at once is unfortunate. Will you be all right? Alexandra took many of the same sorts of courses as you are embroiled in at the moment, so perhaps she could be of service.
How is Dean?
I have arrived safely in Kingstowne, and am happy to say I have comfortable rooms here. Kate told me that she has visited you, so I trust you have dug out my other letters by now, and have a fresh, empty mailbox for this one!
I will be back at Michaelmas for certain, so we shall see each other then. I am sorry for leaving so suddenly. Very much looking forward to a visit to England this winter.
My Faraway Kate,
Oh, what a place this is! We arrived later than expected in Kingstowne, for these trains never seem to be quite to the hour, and the conductor was all very pleasant in showing me out onto the station platform. But then – can you guess? – there was nobody there to greet me!
I had to go looking for The Haverly Inn by myself in the dark (all right, it wasn’t entirely dark, there was a half-moon), leaving half my luggage on the platform, for it was impossible to bring it all in one go. Now the inn was not too far, yet there was not a light to be seen. And no bell. I knocked until my hand was fairly bruised before I roused the landlady, who was predictably dour upon being roused from her slumber, and who shewed herself displeased to have to wait while I went back for the rest of my trunks (unaided!), before showing me up to my rooms.
The apartment, two rooms separated by a curtain, might seem well enough to an impartial eye, if a bit rustic. Plenty of rugs, reddish, and brown furnishings rather in the vein of your father’s study, and dark wainscoting remedied by pale plaster above. But it is not home, Kate. How very far from it.
I am still dressed in my trench, but rather than feeling debonair as I sit here half-unpacked, unable to sleep, I feel homesick. And hungry.
When I think of this job ahead of me I cannot help but cringe. I had all those stories from Mr. Faulken, but to be frank, he was more interested in speaking of his own favourite adventures than of imparting any useful instruction to me. I am in no way prepared to serve as a District Officer. I would buy a ticket home now, if my turning up back in England wouldn’t be so humiliating, and if I didn’t know what private smugness that might bring Irene. My pride is the only thing keeping me here at the moment, and it also happens to be giving me a stomach ache, so I don’t know that it counts for much.
P.S. I am sorry to be despondent, it is all just so strange. Did you know there are almost no clocks in New Britain? I saw only one on the whole train, none walking from the station to The Haverly, and none anywhere inside the inn or my rooms. I am in a place of true lawlessness.