How are you?
Uncle Joshua is making me write this letter. He is also making me call him ‘Uncle’. He doesn’t usually, but he says it is punishment for lying to him. Having to call him 'Uncle', I mean, but the letter is also a punishment.
But how could it be a punishment to write to my beautiful cousin?
I must apologise that you had to hear of my ungentlemanly behaviour. But Joshua is even worse! Using that backhanded trick of telling a friend to tell you, that’s low.
We argued last night about my father. Is my grandfather as bad a man as Joshua says he is? I don’t believe him. My father, anyway, wouldn’t go hiding just because he wanted me to go to England with my uncle. My father’s very brave, he’s not afraid of me.
He’s also very smart and has gotten himself out of lots of bad situations, but he’s never been away this long before. That’s the real reason I told Joshua the truth. He couldn’t have made me if I didn’t want to.
At least my uncle is taking me seriously about my father being in trouble, possibly. As part of my punishment he’s making me write out a list of everyone I suspect may be involved in the scheme to save the magical treasures. He says to tell you to look over it with Captain O’Cullan and see if any ideas come to you. (He can’t tell you this himself because he is too busy sulking).
Le Chevalier de Brissac – You know about him already. Father said he liked him a lot, but he was always very rude to father. Seems to like Joshua though, which is strange.
Mademoiselle Chevet – De Brissac’s favourite, God knows why. She is a nobody with vulgar manners and her father is one of the fake nobles Napoleon has made. They say she is pretty but I don’t think so. She annoys me when she laughs, too.
Mademoiselle Denmois – Another one of de Brissac’s pupils. Even uglier and sillier and more common than Mademoiselle Chevet, but maybe a nicer heart.
Madame Remoille – A very silly old woman. She notices nothing, so everything happens in her Salon. She is a sort of mage, but not very powerful.
Contesse Milferre – My father’s mistress, though Joshua said not to tell you that. How are you supposed to know what to think if I don’t tell you the truth?
You know what a mistress is, yes? I suppose Captain O’Cullan can explain it if you don’t.
She is a real lady and quite pretty even though she is old, and she is nice to me and I like her.
Visconte Daufont – Father’s sworn enemy. He has been bothering Contesse Milferre a lot lately but she says I shouldn’t worry about it. (But I told her I would defend her honour if she needed me to, anyway).
Monsieur Nocte – One of de Brissac’s pupils. I think he is full of secrets and always acting very suspicious. I do not know much about his background except that he’s spent a lot of time in the colonies.
Madame Viettiene – She is quite old, even older than the Contesse Milferre, and not as pretty. She is also a student of de Brissac, even though she is too old to be learning. They say she is the mistress of someone powerful. If she is, whomever he is has no taste.
Monsieur La Cresson – He is supposed to be a very powerful old mage. Father once told me he taught both the Chevalier de Brissac and Visconte Daufont. Most of the time I see him though, he is asleep in the corner of Madame Remoille’s salon. Mademoiselle Denmois tells me they are lovers. It is disgusting.
Chevalier Montpriss – A good friend of Visconte Daufont. He makes fun of my clothes and I hate him.
I do not know many of these people very well, so I don’t see the point in making me write this list. (Ask his friend if Joshua is this bossy as a captain. I shan’t go to sea with him if he is.) I hope you can help, though. Joshua is trying to decipher my father’s code books but I think my father is going to be too smart for him.
Since my uncle sent you such a stupid present, I am sending you another one. You will like it a lot better, I am sure.
Your affectionate cousin,
P.S. Have you checked your aunt's dog to make sure it isn't a demon?