Steampunk fiction, reviews and interviews

From Hull, with love

A Letter

Addressed to Queen Victoria and stolen from the private diary of revolutionary poet Christina Biscotti by Fein Richards and Turk Goodie of The Tiffin Den Sleuths. Certain words appear to have been underlined, either by Christina, or Turk, or Fein, or Queen Victoria but as two of the above are notorious indulgers in Absinthe and the other two are notorious indulgers in mostly awful poetry, there may be no relevance in the underlined words whatsoever.


Dearest Mother,

I hope you are well. I suspect in fact that you are very well. Well, that is all well and good. A woman should be well. Especially a mother. Especially a mother who is also queen of The Scattered Isles Of Ire.

I, on the other hand, am not well. My stomach churns with trepidation at the thought of the dreadful circumstances into which fate, and your fair and judicious hand, have flung me. My heart is torn between wrenching itself free of the sinews which bind it to my bosom and fleeing for its own life, and simply combusting as it struggles to contain the remorse that I have been such an inadequate fool.

Will anyone ever forgive me? I suspect not. Nevertheless, I have always strived to be a gentleman of quiet habits, whatever the newspapers, court gossips and various street urchins may say about me, and I am even now resigning myself to quietly serving out the penance which, you seem to feel, is necessary in order to punish my noble and well-intended actions regarding the Elizabeth Byron affair.

Love is a tricky business, is it not Mother? Especially between parent and child.

You are no doubt being, what I believe they call, cruel to be kind.

Forever, however, is rather final isn’t it? I am hoping that, when you said ‘forever,’ you were speaking figuratively and actually, in your compassionate, motherly mind were thinking ‘six weeks or so.’ At least that is what I hoped this morning, as I packed my meagre belongings into my trunk: lucky rose-patterned, gold-gilt-edged teacup, emergency biscuits, second best dinner jacket, first edition copy of the collected works of Christina Biscotti. By the time the guards had arrived, however, and mockingly distributed the spoils of both the trunk and my small Lichfield apartment (I know you called it a rat infested cellar, Mother, but it is technically termed an apartment.) amongst themselves, that hope began to fade rather rapidly.

I do not dare to hope that I will find this ‘Hull’ a pleasant place to reside for any length of time. The folk tales spun to deter us from wrong doing in the nursery, I now fear may not have been exaggerated fictions sprung from the over-fertile imaginations of wet nurses and governesses, but actual facts. Please excuse the quality of my hand and the number of ink blots at this point, Mother; my limbs are trembling so I can barely write. Also, the carriage ride down this long dirt track towards the dock has become rather turbulent.

The guard informs me we will be arriving soon. He also informs me that it is futile my writing to you like this, as there is no postal service between the sunken city and the mainland. I find his jokes about sea water and ink in very poor taste highly witty and amusing. Please excuse the blood stains on the paper at this point, Mother. Due to the turbulence of the ride, I seem to have accidentally dealt myself a right hook and possibly shattered my jaw. An amazing feat of strength for a gentleman of my delicate build, I admit.

I must close now, Mother, as I fear I am about to lose consciousness, but please rest assured that I will remain, always, exile or no exile,


Utterly Myself.





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