My dearest Lucy,
I was delighted to receive your letter this morning but I am once again so sorry to hear of your continuing troubles. I can well understand how anxious you must be over young William’s health but I hope you will not take it amiss if I dare suggest that perhaps your worries may be a trifle excessive. You have, after all, the reassurance of both the doctor and your friends that it is nothing more than a passing sniffle (your neighbour, Mrs Stepney, in particular sounds like a most sensible woman full of good advice – having brought up seven of her own you must surely allow that she knows a thing or two about these matters!). And I am quite sure that Henry does not mean to be unfeeling about it all – only I am sure he must have such a lot on his plate with all the parish business just now. I think it sounds very much as though all three of you could do with a change of scenery – the sooner you are able to arrange your stay in Bath the better.
By 7pm that evening the fine weather of the last few days had broken and a steady rain was falling, smothering the finer streets of Bath with a thin sheen of greasy mud and turning the poorer roads and alleys into a quagmire. Michael and I stood huddled in a doorway of the Westgate Buildings, our attention fixed upon the rear entrance of the Hospital of St John opposite. An arched gateway led into a narrow courtyard, beyond which stood a handsome stone building of classical proportions. My hours since tea-time had not been idle and I had led Michael here in order to fill him in on the fruits of my labours.
12 Gay Street,
1st April 1818
My dearest Lucy,
I did not expect to find myself writing to you again so soon, before you have even had chance to reply to my last letter, but I felt I simply must send you this brief note to acquaint you with the very sad event we have just experienced here. I fear I am not much good with the gentle phrasings and soft words which ought to accompany such tidings so I will just come right out and say it. Poor dear Captain Crowley has passed away! It was most unexpected, occurring as it did right in the middle of Mrs Grace’s party yesterday. He seemed perfectly well and in fine spirits at the start of the evening but sometime after supper he simply sat down in the window seat and died. Of course, everyone here in Bath is very sad at his loss (and I rather fear Mrs Grace was especially put out as it necessarily entailed the abandonment of what had been, until then, a most successful party).
12 Gay Street
31st March 1818
My dearest Lucy,
What a delight it was to receive your letter this morning but I am very sorry to hear that you are not able to join us here in Bath for another few days at least. I was so looking forward to hearing all your news! Of course, I understand that Henry must be very busy with his parish duties just now and it is only natural that you should be worried about travelling with young William so soon after his illness. But I do hope now that the doctor has pronounced him quite well you will be able to make your journey very soon and I solemnly promise to keep you up to date with all the news and gossip from Bath in the meanwhile.
The cabin was filling with water at an alarming rate. It seemed incredible that a few small holes could let in so much, so quickly but before we knew it the water was sloshing around our ankles and rising rapidly towards our knees. Of course we did what we could to plug the holes using whatever papers and bits of old rag we could find but the sea seemed able to force its way through any barrier we constructed. Continue reading
“Anyone fancy a drink?” said Sid. “I think maybe we’ve earned it, don’t you?” The Elise had been chugging steadily across the Mediterranean for an hour, the four of us sitting in a vaguely anxious silence on the narrow bunks of her cabin, before the tension relaxed sufficiently for such a suggestion to be made. Continue reading
We hurried off in different directions, Michael to go and collect Felicity and whisk her out of the hotel on their ‘date’ while I scurried up to my little room on the fifth floor. Once inside I retrieved the dour grey maid’s uniform I had liberated from the locker room the previous day and set about putting it on. I was still in the middle of dressing when I heard a second muffled explosion echo around the hotel. Realising there wasn’t much time to lose, I tucked my hair beneath the rather ridiculous little cap, slipped on my shoes and headed down the stairs. Continue reading
If you walk east along the boulevard, the wide sandy beach running alongside eventually comes to an abrupt end at a point where a rocky promontory juts out into the sea. This marks a boundary of sorts between the resort and the old town; on the other side of the promontory a cluster of white-washed houses, shops and cafés straggled up the hillside above the harbour. I was vaguely irritated to note that Felicity was right in so far as a little time spent wandering the shady streets and secluded squares here did wonders to soothe my agitated nerves. I stopped and enjoyed a delicious seafood lunch at a rustic little tavern before heading off to find Captain Dupree. Continue reading
The next day – heist day itself – had been scheduled to begin with another room change for Felicity. The plan called for her to decide overnight that the colour scheme in her new suite was too vibrant and insist upon being moved to a more soothingly-decorated set of rooms. But when she called down to the reception desk first thing in the morning to make her demand she was notified that the manager was currently unavailable. So too it seemed were the deputy manager, the concierge and the head housekeeper. The best that the receptionist could do was to make a note of her complaint and promise to send somebody up just as soon as they were available. Continue reading