Written by Sir John M——, from his own journals.
The Sixth Day.
UNRELIEVEDLY HOT AND sunny; and though the high sails caught wind enough to keep us moving, not even the slightest breeze was perceptible on the promenades. The sailors took advantage of the calm to catch up on their gambling, but most of the rest of us kept to the shade and remained as inert as possible. I had my supper alone in the evening and retired with Bonsecours, whose Voyages I read till well past midnight, after which the heat abated just enough to allow a fitful slumber.
The Seventh Day: Tea with the Duke.
More heat today, and the wise or fortunate among us restricted our activity to the minimum; but the rest of us had an invitation from the Duke for tea, and one cannot decline the Duke’s invitation for any reason short of death. Not that the Duke would ever have remembered whether I had been present or not, but there were others who would have noted my absence, and it is the business of a diplomat always to make a good impression.
“Ah! Sir John,” the Duke greeted me when I was presented to him. “I believe we may have met once before.”
“I believe so,” I replied.
“Thought so. I never forget a face. Fine weather today, isn’t it?”
“Very fine,” I agreed.
“No clouds and no pirates,” he continued. “That’s the sort of weather we like. Nasty business with those pirates the other day, what? Good thing we had one of our diplomat chappies on the spot to sort it all out.”
“Good thing,” I agreed again.
That was as much of me as the Duke had time for before he had to repeat the same performance with some other humble functionary; but I observed him from time to time, noting that he appeared to be the only one of us completely unaffected by the heat. He simply refused to perspire. The rest of us more than made up what he lacked in moisture. I mentioned the Duke’s cool nature, with some expression of admiration, to his butler.
“His Grace does perspire on some occasions,” the butler replied, “but more frequently he forgets to perspire.”
“Yes, sir. Perspiration requires a certain mental concentration on his part.”
This evening a light breeze brought almost the whole citizenry over to the starboard promenade, where I met Lord and Lady Darkwood. Lady Darkwood made cheerful conversation as always; but her husband was more than usually gloomy, and more than once glowered at me with an unsettling frown.
I retired with Bonsecours again. Tomorrow we should be in sight of the Cannibal Coast, and then our explorations begin in earnest.
The Eighth Day.
Storms last night, and fog all day. We had expected our first view of the Cannibal Coast this morning, but in fact I could hardly make out the railing along the promenade, and the sea itself was entirely invisible. I sat outside my door on the promenade and read Bonsecours, though the pages began to curl in the dampness. Just about an hour before sunset, the fog cleared rather quickly, and the golden light of the declining sun illuminated a shore lined with palms, with rolling hills behind and a hint of towering mountains in the distance. Tomorrow we shall send a landing party, and I have asked the Duke that I may be included.
From Dr. Boli’s Encyclopedia of Misinformation.
Misinformation. The line between information and misinformation is much more permeable than generally supposed.
Neutron. Science has at last succeeded in splitting the neutron into subparticles that are even more neutral.
Squid. Giant squid are really quite small except for the tentacles and head.