March 29th, 1925 Part 2

Betty dearest,

I think you'd enjoy the travel we have done so far. Excepting the lunacy that seems to occasionally overtake our party, the sheer joy of seeing all the new sights is quite exhilerating. I can't explain how much I love being on the open road again. I had thought my love of travel extinguishing when Searle's life was, but now I believe it has merely been biding its time until opportunity arose. Truly, I should have done more travel after his death, coming to visit you more often. It just felt too difficult.

It is not difficult now. Indeed, as I stand feeling the ocean spray against the side of the ship, I feel at home. I know shortly we will arrive at Nairobi and my daydreams and the comfort of my cabin will be washed away, but there are moments on every journey where simply being in the moment is enough. I hope I will not forget this when I return.

Moza is unhappy with the living arrangement. I almost wish he had stayed in Cairo, he has been so frightened. He has become more used to the sensation of being onboard, although he still wishes he were on land no doubt. I wonder if it is merely because the ship we are taking is much smaller, and therefore is tossed about a good deal more. The larger cruise ships like the Mauretania almost allow you to forget you are at sea until your eyes reach the horizon. Hopefully we can find larger ships to accommodate us in future.

This ship, The Lady's Finger (which I am assured is not a lewd reference), was the only ship leaving for Nairobi that could take a party as large as ours at such short notice. No doubt if we had waited a few days we could have found something more in the pleasure line, but honestly, I find it enjoyable that we have found ourselves a working ship to travel on. They are a shipping crew, ferrying goods and edibles up and down the continent, which explains the excellent food. Incidentally, if you have the chance, turtle soup is quite delectable. The spices were a little hot for my liking, but the overall dish is quite enchanting.

Leaving Cairo happened quickly. On our return, there was both quiet and commotion. Quiet, in that word from Giza had not yet filtered to our circles, and commotion as an attack had happened in another hotel that had left several men brutally murdered. Point of fact, it was Count Kurosov's hotel.

Violet was distraught, and naturally ran immediately to find the fate of her lover. Sadly, he and several of his bodyguards had perished. As he is dead, I can confide this to you now.

Count Kurosov was quite the gentleman, as I am sure I told you. His breeding shone through, even while he denied he was anything special. What I did not tell you was what Violet confessed to me, that he was a member of the butchered Russian royal family. Not immediate family, but family nonetheless. Family enough that when the Bolsheviks were given an anonymous tip as to his whereabouts, they descended upon the hotel and left bodies in their wake. No doubt the rumours will leak as to Kurosov's connections, but we have lost another royal in that massacre.

Poor Violet, though. I am comforting her as best I can, although with Louis in such close proximity it is quite tricky. I am sure Violet wishes she could properly mourn the Count, and I hope she gets the chance to. While I did not wish the man ill, it does tie up some loose ends nicely. We shall see how that pans out in future.

I am aware that I have not reported all that occurred in Cario, but I am finding it difficult to accept the rest of that tale. For my own part, I am ashamed. For now, I shall return to the ship's deck and enjoy sailing down the beautiful Indian Ocean and attempt to put the dark thoughts behind me.

Yours truly,


March 29th, 1925 Part 1

Dear Betty,

Its a good thing I have this time onboard to catch up in my correspondence. Things happened so quickly and chaotically as we attempted to lave Cairo that there was no chance to write anything. Indeed, I still wonder if some of this should be inked out at all lest it be seen as the ramblings of a lunatic.

After the dust-up at the pyramids, we checked out of Shepheard's that morning, as immediately as we could. Or rather, we left Mary, Dr. Webber's secretary, and Lord Covington's valet to sort it all out after booking passage onwards. We had more important things to do, and in any case, did not want to be seen around the place as we looked rather worse for wear after our exciting evening. (Is exciting the right word? I'm not sure. There certainly was excitement, although it wasn't the good feeling I normally associate with it. At any rate, I cannot think of a better.)

Our poor Dr. Webber has a nasty, livid scar across his face, although the rest of us were more or less intact. I was exhausted, as I'm sure Violet was, although she didn't look it. I have always envied her ability to look like nothing could ever bother her, even in the most trying of circumstances.

In spite of our tiredness, we were immediately busy upon our return to Cairo. Dr. Webber consulted with the imam at the temple and we set off almost immediately to Omar Shakti's cotton farm in search of the still-missing Girdle of Nidicris. Driving in there was such an odd experience, knowing the man was dead, and not knowing if those residing knew or not. On the way in I could saw a worker who had burns, and one with a limp. It was only then that I realised that some of these souls might have been at the pyramids the night before, a prospect I dreaded. While I am sure I would not have been seen, how the rest of my party could go without being recognised I couldn't fathom.

Somehow, Louis blustered his way into the house without so much as the batting of an eye, demanding to see Omar Shakti immediately. He even went so far as to claim that Shakti owed him money! Louis proceeded to ransack Shakti's private study, throwing books off the shelves in an awful mess. I immediately sat down to try to sort through them, although it was difficult to concentrate with the shock of his actions. A locked iron safe was found behind the books, which Violet opened with Louis hovering at her shoulder, and no doubt pocketed what they found.

Louis' behaviour eventually Angered the servants who demanded our departure, and I began immediately apologizing for my brother-in-law's behaviour, assisting in re-arranging the books while the others, except Doctor Webber, disappeared deeper into the house. Beefier servants show up, but I plead their forbearance, after all my brother-in-law only gets this way over money and he had a bad night at the tables last night. Baccarat can be so fickle, you know. It was a small lie, but it served us well as I was still apologizing as we left, Louis still blustering away. I honestly hadn't realised he had such deception in him.

I must admit I was rather grateful the good Doctor stayed with me, as those servants were quite imposing, and I have no doubt that they could have wrought certain violence. The sword at his side was almost comforting, although I do wonder how it's kept so sharp. You can never find a good knife for cutting bread, and while I would never ask him to do so, I expect Cook would be jealous of his new acquisition.

Louis had extracted Shakti's town address, so on our return to Cairo we went immediately to the Old City. The address wasn't much a townhouse, more a place of business with a coffee house on the ground floor, but we had no trouble finding it. Even for a place of business, it was uninviting. Violet and I considered purchasing the local women's wear, a burka, a full length cloth that covers all but the eyes. 

Violet stopped us before entering upon recognizing a man she had shot the night before. I began to wonder if there was anywhere we could go without the possibility of being noticed. 

I will write more later. I admit, the rest of this tale I am reticent to put to paper. You'll worry, and I would hate that, but I assure you, we are well.