They arrived a year later and more, in time for Christmas, and there were tall stories to tell, or so everyone thought them to be. News for England was sporadic at the best of times and rarely correct. After celebrating with both families Christmas and New Year, they collected their mail. On a cold night, Humphrey and Virginia settled before the fire and opened the top letter of the pile, sorted according to the date stamp. The first missive came from Lord Wat.
Dear Humphrey and Virginia, I trust that you are well else you would not be reading this message, ha-ha. Well, you both set England ablaze. Cambridge shut down because of a Pruritus Pandemic, a fancy name for the unexplainable itching everyone had after the Bloody Lords Ball. Obviously, Amby’s powder was much more potent than anybody thought. All the Lords staff and guards were affected, and all the guests. Many transported the dust home with them and anyway, it was a jolly old time in Cambridge, but also in some part of London.
Lord Wat’s letter went on to tell how the others fared, but that was all to that matter. The next letter dated a month later was from Lady Agnes Magenta Schwabe.
My dear Lady Virginia and Lord Stoddard, I know what you did, and I know you did it because of me. I am ever so grateful to you and have enjoyed the steady decline of the Bloody Lords’ influence in Cambridge and London. You inspired me to write when you told me that what the Bloody Lord said was the opposite of the truth. Enclosed, you will find the first edition copy of the novel, the White Swan, Queen of Rogues, and the Bloody Lord Affair penned by me but under a pen name. It is selling quicker than two printing presses can print. I have sent you the first copy of the first print, inscribed with my thanks.
Lady Agnes went on the thank Virginia several times more, and how she turned her life around. She was even being courted by non-other than Lord Ambrose Horace Morris Tharrington. He sent her a rose every week until she finally figured out that it was him sending it and spoke to him. The third letter was from Lord Ambrose, Amby.
It was utterly amazing Humphrey and Virginia, what you did in Cambridge. The affair exposing the Bloody Lord is attributed to Wat’s father, who was investigating the Bloody Lord. The rumor is that the White Swan was an undercover operative that infiltrated Huntington’s close friends and discovered that he was part of the first assassination on the Queen and was about to launch another such attempt. He is rotting in jail, where it is said that he has gone mad. He keeps on ranting about a firebird and that it will kill him. Wat, though, tells me that the Bloody Lord is afflicted by the Syphilis disease and will steadily decline into the madness over the next decade or so. It could not happen to a better person, although the Queen is displeased. Her Majesty wanted the Lord hung, drawn and quartered as a traitor. That still may happen.
More personal information followed, including the briefest mention about him and Lady Agnes. The next was another package, another penny novel titled, The White Swan, Queen of Rogues, and the Yellow Marquise Affair. It was the first book of the first edition dedicated to the White Swan, an inspiration to many women. They fell asleep before the fire.