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23rd March to Colonel Richard Fitzwilliam

Solitary Confinement

The Most Dismal Chamber in Rosings Park

23rd March 1812

Col-FDear Cousin Richard,

I must write to you by what means I can, for the candle is guttering and the ink runs dry. Make what you will of this missive, for you know how rationed the supplies are here at Rosings and as my incarceration seemingly has no end date, I may be silent for some time henceforth.

You may wonder, perhaps, so soon after my imprisonment, what it is I could have to write about, but even I am allowed a few hours of exercise and daylight, and earlier I put them to good use!

I almost made the acquaintance of a quite charming lady. I say almost. Formalities were foresworn, for she was a lady in distress and what else could I do but rescue her? Do not be alarmed, Cousin. The situation was perilous at best, but with faith and courage, I managed to overcome the challenges laid before me and saved the day.

Was she worth the effort? Most indubitably! Yet there is a downside. I suspect I may have encountered the delightful creature who has been shackled to our aunt’s latest parson. Poor lady; I am tempted to rescue her anew. What say you? No – I jest. Fitzwilliam would no doubt implode if I so much as took a step in that direction! At the very least, that riding crop he wears up his back would probably snap and that would never do!

As you can probably surmise, my prison escort remains as dour as ever and as much on his guard around me. Do you recall that suit of armour near the front door, the one we housed those mice in a few years ago, leading all the servants to declare the suit was haunted and sending Aunt Catherine into a rage of epic proportions, and Fitzwilliam likewise when he caught us trying to get them out of it?

Well, it seems it may well be haunted in the near future and, if Fitzwilliam has anything to do with it, probably by my own spirit! I made the cardinal sin of knocking into and, as a result, part of it paid the same compliment to my regal brother. Interestingly, the man remained unharmed by the encounter, but it is surely a measure of the inflexibility of my brother that resulted in the metalwork being damaged instead!

Have pity on me and send some decent brandy. Our aunt’s supplies taste more like they were made in the stable rather than the finest distillery!

That aside, I remain in tolerable good health.

Your affectionate cousin

Theo

Postscript: Save me from despair; send the brandy by Express!