I am beginning this tale with two letters. Unlike Mary Shelley’s work, this will not be an epistolary novel, however it seemed like a good way to set the story up.
And so, to start. . .
Dear Miss Lavenza,
I am sorry for the great length of time since my last communication, but as you will have noted, our residence has changed, the second change in as many months, and I fear, not a happy one.
This change was brought about by the most peculiar of circumstances. We (my brother and his betrothed and myself) walked into our home one evening to find what we believed to be my father under attack. An assumption that would later prove to be quite false. My father was in the midst of giving his word to a desperate stranger that he would provide him with assistance and we, in ignorance and fear, drove that stranger from him and from our abode. If you had seen the creature, you would have understood the great violence of our reaction. You would understand with what horror we beheld him and how fearful we were for our father. He was immense, monstrous in proportion, being of close to eight feet, his face was of a terrible, inhuman hue and his costume mere rags. I fainted away upon seeing him and my brother tells me that he actually struck the miserable creature with a stick. It was Felix who drove him from the cottage.
But we who have known the misfortunes and deprivations that we have known, should also know grace. We should know to hesitate before judgement and should have paused to collect what facts there were before acting so rashly. By the time my father had calmed us and assured us that the man meant him no harm, but was most unfortunate and ill-used and requiring of our assistance it was too late. The poor creature had disappeared we knew not where. And although my brother and I lost our fear after my father’s exhortation, Safie remained unconvinced by his explanations and refused to stay a moment longer in the cottage. We were forced to change lodgings. This did in fact bring about an improvement in habitation, however the state of our family was not improved at all, in fact our misery was greater than I have known it. My father felt our removal a terrible betrayal to one in need and an unforgiveable breaking of his word. And after much quarreling with my brother and his wife he declared it his intention to quit our home and not return until he had aided his new acquaintance. What was I to do, but follow my father. He is old and he cannot see and I could not let him search for an unnamed stranger without my assistance. We have returned to the vicinity of our old cottage and made inquiries, but noone seems to have seen such a man, as remarkable in appearance as he is.
And now I get to the most difficult of subjects. It is because of my father and my concern for his well-being that I write the particular letter that you now hold. I know it to be most indelicate, but I require a way of supporting him and myself. I hold no illusions as to the difficulty of my task. I have nothing to recommend me, no nearby family, no real acquaintances and a borrowed name. But I assure you I am acquainted with all manner of labour and can put my hand to anything. I entreat you my dear Miss Lavenza, is there a situation within your household? Could you find room for myself and my father? There is nothing I would consider beneath me, I promise. It was possible to live in some mean comfort when there was my brother present, but he is no longer here to assist us and I fear for my father’s health. He is not so foolish to believe that we can find his stranger at this stage, but he will not return to my brother’s house and I cannot allow him to live on his own, blind as he is.
I apologize for the forwardness of my commission. I lay no specific claim upon your affection. I recognize your friendship was won through pretense, that my name is only a recent invention of my father’s to aid in our safety and that I am not the friend that you had hoped to find when you first contacted us. A happy accident for which I am eternally grateful, but one which must bring you some sadness. I ask you all the same, for I believe us to be friends of a sort, each become intimately acquainted to the other.
If you are unable to help, I will not take it amiss, and will continue to call you friend.
I hope you are well and that your cousin is also. I believe you thought him improved according to your last letter.
May the good Lord bless and keep you and your family.
Your humblest and most affectionate of servants,