The Twelve Days Of Wizmas: Letter 1

by pennyblake

Over the run up to Christmas I have put together a series of posts for those of you who like a little crypticology scattered amongst the tinsel and the twinkling lights of this festive season. The Victorians adored cryptograms and secret messages; they used letters, flowers and even stamps to communicate hidden messages to their loved ones and the Victorians in The New World were certainly no exception, as you will see. As usual, I’m afraid I  have flagrantly stolen concepts from just about everywhere… including the concept of Christmas itself…

Introduction to the letters:

These Letters, indicating a correspondence between the famous revolutionary poet Christina Biscotti and an un-named personage residing in Lichfield,  were found amid the wreckage of Lancaster Castle by Fein Richards and Turk Goodie of The Tiffin Den Sleuths. Fein’s notes in The Tiffin Den Sleuth’s Case File suggest that these are not the love letters they appear to be but actually coded instructions for brewing an extremely potent new form of tea. Goodie’s notes in the margin of Fein’s notes, however, point towards the conspiritational creation of a bomb. Whatever the case, I offer them here in the, perhaps vain, hope that they may shed some light on the mysterious incident involving a statue of Queen Victoria, the flooding of Lancaster city centre with lemonade, the rise of the global power company GORGON and the plight of a missing octopus…

Letter one:

Addressed To: Apartment 1b, 113a Botheration Street , Lichfield. The envelop was marked with two stamps, the first placed upside down in the top left corner and the second placed in the centre of the right hand edge.

My Dearest Friend,

Thankyou from the very bottom of my

Heart for your kind and thoughtful gift, which arrived this morning,

Exquisitely wrapped in gold and purple orangza! What an imaginative way to

Celebrate the first day of Wizmas

And how thoughtful of you, darling, to

Remember that it was over a steaming pot of Ti Kuan Yin

That our eyes first met, all those years ago. No doubt you can guess how surprised I was to

Open the ornately decorated porcelain cartridge and find myself violently and

Unexpectedly showered in a generous dusting of finest quality tea which, even as I write,

Covers the floor, cushions, armchairs and fainting couch, onto which

Holman – you remember my cousin, Holman? – has actually fainted, no doubt in a fit of

Ecstasy at the thought of enjoying such a delightful and generous gift. Shockingly provincial of him, I know.

I shan’t be sharing any of it with him of course but I will let him bask in deluded

Slumber for a little longer whilst the household domesticons rally themselves to the

Arduous task of sweeping it all up again and depositing it safely in the tea caddy.

Perhaps you might consider wrapping your next gift more cautiously? Just a thought, dear.

Everyone here misses you most terribly. I have pleaded with Aunt

Robusta to invite you down this year but, you know she is taking the

Feud with your mother most earnestly and cannot be persuaded that your presence on her

Estate would cause anything but the most unbearable quantities of scandal. I am forced to

Console myself therefore with these correspondences and endure the somewhat dull and

Tedious company of Dodge and Appaul, who insist upon darkening the daylight hours with

Vociferation after vociferation upon the subject of Universal Fruitcake Theory. As if

Everyone who is anyone had not read Through The Cooking Class months ago! My

Simpering aunt is, however, in her element and quite fancies herself to be firmly placed within ‘The

Set’ having had such eminent (if penniless) house guests for the Wizmas season. Why

Exactly she should favour them with hospitality whilst shunning the heir to the throne

Lies quite beyond my understanding but then there is no accounting for the sensibilities of aunts.

Fortunately, Johnny, Joyce and Charlie will be joining us tomorrow and they have promised not

Only the traditional Amelia performance (My aunt is adamant that Dodge will be able to rig her

Rocking chair to replicate Amelia’s winged article and is determined to play the role herself despi

Te Dodge’s own protestations that he is only a theoretical man) but also their new and

Heretofore unseen musical atrocity ‘Burlington Belles’. I am certain Aunt Robusta has no idea what

Exactly she is letting her guests in for, however I look forward with mounting

Gusto to the outcome, which I am certain will be amusing. It is of course most

Unfortunate that you will not be here to witness it yourself but I promise to write and

Notify you of every detail as soon as I am able. Apparently the anthem is sung to the

Popular tune of ‘Ninety Nine Bottles Of Beer’, or so rumour has it. Not that

One can put much stock and store by the same rumour mill that insists certain

Wild and unprincipled individuals are, in fact, Very Quiet Gentlemen, but there you have it.

Deserved, I am sure, is any reputation that comes with such a hefty price tag.

Everyone is planning an excursion this afternoon to watch the traditional Wizmas

Revels in the village. You will be sorry to miss the Witch Hunt as William and Gabriel have

Persuaded Aunt Robusta to trial their latest purchase: Dr. J. Sallis’s Cream-Powered

Luminiferous Wagonette. You must remember the delightful

Escapades of Dr.Sallis, detailed last month in The Gourdian newspaper, which resulted in the poor

Aspirational gentleman being deported to Hull? I am

Speaking, of course, of his heretical proclamations, about the return of The Holy Child, from the

Elevated heights of the Lichfield Cathedral spire before hurling him

Self off it expecting to be borne away to some dubious other dimension by the

Extraordinary apparatus he had strapped to his back. Of course he did

Not succeed in leaving the sphere of this horrid globe, only falling rather haphazardly

Downwards into the waiting arms of Her Majesty’s Good Folk, but the fact remains,

My darling, that all his inventions are being auctioned away by his family and not

Only were my brothers able to procure the wagonette, but also some other

Rather more interesting items which I am anxious to bring to Lichfield for you to see.

Ever yours, Chrissie.

Think you’ve spotted something? Discovered a code? Put two and three together and made one thousand five hundred and sixty eight? Awesome, well done 🙂 I’ll reveal a little of the mystery tomorrow along with the next letter… TTFN 🙂

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