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I am feeling slightly better now, the fever seems to have broken, but the head still aches ferociously, and it causes within me an utter and almost complete sense of unreality—

Sorry for the sudden interruption but Williams has just fled from the room. It is uncertain as to whether Williams—a strikingly handsome Negro—is the gentleman’s proper name or merely his title. No matter. It is the appellative he has asked me—in his exotic sounding tongue (probably a mixture of West Indian and Creole)—to address him by. He entered—without announcing himself, which seems to be the custom here at Ellis Manor—carrying a bowl of bland porridge, startling me as I wrote, and I was forced to hastily tuck my journal beneath the bed’s massive feather-tic. It is quite probable that he witnessed the act for he glared balefully at me with those large, intelligent brown eyes of his, before turning abruptly and literally fleeing as if being chased. He seldom speaks, and when he does his manner is curt and businesslike.

He is gone from my presence now; nevertheless I get the disquieting feeling that the walls here at Ellis Manor have eyes, and ears.

I have eaten the small helping of warm porridge—which strangely had a slight red hue to it—and although it tasted bland and sits heavy and burdensome in the pit of my belly, it seems to have satisfied—at least for the moment—the gnawing hunger that has gripped me since awakening from the fever. Perhaps this is a good sign. That said, I shall begin anew.

Such an account would not be wholly adequate without first relaying the events that brought me to this particular place in time.

It began with newspaper accounts; that of a ship, a China Clipper to be exact, captained by one Nathaniel Irving Ellis of James Village, Maine. The vessel, commissioned by aforementioned captain and built by sturdy stock with locale materials, was a particularly large Clipper, some 1,200 tons berthen, and christened with the name Witchcraft. According to this reporter’s sources, Witchcraft had been round the horn on a number of global voyages and had made significant inroads as a China-trade vessel.

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