Mother and babies resting comfortably.
Actually, Mrs. Cook is flat out, with the twins by her, and the new Turkish nanny looking out for both. Funny how a Turkish girl looks Chinese and talks American with a Chinese accent.
Hi. You probably never heard of me, but this is Vince Murphy here. The babies were on their way when I left for my double shift, and they came an hour after I got back. Not as long a delivery as my Mammy's first, but hard on everyone. Mrs. Judith put a brandy in the landlord and set him to bed before settling down herself. My Mammie has a little one of her own to look after, came last week, the Captain's on a slow cruise on some lame-duck carrier coming back from Hawaii, Larry's driving the doctor home, and that leaves me as the adult of the house. And now I have this here courier at the door to pick up your mail. I scraped up what's on the desk in the Landlord's study, but I remember how my Dad worried out a furrow on the floor, and figure I'd add my own touch, which, well, you see. I figure this is on the first page, not that I read Chinese any to know.
P. Vincent Murphy. (That's me.)
My Dearest Reggie:
I am a little hurt that the Earl has so little faith in my judgement. I understand that he is inclined to be impatient when I make snide little comments in the face of the recommendation of the Economist itself that we invest in "Cousin H.C." I believe that The Economist is wrong about this, and surely their California correspondent's silly comments about water rights should underline his credibility?
In my defence, I offer the events of the past few weeks. I refer to them cryptically, I admit, but you know my business of the last few weeks, and most of my trip's consequences are playing out in the news. If "Cousin H.C." and "E. F.," if you know who I mean, trust my judgement....
As for my little game with "Miss V.C.," whatever you have heard from her mother, that is all it is. She is very disappointed that her investigations at Sacramento turned up no further information about her "McKee" forebears, but, nothing daunted, brings me the Yerba Buena indenture book to point out a name with eyebrows cocked. I dissemble: "Chinese family names come first," I say. "It is a coincidence."
"I know," she answers. Then she pulls out the popular biography and points to the alias that Bing Oh Mah took his Hudson's Bay Company indenture under. It is ironic that a half-caste guttersnape from old Canton could come out on top of his crew here in America; but, after all, he probably took after his EIC sailor father enough to be Black Irish in all but accent.
"Coincidence," I repeat, but she only puts a dinner club napkin from my Chicago visit down on the desk without comment.
I thought that I had left that lying out for nothing! A blank stare back is but a snare draws the young lady ever closer.
One thing, though. Do you know from your sources if the old man left the country at some point? Because his grandson once told me over too many drinks that he first came to the Coast in Gold Rush days....