Sealed MS, Delivered to H.R. Bosley, Royal Geographical Society.

November 16th, 18--


I have recorded this extraordinary story, eschewing abbreviation, in order to attempt the impact it achieved on my person at the hour of its communication. No incident in a lifetime of shocking adventure could have prepared me for the events occurring in the quiet stateroom aboard the Rapine. I hope this will also act as a last testament should I not survive the dangerous surgeries I am about to undertake, and maintain my good name if I am posthumously accused of wrongdoing. Tell Elizabeth that I love her.


The evening was a moist one, befogged and intermittently precipitous, with the seas steadily rising. I proceeded cautiously (as I was yet to find "the sea's legs") to the cabin of Herr Von Dunkel at our appointed hour, carrying with me a snifter of brandy tapped from the current abode of my colleague's recent limb. I also bore said limb, in its hooded jar, as if a ponderous bird-cage of some sort. I hoped to surprise the Professor with my discovery, and entertained the merriest fantasies of uniting him with his own flesh and blood, so to speak.

In my breast pocket was a copy of the Pricipae Graphologae, and a set of "bush pens". Being a gentleman of taste and education, I suspected Von Dunkel would not be able to resist a scriptic challenge. Indeed, moreso even than the revelation of the foot, I was eager to test my nib against a man trained in the rigorous Heidelburg school of pensmanship. In short, I looked foreword to the evening with greatest pleasure.

I found the Austrian berthed, and in a mellow state, his mood in accord with the darkening weather. He was outfitted in a fine eccentric style, and a crepe rose jutted from his lapel disconsolately. Rousing himself, we shared a drink from my snifter. His spirits immediately improved- in fact, they became vigorous and animated. Smacking his lips and holding the glass to the light, his voice trembling in a peculiarly flat and whistling accent, Herr Von Dunkel related to me his queer tale.

next>