Two Years of Peril, Adventure and Mystery!

My faithful readers:

I write these words in Haste from the deck of the good ship Reckless Abandon, soon under steam for the Savage Isle of Borneo. Time is short, and we leave one step ahead of the Governor’s men. To delay our departure while I write, a certain Fallen Woman of my continuing acquaintance now occupies the Captain with touring the ship’s bridge (though her constitution has become delicate, her capacity for Wickedness remains undiminished and she must be watched closely lest I be Undone). One year ago today I made a review of the voyage to that date, and I shan’t miss the occasion of the second anniversary. I shall send this dispatch and its hastily-scribbled preface with my man in the East Indies, who waits impatiently on the quay-side.

A telegram-boy found me in a Shanghai opium den with the Suspicious Intelligence that several months of my Dispatches have been lost. It seems that the ship carrying them from the Orient went down with all hands off the Skeleton Coast. I fear that my papers lie at twenty fathoms in a sailor’s grave, but I hold out some hope, having received word that a one-eyed Lascar made off with the ship’s document pouch before-hand.

This can only be the work of my Nemesis - that blackguard Jesuit, Father Valentine. He has been dogging my steps since I thwarted his Nefarious Designs in the caverns beneath the great Angkor temple (the affair came to blows, it must be admitted). His ruffians have troubled me once or twice since, but only briefly (a loaded fire-arm kept under the pillow is the best defence against Nocturnal Invaders, but often necessitates apologies to the chamber-maids in the morning). In any case, I have made the provision of lodging duplicate copies of the missing Dispatches with Certain Persons, so that my readership may have every confidence in their timely restoration.

It is now two years to the day since our Expedition departed for the Unknown. Although my originally published intent, as my readers know well, was to make my return to the Dominion in only one year, the Voyage threatens to become a Diversion of permanent duration. Adventure grips me and the lure of the Mysterious is as relentless as ever. I have lived upon the edge of chance for so long now that I want but little excuse to continue.

The last twelve months have seen my Companion and I travel some thousands of leagues through lands hostile and welcoming, from the remote fastnesses of the Gurkha kingdoms to the ancient jungle-choked temples of Kampuchea. We have stood alone upon the summits of snow-blasted Himalayan mountains and in the brimstone stench of searing, Infernal volcanoes, and we have jostled elbows in crowded streets with all the seething hordes of Asia.

We have been cast away upon Desert Islands, watched saffron-clad monks beg for their morning rice, and danced the night through under the sky’s celebratory candescence at the King of Siam’s grand birthday ball. Our voyage has taken us from the inscrutable protocols of Nippon to the ape-haunted Sumatran forests, and from the crumbling cities of Cathay amid their remnants of past empires, to the great plantations of Malaya.

Gargantuan flowers and many other Natural Wonders have passed before our eyes, and all manner of strange victuals have crossed our lips, from plump and hairy spiders to the vile Durian Fruit of the Spice Islands (which I shall never learn to love). Our ears have heard the shrieks and mutters of many outlandish tongues, and even as I write, the voice of the Muezzin calls faithful Moslems to prayer from his minaret before dawn.

The Expedition has met with many Dire Calamities, it is true. Typhoons, tempestuous ocean-crossings, earth-quakes, queer and outlandish Fevers and lost equipment have all be-deviled us in recent months. There is no doubt in my mind but that these Trials shall continue, and the consequences of past Troubles continue to be felt (viz. the Infamous Mongoose Incident). The world and its demands are too much with us, but my loyal readers have my pledge that neither Heaven, Hell nor the Houses of Parliament shall impede my correspondence. The Dispatches shall continue, whether scratched upon tree bark or on the finest linen paper of the grand hotels.

The next days shall see our Expedition steaming toward the Equatorial Line and into the lands of the savage Head-Hunters of Borneo. In this, danger shall be our constant escort, for they are Cannibals or Man-Eaters, and do not fail to murder and devour all the human bodies that fall into their hands. But take courage, my Devoted Readers: there is every possibility that wit, daring, and Dame Fortuna shall carry us through. Should the brutes be cheated of their prey, we shall at long last abandon the Tropics for the austral regions, through the South Seas, perhaps as far as the great Antarctic, and onward to the Americas. Adventure awaits, and be damned to faint-heartedness.

As ever, I present my compliments and gratitude to my learned associates of the Royal Geographic Society, to my new patron Lord Adderley-Foxbiter, and to her Imperial Majesty Queen Victoria.

I remain,

Signature

Christopher Liberty, Gentleman Adventurer

Flourish

8 Comments on this Dispatch:

May 7th, 2010

foxbiter…i came very very close to peeing myself when i read that….safe travels brother, you are heartily missed here in the city of gardens…by myself, my beautful bride, and the tempest-child…

¬ brother
May 7th, 2010

Another great dispatch Chris. Sending all the good vibes I possbily can from Kingston, Ontario. Good luck, sir, on your next adventure!

¬ Suzanne
May 9th, 2010

Sire, your ambitious travels to every nook and corner of the world fascinate even the most weary of travelers. Be not impetuous for there are matters of more import in life; live to fight another day and your burning desire to leave your footprints in no less than 50 countries will undoubtedly be within reach. Wishing you and your Companion an exciting and safe journey ahead.

¬ WongCC
May 9th, 2010

Always enjoy your dispatches and I know there are a lot of people travelling vicariously and in some cases, glad it’s not us. Keep enjoying!

¬ Chris' Mom
May 9th, 2010

Warm greetings from France to you two Chris ! Impressed and glad to see the journey keeps going !
Adventure calls for adventure …!
Lucky you !:=)

¬ Christian
May 10th, 2010

As always a wonderful read Chris - wishing you and Sheryl continued wonderment in your adventures and sunshine on your journey. I can’t believe it’s been two years since you’ve been gone. Hopefully none of us has changed except for the better!!!!

Marie & Bob

¬ Marie & Bob
May 11th, 2010

Very nicely written! I shall have to send it by the next mule train to Lima, so that you shall be granted passage through the Viceroyalty of Peru.

¬ Si
May 22nd, 2010

“the finest linen paper of the grand hotels.”

Hmmm… I wish you whole hearted good luck with that. :D No problems site wise here yet, but keep up the entertaining dialogue. It’s almost like ye’re on different trips, the pair of ye. :D

¬ Mary
Flourish
Chris Liberty - Dispatches from a Gentleman Adventurer
Being the internal dialog of a vagabond who chased his own tail across five continents for 4 years and 2 days from May 2008 to May 2012, in search of something that never really became clear.
This travelogue comprises 16,426 photographs and 402,515 words in 307 dispatches written from 335 places in 52 countries on 6 continents around the world.
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