January 3, 1890
Mr. Stephen McTavish et al
23 Wilton Crescent
Dear Snouts, Lewis, and children,
I am very happy to say that we have safely arrived in Bavaria, after some rather tense moments in the company of the commander of the airfield in Hamburg, which is the entry point at which all crew and passengers on inbound airships must submit themselves to examination. Said commander did not believe that a ship as shabby as Athena, captained by a female such as myself, could possibly carry letters of passage signed by Count von Zeppelin or be bound for the landgraf‘s personal airfield in Munich.
He was quickly disabused of that notion, I can assure you. And I am afraid there was a small contretemps involving the Mopsies, Rosie, and a velocithopter which in future none of them may recall with pride, and which delayed our journey south by a most aggravating hour.
We were met at the Schwanenburg airfield by the count and his lady in person, and welcomed in a manner which nearly reduced me to tears. Their kindness, warmth, and care for our comfort here at the palace has done much to assuage the homesickness that I am afraid we all feel, though we have not even been gone a week. The Mopsies and I share a small suite of connected rooms, and Lewis, I am happy to tell you that Rosie is comfortably housed with us. Every morning one of the girls carries her down to the lawn, which she is presently happily occupied in ridding of every vestige of insect life. There are swans here, as you might imagine from the name of the estate, and I have grave fears about the outcome should one species of bird catch sight of the other. However, the swans live in and near the lake in the distance, and Rosie lives in and near the palace, and hopefully never the twain shall meet.
In three days I begin my university career. I confess I am a little nervous, but the count assures me that after the first week, I will feel as much at home as ever I did at St. Cecilia’s Academy for Young Ladies. This does not offer me the comfort that I am sure he intends. Be that as it may, I can only do my best, so am prepared to work hard and achieve as much as I can in order to be worthy of the trust he has placed in me.
The girls and I are anxious to hear of your first week at the Morton Glass Works, Snouts. Lizzie in particular is practically rubbing her hands in glee, though I have told her more than once that it will be many months, perhaps even years, before we see fruit from the seeds we sow now. When they begin their school careers at the Lycee for Young Ladies they will have less time for speculation on such matters, I expect.
I must close for now. The first gong has sounded for dinner, and I must change my dress. It does not do to appear before the foremost authority on airship engineering in grease stains from a troublesome winch assembly. Hugs and much love to all.