This is the third of a four-letter short story. The first one is here: Griffin in the Tomatoes: Letter I, The Baron to Miss Saylor
March 1, 19–
It has been a fortnight since you last wrote and I have done my best to abide by your instructions and be patient with the explanation you have provided me.
But now I find myself with two unwanted guests. Mr. Hastings has refused to decamp, despite his apparent terror at your beast at Rhysdaal. And Rhysdaal has moved into the house, apparently feeling that I need extra guarding. I attempt to be grateful, but my patience is waning.
I do not even understand what prompted his move from his nest in my tomatoes to our atrium. I intend to describe the evening to you in the hopes that you can offer some explanation for his change and perhaps I can make arrangements for Rhysdaal to move back outside.
It was raining and we were enjoying an evening inside. Kathrine, as you know, has some small talent in the illusionary magics and Mr. Hastings requested to see a display of colors and lights as he had heard she can do especially prettily. I did not think it would be a problem as Kathrine is hardly a magician. While she was preparing what she needed, he went upstairs and fetched a most hideous red hat with the explanation that it was his “magic-viewing hat.” I mention this only because it struck us both as an extremely odd thing to do.
Once he was settled, wearing his disgusting hat—indoors, no less—she began to create her illusions. And no sooner had she begun the first spell, than we heard a scream from the entryway. We ran out into the hall to find Rhysdaal standing there, dripping all over our floor, nearly brushing the chandelier with his head and roaring. He roared at me and my guest and my wife in my own house. And then he sat down and would not move and has not moved since.
My wife went to bed with a case of the vapors. You will be pleased to hear that I regret not following the advice of my wife and my magician. I did not insist Mr. Hastings leave, and he begins to show his true nature. Despite the circumstances and her terror, he expected my wife to continue her magical illusions. Her refusal did at least convince him to take off his filthy red hat.
Katherine has informed me that she will reside in town until the griffin has vacated the premises. You might remember it’s my birthday tomorrow, and we had a day of festivities planned, including guests and a little magical surprise for me from Kathrine. Because of your creature we must uninvite our guests and I shall have to enjoy my wife’s present with only the company of Mr. Hastings and his hat.
And my wife is not the only loss I have sustained as of late. Since Rhysdaal has moved indoors my entire staff have vacated the premises, excepting only the cook and my personal valet. They have all told me they cannot abide a terrifying creature, especially one as big as a pony lying in our atrium all hours of the day, hissing every time Mr. Hastings passes by.
Despite the mince pies I have yet to see any peaceable relations grow between Rhysdaal and I, but that might perhaps be because Mr. Hastings has attached himself to my person and I cannot be rid of him. Nonetheless, I find my human guest to be much less of an irritant than your giant magical beast.
I do not need an explanation if that is what you insist is proper; all I ask is that you come remove your beast. It has been almost a month and I have not been threatened by anything but the griffin himself. I do not like to remind you that I am your baron and your superior and you owe me some loyalty. If you continue to disregard me, I have a cousin in town who is a magician and would, no doubt be more obliging.
But I would much rather you simply helped me out of your own good nature and friendship.
Baron Jefferson Tarkington,
Rushdon House, Yewsford