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They send by calligraph, and Calliope watches the articulated autoscribe dart Gothic ligatures across the paper. She knows before it’s halfway done.

Dear Mlle Mayhew, stop, it says, With great sympathy report yr father’s airship & all aboard mysteriously perished, stop; yrs now the titles, estates, & responsibilities, stop; pls hasten to meet & settle affairs, stop. Sinc, yr servants, Watchful & Wake Assoc. LLP, executors.


“I’m going to the city, Jenny,” she says. The machine licks its nib with a little leather tongue.

“To Cadence?” says her lady’s maid. “Won’t that be exciting!”

“Yes,” says Calliope, “when I burn it to the ground.”