It has been two days since I sent word of my mounting legal troubles, and yet I've heard nothing from you. I know you cannot be ignoring me, Father; you rose to the defence of my moronic brother quickly enough. Could it be my letters are being intercepted? The perilous dunderhead is capable of anything, it seems. Just to be safe, I'm having this letter smuggled out by a friendly washerwoman. I hear that's the very button of fashion these days.
Father, what I have learned this day will shock you from toe to collarbone. Were I not who and what I am, I would expect you to dismiss the entire story as the ranting of a madwoman, or the fabrications of a particulary imaginative congenital liar. Mercifully, as your ever loyal and sober daughter, I know you will swallow your incredulity and act on the information revealed herein.
The perilous dunderhead, I now know, is not simply the head of the Golden Zephyr Trading Company. He is a major figure in a secret occult society dedicated to the veneration of birds.
This is not some desperate fantasy, Father! I was explicitly informed of the situation by eleven ladies who visited my cell this morning, each one wearing many-coloured dresses and capes of feathers and faces of disciplined displeasure behind small, beaked masks, like birds of paradise ignoring a child's tantrum at the fairground. In low, cold voices they explained in no uncertain terms that my "callous rejection" of my former fiancee had earned the wrath of their husbands, each one a high-ranking member of their organisation. Further, the chance that I might be able to assist the police in their investigation of the burglaries of all those general's wives posed too great a risk to the secret activities. A conclave is to be called tomorrow, at which I shall be judged and sentenced. All this they told me because I came so close to becoming one of their number, a destiny which under any other circumstance would have horrified me, but which might seem entirely welcome in comparison to what the Fates deal me tomorrow.
No more would these strange, gravid women say to me, and they filed out slowly the instant their message was delivered, ignoring equally pleas, bargains, and threats. I have seen no-one else this day - the police themselves seem to have disappeared entirely, which I cannot possibly conceive as being coincidental - save the washer-woman, who awaits patiently for this letter to be completed so she may deliver it.
I beg you Father, send aid! Send everyone at your disposal and command to save your only daughter from whatever fate these feather-clad bird-brained bird worshippers have planned for me! I am scared, and alone, and have no-one else to turn to.
Your loving and desperate daughter,