11 July 1938
Capt. Alastair Hawkesworth
HMAS Richard Lemon Lander
I have had no word of you or the Lander in the two weeks since I last set pen to paper, but I write again in the fervent hope that you will receive this letter and be in a position to reply and tell me of your exploits. When word reaches me from you, I expect nothing less than the most extraordinary tales of bravery and triumph.
Sadly, I cannot provide the same to you. My vessel, the Fair Leonore, escaped from Camaret-sur-Mer with minimal incident, and made its way to the world of Bonaparte. I will admit that I was very excited by the prospect of a world where Le Petit Empereur was triumphant, and the noble French civilization had taken its rightful place as the world’s leader. I understand that you will likely not share my feelings on this matter; we will have to “agree to disagree” as the saying goes.
We arrived in Bonaparte’s Paris in the local year 1837. I was, I must admit, thrilled beyond belief. The sights of my beautiful, beautiful Paris filled my heart with joy. Our vessel docked and began the process of selling and taking on cargo and preparing for our next journey. The services of myself and several other crew were not required, and so we had the opportunity to leave the ship.
I accompanied the ship’s physician, Dr. Celeste Oceana, on a trip away from Paris to Le Havre. You may know Dr. Oceana by reputation; she is an aquatic person from the world of Oceana, and as such needs to return on occasion to the salt waters to restore herself. Another crew member, a young Fellow of the Royal College named Jude, joined us as well. We arrived without incident in Le Havre, but I received a shock upon disembarking from our train – when we boarded a coach to go to our hotel, we were joined by a young man who looked extremely familiar to me, and who was named Stefan.
You may recall that Stefan is the name of my paternal grandfather.
You would be proud of the way in which I concealed my surprise at meeting my grandfather as a young man still at university. You would, perhaps, not be proud of what I did next, however. I did my utmost to push him in the direction of my grandmother. I made up a ridiculous story about meeting him at a Winter Ball the prior year, and I described in great detail how my “friend” Chantal was taken with him, and her heartbreak at failing to hear from him afterwards. I even falsified a telegram to that effect in order to urge him to meet her. Perhaps I was wrong, but I remember well how my grandparents loved one another, and I am convinced that they ought to be together in every world, not just my homeworld. And if history follows its course, and Stefan and Chantal produce a son named Emile who in his turn marries and produces a daughter named Genevieve, I can only believe that this world will be all the richer for it.
Aside from meeting my grandfather, there was one additional incident of note in Bonaparte; I and my companions encountered a henchman of Dr. Moreau. And by that I mean the Dr. Moreau that you and I read about in fiction back on our respective homeworlds. This henchman attempted to abduct Dr. Oceana; presumably Dr. Moreau was fascinated by her aquatic nature and desired to study her to further his own mad experiments. The plot was foiled, and information was obtained on the possible location of Dr. Moreau and his lair. Although I hope we have heard the last of him, I cannot convince myself that we have. I fear we will encounter his henchmen again.
Aside from the danger and the vile nature of his experiments, the matter of Dr. Moreau fascinates me. How is it possible that Mr. Wells came to write about a madman called Moreau who performed horrific experiments on man and beast, on both our worlds? Was Mr. Wells himself a traveler of the worlds, peddling his experiences as fiction at each stop? Or perhaps in both our worlds, he was himself visited by travelers whose frightful tales of the true Dr. Moreau he turned into stories for his profit and our amusement? Possibly Mr. Wells, in both our worlds, somehow reached into the “collective unconscious” and dreamed of Dr. Moreau, and put his dreams into words.
We discussed this very question on our return journey from Van Daniken; I am no nearer to an answer, and I will be curious what your thoughts are on the subject. I hope that I shall soon have the opportunity to learn them from you in person.
As I write this, we are preparing to arrive at Alexandria; we will replenish our supplies there and then continue on to Cydonia. Perhaps I will hear news of you there. I continue to pray for your safety, and that of your vessel and crew.
Your friend, I am
Genevieve Chantal Therese de Lisieux Lamballe