An early success in my daunting quest: I’ve recovered a letter, as transcribed below, addressed to the Ladies of Mischief. Who or what this group was is yet to be seen. However, it is clear from the letter that this Miss Hackworth is a shining example of the brilliant and adventurous women of the era. But I mustn’t go spoiling what you can read for yourself below. Dear colleagues, enjoy!
9th of June, 1885
Dearest Ladies of Mischief,
I have just arrived in New York, where my dirigible Lilith Ascending has landed to resupply. The journey over the Atlantic was as comfortable and well-planned as I’ve come to expect from my airship engineers. I’m pleased to report they incorporated one of my design suggestions in this, our latest airship: the perfumed Helium. You see, a major difficulty with Helium is that it can leak from the tiniest of openings, and it is colorless and normally odorless. My idea was to place a lace handkerchief, soaked in Ottoman Rose oil, inside the Helium chamber. Now, the airshipman can search for leaks by following their noses! My passage over the Atlantic was greatly enhanced by the sense of traveling through a lush garden, instead of miles above the cold sea. I plan to incorporate this change in all the Hackworth airships upon my return to London.
We will spend a week in New York, picking up new supplies and making some minor repairs. After that time, we will strike out West, to continue traveling until we reach the far coast. We are picking up two passengers on this leg, young men who have been overcome with gold fever and desire to make their fortunes. Our final destination is the frontier town of Seattle, where a gathering of great minds and inventors is scheduled.
After so long aboard the ship I am ready to explore this largest of American cities. I shall send another report before we embark on our journey West.
Miss Coraline Hackworth
My goodness! It just stirs the spirit, doesn’t it? But I must get back to my search – still many more questions to answer. I’ll update again as soon as I am able.