letter: 12 May, 1924

(This missive is delivered to Irene a day after she receives an unusual item from Peter: a thin sheet of cardboard out of which several small oblong spaces have been cut. Though puzzled at first, she realizes that it is a makeshift decryption device when she gets the following letter. Placing the cardboard over the page, only the words and letters in red below show through.)

Dear Irene,

I hope this finds you well. I used to look in the mirror and see a young man, but I am not so young anymore! It is true what they say about time flying. Did you get what I sent you? You must be glad to be back in London. As for me, I recently went to the opera and had a wonderful time. The library in Berlin is magnificent! A man can easily get lost in such a place. I was there for several hours before I realized how late it was. Klaus has another guest named Alexandr, and of course his cat Henri. He is as wonderful a host as ever, as I knew he would be. It seems the years have been kinder to him than to me. Alas, youth is truly wasted on the young, Irene, wouldn't you agree?

Strange how a place can be both so familiar and yet so new. But being here is refreshing nonetheless. I have encountered many old friends. Something I have yet to do is go to the thermal spring in Wiesbaden to ease the horrible pain in my bad foot, which came back shortly after I arrived. I am through with these infirmities! I wish they would leave me be. Perhaps when I am more rested. It was especially bothersome when I awoke yesterday, but it got better throughout the day. I suppose it is just part and parcel of getting older, no?

I will write more when I get the chance. Sorry to complain so much! You must think I have become a terrible bore. Don't let me worry you; I am happy just to be alive after all we have been through, and for that much I am grateful. I look forward to hearing from you.


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