Time Out of Mind
"Old Letters" read the neat sign at the flea market. Nora Shekrie had overslept and came too late to get a fresh batch of fleas for her ferret. Her hobby was collecting second-hand adjectives; she stopped to look.
The nearest item on the table was an old, yellowed parchment letter with a studied, fine script. The accompanying envelope bore a hand-written address to "Mr. & Mrs. William Eddye, Cranbrook, Co. Kent" and a hand-written postmark in which only "1621" and "Feb--ry" were legible. Intrigued by the age, she leaned over to examine it more closely. The full letter was displayed under a protective cover:
Dearest Father and Mother,
Samuel and I made the crossing and find ourselves in good health and spirit. Although the ocean voyage was as physically difficult as we had anticipated, enough of us were able and willing to effect the landing at the place we have named Plymouth. We pulled on our Wellingtons to keep out the cold, and eight men were sufficient to guide the landing as originally planned.
Although one or two members mutter in a most unchristian manner about so-called sadistic policies of Governor Bradford, Samuel and I find him an able and steadfast leader for the colony. In his honor, I enclose a silhouette that Samuel made of him one evening as a diversion. Although the governor showed no opinion one way or another, we are hopeful that you and the others we left behind may find some small solace in the likeness of the man who guides us each and every day.
The young Alden lad, John, is a constant help to me, both as a daily source of benevolence and in helping me craft this letter. He brought me news of a whispered boycott of Governor Bradford's latest colony rule (I will not bore you with the details of governance), and I flatter myself that I delighted him with the strength of my refusal to join such a scheme. He assured me that this was the case with all in the colony, save for the one person who originally brought the issue to him, so do not fear for our continued unity as we find our way in this new world.
Love and the Peace of God to you and all the Family,
She looked up at the vendor. "Why are you selling this, and why so cheaply?" The price tag read $150.
"I deal in these things. Someone in this letter's past didn't do well by it -- note the staple holes?" Sure enough, the upper corner of the envelope and parchment bore the stigmata of Bostich.
"I see. Since I'm descended from Samuel Eddye, I'm interested in this sort of thing. However, you don't have to be a descendent to know this letter is a screaming fake." Nora turned around and bellowed for the market authorities.
How did she know?
HintNote the eponyms
AnswerThe critical words are
These are derived from the names of people who were not alive in 1621. The 1st Duke of Wellington was born in 1769, the Marquis de Sade in 1740, Etienne de Silhouette in 1709, and Charles Boycott in 1832. Also, there was no postal service as such in Plymouth colony -- the next ship would carry letters, but there wouldn't be any "postmark".
Finally, if anyone cares, John and Samuel Eddye / Eddy came over on the Handmaiden in 1630, not on the Mayflower in 1620. I believe the other names and places are accurate.
See another brain teaser just like this one...
Or, just get a random brain teaser
If you become a registered user you can vote on this brain teaser, keep track of
which ones you have seen, and even make your own.
Back to Top