A holiday story set in Steamkettle Bay, a large port city on the western coast of Industralia. This story features Letitica and Gerard Liddle, characters introduced in the novel, The Flight To Brassbright. Gerard is a talented inventor who has achieved a modest level of success with his practical yet whimsical household inventions. His wife Letitica is a very short, energetic woman who has a habit of mixing up her words, usually with hilarious results. Come along as we join the Liddles, along with their friends and neighbors, in a crowded yet cozy Steamkettle Bay neighborhood called The Narrows. Excitement is building as everyone prepares to welcome in the New Year of 1883.
The manager of the new Imperial Restaurant on the Thames Embankment went into his luxurious private office and shut the door. Having done so, he first scratched his chin reflectively, and then took a letter from the drawer in which it had reposed for more than two months and perused it carefully. Though he was not aware of it, this was the thirtieth time he had read it since breakfast that morning. And yet he was not a whit nearer understanding it than he had been at the beginning. He turned it over and scrutinized the back, where not a sign of writing was to be seen; he held it up to the window, as if he might hope to discover something from the water-mark; but there was nothing in either of these places of a nature calculated to set his troubled mind at rest. Then he took a magnificent repeater watch from his waistcoat pocket and glanced at the dial; the hands stood at half-past seven. He immediately threw the letter on the table, and as he did so his anxiety found relief in words.
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