Barnum Institute of Science and Horror
Letter from Barnum to Nancy - Please Forgive Me
My dearest Nancy,
Please forgive me. Although I had no knowledge at the time, I now know that it was my juvenile arrogance, stubbornness, and feelings of entitlement that has caused us such heartache and despair through the years. I am so sorry that my actions caused you, although innocent of any wrong doing, to suffer alongside me.
She asked me to let her rest so she could die peacefully, but I continued parading her about the country. She asked that upon her death I treat her remains with dignity and give her a proper burial, and yet the promise of large ticket sales led me to defile her in a public autopsy. Then, to make matter worse, I succumbed to both frugality and greed, choosing to more cheaply cremate her remains and retain the ashes for possible future exploitation.
Bowling warned me to keep the amulet upon her body, even after death, and I did so for a time. But finally, having never bought into such superstitions, I was seduced by an attractive offer. This reckless act allowed her to seek revenge against me and everything that I loved. I sorely wish I could undo the wrongs I have done her; not simply because of the retribution she has laid upon me and mine, but because I realize my actions were shameful and barbaric. Unfortunately, these insights come to me far too late, and there is no going back to apologize for my behavior and beg her forgiveness.
I have tried to keep her at bay; unfortunately, everything has failed. An portrait of myself was not enough to subdue her powers, as evidenced by the loss of the family cottage at Pleasure Beach. Only too late did I realize that I must maintain constant vigilance over her remains. But I am old, and I can feel my health failing from the stress of this consuming and endless task. In truth, I have not slept a single peaceful night in years.
If you are reading this letter, I must assume that I have indeed passed. I have left strict instructions with my lawyer to be acted upon immediately upon my death. I know it will be hard for you to bear, but you must trust me in this and not delay in the matter. I beg that you will still hold the funeral, as otherwise the public will be both outraged and offended. It must, of course, be “closed casket” – my friend Mr. Ellings can supply you with men to support you and help defer any questions.
Most importantly, under no circumstances allow the two pieces to be permanently joined. Although this may seem to be the safest thing to do, this simple act would result in damning my soul to eternal torment under her power. I do not ask you to believe in this, but simply to trust me and to support a foolish old man’s dying wishes.
I am sorry for the hardships I have caused you. My only hope is that the good times outweighed the bad. And, now that I am gone, I hope to finally stop this plague so your final years can be lived in peace and quiet comfort.
Regardless of all else, please remember that I love you more than any man in history has loved any woman, and I continue to love you even now.