Shine didn’t interest me. Nor did filth. New York had plenty of both, but that wasn’t why I was there.
After I’d gotten off the boat and through the dull business of immigration, I headed straight for the most unimpressive learning institution I could find. There I was, famed, affluent, and homeless, standing on the steps of Browning University. It was adjoined to a pitiful museum of history. I wore a blue hat with a feather in it.
Neither the university nor the museum stand today, but that was never my fault. I warned them.
But I digress. That first day, still smelling of travel and the ocean spray, I could not have commanded any more respect than a statue from a pigeon. And yet, the dear little professor of European history let me in.
Dr Verence was a fan of mine. His name was Emil, but I wouldn’t call him that for a number of years. He let me in for an autograph. I left with a job.
It was not actual employment, of course. Women did not have the same freedoms they enjoy today. I must admit, I miss the thrill that limitation afforded. Now, working is seen as dull or undesirable.
A life in circuses had not given me any time for academics or paper education. However, I did speak eight languages. On the face of it, I aided several language professors by giving simple speeches and conversing.
This, of course, was our cover. My true work for Browning and its museum was not in language, but in acquisitions.
One cannot travel so much as I already had and not see a great many things which others would deem impossible. Before I had my rumoured yet true conversation with Jessa Morgan in Paris, I had met with a vampire.
The papers have called me crazy, but they are only partially correct. I could have always told them so much more to bombard their readers with.
Fortunately for me, I met a vampire hunter in the same encounter. He gave me more than I will at this time recount, but the relevant gift was that of an amulet and an old cross.
The cross was very old, and as the amulet was sufficient, I decided to use the cross to find myself a position. A position like that of my vampire hunting friend.
I was not prepared to fight regularly, but he had told me of the existence of many artefacts and items that I wished to see for myself. Gifting them to museums was my own quirk. I had no need of these things, and no need of money. But a life spent performing had taught me that people liked to look at things.
From then on, I was able to let them look at things, while I was free to indulge my knowledge of the occult and the weird out of their sight.