11th Year in the Reign of King Richard II (in 1387, Easter fell on April 7)
The fast has ended. Jack and I have sopped up our faith at St Paul’s. We’ve been starved, shriven, and finally partaken of the holy bread, and now we must content ourselves back on the Shambles that Christ is risen and so, too, shall we rise on that Day of Judgment.
Easter has made Jack merry for some reason. He has opened wide the shutters to let the cold April breeze through, and in truth, it is time that winter is swept from our lodgings. But we have gone months without a client and the larder is decidedly bare. It was no trouble at all to maintain our Lenten fast. But now that Lent is over, I fear our fast shall continue.
And yet Jack smiles as he turned toward me. “I’ll wager you don’t know why I’m smiling, eh, Master Crispin?”
“I admit, I had wondered.”
“Well now!” he said, hands upon his breast. “The winter is creeping away, the sky is clear and fresh, and God smiles upon us.”
“True, Jack. But does not hunger gnaw on you?”
“Aye, Master, but it is a little thing, is it not? Compared to what we have suffered before.”
I nodded. “You have the better of me, Master Tucker.”
His smile broadened. “I’ll wager there’s something else you don’t know.” And he proceeded to withdraw a small object, wrapped tight in a cloth, from his scrip. “Mistress Langton gave it me. It’s a lamb shank! I’m going to stew it right now. Along with these.” And he further pulled two wilted parsnips, an onion, and a small bag of pulses from his cloak.
“Where the devil did you get those?”
He laughed, rocking his head back. “It’s all legal, sir. I promise.” He set about to cook our bounty and I sat down hard at the table, watching him with popping eyes. That boy never stops amazing me. I glanced back at the empty wine jug on the sill and rose from my place to grab it.
“Where are you going, Master Crispin?”
I showed him the jug. “Jack, I have enough coin in my purse and I am going to the Boar’s Tusk to get us some wine. It is Easter. And we should be celebrating.”
“Aye, Master, that’s the spirit!” He turned back to his stew pot, whistling, as he sliced the vegetables with his sharp knife.
I trotted down the stairs, feeling a lightness in my step. Winter was over.