Feast Day of Saint Frumentius, the Eighth Year of the Reign of King Richard
In a stale room above a tinker’s shop rises the sharp smells of butchering from the Shambles below. Empty carcasses hang from hooks in the butcher’s stalls, and I, feeling much the same, contemplate the empty day.
Unlike the craftsman who is always busy with his clever fingers, carving or hammering or pulling a needle through cloth, I must await a client and remain idle.
And I hate being idle.
For in this statis I am far too free to contemplate the quiet of my lodgings. Oh Jack is here, of course, sweeping or clanging with his pots over the fire. Or when he studies, the drone of his recitation in Latin lulls me. While he stutters through his lessons, I look down at my hands–fingertips ink-stained, knuckles gnarled with cold–and feel that Time is rushing by me. I am a bachelor and likely to remain that way. It wasn’t always so. At times I still find female companionship. I do not like to pay for it as coins are dear, and a whore is merely a grainule of hourglass sand. Temporary.
A man can long for that which he cannot have. It is the occupation of many a courtier, in fact, to long for a lady beyond his reach. He sighs and composes ballads to pass the time until another lady catches his eye and might indulge him in his longings. It is an amusement for the wealthy. For the idle.
The Crispin Guest of today views this game with far different eyes. For should a woman enter my solitary life…well. I do not know what I will do. I have nothing to offer a woman who possesses the sense God granted her. One room? A servant boy who also serves as a thief? Women are far more intelligent to settle for that.
But when I do dream, I am surprised that it is no longer of those white-limbed and delicate doves that once perched in the gardens of the palace. But of sturdy wenches, whose broad bosoms offer sanctuary and whose solid arms can lift a squalling infant to her ample hip.
Am I wrong to forget who I was?
It is easier to find comfort in my dreams of days past then to surrender to the clarity that surrounds me.