St. Trumwin’s Day, in the eighth year of King Richard II
I reread yestereve’s entry and was mortified. I should never take quill to parchment when in my cups. I apologize for that. Still worse is the waste of parchment. When I need to write down my thoughts, my wax slate is more appropriate and more affordable.
I sit by my meager fire in my lodgings where Jack sits on the floor, mending one of my stockings with a broken bone needle. He squints at his work, using a different color thread for the task. He is no tailor but it needs the mending and he has offered to do it on his own.
Often, when he is unaware, I study Young Jack, wondering of his history. He speaks little of it. My guess is that he is eleven or twelve years of age. He himself is not certain. A blunt nose, wide smiling mouth, and pale features sprinkled liberally with freckles. His wild ginger hair hides mischievous brown eyes. He is a handful. He told me he was orphaned when he was eight and took to the streets at that time. A beggar and an accomplished thief, I came across Young Jack several months ago when I was in the Boar’s Tusk, preoccupied by a bowl–hmm—by many bowls of wine. I had fallen asleep, in fact, when I felt a tugging at my all but empty purse. I had just opened my eyes when the flash of a knife snipped it cleanly from my belt. I gave no alarm at first, merely contemplating the strangeness of the situation. I could see him from under my arm as I lay with my cheek on the table. It was quite late and few patrons remained. The stealthy cutpurse made his way to yet another drunken stranger and took his purse as well before he slipped out the door.
Naturally I pursued and caught him, returning my purse to where it belonged and returning the purse to the other fellow. Little had I known that this encounter would lead to a murder investigation. But that is no matter. It was later when the sheriff summoned me and I was presented with the murderer: Jack Tucker! Of course he wasn’t guilty and I disabused the sheriff of that fact right quick. Released, Tucker’s gratitude was more sustaining than I had stomach for and I tried to send him on his way, but to no avail.
I have been saddled with him ever since.
And yet. Was ever a man more blessed to have such a loyal servant? For I cannot pay Jack for his service. I share my food and my lodgings, for that is all I can provide. I suppose it is better than the gutter. But what future could there be for Jack when his master has no future of his own?