Meeting with Friends

St. Basilidus Day, Eighth year in the reign of King Richard

Jack scrambles around me like a puppy, yipping and dancing with excited fervor. As the poets say, it is a perfect June day. We have been to mass, intoned the prayers, inhaled the incense, and are now free to feast and make merry. Gilbert and Eleanor Langton have asked us to sup with them and I could find no excuse to refuse, especially since the larder was bare, and I could not disappoint Jack. Indeed, he seemed uncommonly grateful for the respite from pottage and stale bread.

Upon entering we were greeted enthusiastically and with some amount of surprise by our hosts. I know in the past I neglected their friendship and often refused their entreaties, but today, because of the weather, perhaps, I was in a light mood. Eleanor pulled me aside and looked as if she would speak, but she shook her head and pulled me into a most uncomfortable embrace instead. I endured it for a moment before gently extricating myself.

Jack made himself useful by helping Eleanor bring in the meats and platters of fish. I must admit, it was a fine repast, full of savory flavors delighting the tongue. I filled myself. Only God knew when I would be able to do so again.

Once our cotehardies were stretched to extremes, we settled down outside on benches in their back courtyard between tavern and kitchen with wine in horn cups, and digested. Jack, of course, was eager to move, unlike the rest of us, and managed to rouse Ned, the Langton’s servant, into a game of cayles.

It was later in the early evening when rain pelted our little gathering, growing stronger until we were forced back inside, drying ourselves by the fire before I told Jack that we should be going.

He whined most distastefully and it was only when I threatened to knock some sense between his ears that he quieted. We thanked out hosts, and even accepted the meats wrapped in cloth that Eleanor pressed upon us. With hoods up, cloaks on, Jack and I plunged into the weather and headed back quickly to the Shambles.

Jack was pleased with the day, but for me, it was bittersweet, reminding me of better times. Yet, I appreciated their kindness and generosity. Such was not always found amongst my former cohorts at court. Much is yet to be learned upon the Shambles.