November

8th year in the Reign of King Richard II

It’s cold. The hearth sputters from lack of fuel and my fingers are stiff from writing in such chill environs. Jack was practising his letters on the wax slate earlier and once he was done I offered him precious ink and parchment to do it properly. He naturally refused. He knows I like to keep this journal and what little parchment we have is saved for these endeavors. But I urged them on him nonetheless until he relented. Quill on parchment is the measure of a decent hand. Only the quill can prove mastery.

I grow unaccountably pleased with his progress. I have mentored pages before, boys younger than Jack as when I first came across the little knave, but none of them were as quick and nimble of mind as is Jack. I garner much satisfaction from the glint in those amber eyes when his script becomes recognizable. Yes, he has improved considerably. I would not vouchsafe for a vocation as a clerk but he has a servicible hand at least and his reading, too, has smoothed. It is a task he may well labor at for the hours ahead as Winter approaches, for work is scarce as the days draw shorter and the skies pull their gray cloaks about them.

And it is cold. It may be best to put this aside so that we may venture to the Boar’s Tusk. At least the hearth there is warm, the wine sharp and soothing, and the meat filling to the belly.

Jack perks like a dog sensing his master is ready for a walk. He knows me well, for he seems to ken that I am ready to put aside my writing for that walk to Gutter Lane. We could both do with some warmth. His nose and cheeks are rosy with cold and our room with its closed shutters and smoky hearth is too confining.

To the Boar’s Tusk, then, and to warmth.