I trust the management of the estate is going well?
Have you had any unforeseen calamities? How are you set for Scullery Maids? If it suits you, I’ll send another cartload of budding young recruits up from the village.
Please reply at your leisure.
All is as expected. Spring brings new life, but also new challenges.
The maids are fine and most remain in good health. I will not require any more. Let the village recover from your last plundering first. Truly you are a terror to your people. First you knight people for odd, random reasons, then you exert your will by tearing apart families on a whim.
I am glad I became part of the cultured elite, otherwise I likely would have ended up being carted off to one of your Madams’ estates.
Sir Kyle, you have quite by accident reminded me of a most amusing irony!
As you know, now that the snows have gone, so begins the laborious task of tilling the hard, compacted earth on my vast estates. Naturally my tenants find this to be an irksome chore, so, as is my custom, I have been making preparations for the annual fireworks display. Infantile, I know; but the bright colours and ear-splitting noise seems to please them for some reason.
In any case, just a week ago now, two footmen in my employ, “Fat One” and “Ruddy Ginger,” were assigned to prepare several test mortars and evidently when they took an unauthorized pause to smoke a pipe, one or the other carelessly tossed a match…right into the magazine! The report was most dreadful!
When I was called down to inspect the situation, why — it was near impossible to tell one footman from the other! Ha-ha! Quite the sight! Quite the sight, indeed!
As you know, two replacements can be easily sourced in the village, but I am rather annoyed about the loss of powder, as it had to be imported at some expense.
Incidentally, you are too modest, Sir Kyle: I have taken the liberty of ordering an additional cartload of maids on your behalf.
Those damn rubes! Do they not know how far the Orient is?
I suppose you wouldn’t supply them with ‘maps’ or ‘education’ though, so it stands to reason. Nonetheless, I hope they now rest in an unmarked grave, perhaps with a first born as company, to really get the message across.
I am confused on one aspect, though: were “Fat One” and “Ruddy Ginger” the men, or the types of fireworks?
And I suppose one cannot have too many maids. Good hands are always welcome.
I am outta here in ten minutes, so this charming exchange will have to wait ’til tomorrow, unfortunately.
Sir Kyle, you do amuse!
And yes, take your leave, by all means. Off to the tavern and then the brothel(s) again, I assume?
Fat One and Ruddy Ginger were of course buried in the Christian tradition, and their grave was indeed marked.
Unfortunately the help around here tend to expire rather often and the heaping mass of this particular grave is simply marked “Lime Pit,” but please know that the local priest was sent for to say a quick prayer for their souls.
Taverns and brothels are so tame, I find. Since my elevation in rank I have found my tastes have veered significantly towards…the fringe. I fear this correspondence is no place to go into detail, but suffice it to say that the “charms” found in those establishments no longer sate my desires.
It seems to me that proper burial of a ginger, no matter how influenced by class it was, is still against God’s divine wishes. The soulless do not deserve the honor of Almighty God’s embrace.
Your idea for a lime pit is intriguing. I had been making use of the river’s ferocity for corpse disposal, but the estates nearby have been complaining of pestilence.
Perhaps in the interest of better relations within the Kingdom I should borrow your practice!
Do forgive the lateness of my reply, but I was busy making arrangements.
My dear wife Beth, the Archduchess, recently hinted to me that she would “very much enjoy” an intimate trip around the countryside with a “certain someone.”
As everyone knows, I am a most loving and attentive husband, and I thought it wrong to refuse her!
Therefore, for the coming eight weeks she will enjoy a comprehensive tour of all the convents and monasteries in our glorious land with her favourite handmaiden. Her name escapes me, but surely you will recollect her? The dull-witted one who spilled the entire contents of your ivory snuff box on my hound Kenneth’s head?
No matter. The two of them will travel along Cutthroats’ Road, with four—actually, two!—of my most surefooted mules.
Lord help me, but I am a sentimental man, and will miss her company! Fortunately my twelve mistresses will be taking up residence in her roomy apartments during her absence.
During that time, should you be interested in, I don’t know, barbeque or something, respond at once.
Ah, fair Beth! Such a shine in her eyes! At least…before the crushing opium addiction. A dusky gem now, indeed.
I must, however, admit to a fair level of concern regarding her upcoming trip. Cutthroats’ Road (formerly referred to as Stabbers’ Trail) is certainly no place for unattended women! My hatred for her handmaiden notwithstanding, I do not think I could stand idly by without offering my most experienced footman, Clovis, as a guard for the journey.
Do not let his physical appearance fool you simply because his eyes see more crossways than a normal person’s would. Despite his advanced age, the man is still more than capable of keeping up with mules. (Don’t ask.)
Very well…there have been other rumours regarding Clovis and mules that we won’t go into right now. (Other than to say that I can personally confirm that they are true.)
Nevertheless, he will provide some safety on the journey. Though not too much for Mathilda, one would hope. I, of course, remember her well. Your hound was set to sneezing most viciously that particular evening, and I was without snuff for the better part of half an hour! Your mercy towards her that day, despite my insistence otherwise, was surely a fine example of your divinity and I was suitably humbled. That said, I will be instructing Clovis that Mathilda is not the one he is protecting, and, should a dangerous situation arise, that he sacrifice her in favour of the Archduchess.
Alas, it is true — the Archduchess’s dependence on the thick, ghastly blood of the Poppy plant has produced a marked change in demeanour. Her eyes are now like old flint, and bereft of their natural spark.
Oh, that reminds me! Just this morning the ship carrying my birthday present for Beth pulled into the harbour and, after carefully reviewing the manifest (350 Chests of Raw Opium; 1 New Pipe) I pressed my ringed seal into the wax. I believe she will be most pleased.
I realize I spoil her, but as she is so fond of saying, it is “her absolute favourite.”
For the life of me, I don’t know why I even bothered to order the pipe. Ever the resourceful one, Beth has recently taken to shovelling the retched substance into her mouth with a large fork.
As a matter of fact, the Master of Stool confided in me recently that in the past three months she has passed no more than “a small handful of grapeshot,” and that he is “most concerned.”
After consulting my Physicians however, my worries have abated. All thirty of them agreed that given her insatiable appetite for “Papaver Somniferum” as they called it, what the Master of Stool reported is “to be expected.”
What a welcome relief!
Your offer of Clovis is most kind! Many thanks, Sir Kyle! I must compliment your manners, as I would have been tempted to refer to him as “The Old, Retarded Mule-Fucker,” as I have heard some of my staff whisper.
Oh, and please – don’t trouble him with the stipulations you mentioned, as it would likely only confuse the poor man. Simply tell him to do his level best.
Until next time!
Archduke of Play
Please COMMENT, readers! : )
I appreciate the “likes” too of course, but…comments? Why, like my dearest Beth, I would eat every last one of them with a fork if it were possible!
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