This story has been set to a rating of R. Age verification is required to proceed.
Lack of courage on my part, not the reason I’ve paused my usual marching gate down the grassy hillside toward Shibden. Indeed, all who’ve met me presume my bravery inherent, like my other oddi…qualities, my boldness puts me square in the frame. I believe the most beautiful of the fairer sex will be my wife.
In Paris, in Rome, and most recently in Hastings —ladies kiss my lips with coy friendship and unmistakably so much more.
Naught a fool and yet, I would be happier married by now, and landing anywhere but back in Halifax, if not for the continuous parade of male suitors ceaselessly calling upon the ladies of my affection and marrying them.
I have crashed back to earth not as dead as Icarus but undeniably scorched by the corona of the aristocracy. I’m not one of them, and they know it. My ownership of the four-hundred-year-old pile of a sprawling manse, Shibden Hall, I never tire of reminding those who might forget the history made here in 1415 when King Henry V frequently visited, before and after the Battle of Agincourt.
Not to my astonishment, four-hundred-year-old English kings are no match for the nineteenth century where gold and silver are its valued currency. My cleverness, my ancient lineage, my flawless politeness pattering from French to Latin and onto ancient Greek —should anyone try to test me.
I easily outwit them all, and it’s where my training is critical. The lords and ladies, the marquis and marquise, and any baron who’s invited me to his shooting party, all get the last word with me and every confidence that they are right, lest I be thought of as vulgar. What I think of them I write in my diary. To date, I have eighteen bound volumes of my near-constant musings and travels.
Staring ahead, I clear my mind of recent unpleasant events, realizing I’ve not stood still for this long since I thought I’d broken my right ulna. Bastard horse. So yes, It’s decided. I will march through the stone gate of Shibden, a returning battle-tested Lister as if all my wars won and no battle was too bruising upon me.
I can always be counted upon to do it. I’ve never lived an ordinary life and won’t be starting one this afternoon.