Thursday, June 10, 2010

Episode II

And now again to the present--he impetuous Horatius did not wait to be shown into his intended’s room. He mused to himself that after only three years since his resolution in the wild, he was hurrying after wedlock. On many a morn he woke to ask himself if he was merely enjoying the challenge of winning a wife, but the answer was nay.

The calling of an ardent lover had begun to bore him, and all at once he longed for the grand majesty of fatherhood. He would not beget as a lover, for only in by the bands could he be certain of his patronage. He scrupled not concerning the woman’s happiness, for did feminine creatures not long for marriage at any cost? and were children often enough comfort for them? She would not be downcast merely because he did not change his ways. Ruminating thusly, Horatius gaily knocked on the door to lady’s rooms, merely to show he was coming, for he entered immediately.

A burst of sun came from the western horizon, colouring the chamber with a beauteous hue, and there the lady sat unsurprised on a chaise, her sketchbook before her as she was rigorously engaged. The watercolours, painted china, tapestries, and rugs lying and hanging about testified to her accomplishments, but Horatius was not drawn by superficial achievements devoid of true skill.

Art was in her and something else, too. Wealth he could not have been more indifferent to, though it gratified his mind that the welfare of the family he so felicitously looked forward to was absolutely certain.

She had not looked up yet, but as her curled, ash blonde tresses were gathered as like a rosette on the nape of her neck, her unencumbered periphery must have revealed him to her. ‘Horatius,’ she said sweetly, ‘thou hast come late this even.’

‘Ah, ‘twas but to behold thee in the purple glow of dusk, my little amaranth,’ he said, approaching only at her beck.

She smiled. ‘Dost thou persist in teasing my height! Impertinent man!’ She secretly delighted in his manner, not simpering or effete as she had seen so many men in court.

‘And why should thy height not be dear to me? Art thou my mistress, yet, that I should be ordered not to like something I see? Give me thy hand, and then I will descry thy petite frame from the tower of the church, if thou shouldst please, my Katrina!’ His grandiose affectation rewarded him with a silvery peal of laughter, and she turned to put away her sketches.

‘Nay, but let me look,’ he protested, ‘Ah! Yes, this one is too good. One might think thou didst strive to excel beyond decorative. Foul indeed! At least, thou dost not cast off thy fair raiment for trousers and shirts, but the fineness of this picture doth worry me!’

Katrina pouted and sat on her feet atop the chaise. A cloud of soft grey purple settled round her from her gathered skirt, matched beautifully with her pearl embroidered bodice. This and the delicate ribbons streaming from her capped sleeves showed her in no danger of donning a man’s shirt, as her suitor well knew, and she sat silent as he in turn praised or criticized her work. Immersing herself in a wrap of olive green velvet, she waited as the sun further declined, and the dimming light forced Horatius to surrender the sketches.

‘And wilt thou not say aye to a nuptial date? Your guardian is game for any time, as thou knowest well,’ he said, a touch of impatience clipping his polite words with flattering diction.

‘Alas, but I promised my dear nurse, now gone, to wait a year before saying aye to any man, however swayed my heart may be in his favour.’

‘Well, then let us be wed the day after we have known one another a year! I can tell thee it now; our anniversary is fixed in my mind.’

Katrina laughed, ‘Thou sophist! I must know thee a year before saying if I shalt marry thee.’

‘How like the feminine to so demure!’ he said getting up and pacing with leonine majesty, his hand on the hilt of his rapier to prevent any awkward clicking. He turned to her again. ‘I suppose my impatience doth me little credit.’

Katrina smiled with the sweetness at which a coquette contrives, but only the natural may attain. ‘What is a year to the rest of our lives, Horatio? Though, I refrain from putting my promise in words, thou must surely know the inclination of my heart’--a bell rang--'Hark, the supper bell! Thou shalt surely stay this even? I prepared thy favourites to be served in the marble room, marking how well thou admired the sea and its air from that abode's open walls.’

Horatius smiled at this gentle consideration, for he did love the sea never so well as from that room and in her presence. ‘I will be glad to sup with thee, my heart, for I hunger from not dining, and all day my soul has been on the doldrums.’

‘Let us hope then," she teased, "that there are waves on the ocean.’


About Me

My Photo
Warsaw, Poland
Domine, spero quia mundum vicisti. Lord, I trust that Thou hast overcome the world. Panie, ufam, żeś pokonał świat.
View my complete profile