Upon my fifteenth birthday, four years ago last month, I became apprenticed
to mine own father, an innkeeper of some repute. For four years, I
plied his trade, learning nuance and routine, doing all that seemed
to him to please our boarders, and then some. After four years at
this station, I was given the rank of journeyman to him, and in that
promotion increased in terms both of authority and responsibility,
with only three more years before my name would join his on the signboard.
One of my new responsibilities as journeyman included livery duties
for our distinguished guests, and, whenever a guest's horse's shoes
looked worn and in need of replacement, it would be my responsibility
to take the horses to the furrier to have them re-shod.
Well, not one month after my nineteenth birthday, I took my first
trip for just such an activity. It was about a mile walk to the Blacksmith's
forge, and I couldn't ride the two horses due to the fact that they
didn't belong to me and the shoes were bad. Simms was renowned
throughout the surrounding villages for his skills as both a Blacksmith
and a Furrier, and the bag of coins my father had given to me ensured that
he would, indeed, be doing his finest work for us this day.
Upon arrival at the forge, tired and hungry from the long walk, Smithy
Simms greeted me warmly, and congratulated me upon my new position.
After informing me that it would be some two and a half hours to make
the shoes and then to shoe the horses, he insisted that I go into
his house and direct his daughter to give me nourishment of bread
After thanking him, I turned my heels toward the cottage, and as I
walked, I thought of his daughter. She was the picture of happiness
some six years ago, having just turned eighteen, and betrothed to
a man who had won her in competition with at least two other beaux.
however, with not a month to go before the nuptials, her mother died
giving birth to twin sons. As a result, the wedding was called off,
and she was forced by this unfortunate circumstance to serve her father
and brothers until such time as they could take care of themselves.
It was obvious at the time that she was deeply upset by the death
of her mother, but what I had noticed at the time was that she was
AS upset at the prospect of giving up the life of a wife and mother
herself, a sorrow which lasted much longer than the mourning for her
mother. Nowadays, I would see her in the churchyard or in the chapel,
wearing rather staid, high-necked dresses and hoods, and the smiles
we would exchange were always tainted with that lonely sorrow which
never really seemed to evaporate, even on the most joyous of occasions.
As I entered the cottage, I heard her singing a sweet, soft melody
to herself, and as I stood in the kitchen doorway, I saw her. She
was seated on a stool in the corner behind a washtub. She was busying
herself washing what appeared to be a corset. As she washed and sang,
I noticed that as she was washing her OWN clothes, the extent of her
wardrobe this day was a light, threadbare house-frock which, on its
own, would have displayed so very much of the curves and darkness
of her bodily accents, but with the addition of water splashed from
the washtub, was nigh transparent, and I found myself hypnotized by
the gentle undulation of her breasts as they clung to the wet fabric
of the frock. My manhood responded quickly, but I attempted to compose
myself, clutched my hat nervously in front of my crotch, and gave
a hearty greeting.
"Miss Simms, greetings. You may remember me, Simon, son of Larkspur.
Your father has given me leave to ask for vittles. Would you serve
a hungry man?"
This day is as so many have been these 6 long years... rising before
the dawn to tend the hens, resting my sleepy head against the warm
side of our Lucy as I milk her and think about what might have been
had my sweet mother not been taken.
But the days work lies ahead and I must continue on my father and
siblings require a woman to tend to their breakfast and not to dream.
I am startled with a strangers voice intruding in my thoughts and
jump up... knocking my tub of water askew... sloshing more soapy water
onto my legs... realizing what I am clutching against my breast a flush
fills my face and I quickly shove my undergarment back into the water.
No man should see what a woman has closest to her skin...
Stammering... attempting to recover my composure... drying my hands and
walking towards you " Why yes... I do have vittles to feed a
hungry man. I am glad to do so... come in and make yourself comfortable
Simon, Son of Larkspur... My father has spoken kindly of you and your
kin. And I have seen you myself in the village and am glad of your
company this day.
'tis a fur piece from the inn to this shoppe, and I am most glad and
grateful to have a moment's respite, and the promise of a full belly
soon... what is that wonderful smell coming from the hearth? What morsels
stew in the cook pot? My father has told me more than once that the
key to the married man's happiness is what fills the cook-pot... I
daresay he was speaking from great hunger on that day, but smelling
this, I can see his point...
Trying to avoid fixing my gaze upon your supple body, tightly wrapped
and clearly apparent through the thin, wet frock, i concentrate upon
your eyes... the sadness I have so oft seen deep in the distance behind
them is still there, but there is a lightness there too... you brush
the damp lock of hair, which dangles before your eye, back behind
your ear to give me a clear look at them... I stand, transfixed... but
my eyes wander yet again to your breasts, your legs... I feel captivated,
but must needs take the gentleman's part... I throw my summer cloak
off my shoulders and proffer it to you...
"Here, Miss Simms, please take this whilst you prepare for me... such
delicious promise must not be kept waiting..."
Sitting down at the small wooden table, I breathe deeply, remembering
my responsibilities, and the guaranty I gave to my father to see the
task done aright...
Confusion renders my voice silent for a moment. Sudden understanding
why you wouldst be handing me your cloak sweeps over me. Quickly accepting
the garment I whip it quickly around my damp self. Again a mighty
blush is causing me to squirm with the knowledge that you have seen
me almost in totality with the water causing the thin fabric to cling
most immodestly to my body. I wonder just how much you had seen...
I don't dare look down for fear of drawing your attention to me once
But I feel a strange tightening in my middle and bend to the task
at hand to try and send it away...
Gathering a wooden platter, scooping a goodly portion of the thick
fragrant stew adding a large chunk of fresh barley loaf and setting
it before you at the table. I look quickly at your hands reaching
for the plate and think that you are a fine figured man. Not so rough
as many that I have seen... your hands although rough were sensitive.
I did not see you as a brawny blacksmith... but who was I to guess
your life's pleasure... perhaps that is your dream.
You look at me with a bite of bread held to your lips and a question
in your eyes... "Oh... Forgive me" I stammer again as
a foolish schoolgirl..." I forgot your cold drink what is your
wish?... fresh water or a mug of my fathers mead... not the best
though... that we keep for the high days and special occasions..."
That with the sovereigns your father will earn from mine this day
he can surely procure the best mead once again if thou werest to give
me sup... but indeed, I would also respect him, and would nay seek
to discredit your honor over a mere cup of mead, so I shall take the
Sent to a peaceful place within by the hot and savory taste of the
meal, I sigh aloud and exclaim as I swallow, "Ah, Miss Simms,
this is exactly of which my father bespoke... I hope your father and
brothers see the great privilege they have in tasting of your fine
cookery each day. Oh, were you to fill MY plate each sunset... I would
give most anything I had for THAT privilege..."
You approach the table with the mug of mead, and I push the chair
out to invite you to sit with me... raising the mug to my lips and
brushing the hair off of your face yet again (doesn't seem to want
to stay behind your ear), I repeat... leaning in toward your ear, "most
Impetuously, I gently rub the tip of my nose over your cheek and breathe
the scent of sweat and soap from your delicate skin...
Having surreptitiously watched your every move from your strong teeth
biting into the thick bread... your lips as they moved in the manner
of chewing... your throat is most fascinating... my eyes are drawn
down to your chest and shoulders and I realize my breath is being
held tight into myself and have to let it out quietly to ease the
tension I am feeling for some reason while you are here with me. I
know you are keeping a conversation going but my mind is not on it
and I am afraid several times having to ask you to repeat yourself
has now more than likely caused you to think me addled and thick-witted
.... There is more of this story ...