Bradley Beal heard a knock at his door. He looked up from the letter he was penning in surprise. “Who could my visitor be? I am not anticipating the company of any of my friends. Perhaps it is that beggar Vesely, beseeching me for scraps from my table. What a detestable fellow that man is.”
Walking to the door, he opened it to find that, in fact, it was a friend who had paid him visit. “Sir Gortat. It is such a wonderful surprise to see you this day! Come in, come in, and we can discuss the editorials in the latest news-paper,” Bradley gushed, beckoning Marcin to join him in the sitting room.
Marcin shook his head. “You must not have received my correspondence, Sir Beal. That postman is as reliable as an old boot! A few days past I wrote you a letter, inviting you and several other noble gentlemen from about the area to gather for some good-natured sport. My horse is plenty strong enough to hold two, and certainly possesses the stamina to carry us all the way to the sporting-grounds in Derbywich, should you be able to make time for such an excursion.”
Bradley, at the mention of an athletic contest against other able-bodied men, had already retrieved his overcoat. “A splendid idea! Nothing could please my soul more than a good-natured game upon green, sunlit fields. Let us proceed at once!”
The two men rode comfortably through the placid summer noon. Marcin produced from his pocket a small package of exotic toffees, which they savored while commenting on the latest happenings about town.
“I see in the distance two fair womenfolk, traversing in the opposite direction the very path upon which we currently ride.” Gortat said, pointing off in the distance. “One appears to be Lady Gwendolyn of Etonshire, however, I am not sure who her companion may be.”
Squinting his eyes, Bradley answered, “I believe it is Lady Denise! Oh, how my heart flutters in my chest. She is the loveliest lady in the county, I am sure of it as I am sure of the hat on my head.”
Marcin nodded. “She is quite fair, however, Lady Gwendolyn is much fairer.” He suddenly snickered. “And I have heard, in the ill-reputed tavern on the village road, where the drunkards and prostitutes gather, that Lady Denise gives freely the fruits of her tree, so to speak.”
“A lady of high standing should not engage in such behavior. It brings shame upon her father,” Bradley said. “Lady Denise has no such reputation. You merely jest. But quiet yourself now! Their approach is nigh, and I wish not for her to know of my secret desire.”
Truly, in less than a minute, the two groups met upon the road. Marcin stopped his horse. “Good day, travelers. What brings you upon this country track on such an oppressively hot day?”
Lady Gwendolyn fanned herself. “We must visit Denise’s brother, for we hear that has fallen sick with fever.”
Holding up a bundle of herbs, Lady Denise added, “Hopefully the apothecarist has concocted a suitable remedy for his ills.”
Marcin looked solemn. “I am sorry to hear that,” he said, pausing respectfully. “But there is good news on this day as well!”
Both women smiled, waiting to hear the joyful tidings.
“Sir Beal has let it be known that he wishes to lay with Lady Denise!” Marcin blurted, before bursting into peals of uproarious laughter. “He wishes to sate the intimate desires of the flesh!”
The two women exchanged an uneasy glance. “We must hurry on,” Lady Denise said. “But you can inform Sir Beal that I would never entertain the company of such a crass, repulsive man. Good day.”
Soon, the two women were out of sight behind them.
Beal slumped sadly upon the back of the horse. “May I ask that we return to my manor? I feel unwell,” he implored his partner in sport. “But please, take another route, so that we do not happen among those two trollops again.”