A Stitch in Time

I had a breakfast customer yesterday, a young lady by the name of Lalla. I have yet to become familiar with the fashions of eras I did not experience, but I have to guess she came from a time after mine, when dresses that would scarcely qualify as underthings in my time are considered acceptable. Were I a prude, I would classify her garments as being only suitable for the inside of a whorehouse, at least by the mores of my time. But then, if I had been a prude, would I know what the inside of whorehouse looked like? Of course, I am very familiar with whorehouses across a dozen European ports. Even so, I don’t recall a dress that short. I rather liked it, and I doubt that it will cause any comment here in the cove.

In the absence of Aoibheann, I had to serve breakfast. Fortunately, this was only toast and a boiled egg. The latter, I could cope with, even if being able to light the stove-top just by turning a knob and pressing a button seems somewhat decadent. I had somewhat more difficulty with the infernal “automatic toaster” machine. I can understand that electricity can be used to create heat and that a mechanism could be devised to control the intensity and duration of the heat, but that still does not explain why the damned machine keeps throwing slices of bread at me with not a sign of browning. Eventually, after some experimentation, I managed to achieve satisfactory toast, but I swear there was some malice in the way it ejects the finished product. I was grateful that she did not want any coffee. Hot water, ground coffee and a strainer, I can understand, but this ‘espresso machine’ looks like something out of a mad scientist’s laboratory and I have heard less alarming noises from a stricken steam train. I am not convinced that it is safe as it sounds like it is only a minute away from a nasty explosion. It is probably of more modern devising, so maybe I will get Gwyn to explain it to me.

Aoibheann came in later, just as the girl was finishing her breakfast. I paid the bill, as I am wont to do for new arrivals and she offered her skills as a seamstress in return. Now there, I may find cause to use her services. The journeys have not been kind to my limited wardrobe and there are a few small seam and button repairs needed. Aoibheann also told me to look out for a child named Luna. Apparently, she is a stray that Brigitte has taken under her wing and paid in advance for to eat at the inn. I will have to look out for her. Apparently, she talks to some unseen companion. That made me laugh because I had noticed that Lalla did the same earlier, and that pony, Mitternacht seems to do so all the time. So, Luna will fit in quite well here.

Later in the day, I came into the tavern to find Niles there being his usual charming self. He was chastising Aoibheann about something and rather rudely correcting her writing. He was apparently there in search of Brigitte, so I suggested the bath house. Not that I had seen her in a couple of days, but was anxious to be rid of him. I think Aoibheann was as well, judging by her relief when he left. I told her about the jug-throwing incident, which amused her greatly.

Cristof came in later, briefly. I wish I could remember what it is that seems so familiar about him. We spoke of parties and other amusements. We also spoke of Aoibheann’s accomplishments and the king’s training methods, which largely seem to consist of giving her too much to do in the hope of stretching her abilities. It seems to work.

Cristof left soon after, leaving Aoibheann and I talking about poetry, the process of writing a journal, and, indeed, poetry. I was pleased that she came up with the same idea I had thought of before, practising her writing by copying out poems from her book. I told her this was an excellent idea. I also told her it would help with her understanding of the poems. She said that she doubted that she would ever be able to write as prettily as the poets, but I disagreed, based on her first journal entry. She did not think she could write about anything because there was nothing to write about and joked about writing a poem about the counter. She meant it as a joke, but even so, the fact that she addressed the counter as a person showed that there is some poetical idea there. She didn’t seem to think so, but we made a date to have a go at writing poems at some point in the future.

Since the bar was quiet, I left her to it in the hope of finding the king at home. He wasn’t, so I took the opportunity of some free time to walk around the island, trying to break the block I am having on chapter eight. There was no major inspiration, but I feel I have an idea. I stopped by the bookshop in the hope of obtaining a dictionary for Aoibheann, but Emanuel wasn’t there. I am sure he will be around some time.

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