May this correspondence find you in good health & clean garments. As you know, since your last letter, I have been adhering to our agreement devoutly, esp. regarding your insistence that I write you no more frequently than every twelfth fortnight. How I admire your virtuous restraint, my love! I can scarcely bear the wait between letters, though I note with some bitterness that yours have grown markedly shorter of late.
I find I have nothing to report, as usual; my apprenticeship with the cobbler progresses slowly & I haven't a spare penny. I have gained a healthy amount of weight & have seen a corresponding hairline recession in that time - all the better to appear refined, as a husband should!
I do suppose there is one incident that warrants recollection: I engaged in a proper gentleman's duel! Let me tell you the story in a manner befitting its thrilling nature:
I & my fellow Cavaliers were engaged in dialogue on the issue of taxation - the latest round of which is not entirely beyond the King's right to enact, esp. given recent unrest among the Scots, etc., but I will spare you this debate for the time being - outside a tavern very late one eve. My back was turned to a nearby disturbance within a passing throng, but after ignoring it for a spell, I was finally compelled to turn and investigate the issue.
What did mine eyes espy but a strange rogue in foreign garb! Silver steel clasps bound badges and coin pouches to his shirt, which was itself composed entirely of pure black cloth - befitting his villainy! His behavior that had so angered the bystanders was the use of a tying post that (it is known in this sector) is reserved for the horses of nobles. Knowing this vile apparition at last to be an agent of chaos, I strode through the crowd and addressed him thusly:
"Be gone, ruffian, for this tying post is reserved for use by the nobility of our town! Furthermore, you are instructed to seek lodging far from this street and intersecting thoroughfares - perhaps even in a different town altogether!"
Sensing my slight for what it was, the man stepped away from his horse without untying it.
"I am noble, and I am in need of rest," he said, "But I've no interest in catching a wink of sleep within the bounds of a town so hostile and filth-ridden as this one is."
"Rapscallion!" I accused. "I'll have you stand by that insult!" The crowd had gathered around me in the preceding moments, and they began to grow excited at the prospect of a duel.
Wordlessly, the stranger nodded and walked off ten paces, turning his back to me as he moved. I, too, faced away from this villain and prepared my flintlock for the upcoming strike.
An urchin from within the crowd commanded the mark. He counted off with precision - one, two, three - and then announced the turn.
I rapidly spun in place and cried, with a stern inflection suited to the task of defending my city's honour: "To thy fate, brigand!"
Alas, he shot me seven times in the stomach & once in the eye. But these wounds are of negligible import, for, my dearest Cecily, he then rode off, never to be seen again! Yes, I have suffered significant bruising throughout my mid-section & permanent blindness in my right eye, but that dark impostor has surely been banished from our streets for his remaining days.
Thrilling, no? Your lover is now a seasoned duelist in addition to a cobbler's apprentice! Mayhaps you will consider more frequent letter exchanges so as to hear of my future exploits.
One final note, my dear: I'm hearing the most dreadful gossip about you & one of the local squires at your family's summer home - I understand that they are merely rumours, but you need only say the word for me to initiate a similarly sterling defence of your honour.
Until six more mos. have passed,