Letters from Armorica- The Goats (22 Septembre 33AF)

First Letter

Dear Journal,

My life has taken on a pattern. I work hard on Onc' Herbert's farm all week, tending the goats and what not (for he no longer allows me to help cut down trees); and on the day of rest I attend divine services and visit the hot springs with the rest of the men. And that, despite all my ambitions, is that. I have no time during the week for reflection, or, rather, no time for recording my reflections in any coherent way; but then, my reflections while waiting upon the goats are generally not such as I would care to remember anyway. The goats and I are not on speaking terms, however much time I spend with them.

And then, on the day of rest, the day I look forward to all of the rest of the week, for it truly is a day of rest even if I still have to feed the goats morning and evening, I have no energy for anything but rest. I have opened my grimoire once of twice, but I've made no progress toward my goal of forming a sky-boat. Indeed, I cannot say that I've truly begun.

I would say that I have sunk into a depression, but for that sinking sounds like too much effort. As a sign of my malaise, that so appropriate Provençese expression, I have twice noticed a pretty young lady at the church, and this morning at the meal that follows on the green it even seemed that she wished to catch my eye—and I have been too tired to so much as return her glances.

When I came to Armorica I did not know what line of work I would settle into; I was only resolved not to step into my father's shoes at the Guild. Life as a clerk was enjoyable for a season, and I learned a great deal that I believe I might find useful if I am ever freed from the goats. It kept me fed and clothed. But I have seen enough of it to know that I do not wish to do that for the rest of my days, not if other opportunities arise.

The one thing I am certain about is goats. I am utterly certain about goats. I am utterly sure I do not wish to spend the rest of my life with goats.

Though I continue to try to do the work I'm given cheerfully and diligently, I am not sure that it is enough. Onc' Herbert began by looking doubtful and slightly amused; but lately he only looks thoughtful. He remains friendly enough in his manner, and he says little; I have learned that he never says very much, in any circumstances. But I cannot help thinking, when his eye is upon me, that I am not working up to his expectations. In my bleakest moments I am sure that I am working down to them, and that only pity stays him from sending me away.

I very much wanted to join Jean-Paul in his heavy drinking at the hot springs today, but I must not. He is one of theirs, while I remain an outsider. I must not give them any reason to turn me away.

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