It is at this point I wish to bring before you a good friend of mine, one Tamas Berfett. Tamas is a man of many parts, a successful merchant, a minor poet of modest competence willing to accept criticism, a husband and father of a brood of doubtless delightful children. He is also a man of undoubted courage.
It is this courage I particularly wish to salute. It has to be said that times are getting tough in the world of the middling merchant, dealing mainly in bulk commodities. Shipping costs were rising and prices were slipping and whilst he was farsighted enough to have the resources to ride the metaphorical storm (and cunning enough to spot any easier ways round) he was being forced to watch his spending.
It was at this point that I ought to mention that his brood of delightful children were mainly daughters and they gave every impression that they were going to grow to become beautiful and elegant women like their mother. In a way it’s fortunate that they took after her rather than him, for Tamas, although a thorougherly decent man; is not blessed with the sort of graceful good looks and natural charm that one expects in a major poet.
Not only that, but his assortment of daughters was approaching various significant birthdays. These are the sorts of day when a young lady is supposed to frolic winsomely in a posh frock. If this wasn’t expense enough, the mother of said daughter is also supposed to be able to disport herself in a new outfit, cunningly cut to enhance her natural dignity and grace. Equally worryingly, it is necessary for the mother of said daughters to have a different posh frock for each daughter’s birthday.
So you can see how poor Tamas was beginning to feel somewhat put-upon by fate. Still I’ve mentioned before that he is a cunning and farsighted individual and he had put a little by for occasions such as these.
All would have been well, save that he is also a poet. When I had first read some of the verses that go to make up Lambent Dreams, he was enchanted. He asked, nay he demanded, the right to pay for the cost of publication.
In retrospect it might have been the five glasses of excellent red wine that he had consumed, but if anything they just released the natural impulses of his generous and poetical soul.
Indeed he handed me the cash then and there and first thing next morning I was at Glickens Printers having things laid out.
The problem for Tamas came when he awoke next morning and his wife demanded the money for the new gowns that she had been promised. Tamas reached for his pocketbook with the casual air of a man who knows that, for once, he is in the right and can supply what is needful, only to discover that his pocketbook was empty.
Slowly but remorselessly, like the tide sweeping in over a drunken shore-comber asleep on the mud of the estuary, his memories of the previous evening returned. I don’t know whether they lingered lovingly over the time spent ogling the erotic dancers at the ‘Follies’ but eventually his memories reached the incident when he had poured money into my cupped hands. So at this point he improvised and said something along the lines of, “I must have left my money in the office.”
Unfortunately Tamas is married to a lady who keeps track of everything. It seems that she knows how much is in his wallet at any given time, and I have no doubt that before noon the following day she will know the name and cup size of the erotic dancer he had ogled longest. So she dismissed his excuse with a contemptuous sneer.
Then he had a moment of inspiration. Realising that she suspected he had spent the money on drink and unfortunate young ladies who haven’t got enough clothes to keep them warm and respectable on a winter’s evening he decided a novel approach. He would tell her the truth. But here his cunning came into play.
“I remember now my dear. I spotted an investment opportunity, young Tallis Steelyard has a book of poetry that needed backing, so I jumped at the opportunity. It’ll repay me swiftly enough, never you fear.”
With this his wife fell silent. To be fair to her, she has every respect for her husband’s financial abilities and it may be that she was willing to be convinced that he had indeed made a wise investment.
Alternatively it might be that she had come to the unkind conclusion that in assuming he would make money out of publishing poetry he had lost whatever grasp he once had on reality and was now certifiably mad. Either way he was not worth arguing with.
So she merely replied that she would doubtless get the money soon so there was nothing to worry about.
And this is where the problem lies. It appears that there is a shortage of persons of wit and discernment. ‘Lambent Dreams’ has not flown from the shelves as Tamas as hoped. At some point in the near future he faces having to confess to his wife that he made an unfortunate mistake and invested money unwisely.
But this is where you, dear reader, can help. For a mere £0.99 (or its dollar equivalent) you can purchase a copy of Lambent Dreams. Thus enabling an honest man to ensure that his wife and daughters can go to the ball dressed in a manner to which they feel they have a right to become accustomed.
Do not delay, please go now to Amazon, and if this story has inspired you to purchase multiple copies to send to your friends then pray do so.
As a reviewer commented, “
This short book really amused me. If you’re familiar with the stories of Benor the Cartographer from the author’s Land of the Three Seas then you will have some idea of what to expect. Tallis Steelyard is a poet. He makes his living that way. Lambent Dreams is a collection of some of his works and his friend Benor comments on them to give some historical or geographical insight. Then there is the commentary from fellow poet and critic Lancet Foredeck. These remind me of the notes you get on wines from some of the ‘experts’ and I chuckled along with them. Perhaps funniest of all was the fact that, somehow, the footnotes inserted by one of the typesetters were left in by accident; a much more refreshing view is revealed!
This won’t take you long to read but I guarantee you’ll smile a lot while you do. A little gem!”
3 thoughts on “A charitable gesture”
Reblogged this on Jim Webster.
one has to do what one can under the circumstances 😉