I have always been fond of dancing, for a man who can twirl an elegant leg with the best of them, it’s the perfect pastime. But I realise that there are mixed opinions on the topic.
One of the more mixed is the opinion held by Sultas Enore. Sultas is no longer as young and as spry as he once was, and may indeed be getting crotchety with age. In his youth he trained as a Chirotonsor but by listening carefully to the wiser of his patrons he managed to earn a considerable sum backing horses at the races. From here he branched out into property, before investing in a number of businesses so that by the time he reached his middle years he was able to relax a little and devote what little leisure time he had to poetry and literature.
As a poet he caused something of a stir, his poem ‘The maiden danced, winsomely, widdershins, (or so I’ve been told),’ was a sensation.
The maiden danced,
Nobody prior to him had dared to make the poem shorter than its title! Others copied him but succeeded mainly in producing titles of inordinate length, rather than poems of expressive brevity.
I confess I was never of his school but always maintained good relations with them and accorded them the degree of respect their habit of serving decent wine to all comers entitled them to.
It was on the topic of dancing that he could be at his most persuasive. The Major Poets of Port Naain were considering holding a ball. Sultas rose to his feet and launched into an oration. I can still remember parts of it (I was assisting in the kitchens, but took my place near the door when I heard he was about to speak.)
“How can we not have dancing? The lascivious glances, the lewd posturing, the prurient nature of the enterprise provoking libidinous frenzy when some eesome maiden attempts to honeyfuggle an innocent young man and lure him, all unwittingly, into matrimony. Where are your sporting instincts gentlemen if you seek to avoid this challenge? Don’t tell me you’re the sort of milksop who drinks himself under the table rather than face the challenge? Who walks with an ostentatious limp when a real man would hurl himself into the melee? Shame on you!”
His speech was applauded, although one of those who spoke after him confessed that he was unsure whether Sultas was speaking in favour of the motion or attempting to sway the assembled throng to vote against it.
Personally I feel that the man was not entirely sure himself. In his youth he had apparently been an excellent dancer. Indeed I have talked to ladies of his generation who would lapse into misty-eyed silence as they contemplated him in his prime.
Still, he had a wife, seven daughters and so many grandchildren that no reasonable person could be expected to remember their names. It may be that his feelings about matrimony were complex.
Should you wish to read more about Tallis and the inhabitants of Port Naain,
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