I confess that usurers have a name as being distinctly dour and miserable folk. This is something of a canard, I’ve known several who have a sense of humour. They have been known to chuckle dryly at a fumbled attempt to hide something embarrassing in a set of accounts. Similarly the legend that usurers are … More The usurer’s proposal
I confess to being constantly surprised as to the various hobbies that usurers take up as a form of relaxation. I have known one who made the barrels for barrel organs. I have known usurers who turned to fishing, poetry, adultery, and strong drink. Sometimes all of them in the same evening. But Grievous Tap … More The Chronicler of small gifts
I’ve known Mistress Bete for many years. If I may take the liberty of calling her a sensible young woman without seeming to insult her, I shall avail myself of that privilege. She was born into a class which accepted that a daughter would have to work for a living, at least until she married … More And how Mistress Bete became a lady of property.
I have noticed over the years that young ladies who are brought up with a litter of older brothers tend to exhibit certain masculine traits. Prominent among them are a casual attitude to mindless violence and the ability to rapidly come up with a scathing riposte when they feel they are being mocked. Girls with … More The danger of losing one’s shirt
If you walk out from the Old Esplanade and cross the sands of the Paraeba Estuary, you’ll come across what the shore combers call ‘the first hulk.’ Actually this is all that remains of that fine ship, the Dancing Queen. Or rather it’s the remains of the ship’s strong room. Now you might wonder how … More The wreck of the Dancing Queen
You have to remember that poets are merely human. Just because a man or woman is a great poet doesn’t mean that they don’t have limits. There are things we just cannot do. As it is I do wonder at times whether our patrons realise this. There are times when I wake up in the … More A nice hand with trifling details.