Still not entirely domesticated – Tallis Steelyard

Reblogged from Tallis Steelyard:

Bartolome Esteban Murillo-658384

I suppose it is inevitable. If two attractive unmarried ladies decide to run a boarding house, specialising in providing homely accommodation for single men; there will be gossip.

All the more so when the aforementioned ladies seemed to have plenty of time to lean out of the windows looking attractive and exchanging cheerful banter with passers-by.

Still to be honest they might have escaped my notice, after all Port Naain is a large city. But Raswil Muldecker the usurer brought the situation to my notice. His was not the outrage of a man worried about the damage loose morals might do to society; his was a more specific outrage. He had a number of clerks, men of undoubted integrity. Single and of sober habit they would live in respectable boarding houses. But over the previous months he’d noticed a worrying trend. One of his clerks would move into the ‘Home from Home’ boarding house run by these two ladies. Slowly, almost imperceptibly, he would fade from view. First his social life would go, and then finally he would disappear altogether.

One clerk would be a nuisance, two an unfortunate coincidence, but when he lost his third clerk he felt that this was becoming a drain on his business. So of all people he summoned me. It might be he remembered the good service I did when I acted as a Pecuniary Intermediary, but honesty compels me to say it is more probable that he regarded me as comparatively cheap and almost entirely expendable.
Still he dropped a gold coin onto my palm. As an aside this is an excellent policy. Remunerating poets in silver is unkind, there are so few reasonable rhymes should a grateful artist try and express his gratitude in verse. As for paying in brass or copper, I would suggest that you don’t even consider it, the rhymes are numerous and mainly derogatory.

Hence I was presented with the problem of the Mesdames Galfey and their boarding house. There were all sorts of possibilities to consider. In many areas it is almost traditional in these circumstances for the gentleman to be lured into an apparently respectable house, spend his night in wild erotic pleasures with his hostess, and to awake next morning in the charred remnants of a building which had fallen into ruin a century before. I couldn’t imagine this happening in Port Naain, people would eventually notice.

There were other possibilities to consider, but I remembered the old saw, ‘Time spent in reconnaissance is seldom wasted.’ Still the situation was not without its dangers, and whilst not single, I realised I could still be at risk. Then I had a moment of inspiration. I took young Mutt to one side and asked him to reconnoitre for me. Ten year old boys are notoriously immune from feminine wiles and given his speed and agility he should be perfectly safe. Admittedly I had to drop a silver vintenar into his outstretched palm, but given he has no aspirations to versifying I felt safe in doing so.

Continue reading: Still not entirely domesticated – Tallis Steelyard

About Sue Vincent

Sue Vincent is a Yorkshire-born writer and one of the Directors of The Silent Eye, a modern Mystery School. She writes alone and with Stuart France, exploring ancient myths, the mysterious landscape of Albion and the inner journey of the soul. Find out more at France and Vincent. She is owned by a small dog who also blogs. Follow her at and on Twitter @SCVincent. Find her books on Goodreads and follow her on Amazon worldwide to find out about new releases and offers. Email:
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15 Responses to Still not entirely domesticated – Tallis Steelyard

  1. jwebster2 says:

    Ten year old boys are indeed notoriously immune from feminine wiles, responding better to blackmail or bribery, but with their elders more subtle techniques can come into play


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