I beg thee pardon for my extended absence, but I fear my return will be further delayed, although I expect not too tally much longer.
You see, upon my journey back to you – having reached the crossed paths along the wooded trail whereupon my direction would veer to the North – I came upon a gentleman whose path was in a direction opposite of mine.
We paused, and exchanged gentlemanly greetings. As I recall, I had remarked upon the fine weather, and he made comment of the cooling in the summer’s air, but it was then I fear our cordiality met an abrupt conclusion!
It was a simple matter, my dear Prudence, and never intended to inflate, however as these things so often can, what began as a mere misunderstanding between two persons became something else entirely. For what occurred, simple as it was, is thus – As the gentleman was speaking to me of the coming Autumnal season, and his anticipation of cooler weather and lengthening nights, a fly had lit upon his cheek.
Had I realized said insect was unnoticed by the gentleman, I likely would have not reacted as I had. However, having just spent a full year among the mysterious Headless Monks of the Leaf, learning their secretive ways of Tea, I had developed an aversion to flying insects that so willfully and commonly take their leave upon one’s flesh.
As you recall, Prudence, in my letters I described the Headless Monks of the Leaf – forever cursed to prepare tea they cannot drink for wont of any sort of mouth. Or head. The flies would torment the nub at the tip of their necks daily, forcing them to pour the heated beverage over the afflicted stump, rendering them then tea-less and in need of brewing another cup they, again, could never drink.
And so, I pray – understandably – I felt compelled to swat said fly.
I’m sure, my dearest Prudence, you may deduce what occurred immediately following.
Before my actions had even registered within the more composed portion of my mind, the gentleman said to me “I accept!”, whereupon he slapped my cheek using his white gloves! As I recall, my surprise enveloped me, giving way to the instinct that governs one’s mind and body during feats of war, and before I could call upon reason and sanity, I heard myself declare thusly “We shall have words, sir!”
I can say to you now, dear Prudence, that looking upon that day with the clarity and sight of remembrance, I would expect the casual observer to enjoy a chuckle at our expense. However, the gentleman and I were not blessed with such aforethought, caught up in the moment as we were.
And so, I fear, I find myself delayed in my return, having engaged in the defense of my honor and skills as a Wordsmith. The gentleman – his name is Sir P. D. Agustus ZuZu Smith – and I shall meet on the field of battle, on the fifteenth day in the month of August, two-thousand and eleven. A Monday, I believe, Prudence, the same as the date of our first sojourn to the fair, following the evening in which I had petitioned your father for permission to escort you.
If I recall, on that day so many, many years ago, a fly had landed on your father’s face as I was saying my goodbyes after the fair. I am reminded by this, of your late father, and shall vow to lay roses upon his grave upon my return.
Providing, dear Prudence, that I prevail against Sr. Smith, and best him in this Word Duel!
Take care, my love, and remain steadfast. I shall send you updates through the Post, informing you of my progress and sure victory.
Until then, my dearest.