Title: The Envelope
Author Eglantine_brRating G
Word Count 407Disclaimer Not mine
The money came at irregular intervals.
It came in calfskin envelopes, sealed with red wax, and addressed, in
the earl's strong looping hand. Not frequently, but often enough;
three times now since Archie came back from the dead.
This one had come, by wandering ways,
from Ayrshire to sea, and back to Kent. It had been forwarded.
Someone on the ship had paid for that. It was like Pellew, in his
kindness, to think that Archie might need the money. But Archie
didn't. His pay was small indeed, but his expenses were smaller. And
the wandering envelopes always came before he ran out.
So here he was, sitting at the boy's
desk, by the window, in Horatio's room. The envelope was heavy in his
hand, There would be coins in there, along with the bank draft. The
coins were for immediate use. Gold coins, good anywhere. They would
have saved Archie in France. But he had not had them there.
He broke the seal and spilled the money
out. The paper was dry, the coins were cold. Nothing of home in them
at all. Were he to lift them to his face, they would smell of
Once, long ago, on Justinian, Cleveland
had tried to tease about it. He had said something like “I wish my
dad would send me money.” This from fat happy Cleveland, who had
parents right in Portsmouth. And still they wrote him letters. Archie
had nearly struck him.
“You can come here, Horatio,”
Archie said. “I won't bite you.” They had all learned long ago to
give Archie a wide berth when the envelopes came.
“Bite me, please bite me.” Horatio
said. It was a poor try, and they both knew it. But he came and
perched on the edge of the desk.
Horatio didn't ask if there was a
letter. He knew better. But he put a hand on Archie and drew him
close. Archie settled his head in Horatio's lap. He let Horatio rub
his back, and stroke his hair. He let the sunlight warm him a little.
Horatio did not speak again.
And Horatio did not say-- at least you
have a mother who writes to you, my mother is dead. He never tried to
measure the pain with Archie. He just sat, and made a good place to
rest in the sunlight.