Before there was the novel, there were the stories...

by Nan Hawthorne, who also writes under Christopher Hawthorne Moss, Books and Stories b ChristopherHawthorne Moss at

Monday, May 11, 2009

Two Florid Letters from 766 AD

won't try to explain the first rather over-the-top letter, except to reveal that my partner in storytelling, Laura, was very slow to answer letters. I wonder what it would have been like if we had had email? It still would have driven me wild, but the wait would have been days or weeks, not months.

The second letter brings in a plot twist that certainly twisted Lawrence's poor heart, and made him even more maudlin than before. The queen has an affair.. so much for
Faithful Forever our old name t=for the stories... with a knight *sic) named Sir Robert de Riffet. How Lawrence deals with this is not just a muddle in the ramblings of the letter, but in the actions he takes... just you wait and see.

For perspective, let me share that when the later of these two letters was written, I was about to turn 15 in just a couple weeks. We lived in Sacramento, California, and I was miserable in junior high where the tough girls tortured me. On top of that my parents were on the last several fights of their marriage.. and my mother one day up and packed a bag and left... leaving me to fill the role of mother to my little sister, Laurel, for the next five or six years.

6 Octobre 766


Ah, Aphrodite mine! Thou hath sent thy son Eros to me. I am in love! But thou went careless, deity! Thou didn’t make me love thee! Oh, and I am but the lowliest mortal, and thou a goddess!

Ah, Aphrodite, why didst thou not choose Apollo, or some other fair god to be thine? “Tis strange thou wouldn’t wish me, a wriggling worm, when thou couldst had a lion?

Doth thou love me? Say me aye, and I will bow down to thy slightest whim. Say me nay, and I‘ll still love thee, but mine life will be ended.

Ah, flower! Rose! Lilly! Oh gem! Sapphire! Diamond! I am but a weed or a stone. Pull me out by the roots, or throw me in a well. Yet I’ll love thee!

Aphrodite, I pray to thee to grant my wish and accept my sacrifice! Oh, when can I have thee home?


Goddess, write me! Thy husband!



My Darling,

Forgive me mine last letter. I should realize that thou art not my slave, and may do what thou pleaseth. So soon after dear Rolance's death 'tis only logical that thou seekest the happiness thou couldst not find in me, in someone else.

I am yet angry, but must learn to bear my cross patiently.

My own, if thou wisheth to be free of me, I will give thee leave.

I spoke to Father Innocent of thy letter. He was gravely concerned. I suggested my becoming a monk, but the good father said I am not destined so. I also suggested that I go in search of adventure and he saith, nay, but a pilgrimage might be a good idea. I shalt make my pilgrimage amongst monks, and shalt venture to tours. I shouldst return about the time the baby is born. I will be leaving thee in charge, to appoint who thou wilt, I hope Lorin, to advise thee.

My wife, please take are of my child within thee. If it dies because of thy gallivanting with other than thy husband, then I am afraid I will ne'er be able to forgive thee; tho' I'll love thee tenderly all my eternal life, resentment should burn my soul, as Hell will anyway.

I remind thee of thy vows, "to love, honor and obey" and remind thee when thou takest these vows for Robert, do not break them as thou hast with me.

I have nay received a letter from thee yet, since thy first letter about Robert.

Dear saint, write soon to me, for even thy cruel words are yet thy words, and I worship them.

Thy Slave,


"Caelitos mini vires" - "My strength is in Heaven"

Note: In the old stories Josephine was raped by Lawrence's younger brother, Roland, during a usurping. The child she bore from that tragic union was named Rolance. He died in infancy. The child Lawrence mentions Josephine is carrying is Peter. In the novel, neither Roland nor Rolance was ever born. Thank heaven for small favors.

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About the author

Nan Hawthorne now writes under the name Christopher Hawthorne Moss. You can contact Christopher at .