King for a Dayon July 24, 2012 at 7:21 pm
What year is it to you? he asked me.
The year of our Lord, 1605, said I. The second in the reign of James I of England.
That must have been a blow for your house, Raleigh, said he, with a mirthless laugh. Has the Wizard Earl brought you here?
No-one has brought me, said I, not much liking his tone. I am naught but a hapless night-wanderer of this forsaken city.
The knave looked askance at that, as if debating within himself. When he looked at me again his face had tightened to an unctuous mask and his eyes were glittering in his pallid face as if he were possessed of a fever.
Who are you? said I, to ward off the fear that came upon me of a sudden.
Seeing my alarm, he made to cross himself. Kneeling down before me on the cold flagstones, he presented me with his dagger as a token of good faith.
Forgive me, gentle Raleigh! said he. I am Henri, duc de Guise, and this ghostly Paris is my purgatory.
Elizabeth Evershed can claim to be a direct descendant of Walter Raleigh and the last person to discover America, having missed a crucial geography lesson in year five. A time tourist by inclination, she divides her time between sixteenth-century Paris and twenty-first-century London, with occasional forays into twenty-fifth-century… Oh, never mind… writing comic literary fiction in real time, where she has just finished her first novel. Her story ‘The Socratic Problem’ appeared in Obverse Quarterly’s Tales of the City. When not working to fund her writing habit, she lectures on Elizabethan Factionalism at Scott College, Antarctica, and was the founder of the College’s penguin exchange programme, ‘Books for Birds’, whose patrons included Marcel Proust and Anatole France. She does not expect the Spanish Inquisition.