|An Autumn Memory (standard:drama, 509 words)|
|Author: kendall thomas||Added: Nov 24 2000||Views/Reads: 4407/3||Story vote: 0.00 (0 votes)|
|A man recalls a past event.|
An Autumn Memory It was in the autumn of that year early in the morning about dawn. There was a smoky haze in the air that gave the countryside a dream-like quality. I was in a private carriage with a close friend of mine by the name of Richard Landor of the wealthy and distinguished Landors of Lancashire. The countryside, through which we traveled, was one of rolling meadows and deep forests of multi-hued colors. The horsesí breath fogged the chilly air. Objects appeared like apparitions out of the haze, as our carriage rolled along, then disappeared as suddenly. Alongside my friendís white mastiff ran, occasionally giving the air a happy bark. The dog had been my friendís constant companion since it was a puppy. They had never been apart--not even for one day--and went everywhere together. After about an hour we arrived at a clearing surrounded by towering oaks and wide-spreading maples. The coachman stopped the carriage, and my friend and I got out. Not far off were several other carriages parked by the side of the narrow lane. A small group of men in dark suits stood with solemn demeanors waiting for us in the clearing. The ground was covered with a blanket of leaves that crunched beneath our feet as we approached them. My friend stroked the white mastiffís muzzle as it walked beside him. Happily, the dog loped off in front of us circling back and forth and around barking with the full joy of life and of being out with his master in the brisk, morning air. The men greeted us with solemn nods, except for a sullen-faced young man and his companion who stood off slightly to themselves. Some words were exchanged briefly in rigid, formal tones by intermediaries between my friend and the young man, but no reconciliation could be found. The young man had sullied the reputation of my friendís fiancee at a social gathering, and, as no apology had been forthcoming, a duel became the only honorable solution. Pistols were selected from a mahogany case and loaded. Dice were cast for position. Instructions were given. My friend handed me his coat and vest and rolled up his sleeves to the elbows. He smiled at me and gripped my hand firmly. The two men took their positions, ten paces apart, their pistols by their sides. At the count they fired. The shots, almost simultaneous, sounded like the snap of a stout branch in the quiet, morning air. My friend fell dead, a bullet through his heart. The mastiff leaped to his master thinking, no doubt, that he was playing one of their games. Then he smelled the blood and would let no one come near for a long time, growling fiercely. I was told, some time later, that the poor, dumb brute was inconsolable over the loss of his master and had to be put down. My friendís fiancee was grief-stricken for several weeks, then left for the Riviera where she met an Italian count and had a scandalous affair. ~Will~ Tweet
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