The Bishop’s wife seals the envelope, hot wax tightening to keep the flap still. It holds another note to another illicit lover, one of the paramours she meets on Sunday mornings, feigning illness to escape her husband’s sermons.

It is only a matter of time before she gets caught, but nothing pleases the Bishop’s wife more than the game, making a fool of her husband and, yes, the whole congregation. She is neither as slim nor pretty as she once was, and the jowls around her chin hang in unsightly ways, but surrounding herself with agile young men makes her forget her age, allowing her to relive the days of her youth. And what days they were! Suitors at every corner, throwing flowers and trinkets at her feet. She had the pick of the flock, and she chose the best (richest) available: the Lord Bishop himself.

At least the man was a fool. No match for her power, the most important of decisions fell to her. Increased taxes to fuel their weekly galas, trade agreements with the diamond-mining neighbours, commandeering the finest tailors to sew her day-dresses and ball-gowns. After all, what is life for, if not to be lived?

The Bishop’s wife passes the envelope to her attendant, a simpleton with enough sense to get the letter to the postman, but not enough sense to wonder at its contents. The Bishop’s wife enjoys surrounding herself with such people. It boosts her ego, makes her feel important. Clever. Loved. Beloved. All feelings she’d thrived upon, once she had discovered them.

A pity her husband couldn’t feel the same way.


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