Cock Fight


"It's barbaric," William grumbled.


Elizabeth had set to work on the circular betting table that was nestled in a corner of the gaming parlor. First she laid out a thick green cloth that would allow the bet-taker to record sums in the ledger. She added an old ink pot and pen, both of which were well-worn. Experience taught her these items often disappeared on gaming day. The old writing instruments she had pulled from a chest of items left behind by past patrons. That chest was full of useful treasures, from hats to aprons to combs and hair ribbons, all manner of detritus had been left behind over the years. Elizabeth's favorite was when a book was left behind. Those she kept under her bed. She arranged a candle in its base and set out a mat on which she would place a small bottle of wine and a glass for Mr. Cope, who would be running sums today.


"Barbaric?" She laid out several sheets of paper carefully torn from one of her father's old account books. Evidence of today's gaming would just be thrown in the fire. "I don't know that it's much more barbaric than butchering them for dinner."


William fussed with the cockspurs scattered on the table. Elizabeth thought they were precious, little leather straps with tiny silver blades. These were of excellent quality. Careful to avoid the dangerous points, she placed them gently back into their case and closed it softly. Often she found William Lanham's big heart a wonderful comfort. And sometimes she found it confusing. It was just a cockfight. She never actually watched cockfights, she just knew it could bring in quite a bit of money for The Godwin House, not just the commissions on bets themselves, but also the food and drink...so much drink...that bettors would consume. And someone was certain to over imbibe and end up paying for a bed that night. Dead chickens. People ate them, after all.


William walked over to the window and squinted into the late morning sun. "It's one thing to quickly butcher an animal for sustenance. It's entirely another to force suffering on them for sport."


Elizabeth wasn't sure she agreed. It was profit for the tavern after all. But she let it go. There was no sense being practical when William clearly wasn't in a practical mood. She inhaled deeply, then crossed the room to join him. Sliding her arms boldly around his waist, she peered over his shoulder and into the side yard.


"Well, you don't have to watch," she assured him. You can stay here with me and help me keep drunk gamblers in line. He noticed he tensed just a bit at that. He knew she could handle her own, but that didn't mean he liked it.


He turned to face her, smiling in defeat, "Okay, I'll think naught of helpless chickens and will instead run a betting room the likes Annapolis has never seen." She laughed to herself as he leaned in to kiss her. She had hosted plenty a successful gaming day before he had come along.



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