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Every Letter That You Write Me

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March 14, 1813

Richland County, SC

His Grace, the Duke of Baltimore, 

Your Grace, I have noticed your recently increased patronage of the fencing studio situated across the street from my offices. Even in the flow of ridiculously attired swordsmen, you are monumentally easy to differentiate from the others. You have, I’ve observed, a quite unique gait. I am reminded of a small rabbit darting from the safety of one burrow to another. 

My cousin would like for me to pause here and reflect on whether my opening paragraph is overly disrespectful or familiar to someone in a position such as yourself. Upon said reflection, I have decided to ignore his unrequested suggestion. I suspect that you, like myself, value honesty above all else. Additionally, as I’ve advised my cousin, I am not a particularly respectful person and I see little potential for altering such an ingrained personality trait at this point in my life, even when addressing a gentleman such as yourself, Your Grace. 

With these niceties behind us, I will get to the intended point of my message. That same cousin was further horrified to learn about our small interaction in the street outside my office earlier this week. I am convinced that, with your aforementioned rapid and unpredictable style of movement, you must plow into dozens of unassuming citizens on a daily basis and, thus, have likely already forgotten this particular collision. 

My cousin, Nicholas, seems to believe that I might have been unforgivably rude in my startled response to nearly being shoved beneath the wheels of a passing carriage. I believe my reaction to be wholly appropriate under the circumstances. While I’m sure you are used to your innocent victims merely offering you a tip of the hat due to your station, I was not inclined to offer deference after the occasion of my attempted murder. 

Nicholas is still watching me write this letter, as he fears I will toss it in the fire if he looks away for even a moment. He is absolutely correct in his prediction. However, I would be very pleased to see the end of this charade and thus will conclude my correspondence with a request for Your Grace to be more aware of the plebeians surrounding you on the streets. I hereby offer my less than sincere apology for the incident earlier this week. 

Yours Sincerely, 

Andrew Minyard, Esq.




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March 15, 1813

Richland County, SC

Honored Sir, 

While I certainly appreciate your honesty, I cannot say that I am in agreement with your version of events. Before I continue this correspondence, I feel that I should disclose one thing: while I am aware that you are one of the barristers renting space across the street, I must admit that I do not know which of the two you may be. I would appreciate a clarification as to which twin I am addressing— the one who seems constantly angry with the world, or the one who does not seem to possess a single emotion at all. I suppose it doesn’t make a difference which you are, but my curiosity is piqued.

Either way, my recollection of the day in question is as follows: I was making my way to the fencing studio, being careful to stay out from underfoot of both people and horses, when you stepped in front of me. I’m assuming that either your arrogance does not allow you to take responsibility for your actions, or that you are somehow unable to see anyone of greater height than yourself. I fear it is the former, since the latter would mean that you would only be able to interact with children, and I dare to say I’ve seen you (or your brother, it was the one who always appears on the verge of a murderous rage) practically push a child into an open manhole rather than step around them. You can, of course, see how this action leads me to believe that you are habitually unaware of anyone outside of your personal orbit. 

Therefore, I was unsurprised to find you abruptly occupying the sidewalk in front of me without a single glance to note whether your actions would inconvenience any of your fellow citizens. The consequence of this action was that I, unable to stop in time, bumped into you. If you had only looked both ways, as I hope you were taught in primary school, then you might not have almost ended up “underneath the wheels of a passing carriage,” as you so delicately phrased it. To avoid this fate in the future, may I suggest a refresher on manners? I’m sure there is a qualified governess in town who would be able to schedule you while her charges attend their lessons. If you need financial assistance, I would be happy to fund this endeavor, seeing as it would make the sidewalks safer for everyone. 

I eagerly await your reply. 

Yours Sincerely, 

Nathaniel Wesninski, Duke of Baltimore



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March 16, 1813

Richland County, SC

His Grace, the Duke of Baltimore, 

You Grace, while I am deeply touched by your offer to help a lower class man such as myself, I must politely decline your assistance. As my cousin and my brother can attest, I am not one to abide by the rules that society has decided are polite. Although, in this case, I have done nothing impolite and would entreat you to use the funds for your own lessons in etiquette. I’m sure your version of events is what you have told yourself is the truth, since I find that many men of your station have somehow never learned to admit fault. 

Additionally, I find myself unable to decide which of your unflattering descriptions fits me, and which fits my brother. While your retelling of the incident with the child did not strike me as familiar, I thought it entirely possible that Your Grace had misremembered the interaction, much as you seem to have misremembered our unfortunate collision on the sidewalk. 

After many moments of thought and reflection, I could still not reach a decision, so I settled the matter by popular vote. In the interest of transparency, I will tell you that the sample size was small, and consisted solely of my relatives and one acquaintance who insists that he is a close family friend. The results were unanimously in favor of my brother being what they have dubbed the “angry twin” and myself being the “stone twin.” I hope this settles your internal debate. 

I did notice that you were escorted to your lesson yesterday evening by a gentleman much greature in stature, if not in position, than yourself. I can only assume that you have now hired protection to keep us common folk from accidentally brushing against you, lest you be victimized by almost murdering one of us again. This is a commendable endeavor, if for no other reason than your security will be able to act as a protective buffer between Your Grace and the rest of the world.

I have no reason to expect you will reply to this letter with any additional correspondence, but I must admit that I am unwillingly interested in anything you might have to say. Do not mistake interest for enthusiasm, however. Business is slow at the moment and I am in desperate need of diversion.

Yours Sincerely, 

Andrew Minyard, Esq.

 

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March 17, 1813

Richland County, SC

Honored Sir, 

Your stereotypical assumptions about me are tediously predictable. If this is the same level of nuanced thought that you bring to your clients’ legal defense, then it is no wonder that your business has been flagging recently. For someone who is paying such close attention to my movements, you have made it clear that not only do you not know anything about me, but that you don’t seem interested in doing anything other than insulting me based solely on your own conclusions, which you have jumped to with rather impressive speed. Might I suggest a career in track and field? Assuming, of course, that business does not pick up. 

Under normal circumstances, I would see no reason to explain myself in further detail, but I feel as though it might be worth my time in this one instance. Please understand that I am not telling you this in an attempt to win your favor, as I could not possibly care less what you think of me. I do, however, feel that you might have an interest in the man accompanying me on the street.

The man in question is my dearest friend, Matthew Boyd. He rents the back room of the fencing studio to teach boxing lessons in the evenings. Matthew is a childhood friend who was disowned by his wealthy father when he dared to defy his father’s demands and marry a woman his parents felt was below their station in life. His wife, Danielle, is an amazing, strong woman and dedicated wife and mother. Matthew’s life is much improved with her in it, and I daresay even more improved by the absence of his father. Much as my life dramatically improved when my own father was murdered at the hands of his questionable business associates. That, however, is a story for another day. 

Returning to the topic at hand, I am not only taking lessons from Matthew, but I have further invested in his endeavor. We are currently searching for a space to rent and dedicate as a boxing studio. The hope is that the addition of prestige granted by my title will draw in enough customers to make the studio a success. No matter how unwelcome I might find said prestige. 

If you are so inclined, I would like to invite you to attend a boxing lesson with me on an evening of your choice. I believe that a face-to-face meeting might prove interesting, and if there is enough continued conflict between us, we will have boxing gloves with which to resolve it, if necessary. I will await your answer. 

Yours Sincerely, 

Nathaniel Wesninski, Duke of Baltimore

 

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March 18, 1813

Richland County, SC

His Grace, the Duke of Baltimore, 

I will meet you in front of my offices on Tuesday night at 7:00 PM. I look forward to a contest of skills. 

If you are willing to tell me the story of your father, I may be willing to reciprocate with a story of my own. 

Yours Sincerely,

Andrew Minyard, Esq.

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March 22, 1813

Richland County, SC

Baltimore, 

Again. Tomorrow night.

Respectfully Yours

Andrew.

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April 3, 1813

Richland County, SC

My Dear Friend, 

Matthew has suggested that your continued daily patronage of our venture, along with your sudden interest in helping with the intricacies of rental law as we attempt to select a suitable space, indicates possible romantic interest in either Matthew or myself. As Matthew is married with children and Danielle is terrifying, I hope for your sake that your interest does not lie with him. 

I suggested an alternative explanation: that you simply appreciate the opportunity to hit me repeatedly in the face as an outlet for your constant misplaced rage. With the addition of Danielle and her friends to the discussion, a not inconsiderable wager has been placed as to the actual nature of your motivations. 

Would appreciate any clarity or response you might have to offer. 

With Sincere Regard,

N.

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April 3, 1813

Richland County, SC

Baltimore, 

You may inform Mrs. Boyd and associates that I hold no interest in her husband and have the utmost respect for the sanctity of their marriage. 

Additionally, while I do appreciate the constantly deserving target that your face offers during our boxing matches, that is not the reason for my continued patronage. 

Furthermore, while I am pleased to offer my services, contract law is not a particular interest of mine. In fact, I find it rather tedious.

I hope that my response has helped to settle your wager. I look forward to tonight’s lesson. 

Yours,

Andrew