Sis amplexibus Amor alios mututa memini et amoris in mutationes memini.
May you be embraced by a love beyond recall that alters others
and a love within recall that alters you.
When Harris got back from lunch there was a couriered envelope from his dad at his dE.tail desk. Inside was the transcription of the diary.
Here are more of the Tobias Stevens diaries. The full diaries run about a four hundred pages. I’ve had the pertinent sections abstracted for you. If you want the whole thing we have that.
As you’ll see there are few dates for most of the entries. Seems Tobias kept track of events and years but not of months or even days of the week. The transcription service modernized the language for clarity but we have a literal version should we need to consult that.
His brother Thomas had suffered brain damage at a child. When their parents died Tobias took him in.
The pertinent sections covered several pages. Along with them were photocopies of the actually pages.
He started reading them on the subway home.
“I awoke early this morning to the sound of horses and shouting around my stables. I pulled on my boots, grabbed my pistols and strode out into the morning fog. There was nearly ten men from the surrounding area in the yard. Jasper McClough and his son Bradley from the farm nearest mine and some men from the village.
Jasper expostulated angrily that they were on a hunt for a vagrant gypsy man. One who had been interfering with the women of the village. Jasper himself had caught this vagrant bedding down his own good wife.
They had pursued him though the fields and are sure he saw this vagrant dash into my barn.
I ordered them off my property. Told them to come back with a constable. I did not deny what evidence Jasper may have had with his own eyes. I would not allow blood to be shed on my property. God would not allow them the privilege of dealing out punishment for adultery.
The men heeded my words and rode off vowing to return to exact their vengeance.
Once I was sure they were gone I went into the barn with my brother Thomas. I called out for this fugitive to show himself, while assuring I meant him no harm.
The man that presented himself was swarthy and dark. Fell to his knees, grabbed my hand and kissed it thanking me for interceding on his behalf. I pulled him to his feet. I was not interested in effusive gratitude.
I questioned him regarding my good neighbours accusations. The gypsy man, whose named was Rowell Byrnes, claimed he had no knowledge of the actions of which he was accused. Despite his dark features he bore an honest face. He appeared to be in his early twenties and in good health.”
Next pertinent portion of the diary –
“Jasper McClough and his son returned as the sun was setting. They appeared less driven by anger yet were insistent that I turn the fiendish gypsy over to them. Regardless if I didn’t believe my trustworthy neighbour he was sure I realized the danger of harbouring such a vile man, that gypsies consorted with Satan. He was positive his own cows had stopped giving milk as result of this consort of the devil.
I listened to this without contradiction but wouldn’t not grant him the satisfaction of agreeing with him or of producing Rowell. Jasper became more irate as it was clear to him I was unreceptive to his demands.
He paced the yard beside me as he made it clear to me that this foreign demon had to be dealt with harshly or the hand of our Creator would fall heavy on us all. Especially anyone who harboured such an abhorrence.
When we neared the orchard two men stormed out and grabbed me. I could see in the near distance several other men binding Rowell. Once bound they dragged him on the ground.
I broke free of my captors. I dashed to my house, grabbed my pistols and fired them in the air. The men released Rowell, jumped on their horses and rode off. I dashed over to Rowell to unloosen the ropes. Other than a cut to his forearm which bleed freely he didn’t appear grievously harmed by their mishandling of him.
He noticed that I was bleeding from a gash in my head. I instructed my bother Thomas as to how to tend to these wounds.”
This is dated the very next day.
“As I sit in the evening air my heart is heavy for this has proved to be a most vexing day. As has oft been my habit I awoke before the first cock crow to enjoy the peace and stillness. To walk my land in this calm light of the rising sun reveals the promise of our Creator to grace those who are faithful to him with plenty.
My sweet morning communion was disturbed by the sounds of struggle from the barn. I feared that townsmen had returned once more to seek vengeance upon the unfortunate Rowell who was now in my protection.
I opened the barn door and there in that chaste morning light I saw Rowell upon Thomas my brother. Their nakedness was affront enough but they were engaged in an that act has stained my mind. The very mention of this detestable vice is shocking to human nature and shakes the soul of even great sinners.
I shouted for them to cease yet they remained enraptured by this vice they heeded me not. I could not bring myself to step closer. I reached for a buggy whip and brought it down with all the force God had graced me with on the backs of these men.
They parted in great haste and surprise. Each looking upon the other as if seeing the other for the first time. As if they had not be engaged in an act of abomination.
My outrage was such that I could no longer speak. They dressed hastily.
I felt great shame at my defence of this gypsy man who had proved himself to be as evil as my neighbours had claimed him to be. Although I knew that You are the great judge I could not abide to have these men on my property.
Rowell came to me to beg further mercy. A mercy I was incapable of showing him. I stuck him with all my force knocking him to the floor. I demanded that he remove himself from my sight before I had him taken to the village to be punished for his skulking perditious activities.
With Thomas’s help we bound him. There was no way I could continence such a perditious villain to live. I should not have interfered with the actions of my neighbours.
I conveyed the abomination to the church. The bell was rang for the elders. I told them what had transpired. My neighbour Jasper McClough testified to what he had witnessed. Judgement was swift and the heretic apostate was to be burned within the hour.
He stood. Blood coming from his mouth. He snatched a piece of paper from the pulpit and wrote upon it. He handed the bloodied paper to me. As I read it, he spoke the words “Sis amplexibus Amor alios mututa memini et amoris in mutationes memini.” [once I recorded these words I burned the paper he had written them upon.]
He trembled fiercely which I took as a sign of his contrition. He muttered a hope that this enchantment would treat me more kindly that it had treated him. I sneered at his gypsy foolishness. I told him such enchantments have no power in God’s world.
The men conveyed him to the town square where a pyre had been constructed. I was grateful that it did not fall upon me to strangle the man. Once the village smith had done the job the flames were lit.
As the fire roared around him Rowell’s eyes suddenly opened. He shrieked out in great pain. I could not watch any longer. The aroma of pungent spice enveloped us till his screams ended. His last words were to beg for forgiveness for casting away his blessing of love.
I was peaceful until I went to the orchard. Thomas had hung himself. May his soul be tormented in flame for the shame he brought upon himself.”
Next pertinent portion comes from a later volume of the diaries. Some of diaries are dated, many are not but this seems to be a few years later.
“Today I am to marry Mary Fields. I feel deep shame that she is with my child for if she were not I fear we would not marry. I do not recall the occasion of bedding her. If we had not been discovered by her mother and brother I would have denied it. The fact remains we were in the same bed together when morning broke.
When it was discovered she was with child I did the honourable thing by her and her good family.”
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