The Gentleman

The first thing he remembers is running. It is nighttime, and he is running down a muddy road. Lights flare in the murky haze behind him, thunder rumbles above, and he is running for his life.

It is four years before he remembers this.

They thought he was simple, this silent man without a past. He did not attend church, did not look at the women in their party finery. The old ladies and matrons whispered over tea that it was a shame such a handsome man was uninterested in their daughters and granddaughters. He was so obviously well bred, holding doors open for the ladies and that regal bearing and cool blue eyes. In a town where the very air was common and the mud stank and people threw their dishwater into the street, he managed to be more. More aloof, more cultured, more wealthy, just more.

Rumors thundered through the town the night he arrived, riding a hard-used horse, his head hanging low on his chest, he could barely stay mounted. The townsfolk thought he looked like money, and took him in until he recovered, and disappointed them by being silent and simple.

When he recalls the method of his arrival in town, he regards it as terribly cliché and disappointing. He expects better of himself than that. The showman rebels at the unoriginal, and he begins plotting a more unique spectacle.

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