Alfonso Sagasius had been on the bench for nearly thirty years. He had been the youngest judge in the kingdom when he was first appointed by King Gomez. In his entire time as a lawyer, and then as a member of the judiciary, no one had ever questioned his integrity or his judgments. In fact, shortly after ascending to the throne, King Hector is reported to have observed that, “It is Sagasius who puts the just into justice.”
As Sagasius looked over his upcoming cases, he nodded as he saw one in particular, The Crown vs. Remmie.
* * *
Talco Remmie was a dashing adventurer of about thirty. He had a penchant for rich food, and even richer widows. He had arrived in the capital from Harbourhead a few months before, and took lodging in an affluent boarding establishment near Parliament.
Remmie frequented the more high class salons and restaurants of the city, and after a week of so in the capital saw an attractive woman in her mid-fifties dining alone on lobster and sparkling wine. She was dressed in black, and had the clear melancholy of one recently widowed.
“Madam, you look so sad sitting here all alone,” he said, employing his most charming smile. “Would you like some company, and someone to share your thoughts with?”
She, being a courteous individual, did not seem ungrateful to such a kind gesture, so motioned to the seat opposite her, which Remmie politely took.
He had an incredible ability to ingratiate himself with people, and she was soon pouring her heart out to him. He was attentive, and looked compassionately into her tear damped eyes. He being the gentleman slid a hand towards her arm and gently patted her sleeve. After she seemed to have said all that was in her heart, he rose and bowed.
“Madam, I am so touched by your struggles and Mr. Temple seems to have been a wonderful man. Which, if I can be so bold, is only befitting for such an amazing woman as yourself.” He bowed again and departed.
Three days later, Mrs Temple returned to the same eatery, and spied Remmie sitting at a corner table. She approached him, and with a shy smile asked if she might join him.
“Of course, Madam,” he said rising to pull a chair out for her. “And how have you been, Mrs. Temple?”
“I have been much the same,” she said. “And do please call me Isabella.”
“I am so sorry to hear that you are still under a cloud,” Remmie replied with honeyed kindness in his voice.
“I did find our previous chat uplifting,” she said.
The pair again spent an afternoon in conversation.
Their lunches together became more regular after that, and this kind handsome young man made her feel less alone.
After two months, they began to share other engagements together. They dined in fine restaurants, and he accompanied her to both the opera and to the Theatre Royal where he shared her private box.
She felt alive, and soon began to provide him with little gifts. She did note, however, that he seemed to only have two suits of clothes. At one of their meetings, therefore, she announced that she would on the morrow take him to her late husband’s tailor to be fitted.
Though he feigned objections, he was provided with two of the most exquisite suits that the kingdom had to offer, and soon after their shopping excursions became more regular.
Then at one of their lunches, he sat uncharacteristically quietly.
“Whatever is the matter, dear Talco?” she asked.
“Oh Isabella,” he said despondently. “I may soon have to leave the city. My funds have been exhausted and my lodgings bill is past due.”
“Nonsense,” she said taking out a banker’s book from her handbag.
“No Isabella, I couldn’t,” he protested.
“How much is it that you owe?” she asked innocently.
“I really can’t say for sure,” he responded.
“Well then,” she continued scribbling on a piece of paper. “You take this note and book to the High Bank and tell Mr. Silver to take care of it. I insist.”
That was the last she had seen of him, at least before his arrest.