A Subjunctive Story, II

salvēte, amīcī, et grātiās maximās omnibus iam legentibus! As promised, here’s the rather silly and violent story that we might use in the Tres Columnae  if we do, in fact, introduce the modus optātīvus (that is, independent subjunctives like the “volitive,” the “hortatory,”  and the “jussive”)  early in Cursus Primus.

As I mentioned yesterday, this sequence takes place while Valerius and his family are in Rome (or Milan) for the races (and the marriage arrangements for their daughter Valeria). As a Tres Columnae learner, you would be familiar with

  • All cases of nouns, except possibly the dative;
  • Present indicative verbs (all persons and numbers), active and deponent;
  • Present active infinitives;
  • Imperatives; and
  • The idea that adjectives (and other “describing words” like demonstratives) behave rather like nouns.

You would not yet have been formally exposed to non-present verb tenses.  Our faithful reader Euthyphro, in a recent comment, suggested that we introduce subjunctives “as soon as possible,” but felt that students needed to be exposed to past, present, and future time expressions first.  I respectfully disagree.  Linguistically, the future tense is a relatively late development (a recent discussion on the Latinteach listserv noted that this late development is responsible for the wild diversity of future tense markers in Latin); I think it makes sense to deal with the subjunctive, as the linguistically older form, first, just as we’ll be dealing with deponents (the linguistically older form) before passives.  As for the various Latin past tenses, they relate to a discussion of verbal aspect that I’m planning for next week.  And yes, there will be at least one sample story (maybe more) during that discussion. 🙂

Returning to our sample story, you may find yourself thinking of folks you know as you read this, especially if you know any really hard-core sports fans with violent tendencies. And if you do, you may want to keep them far away from both wine-cups and blood-sausage … or beer and hotdogs, if your sports fan friends are twenty-first century Americans! I don’t want anyone to get hurt! 🙂

Why, you ask? You’ll see in a moment.  But keep in mind that

  • Valerius is currently in negotiations with Quartus Vipsanius, a business associate, to make final arrangements for the marriage of his daughter Valeria (Lucius’ big sister) to Quartus Vipsanius’ son;
  • The whole family (including Valerius’ brother-in-law Caelius and his unpleasant son Cnaeus) has gone to visit the Vipsanii, who live somewhere with a chariot track;
  • Valerius and Caelius, like many friends and family members today, have a “friendly” rivalry and cheer for different factiōnēs;
  • Valeria and Vipsanius know about the “hidden” purpose of the trip, but the younger children do not; and
  • Lucius brought along his young friend Caius, who has never been to a race before.

Now consider this story, and imagine the illustrations and audio (and realize what fun this story would be for some participants to make into a video):

Quārtus Vipsānius, pater Vipsāniī, Circum intrat et sēdem invenit. Valerius et Caelia quoque intrant et sedent. Vipsānius haesitat. “nōnne Valeria pulchra et lepida est?” sēcum putat. “utinam pater cōnūbia faciat! utinam Valeriam in mātrimōnium dūcam!” Valeria quoque haesitat. “quam benignus est Vipsānius! nōnne iuvenis maximae calliditātis est? utinam pater cōnūbia faciat! utinam Valerius mē in mātrimōnium dūcat!”

Quārtus Vipsānius fīlium spectat et rīdet. “ecce, mī amīce!” inquit. “nōnne fīlia tua fīlium meum dēlectat?”

Valerius quoque rīdet. “certē, mī amīce! fortasse nōs decet dē dōte hodiē loquī.”

“fortasse, mī Valerī,” respondet Quārtus Vipsānius. “nunc tamen nōs decet currūs et aurīgās spectāre.”

omnēs in sēdibus sedent, quod aurīgae et currūs iam Circum intrant. spectātōrēs vehementer plaudunt et aurīgās incitant. “utinam vincant Rubrī!” exclāmant multī. “utinam vincant Albī!” exclāmant aliī.

“quem incitāre vīs, mī Cāī?” Lūcius amīcum rogat. “pater meus semper Rubrōs incitat, ille avunculus meus tamen Albōs. utinam inter sē cōnsentiant! utinam nē dissentiant! utinam nē vituperētur et lacrimētur!”

Cāius nihil respondet. “quam mīrābilis est Circus!” sēcum loquitur. “quanta multitūdō! quam callidī sunt aurīgae! quam fortēs equī! utinam multōs lūdōs tōtam per vītam videam!”

subitō omnēs spectātōrēs vehementer exclāmant. “mappa cadit! carcerēs aperiuntur!” equī celeriter currunt, et aurīgae equōs vehementer incitant.

Valerius, “ō Caelium stultissimum! num iam istōs Albōs incitās? quot denāriōrum prō victōriā?”

Caelius, “mī dulcissime, mī stultissime,” respondet, “num iam istōs Rubrōs incitās? trīgintā!”

spectātor proximus multum vīnum ē pōculo bibit et ebrius clāmat, “quid?  trigintā?  quadrāgintā, quod Albī semper victōrēs sunt, et tū es stultus.”

tum alius spectātor, quī vīnum bibit et botulum maximum ēst, quoque exclāmat, “Clōdī, mī asine stultissime! num pauper es?  dūcentī, quod Albī Rubrōs vincere nōn possunt!”

tum ille spectātor prīmus, Clōdius nōmine, ēbrius surgit et “num– num mē asinum appellās, Iūlī tū asine?” exclāmat.  tum botulum cum pane in spectātōrem Iūlium conicit. Iūlius attonitus et īrātus respondet, “num botulum in mē inicis?  utinam tē cum uxōre tuā in stabulō retineam, asinissime! et duōs asinōs cum equīs habeam!” et Iūlius pōculum vīnī in Clōdium conicit.

“pugnātur! pugnātur!” exclāmant spectātōrēs. Clōdius ē sēde surgit et Iūlium vehementer pulsat. Iūlius alium pōculum rapit et pōculō Clōdium verberat. Clōdius botulum alium rapit et botulō Iūlium iterum et iterum percutit. spectātōrēs “heus!” exclāmant. “utinam aurīgae tāle spectāculum praebeant! heus! aurīgae! cūr nōn certātis?”

Valeria “quid pugnae?” rogat. Vipsānius quoque, “an pugnātur?” attonitus rogat.  tum “nōlī timēre, mea Valeria, tē servāre possum,” susurrat ille.

Prīma et Secunda inter sē susurrant, “ecce Valeria! nōnne illum Vipsānium amat?” Caelia cum Domitiā, uxōre Vipsāniī, susurrat et rīdet. “nōnne nūptiās parāre dēbēmus?” Quārtus Vipsānius “mī Valerī,” inquit, “nōnne dē dōte pauca verba loquī nōs oportet? fortasse tria –”

subitō Iūlius et Clōdius in Quārtum Vipsānium incidunt. “sceleste!” exclāmant, “cūr ades? cūr nōs pugnāre prohibēs?”

Quārtus Vipsānius attonitus, “quid dīcitis?” exclāmat. “num ego vōs pugnāre prohibeō? nōnne vōs in mē iam inciditis? cūr mē vituperātis, asinī ēbriī et stultissimī?”

illī “tacē, asine, nōlī nōs vituperāre!” exclāmant. tum Iūlius pōculō, Clōdius botulō Quārtum Vipsānium miserrimum identidem verberant. tandem aliī spectātōrēs illōs comprehendunt et ē Circō ēiciunt.

Cāius, “vae! vae! heu spectātōrēs! utinam nē pugnent! aurīgās vidēre nōn possum!” exclāmat. Lūcius, “heus!” exclāmat, “heu patrem et avunculum! utinam nē ab eīs dissentiātur!” Cnaeus tamen, “eugepae!” sēcum loquitur. “quam rīdiculī sunt spectātōrēs, et quam mē dēlectat pugna! utinam multās pugnās tālēs per tōtam vītam videam!”

quid respondētis, amīcissimī?

  • It’s a silly and violent story, isn’t it? 🙂 But if you’ve ever been to a hard-fought athletic contest, you’ve probably seen its contemporary equivalent. Fortunately, today, there are security guards available.
  • What do you think of the relationship (blossoming as it is) between Vipsanius and Valeria? Of course, we know so little about how Romans felt about each other before (and during) marriage. But it doesn’t seem too big of a stretch to imagine that young teenagers might have a bit of a crush on each other … especially when they know they may be stuck with each other for life!
  • What do you think of the silly boys … and the silly spectators?
  • And of all the things for poor Quartus Vipsanius to endure … beaten with a blood-sausage and a wine-cup!  And for what?! 🙂
  • On another level, what do you think of the incorporation of the optātīvus? And of the overall reading level of the story? Does it “fit” properly at this place in the Tres Columnae storyline, or should we save the optātīvus (along with the coniūnctīvus and the whole idea of subjunctives) for later as Latin textbooks “usually” do?

Tune in next time for a summary of your responses. And then we’ll consider the vexed question of non-present-tense verbs. To what extent might a focus on verbal aspect be helpful here, as compared with the “traditional” (or at least nineteenth-century) focus on “all those verb tenses”? And in the meantime, please keep those comments and emails coming.

Examining the Story: culture and Culture, III

salvēte iterum, sodālēs. As promised, we’ll look at cultural elements of the recent story in this post, beginning with characters (and their relationships with each other), then moving on to food and geography. In the next post we’ll look at the characters again, but this time through a Cultural lens as we compare them with characters in literature, folktale, and fable; consider their social class more carefully; and see their conduct in the light of core Roman values.

One big cultural issue, of course, is related to gender – not just the genders of the characters in isolation (and how they individually conform, or don’t conform, to gender stereotypes), which we’ve already addressed to some degree, but the relationships between the genders. How authentic are the gender relationships in this story? Or, in other words, to what extent does this story “fit” with what we know – or think we know – about the relationships between men and women in the Roman world?

  • Flavius Caeso, for example, seems like a typical, domineering Roman man. Is it credible for him to be so easily silenced by his wife?
  • Ridiculus, in turn, seems to enjoy the paterfamiliās and chief-provider role in his household. Is it credible for him to be so easily ruled – and made rueful – by his wife?
  • Do you find young Valeria’s response to Flavius Caeso credible? Would a young Roman girl (she’s about 10 in this story, so “almost a woman” in Roman terms) really be so assertive in response to a senator? There are issues of age as well as gender here!
  • On a related note, do you find Flavius Caeso’s anger at Valeria believable in cultural terms? His dignitās has certainly taken a beating – or at least a large dose of pureed lentils 🙂 – today. But is it culturally authentic for a Roman to get so angry that he threatens a friend’s daughter this way? Especially when she just saved his life! After all, Flavius Caeso has no manus over Valeria! Or is something else going on with him … something mysterious, perhaps related to his mysterious and ambiguous relationship to the Imperial household (or perhaps to a lībertus Augustī)? We’ll find out more about Flavius Caeso in later stories, so I don’t want to give his secret away … actually, all I know right now is that he has a secret of some kind. 🙂

Another huge cultural issue in regard to these characters is social class, and the relationships among people from different classes in the Roman world. How well have we done here? I’m particularly interested in

  • Flavius Caeso’s treatment of Milphio when he drops the bread on the floor
  • Flavius Caeso’s lack of outrage when Milphio spills stuff on him
  • Flavius Caeso’s greater concern for the life of his mustēla than for the enormous mess she directly caused.
  • Falvius Caeso’s deference to his wife (partly a gender issue, of course, but partly not – might she be of higher status than he is? That would explain a lot … and it might be a big part of his secret!)
  • Valerius’ lack of response when Flavius Caeso threatens his daughter. Is that how a proper paterfamiliās behaves? Or is it that Flavius Caeso is so much more powerful that Valerius automatically (or perhaps deliberately) takes on the client role?

Still another cultural issue regarding characters is the treatments of slaves, especially Milphio by Valerius his dominus. At the end of the story, his fate is unclear to say the least! 🙂

  • In cultural terms, what should happen to Milphio after he caused such a mess?  Even Valerius, who seems to be a kind master, will probably beat him
    • for not noticing a weasel … and a mouse … running across the floor.
    • And for spilling lentil puree, pickled vegetables, wine, snail shells, etc., all over the guest of honor.
    • And, of course, for almost killing the guest of honor’s wife with a pointy snail-spoon!
  • How do Romans treat their slaves in such cases, anyway?
  • And is Valerius a kind master? We don’t really know! We’ve barely met the man! 🙂
  • Besides, how do Romans define “kind” or “good” in terms of master-slave relationships, anyway?

Finally, as we prepare to leave the subject of characters and culture, what about cultural attitudes towards pets and pests?

  • After this mouse-caused disaster, should Valerius get his own weasel to try to get rid of Ridiculus?
  • Or should he perhaps borrow Sabina from Flavius Caeso? (Well, maybe not Sabina – especially if she did succeed at biting Caeliola!)
    • But then, how would a Roman respond to a biting animal?
    • They’re closer to nature than we are, so they probably don’t mind as much as we would.
    • And how do they view children, anyway?
      • Are they “expendable” since they tend to die in childhood anyway?
      • Or do you mourn for them even so?)
    • Do mice and other pests bother Romans the way they would bother a modern American?
    • Or are they part of the expected fabric of life, like child mortality, early marriage, and death in childbirth – the expected fabric of life in Roman culture, but not in ours?
  • If mice are objectionable, should we expect Valerius have some words with Ferox the canis?
    • Should Ferox be allowing mice … or, for that matter, foreign weasels … in the house in any case?
    • And what breed of dog is Ferox, anyway?
    • And how do Roman dogs compare with modern breeds? My own Jasper, part Border collie, part Jack Russell terrier, would never allow a foreign weasel in the house … or even on the property! Or within a half-mile! And he’d have the same reaction to a mouse.
  • Besides, why don’t the Romans have pet cats? The Egyptians certainly did! And there are plenty of cats in Italy today. So why would you want a pet weasel?

Moving away from characters and culture, Another big cultural issue is that of food and food service:

  • Is the meal authentic? What other dishes, if any, should be included to make it even more so? (Obviously the snails and the lentils are required for purposes of the plot, but the pickled onions could be replaced with something else if necessary)
  • How about Flavius Caeso’s response when he drops the bread? Is it “normal” or “authentic” for a wealthy, powerful Roman like him to be so unconcerned? Or to laugh at his own clumsiness? Might he, at some subconscious level, be worried about his own dignitās when he dropped the bread on the floor?
  • Under such circumstances, would a Roman expect the servants to go get more bread from the kitchen? Or should there be more bread in place already? If there should be more bread – and there isn’t – does that mean that Milphio (or, for that matter, Gallicus the coquus) has already been negligent and already deserves to be punished? Or do Romans, without the benefits of microwaves and fast-food drive-through lanes, have more tolerance when things aren’t immediately available than “we” would?

And still another big cultural issue relates to geography:

  • Where exactly in Herculaneum do the Valerii live? In the excavated part, or in the part that’s forever buried under the modern town? Or in some fictional part?
  • How is their house laid out? Could Sabina easily get to the dining room from the angiportus and postīcum, or would she have to pass through a number of rooms in the process?
  • Does it really make a difference, in the end, where they live? Or do we just want to suspend disbelief for the sake of the story?
  • Are there angiportūs in Herculaneum, as there are in Pompeii and Rome? If not, what would we need to change to make Sabina’s trek possible?
  • Should we be specific, or should the characters live in a generalized, fictional part of Herculaneum?
  • What if they visit parts of town that we do know about?

quid respondētis, amīcissimī?

  • To what extent have I identified the cultural issues in this text?
  • Are there others that I’ve overlooked … even though I wrote them into the story?
  • Have I asked good questions?
  • What answers would you suggest?
  • How might we need to change the story as a result of your answers?

Tune in shortly for more about the Cultural issues in this story. And please keep those emails and comments coming.

Examining the Story: culture and Culture, I

salvēte, sodālēs! Today, as promised, we’ll look back at the story we created over the weekend from the perspective of culture and Culture. Specifically, in terms of culture, we’ll look at

  • your comments and emails from yesterday and today, which have raised some interesting points;
  • the characters (male, female, citizen, slave, human, and non-human) and the ways they relate to each other;
  • food and eating habits;
  • geographic issues; and
  • anything else you all want to talk about. 🙂

In terms of Culture, we’ll consider

  • how the characters compare with equivalent characters in Roman literature and (in the case of the animals) in the fable and folktale tradition;
  • whether the relationships among social classes are depicted “accurately” (and what “accurately” means in this context);
  • how the characters exemplify untranslatable core Roman values like pietās and dignitās; and, again,
  • anything else you all want to talk about.

Please keep those comments and emails coming today! If you don’t, today’s second post may be a bit brief 🙂 … for two reasons:

  • We’ve already addressed these issues a bit when we looked at characters, plot, and setting on Sunday.
  • This is the first day of a new semester in my face-to-face teaching world, so I’ll be a bit tired this afternoon! 🙂 If you don’t have much to say, I probably won’t, either. 😦

Tune in this afternoon for more about culture and Culture in our most recent story – which still needs a title! Any suggestions?

Building a Story, Part III

salvēte, amīcī! In this post we’ll actually start to build the new story … or at least you’ll get to watch me build it. First, for the record, here’s the plot outline for Lectiō XI:

Setting: all three homes. Sisters make fun of boys for getting in trouble, with predictable results. Pets and (in Cnaeus’ case) farm animals are extremely amused. Valerius gives a dinner party to which Lollius and other clientēs are invited. It’s interrupted when Rīdiculus mūs, who lives prope culīnam, ventures per triclīnium, chased by Sabīna mustēla, pet of Valerius’ neighbors the Flaviī.

And, just so you know,

  • Cnaeus got in trouble at school: he tried to show off how much he knew, but he actually knew nothing. Fabius the teacher doesn’t normally beat students (he’s influenced by the theories of his cousin Fabius Quīntiliānus), but he might make an exception in this case. His paedagōgus, Nestor, was delighted to tell Cnaeus’ father Caelius exactly what happened … and this time, the punishment was not a visit from Fortunāta, bōs placida!
  • Caius did know the right answers, but was rude to Cnaeus. No one really minded this, but still! It wasn’t very respectful.
  • Lucius did not get in trouble at school, but he was hungry on the way home and went into a popīna, by himself, to get a snack. His paedagōgus, Odysseus, told Lucius’ father Valerius … and since Caius is too poor to have a paedagōgus, he also was sent, iussū Valeriī, to tell Caius’ father Lollius about Caius’ misbehavior at school.

Meanwhile, Valerius and Caelia are getting ready for a long-planned dinner party. They’ve invited some clientēs, including Lollius, and their neighbor Mānius Flavius Caesō, vir maximae dignitātis, who is distantly related to the Emperor (or perhaps to a lībertus Augustī; no one in town is exactly sure). In any case, their coquus, Gallicus, has been working all day on a very elaborate menu. It’s dinner time, and the delicious smells have reached the small hole where Rīdiculus mūs lives with his familia. They’ve also reached domus Flavia nearby, where Sabīna mustēla in peristyliō dormit….

As I started,

prope culīnam est …

And I have a problem. Is there a Latin word for a mouse-hole? If so, do I really want to

  • find it;
  • introduce it;
  • have students learn it; and then
  • never use it again?

If not, what other word might I use for the idea? How about cēnāculum? After all, we already know the word (having used it since Lectiō I), and to Rīdiculus and his familia, that’s what a mouse-hole would be. OK, then….

prope culīnam est cēnāculum minimum, ubi Rīdiculus mūs cum familiā habitat. Rīdiculus est mūs maximae calliditātis. cotīdiē ē cēnāculō suō audāx ambulat; cotīdiē cibum quaerit et invenit; cotīdiē incolumis revenit. Ferōx enim, canis Valeriī, est amīcus Rīdiculī; Ferōx Rīdiculum capere nōn vult.

(I paused a moment over incolumis, which may have to be formally introduced before this story can be read. On the other hand, it may show up in Lectiō X if one of the boys – Caius? – nōn vapulat. It can definitely stay here if it’s introduced there.  So, to continue, …)

in vīllā tamen proximā, ubit Flavius Caesō habitat, quoque habitat Sabīna mustēla. Sabīna Rīdiculum capere et ēsse valde vult. cotīdiē, ubi Rīdiculus cibum ad cēnāculum suum refert, Sabīna īrātissima susurrat, “istum mūrem necāre volō! istum mūrem caedere volō! istum mūrem cōnsūmere volō! istīus mūris ossa ….

(What does she want to do with the bones? Spit them out? Would that be exspuere? A quick visit to Glossa http://athirdway.com/glossa/ reveals that exspuo can, in fact, be used both transitively and intransitively. So…)

istīus mūris ossa exspuere volō! nōnne hic est diēs optimus?  nam dominus meus, ille Flavius Caesō, ipse in domō Valeriī hodiē cēnat.  nōnne iste mūs cibum capere vult?  et nōnne ego quoque cēnāre possum?”

(On re-reading, I realized we needed more character development for Sabīna, so I added the part from nōnne hic through cēnāre possum.)

Sabīna igitur ē vīllā Flaviī …

(What’s the appropriate motion word? ambulat doesn’t quite describe how weasels move. currit? But she’s probably more deliberate than that. contendit? She is deliberate, more so than she would be if she festīnat. rēpit? According to Glossa, it’s used of animals (including elephants, by Pliny, and “cranes slowly stalking,” by Ennius) … so, yes, rēpit would do nicely. Besides, she needs to move differently at different points in her journey.)

Sabīna igitur ē peristyliō exit et per ….

(I doubt she’d go through the main street and come in the front door! Are there alleys in Herculaneum? If so, what’s the best word? Unfortunately Glossa doesn’t have an English-to-Latin lookup feature. Should it disturb me that, after nearly 30 years of learning Latin and almost 20 of teaching it, I don’t know the Latin word for alley? Even for Classicists who would restrict their Latin vocabulary to “words used by major authors,” there are some narrow streets in Book II of the Aeneid, not to mention Tacitus, so I’m sure I’ve seen the word for alley … if there is one. Should it disturb me that my vocabulary has such significant gaps? There’s a fascinating article about Roman roads … including types I never knew about … at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Roman_roads but it doesn’t talk about city streets at all. Evidently there were alleys in Rome and Pompeii according to http://urbanworkbench.com/newcastles-problems-the-alleys and http://www.roman-empire.net/society/society.html which mentions the alleys in Subura. Bingo! Thanks to a message that our good friend Laura G sent to the Latinteach listserv a few days ago, I was reminded of the Lewis & Short dictionary at http://perseus.uchicago.edu/Reference/LewisAndShort.html which turns up angiportus, used by Cicero and Plautus among others. What a logical and lovely word! And Glossa reminds me that postīcus or postīcum can be a backdoor as well as a back outbuilding. So….)

Sabīna igitur ē peristyliō exit. Sabīna per postīcum ambulat et angiportum intrat. mustēla per angiportum ad domum Valeriī rēpit. Sabīna callida et …

(I want to say sneakily, perhaps using an adjective as a Roman would. Is there a word for that? Lewis & Short turns up dīrectārius, a sneak-thief, but it’s very rare. furtīvus can mean secretly or clandestinely, but the root meaning is stolen. Oh, of course … clam! But then we don’t need the et. So…)

Sabīna callida domum clam intrat et ad triclīnium tacitē rēpit.

intereā Valerius et Flavius triclinium intrant. Lollius et aliī clientēs quoque intrant. omnēs in lectīs recumbunt …

(Is lectus the right word for a dining couch? Yes, according to Glossa, citing Cicero, Horace, and Suetonius)

omnēs in lectō recumbunt et cēnam exspectant. Milphiō et Gallicus ē culīnā …

(I started to say prōcēdunt, but that seems unnecessary. What’s the word, again, for the appetizer course at a Roman meal like this? http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Roman_cuisine reminds me that it’s gustātiō. Whatever did we do before there was the Internet? 🙂 And, anyway, I need to get the women and children in position before Milphio and Gallicus come in. They would not, presumably, be reclining, but sitting in chairs … if the children were there at all. Actually, by this time, I guess the women might be reclining with their husbands … but maybe not all of the women!)

omnēs in lectō recumbunt et cēnam exspectant. Caelia, uxor Valeriī, et Maccia, uxor Lolliī, cum Ausōniā, Flaviī uxōre, quoque triclinium intrant. Caelia in sellā sedet. Maccia in sellā sedet. Ausōnia tamen iuxtā marītum in lectō recumbit. “heus!” susurrat Maccia. “quid facit ista fēmina?” “nōlī tē vexāre, mea Maccia,” respondet Caelia. “nam in urbe Romā fēminae iuxtā marītōs in lectīs recumbere solent.”

“fortasse tālēs rēs in urbe Romā accidunt,” respondit Maccia attonita, “sed in hāc urbe nōn decet –”

(I really want an opportunity to explore gender roles here, and I thought it would be a nice touch to include a conservative, working-class voice in contrast to the aristocratic and innovative Flavius and Ausonia. Imagine how scandalized “respectable” Roman women must have been when other women started reclining for meals! With their husbands! In front of other men!)

We’re close to the climax now, but we’re also close to my self-imposed word limit. So the climax and denouement will have to wait for our next post. Tune in soon for that!