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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 – Advanced)
Topic: The Pen is Mightier than the Sword (04/08/10)

TITLE: One Night in London Town
By Karen Pourbabaee


One Night in London Town

I leaned into the embrasure of the parlor window, breathing deeply as if inhaling echoes from Covent Garden. It was a cool misty spring evening in London town, one that I shall remember as long as I have breath within my being. I, Lord Whittemore, upon attending the opening of Mr. Bulwar-Lytton’s play “Richelieu; Or the Conspiracy”, this seventh day of March 1839, did harken to words so sublime.

Of what do I allude to? I was compelled to record with haste the noble words of Cardinal Richelieu:

“True, This!
Beneath the rule of men entirely great
The pen is mightier than the sword.”

The fire kindled behind the filigreed iron grate, its flickering lights and shadows escaping into the room. Enveloped by its warmth, the iciness in my heart began its thaw as I grasped my pen and began the release of deep thoughts festering within, beliefs I religiously entertained to the detriment of my soul these many years.

Several generations of hate and feuding had transpired between the Whittemore and the Barrington families. It mattered not what the reasons were, for this hate had culminated one eerie and devastating night when my father, Terence Whittemore, was killed by the sword of William Barrington. “I swear on my knees to avenge your death, my dear father.” I whimpered as tears streamed forth onto his lifeless body. My life had become about a death to avenge, about the horrible ache and loss in a young boy’s heart.

My thoughts stirred up stark remembrances of those scenes and grief still arose within me. But I was glad this time had come. Richelieu’s words had become my healing balm. Yet I knew there was something more.

The chiming of cathedral bells broke the stillness of the night, startling me, bringing forth recollections of my childhood faith. I determined to look to the God of my youth who abides in the heavens. This roof above me cannot shut out the sky! I rushed to the window once again as if to affirm the sky was still in its place. Moonlight and starlight seemed to cast its wondrous spell upon me. Ah, I still hear my father’s voice, “Son, God counts all the stars and names every one of them.”

Next, I found myself in the library, fervently searching shelf after shelf for my father’s Bible. When I peered upon the dusty worn leather cover with elegant gold manuscript, I laid it open to Ecclesiastes, reading until I came upon the third chapter. These were the words my ears yet needed to hear:

“To everything there is a season,
And a time to every purpose under the heaven.
A time to love, and a time to hate;
A time of war and a time of peace.” (1)

Upon reflection of the Holy Scriptures, my heart at once knew its actions. The lantern light still burned on my desk and beckoned me to come . Opening the drawer, I brought clean linen paper and dipped my pen into the inkwell and so began to write what was burning in my heart. I declared this the time for peace between the Whittemores and the Barringtons . I formally forgave William Barrington by writing to his son Phillip. I implored his pardon for the many offenses of my family toward his through the decades. Writing into the wee hours of the morning, at last I sealed the letter with the official wax seal of the Whittemores.

Morning light shall now bid my words take flight until they rest in the hands of my family’s enemy. I will trust in the God of the heavens and the earth, that my pen shall indeed be mightier than the sword.

Good repose, O my soul!

Penned by Lord Miles Whittemore on this 8th day of March 1839

1) Scripture from KJV: Ecclesiastes 3: 1,8

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Member Comments
Member Date
Shann Hall-LochmannVanBennekom 04/15/10
I really enjoyed the old-fashion feel to it. The idea of feuding families for centuries being put to a stop by a letter is so noble, if only the world leaders could do that more often.
Beth LaBuff 04/20/10
I really like the verse of Ecclesiastes as it relates to the topic. Your story is fascinating. I felt totally immersed in the time and place. Nice work!
stanley Bednarz04/22/10
Nice job. As always Karen, your pen delivers an elegance of grace about various cultures and times, which trancends to us all.
Noel Mitaxa 04/22/10
Your research and your details live and breathe with total credibility, without diverting us from the central thrust of your story. Very well done.