The day was warm and the spring birds filled the countryside with their happy chirruping; Algenon Pinsbury and his Bertram Rushley were walking along the country lane when Bertie turned to Algie and asked him, "Algie, dear friend, why do you rise so late? By the time you get up it is almost midday."
Algie stopped his afternoon stroll by a stile, and sat down before he explained, "Bertie,my dear fellow, I rise late for many reasons. If I stay in bed I can remain warm, my room is cold and when I get up I can feel the cold start to creep into my bones."
"I'm sorry old chap, I hadn't realised your lodgings were that bad."
"That is just one reason, Bertie, if you want to hear more all you need do is ask."
Bertie and Algie were close friends despite the vast differences in their backgrounds. Algie was a struggling writer whose words could enthral Bertie, while Bertie was the man about town with the connections; however, coming from a wealthy family this side of life had never occurred to him, his friend always met him in the lanes and not at his lodging house and even on a bad day; Algie was usually careful not to let on about his squalid life, "Please, go on, if you don't mind," Bertie said.
Algie took his cap off and laid it on the grass at his feet; then he started, "Bertie, I rise late because by getting up late, I can miss breakfast as my first and main meal of the day counts as both breakfast and lunch."
Shocked at this news, Bertie said, "I am so sorry, Algie I never realised things were so bad for you. I thought your work was liked and read."
"They are, Bertie, but the sales have dried up and I cannot live on reputation alone. Do you remember the bad fall I had a few years ago?"
Bertie stopped to think back to the day, and replied, "Yes, it was terrible you slipped on the ice and banged your shoulder, if I remember."
Algie rubbed his shoulder to ease his pain a little and said, "That's correct, the pain has got so bad there are days when I cannot write, which brings me to the other reasons I rise late. By staying warm I can ease the pain in my shoulder which is why even on a warm day like today I wear a cardigan on top of my shirt, Bertie. By staying in bed, I found that laying down helps ease the pressures on the shoulder muscles too. By staying in bed, not only do I stay warm but you see it is less painful for me, Bertie."
Bertie had a thought and said, "I know you are a man of honour, but will you allow me to subsidise you until you can make some money. It would be an honour for me to be able to help you; your work is so brilliant the stories need to be read.
Algie looked up at his friend and said, "It is a lovely thought, Bertie, and I thank you for your kind offer but I will never be able to repay you and you know how that will tear me apart."
"I meant no offence, Algie, as I know you as a man of honour; but what do you intend to do?"
"No offence was taken, Bertie. For now, my plans are too keep writing and hope something changes, if not I may have to consider other work and let the writing become a smaller part of my meagre life.
Bertie looked forlornly at his friend and said, "I am sorry, old bean; I didn't realise things were that bad for you. Do you think the writing will pay?"
Algie rose from the stile he was using for a seat and replied, "Not for a good while, there was talk of a writer who wrote articles for a newspaper until his work became known, I don't wish to take up work like that, but I may have to."
The pair walked along the path, listening to the bird calls and viewing the trees for signs of nests; Rooks and Crows flocked about as the farmers tilled their fields turning up fresh worms and insects for the young birds. The afternoon air was full of the freshness of nature, one was able to detect the odours of fresh manure on the air, too many this was distasteful but Algie enjoyed it; being a country man in heart and soul.
"Do you recall our first meeting, Algie?" Bertie asked his friend.
"How could I forget it, Bertie. You were struggling too get to grips with the English lessons and I was your guide. Since then we have had a good partnership; you with your charm and connections and me with the talent for story writing. And it that urge which drives me and why I struggle to be recognised as the good writer, I know I can be; given the chance.
"Yes, we hit it off from the start didn't we, old man, which is why I hate seeing your talent go to waste like this."
"I cannot thank you too much for your support and kindness, Bertie, without that I doubt I would have had the courage to get this far. The career was always a risk and in no way can I blame you for pushing my hopes on; it was my dream and I had to chase it."
"Please try not to get too down-hearted, Algie. You know how that hurts me, seeing you down-at-heel and lonely."
The two friends walked out of the lane and took the path leading into the city; Bertie wondering how Algie would cope if the writing failed; he was correct, it had been his life's dream to write and he did have the talent, all he needed was a break. Algie meantime was thinking up his next story, forever on the thinking plain, Algie rarely had a moment's peace.