Dear Loyally Luaithrend,

Since an early age, my parents have intended me for the church. And I did excel at lessons with our tutor! He suggested that the world is round, which is fascinating.

Milady Luaithrend, I don’t want the church! I long to travel. I’d love to traverse the silk road to the Orient, breath the spices of Marrakesh, and see the fabled monuments of Persia. The Spaniards I’ve been sparring with tell tales of a voyage bound West, over the edge of the world, to China. I’d give anything to join it.

Yet I do not want to make my Lady Mother cry, nor betray my duty to my Father and Lord. What should I do?

Wishful Wanderlust

Dear Wishful,

As you are intended for the church, I can only surmise that you are a second, or third, or fourth son. In other words, you are “a spare.” But, fear not, dear child, many second sons initially intended for the church have risen to great heights! Indeed, one day you could rise so lofty as to become The Holy Father! Think of the wealth and power that such a position would lay at your command. Or you might join one of the Holy Orders, such as the Knights of St. Peter or the Templars, charged with defending the one true faith, such that you might travel (yes, even acquiring “trade goods” along the way) while bringing the word of God to those heathens who need it most.

You do also mention Spaniards in your query. Why are the youth of today so enamored with these Spaniards? Ruffians and thugs, in my opinion. You are the third person to write to me and speak in generous terms of these adventurers. And as for the tutor engaged for you by your father, suggesting that the world is round? I fear for your well-being, my child. All sensible persons know that the world ends at the horizon, and that to sail beyond those points is to risk certain death. With regard to China, I am uncertain that such a country exists. It seems clear that these Spaniards have filled your ears with lies. I would recommend that you cease commerce with them immediately and begin to keep company with some decent French noblemen. Your mind–as well as your palate–will be greatly improved by their influence.