Tonse walked slowly down Pell Lane as the dirty gray dawn light began to demonstrate that today's clouds were, if anything, even more rain filled then yesterdays. He had, as nearly always, finished work very late the previous night, and had slept for only a few hours in the room that was barely larger than his bulky frame. He chewed on a cold pastry, bought cheaply from the baker's back door, cut price for those unlucky enough to be setting off for work before the first fresh batch of hot slices were placed enticingly near the open window.
A thin rain began to fall, a miserly rain, a mizzling shower. Tonse brushed crumbs from his beard and paused a moment to flex his bad leg, the fleshwerk done by the backstreet surgeon was a poor job, it ached and throbbed in the cold and was a mass of alternating smooth, bulbous and hairy patches to look at. But at least he could walk, and work, again.
He looked ahead to the gaudy but faded door that led to the butterfly girl's bower, the doorway was empty, that was a bad sign. Tonse pushed at the painted door and it swing open, the chamber beyond was dark, he swallowed a rising mixture of fear and resentment. Tonse stepped inside and waited, allowing his eyes to become used to the dim light inside. He breathed in, the place reeked of stale wine, tobacco and the damp musty smell of broken chrysalis, the paper thin cases lay crushed all around him along with other detritus of a nights bacchanal, empty bottles, drifts of ash.
Love was a strange thing, Tonse loved the girls even though their flighty nature jarred deeply with his sense of duty, he loved them and he thought that was his decision, never once did he stop to think that the pheromones they used to beguile the dim witted males might also have some effect on a fleshwerked human.
(The painting is Der Schmetterlingsjäger by Carl Spitsweg 1808-85)