I woke up from an amazing dream. I had dreamed of a sunny courtyard somewhere, with fountains pouring cool water in large jets in a beautiful azure tiled pool. All around the fountain there were laughing people, dressed in a style I recognized as more like Abu’s, than anyone else I knew. They were drinking wine from goat bladders, and eating with fingers fruit which was piled high on platters of silver and ceramic ware. I moved close to one of the tables where these platters rested, and there were amazing dishes set forth upon it.
From a large bowl I ladled a liquid which was strangely solid— it was an ice, an ice made of water, but it was near like in a block, although if one took a spoon and dipped into it, it came forth and in a portion so small it made a mouthful. When I placed it to my mouth, it was a most fascinating fruity flavor, such a fruit I have never eaten, but there were dozens of these bowls, and they each held this sort of concoction in them, and every dish was a different flavor.
A servant standing there told me to grab a bowl, and fill it with different scoops of however many and however much of this I should like. I did so.
When I had filled it full the many different ices began to run together, for the flavors were all different, and yet, lumps of them remained cold and cool, and so I ate of these first. Like I said, each one had a different flavor, but I recognized cherries, berries, lemons, and oranges, and a melon or two, and strawberries, peaches, and apples. It was fascinating. And when I mixed the strange slurry of all the flavors together so that I could taste this fortunate blend, the result was a sort of pinkish purple, with running rivulets of yellow here and there.
The dish of ice was so satisfying and different I swore I should never, ever forget it, nor the strange tastes of fruits I could not recognize. And when I had finished with my bowl, lo, it was magically filled once more, with as many different scoops of the stuff as I had ate before! My head swam. And this was not all of it. The other people that were jumping in the fountain, or standing about, or lounging on cushions and eating of all the different foods, they all looked at me as if I was strange, and foreign, to think any of this unusual. But of course, I was! I was a stranger in their country. something told me I must be near to Abu’s land, or very close, anyway, if not actually there.
As I stood in this courtyard I began to notice the strange trees, tall and topped with rough tufts, and hanging from these tufts were large clusters of an odd strange fruit, full of sugar, and which tore apart with the slightest effort of one’s teeth. These trees stood both inside of and outside of the courtyard, which was itself composed of a hall of galleries on each side, and each gallery was carved, painted, or chiseled into patterns so complex they must have been devised by someone familiar with geometry, for each point was precisely balanced, and yet, where there were inscriptions, all of these fit effortlessly into a larger pattern that bordered upon the infinite. For if one chose to stare at any one point in each archway, one experienced a movement either toward or against its background, and these patterns were so insistent and persistent in their regularity, that it made one dizzy. Certainly I began to be dizzy! And then it was, that I awoke, just when I felt the presence of Abu, and thought he had come to speak to me.
And I awoke. But later in that day I was truly surprised, for a man came to the lady wishing to give to me a letter which he said had traveled far over the seas. It was a letter from Abu! He had answered my letter... although it had taken many months.
“Dear Julian,” it began, “It was good to hear from you and your give your reading of my stars and what you tell may be my future. Whether those things be true, or not, I do wish to tell you of the things which have changed for me. Remember when I told you about the haram woman, the Christian to whom I was pledged of love, and how it could not be? It was just as so. The woman proved to be unfaithful of heart, for even though she knew not of this great love for her, yet she married a Christian man, herself, and has gone away from Granada. I was sore at heart like to have near to take my life, but blessed Allah has saved me just in time, merciful is his heart and mind.
For not a week had passed that I had learned of the Christian witch changing her heart that I should be shut out from it forever, but I met a young woman of the umma, of my own faith, of my own sort, who did pledge her undying love of me, for she had heard me play for the sultan a year ago, and this was for her most wonderful, and she had set her heart upon mine there and then, for all of these months, I knew it not.
But now, ins’h Allah, she is to be my wife. And ins’h Allah, this year we will have a new addition to our family, a little Abu is on his way. At least, so I hope he is a boy for he will continue my work and my line. She is humble, and I said, she is faithful, so faithful as I know your Mary is, and how I must tell you now Julian how jealous I was that you had such a fine woman and I had none, only a dream! But Nafiz is no dream, she is real, and she is for me the soul and heart of all I sought before.
We are, however, mixed into the midst of a new and dangerous war! The treacherous king of Navarre— who promised me his word otherwise, has joined in with the Castillian, to make war upon us—this he did despite his pledge to me, and to the most ugly wrathful chagrin of our Sultan. And so it is that we will have not the peace under which I should have hoped my children shall live. But we may yet prevail, ins’h Allah!
I will listen and read often the words you wrote to me about my stars, but most of all, Julian, I am so glad that you were right, that I would find love!
Most merciful Allah in blessings to you my brother
Abu al Sayyad
Minstrel and Diplomat to Mohammad VIII
Granada, Al Andalus”
I was altogether pleased to have this letter from Abu. I put it aside, though, and would not answer it for months yet in the future.
Now on Saint Peter’s Day, Lammas Day in Chester, when I would have been working with Garthson, Blightson, and Shaftsley in the fields of Westchester Manor. But Mary and I were on our way to the Market Fair Day in Penzance, the first being held under the new charter declared by King Henry. I had an idea that early in the day, I would go and collect my foodstuffs from our friends and their stalls—for this was the best time to find all the victuals for the tavern— and then in the afternoon, I would play the lute and sing for the people, as Mary and Pamela went about what business they wanted, gathering fabrics for their winter clothes, and learning what they might about the new rules for the Market Days. Mary went to Pamela’s room to collect her, and together they spent the afternoon indulging themselves of much in the way of drink and feast.
Without Wilmot to care for helping load the cart, I resolved that it would not be such a great thing, anyway, for me. I had brought Panoptes along with me, riding in the back with Mary and Pamela, and I left them to walk up the stairs of Pamela’s home, and for Panoptes and I (and Luisa) then, it was off to the Fair, to see what we could see.
The first one of my suppliers I came across was the fisherman Walsoff. With a wave of his hand, he beckoned me to his stall.
Set up on a pair of stools, was a long wide board serving as a table top. On top were a number of baskets of various fish.
“Say there, good Julian! How art thou today? Care you for any fish, my good man? All of these have just come off the boats! ‘Twas not but a few hours ago, indeed! See here! Here are dories, and tunny, and pogies, and pilchards and cod! Mackerels, sardinos, squintoes, and eels! All that you like, my good friend, help yourself, and have the time!”
I looked into each basket, and the fish did indeed seem fresh. Whether or not this was some new approach of Walsoff or not, I do not know, because in fact, I was quite used to his fish having a bit of a grayish cast to the eye, most days when I got to him in the shop.
“And how is it, my dear Walsoff, that you happen to have such well-appointed stock? It does seem to me as if, much of the time I have been your loyal customer, that what fish you have have lain about at least a day or two. How have you managed to change that story?”
He blinked, then winked.
“Ah, Julian! I have me a new fisherman or two! Deep pockets two or three he be! And he has in turn his own partner. And the two of them, they do make it each night, a new catch fresh, and sweet of meat, and none of those glass-eyed bangers for us, no more, eh? They are good men, the Bainstars, they are. A pair of brothers, Lent and Dyffdd, they be called. And they have separate boats, they do! Lent goes out early, and heads for the mackerels. Dyffdd goes late, toward night, sometimes even all night! And he goes for the deep boys. I tell you such as never has been my luck before but they are now my own best men and I will vouch for their fare on any day.”
I looked at the basket of silvery pilchards.
“And these, my friend? Are these pilchards the best?”
“The best I have seen in a fair pair of months, Julian!”
“Alright then. Give us three pounds of them. And the John Dories, five pounds. And mackerel, a good three as well. I am sorry to not wish more, but it happens that fish have not been so big at the Lady these last weeks. Perhaps because I rarely get so many sailors, and most of my people, they are beef an’ lamb an’ hen men. But...”
I purposefully trailed off there so as to hear what his pitch would be. There was always a rhythm to these exchanges, and as he lifted fish wrapped them, and placed them inside my own hamper as was our custom, he did not fail to bring up the rest of the exchange.
“Well, you are, there, Sire Julian. ‘Twill be a shilling then. I am also...”
I stared for a moment because I did not quite believe what I was now seeing. A man had taken up his spot along the end of the row of stalls, and I could see by his dress, and the sack of props he carried, he was a jongleur. He began juggling there, first, beginning with several small balls, but then, he began expanding into stranger things all pulled from his sack. A number of wheat-scythes! Three drum batons, which he proceeded to light on fire, and then he juggled them! A pair of glass goblets, which might at any moment crash down in splintering shards on the cobblestones, he added to the torches! Five elements now, and not a single miss!
He had gathered quite a crowd, and even Walsoff broke off from his wrapping my fish to gape at the new juggler. I thanked him, put the hamper on my cart, which I parked (and left) by the fish man’s stall, and brought Panoptes with me so we might have a better look at this talented trickster.
When he was finished, I introduced myself, and this was our exchange.
“Good day, my fine juggler! I say— you have quite a talent.”
He smiled, somewhat shyly, but knowingly, implying that there must be more to the conversation lest his interest quickly fade.
“I say, dear sir, have you any engagements on your bill?”
“Engage— Oh! You mean as if, where I should be in the evening? Not really, dear sir, not really.”
“I am Julian of The Fallen Lady. I have that as my tavern’s name, and I a minstrel besides, am inquiring it of you. For I might have a place for you to entertain for a fortnight or so, if you be so willing and if you have other lodging, for that I offer not at all.”
“You have a tavern, you say? But I have no engagement, sir. It was that I did perform just last night at the good Pelican Inn here, and yet, I had no offer of such length. Indeed, the owner of that good place took me only for my coin to be a lodger, but I am not one to waste time. So here you find me, making my tricks for the Fair!”
He turned his attention back to his colored balls, which he flung up, caught and kept moving, without missing a breath in his gait or his speech.
“Then what say you, good sir? I can give you table, and a groat per day. 'Tis a fair thing, then, is it not? For you can always sleep at the Pelly, but our table is good and generous, and our drink, well, they say our ale is the best in the south country.”
“Is that so?” he asked, seeming as though he were not only not impressed by my humble attempt at advertising my honorable establishment, but that he knew such talk to be rote for every innkeeper and taverner from here to London and north to York, and that none of us were so modest as to claim there were any better, anywhere.
“Well, allow me to think on this. I shall be here all the day.”
“As will I!”
“Good! When I have had my fill of these crowds, then, I shall seek you out, Julian of the Fallen Lady. And now...” He turned back to the business of tricking the coins from their pockets, and the crowd oohed and ahhed, awed by his deftness.
And so it was I first met the juggler Deftwulf of Ravenglass, though it would not be but until late in the day we came to agreements, and all the rest of it. But I must speak now of the rest of that day while I went about the Fair, gathering in the goods I needed...
The Costerman Kenbrucke sold me a basket of pears, many very good, although some at the bottom, I learned later, were full of fruit-flies and losing their skins. After seeing him, I stopped at the worst of all, who of course, was candlemaker Cocklenburg, and never was I ever near him but that his odor was most foul, a blend of several shades of barnslop and worse, and not only could I but hardly get away but that I had filled my basket with candles, and said a few hurried and rushed words, but that he always seemed to want to spend more time with me than I cared to with him. In this case, even though his candles (as usual) weren’t fairly weighted, I managed to offer him a ha’penny more than they were worth— if I could, of course, be just a few seconds less in his offal presence.
Panoptes, too, had a dislike for the candle man, because when I stopped at the candle booth, he began a low growl, and never did he quit it, either, until we were both past and out of Cocklenburg’s disgusting area. Panoptes sat and patiently waited for me as I stopped at a woman’s stall who was offering milk, cooled with ice, spiced with cinnamon, and this was a drink most refreshing on a hot day with all about us themselves somewhat sweating, and hoping for the south wind to waft away a little of the balminess. I walked away sipping upon it, with my dog by my side, and by now, with arms full of baskets, found I needed a return to the cart. I had one more stop I felt I needed to make— and that was to see Odo Trappet the butcher.
On my way to Odo, however, I was surprised to hear a very familiar voice singing on another aisle of shop stalls. Wilmot! I had to see this for myself, and I endeavored to take great care he not see me approach, for then, he would stop, and begin a conversation with me, I could just predict it.
I held Panoptes back too, and we remained just out of his sight, as he sang and played, not vielle, this time, but on a lute, a lute with five courses, but only single ones, and which had (unusually) not a rounded back, but one shaped more straightly, like a viol. He was singing something he must have written by himself, and dedicated to his Claire, for every time he came to his chorus—
“...And when she goes away
I hope it shall never be to stay...”
—his voice faltered, and broke, and I laughed inside, because I could tell it was a song by a man in love, with quavering emote, and so barely assured of himself, that the throwing of a pair of pennies from one of his bystanders shook him into a nod and brief interruption.
After he was done, then I felt I should make things easy for him. I pulled Luisa around to my chest, and walked up to him, intending to join him, which of course, pleased him incredibly.
“Sire Julian! You wish to join me! Wonderful!”
“I am but here to help make things a bit more easy for you Will.”
“I’m I’m, I’m honored!”
“Oh, hush now child. Let us play O Good Gregius.”
I began the familiar tune, and he followed me. I could see that the bystanders were now enchanted, because while one lutenist alone would have been a bore, two was a rarer sight, and beside, with me leading like this, Wilmot could but do his best to keep playing along, and this was no bother to me.
The coins began to shower us, though, because at one point I picked up the melody and quickened the tempo, forcing a pair of lovers who had been holding hands to embrace, and then break into a dance! And it was contagious. Soon, there were dancers up and down the alley between the two rows of stalls, and some of the merchants even, were slapping their thighs, and highstepping. Panoptes too at one point, burst into a song, and his howling caused even more laughter, and was even more an attraction. I would have to remember this. If I could one day even inspire Panoptes to “sing” on cue— why then, I might have yet another excuse for the crowds to fill our caps with coin.
Wilmot brought our duet to a close with a forceful nod and four bars of torpid chords, and he leaned over to me, saying “I am so happy, really Julian.”
“It is nothing, my friend.” He knew that my presence had brought him more luck than he had otherwise, and I knew this too, but it is not in my nature to grab for all the applause. I let Wilmot clean the cap before him and did not ask for any of his coins. Once I stopped, drank more of my spiced milk, and retuned, we were ready for another song. This one Wilmot again sang, of his own creation of course, and I listened closely and tempered it with my own shadings. It was a song of walking in the Glen of Trewyddyn, and I could tell, somehow, that Ranulf must have spent time with him.
Ranulf! I wondered why I had not even been thinking of him, although he was still in Penzance, still staying at the Pelican, and still very much a friend. I suppose it had been because I had the extra burden of needing to come to the Fair with the cart... And yet, in all that time I spent distracted by Wilmot, then only late was my errand at Odo Trappet’s remembered and belatedly I trudged off again, a basket under my arm.
And again a distraction! For as I neared Odo’s, and passed by the front of the Pelican, who (and what!) did I see but my rival, Alstair of the Pelican, in the mist of a dark harangue he was giving a group of sailors, who already by midday were drunk, and feisty, and full of themselves.
I cannot tell you what his quarrel with them was, all I knew was, there they were out in the street. And Alstair saw me, and when he did, immediately he walked away from them as if they were of no concern at all (but then, with a look on his face which could only mean I was) and approached me.
“Julian Plectrum! How, how, how do you do this good day?”
It was always hard to gauge exactly what Alstair could mean if he came up to you so friendly. Often, his smiling face belied a masked contempt, boiling beneath the surface, eventually to break through in force. While it always helped for one to remember this, it was also best to ignore what one knew, and take it as it came.
“My friend Alstair. How goes things? Well, here I am doing my shopping at the Fair, well to give myself an extra day of rest next week, I hope! On my way to the butcher, I am.”
“The butcher? Good! Listen, Julian. You may take it odd to be coming from me, but you would do best to keep away from anyone you do not already know. There are... there are men about who are not what they seem!”
Ah! That even Alstair, who was never what he seemed, to begin with, should warn me off from others? What was real, moreover, who was real, I wondered.
Across the street I thought I saw “the least evil” among the Devonshire castle men, Sugarsop, rushing down the stones, headed in the direction of the fair. To Alstair I nodded.
“When are people ever what they seem?” I asked him. He took that to mean perhaps, that even I was not what I seemed. For next, he said something more puzzling to me. Maybe he too had noticed Sugarsop hurrying on his way.
“Julian, I tell you this- take care who you let in to your inn! You see those sailors back there? I have had to make without their business now. Last night one of them stabbed another, and I was hard put to drive all of them away, for none of them would admit who had done it, and all protected each other . Therefore, they were all guilty, in my eyes! I will not have such strife!”
What puzzled me about this was that Alstair took in crusty violent sailors all the time and what was his problem with these?
“Alstair, we see people who are not as they seem all the time. Everyone. Even myself, I should not be what I seem to you, should I? We both seek business, we are both hosts. What we have in common is less than it might seem, because we both hope to do the other down, if we can, and gain more than the other. Do we not? Be honest.”
“Julian, you are a brave soul to admit it. I know that we put a brave face on things, but yes, at heart, we are each trying to send the other home hungry, at the end of the day. But... But please remember, there are men... I mean there are men...”
It was obvious now that Sugarsop was who he meant, for as he spoke he sent a nod in the direction the lackey had just gone. What was his business here at the Fair?
I finally (yes finally) made it to Odo’s. Odo was not in a good mood himself today. What was everyone’s problem? He cut my sections off with a lackadaisical apparent boredom—as though he too were preoccupied. He had little to say other than grunting and sniffling, wrapping the meat cuts with a hurried impatience, and when I left, I paid him more than the worth of the meat, but he took the tip without a hint of gratitude And for once I was more pleased to leave Odo than I was to arrive!
And Odo was not my only misremembered thought! Mary and Pamela were, I hoped, still somewhere out here at the Fair. Perhaps they were still up in Pamela’s rooms, but I had not seen either, and I was due to bring them back as well.
In the middle of our fifth song together, however, Deftwulf the juggler came walking up, and stopped to listen to Wilmot and I playing, and when we were done, he too laid a small coin— perhaps a farthing— in Wilmot’s cap. by now, Panoptes had settled down, and lain his head on his paws, looking about him now and then, but just as happy to snooze in the shadow of a booth curtain.
“Good sire! I wish to take you up on your offer, if I might?”
“Most certainly, Deftwulf. I have yet business here but you are welcome to return with me to my tavern— once I find my wife! She’s out here, somewhere...”
And Panoptes by my side, I set out to look for Mary an Pamela. They could be anywhere in the six blocks of booths, but it would not take me long to give a good look up and down each long aisle. And as it happened, all I really needed, in the end, was to go three more paths over and I found them, discussing the merits of a number of fabrics with a woman who seemed, perhaps, the equivalent of a Stephen or Roger—her booth was full of rolls of fabrics and cloths, and hanging from its rafters were a number of lively colored dresses. It was these, I think which had attracted (and now held) their attention, and when she saw us approach, Mary broke off her chatter, and drew me in.
“Julian, Julian my dear, just look at these! Have you not seen so fine a trace or hem as this?”
The woman huddled in the shadow, masking an optimistic smile, for she figure she had Mary hooked already, and now it remained only for Mary to hook me, to bring a sale.
I ran my fingers over the garment she held between her own, and briefly frowned.
“ I have seen many, but I see no...”
“Oh come on, you know you have not! This good woman is offering the work for just nine pence! And I do think I should be quite pleased with it.”
Pamela held back, herself, for she knew that the only thing stopping Mary from her desire was my own sense of thrift. I knew, also, that should I not submit to Mary’s whim, there could be consequences. I cut to the chase.
“Nine pence, I said! Is that not a fair bargain?”
“Tis what it is, it is. I know not what be a bargain. I shop for food, not clothing, my love. What I have is all I have, it suits me, and I know no need.”
“Ah but Julian, you know..”
“Yes, my love, I know that should I say no, I would never hear the end of it! Do as you wish.”
Apparently, that was what Mary felt she needed to hear, and rather triumphantly the tailor brought down the dress, folded it in thirds, Mary dropped the coin into her hand, which she pocketed, and Mary, Pamela, Panoptes and I set off back in the direction of Wilmot, who we found, when we returned, cheerfully engaging a new crowd, and Deftwulf the juggler at his side. The juggler actually seemed to add a bit of distraction to Wilmot’s song but at the end of it, there were coins thrown into Wilmot’s hat, and I could not complain of anything, if it might have brought that about.
While we were standing there, I happened to watch a rather brazen robbery of one of the bystanders, by a man who seemed quite well-prepared to offer trouble.
As the crowd stood to listen, a cutpurse worked his own special magic on a number of commoners. He worked quickly, with a thumbhorn on his left hand, and his curved slicer in his right. He came up upon two gentlemen in turn, working swiftly as their attentions were turned away, and swiftly cut the strings of their purses off their belts, and stuffed them deep into his robes. I was actually rather stunned to actually see this— the thumbhorn was a protection against the swift sharp blade, as he pulled up the purse strings, and put to them the knife. He had obviously been quite practiced at this— I heard they even had schools in London where novice pickpockets and cutpurses might learn their trade from more experienced ones! And what was really shocking was that neither of their victims even noticed they had been so relieved, and that the culprit was able to flee in a matter of moments, quickly rushing off into the distance, perhaps to count his booty, and perchance to rob again.
With some fond-regarded trepidation, I tucked my own purse into the folds of my cloak, and taking up the lute, joined Wilmot in his last song. We played well enough, and the women chattered, Mary placed her new dress in the compartment beneath the ridging board of the cart, and when Wilmot was finished, and had drawn his applause, and more coins, I gathered the women into the cart. Deftwulf and Wilmot trudged alongside, the juggler’s bundle slung on his shoulder, and with Magdalene leading, we all set off for The Fallen Lady.
Back at the tavern, where Deprez had things well in control (the young Will taking Pamela’s place as our server), I put it again to Deftwulf the juggler.
“If you might entertain our crowd such as you did this afternoon at the Fair, I shall pay you a groat, an you might take your sup and drink on me. I usually hire a man by the fortnight, but first, prove to them that they wish your return, and that shall be your test.”
Deftwulf nodded, and seemed quite confident this would not be so hard. Our clientele had been pretty sturdy and many of the same but they were quite easily entertained (as young Wilmot was discovering too, to his great joy!) and I knew it was a good idea to bring Deftwulf to the Lady, after all was said and done.
So, for the next week-and-five, Deftwulf of Ravenglass put forth his flaming batons, his flying goblets, and his whirring scythes to the amazement of the people who dined with us. I noticed that even the crew who each night gathered to hazard the sharpshooting skill at flechettes would cease their challenges to watch him. For truly, it actually was a wonder, not only that he handled such dangerous tools with nonchalance and no injury, but that his nonchalance was studied and contrived in such a way that it belied what was actually his true skill, making it seem natural, and almost as if, well, anyone could do this if one only knew how! It never ceased amazing me, anyway, how he could not only hold three balls in the air but two goblets along with them, so that it seemed each hand was full at all times, even if it were in motion.
Deftwulf of Ravenglass was pleased to gain his groat-a-day, and was off to the Pelican each night not too long after he complete each performance. He did take his fare in the way of dumplings, a drumstick, or a pot of stew, but he preferred the wine we had brought in from southern France, to Mary’s good ale. It mattered little to me, for by his presence, actually, our number of guests grew, during his stay, and dwindled again once he went on his way, back north to Ravenglass on the high coast, and when he was but a memory, people spoke of him as one of our most wonderful players ever. Unless, of course, you meant Wilmot and myself, but we were always there anyway.
My remembering Ranulf (a bit late) came up to me again, when none but Ranulf himself showed up one evening at the Lady, while Deftwulf had been juggling as usual. He pulled me out into the bowls green. People had learned that if they needed by confidential attention, it was always best to take me outside— there on the bench we could talk important things, out of range of anyone we meant not to hear them. And it was where many people went, for the same purpose.
“Julian, be careful about that juggler! He is not what he seems...”
“How so? Is he not most excellent?”
“No, no, that is not how I mean it! Do you remember, you warned me, not to make myself so apparent for my being French, eh? Well... you said there were spies, and there were rumors that there were spies about, did you not?”
I did. Now what was he about to tell me?
“The jongleur— he is a French spy!”
I looked at him.
“You don’t say?”
“Ah yes, yes, Julian, believe me, he is a spy for Charles he is! His overcoat— have you not noticed? On the inside of the sleeve he bears the arms of France! See for yourself, sometime, when his attention is not focused on making it less noticed. And I have heard him speaking, too! You think he is north of England, eh? North of England man. Well. He stays at the Pelican. Lots of us, we stay at the Pelican, non? But at the Pelican, he asks people the most ridiculous things! He asks the sailors what boat they sail on, where is their port, he asks what they carry aboard their cargo, he asks things about the country. How much tin, how much coal, how much silver, how much this or that! He does! Do not look at me like that! I am warning you! When the castle peoples discovair what he is up to, they will hang him! I know this! Please be careful in what you say to him.”
So far, though I had not much need to say anything to Deftwulf of Ravenglass other than, “that was fantastic” or “here is today’s pay” or “what is your pleasure, sire, for a meal?” I contented myself to keeping things that way. If he were a French spy, I would not let on, to anyone, friend nor foe, for it was not my business, really, whether or not he were. Leave that to the frips like Sugarsop to care! Deftwulf of Ravenglass played out his nights, and moved on, and nobody was ever any the wiser in The Fallen Lady as to whether he were a spy for the crown of France, or not.