Wilmot finally came into his own, when five of the miners who had walked from Saint Ives, and were all full of themselves, their pockets full of shillings from a month at the Ding Dong, took over The Lady for an evening of carousing. They found Wilmot to be not the least bit out of turn for the type of entertainment they wanted, and each lay or song or poem he placed before them only encouraged them to drink more, to cheer him more, and keep him so busy he turned to me after one of his songs and asked me if he couldn’t take a break for a while.
“My fingers are bleeding, sire Julian! I have been at this a full two hours, and they won’t let me go!”
“That is because they like you, lad. Give them one more, then take the half of an hour away.”
Wilmot gulped, but I could see he was determined, and then he plunged right along into a dance for the country men they all recognized as The Dance of Death. Whether or not he was trying to say something, it only served to make them dance the fiercer, and laugh the more, and their shrill cries as they took maids off other tables and plunged into the thick of things were loud, sharp, and lustful.
Now I thought that this was the sort of thing I had wanted here all along— but I did want Wilmot to have time to relieve himself, drink some water, maybe eat something, before he was put back ahead of these people. When he was done, then, I came back from the kitchen with Luisa in my arms, and I played for them that half hour he was out. When he returned, his hair had been combed, his neck was wet with a cloth draped over it, but he was grateful I had left him aside.
Now I had little idea that they liked my playing or not, but that was not the point. I would be at The Lady whenever I chose, there was no separation between my destiny and being there for whoever else was. But I knew Wilmot had his love, Claire, on his mind all the time. I decided that he could have the spot for the next fortnight, which then meant that he would be in front of whomever was in the hall, and whether or not the Ding Dong men were about, whoever was in the hall would have to put up with his mischievous manner, his sometimes ragged tempos, and the songs that he had stolen off Clarence.
Well I should not say actually he stole the songs off Clarence, for Clarence gave of them rather freely. But I hoped eventually Wilmot might bring us some songs of his own, since every man who picks up the lute, or the vielle, or the hurdygurd, has something of their own inside them—or don’t they? Even they who were drawn to music for the cozzening (like the Farter, for instance!) had some mind to make things up and tell their own tales, sing their own songs, press out the melody from their minds into the wide world, all alone, a torch in the wind, blow it fair or foul.
And yet Wilmot showed little concern for making his own songs. I knew I would need to speak to him about that eventually, for I felt that if someone would do well here at The Lady, they would do best when they had their own voice, and were not just copying someone else’s.
The harvest was soon upon us. I decided that to help me I needed, this year, everyone who had been about, even Deprez, to help me gather the barley and rye in the field, to cut and dry the pepper vines, to pull and clan the vegetables of the garden, and to slaughter a hen or two.
And so it was that when Clarence came, himself, to help me, and Wilmot was off so disposed again, singing for his supper, I took him aside to speak about the originality of his apprentice.
“He does not seem to want to make much of himself,” I said. He would much rather sing the songs he learned off you! I was a little like that a couple years ago, too, but at least I saw that I needed songs of my own- it is never enough to be the copy of whomever went before you, you know.”
“Give him time, Julian. He has discouraged me a little too, on that, but he has done well at the building of lute-shells and the like, and so maybe not everyone is a poet, you know.”
“Ah, but everyone who plays should be the poet of their soul...” I was not quite buying it.
“And what of it? Perhaps he has not fully found his voice. Give that time, too.”
Clarence and I walked to the shed where we drew out the scythes and the flails and began to make ready for the heavy work.
“We really should start at the shore, and work backward.” I said. “That way when we get back to this end of the field, we have already done the hard walking.”
I knew I could get Ranulf on the morrow, and Wilmot and young Will, too, for the morrow was the Saint Bartholomew feast and Market Fair Day, and while Pamela and Mary had plans for what they would do there, I knew the other men had no desire to see the fair, and yet be bored more by the kinds of entertainers that were there. So we would be a good team, all working out in the field on Market day. Perhaps we might get the better part of it done, even. But for now, Clarence and I, we headed to the land’s edge by the sea, and with my dog Panoptes watching us, we began to scythe the tall rye and barley and stack the long stalks together so that the grain heads were all aligned and wrapped into bundles. We must each have twined up some fifteen bundles apiece, when we called it day, and began to lug the sheaves back to the tool shed, where a large winnowing sheet had been lain.
I told Clarence that we would take care of the first day’s harvest on the next day too, and we would have more help, so there was little need to worry over what we had brought in. Panoptes we staked outside near the grain and the chickens, so that if any of our tavern guests had ideas about stealing it, he would make an end of them. He was growing larger yet than he was as a pup just a year ago- I now looked at a fine sleek dog whose fur would bristle and whose eyes would glint “trouble” at the approach of strangers, but also a dog that gladly took what was offered from the hand, and even knew how to shake one.
And on the next day, Wilmot came with his friend Claire, that they might both help me, and in so doing, earn some money from me. And I presume as well it was so that they might catch some time together, away from us all, when the time to halt for our dinner had come. I was grateful though— everyone I had asked came down to help. Moselles, who had harvested his field the week before, was even among the reapers, as I had helped him with that, and as partners in The Lady, we figured we should each help each other at harvest as well.
So there I was— I had my eight friends in the fields, and Deprez and Mary were behind at the tavern to make sure that the guests were being fed, and were happy. I was ever more grateful that the sheaves began to stack themselves up, and by the time it was dinner, at midday, there were forty more sheaves of grain in three large piles at the winnowing sheet. The first day’s barley, that of the next day, and the first portion of the rye.
And we had ourselves a grand dinner, we did, what with biscuit, with chicken roasted with thyme and tarragon and cinnamon, with boiled vegetables, a salad of garden greens, and big pots of new ale! Then I divided my crew into men and women, and the men continued reaping- which took the rest of the day, but it was done. While the men reaped, the women flailed and winnowed the great sheaves of grain in large bushels they collected— first the barley then the rye and as the men finished bringing in the sheaves, the collected bushels were filled, and went up to the kitchen shelves, where they had lids fitted to them, and Kerfel the cat to guard them.
Sometime during all that I guess when the dinner break came, Claire and Wilmot had disappeared, but I did not seek them out to call them back. I knew where they were, for I could see them off out the corner of my eye, rolling in the grass beneath the cypresses, on the far side of them, but still Wilmot’s red jerkin stood out at times, as it bobbed one way or another against the grey trunks of the trees. Ah, let them be, long live young lovers! I knew what they were feeling.
Thought now turned of course to my wife, carrying child, but not showing so much nor taking it as burden too heavy yet to not work at the harvest. She smiled gracefully and graciously, and while they were at the reaping, she could be heard laughing and joking with Pamela and Claire, and that was how I knew it all agreed with her.
When our work outdoors was all over with, and all the grain had been threshed and winnowed and stored, yet there was work at The Lady which would go on until early morn. But this night was sore different than others. I think the trouble began when Eldfarm and Beaufort made another rather rude and unwelcome appearance. But this time, they did not ask for favors or treats of food. No, this time they rushed for young Wilmot while he bowed the vielle, and while Claire gazed appreciatively at him while he did so.
They seized him and were about to make off with him when I stopped them.
“Hear, hear what is this? You take my minstrel from his work? He has worked hard all this day out in the field, as well. what is your purpose and your need of him?”
“We suspect, good taverner Julian, we suspect that this boy and his minx there are conspiring against our King, and blaspheming against our Lord! We were told this couple have not been to Mass for four weeks! There is a fine for this, you know.”
“What if there is? Is it right you should grab him at his work, that you could not have come at some other hour? Then you must grab him at his work in front of his audience!”
“Master Julian, we know this is rough on you. But we had reports”—
I could see it now in my mind’s eye. Micah and Earnest, of course, who had gotten to be fair admirers, so they said, of the food and drink and song here, had been through here a few times in the last month and certainly while Mary and I had gone off to Chester. And perhaps they noticed that Wilmot had not been among the parishioners attending their stuffy boring masses that they held at Saint Kelvin’s when they were not at Madron! I could see them, trying to find fault with a young lad, just that they should worry him. And I also knew the fine— twelve pence, more for the coffers of Eldfarm than those of Anselm, and what was this about treason against the King?
“Master Julian, the boy came to Trewidden a week ago and sang a most atrocious song he said had been written after the battle of Shrewsbury, when our liege and master Henry defeated the foul Percy and struck down the earl of Worcester. Now that the remaining Percy, Northumberland, makes noises against the king and what is more, he rallies the French to the side of the Welsh, encourages the Scots to take up arms and cross border again as well— this boy and his foul tongue and dangerous songs is raising trouble!”
“Fair game,” I said, remembering how I had played the Lay of Hotspur numerous times to he and Clarence, and so it must have been from me he learned it, as it was my song, anyway, and not a fact I cared to yet make public.
“So it is, then minstrels make noises, that perhaps tell the truth from one side of a story which the other side might rather not have heard. But how will you suppress the people from thinking what they think, or writing the songs that tell the stories of their world? What, really, is his true crime? That he is a good mimic, and remembers what is sung to him, or that he is just an annoyance for nobles who have little better to do than disgrace the keep they hold, and the reputation of the lord of a great keep, that they might find succor and fatten themselves on the back of the peasant, and afflict him at their will and leisure?”
They were taken aback, and I could see I had said something which had stung Eldfarm, as I had meant it to.
“You may be young, and a common man, and free to think and say what you think, lad, but you are in trouble too! You set this stage here that whispers and rumors might travel freely about you, first blow one way toward the good king of the country, then the other, toward outlawry and revolt. We are keeping our eyes on you as well! Best for you beware your own rude mouth, churl, lest we pillory you as well!”
They began to drag Wilmot off, again, but Claire now spoke up, and let fly her own stream of wrath at them.
“I was born here, and so was he, and I will not have you take my man so quickly and without even being able to answer a trial you hold him your captive! Oh that our good Baron were here, and not you! For he would know what to do, and he would know that there is nothing you can do! You cannot force us, against our will, to worship your God when our God lives within, and answers to us apart from any priests!”
They were taken aback again, but young Claire had a spirit like a kindled branch, and it was lighting the thoughts of those who sat at all the tables, too, now. There were several there who had witnessed the public beatings, and the pillories, and who also longed for Anselm to be back safe and sound and ruling over his good demesne as he had before these Devonians had appeared with their strictures, their capital infliction, and their facile, easily stoked greed.
The retainers saw that they had misjudged the mood of the room considerably, and indeed they were quite outnumbered, as a number of the tavern guest began fingering their knife-sheaths, or made a quick end to their alewash, or grabbed even a salad spoon or a walking stick to make ready if there were more to deal with.
But I was surprised, too, for after my speaking up, and after Claire had roused the people about us, the nobles now released Wilmot, who shook off his sleeve as though it were clogged with fleas, and sat back down at the hearth, and began to retune his vielle.
“Master Julian, we did not come to give trouble to any of your guests, and we want none. We will make a mind of this to the burgesses, and ask of your servant to make a cause of himself, at court, with any witnesses he wishes to bring on his behalf. Make that for next Friday at the hour of Terce. We want answers to the charges that our priests have made as to his lack of piety, and his bad judgment of choice of words!”
Eldfarm turned on his heel, and with Beaufort falling in behind him, who gave a last desperate thrust of his tongue at all of us, departed. We heard the hooves of their horses clatter off down Whychoome Road, and once the door had been barred, everyone broke into laughter, clapped each other on the back, and I brought out new pots of ale for all, that none may pay coin for, to celebrate Wilmot’s continue freedom. But the date now loomed like a cloud before us, less than a week away.
Then came the day, when Wilmot would need to travel to the court, which was of late Anselm’s, and answer to the retainers of the Lord De Courtenay of Devon, to those things they had heard tell he had sung, and of those songs whose words had been mine alone. I decided that when it came down to their trying to punish him, that I would up and take the blame, for it would not seem meet for me to allow someone else to suffer in my place, if it were my song that brought them to it. The punishment of Songgemonger in London, of course, must have had something to do with what I felt was a change of heart, for while I had meant him mischief, I had not wished him death, and if my young friend Wilmot was to be pilloried, ere we returned that evening to The Fallen Lady, then I felt it should be I alone bear the brunt of his “crime”, for I had instigated it all (and Simon!) by coming up with those rhymes, as we made our way home from Shrewsbury a year ago.
So we saddled Magdalene and I gave the hindmost to Wilmot, and we made our way but slowly, slowly up the hill, past the glen of Trewidden and the spring of Saint Piran and looking back at my little home and land, I sighed, for there might be much to go through ere we were returning.
The nobles were all about a great table in the center of Anselm’s hall, when we arrived there. Eldfarm and Beaufort, the accusers, along with Carldwiss (who held the monk Micah’s crozier, somewhat in the manner of a talisman, across his left shoulder), and Sugarsop.
“Here now come they— the churl Wilmot of Newlyn, and Julian, the tavernmaster, at whose pleasure the churl does serve! We gather here to adjudge you of a crime, a displeasure about the royal estate, and affairs which are not the business of you common folk, but that you did give voice to disparaging verses and scandalous sentiment against our King, Henry IV, in ribald song, and mocking sense.”
Beaufort read then from a scroll, the length of which drooped down over the end of the table presumably to the very floor, but it was only needed he read the first paragraph.
“Young Master Wilmot. We accuse you of blasphemous scandalous song taking note of your place as the servant of Julian Plectrum, the tavernmaster of The Fallen Lady. You were heard to sing a song against the king, as witnessed by a Monk, who ha asked us not to name him. This monk however, has been tasked with the mission of seeking out heretics in the parish of Saint Kelvin and has also learned, you are not one who regularly attends the mass at Saint Kelvin’s, which is your parish church and which your mortal soul has been charged with the maintenance thereof, within. And so we, the nobles of Trewidden, we challenge you, Master Wilmot, give us proof of your fealty to king, and to the Lord of Heaven, lest thou be seen in contempt of both, and of worse crime against the Lord of Heaven.”
My my! Such words. But I could see the effect they had on young Wilmot. He trembled, held his hat in his hand, and spoke haltingly.
“My...my... my lords... My lords such is not the case... I am a churl, yes, I am a serving-man, and yes, I work for Master Julian, and a fair man is he... And maybe I sang that song. I knew not whose ears were there to hear it, I thought it was a song of some wit and renown, actually...”
“You did now?” broke in Eldfarm. His eyebrows arched, Carldwiss rocked his stolen crozier back and forth, and Beaufort stifled a smirk, but you could tell only for a minute, and that Eldfarm had given him a kick in the shins beneath the table.
“Yes, lord, I did not know who might be there. But I had heard this song had been sung across the northland, even, and that perhaps it had been heard even here at Penzance, and...”
It was then I decided to speak up.
“Lords, I will say something, you must hear, whether you wish me to or not, and whether or not it is my turn to speak here at all. You accuse Wilmot of something which is a mere parroting of something he had nothing to do with! For I am the author of that song.”
I paused. I could hear them drawing in their breath, I could see their cheeks go flush with red, and I plunged right along.
“Yes, I wrote it, and I wrote it for the people of Chester, for I was at the battle of Shrewsbury with my brother ,and we saw it all. The bravery with which Hotspur and the Scot fought against your Henry, the lines of Cheshire men moved down as they stood stock still with bows in hand, how Henry cut the heads from noble Cheshire gentlemen on the second day after battle, and hung them up like pigs on the walls of the city... My brother and I wrote the song, and we wrote it for a reason, and if you fathom it not, or wish to give me grief for it, then you know not wherefore it comes, or why, only that you are disturbed by it, but many are not.”
“Many are not, are they, Master Tavernier? We have eaten of your table. You offer good food and drink, and it is said that if it were not for your tavern, that the people hereabout would be of a different nature, for you give them occupation. Therefore we cannot lay upon you the same type of punishment we might seek for a mere blasphemer such as Wilmot here, or for a typical speaker against the King.”
“I am a free man, and nobody is the boss of me!”
I could feel the old twinge of defiance creep back into my speech, and while I clenched my fist to fight the urge to say more, the words poured forth again, unbroken. Not a word did I mention of the strange Welshman, nor of what I knew of his speech with Aleuderis Burian, for now I was concerned with Wilmot, and myself, alone.
“I do not say the King is wicked, for such as I have seen of him and his son, yet they have done wicked things to the people of my own shire. I came here in fact, to be rid of the type of trouble which they put upon friends of mine. I hold no fealty to you, but to Anselm, who rest his soul is not here among you, but were he so, he would laugh in your faces as well, you petty nobles, with nothing better to do than trouble the poor, tax us blind, and hold us to account for more than our means can provide you. I had no trouble with Anselm for my song, and I will have none from you. For it was not my choice that it be sung again, I held a warning from Anselm to be plain and clear. Rather it was the impudence of young Wilmot, who was but repeating something he heard, and lacking other devices, chose to sing it in place of any other song he might have, and he cared not who heard, because what has he to fear? He is only a minstrel after all, and a young one, learning his way in the world. If you are to punish anyone at all, you must punish me, but I am not afraid of your cruelty, for such it is well known far and wide, and nothing you can do to me can change what has already been decided by the Lord of Heaven, anyway.”
The silence was thick now, and the lords did not reply. For a moment I could hear the larks outside singing, and with its song I felt a little more courage creep into my heart. I needed it, for what they had next.
“Then hear this, tavernkeeper. We forego a punishment of whips or pillory. Instead, you are to furnish us at table full for a month’s time, and we are welcome in your tavern for that full time, and there will be no singing of songs against the king while we are there, nor will we brook any while we yet reside here at this castle. You will provide us this table at your own expense, not ours, and we will have succor full, in as many ways we choose, and you shall not complain of it.”
I had no idea what the cost of all that might be but I resigned myself to the loss of at least a couple of month’s worth of shillings to share out with Moselles. One month would cost me at least that much and another, especially if they were the gluttons that they had proven to be before.
I suppose it were a good alternative, if you like, to being whipped or stoned, but I had steeled myself at the thought of that. Instead, they sought to hurt me in the purse, a wound I felt much quicker, much keener, than any plain physical brutality might inflict.
The noble named Carldwiss, who sat with Micah’s crozier perched like a mantis’ leg across his chest and knee, leaned over and leered at me.
“You see, we will have what we like, Master Julian. Would be you should be quite content with what we shall take, and not take your wife, as we are at it!”
I hardly knew what to say to this, but I knew that any attempt to force Mary to give of herself as long as I were nearby would end badly— for them, not me. I said nothing. The nobles then dismissed Wilmot, and we very disagreeably left the hall, and headed out the castle’s gate, making our way on Magdalene rather slowly. Wilmot was full of questions.
“What do you think they are going to do? When do you think they will come? How will we provide for everyone else?
“You ask much I know not how to answer,” I said. “They will come when they come. I should think it will not be tonight, or even tomorrow, but they will come when they fancy, and it will be perhaps when we least expect them. So therefore we must be wary and expect them at any time. Look, we should go to town tomorrow— do not look at me that way, I know, it’s your day off! But we should go tomorrow and stock up on a number of things, that we have three times as many of those things we always get. I shall use more of the seed money which Anselm gave me, that we do not have to purchase things out of the last week’s earnings. You shall come with me. We will speak with our suppliers, and we will tell them of this. I am sure that when some of them hear it they will not be pleased. The more we might stir resentments against these men— who after all, have done much themselves to arouse it— the quicker will come the day when they put up and leave Newlyn. The nerve of that joker, to threaten me for my wife! But so they are, just that type of men.”
My disgust must have lingered in the air, for now Wilmot was silent, and said not a word until we were back at the tavern, and he scuttled off to help Deprez, and carry the news to the rest of our crew.
It turned out that we waited two whole weeks before they showed their hungry faces at the door of The Lady. And we could tell they were hungry, indeed, it seemed perhaps they all had fasted for several days, before descending upon her like a swarm of busy wasps! Pamela and Deprez were quite hard pressed, in keeping up with them, that first day.
The top one, Eldfarm, ate two chickens, right off. He drank a hogshead full of wine and then an entire bowl full of pears. Seven pence! I could see it all adding up in my head.
The one named Sugarsop ate up a good side of beef all on his own, it seemed, at least. There was another tuppence!
The noble named Beaufort threw a fit when the pork shoulder he charged was not “just so” to his liking and Deprez, the poor man, was tasked with recooking it for another hour, basting it with mint sauce all the while, for Beaufort was a pig among pigs, and had the need to eat one like one. The pork shoulder was then (by his word) a little too well done, and he left huge portions of it uneaten on his trencher, and banged his cup on the table, demanded wine, which was brought, and laughed with the others at the commotion they were causing.
Meanwhile, there were others at the tavern we needed to serve, and they were either doing without, or were made to wait, as we held to the attentions of the Devon retainers, and they kept up with their demands. One of them got up to use the latrines, but when he did so, he found it blocked by several of our other guests, who forded him to go in public against the wall of The Lady. He was quite angered, and whispered something to Eldfarm, who then demanded my presence and tried to take me to task.
“Well sire,” I concluded, “if the people are giving you a hard time here, you are welcome to leave...”
“We will go when ready, and we will not be importuned by serfs!”
He flushed red, swilled another cup of wine, and banged his fist on the table.
“You and your little place here are lucky we did not come to burn you down! Take care how you speak to superiors!”Again, I said nothing, knowing the better part of valor would indeed be discretion, even among people like this full of themselves and full of hatred for anyone who was born at a lesser station than they. I wondered how they might behave in the presence of others greater, but I could tell they probably would have a different demeanor, then.
And so they ate, belched, farted, snored, groaned, caroused, and havocked through the night, until midnight, and then quick as foxes, they got up suddenly, and left. Poor Will, who had been tasked with caring for their horses, was roused from his slumbers and forced to saddle the nags, and appeared in the kitchen when they had finally gone, rubbing his eyes, and asking for wine himself
“So, zey are gone? Good!” said Deprez. “Ze nex’ time zey come, I shall make for them my chef’s surprise!”
Heavens only knows what he meant by that, but I would leave it to their next visit to discover.
They had cost us nearly five shillings just by coming through our doors, that night, at least three day’s worth of regular business, and I could only hope they would visit only infrequently.
As it happened, that was the case, for they came again only once, and it was a fortnight later, when it was a full moon, I remember, and when there were even fewer of our local people there than the first night.
This time, of course, Deprez had promised “a chef’s surprise” and it was not long before I found out what he had planned. In fact I advised against it, but he would not listen to me. His mind was set, and so it was.
I didn’t ask then what he was doing, on the next visit of the nobles, when I came into the kitchen, and found him dribbling spit and snot into a ramekin. He offered that himself.
“Ah, Julian! I am readying my secret sauce for ze beeg cheeses! I shall get ze last the laugh, for sure!” and he laughed a most demonic kind of laugh, which I had only heard, actually, on the lips of the nobles themselves. I said nothing.
When he had filled the ramekin (and that had taken quite a bit of time) he mixed its contents into another bowl in which he had prepared his hen sauce, with herbs, with cream and wine, and with a grated turnip. And he proceeded to the two fat hens that they had ordered and began merrily basting them with “his secret ingredient.” I stifled a laugh, for while I felt empathic, and deeply resented the nobles for their imposition upon our establishment, I had the thought that indeed, there were worse things which Deprez might have chosen with which to baste their chicken, and again, discretion being the better part, I went back to the nobles and told them their hens would be ready soon.
“Then they had better be, churl! Listen here, give us more mead! More perry! More hippocras!” raved Beaufort. This was seconded by Carldwiss banging the crozier noisily upon the floor.
Pamela and I found our hands full as we scrambled back and forth from their table carrying the pitchers of drink, filled each of them (at least three times, that night!) and avoided he trash which they saw fit to toss right on the floor. It was a good thing I did not allow my dog the run of the tavern, but kept him safely outside near the chickens, because he would have loved to get at the chicken bones and other scraps which copiously appeared beneath each noble’s feet as the night progressed.
That night, not only did they eat both the “most exquisite, delicious hens” with no further comment, but devoured an entire ham (which was actually, one of the legs of Chubb, Moselles’ pig, who had gone to his maker that summer, with our help) and five entire salmons, which had been bought from the fisherman Walsoff that morning, and which I had been hoping they actually might ignore. No such luck!
Eldfarm rubbed his greasy cheeks and smiled, when he had finally cleared his plates, and spoke to me.
“Now, Master Julian, we have concluded your penance. We do hope you have learned the lesson we had to teach you. You would do well to never speak in anger or spite against the lord of the land, our good King Henry, and to have some respect for us. There is no telling ho long, or short, our stay shall be at the castle of Trewidden. But while we are here, we expect that all shall know their place, and that we of the king’s service will be well-serviced and catered to.”
With that, he gave out a fat belch, and rose, and so did the others with him. Sugarsop threw a chicken bone aside as a parting gesture, as they made their way out the door. This time, Will was awake and ready for them when they left, so they were not able to annoy him with kicks and pokes as they had on their trip before.
I found Deprez leaned up against the doorway, as though his ear had been cocked to the hall, as I came to the kitchen with an armful of plates and cups. He had a strange, serene smile on his face, and wiped his hands on his smock in what could only have been glee, and merry appreciation that his plan had not been discovered.
“Now, when ve speak of zem, ve shall alvays call zem “Ze snot-eating scum of Devon, ohn, Julian?”
I nodded. It was perhaps better left unsaid that we had, in that, a small sense of satisfaction that while the mighty had seen fit to “correct our impudence” there were some things about which they had absolutely no clue, nor would they ever.