[Fools' Guild 08] - The Parisian Prodigal

[Fools' Guild 08] - The Parisian Prodigal by Alan Gordon Read Free Book Online

Book: [Fools' Guild 08] - The Parisian Prodigal by Alan Gordon Read Free Book Online
Authors: Alan Gordon
Tags: Fiction, Historical, Mystery & Detective

    “What?”
    “Lesson the first. We start with the basics.”
    “But I assure you, I am not a fool.”
    “Your assurances are noted and hereby ignored. Say it!” He shrugged. “I am a fool.”
    “That is the beginning of wisdom,” I said. “Here is the same phrase in langue d’oe. ‘I am a fool.’ “
    “I am a fool,” he said in langue d’oc with a pronounced Parisian accent.
    “You are a fool,” I said.
    “You are a fool,” he repeated.
    “He is a fool,” I said, pointing to Hue.
    “He is a fool,” he said, more enthusiastically.
    “She is a fool,” I said, pointing to a serving wench who was sweeping the corridor outside our door.
    “She is a fool.”
    The woman shot him a dirty look.
    “We are fools,” I said, my arms sweeping around to indicate all of us.
    “We are fools.”
    “You are fools,” I said, pointing to both of them.
    “You are fools.”
    “They are fools!” I shouted out the door so that everyone in the tower could hear me.
    “They are fools!” he shouted with me.
    “Truer words were never spoken,” said Sancho, appearing at the doorway. He bowed to Baudoin and nodded amiably at Hue. “Good morning, senhors. Your belongings have been assembled. Excuse the disorder, but we had to search them first.”
    Hue translated to Baudoin.
    “What did he just say?” asked Sancho.
    “He just said what you just said,” I said. “That’s what translators do.”
    “Makes sense,” said Sancho. “I might have figured that one out for myself, had I any sleep the past few days.”
    “Do you speak any langue d’oll?” I asked.
    “I picked up a little bit from some of the French lads in my squad,” he said proudly. “Let me try it out.”
    He turned to the two Parisians and uttered a phrase with extreme confidence. Hue’s face became a mask of horror, while Baudoin stared for a moment, then began to roar with laughter. Sancho looked back at me in consternation.
    “What did I just say?” he asked me.
    “ ‘Roll over, whore, so that I can take you from behind,’ “ I said.
    “Oh,” he said, crestfallen. “Not at all what those French boys told me it meant.”
    “Apparently not.”
    “Still,” he said brightening. “A useful phrase should I find myself in that part of the world.”
    Hue translated his comment to Baudoin, who laughed again and said something.
    “What did he just say?” asked Sancho.
    “That if you ever go to Paris, he knows just the place where it will come in handy.”
    “Tell him much obliged,” said Sancho. “And, if he will be so good as to follow me, I shall take him to his lodgings.” The count maintained a couple of houses within the city walls: one for visiting dignitaries, one for mistresses and gatherings too debauched to be held in the château. Sancho took us to the first one, which was not far from the count’s mills on the river Garonne. A pair of servants carried the bags. It made for a very small parade. The Toulousan children bounced around me, begging for a performance, but I had to decline, regretfully. I tossed them some candies I kept in my pouch to console them for my failure, and they vanished, satisfied. If only adult annoyances could be shooed away so easily. I knew of no candy that could get me out my current predicament.
    The house had an arched opening in the center, leading to an interior courtyard. A pair of soldiers opened the iron gates, nodding at Sancho and looking at Baudoin and Hue with mild curiosity. The room was located directly over the stables, and the two Parisians sniffed the air disdainfully when Sancho showed us in. It was bare of decoration, holding only a pair of beds, a small table on which rested a tin basin and a ewer, and a pair of stools. It looked like it had been recently vacated by a pair of servants.
    “Your horses have already been brought here,” Sancho informed them. “The count thought you would want to be close to them, having traveled so far together. You are to continue with

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