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The execution of the Duke of Bedford, Lord Russel cont.

September 26, 2011

“What do you mean, ‘you lost him’?”

Jack dunked a chunk of his crudely baked bread into the thick soup in front of him, scooping out a variety of what seemed at first glance to be vegetables. Daniel prodded his spoon around in the bowl in front of him, closely inspecting the vegetables therein and found them to be entirely unlike anything he had eaten before. He shoved the bowl aside, Jack eagerly reined it in and drained it in moments.

“What I mean is, that he knew he was being followed and used some kind of clever trickery to get away from me. One moment I was looking right at the back side of his head, the next it, and the Whig below it were gone.” Sounds of someone strumming some kind of stringed instrument started rose gently above the din of the crowded taproom. Jack turned around and looked about the room to find the source of the sounds. He found the culprit on the other side of the room, made eye contact and then a quick gesture. The musician nodded, and began a loud and bawdy country song about how eagerly blind and deaf prostitutes praised his musical prowess and looks. It appeared favourite among the crowd, who immediately set in and sung along with the verses, and laughed riotously in between.

“What about the item?” Jack used the drunken roars around him to shield this part of the conversation from prying eyes. Deciding that Jack was a bit too cunning for his liking, Daniel opted to feign ignorance.

“What item?”

A nasty look crossed Jacks face. “You know damn well what I am talking about, accountant. Did you manage to get your hands on it or not?”

“Oh, that.”

“Yeah, that.” Daniel noticed Jack managed to lay more stress on the second word than should, strictly speaking, even be vocally possible. It was a curious ability of the illiterate vagabond, reminiscent of horrid theatre performances, and slightly unsettling. Daniel imagined it had helped him during his daily dealings with the scum surrounding the Thames.

“His Lordship didn’t even notice it was gone.”

“Let me see, hand it over.” Jack spoke while his face was a perfect mask of greed, as though some ancient Greek actor wore his face, exaggeratedly carved from wood and painted white.

“Do you think me mad?” Daniel managed to look truly offended, “I left it at a safe place, I’m not going to walk into a place like this with something as valuable as that.”

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