The Impresario Part Twelve

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The prisoner’s advocate begins to feel himself followed

It seems to him a certainty the footpad is that fellow

Who gives his name in fraudulent humility as Pierre

“Only that.” And loiters round the guardhouse.

The advocate turns on a heel, making the jailer’s victualer

Behind him stagger, dropping the joint

Wrenched from a boiling carcass, possibly of mutton

“No harm done, milord, no harm done.” The jailer’s man

mutters, taking it up at once, and smearing on his blouse

A swath of grease in the shape of a letter X

The advocate sees indeed

Two figures skulk in his train

“By my fortune”—he swears his strongest oath

His fortune coined from trade in Tuscan terra cotta

New elevated to baronial rank

He is entitled to the sword he draws

And shows his stength of arm in balancing the point

At Pierre’s throat

“Begone from here, thou rogue!”

“Worthy lord…and you as well, my worthy jailer’s cur.

I dare not bow. Yet witness what I plainly state before your ears.

I mean to second your good promptings, good monsieur.

Shall I tell you your advice? You will trust me better.”

“Tell me…!” The merchant-baron lowers his sword

His sputter interrupted by the turnkey

“I cannot wake the prisoner!

…Pardon me.” He laces fingers at his waist, and bends his knees.

“I speak out of turn, monsieur le baron.

I apologize, if it please your excellence,

I shall begin again…” Clouting the turnkey on the shoulder,

the advocate presses past,

to enter the cell with a shake of the head. Pierre’s boy,

who had been silent, crosses before him like a shadow

And most extraordinary to the advocate’s eye

Kneels on the filthy floor of stone.

Throwing back his cowl he croons, “O, my poor love!”

Holding the prisoner’s hand in his own

***

Copyright 2017 Stephanie Foster

 

 

 

 

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