The Impresario: an alphabet (part thirteen)

part-thirteen

 

Part Thirteen

 

Pierre, rocking back, raises his flask with a solemn, studied lack

Of impudence (although the features of his face

tend against him)

The baron, he notes, has an arrogant flare of nostril

and curl of upper lip, yet

He does not fully sneer in spurning this.

Saying merely, “Do your best. I have set the warden to mark

the hour, and when my time is done here, the prisoner

must call himself counselled.”

“However,” says Pierre. “He must know what is charged against him.”

“Precisely those things”—the baron’s eyes are, without a doubt,

most scornful—“to which he has confessed. I have seen the document.”

“Then, of course, as you have furnished me not one proof, but two,

I must believe my poor friend guilty. But, monsieur, I am an

ignorant, unschooled man. Would it not amuse you to enlighten me?”

“Testimony has been given…”

“By a man named Boniface…”

“Villain! Will you hear, or not? In any case, by two or three

Taken since the outrage at the fair, with suppurating sores…”

“Ah! They were first taken by the village whore.”

“Scoundrel! I leave you with a word.”

 

“Never weep,” Pierre tells Regalus, after the door bangs shut.

“The baron plays his role to spare the dignity of the court.

That it be not accused of killing out of hand.

As to the prisoner—see, he wakes!—he

will feel unequal to his counsellor’s word. But I will give it,

and urge on him a better choice.”

She wipes her eyes with a bloodstained sleeve,

Mouths the first consonant of her betrothed’s name, “Q—

The prisoner whispers, “What day is it now?

I think, at last, they have let me sleep.”

 

Part Fourteen

 

(copyright 2017 Stephanie Foster)

 

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