The Impresario Part Fifteen

part-fifteen

 

Regalus and Pierre come upon the tail of a mounted entourage

Flanked, by her knights of the household, rides

On bearers’ shoulders, a lady in a litter

Footmen armed with cudgels seem to relish

No less than those well-distanced from their blows

The abject cringe of beggars venturing close

“Oh, she is very good,” breathes Regalus, as a white hand

Ringed with sapphire and ruby, flings coins that splash

Or sink in mud, in desperation trodden underfoot

Pierre enfolds her in his cloak and walks her face to face

To safety, sheltered overhead, beneath a sleeping loft

And with a wondering passion bends to look into her eyes.

“Regalus! Do you not suppose that you might as easily…as

Worthily, I say, occupy that seat?”

“Don’t speak me such a word! Don’t make some devil envy me!”

She flushes…and he lets her be. Here a hooded figure

Joins them, leading by the skirt another. Regalus embraces

One and then the next. “Tortu, it will be well, it will. Oh!”

She strokes the Dauphin’s dangling sleeve. “My poor Michel!”

“No, never trouble over me,” he answers.

“We have spent nothing of our master’s gold.

So then, if Pierre knows the man to bribe…”

“Let us,” Pierre cautions him, “go inside.”

This lower chamber serves the street

They find a bench on which to sit

At Pierre’s sign the pot-boy sloshes up

Leaving a U-shaped dribble midst the rushes

“No,” the seer says, “I know this game. Not his prisoners alone—

The jailer has his reputation under lock and key

And think you how it is that kings and queens

Betimes await the block and bide in towers

But rarely do their wealthy friends gain for them liberty.”

***

Copyright 2017 Stephanie Foster

 

 

 

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