The Impresario (part eighteen)
The vintner’s house still darkened
By a shade. And it, avenged or no—he sees it now
—will never loose its hold
A girl knocks begging for a room and offers gold
He has not spoken even to his servant
For many days
Yet seeing a daughter in her guileless eyes
Says, “No, my child, you have been ill-advised.
Put your purse away. I will send my own Marie…”
He falters, helpless murmurs, “…make appeal to the abbess.”
Regalus dares not look behind
Where Tortu holds her by the hand
But her angel keeps faith, rain finds its way
A deluge swamps the street, and by the hearth
A sudden drip, drip, drip falls splashing
“Tonight, perhaps,” he sighs, “you had best remain.”
“I have a friend. Will you be so good, monsieur,
As to make only a pallet on the floor?”
Pierre has gone to search for Boniface; the Dauphin for a word
Of the wax-man or Madame Poupée
And Regalus still, shamed to shrink, did cling to him
“No, trust in Pierre’s plan.” With a friendly scorn
Michel had touched his brow to hers.
“I was born this way, you know. I get along.
Now I leave you in the company of Tortu.”
And yet the plan…tonight she broods awake
Knots her beads into a Y to hold a promise
Was this the bed her love slept in, not long past?
Can he be well, or does he lie in agony,
Even as she thinks of him?
Afraid of all she dreams, Regalus ponders
“Who do you suppose Boniface hates,
for ransoming the seer into servitude?
The Kentishman is a creature of the Friar
A man who keeps his word, and pays his debts.
Thus of petitioners demands Gaspard no less.
(Pierre had laughed)
Allow that word to be
a hair’s breadth misintoned; allow that debt to fall
A denier short…the beggar may then dine
on his own liver. However—”
Regalus had stopped him with a brush of hands.
“Surely Boniface is not the man…?”
“Oh, yes. You grasp, for what it’s worth, my subtlety.
The place must be secured; none of our class may fill it.
But once secured, be sure the arms of Boniface
Will take the field to meet our man in combat.”
(2017, Stephanie Foster)