Sir Lens' introduction of Doctor von Cushing had been intended as the
climax of the evening.
Sir Lens had expected the diners to retire immediately afterwards, but to
his annoyance many of them seemed
to be reluctant to do so. He had told his chief serving man that no more
wine or beer was to be brought,
but there were enough half-full bottles and flagons on the tables to keep
the revellers going for a while
yet. The host was supposed to be the last to leave, but he felt dog tired.
In the end he went to bed, hoping that the hall wouldn't be left in too
much of a shambles by the time
the last drunkard departed.
Lindsey was hovering near the Chanticleer. He had overheard her being given orders to snatch away goblets the instant they were empty, so they could be returned to the kitchen, so he made sure that his own goblet was never empty. "When you get off for the night," he said to her, "why not come to my room, and we could have a good time? I'm on the first floor of the west wing, third door on the left." "You are awful," she said with a giggle, but she didn't say no, which he felt was encouraging.
Meanwhile Fred and Von Cushing were still talking, much to Locke's annoyance. He would have liked to drag Denom away, but he didn't quite dare. So he just listened, ready to jump in if the conversation looked like taking a dangerous turn.
"From the way you talk, you seem to think that the dragon had only a single lair," Fred was saying. "But what if he had two? That might explain why his body has not been found by those who have been searching the Southern Caves. Perhaps he lies dead in his second lair?" "An interesting theory. So where do you think I should look?" "I really couldn't say. Do you know a Doctor Vincent Priceless?" "There was a well-known natural philosopher of that name. I used to correspond with him. But his ideas got increasingly strange. Then, one day some fifteen years ago, he simply disappeared, and nobody has heard of him since. He is presumed to be dead." "That is unfortunate, as I have a hunch that were he alive he could tell you much about the dragon."
"I think we should retire for the night," Locke interrupted, afraid that Denom might say too much and claim to have killed the dragon. "The servants have got to clear up after us, and then do the washing up, and it's not fair to keep them up so late. After all, many of them will have to be up at cock-crow to prepare our breakfasts." "You're right," Von Cushing said. "Good Night." And he stood up and walked out of the hall.
"Getting a bit nervous, were you?" Fred goaded Locke. Locke ignored him, and turned to offer to escort the Lady Rowena to her room.
10/8/2000 12:06:19 PM
The Never Ending Quest Home
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