1636 The Devil’s Opera – Snippet 36

1636 The Devil’s Opera – Snippet 36

Byron gave a sharp grin. “So it is, and that’s the boy that was with him that night at the fights. Don’t know the woman, though.”

Gotthilf decided this was an opportunity for observation. He grinned back. “It’s about time we had something to eat, right?”

          “By all means, partner,” Byron replied. “Let’s duck into the tavern and grab a bite.”

And so they did.

****

          Simon opened his mouth to say something about the Polizei men coming in the door, but Hans looked at him from under lowered eyebrows, so he closed his mouth without saying anything. The three of them proceeded to have what Simon found to be a very pleasant luncheon. He finally sat back, unable to eat any more. Hans looked over at him and winked. “A good day, eh lad?”

Simon nodded with another silly grin.

The three of them sat there for a while, just idly talking about various things that crossed their minds — usually whatever crossed Ursula’s mind. Simon didn’t say much, but his hand would reach up every few minutes and touch his new boots, which action would be followed by another smile.

The pleasantness came to an end for Simon when the two detectives finished their last flagons of ale, stood, and came toward their table. Hans looked at him again, so Simon didn’t say anything. But he did shrink away from them a little. He couldn’t help it. Men like that usually caused him problems.

“Good day to you, Herr Metzger.” That was the up-timer speaking. “And to you, too, lad. I don’t think I heard your name when we met the other night.”

Simon had to clear his throat twice before he could answer. “S-Simon Bayer, sir.”

The up-timer nodded, then looked back at Hans. The down-timer, however, was looking at Ursula. Simon startled to bristle, but Hans’ hand grabbed his leg under the table, and he settled back.

“Good day, Lieutenant Chieske, Sergeant Hoch.” Hans’ voice sounded pleasant to Simon’s ear, although the firmness of the grip on his thigh told him that Hans was not especially pleased by this encounter.

“And a good day to you as well, Fräulein . . .” That was the down-timer sergeant. Simon startled to bristle again, only to feel Hans’ fingers clamp almost to the bone on his thigh.

“Metzger,” Hans growled. “My sister, Ursula Metzgerinin.”

Lieutenant Chieske nodded politely to her, but Sergeant Hoch stepped forward, gently lifted her hand where it lay on the table, and bowed over it, almost but not quite drawing it to his lips. “A pleasure, Fräulein.” He straightened with a pleasant smile on his face.

Simon bit the inside of his cheek to keep from gasping as Hans bore down on his leg. He’d have bruises in the morning, that was certain.

The sergeant stepped back, and Simon gave a sigh of relief as Hans released his leg.

“Just so you’ll know, Herr Metzger,” the lieutenant said, “we’re looking into some odd events that have occurred near the river in the last couple of months.”

Hans grunted.

“If you happen to think of anything unusual you’ve seen or heard, you might let us know.”

Hans grunted again. Simon saw the lieutenant’s mouth twitch a bit.

“Well, we’ve got to get back to work. Enjoy the rest of the day Herr Metzger, Fräulein, Simon.” The sergeant started when his partner tapped him on the shoulder. They both nodded, then turned away. Simon looked to see Hans following their departure with a hard-set mouth and narrowed eyes.

“A nice man, that Sergeant Hoch,” Ursula said with a bit of a smile. “The other one was a bit brusque, though.”

Hans grunted. Simon looked to him, then said to Ursula, “He is an up-timer. They are all a bit odd; some more than others.”

“Ah. An up-timer. I see.” Ursula looked toward the door. “Do you know, I think that is the first up-timer I have met?”

“And please God, it will be the last,” Hans muttered. “They are nothing but trouble.”

Simon had no reply to the last statement.

The whole encounter had cast a pall over the afternoon. They soon arose to return to their rooms.

****

          “What was that all about?” Byron asked, disturbing Gotthilf’s thoughts.

“What was what all about?”

“You made a big deal over Fräulein Metzger back there,” the up-timer pointed out. “You don’t normally do that. So what was it all about?”

“Two things,” Gotthilf answered distractedly. “First, it occurred to me that leaving her with a positive memory of us might be to our advantage. And second, I think I’ve met her before, or at least seen her . . . but I cannot remember where or when.”

He staggered a bit when he was unexpectedly clapped on the shoulder by his partner. “Ah, you’ll remember it sooner or later,” Byron said. “You always do.”

Gotthilf hoped so. This was like having an itch in the middle of his back — he couldn’t reach it.

****

          The rest of the day passed in a fog for Simon. He knew they had to have returned home, because he woke in his usual place the next morning. He knew he had to have changed clothes, because he was wearing some of the new clothing. He knew that he had to have gone to Frau Zenzi’s and swept, because a loaf of her bread was on the table. But all he could remember was the sheer joy of having new-to-him clothes. And shoes. Especially the shoes.

 

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Comments

12 Responses to 1636 The Devil’s Opera – Snippet 36

  1. Willem Meijer says:

    Should it not be Metzgerin, instead of Metgerinin? The male form is Metzger, the female -in does not double, not in the German I learnt in school nor what I hear spoken when I go there.

    • Willem: I noticed that too; I haven’t been to Germany, tho I’d love to visit there; just had 2+ years of German in college, but that has helped me tremendously in reading 163x.

      • ricky says:

        “metzgerinin” ist just nonsense. but “ursula metzgerin” ist also wrong. surnames in german don’t change because of gender.
        but it’s not worse than the german throughout the 163x series.
        for someone who’s first language is german – it’s just hilarious.
        just like they used bubblefish to translate it.
        and – i am sure there are quite a lot of people with german as there native language who would be happy to proofread it in advance.

        • Willem Meijer says:

          In spoken German (perhaps a bit colloquial) referring to a woman with the female form of her surname (die Metzgerin) is not uncommon, a bit like talking about ‘that Smith woman’.

          • ricky says:

            right, you can use it in the spoken language (and yes, it’s indeed a bit colloquial) – but not together with the first name. like: “schau, da kommt die metzgerin” but never “schau, da kommt die ursula metzgerin”

  2. Zak Ryerson says:

    As far as I can tell Ursula does not go out all that often.
    So where and how often would Gotthilf have seen her?
    And I am _Very doutful_ about the effect of Gotthilf’s actio on the Ursula, Hans, or Simon.
    And I still think that Simon’s description of what he saw on the morning The Victim was discovered* _could be_ Important.

    * Simon discovered _The Victim_ floating in the river.

    • Cobbler says:

      If Anna gets out so seldom, how do we have scenes like this? (Snippet 33)

      HANS WALKED UP TO ONE PARTICULAR CART AND GENTLY SET URSULA’S FEET TO THE GROUND IN FRONT OF IT. HIS SISTER STRAIGHTENED HERSELF AS BEST SHE COULD, ADJUSTED HER COAT, AND FACED THE PROPRIETRESS.

      “FRAU ANNA,” WITH A NOD.

      “FRÄULEIN URSULA,” CAME THE RESPONSE FROM WHAT HAD TO BE THE OLDEST WOMAN SIMON HAD EVER SEEN. UNDER HER SCARF HER HAIR WAS PURE WHITE, THE SKIN OF HER BROAD FACE SAGGED IN A VERY TAPESTRY OF WRINKLES, AND THERE DID NOT APPEAR TO BE A TOOTH IN HER HEAD. BUT SHE STOOD STRAIGHT AND HER ALERT EYES GLEAMED FROM THEIR NESTS OF WRINKLES LIKE THOSE OF A CUCKOO. SHE ALSO HAD A HEARTY CHUCKLE, WHICH SOUNDED AT THE NEXT MOMENT.

      “IT’S NOT THAT I’M NOT GLAD TO SEE YOU, LIEBLING, BUT I WONDER WHAT HAS BROUGHT YOU TO OLD ANNA ON THIS BLUSTERY DAY?” SIMON HAD SOME TROUBLE UNDERSTANDING HER. HER WORDS LISPED WITHOUT TEETH IN HER MOUTH TO SHAPE THEM.

      Anna knows the market well. She is well known in the market. Anna is probably known in other markets and fairs and entertainments as well.

    • vikingted says:

      I am thinking perhaps during the Sack of Madgeburg.

  3. Stewart says:

    I suspect Gotthilf may have seen / encountered Ursula during the seige. Old memory.

    Time and the story will tell

  4. Davy says:

    I quit. I’ll wait until the whole book is published, and read it, and maybe even buy it. These snippets don’t seem to be going anywhere. No doubt I’ll get a lot of backchat from people who worship Flint. I don’t see all that much of him here.

    • @Davy: It was David Carrico, not EF, who wrote 36DO. EF just read the first draft and tweaked it a bit, improving it, I am sure, albeit DC is an excellent writer. BTW, you bear the name of one of the best books I have ever read. It is by Edgar Pangborn.

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