The Bristol Town Criers’ search for Jasper Trustworthy’s killer continues!
Emeraude a’Right took a firm grip on her bell, braced for potential confrontation.
“What hast thou got thither, Dog?” she asked, indicating the stick in the junk-seller’s hand – a hollow stick, aye, but of intimidating length and width.
The young man with floppy breeches on his head beamed proudly. “This is a jolly good trade, it what it is. I just sold my old cowbell, and got this fine musical instrument in exchange. Here, have a listen.”
Dog brought the end of the giant stick to his mouth and blew, producing a low, reverberating waa-waa-waa-aah of a sound.
“Hey, that’s not bad,” said Harold Angel, uncharacteristically impressed. “What dost thou call that thing?”
Dog scratched his head. “I’m not sure. Eloisa may have said when she gave it to me, but I can never really understand her.”
“Eloisa?” said Emeraude. “Who’s…? Oh, right – the Swedish governess!”
“Derp-i-derp-i-doo,” Dorcas Oddpicked said in singsong.
“Do that not, cousin,” Emeraude admonished. “It’s culturally insensitive.”
“I’ve got it!” cried Harold.
Emeraude turned to him, wide-eyed. “You think the governess is the killer?”
“Nay, listen!” Harold said and, putting his mouth to his hefty ceramic mug, he intoned, “Waa-waa-waa-aah…” He grinned. “Pretty good, eh? A bit quieter than the stick – you’ve really got to get in close to hear it – but the sound’s almost exactly the same!”
“Very nice,” said Emeraude. “Now quit behaving like a member of the Madcaps Foole’s Troupe and let’s find Eloisa. It could be she was so keen to pass her stick onto Dog because she didn’t want to get caught holding the murder weapon.”
The three Crying cousins set off in search of the Swede, finding her just past the Town Square Public House, sitting atop the short set of stairs leading to nowhere known as the Stump Stage, and yelling indecipherable things at passersby.
“Your pardon, Mistress Governess,” said Emeraude. “Might we have a few words with you?”
“Ja, words, ja!” Eloisa said agreeably. “I know a few.”
“Excellent well. Would you mind telling us where you were in the neighborhood of ten and thirty this morning?”
“Vere I vas this morgen? Ja, I vent valking everywhere. I valked here, and before that I saw the Dog, ja? – and gave him my didi!”
“Gave him your what?” said Harold.
“My didi!” the Swede repeated, gesturing wildly with her hands. “Big stick you blow, make music, ja? My didi-doo!”
“Didi-doos are aerophonic wind instruments developed by the indigenous peoples of northern Australia,” Dorcas said sagely. “Or are those didgeridoos?”
“Either way,” said Emeraude, “where were you just before you met Dog, Eloisa?”
“Before I saw the Dog,” she answered, “I get Jasper Trustworthy! Ja, I get him good!”
The Town Criers gasped at the blatant confession. “So it was you who killed him!” exclaimed Emeraude.
Eloisa frowned. “Killed? Who said anything about killed? I do better than that, ja? I have the witches do this!”
Laughing in triumph, the governess held up a blue wooden lizard, a very familiar hat in miniature upon its tiny reptilian head. “Jasper say he take me back to Sveden, but he never do! So I get him with the witches, and now the last laugh’s on him!”
The Crier’s turned away for a whispered consultation.
“She seems to think that lizard is Jasper,” murmured Harold.
“But we know that Jasper’s napping in the lake,” said Dorcas.
“Soundeth like Bristol’s witches have deceived the Swede,” said Emeraude. “And mayhap disposed of the real Jasper to prevent that deception coming to light.”
“Art thou’s thoughts like unto my own?” Harold asked.
“If you’re thinking we’ve got a show to hawk at the Fountainside Stage in five minutes, then aye,” said Emeraude. “And after that, I think we’d best have a little visit with the Normyl sisters…”
Have the witches of Bristol spelled double, double the toil and trouble for Jasper Trustworthy? Follow the clues to the next installment of my Renaissance Faire serial whodunit!