Marie put her hands on her hips and looked up.
“Really, Albrecht!” she said in French. “He is most handsome!”
“Well it’s you that married him so you that has to look at him,” he said. “Each to his own.”
“Aren’t you going to say hello?” said Marie.
“Someone comes,” said Albrecht.
The family from Amsterdam were struggling to make sense of a map so barely saw the middle-aged lady with her hands on her hips, admiring the architecture, or her gentleman companion squinting up where she was looking.
“They’re gone,” said Marie.
“What are you saying?” said Sir John, “You’re speaking very quickly and I can’t follow.”
“Albrecht is expressing his admiration of your good taste and refined visage,” said Marie, glancing nervously up at the gargoyle. Sir John smiled and nodded.
“What did you say?” said Albrecht. “I couldn’t follow.”
“What you told me,” said Marie with a blank expression. “More or less.”
“Tell Albrecht I’m delighted to make his acquaintance,” said Sir John to Marie, after the family had passed.
“My husband is pleased to meet you,” said Marie to Albrecht.
“Well, tell him I say hello,” said Albrecht. “I admire a man who can hear the truth and not flinch. Ah, there are more people coming.”
The Japanese lady with her parasol and her husband were buried deep in the guidebook so barely noticed the French lady staring at the gargoyle and her husband nodding appreciatively.
“Well, it’s good to put a face to a name,” said Albrecht, “even if it is hard to look at for too long. But at least one mystery is solved.”
“What mystery is that?” said Marie.
“There have been rumours about a person with some power in the city,” said Albrecht. “Someone who came from England they said. I guess they must mean you.”
“News travels fast,” said Marie. “We’ve only just arrived.”
“We’re being gossiped about?” said Sir John, “Oh, someone else is coming.”
The German gentleman walked by at pace so didn’t notice the well-dressed lady and her gentleman companion looking puzzled at one of the gargoyles.
“So what will you do now?” said Albrecht. “You have come back for a reason?”
“Yes, it’s sort of an … exploration maybe. I am trying to learn something of my … background,” said Marie. “But we are seeing some old friends first. As we are close, I think we will go and visit the bookseller.”
“Dubois?” said Albrecht. “That old fraud? Tell him I said hello and tell him to visit. I never see him these days. I never see anyone these days.”
“I will,” said Marie smiling, “and we’ll come back soon, I promise.”
“Well, you know where I’ll be,” said the gargoyle.
The large fat man and the small thin man clutching a scroll passed on the other side of the street. They seemed deep in thought and so missed the couple waving and turning away from a gargoyle.