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Jabs and Lying Tongues

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“Well you see,” and Vera eagerly gossiped, “Mister ‘Monsieur’ Desaulnier said to I don’t know, Mister Clark starting with the exact words ‘You Englishmen…’ when he himself grew up in England no less.”

 

“He’s English?” her conversation partner asked with astonishment. “But, but he always acts so French! And that accent too? Is it fake?”

 

Vera nodded with the seriousness of the king. Both faces bore traces of academics at meetings.

 

“Madam Nair,” Joseph voice came creeping up behind them, “I thought your froid, cold demeanour a sign of your distance from common talk. I see now that I should have engaged you sooner seeing your vigour in supplying veracity.” he said as he came up to their location in long strides. Vera thought he must’ve thought it graceful, but all she could see was the buffoonery of vain self-centred fops. She also took an instant insult when he addressed her as “madam” in his obnoxious fake accent when she wasn’t even married.

 

“Ah, Mister Desaulnier,” she said savouring the words and the comebacks she was to use, “A pleasure seeing you as well. How has your health been? I can’t imagine humidity treating you well. But enough of that. With the volume of classical quotes you threw out of our last conversing, I can’t imagine your interest in us silly girls with our silly thoughts entertaining your scholarly interests.” Unfortunately for Vera, Joseph showed no sign of insult at her jabs about age nor pretentiousness. His smile remained icy, and his figure remained poised.

 

“Madam, you praise me and belittle yourself too much. With my age, it is only natural for me to be well read, or it would insult mankind’s keenness for knowledge, yet you kept up with our debate tit for tat despite your youth. Truly, admirable.”

 

Unbeknownst to either, Vera’s learnt nasally voice and Joseph’s pretend accent fell away to their natural voices in the fire of their conversation. Unbeknownst to either, the girl Vera had been gossiping with familiarly had slipped away. Unbeknownst to either, Eli Clark had chanced upon them and was weighing the danger of intervention against his good-natured tendencies. Unbeknownst to either, Naib, leaning against a wall, was staring at them with great fascination, mechanically chewing his sandwich. Unbeknownst to either, Tracy walked into the street humming and walked backwards out of the street silent. Unbeknownst to either, Aesop who had reemerged after half a month was left wondering when the famous friends had become sworn enemies.