…some work in progress from the Cazique of Poyais story…
London sprawled and bustled with activity, particularly by the docks and in the city, where Emma and the twins had spent much of their time. There was a dirty air to it, a smog that covered every orifice. Paris on the other hand, though not squeaky clean, had a certain grandeur to it, with the vast palaces and beautiful buildings all about.
They were all quite taken in by it as they wandered the streets near the Champs Elysee, wondering how on earth they would find a man such as MacGregor in a city such as this. None of them were very used to the idea of even being in a big city, not to speak of actually navigating one. A skill which locals build up over a lifetime.
As they wandered about, after a day of walking up and down the streets looking for something, though not exactly sure what, they decided to take a seat in a local cafe for some rest and regrouping.
It was another layer of things that they were wholly unused to. They had no concept of where to sit or what to order. Only a few months ago, the only watering hole that any of them had been in was much more basic and unrefined to what they were experiencing.
The waiters all walked by them as they looked for somewhere to sit. They weren’t sure if there was some system, so they just squeezed themselves around the nearest table they could find. No one seemed to notice them or ask them if they’d like something. It suited them just fine as they didn’t have much in terms of money to spend.
“Where on earth are we going to find this man?” Asked Emma, exasperated after more travelling and a day without results.
“There can’t be that many Scottish gentleman in and around Paris. If we can just find one English speaker then I’m sure we’ll be able to find him or at least get an idea of where he hangs out,” replied Jose calmly, not wanting to show his own frustration.
“What are you going to do, ask someone for help?” Chimed in Noemi, unimpressed with her brother’s loose plan of action.
“Yes, I’m going to ask for help. What’s so weird about that?”
“We can’t even get served, so I’m not quite sure how you’ll get these people to help us with the location of a very specific person.”
“We’ve been trying our hardest not to order, so I hardly think that is fair. Let’s try, shall we?”
Jose raised a hand as one of the waiters walked by. He got a curt nod, but no other interaction.
“Maybe they have defined sections or he was on his way to pick something up for another customer. It’s hardly flat out ignoring.”
Neither of the women said anything. They resolved to let Jose play this one out himself.
He raised his hand to signal the next waiter that walked by, again to no avail. There was a growing frustration in him that seeped through to his posture and expressions, shaking his head as each new waiter passed and bashing his hand down on the table each time that it went ignored. It was borderline funny for Noemi and Emma to watch.
“Maybe try in French, brother,” Noemi said in a muted tone, followed by a withheld laugh.
“Very funny sister,” he sniped back at her, “Why don’t you try?”
“Why should I? This is your harebrained scheme. I’ll happily just sit here and rest.”
“Fine,” he said, raising his hand at the next waiter and following with his most exasperated reaction, which lead to him pushing his chair back and standing up. Marching over to the bar, he attempted his best and most polite French (which he had only just picked up on the travels over from England), “Ex-scuz at moy, watter,” to which he at least got some looks, but not any interaction. He thumped his hand against the bar. Finally, this got some reaction. One of waiters walked over to him and nodded, “Quoi?” he asked. Jose had no idea what to say, so he just pointed to the table where they were sitting. All of the anger and frustration which pent up inside of him through the whole ordeal meant that he had completely forgotten what he was going to ask. Getting the waiter back to there table would have to be triumph enough.
The waiter rolled his eyes, but dutifully followed Jose quickly to the table. “Quoi?” He asked again when Jose had sat back down with the women. Deafening silence followed, which forced him to roll his eyes again. “Anglaise.”
“Can you help us?” Asked Emma.
He shrugged with his whole body as if to say that he could, but was hardly inclined to do so when he could be taking orders from people in French.
“We are looking for Gregor MacGregor, a Scot. Does he come here? Do you know where we could find him?” Emma asked, thinking it was about some time for direct talk.
Further shrugging and then gesturing to explain that he was busy.
“Well, do you?”
“I don’t think that that can be a ‘yes’, do you?” Jose said, ignoring the waiter, now that they had gotten what they needed. Now that there was a waiter at their table however it was very difficult to get rid of them. Clearly he needed this to now be worth his time.
“Just buy something, Jose,” said Noemi.
“Fine. Vin rogue, mercy,” he asked, to which the waiter rolled his eyes and walked off.
It was another strange interaction. All they had learned was that one Frenchman probably didn’t know where MacGregor was and they were stuck with buying a bunch of red wine just to find it out.
As they digested the interaction, a man approached them and bowed to them, “Let me introduce myself. I am Gustavus Butler Hippisley. I overheard your conversation with the waiter,” he chuckled to himself and then continued, “if it can indeed to be referred to as a conversation. More like a few people talking at each other. Watch that he doesn’t bring something over to you and try and stiff you with a bill.”
They looked around at each other wondering if this was going to be yet another odd interaction. At least this time they knew the man’s name.
“Sorry to bewilder you all and startle. It is not my intention. I’m just a nosy man, and found your question very interesting.”
“Oh really,” asked Emma, “Do you know where MacGregor is?”
There was no reason to believe the man would and Emma only asked because she thought there wasn’t a chance in hell that he would know. She wanted to vent at him afterwards for coming up and disturbing them. Some of Jose’s anger had infected her and she was having a hard time to contain it. At least, her anger came out in a somewhat dry fashion which meant that Gustavus didn’t notice any of this.
All he said was, “It is your very luckiest of days my dear, because I know exactly where he is.”