Patrick's Ill Tidings
It is indeed a suspicious occasion when Patrick offers to buy the ale. It is even more suspicious when he forgoes sipping upon Madeira so that he can “drink ale with his mate.” Mate of mine he may be, but I trusted his actions no farther than I could toss his spindly body.
After a few pints the story finally came out. It turns out that my many close calls with the bony finger of death were not from any curse or wrath of God, but instead were the result of Patrick’s own cowardly action. I had half a mind to beat him with my barstool but a leopard cannot change his spots as the sailors say and it would be silly of me to expect bravery from a man whose length is greater than his breadth.
It turns out that my mystery assailant was Nigel Clonfert, a nasty bit of work that plied his trade at the Griffin selling what had “fallen off the backs of wagons.” Men such as Clonfert need dealing with quickly, lest they think they have you at their mercy. Thus named, I approached Clonfert at the Griffin and after a brief conference which transpired with the point of my dirk at his back I learned what all the fuss had been about.
To wit: When Patrick attempted to sell him papers, Patrick had none. Patrick then blabbed that I was meeting Mr. Gray. Mr. Gray did not have the papers, so by means of subtraction I must be in possession of them.
I explained to Clonfert that his notions were both ridiculous and insulting. I would not be living in Jack Shepherd’s closet if such a treasure was in my possession. Moreover, would I not have come to Clonfert himself to help me sell such an item? Clonfert soon came round to my way of thinking and being an obliging sort offered to buy me a round. I confess that one round became many and the morning found Clonfert and I arm in arm toasting the dawn.