This is one of the books which features Lord Vetinari in quite a large role, and so only a handful of his scenes have been included here. There are so many wonderful ones to choose from that the best thing you could do would be to reread the book. The scenes presented below are your humble transcriber's particular favorites.
Warning: Thar be spoilers ahead. You have been warned.
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|First||The Patrician meets with the civic leaders to discuss the situation with Klatch.|
|Second||Sergeant Colon, Corporal Nobbs, and Leonard of Quirm are greeted by His Lordship upon their arrival at the docks.|
|Third||The passengers of the Boat play the "Make Words With Letters That Have All Been Mixed Up Game," and his Lordship's skill with languages is elaborated upon.|
|Fourth||The Marketplace; His Lordship's skill as an entertainer displayed, Sgt Colon's talents as a clown likewise displayed, Cpl Nobbs's skill as an exotic dancer emphatically not displayed; the comparison of politics to juggling. [This is your humble transcriber's favorite scene from the entire book.]|
|Fifth||His Lordship is arrested.|
Lord Vetinari looked attentive, because he'd always found that listening keenly to people tended to put them off.
And at meetings like this, when he was advised by the leaders of the city, he listened with great care because what people said was what they wanted him to hear. He paid a lot of attention to the spaces outside the words, though. That's where the things were that they hoped he didn't know and didn't want him to find out.
Currently he was paying attention to the things that Lord Downey of the Assassins' Guild was failing to say in a lengthy exposition of the Guild's high level of training and value to the city. The voice, eventually, came to a stop in the face of Vetinari's aggressive listening.
'Thank you, Lord Downey,' he said. 'I'm sure we shall all be able to sleep a lot more uneasily for knowing all that. Just one minor point...I believe the word "assassin" actually comes from Klatch?'
'And I believe also that many of your students are, as it turns out, from Klatch and its neighbouring countriees?'
'The unrivalled quality of our education...'
'Quite so. What you are telling me, in point of fact, is that their assassins have been doing it longer, know their way around our city and have had their traditional skills honed by you?'
The Patrician turned to Mr Burleigh.
'We surely have superiority in weapons, Mr Burleigh?'
'Oh, yes. Say what you like about dwarfs, but we've been turning out some superb stuff lately,' said the President of the Guild of Armourers.
'Ah. That at least is some comfort.'
'Yes,' said Burleigh. He looked wretched. 'However, the thing about weapons manufacture...the important thing...'
'I believe you are about to say that the important thing about the business of weaponry is that it is a business,' said the Patrician.
Burleigh looked as though he'd been let off the hook onto a bigger hook.
'That, in fact, the weapons are for selling.'
'To anyone who wishes to buy them.'
'Regardless of the use to which they are going to be put?'
The armaments manufacturer looked affronted.
'Pardon me? Of course. They're weapons.'
'And I suspect that in recent years a very lucrative market has been in Klatch?'
'Well, yes... the Seriph needs them to pacify the outlying regions...'
The Patrician held up his hand. Drumknott, his clerk, gave him a piece of paper.
'The "Great Leveller" Cart-Mounted Ten-Bank 500-pound Crossbow?' he said. 'And, let me see...the "Meteor" Automated Throwing Star Hurler, Decapitates at Twenty Paces, Money Back If Not Completely Decapitated?'
'Have you ever heard of the D'regs, my lord?' said Burleigh. 'They say the only way to pacify one of them is to hit him repeatedly with an axe and bury what's left under a rock. And even then, choose a heavy rock.'
The Patrician seemed to be staring at a large drawing of the 'Dervish' Mk III Razor-Wire Bolas. There was a painful silence. Burleigh tried to fill it up, always a bad mistake.
'Besides, we provide much-needed jobs in Ankh-Morpork,' he murmured.
'Exporting these weapons to other countries,' said Lord Vetinari. He handed the paper back and fixed Burleigh with a friendly smile.
'I'm very pleased to see that the industry has done so well,' he said. 'I will bear this particularly in mind.'
He placed his hands together carefully. 'The situation is grave, gentlemen.'
'Whose?' said Mr Burleigh.
'What? Oh...I was thinking about something else, my lord...'
'I was referring to the fact that a number of our citizens have bone out to this wretched island. As have, I understand, a number of Klatchians.'
'Why are our people going out there?' said Mr Boggis of the Thieves' Guild.
'Because they are showing a brisk pioneering spirit and seeking wealth and...additional wealth in a new land,' said Lord Vetinari.
'What's in it for the Klatchians?' said Lord Downey.
'Oh, they've gone out there because they are a bunch of unprincipled opportunists always ready to grab something for nothing,' said Lord Vetinari.
'A masterly summation, if I may say so, my lord,' said Mr Burleigh, who felt he had some ground to make up.
The Patrician looked down again at his notes. 'Oh, I do beg your pardon,' he said, 'I seem to have read those last two sentences in the wrong order...'
'Because, Lord Selachii,' the Patrician was saying, 'these are not the old days. It is no longer considered ...nice...to send a warship over there to, as you put it, show Johnny Foreigner the error of his ways. For one thing, we havein't had any warships since the Mary-Jane sank four hundred years ago. And times have changed. These days, the whole world watches. And, my lord, you are no loner allowed to say "What're you lookin' at?" and black their eyes.' He leaned back. 'There's Chimeria, and Khanli, and Ephebe, and Tsort. And Muntab, these days, too. And Omnia. Some of these are powerfull nations, gentlemen. Many of them don't like Klatch's current expansionist outlook, but they don't like us much, either.'Back to the Top
'Whyever not?' said Lord Selachii.
'Well, because during our history those we haven't occupied we've tended to wage war on,' said Lord Vetinari. 'For some reason the slaughter of thousands of people tends to stick in the memory.'
'Oh, history,' said Lord Selachii. 'That's all in the past!'
'A good place for history, agreed,' said the Patrician solemnly.
'I meant: why don't they like us now? Do we owe them money?'
'No. Mostly they owe us money. Which is, of course, a far better reason for their dislike.'
'How about Sto Lat and Pseudopolis and the other cities?' said Lord Downey.
'They don't like us much, either.'
'Why not? I mean t'say, we do share a common heritage,' said Lord Selachii.
'Yes, my lord, but that common heritage largely consists of having had wars with one another,' said the Patrician. 'I can't see much support there. Which is a little unfortunate because we do not, in fact, have an army. I am not, of course, a military man but I believe that one of those is generally considered vital to the successful prosecution of a war.'
He looked along the table.
'The fact is,' he went on, 'that Ankh-Morpork has been violently against a standing army.'
'We all know why people don't trust an army,' said Lord Downey. 'A lot of armed men, standing around with nothing to do...they start to get ideas...'
Vimes saw heads turn towards him.
'My word,' he said, with glassy brightness, 'can this be a reference to "Old Stoneface" Vimes, who lead the city's militia in a revolt against the rule of a tyrannical monarch in an effort to bring some sort of freedom and justice to the place? I do believe it is! And was he Commander of the Watch at the time? Good heavens, yes, as a matter of fact he was! Was he hanged and dismembered and buried in five graves? And is he a distant ancestor of the current Commander? My word, the coincidences just pile up, don't they?' His voice went from manic cheerfulness to a growl. 'Right! That's got that over with. Now - has anyone got any point they wish to make?'
There was a general shifting of position and a group clearing of throats.
'What about mercenaries?' said Boggis.
'The problem with mercenaries,' said the Patrician, 'is that they need to be paid to start fighting. And, unless you are very lucky, you end up paying them even more to stop -'
Selachii thumped the table.
'Very well, then, by jingo!' he snarled. 'Alone!'
'We could certainly do with one,' said Lord Vetinari. 'We need the money. I was about to say that we cannot afford mercinaries.'
'How can this be?' said Lord Downey. 'Don't we pay our Taxes?'
'Ah, I thought we might come to that,' said Lord Vetinari. He raised his hand and, on cue again, his clerk placed a piece of paper in it.
'Let me see now...ah yes. Guild of Assassins...Gross earnings in the last year: AM$13,207,048. Taxes paid in the last year: forty-seven dollars, twenty-two pence and what on examination turned out to be a Hershebian half-dong, worth one-eighth of a penny.'
'That's all perfectly legal! The Guild of Accountants-'
'Ah yes. Guild of Accountants: gross earnings AM$7,999,011. Taxes paid: nil. But, ah, yes, I see they applied for a rebate of AM$200,000.'
'And what we received, I may say, included a Hershebian half-dong,' said Mr Frostrip of the Guild of Accountants.
'What goes around comes around,' said Vetinari calmly.
He tossed the paper aside. 'Taxation, gentlemen, is very much like dairy farming. The task is to extract the maximum amount of milk with the minimum of moo. And I am afraid to say that these days all I get is moo.'
'Are you telling us that Ankh-Morpork is bankrupt?' said Downey.
'Of course. While, at the same time, full of rich people. I trust they have been spending their good fortune on swords.'
'And you have allowed this wholesale tax avoidance?' said Lord Selachii.
'Oh, the Taxes haven't been avoided,' said Lord Vetinari. 'Or even evaded. They just haven't been paid.'
'That is a disgusting state of affairs!'
The Patrician raised his eyebrows. 'Commander Vimes?'
'Would you be so good as to assemble a squad of your most experienced men, liaise with the tax gatherers and obtain the accumulated back Taxes, please? My clerk here will give you a list of the prime defaulters.'
'Right, sir. And if they resist, sir?' said Vimes, smiling nastily.
'Oh, how can they resist, commander? This is the will of our civic leaders.' He took the paper his clerk proffered. 'Let me see, now. Top of the list-'
Lord Selachii coughed hurriedly. 'Far too late for that sort of nonsense now,' he said.
'Water under the bridge,' said Lord Downey.
'Dead and buried,' said Mr Slant.
'I paid mine,' said Vimes.
'So let me recap, then,' said Vetinari. 'I don't think anyone wants to see two grown nations scrapping over a piece of rock. We don't want to fight, but-'
'By jingo, if we do, we'll show those-' Lord Selachii began.
'We have no ships. We have no men. We have no money, too,' said Lord Vetinari. 'Of course, we have the art of diplomacy. It is amazing what you can do with the right words.'
'Unfortunately, the right words are more readily listened to if you also have a sharp stick,' said Lord Downey.
'Ah, sergeant,' said Lord Vetinari, entering in front of them 'And Corporal Nobbs, too. Leonard has explained everything to you?'Back to the Top
'You can't ask us to go in that thing, sir! It'll be suicide!' said Colon.
The Patrician brought his hands together in front of his lips in the manner of someone praying, and sucked air thoughtfully.
'No. No, I think you are wrong,' he said at last, as if reaching a conclusion on some complex metaphysical conundrum. 'I think that, in all probability, going into that thing would be a valiant and posibly rewarding deed. I would venture to suggest that, in fact, it is not going that would be suicidal. But I would apprecite your views.'
Lord Vetinari was not a heavily built man and, these days, he walked with the aid of an ebony cane. [Transcriber's note: I find this odd, considering his skipping in the marketplace later on. Perhaps the cane is a ruse?] No-one could remember seeing him handle a weapon, and a flash of unaccustomed insight told Sergeant Colon that this was not in fact a comforting thought at all. They said he'd been educated at the Assassins' School, but no-one remembered what weapons he'd learned. He'd studied languages. And suddenly, with him in front of you, this didn't seem like the soft option.
Sergeant Colon knew he was facing one of the most dangerous moments in his career.Back to the Top
There was nothing for it. He was out of options.
'Er...if I add this A and this O and this I and this D,' he said, the sweat pouring down his pink cheeks, 'then I can use that V to make "avoid." Er...and that gets me, er, a...what d'you call these blue squares, Len?'
'A "Three Times Ye Value of Thee Letter" score,' said Leonard of Quirm.
'Well done, sergeant,' said Lord Vetinari. 'I do believe that puts you in the lead.'
'Er...I do believe it does, sir,' squeaked Sergeant Colon.
'However, I find that you have left me the use of my U, N and A, B, L, E,' the Patrican went on, 'which incidentally lands me on this Three Times the Whole Worde square and, I rather suspect, wins me the game.'
Sergeant Colon sagged with relief.
'A capital game, Leonard,' said Vetinari. What did you say it was called?'
'I call it the "Make Words With Letters That Have All Been Mixed Up Game", my lord.'
'Ah, yes. Obviously. Well done.'
'Huh, an' I got three points,' mumbled Nobby. 'They was perfectly good words that you wouldn't let me have, too.'
'I'm sure the gentlemen don't want to know those words,' said Colon severely.
'I'd have got ten points for that X.'
Leonard looked up. 'Strange. We seem to have stopped moving...'
He reached up and opened the hatch. Damp night air poured in, and there was the sound of voices, quite close, echoing loudly as voices do when heard across water.
'Heathen Klatchian talk,' said Colon. 'What are they gabblin' about?'
'"What nephew of a camel cut the rigging?"' said Lord Vetinari, without looking up. '"Not just the ropes, look at this sail - here, give me a hand..."'
'I didn't know you spoke Klatchian, my lord.'
'Not a word,' said Lord Vetinari.
'But you -'
'I did not,' said Vetinari calmly.
'Where are we, Leonard?'
'Well, er, my star charts are all out of date, of course, but if you would care to wait until the sun rises, and I've invented a device for ascertaining position by reference to the sun, and devised a satisfactorily accurate watch -'
'Where are we now, Leonard?'
'Er...in the middle of the Circle Sea, I suspect.'
'Pretty close, I should say. Look, if I can measure the wind speed -'
'Then Leshp should be in this vicinity?'
'Oh, yes, I should -'
'Good. Unhitch us from this apparently stricken ship while we still have the cover of darkness and in the morning I wish to see this troublesome land. In the meantime, I suggest that everyone gets some sleep.'
Sergeant Colon did not get a lot of sleep. This was partly because he was woken up several times by sawing and banging coming from the front of the Boat, and partly because water kept dripping on his head, but mainly because the lull in the activity was causing him to consider his position.
Sometimes when he woke up he saw the Patrician hunched over Leonard's drawings, a gaunt silhouette in the light of the candle - reading, making notes...
He was in the immediate company of a man even the Assassins' Guild was frightened of, another man who would stay up all night in order to invent an alarm clock to wake him up in the morning, and a man who had never knowingly changed his underwear.
And he was at sea.
[His lordship, Nobby, and Colon are disguised as a troupe of entertainers... Nobby has become Beti, exotic dancer extraordinaire. Be afraid.]
'Good morning, sultan!' said a cheerful and somehow familiar voice. 'New in town, are we?'Back to the Top
All three of them turned to a figure that had magically appeared from the mouth of an alleyway.
'Indeed, yes,' said the Patrician.
'I could see you were! Everyone is, these days. And it is your lucky day, shah! I am here to help, right? You want something, I got it!'
Sergeant Colon had been staring at the newcomer. He said, in a faraway voice, 'You're name's going to be something like...Al-jibla or something, right?'
'Heard about me, have you?' said the trader jovially.
'Sort of, yeah,' said Colon slowly. 'You're amazingly ...familiar.'
Lord Vetinari pushed him aside. 'We are strolling entertainers,' he said. 'We were hoping to get an engagement at the Prince's palace...Perhaps you could help?'
The man rubbed his beard thoughtfully, causing various particles to cascade into the little bowls in his tray.
'Dunno about the palace,' he said. 'What's it you do?'
'We practise juggling, fire-eating, that sort of thing,' said Vetinari.
'Do we?' said Colon.
Al-jibla nodded at Nobby. 'What does...'
'...she...' said Lord Vetinari helpfully.
'Exotic dancing,' said Vetinari, while Nobby scowled.
'Pretty exotic, I should think,' said Al-jibla.
'You'd be amazed.'
A couple of armed men had drifted over to them. Sergeant Colon's heart sank. In those bearded faces he saw himself and Nobby, who at home would always saunter over to anything on the street that looked interesting.
'You are jugglers, are you?' said one of them. 'Let's see you juggle, then.'
Lord Vetinari gave them a blank look and then glanced down at the tray around Al-jibla's neck. Among the more identifiable foodstuffs were a number of green melons.
'Very well,' he said, and picked up three of them.
Sergeant Colon shut his eyes.
After a few seconds he opened them again because a guard had said, 'All right, but anyone can do it with three.'
'In that case, perhaps Mr Al-jibla will throw me a few more?' said the Patrician, as the balls spun through his hands.
Sergeant Colon shut his eyes again.
After a short while a guard said, 'Seven is pretty good. But it's just melons.'
Colon opened his eyes.
The Klatchian guard twitched his robe aside. Half a dozen throwing knives glinted. And so did his teeth.
Lord Vetinari nodded. To Colon's growing surprise he did not seem to be watching the tumbling melons at all.
'Four melons and three knives,' he said. 'If you would care to give the knives to my charming assistant Beti...'
'Who?' said Nobby.
'Oh? Why not seven knives, then?'
'Kind sirs, that would be too simple,' said Lord Vetinari. [footnote: Jugglers will tell you that juggling with items that are identical is always easier than a mixture of all shapes and sizes. This is even the case with chainsaws, although of course when the juggler misses the first chainsaw it is only the start of his problems. Some more will be along shortly.] 'I am but a humble tumbler. Please let me practice my art.'
'Beti?' said Nobby, glowering under his veils.
Three fruits arced gently out of the green whirl and thumped into Al-jibla's tray.
The guards looked carefully, and to Colon's mind nervously, at the cross-dressed figure of the cross corporal.
'She's not going to do any kind of dance, is she?' one of them ventured.
'No!' snapped Beti.
'Promise?' [footnote: Corporal Nobbs's appearance could best be summarized this way. One of the minor laws of the narrative universe is that any homely featured man who has, for some reason, to disguise himself as a woman will apparently become attractive to some otherwise perfectly sane men whith, as the ancient scrolls say, hilarious results. In this case the laws were fighting against the fact of Corporal Nobby Nobbs, and gave up.]
Nobby grabbed three of the knives and tugged them out of the man's belt.
'I'll give them to his lor - to him, shall I, Beti?' said Colon, suddently quite sure that keeping the Patrician alive was almost certainly the only way to avoid a brief cigarette in the sunshine. He was also aware that other people were drifting over to watch the show.
'To me, please...Al,' said the Patrician, nodding.
Colon tossed him the knives, slowly and gingerly. He's going to try to stab the guards, he thought. It's a ruse. And then everyone's going to tear us apart.
Now the circling blur glinted in the sunlight. There was a mumur of approval from the crowd.
'Yet somehow dull,' said the Patrician.
And his hands moved in a complex pattern that suggested that his wrists must have moved through one another at least twice.
The tangled ball of hurtling fruit and cutlery leapt into the air.
Three melons dropped to the ground, cut cleanly in two.
Three knives thudded into the dust a few inches from their owner's sandals.
And Sergeant Colon looked up and into a growing, greenish, expanding-
The melon exploded, and so did the audience, but both their laughter and the humour was slightly lost on Colon as he scraped the over-ripe pith out of his ears.
The survival instinct cut in again. Stagger around backwards, it said. So he staggered around backwards, waving his legs in the air. Fall down heavily, it said. So he sat down, and almost squashed a chicken. Lose your dignity, it said; of all the things you've got, it's the one you can most afford to lose.
Lord Vetinari helped him up. 'Our very lives depend on your appearing to be a stupid fat idiot,' he hissed, putting Colon's fez back on his head.
'I ain't very good at acting, sir -'
The Patrician scooped up three melon halves and positively skipped over to a stall that a woman had just set up, snatching an egg from a basket as he went past. Sergeant Colon blinked again. This was not...real. The Patrician didn't do this sort of thing...
'Ladies and gentlemen! You see - an egg! And here we have a - melon rind! Egg, melon! Melon, egg! We put the melon over the egg!' His hands darted across the three haves, switching them at bewildering speed. 'Round and round they go, just like that! Now...where's the egg? What about you, shah?'
''s the one on the left,' he said. 'It always is.'
Lord Vetinari lifted the melon. The board below was eggless.
'And you, noble guardsman?'
''s got to be the one in the middle,' said the guard.
'Yes, of course...oh dear, it isn't...'
The crowd looked at the last melon. They were street people. They knew the score. When the object can be under one of three things, and it's already turned out not to be under two of them, then the one place it was certainly not going to be was under the third. Only some kind of gullible fool would believe something like that. Of course there was ging to be a trick. There always was a trick. But you watched it, in order to see a trick done well.
Lord Vetinari raised the melon nevertheless, and the crowd nodded in satisfaction. Of course it wasn't there. It'd be a pretty poor day for street entertainment if things were where they were supposed to be.
Sergeant Colon knew what was going to happen next, and he knew this because for the last minute or so something had been pecking at his head.
Aware that this was probably his moment, he raised his fez and revealed a very small fluffy chick.
'Have you got a towel? I'm afraid it has just gone to the toilet on my head, sir.'
There was laughter, some applause, and, to his amazement, a tinkling of coins around his feet.
'And finally,' said the Patrician, 'the beautiful Beti will do an exotic dance.'
The crowd fell silent.
Then someone at the back said, 'How much do we have to pay for her not to?'
'Right! I've just about had enough of this!' Veils flying out behind her, bangles jingling, elbows waving viciously and boots kicking up sparks, the lovely Beti strode into the crowd. 'Which of you said that?'
People shrank away from her. Armies would have retreated. And there, revealed like a jellyfish deserted by a suddenly ebbing tide, was a small man about to fry in the wrath of the ascendant Nobbs.
'I meant no offence, oh doe-eyed one -'
'Oh? Pastry-faced, am I?' Nobby flung out an arm in a crash of bracelets and knocked the man over. 'You've got a lot to learn about women, young man!' And then, because a Nobbs could never resist a prone target, the petite Beti drew back a steel-capped boot --
'Beti!' snapped the Patrician.
'Oh, right, yeah, right,' said Nobby, with veiled contempt. 'Everyone can tell me what to do, right? Just because I happen to be the woman around here I'm just supposed to accept it all, eh?'
'No, you just ain't supposed to kick him inna fork,' hissed Colon, pulling him away. 'It don't look good.' Although he noted, the women in the crowd seemed to be disappointed by the sudden curtailment of the performance.
'And there are many strange stories we can tell you!' shouted the Patrician.
'Beti certainly could,' murmured Colon, and was kicked sharply on his ankle.
'And many strange sights we can show you!'
'Beti cert- Aargh!'
'But for now we will seek the shade of yonder caravanserai...'
'What're we doing?'
'We're going to the pub.'
The crowd began to disperse, but with occasional amused glances back at the trio.
One of the guards nodded at Colon. 'Nice show,' he said. 'Especially the bit where your lady didn't remove any veils -' He darted behind his colleague as Nobby spun round like an avenging angel.
'Sergeant,' the Patrician whispered. 'It is very important that we learn the current whereabouts of Prince Cadram, do you understand? In taverns, people talk. Let us keep our ears open.'
The tavern wasn't Colon's idea of a pub. For one thing, most of it had no roof. Arched walls surrounded a courtyard. A grapevine grew out of a huge cracked urn and had been teased overhead on trellises. There was the gentle sound of tinkling water, and unlike the Mended Drum this was not because the bar backed on to the privies but because of a small fountain in the middle of the cobbles. and it was cool, much cololer than the streeet, even though the vine leaves scarcely hid the sky.
'Didn't know you could juggle, sir,' Colon whispered to Lord Vetinari.
'You mean you can't, sergeant?'
'How strange. It's hardly a skill, is it? One knows what the objects are and where they want to go. After that it's just a case of letting them occupy the correct positions in time and space.'
'You're dead good at it, sir. Practise often, do you?'
'Until today, I've never tried.' Lord Vetinari looked at Colon's astonished expression. 'After Ankh-Morpork, sergeant, a handful of flying melons present a very minor problem indeed.'
'I'm amazed, sir.'
'And in politics, sergeant, it is always important to know where the chicken is.'
The crowds moved aside as Lord Vetinari walked along the quay, with Nobby and Colon behind him. At least, if it wasn't Sergeant Colon it was a strangely deformed camel.
'I think I caught quite a lot of that, commander,' said Lord Vetinari. 'Please do your duty.'
'All you've got to do is go to the palace, sir. Let's -'
'You're not going to handcuff me?'
Vimes's mouth dropped open. 'Why should I do that?'
'Treason is very nearly the ultimate crime, Sir Samuel. I think I should demand handcuffs.'
'All right, if you insist.' Vimes nodded at Dorfl. 'Cuff him, then.'
'You haven't got any shackles, by any chance?' said Lord Vetinari, as Dorfly produced a pair of handcuffs. 'We may as wlel do this thing properly -'
'No. We don't have any shackles.'
'I was only trying to help, Sir Samuel. Shall we be going?'
The crowd weren't jeering. That was almost frightening. They were just waiting, like an audience watching to see how the trick was going to be done. They parted again as the Patrician headed towards the centre of the city. He stopped and turned.
'What was the other thing...oh yes, I don't have to be dragged on a hurdle, do I?'
'Only if you're actually executed, my lord,' said Carrot, cheerfully. 'Traditionally, traitors are dragged to their place of execution on a hurdle. And then you're hung, drawn and quartered.' Carrot looked embarassed. 'I know about the hanging and quartering but I'm not sure how you're drawn, sir.'
'Are you any good with a pencil, captain?' said Lord Vetinari innocently.
'No, he's not!' said Vimes.
'Do you actually have a hurdle?'
'No!' snapped Vimes.
'Oh? Well, I believe there's a sports equipment shop in Sheer Street. Just in case, Sir Samuel.'
The Rats Chamber was crowded. Guild leaders were entitled to be there, but there were plenty of other people who considered they had a right to be in at the death too. There were even some of the senior wizards. Everyone wanted to be able to say to their grandchildren 'I was there'. [footnote: Although of course wizards aren't allowed to, because they're not supposed to have grandchildren.]Back to the Top
'I feel certain I ought to be wearing more chains,' said Vetinari, as they paused in the doorway and looked at the assembled crowd.
'Are you taking this seriously, sir?' said Vimes.
'Incredibly seriously, commander, I assure you. But if by some chance I survive, I authorize you to buy some shackles. We must learn to do this sort of thing properly.'
'I shall keep them handy, I assure you.'