Master Raymond

The who­le Sce­ne:

Mon­sieur Ray­mond?” I inqui­red poli­te­ly of the young woman behind the counter.“Maître Ray­mond,” she cor­rec­ted. She wiped a red nose inele­gant­ly on her slee­ve and ges­tu­red toward the end of the shop, whe­re sinis­ter clouds of a brow­nish smo­ke floated out over the tran­som of a half-door.Wizard or not, Ray­mond had the right set­ting for it. Smo­ke drifted up from a black sla­te hearth to coil bene­ath the low black beams of the roof. Above the fire, a stone table pier­ced with holes held glass alem­bics, cop­per “peli­cans” — metal cans with long noses from which sinis­ter sub­s­tan­ces drip­ped into cups — and what appeared to be a small but ser­vice­ab­le still. I snif­fed cau­tious­ly. Among the other strong odors in the shop, a hea­dy alco­ho­lic note was clear­ly dis­tin­guis­ha­ble from the direc­tion of the fire. A neat lin­eup of clean bott­les along the side­board rein­forced my ori­gi­nal sus­pi­ci­ons. Wha­te­ver his tra­de in charms and poti­ons, Mas­ter Ray­mond plain­ly did a roaring busi­ness in high-qua­li­ty cher­ry brandy.The distil­ler him­s­elf was crouched over the fire, poking errant bits of char­co­al back into the gra­te. Hea­ring me come in, he strai­gh­te­ned up and tur­ned to greet me with a plea­sant smile.“How do you do?” I said poli­te­ly to the top of his head. So strong was the impres­si­on that I had step­ped into an enchanter’s den that I would not have been sur­pri­sed to hear a cro­ak in reply.For Mas­ter Ray­mond resem­bled not­hing so, much as a lar­ge, geni­al frog. A touch over four feet tall, bar­rel-ches­ted and ban­dy-leg­ged, he had the thick, clam­my skin of a swamp dwel­ler, and slight­ly bul­bous, fri­end­ly black eyes. Asi­de from the minor fact that he wasn’t green, all he lacked was warts.


Madon­na!” he said, bea­ming expan­si­ve­ly. “What may I have the plea­su­re of doing for you?” He lacked teeth alto­ge­ther, enhan­cing the frog­gy impres­si­on still more, and I sta­red at him in fascination.“Madonna?” he said, pee­ring up at me questioningly.Snapped abrupt­ly to a rea­li­za­ti­on of how rude­ly I had been sta­ring, I blus­hed and said without thin­king, “I was just won­de­ring whe­ther you’d ever been kis­sed by a beau­ti­ful young girl.”I went still red­der as he shou­t­ed with laugh­ter. With a broad grin, he said “Many times, madon­na. But alas, it does not help. As you see. Ribbit.”We dis­sol­ved in hel­pless laugh­ter, attrac­ting the noti­ce of the shop­girl, who pee­red over the half-door in alarm.


All rights for the Pic­ture go to the right­ful owner Starz
Quo­te and Excerpt by Diana Gabaldon from “DiA”
I own not­hing but the editing
Heike Ginger Ba Written by:

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