Jenny: A Shadow of Foreboding

Artos glanced round in time to see the Guttersnipe bending to tuck the last of a rug about the Erin-girl who, having been ill, has lying down to recover. He did not give the Erin-girl much thought, no more than he gave any other girl who was not the Guttersnipe, so he followed his sister across the floor back toward the table, warming to thrust another joke at her when she came close. But he was distracted for a moment by her shadow running close under her skirts as she moved by the fire and candles: in her shadow, for just a moment, he could have sworn he saw the figure of a cat trotting out of sight. But she moved swiftly, whirling to avoid one of the maids, and there was no cat.

He shut his eyes and turned his head.

"Apples," said Gaius as he seated himself, peering forward into a dish. "Why is it that we never get sick of apples?"

"I am sick of apples," the Guttersnipe chimed obligingly.

Gaius leaned forward, elbow on the table, thrusting thumb and forefinger at the girl across from him. "Your span of attention is yea long. You can't like a thing from one week to the next."

She flared beautifully. "That is not true! I have spent nine years with apples - nine years! I'm entitled to get a bit cross with them from time to time."

Gaius threw up his hands. "Heaven forbid anyone should ever contradict you."

"But I am!" She turned pleadingly to Ambrosius. "I am. Tell him I am sick of apples."

Unmoved by her big child's eyes and puckered brow, he quietly continued to pour his wine. "I think if you threw them at people a little less," he told her, "you might find them more agreeable."

"Mock, mock, mock," said Kay in a spirited tone.

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