"In the name o the wee man, whit wis thon?" cried Doubleday, from the adjacent room; "the return of our host, I presume," replied MacFarlane, more laconically than he actually felt, for he was desperately trying to remember the dream of Plato's cave, fast disappearing down the plug-hole of his mind, because he sensed that there was something vastly important in it – though, whether there really was, he could not quite put his finger on whatever it might be: "why don't you stroll down and see," said his Master, "there's something at the back of my mind I need to get a hold of," and he heard Dominic's bed creak as weight was transferred from the middle to the edge, and then the scramble as his Man found and put his boots on: "Ah hope wur wives have arrived wi the bags, ma boots are caked wi mud an Ah dinnae want tae durty the cairpets, efter wur stay wi the Gypsies, this place is like a palace," and then the tightening and tying of laces, followed by the unmistakeable tramp, tramp of tacketty boots on the polished wooden floor and the opening and closing of the door from Doubleday's room into the corridor; MacFarlane lay his head back on the pillows; he knew that if he closed his eyes he would soon be asleep again, but the dream had fled and he didn't want to be unready if the dinner gong rang out – his stomach felt empty, there was no clock in his room and his pocket-watch had been broken several days ago; for a man who regularly travels backwards and forwards in the Space/Time Continuum, he had surprisingly little interest in the actual, official time of whatever present he happened to be in – he had, long ago, taken the decision to go by his own internal clock, sleep when he was tired and eat when he was hungry, or had the opportunity, because there was never any saying when the next meal might be forthcoming; that was the down-side of such an unpredictable way of life – vagabonds, such as he supposed he and Dominic truly were, had to rely on their wits: if they needed money, they took it where they found it, or more properly, from whomever had it and could be relieved of it, without too much to-do, for they had no real status, no home address, no bankable resources and indeed, no bank account, oh yes, a little gold and silver sewn into their clothes, for the direst of emergencies, but for the day-to-day transactions, purchasing meals or drinks in taverns, local currency was usually needed and that was always the most pressing matter; for the most part, it fell to Doubleday to acquire it, after all, MacFarlane was, or properly, still is a nobleman, Doubleday his minder, tasked with the menial, even venial duties, and good old, honest-to-goodness, theft, swindling, burglary, or more especially, demanding with menaces, fell right into his domain, absolutely no doubt about it; but the most pressing issue here and now was the unexpected presence of that woman, a countrywoman of theirs and from Longformacus to boot, who by her seeming authority over the servants – well, that simple-minded Maree, at least – implied that she had assumed the role of chatelaine, and that might present it's own problems! he had been too brusque in dismissing her offer to read his hand, or tea-leaves or tarot, or whatever form her fortune-telling foolery might take, she was probably a confidence trickster, but if de Sade was confident enough to leave her unsupervised in the house, it implied some trust which he would be unwise to forget: better to have her think she was on his side, rather than alienate her and have her as his enemy – if she has a connection to Sister Evadne, all the more so; then he heard the tacketty boots returning and was somewhat relieved to see that Doubleday was unaccompanied: "well," he said when Dominic entered his chamber: "what's up Doc?" and Doubleday cleared his throat, before: "yer wummin's goat a fuckin hebdomad – seevin auld witches, arguin aboot whit's the best debauchery fer a jaded palate, but iffen they luik at me, am offski, ah wudna touch any o theym wi a barge-pole, let alone ma pogo-stick!" and MacFarlane laughed: "for Christ's sake man, don't ne so churlish, we're guests here and remember, any port in a storm – you can always close yer eyes and let yer imagination take over," but Dominic snorted: "aye. bit ma memory's ower guid – Ah've seen thum, Boss, faces aw wrinkly, hardly a full set o gnashers atween he loat o thum, an mair whiskers oan ther chins than me an ye pit thegither! – – it's a fearsome sicht!" at which MacFarlane reminded him that they both had young wives to entertain them if there was nothing else to hand: "oh aye, Ah meant tae tell ye, when Ah wis luikin fer theym Ah opened a door an, ye'll never guess, Ah saw sum o they picters ye liked in Lundin in the 1960s, they Op Art things by Bridget Riley that meed ma een whirl, black an white wavy lines, an even signed by hur – like as no sumdy else hus bin usin the Worm Holes an stashing thur stuff here – whit div ye mak o that?" and Parlane's mind flashed – Eunice Eglantine, it can only be her!