Excitement at the Hog’s Snout–Part 3

Behaviour Unbecoming a Priest

Both men took off their cloaks.  The bully simply hitched his robe up in his belt.  But Fabri slipped out of the robe belonging to Zasius and faced his opponent in his long shirt and hosen.  His white smocked blouse was radiant against the dark.  The bully looked huge, a minotaur.  He wore no biretta.  Oddly, I thought, Fabri kept his on.

They made only a half circle in the narrow street before the bully stepped in, aiming a mighty swing at Fabri’s face.  But Fabri quickly dodged the blow.  Grabbing the man’s arm as it passed his face, and twisting neatly around, he pulled the fellow backward while tripping him.  The man pulled Fabri down with him, but loosened his hold when his head hit the street, and Fabri was back on his feet like a cat.  The big man began to get up.  “Oh, so it’s wrestling you want!”

Fabri launched a punch into the man’s nose that shot blood in all directions.  This time the fellow reeled back but did not fall.

I saw the dagger just as Zell called out a warning.  Fabri jerked off his biretta, and as the fellow slashed at him, he used the biretta to snag the dagger.  When the bully tried to pull it back, Fabri punched him hard in the stomach.  When he doubled up, Fabri kicked him in the face and he fell back.

The man’s companions stepped into the street.  Zell whispered an oath and began to undo his own robe.  But Hubmaier’s voice, another trained in oratory, flowed out over the crowd.  “Now gentlemen, scholars all, let us think about this.  A street brawl will undoubtedly come to the attention of the Rector, who will have us all arrested, fined, and expelled in disgrace for “behaviour unbecoming a priest.”  Presently, it appears your friend has had an unfortunate accident.  It appears that he has fallen out of a wagon onto the street.  Does it not appear so to you gentlemen?”

Whether it was the logic of the argument or the significant bulk of the man who delivered it, the bully’s friends paused and then, without a word, gathered round the loser, as we went to Fabri.

“Doctor Fabri!” said Michael.  “That was extraordinary!”

Fabri shivered.  “Was it?  Christ, I’m shaking all over.”  I handed him the robe, but he only looked at it as if he had forgotten how to put it on.

Hubmaier then took it and helped Fabri get his arms into it.  “By the muses, Fabri,” he said.  “I hope I never get on your bad side.”

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Published in: on January 30, 2011 at 3:39 pm  Leave a Comment  
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