NYU Black Renaissance Noire NYU Black Renaissance Noire Volume 16.2: Fall 2016 - Page 23

But then , just as he was about to slam the lid shut and return the trunk to its place underneath the seat , he discovered a small coffer of ancient Moorish design secreted beneath a jumble of sundry toilet articles and stacks of letters tied with ribbons —
Unfortunately , the coffer was locked , but when finally he managed to open it with a mysterious and oddly-shaped key , the last of some twenty keys he had found on a key ring in one of the baron ’ s outer coat pockets , to his tearful astonishment and joy he discovered that the coffer contained an incredible fortune in gold and silver coins and jewelry including , all mixed up together , a king ’ s ransom in loose diamonds , rubies , amethysts and pearl necklaces , some of which were over two meters long —
But then , as he began to weep uncontrollably with joy while dancing yet another jig , the young musician found something of far more interest to his as yet unformulated plans — the baron ’ s travel documents , which he found neatly folded inside an envelope of heavy parchment that had been secreted away underneath the silk lining at the bottom of the trunk , each document stamped with the seal of the highest authority in the land —
But of most immediate use to the young violinist ’ s as yet unformulated plans was the original patent for the baron ’ s title and family name , inscribed in the flowery medieval Latin of an earlier age and with the imprimatur of the Holy Roman Emperor stamped in a blob of hardened red wax , a priceless document without which the newly optimistic but perhaps a bit overly self-confident young violinist would have had no proof of his new identity .
Be that as it may , six days later and now elegantly dressed in the baron ’ s luxurious garments and wig — and after a pleasant and mostly uneventful journey with many leisurely stops at hospitable inns and public houses where he found ample opportunity to perfect a highborn German accent complete with languid hand movements , slightly arched brow and petulant disdaining lips , he finally arrived at the bustling North Sea seaport town where a retired custom house inspector seated at his table in the inn the night before had told him he would be most likely to find a buyer for his carriage and team , as well as passage aboard a ship willing to run the blockade —
“ It ’ s a whole new world out there and a rotten one at that , and I say it ’ s this blasted war that ’ s to blame !” the old gentleman had observed while they were saying their goodbyes in the foyer of the quaint country inn where they had just finished dining on pheasant and grouse and now , finally , after a dangerous moment of suspicious astonishment , the innkeeper agreed to accept one of the gold coins as payment for the sumptuous meal the young musician had insisted on paying for , he was finally able to breathe and force a smile —
“ I agree —,” he ’ d replied , swallowing his moment of fear , “— but it is also true that the confusion of war has stimulated the economy and created many new opportunities , though I agree things have become so topsy-turvy these days it ’ s become practically impossible to know who one can trust —”
“ Permit me —,” the retired custom house inspector said effusively ( now that the matter of who would be paying for the extravagant meal had been settled ), “— what you say is very true , but from my point of observation , I ’ d say you ’ re a young man with his head screwed on tight , and it ’ s bold and courageous young men like yourself who are going to be the salvation of the Fatherland —”
“ So kind of you to say so — in fact my late father , the Baron ’ s favorite motto was ‘ Prudence Above All !’”