Dorothy Dunnett Book Club discussion

5 views
Niccolo Rising > Chapter 4

Comments Showing 1-19 of 19 (19 new)    post a comment »
dateDown arrow    newest »

message 1: by [deleted user] (new)

Samurai


message 2: by SamuraiKitty (last edited Sep 03, 2018 07:49AM) (new)

SamuraiKitty | 155 comments Chapter 4
After being emasculated by Katelina, Simon gathers up his servants and dog and heads back to the lodge which hosts the Scottish contingency in Bruges. Only the dog seems to be unfazed by its masters mood; the servants are staying clear of Simon. We get a description of Bruges at night as Simon walks it streets, and the fact that curfew was at 9pm. Once back at the lodge, Simon cleans himself up (interesting to note that his room is shared with many others), and retreats to the inn-keepers office where he cheers himself up by thinking of his past conquests in Bruges, and itemizing those which he will further pursue, and what order he will pursue them in: starting with Mabelie - who just happens to be a servant in the Metteneye household.
Irritation starts to set in when Simon can't find Mabelie through discreet and obvious questioning, until he is distracted by officials turning up at Metteneye's house because of a report of open bales. The officials, Simon's dog, Simon, and other household members end up in the cellars where - though the officials are satisfied about the bales of merchandise - Simon's dog follows his own instinct and narrows in on some piled furs, where there appears to be an undulating mass beneath, which separates into two forms: Mabelie and Claus.
Poor Mabelie is basically humiliated, and led away, while Claus tries to make the best of the situation with a joke which wins everyone's approval except for Simon - who is now seething.
Claus apparently sees that Simon doesn't get the joke (as do the others in the cellar), and speedily removes himself.
Simon, back to covering his fury with charm? good humor? sets them all on a chase to get Claus. Which of course means trammeling through Bruges, through a bath house, until at last Claus high jacks a boat in the canal. But Simon isn't about to let his prey go, so he runs to a bridge where he waits, and then jumps down into the boat Claus has taken ..... only to land in what the boat contained - the dead animal corpses that had been dredged from the canal. (Was the choice of boat intentional on Claus's part?) Claus, no fool? quickly dives into the canal, and swims for some canal steps. The merchants following on both banks, see that Claus's swimming skills are no match for Simon, who is also now swimming, and catching up to Claus with his more expert swimming skills. When Claus reaches the steps, Simon is right there, and so are all the local dogs who can smell their stench, and think they have just come upon a doggie feast. By now, everyone, including the unsuspecting local home owners are watching the free for all on the canal steps. The local authorities - so noted because of the badges they wear - are now also trying to get the dogs away from Simon and Claus.
Simon, who has had quite enough for one evening, is focused mainly on Claus, and letting all his pent up anger out, when Claus stupidly? intentionally? lets the cat out of the bag, and quotes exactly what Katelina said to Simon .. and now Simon knows: "No one you need be afraid of". Is Simon afraid? If so, why?
Once again Claus get's away from Simon, who now means to kill Claus, by scaling the oldest burgess of Bruges - the White Bear, where, once he reaches the top of the building, he clamps onto the buildings mascot, a white bear, and very wisely tells the gathered crowd that he will only come down and hand himself over, once the sergeant arrives.


message 3: by Giki (new)

Giki | 272 comments oops, Claes is back in prison - he doesn't seem bothered by it, he is quite happy to take the blame. Did he kill the dog? It doen't seem like he would have had the chance - but it has caused him a lot of trouble so far. If he did then Stinky Simon should be next on the list.


message 4: by SamuraiKitty (new)

SamuraiKitty | 155 comments Hi Giki -
It would be nice if Stinky Simon was next on the list! :) He's such an ass. As far as the dog, I truly can't remember if Claus was responsible or not - it's been years since I've read this series. And the things I do remember, I'm keeping silent about because I don't want to spoil things for anyone.


message 5: by [deleted user] (new)

It was a very exciting chase. Claes is very smart trying to get rid of his scent. I guess riding the dead dog barge was intentional. I want to say Claes probably killed the dog purposely, but what for, I have no clue. I know he does not like him, but it seems weird. Maybe he knows about the Mabelie conquest? Maybe Claes set everything up on purpose to get back at Simon. Mabelie and Claes were suppose to meet that night, so maybe that was their intention. Oh goodness, maybe Simon is Claes father. Darth Vadar themed book.


message 6: by Giki (new)

Giki | 272 comments 😂 come over to the dark side claes, I am your father....,


message 7: by [deleted user] (new)

lol Noooooooooooooooo!

Great movie. 😜


message 8: by Renee (new)

Renee M | 346 comments Mod
Do we have an age on Simon? I know Claes is about 18.


message 9: by [deleted user] (new)

Renee wrote: "Do we have an age on Simon? I know Claes is about 18."

I don’t think so, but I could of missed it. I figured he was in 20s maybe early 30s. With his comment about the Katelina’s other suitor’s age and that he would die soon, I deduced he was younger than him, but by saying Claes is a young man older than him. Lol


message 10: by [deleted user] (new)

By the way, I find that doing these summaries a lot of fun. 😁 It allows me think better.


message 11: by SamuraiKitty (new)

SamuraiKitty | 155 comments Hi Renee -
I think it said in one of the earlier chapters that Simon is 35.


message 12: by Judith (new)

Judith | 60 comments SamuraiKitty wrote: "Hi Giki -
It would be nice if Stinky Simon was next on the list! :) He's such an ass. As far as the dog, I truly can't remember if Claus was responsible or not - it's been years since I've read th..."



Yes, Claes killed the dog, absolutely. A hint, don't be too absolutely sure of our hero's innocence, for anything.


message 13: by SamuraiKitty (last edited Sep 05, 2018 05:33PM) (new)

SamuraiKitty | 155 comments Hi Judith -
Thanks for the clarification about the dog - and you're right about Claes!


message 14: by Sue (new)

Sue Marsh | 48 comments Interesting “wheels within wheels” in this chapter. Claes is a notorious ladies man and could take his pick but has concentrated on Mabelie, who works for the Metteneyes “and the Metteneyes of Bruges had been innkeepers and brokers for incoming Scottish merchants for five generations”. Was she Claes’ Spy? So that he knew who was coming to town and for what purpose?


message 15: by Judith (new)

Judith | 60 comments I saw no evidence that Mabelle was anything than a good time, warm hearted young woman.

Judith McFadden


message 16: by Giki (new)

Giki | 272 comments Mabelie brought him butter for his bum, she also was very likely the source of the juicy bit of gossip about Simon that Claes shared with Katelina. He would have know then that Simon was likely to seduce Mabelie again. I think it was a proposition that Claes couldn't resist for all sorts of reasons.


message 17: by Sue (new)

Sue Marsh | 48 comments Yes, I agree, Giki. (I can’t seem to work out how to reply or quote other’s posts at the moment!)


message 18: by Renee (new)

Renee M | 346 comments Mod
I’m remembering that Julius noted Mabellie worked for the Metteneyes back when Claes was retelling his experiences in jail. It was like he was trying to make a connection but never did because of all that was going on at the time. I think Mabelie is definitely a source of information, although perhaps not intentionally. Probably just gossiping, but Claes doesn’t seem to forget anything.


message 19: by Sue (new)

Sue Marsh | 48 comments Yes, I’m thinking “pillow talk” that Claes stored away in his impressive brain, nothing as formal as an actual “find this out for me”


back to top