“What, er, are you doing, exactly?”
“Keeping the peace, sir. This piece, to be exact.”
“You said that there's, er, rioting and soldiers on the way…”
“Very likely, sir.”
“You don't have to ask him, Rutherford, it's his duty to protect us,” snapped the woman who was standing beside the man with an air of proprietorship. Vimes changed his mind about the man. Yes, he had that furtive look of a timid domestic poisoner about him, the kind of man who'd be appalled at the idea of divorce but would plot womanslaughter every day. And you could see why.
He gave the lady a nice warm smile. She was holding a blue vase. “Can I help you, ma'am?” he said.
“What are you intending to do about us being murdered in our beds?” she demanded.
“Well, it's not four o'clock yet, ma'am, but if you'll let me know when you want to retire—”
Vimes was impressed at the way the woman drew herself up. Even Sybil, in full Duchess mode, with the blood of twenty generations of arrogant ancestors behind her, could not have matched her.
“Rutherford, are you going to do something about this man?” she said.
Rutherford looked up at Vimes. Vimes was aware that he was villainously unshaven, dishevelled, dirty and probably starting to smell. He decided not to load more troubles on the man's back.