The brothers stand in the middle of the roof and argue amongst themselves. "Poland," one exclaims. "Russia," one insists. "Poland and Russia," a third one proclaims. "One or the other," states a fourth. "I'm the eldest. If I say it's Russia, then it's Russia!" The fiddler shakes his head and fiddles. Uncle Toby views them all with disdain. "Foreigners," he thinks to himself, forgetting that he himself is the foreigner. Toby wonders if the brothers no longer lived there, did the house still belong to them? Did they sell the house first or did they just abandon it, as, one by one they headed to America? Uncle Toby smiles smugly. Since they were long gone ghosts, maybe he could claim ownership. The fiddler, as if reading his mind, fiddles furiously as if disabusing him of all schemes. Deep down he knows the fiddler is right, but he doesn't want the fiddler to know that.
The fiddler motions me over. With his bow, he gestures towards Uncle Toby. "Yes, I know, fiddler. Don't worry. He will not make away with the house while I'm around." The fiddler plays a few bars of Rue Britannia.
"Actually, fiddler, I believe Uncle Toby is Irish, so I doubt he wants to acquire empire in the name of the queen." The fiddler places fiddle and bow over one shoulder and mimics a soldier's drill exercise...
I nod. "Yeah, I know. Once a soldier always a soldier. But I don't think Uncle Toby is the least bit mercenary. I think he wants to help me solve my mysteries. I invited him up on the roof to begin with,
The fiddler plays an old love song about regrets. In response I belt out "Regrets, I've had a few..." The fiddler covers his ears.
I relent. "I appreciate you looking out for me, fiddler, but I think Uncle Toby could be an asset to me." He looks at me quizzically. "On finding out the facts about my family."
Fiddler looks skeptical
"Because he's not not family, he can be objective," I explain.
The fiddler shrugs and walks away. What a dear man. Too much of a romantic for his own good, I muse. Will Uncle Toby be of help? Maybe his map reading skills will give me a way to navigate my family history. I shrug. At the very least I will learn some history and some geography.