Thursday, December 30, 2010

End of Chapter 2


I think this is when I gave up trying to write in organized chapters. Or even, in fact, in organized narration. 
Père,” Iggy recited. “Pater.”
            “Yes. You see how ‘pater’ became ‘father.’” Clement said.
            Iggy nodded vigourously. “They sound alike.”
            “Yes, and they mean the same thing,” Clement said. “You know what ‘pater’ means from the Lord’s Prayer. So you see, Latin, which the Church uses, spread over the Roman Empire.” He waved his hand over a small scrolled map of Europe that he used with his students. “See how great a space that was? As the Empire broke down and was engulfed by the barbarians, all of these little tribes began to speak their own forms of Latin. So the Latin here became French.” He pointed to France, then to Spain. “The language there became Spanish. Here, they speak Italian, but even so, in different regions, they speak something called a dialect. “
            Ignatius nodded. His blue eyes were bright. Clement felt satisfied. His son understood.
            “But how, Brother Clement,” Ignatius asked, chewing his lower lip. “How did ‘pater’ become ‘father’? Did English come from Latin?”
            “Not quite,” Clement replied. “That’s quite an historical odyssey. English is a mixture of many languages. There is Anglo-Saxon, the language the English spoke before the Conqueror came over—what year was that?”
            “1066, Brother.”
            “Yes. Then there’s the language the Normans brought with them, Norman-French. Mix them together, add in some Latin influences—pater, for instance—because of the Church and you get words like ‘father.’”
            Iggy nodded, a line appearing in between his rather thin eyebrows. A jarring bell tolled outside. None would begin soon.
            “Now, I want you to think of other similar words between Latin and English or Latin and French for tomorrow.” Clement went to rise.
            “I’ve a question, Brother.”
            “What is it?”
            “Father. My surname is FitzClement. ‘Fitz’ means ‘son of.’ I haven’t got a father, but how and where does ‘fitz’ come from?”
            He could very well be late for None. Clement sat back down. “Do you know what the French word for ‘son’ is?”
            Fils.”
            “Correct. It comes from the Latin. Does ‘fils’ not sound a bit like ‘fitz’? No, not really? Listen to the sounds. Fils. Fitz. Over time, language changes.”
            “Ah, yes,” Iggy said with a deep nod. He seemed like a middle-aged monk, wise and knowing. “Thank you, Brother Clement. Are you not late for None?”
            “Don’t worry on my account,” Clement said with a smile. “I dismiss you for the day.” The boy stood, ready to have lessons over for the time being. He bowed to Clement and headed toward the door. “And Ignatius. All of us have a father.”
            The boy looked him in the eyes. Clement saw himself in the boy, too damn much.
            Clement said, “God is our father.”
           
            Tom and Iggy followed Brother Mark into the deep, dark root cellar. The vegetables had been preserved for sustenance over the winter and the kitchener had sent the boys to retrieve carrots and turnips for supper.
            Brother Mark held his lamp high, illuminating the small space, filled with earthenware pots of vegetables.
            Tom crossed his arms together. Iggy rubbed his hands. The root cellar was truly cold.
            “He said two crocks of carrots? One crock of turnips?”
            “Y-yes,” Tom said through chattering teeth.
            Brother Mark gave the lamp to Tom, whose unsteady hand made the light stutter in the absolute darkness. The monk handed Iggy the turnips and took up the two crocks of carrots himself.
            “Out, then. Sister Ellen will never forgive me if you catch your death in here,” Brother Mark harrumphed. The boys eagerly made their out. “Has to be this cold, you see, to preserve the food over the winter. At least winter helps the process! Ha ha!”
            Iggy’s numb lips attemped a smile at Brother Mark’s jovial response to nearly freezing to death. 

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