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Carrying A Concealed Weapon (and other crimes to commit while being Adora Belle Dearheart)

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Adora Belle Dearheart had a number of problems in life. These were, in no particular order:

- Moist von Lipwig.
- Her name was Adora Belle Dearheart[1].
- She hadn't had a cigarette in nearly an hour.
- Moist von Lipwig[2].
- She was currently under arrest for a number of crimes that were only crimes in the factual, technical sense[3].

"I'm sorry about this little misunderstanding," said Lady Sybil Vimes née Ramkin, the Duchess of Ankh and the type of woman who believed that there was no problem so big that it couldn't be sorted out by everyone sitting down for a cup of tea and deciding to be jolly sensible for five minutes. "I'm sure we'll have it straightened out in no time."

Somehow, Adora Belle doubted that.

"Can I get someone to make you another cup of tea?" Lady Sybil asked kindly.

"How about a cigarette?"

Lady Sybil looked reproachfully at the "We thank you for not smoking" sign. "I don't think so, dear."


[1] It is a well-known fact that anyone with a name like Adora Belle Dearheart will have the personality of a hammerhead shark on an enforced vegetarian diet. Adora Belle herself was Not the exception to this rule.
[2] Again.
[3] Which, as most criminals will tell you, is no reason to go around arresting people.


It had all started when Lord Vetinari decided that the students at Unseen University should pay for the, ahem, privilege of their, ahem, education as a way of filling the city's coffers.

Vetinari was not the first patrician to suggest that the university should be making more of a contribution to the economy of Ankh-Morpork. In times past this suggestion would have been met by the Archchancellor of the university saying: "An interesting suggestion, my lord-- Oh, deary me, you seem to have spontaneously turned into a mollusk, now what were you saying about tuition fees?"

Tragically for the students of Unseen University, the current Archchancellor was Mustrum Ridcully, a wizard of firm convictions. Mainly the conviction that students were the flies in the ointment of university life.

"An interesting suggestion, my lord," said Ridcully. He did not attempt to turn the patrician into a mollusk, although many people would have paid to see him try[4].


[4] Admittedly, through a very powerful telescope from a long, long way away.


It is a particular sort of young man[5] who wished to become a wizard; the sort of young man who didn't want to do any heavy lifting or get up early in the mornings, and was comfortable wearing flowing purple robes with an embroidered moon and stars motif. That being the case, it was a while before word about the new price of education filtered down to the students, but when they did hear about it they were Not Best Pleased.

"They expect us to pay for our education?" said one horrified trainee wizard.

"They expect us to get an education too?" moaned another, flinching as though he thought that he might be at any moment hit with an unexpected flying education.


[5] Young women were not admitted to Unseen University because girls never became wizards, they became witches. Generally witchcraft involved a lot more hard work and early mornings than wizardry, but as witches were encouraged to wear fetching matte black and excused from singing "A Wizard's Staff Has a Knob on the End" most witches considered this more than fair.


The young wizards staged a number of protests, with various degrees of success[6]. The biggest of these was a protest march up the River Ankh to the palace. The protest route was lined with watchmen, the usual audience for Ankh-Morpork street theater, and Adora Belle Dearheart, who had a cigarette in one hand and a crossbow in the other. She was standing in front of the Golem Trust in order to discourage anyone who thought of livening up his day with some vandalism and casual racism. She was planning to discourage people quite strongly.

To be honest, Adora Belle probably didn't need the crossbow. There is a certain sort of woman who looks good in a severely plain dress and weapons-grade high heels who always seems to be thinking: "I could hurt you and you'd like it." Adora Belle was not that sort of woman, she was the sort who appeared to be thinking: "I could hurt you and I'd like it."

And, well, some of the student wizards had only heard about young women second or third hand, several of them burst into tears just walking past Adora Belle.

She would have considered the day an unqualified success if not for what happened next.

You see, qualified wizards knew that often the most important thing about magic was not using it, but some of the students hadn't read that far in the syllabus. And historically there have always been a few bad apples, wizards who thought that just because you could set things on fire with a word, that meant that you should.

Adora Belle swore[7] as a carelessly tossed fireball passed just over her head and crashed into the facade of the Golem Trust. Other people might have become alarmed or frightened, but Adora Belle had a hundred-a-day habit and footwear that could, and had, made grown men cry. A little magical fire didn't scare her, she got angry.

"Right--" she began, grinding her cigarette out on the cobbles and heading towards the offender.

"Don't be so silly," said a voice in her ear; the voice implied that silliness was the worst sin its owner could think of. "Get in here."

Adora Belle found herself towed backwards into a carriage; she turned to face her abductor. Adora Belle's interest in people who weren't baked from clay was limited, but even she recognised the Duchess of Ankh[8].

Many people when faced with a genuine member of the aristocracy would struggle for something ingratiating to say, Adora Belle settled for not kicking her in the shins.

"That is... was my office."

"The Golem Trust?" said Lady Sybil. "Oh, of course, you must be Miss Dearheart, I've heard so much about you."

"You have?"

"Oh, yes. Wonderful work you do there."

Adora Belle felt herself thawing, only slightly, towards Lady Sybil. Plus, the carriage smelled strongly of smoke, which always made her feel more at home. She sat down and heard something under the seat cough.

"Oh, poor little thing," said Lady Sybil. "I was taking him to the Sunshine Sanctuary for Sick Dragons when the carriage was stopped."

Adora Belle crouched down, she'd always rather liked swamp dragons, they were useful if you didn't have any matches on you.

"May I?" she asked, and without waiting for an answer she produced a cigarette and held it up to the little swamp dragon, which obligingly coughed up a flame.

"He likes you," said Lady Sybil approvingly[9].

"So," said Adora Belle, blowing a smoke ring. "How long do you think this is going to carry on for?"

"Oh, I'm sure the Watch will be along shortly to sort it all out."


[6] The three day long sit-in at The Pink Pussycat Club did little to change Vetinari's mind, but it was, for many of the students, An Education.
[7] This is an understatement. She didn't just say "hell" or "damn" she swore strongly enough to shock sailors who had memorised the entire contents of the Ankh-Morpork Dictionary of Naughty Words.
[8] There were a number of ways to describe Lady Sybil; a miracle of corsetry with a kind smile was generally considered to be a good compromise between accuracy and politeness.
[9] Swamp dragons always liked Adora Belle, she smelled right to them.


It would be difficult to attach the word "shortly" to the Watch's arrival, but arrive they did. Troll officers first, with other, more squashable watchmen bringing up the rear.

The door to Lady Sybil's carriage was opened[10] by Constable Dorfl, the only golem in the Watch.

"Good Afternoon, Lady Sybil, Is Everything Well?"

"Yes, Officer. Is the..."

"Affray," Dorfl provided.

"Affray, yes, is it all over?"

"The Crowd Has Been Dispersed." Adora Belle smiled cruelly, when a golem disperses a crowd it stays dispersed. "Good Afternoon, Miss Dearheart."

Adora Belle's smile turned genuine. Dorfl had been the first free golem in Ankh-Morpork, Adora Belle had helped him to set up the golum trust.

"I Am Afraid You Are Under Arrest, Miss Dearheart."

"What!? What on earth for?"

"Mister Vimes Ordered That Anyone Carrying A Weapon Was To Be Arrested." Adora Belle shoved the crossbow behind her back. "That is Carrying A Concealed Weapon, Miss Dearheart," said Dorfl. "You Are Also Under Arrest For Going Out Equipped To Commit A Crime And Malicious Lingering[11]."

"I was inside a carriage, Dorfl!"

But the golem stepped away from the carriage holding Adora Belle's arm, being rather attached to her arm, Adora Belle followed.

Lady Sybil leaned out of the carriage and said, "We'll catch you up at Pseudopolis Yard, I'm sure we'll have this all sorted out in no time at all."


[10] Amputated, really.
[11] Malicious Lingering is defined in the Laws and Ordinances of Ankh-Morpork as: "I really, really want to arrest you and I'm not about to be put off by the fact that you have not, as yet, committed a crime."


The watch house was full of nervous policemen. They were nervous because 1) they had resolved A Situation by arresting a large number of people, and were now faced with Another Situation in deciding what to do with all of them, and 2) the commander's wife was bustling about making tea for people.

Lady Sybil handed Adora Belle another cup of tea. "Should I send someone to fetch your young man?" she asked, glancing at her engagement ring.

"Best not. Moist gets a little funny around watchmen."


"Guilty, really."

In the corner a huddle of watchmen were debating Adora Belle's arrest. It had already been decided to drop the charges of Going Equipped To Commit A Crime and Carrying A Concealed Weapon, because given her usual footwear and general attitude they'd have been as well arresting her for Repeatedly Being Adora Belle Dearheart[12].

"Sybil!" Commander Vimes arrived out of breath because he'd run all the way from the palace. The message he'd received had said "Lady Sybil... Miss Dearheart... Crossbow," and nothing else, so obviously he'd been expecting more blood.

He stumbled to a halt in front of his wife and awkwardly patted her shoulder. The watchmen present shuffled with embarrassment at this uncharacteristic display of affection from their commander.

"Are you all right, dear?"

"Fine, Sam," said Lady Sybil.

"They, uh, said that someone had a crossbow."

"That was me," said Adora Belle.

"She was protecting me, Sam," said Lady Sybil.

That came as news to Adora Belle, but she supposed that she wouldn't have minded giving a scruffy student a slap round the ear for Lady Sybil if it had come down to it. "That's right."

One of the watchmen on duty, seeing his way out of the Adora Belle Dearheart philosophical quandary he'd found himself in said, "That's right, we were just, uh, giving her a cup of tea and writing out a receipt for this crossbow that she's been good enough to hand into the Watch."


[12] The Laws and Ordinances of Ankh-Morpork were consulted but it turned out that this was not, in point of fact, an actual crime.


"Spike." Moist had surfaced from wherever it was that he sloped off to whenever the Watch were around and had come with Adora Belle to the wreckage of the Golem Trust. "At least no one was hurt, and it isn't as though the golems are going to mind."

Adora Belle turned on him with fire in her eyes. "I mind!"

"Er," said Moist, "There's someone behind you."

"Nice try, Slick."

"No, really," said Moist at the same time as Lady Sybil said, "He's right, you know. Hello, Miss Dearheart. And this must be your young man, of course I recognise the Postmaster General."

Adora Belle was reluctantly impressed, very few people recognised Moist without his trademark golden suit.

"What can we do for you, Lady Sybil?" that was Moist, sweeping into charm-the-mark mode. Adora Belle rolled her eyes.

"I wanted to give Miss Dearheart this." The papers Lady Sybil handed over were the deeds to a property in Treacle Mine Road. "I meant what I said, you're doing splendid work with the golems. And Sam and I aren't using it. You should come to dinner with us one night," her gaze lingered shrewdly on Moist, "both of you."

Adora Belle smiled with malicious glee at the idea of making Moist go to dinner with a senior policeman.


In the end Lord Vetinari didn't introduce tuition fees in exchange for the faculty of Unseen University resuming their default position of not teaching the students any magic.

The few students who'd started the riot spent the rest of their university careers doing the washing up in the dungeon dimensions. The rest of the students were banned from The Pink Pussycat Club.

Adora Belle did make Moist go to dinner with Commander Vimes.