"Oh, hallo there, wee dog," he said politely, and took a step forward, knuckles stretched out. Bouton raised the growl a few decibels, and he took a step back.
"Oh, like that, is it?" Jamie said. He eyed the dog narrowly.
"Think it over, laddie," he advised, squinting down his long, straight nose. "I'm a damn sight bigger than you. I wouldna undertake any rash ventures, if I were you."
Bouton shifted his ground slightly, still making a noise like a distant Fokker.
"Faster, too," said Jamie, making a feint to one side. Bouton's teeth snapped together a few inches from Jamie's calf, and he stepped back hastily. Leaning back against the wall, he folded his arms and nodded down at the dog.
"Well, you've a point there, I'll admit. When it comes to teeth, ye've the edge on me, and no mistake." Bouton cocked an ear suspiciously at this gracious speech, but went back to the low-pitched growl.
Jamie hooked one foot over the other, like one prepared to pass the time of day indefinitely. The multicolored light from the window washed his face with blue, making him look like one of the chilly marble statues in the cathedral next door.
"Surely you've better things to do than harry innocent visitors?" he asked, conversationally. "I've heard of you—you're the famous fellow that sniffs out sickness, no? Weel, then, why are they wastin' ye on silly things like door-guarding, when ye might be makin' yourself useful smelling gouty toes and pustulant arseholes? Answer me that, if ye will!"
A sharp bark in response to his uncrossing his feet was the only answer.
There was a stir of robes behind me as Mother Hildegarde entered from the inner office.
"What is it?" she asked, seeing me peering round the corner. "Have we visitors?"
"Bouton seems to be having a difference of opinion with my husband," I said.
Dragonfly in Amber by Diana Gabaldon