John Ridd


"His lordship was busy with some letters, and did not look up for a minute or two, although he knew that I was there... Then he closed his letters, well-pleased with their import, and fixed his bold broad stare on me, as if I were an oyster opened, and he would know how fresh I was.

"May it please your worship," I said, "here I am according to order, awaiting your good pleasure."

"Thou art made to weight, John, more than order.  How much dost thou tip the scales to?"

"Only twelvescore pounds, my lord, when I be in wrestling trim.  And sure I must have lost weight here, fretting so long in London."

"Ha, ha!  Much fret is there in thee!  Hath His Majesty seen thee?"

"Yes, my lord, twice or even thrice; and he made some jest concerning me."

"A very bad one, I doubt not.  His humor is not so dainty as mine, but apt to be coarse and unmannerly.  Now John, or Jack, by the look of thee, thou art more used to be called."

"Yes, your worship, when I am with old Molly, and Betty Muxworthy."

"Peace, thou forward varlet!  There is a deal too much of thee.  We shall have to try short commons with thee, and thou art a very long common.  Ha, ha! where is that rogue Spank?  Spank must hear that by-and-by.  It is beyond thy great thick head, Jack."

"Not so, my lord; I have been at school, and had very bad jokes made upon me."

"Ha, ha!  It hath hit thee hard.  And faith, it would be hard to miss thee, even with harpoon.  And thou lookest like to blubber, now.  Capital, in faith!  I have thee on every side, Jack, and thy sides are manifold; many-folded at any rate.  Thou shalt have double expenses, Jack, for the wit thou hast provoked in me."

"Heavy goods lack heavy payment, is a proverb down our way, my lord."

"Ah, I hurt thee, I hurt thee, Jack.  The harpoon hath no tickle for thee.  Now, Jack Whale, having hauled thee hard, we will proceed to examine thee. . . ."
 
Lorna Doone,  R. D. Blackmore

Comments

Melissa said…
One of my favorite passages from one of the best books EVER. John Ridd. How we love John Ridd. So glad to share the Lorna love with you, Child. You have made me smile this morning. Not unusual, but thank you.