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Sure enough the castle car drove up with Martin on it and Jack Power with him and a fellow named Crofter or Crofton, pensioner out of the collector general's, an orangeman Blackburn does have on the registration and he drawing his pay or Crawford gallivanting around the country at the king's expense.
Our travellers reached the rustic hostelry and alighted from their palfreys.
— Ho, varlet! cried he, who by his mien seemed the leader of the party. Saucy knave! To us!
So saying he knocked loudly with his swordhilt upon the open lattice.
Mine host came forth at the summons girding him with his tabard.
— Give you good den, my masters, said he with an obsequious bow.
— Bestir thyself, sirrah! cried he who had knocked. Look to our steeds. And for ourselves give us of your best for ifaith we need it.
— Lackaday, good masters, said the host, my poor house has but a bare larder. I know not what to offer your lordships.
— How now, fellow? cried the second of the party, a man of pleasant countenance. So servest thou the king's messengers, Master Taptun?
An instantaneous change overspread the landlord's visage.
— Cry you mercy, gentlemen, he said humbly. An you be the king's messengers (God shield His Majesty!) you shall not want for aught. The king's friends (God bless His Majesty!) shall not go afasting in my house I warrant me.
— Then about! cried the traveller who had not spoken, a lusty trencherman by his aspect. Hast aught to give us?
Mine host bowed again as he made answer:
— What say you, good masters, to a squab pigeon pasty, some collops of venison, a saddle of veal, widgeon with crisp hog's bacon, a boar's head with pistachios, a bason of jolly custard, a medlar tansy and a flagon of old Rhenish?
— Gadzooks! cried the last speaker. That likes me well. Pistachios!
— Aha! cried he of the pleasant countenance. A poor house and a bare larder, quotha! 'Tis a merry rogue.
So in comes Martin asking where was Bloom.
— Where is he? says Lenehan. Defrauding widows and orphans.
— Isn't that a fact, says John Wyse, what I was telling the citizen about Bloom and the Sinn Fein?
— That's so, says Martin. Or so they allege.
— Who made those allegations? says Alf.
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