Friday, December 19, 2014

Page 380 (14.534-572) "or honest pickle... says he. More"

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or honest pickle and what belonged of woman, horseflesh or hot scandal he had it pat.

To tell the truth he was mean in fortunes and for the most part hankered about the coffeehouses and low taverns with crimps, ostlers, bookies, Paul's men, runners, flatcaps, waistcoateers, ladies of the bagnio and other rogues of the game or with a chanceable catchpole or a tipstaff often at nights till broad day of whom he picked up between his sackpossets much loose gossip.

He took his ordinary at a boilingcook's and if he had but gotten into him a mess of broken victuals or a platter of tripes with a bare tester in his purse he could always bring himself off with his tongue, some randy quip he had from a punk or whatnot that every mother's son of them would burst their sides.

The other, Costello that is, hearing this talk asked was it poetry or a tale.

Faith, no, he says, Frank (that was his name), 'tis all about Kerry cows that are to be butchered along of the plague.

But they can go hang, says he with a wink, for me with their bully beef, a pox on it.

There's as good fish in this tin as ever came out of it and very friendly he offered to take of some salty sprats that stood by which he had eyed wishly in the meantime and found the place which was indeed the chief design of his embassy as he was sharpset. Mort aux vaches, says Frank then in the French language that had been indentured to a brandyshipper that has a winelodge in Bordeaux and he spoke French like a gentleman too.

From a child this Frank had been a donought that his father, a headborough, who could ill keep him to school to learn his letters and the use of the globes, matriculated at the university to study the mechanics but he took the bit between his teeth like a raw colt and was more familiar with the justiciary and the parish beadle than with his volumes.

One time he would be a playactor, then a sutler or a welsher, then nought would keep him from the bearpit and the cocking main, then he was for the ocean sea or to hoof it on the roads with the Romany folk, kidnapping a squire's heir by favour of moonlight or fecking maids' linen or choking chickens behind a hedge.

He had been off as many times as a cat has lives and back again with naked pockets as many more to his father the headborough who shed a pint of tears as often as he saw him.

What, says Mr Leopold with his hands across, that was earnest to know the drift of it, will they slaughter all? I protest I saw them but this day morning going to the Liverpool boats, says he.

I can scarce believe 'tis so bad, says he.

And he had experience of the like brood beasts and of springers, greasy hoggets and wether wools, having been some years before actuary for Mr Joseph Cuffe, a worthy salesmaster that drove his trade for live stock and meadow auctions hard by Mr Gavin Low's yard in Prussia street.

I question with you there, says he. More




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