April 19th, 1761...
Huzzah! Dan Tangle has confirmed to me that, this Friday next, he will bring a carriage to the door of my abode, for we are to travel along the lazy lost lanes of Norfolk as we seek to harvest new corne from olde fields. We are to go a-churching once again and, having just thumbed through my volume of Didcot Cockermouth's "Large Erecktions in Norfolke", I am prodigously excited!
Thus aroused, I feel the sap rising and, adorning my finest frock-coat, I walk swaggeringly on my way to the Angel as if I were the Norfolke Dandy himself. Upon entering that establishment, I step over the prostrate form of poor Robert Dominic Maltravers, and make my way to the table next the window, where Dan Tangle stares transfixed at the remains of Jimothy Ditheridge's half-eaten cake. I join them and I too find my self staring at the moist morsels, wondering how it can be that a man can cast aside such delights. I know too that I am playing a waiting game. Eventually, Jimothy makes his excuses, adjusts his cuffs and lollops off and out of the inn.
"How d'ya do it Hump!" cries Mr. Tangle.
"Don't know what you mean Sir" says I, indignantly, chewing the cake that, rapier-like, I had stuffed into my fissog.
"You always get his leavings - it in't fair!" protests Dan.
"Don't sulk Dan, your face will fall into that plate. Look, if you want to grow one of these (tapping my belly), then you need to strike quick and then chew slow."
Whereupon I patted my lips with the table-cloth and began to discourse upon the subject of a man who leaves morsels upon his plate ...
"You see Dan, it is a French affectation - nay, a disease Sir... an affliction in fact. An Englishman should be a sturdy beast, fed full and well on beef and cake and other felicitous fecundities, whereas the Frenchman... well, he is lean and rickety, much like poor Jimothy there. Do you know that I heard that he recently purchased a pillow?"
"A pillow!" cried Dan, shocked...
"Yes, a pillow, damn and blast it!"
"It cannot be Cornelius... most perplexing..."
© Cornelius Hump, Esq.