29 November 2007

Mayhem on the Mayflower

Yes, the ship's still sailing...

To drink like a Capuchin is to drink poorly,
To drink like a Benedictine is to drink deeply,
To drink like a Dominican is pot after pot,
But to drink like a Jesuit
Is to drink the cellar dry!

-Adapted from an old French drinking song


Now if the reader has been paying the slightest attention, he will notice that three different types of spirits had been served throughout the course of the meal, and that the participants--in particular the male participants--had imbibed the most generously. It is thus not unfair to say that Sir Basil, Lord P, Count Crackie, Old Dominion Tory, Sir Robbo, Earl Sullivan and yes, dare one say it, even Fr. M, were by this point, as the popular Elizabethan phrase goes, three sheets to the wind.

It was then the ponderous Miss Quackenboss entered with an entourage of equally ponderous black-clad spinsters and sat at the table immediately adjacent. Seeing our hearty repast, she asked the servant, in a loud tone, to “bring the flagon of water and the plate of herbs, and a small morsel of bread.” Sir Basil stood and gave Miss Q an unnecessarily low bow, and seated himself back at the table.

Sensing imminent trouble, Christine offered a quick prayer under her breath: Je vous salut, Marie, pleine de grace…, and attempted to distract Sir Basil by hinting at a turn on the dance floor. “But there is no music, Miss de Vannier,” he objected. “Lord P, won’t you fetch your lute and play a tune for us?” Christine suggested. “You play so finely.” Lord P, flattered, went to his stateroom and returned with the instrument, whereupon he proceeded to perform an excruciating version of “O Thou Silver Thames.” Christine immediately regretted her suggestion. Despite the melody’s less than satisfactory rendering, Miss Quackenboss was allayed, as it reminded her of her beloved England, and she gently nodded her head to the lilting melody. But when Lord P, not quite at his full wits, followed with "Ale and Tobacco," belting out the lyrics at piercing volume, it was then that, as another popular medieval phrase goes, all hell broke loose.

You can read the rest at Patum Peperium.