Quote of the Day

Killick had spent little of his life ashore, and most of that little in an amphibious village in the Essex mud; but he was fly; he knew a great deal about landsmen, most of whom were crimps, pickpockets, whores, or officials of the Sick and Hurt office, and he could tell a gum a mile off. He saw them everywhere. He was the worst possible companion for a weak, reduced, anxious debtor that could be well found, the more so in his absolute copper-bottomed certainty of being a right deep file, no sort or kind of a flat, and carried a certain conviction. By way of a ruse de guerre he had somehow acquired a clergyman’s hat, and this, combined with his earrings, his yard of pigtail, his watchet-blue jacket with brass buttons, his white trousers and low silver-buckled shoes, succeeded so well that several customers followed him from the tap-room to gaze while he leaned in and said to Jack, ‘It’s no go, sir. I seen some slang coves in the tap. You’ll have to drink it in the shay. What’ll it be, sir? Dog’s nose? Flip? Come, sir,’ he said, with the authority of the well over the sick in their care, or even out of it, ‘What’ll it be? For down it must go, or it will miss the tide.’ Jack thought he would like a little sherry. ‘Oh no, sir. No wine. The doctor said, No wine. Porter is more the mark.’ He brought back sherry — had been obliged to call for wine, it being a shay — and a mug of porter; drank the sherry, gave back change as he saw fit, and watched the bolts go gasping, retching down, helped by the porter. ‘That’s thundering good physic,’ he said. ‘Drive on, mate.’

Post Captain – Patrick O’Brian

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