‘I have your plates,’ he said, holding out a green-baize parcel.
‘Oh, thank you, thank you, Stephen. What a good fellow you are. Here’s elegance, damn my eyes. How they shine! Oh, oh,’ his face fell. ‘Stephen, I do not like to seem ungrateful, but I did say hawser-laid, you know. The border was to be hawser-laid.’
‘Well, and did I not say, “Let there be a hawser about the periphery” and did he not say, the shopman, God’s curse upon him, the thief, “Here, sir, is as pretty a hawser as Lord Viscount Nelson himself could desire”?’
‘And so it is. A capital hawser. But surely my dear Stephen, you must be aware, after all this time at sea, that a hawser is cable-laid, not hawser-laid?’
‘I am not. And I absolutely decline to hear more of the matter. A hawser not hawser-laid — what stuff. I badger the silversmith early and late, and we are to be told that hawsers are not hawser-laid. No, no. The wine is drawn, it must be drunk. The frog has neither feathers nor wool, and yet she sings. You will have to sail up to the Downs, eating the bread of affliction off your cable-laid baubles, and wetting it with the tears if misery; and I may tell you, sir, that you will eat it without me.’
Post Captain – Patrick O’Brian