It’s the Middle Ages, sort of!
|Oct 7|| 27|
Oh-ho, the hissing fat from this fat haunch of venison has spilled down my gleaming, oiled beard and onto the many bejeweled rings adorning my fingers! What an untidy stroke of bad fortune at the feast celebrating my greatest triumph! Luckily I have only to wipe the back of my hand onto my gleaming ermine-cuffed surcoat — thusly — and wa-hey presto! Ready for more haunch am I. Ready for more…of everything! Why, more’s the best thing there is for a feast, lad! Haven’t you ever been to a feast before? Worried about a little grease, eh sonne? Needn’t be — I’ve twenty more ermine-cuffed surcoats where that one came from. They are as napkins to me! And if I were to stain all twenty of my ermine-cuffed surcoats with venison grease, steaming and redolent from the spit, why, I’d simply change into a gaberdine, or a gawbardyne as it is alternately spelt, a dolman, a paned doublet, a stitched jerkin, a fine peascod, a simple linen shirt, coat of otter or marten skins, a fine brocade, a nearby tapestry adorning one of my many walls, a particoloured jacket made of fine stuff and embellished with gold stitchings, a pure-white deer, a dagged-edge houppelande — or even the velvet-bordered lap of a fine and willing maiden! [Pause for uproarious approval from crowd].
The only problems here, squire-me-duck, are the problems of plenty! Where to wipe dripping fat, which dog to toss a marrow-squirting bone, which ruby rings to keep dry, where to dispatch a soiled ermine, where to host a drunk and merry abbess, how much hay to throw over a sodden wine-patch to keep it dry, how many mighty yew-trees to fell to stoke the fires that roasts the venison that causes the fat to drip down my gleaming, oiled beard in the first place, how to render the venison-fat into sweet-smelling oils I can later use to neaten my beard. So on and so forth! All the problems of plenty that face a happy, boisterous baron, or bishop, here in the eleventh or sixteenth century, or somewhere thereabouts. Tenants, tithes, tariffs – those are concerns for stewards and chamberlains, Percy, not for stout men with ribs like oak branches such as myself! And if a rogue of some sort were to enter my hall, why then lad, I’d welcome him, or her, with a boisterous laugh and a big metal coffee-mug-looking kind of cup, which I’d hand over so vigorously that the contents would slop from side to side and spill over the edge, just a little. It would be the most purple color in the world, and you could call it mead if you wanted to! Ha-hey! The conditions of plenty in this feast-hall are like the contents of my mead-mug: bright purple, constantly sloshing, out of balance, constantly spilling over, and never running dry! What kind of a rogue could trouble our peace here, we who all have rogueish hearts of our own, but the faces of saints too? There’s nothing to fear in this hall! As many ermine-cloaks to wipe fat on as there are haunches dripping fat, and we’ll never run out of neither, neither!