Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Jud Painter



One of my guilty pleasures is Poldark. You can read more on this series here and here.

My favorite character is the servant, Jud Painter. For some inexplicable reason I feel compelled to copy out a chapter that I read last night in the first book of the series, Ross Poldark, by Winston Graham. It focuses on Jud's speech patterns, which I find so interesting.
Pages 301 - 303

III
The found Jud gloriously drunk.
Some part of Ross's threats had stayed with him through his carouse, and he was not on his back, but within those limits he had done well for himself.
An ostler had got him to the front of the Red Lion Inn. The three horses were tethered waiting, and he was quarrelling amiably with the man who had seen him this far.
When he saw the ladies coming he bowed low in the manner of a Spanish grandee, clinging with one hand to the awning post outside the inn. Bit the bow was extravagant and his hat fell off and went floating down the rivulet which ran between the cobbles. He swore, unsettling the horses with the tone of his voice, and went after it; but his foot slipped and he sat down heavily in the street. Am small boy returned his hat and was lectured for his trouble. The ostler helped the ladies to mount and then went to Jud's aid.
By this time a lot of people had paused to see them off. The ostler managed to help Jud to his feet and covered the tonsure and fringe with the damp hat.
"There, ole dear; stick it on her 'ead. Ye'll need both 'ands for to hold yer old 'orse, ye will."
Jud instantly snatched off the hat again, cut to the quick.
"Maybe as you think," he said, "because as I've the misfortune of an accidental slip on a cow-flop therefore I has the inability of an unborn babe, which is what you think and no missment, that you think as I be open to be dressed and undressed, hatted and unhatted like a scarecrow in a field o' taties, because I've the misfortune of a slip on a cow-flop. Twould be far superior if you was to get down on yer bended knees wi' brush an' pan. Tedn't right to leave the streets before yer own front door befouled wi' cow-flops. Tedn't right. Tedn't tidy. Tedn't fair. Tedn't clean. Tedn't good enough.
"There, there now," said the ostler.
" 'Is own front door," said Jud to the crowd. "Only 'is own front door. If every one of you was to clean before 'is own front door, all would be clean of cow-flops. The whole lathering town. Remember what the Good Book do say: 'Thou shalt not move thy neighbor's landmark.' Think on that friends. 'Thou shalt not move thy neighbor's landmark.' Think on that and apply it to the poor dumb beasts. Never --"
" 'Elp you on yer 'orse, shall I?" said the ostler.
"Never in all me days has I been so offensive," said Jud. "Hat put on me 'ead as if I was an unborn babe. An' wet at that! Wet wi' the scum of all Powder Street: drippin' on me face. Enough to give me the death. Drippin on me 'ead: a chill you get, and phit! ye're gone. Clean yer own doorstep, friends, that's what I do say. Look to yourself, and then you'll never be in the place of this poor rat oo has to assult 'is best customers who is slipped in a cow-flop by danging a blatherin' wet hat on 'is 'ead from off the foul stream that d'run before 'is own doorstep with should never 'appen should never 'appen, dear friends, remember that." Jud now had his arm round the ostler's neck.
"Come along, we'll go without him," Verity said to Demelza, who had a hand up to her mouth and was tittering helplessly.
Another servant came out of the inn, and between them they led Jud to his hourse.
"Pore lost soul," said Jud, strokin the ostler's cheek. "Pore list wandering soul. Look at 'im, friends. Do'e know he's lost? Do 'e know he's for the fire's? Do 'e know the flesh'll sweal off of him like fat off of a goose> And for why? I'll tell ee for why. Because he's sold his soul to Old Scratch 'imself. And so've you all. So've you all what don't 'eed what the Good Book do say. 'Eathens! Eathens! "' Thou shalt not move thy neighbor's landmark. Thou shalt not-' "
At this point the two men put their hands under him and heaved him into the saddle. Then the ostler ran round to the other side as he began to slip off. A timely push and another hoist and he was firmly held, one man on either side. Old blind Ramoth stood it all without a twitch. Then they thrust one of Jud's feet deep in each stirrup and gave Ramoth a slap to tell him he should be going.
Over the bridge and all the way up the dusty hill out of the town Jud staying in the saddle as if glued to it, haranguing passers-by and telling them to repent before it was too late.


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