The Scarlet Pimpernel HTML version

II. Dover: "The Fisherman's Rest"
In the kitchen Sally was extremely busy--saucepans and frying-pans were
standing in rows on the gigantic hearth, the huge stock-pot stood in a corner, and
the jack turned with slow deliberation, and presented alternately to the glow
every side of a noble sirloin of beef. The two little kitchen-maids bustled around,
eager to help, hot and panting, with cotton sleeves well tucked up above the
dimpled elbows, and giggling over some private jokes of their own, whenever
Miss Sally's back was turned for a moment. And old Jemima, stolid in temper and
solid in bulk, kept up a long and subdued grumble, while she stirred the stock-pot
methodically over the fire.
"What ho! Sally!" came in cheerful if none too melodious accents from the coffee-
room close by.
"Lud bless my soul!" exclaimed Sally, with a good-humoured laugh, "what be
they all wanting now, I wonder!"
"Beer, of course," grumbled Jemima, "you don't 'xpect Jimmy Pitkin to 'ave done
with one tankard, do ye?"
"Mr. 'Arry, 'e looked uncommon thirsty too," simpered Martha, one of the little
kitchen-maids; and her beady black eyes twinkled as they met those of her
companion, whereupon both started on a round of short and suppressed giggles.
Sally looked cross for a moment, and thoughtfully rubbed her hands against her
shapely hips; her palms were itching, evidently, to come in contact with Martha's
rosy cheeks--but inherent good-humour prevailed, and with a pout and a shrug of
the shoulders, she turned her attention to the fried potatoes.
"What ho, Sally! hey, Sally!"
And a chorus of pewter mugs, tapped with impatient hands against the oak
tables of the coffee-room, accompanied the shouts for mine host's buxom
"Sally!" shouted a more persistent voice, "are ye goin' to be all night with that
there beer?"
"I do think father might get the beer for them," muttered Sally, as Jemima, stolidly
and without further comment, took a couple of foam-crowned jugs from the shelf,
and began filling a number of pewter tankards with some of that home-brewed
ale for which "The Fisherman's Rest" had been famous since that days of King
Charles. "'E knows 'ow busy we are in 'ere."