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The World’s Wit and Humor: An Encyclopedia in 15 Volumes. 1906.

Philippe Quinault (1635–1688)

Two Imaginative Innkeepers

From “The Indiscreet Lover”


Carp.Would you drink of the best, sir, step in here. We are not wanting for strong wine of Orleans, Malmsey, Burgundy, and exquisite cordials from the valleys of the Rhone.

Cour.Sir, here you can drink, too, the wine of Malaga and Contepordrix, and Muscatelle sweeter than nectar.

Carp.Yes, he has drafts for you, no doubt, wine of Nanterre and wine of Argenteuil. Lean cat that he is, he’ll treat you well—with vinegar.

Cour.It’s better than yours.

Carp.Keeper of a mere cook-shop you are; an adulterer of wine who spoils the trade.

Cour.Oh, you frying-pan hero!

Carp.Insolent slave!

Cour.Sir, come to my inn. That fellow is a sharper.

Carp.If you don’t get away from here I’ll smash your snout.

Cléan.Gentlemen, keep peace.

Carp.You come in here, or I’ll sweep the ground with you.

Cléan.You do not please me with your importunities. You have already torn my coat in several places.

Carp.If I get a stick——(Exit COURCAILLET.)

Cléan.Well, but don’t make so much ado. The people on the street are watching the fuss. I’ll go in here.

Carp.Now, sir, you are talking sensibly. It is undoubtedly at the “Black Head” that fashionable people stop to drink.

Cléan.I care little for wine. Have you anything to eat?

Carp.Assuredly. We furnish the most delectable delicacies, seen only on the best tables—dishes exquisitely made and well spiced.

Cléan.Well, one of these I should like.

Carp.Pigeons on toast and partridges in pies, with herbs and spices, marrow, and roasts of beef crowned with citron and jelly.

Cléan.Enough, enough!

Carp.We know how to make dainty dishes of veal in a royal manner, pigeons and chickens——

Cléan.But I want only one dish!

Carp.You can have four. It’s only a matter of cost. You’ll be as well served here as in the best inn in France. To the soups I give a flavor, I tell you—I have skilful hands enough, thank Heaven!

Cléan.You have some smaller dish to begin on?

Carp.Of course! We have tongues of beef, hashed chickens with white sauce, sheep’s feet with ham, and minced meat with crusts. Then, for the middle of the dinner, come capons and hens, pheasants and turtle-doves, woodcocks and partridges, ducks and plovers, teals and thrushes, snipes, curlews, wild ducks, peewits——

Cléan.Oh, my dear host, stop, stop, I beseech you!

Carp.In a word, in this inn nothing is lacking. Fruit would you have? The orchards of Touraine have yielded their wealth to me. Do you wish to dispense with meat for a day? We give you soups of green peas, onions, asparagus, and rice, then salmon, turbot, trout, or sole, fried or stewed——

Cléan.Another day, my friend, another day! Oh, but I’m hungry!