Monday, May 3, 2010

Chapter Six: an eel reference

The conversation quickly turned to the king’s mission.

“Now you are safe in my keep here,” the king said to Gertrude. “I am at last free to ride forth with my men and slay all those on Zealand who sought to ally themselves with Fortinbras.”

“Will it be a lengthy war?” Gertrude picked at a stuffed capon, pushing it around her plate without eating a bite. “Will it be a dangerous employment, my lord?”

“Who can say, my lady?” The king chewed a mouthful of venison and glanced up at the ceiling. “Are there no eels tonight?”

“None,” the queen said.

“But I like eels.”

“Is this dinner not in my honor, my lord?”

“All this food,” the king said, gesturing at the many dishes spread before us. “All of this and no eels for the king.”

“I will send for the cooks,” Yorick offered.


  1. Scott,
    I'm with the King on this one. Where are the eels?

    p.s. Just noticed you linked to Maraget Atwood's blog. I have three of her books lined up to read (at the top of my list).

  2. Not for nothing, and I'm not being nit-picky, okay I am, but I had to point this out --

    ...said the king, gesturing at the many dishes spread before us...

    I'm not there. I do like venison though, and I may take a bite of capon, but no eels.

    I love Yorick.

  3. Crimey: Oh, there will be more eels later on. Oh yes there will.

    Anne: I know that the first-person POV isn't immediately apparent in this excerpt, but it's there. You aren't part of the "us," but *he* certainly is.
    Alas, poor Yorick.

  4. Interesting insight into the selfishness of the King. I'm with Gertrude.

    I like the language style in this. You're definitely sticking to the verbiage of the era. Unlike true Shakespear, however, I can understand this.

    Good work on keeping up the word count.


  5. And after I posted my comment I realized that I must have missed something. Mr. Bailey would never make a mistake like that. Sorry then, my bad.

    Alas, poor Yorick.

  6. Mmm, eels. I've never had them, but I'd like to try them. I still can't get the horse's head out of my mind, though. Is that scene going back in?

  7. Oh, and thank you for putting me on your read list for 2010. :)

    I need to make a list like that on my blog. Perhaps I will do that and procrastinate more of my writing today.

  8. Donna: Points to you for spotting the import of this passage. They've all sat down to a banquet in the queen's honor, and the king is petulant about the food served.

    Anne: The use of the word "us" there is the only sign that this excerpt is in 1st-person, so points to you anyway; it would've been a mistake otherwise. Poor Yorick; he's a good man.

    Michelle: I am seriously considering using the horse's head scene in this version, if I can make it work. We'll see. I'd like it if I could. I have no interest in eating eels. And of course I listed "Monarch" on my "books read" list! But stop procrastinating, you. I wrote 400 words over lunch and made a bunch of notes and I plan to write more on the bus ride home.

  9. Well I AM writing now, so all is well. Well, writing except to stop and comment on your comment because I am easily distracted.

    I'm almost to 20k. Very exciting stuff.

    Good luck with your writing tonight, and yes, put that scene back. It was one of the most memorable scenes in the book for me.