The Yeomen of the Guard


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Dialogue following No. 9

Lieutenant. And how came you to leave your last employ?

Henry Lytton as Jack Point
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Point. Why, sir, it was in this wise. My Lord was the Archbishop of Canterbury, and it was considered that one of my jokes was unsuited to His Grace's family circle. In truth, I ventured to ask a poor riddle, sir — Wherein lay the difference between His Grace and poor Jack Point? His Grace was pleased to give it up, sir. And thereupon I told him that whereas His Grace was paid £10,000 a year for being good, poor Jack Point was good — for nothing. 'Twas but a harmless jest, but it offended His Grace, who whipped me and set me in the stocks for a scurril rogue, and so we parted. I had as lief not take post again with the dignified clergy.

Lieutenant. But I trust you are very careful not to give offence. I have daughters.

Point. Sir, my jests are most carefully selected, and anything objectionable is expunged. If your honour pleases, I will try then first on your honour's chaplain.

Lieutenant. Can you give me an example? Say that I had sat me down hurriedly on something sharp?

Point. Sir, I should say that you had sat down on the spur of the moment.

Lieutenant. Humph! I don't think much of that. Is that the best you can do?

Point. It has always been much admired , sir, but we will try again.

Lieutenant. Well, then, I am at dinner, and the joint of meat is but half cooked.

Point. Why then, sir, I should say that what is underdone cannot be helped.

Lieutenant. I see. I think that manner of thing would be somewhat irritating.

Point. At first, sir, perhaps; but use is everything, and you would come in time to like it.

Lieutenant. We will suppose that I caught you kissing the kitchen wench under my very nose.

Point. Under her very nose, good sir — not under yours! That is where I would kiss her. Do you take me? Oh, sir, a pretty wit — a pretty, pretty wit!

Lieutenant. The maiden comes. Follow me, friend, and we will discuss this matter at length in my library.

Point. I am your worship's servant. That is to say, I trust I soon shall be. But, before proceeding to a more serious topic, can you tell me, sir, why a cook's brain-pan is like an overwound clock?

Lieutenant. A truce to this fooling — follow me.

Point. Just my luck; my best conundrum wasted!

Exeunt Lieutenant and Point.

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