Ichabod is itchy

July 5, 2006

Where can I get a pen?

Filed under: literature — by ichabodisitchy @ 9:50 pm

A few days ago, a posting on The Inner Minx led to a discussion about how, no matter how many pens you may have, there never seems to be one at hand when you need one… I am reading Ivanhoe at the moment, and this passage–on the subject of finding a pen–really made me giggle. Prior Aymer is in the forest with Locksley (aka Robin Hood) and is refusing to write a ransom note with the only pen available, since it is owned by a Jew:

“‘If your holy scruples can dispense with using the Jew’s tablets, for the pen I can find a remedy,’ said the yeoman and, bending his bow, he aimed his shaft at a wild-goose which was soaring over their heads, the advanced-guard of a phalanx of his tribe, which were winging their way to the distant and solitary fens of Holderness. The bird came fluttering down, transfixed with the arrow.

‘There, Prior,’ said the Captain, ‘are quills enow to supply all the monks of Jorvaulx for the next hundred years, an they take not to writing chronicles.'”



  1. So what this says to me is that we should be working outdoors. It’s because we’re inside, unable to shoot geese at will, that we never have a pen to hand.

    Don’t you just love the classics? So instructive.

    Comment by James Long — July 7, 2006 @ 9:03 am |Reply

  2. Thank heavens the young cast of the versoin of Robin Hood I saw last night didn’t try this, Sian, I could just imagine Mrs Baxter or Mrs Sanderson transfixed!

    What a great excerpt, thanks.

    Comment by Maxine — July 8, 2006 @ 8:14 pm |Reply

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