Ay, but how shall we know the catchpole? said the man of God. All sorts of people daily resort to this castle. I have taken care of that, replied the lord. When some fellow, either on foot, or on a scurvy jade, with a large broad silver ring on his thumb, comes to the door, he is certainly a catchpole; the porter having civilly let him in, shall ring the bell; then be all ready, and come into the hall, to act the tragi-comedy whose plot I have now laid for you.
That numerical day, as chance would have it, came an old fat ruddy catchpole. Having knocked at the gate, and then pissed, as most men will do, the porter soon found him out, by his large greasy spatterdashes, his jaded hollow-flanked mare, his bagful of writs and informations dangling at his girdle, but, above all, by the large silver hoop on his left thumb.
The porter was civil to him, admitted him in kindly, and rung the bell briskly. As soon as the baker and his wife heard it, they clapped on their best clothes, and made their personal appearance in the hall, keeping their gravities like a new-made judge. The dominie put on his surplice and stole, and as he came out of his office, met the catchpole, had him in there, and made him suck his face a good while, while the gauntlets were drawing on all hands; and then told him, You are come just in pudding-time; my lord is in his right cue. We shall feast like kings anon; here is to be swingeing doings; we have a wedding in the house; here, drink and cheer up; pull away.
While these two were at it hand-to-fist, Basche, seeing all his people in the hall in their proper equipage, sends for the vicar. Oudart comes with the holy-water pot, followed by the catchpole, who, as he came into the hall, did not forget to make good store of awkward cringes, and then served Basche with a writ. Basche gave him grimace for grimace, slipped an angel into his mutton-fist, and prayed him to assist at the contract and ceremony; which he did. When it was ended, thumps and fisticuffs began to fly about among the assistants; but when it came to the catchpole’s turn, they all laid on him so unmercifully with their gauntlets that they at last settled him, all stunned and battered, bruised and mortified, with one of his eyes black and blue, eight ribs bruised, his brisket sunk in, his omoplates in four quarters, his under jawbone in three pieces; and all this in jest, and no harm done. God wot how the levite belaboured him, hiding within the long sleeve of his canonical