old english: Thou shalt find me here this hour about a feather.

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marieta_ph

Member
Spain
JACK:Thou shalt find me here this hour about a feather.
MOLL:Nay, and a feather hold you in play a whole hour, a goose will last you all the days of your life.

They are in a feather shop.
Does he mean he is usually there at that time? at the feather shop?
"a goose will last you..." --> is that and old phrase?

Thanks! im trying to translate and old theatre play.... :-S
 
  • panjandrum

    Lapsed Moderator
    English-Ireland (top end)
    Hello marieta_ph, and welcome to WordReference :)

    It's difficult to know exactly what is meant here.
    I'm guessing that Jack is saying that he will be in the shop for an hour "about a feather" (I don't know what that means).
    There is nothing special about "a goose will last you ...".
    The point is that if one feather will keep him for an hour, then a whole goose (all the feathers on a goose) will last all his life - many, many hours.
     

    ewie

    Senior Member
    English English
    Hello marieta_ph, and welcome to WordReference :)

    It's difficult to know exactly what is meant here.
    I'm guessing that Jack is saying that he will be in the shop for an hour "about a feather" (I don't know what that means).
    Engaged in the business of buying a feather??? (Presumably to put in his hat ~ can't think of another reason for buying one feather)
     

    Trisia

    Senior Member
    Romanian
    The text can be found here:The Roaring Girl, or Moll Cutpurse

    Jack is indeed looking for one feather, and he has already almost quarrelled with the shop-owner because he couldn't find one suitable for his needs. And Moll has just told him she has to answer his questions later, as she's going to another shop. So Panj is exactly right. He's most likely saying he'll be there for a whole hour, looking for a feather (good guess ewie, too).


     

    Trisia

    Senior Member
    Romanian
    Alas, you'd be wrong :rolleyes: (though that was a lovely thought).

    He asks specifically for a spangled feather.
    And after a while he asks Molly what she thinks of him, presumably while adorned with it. She answers nicely, and then says to herself:

    He looks for all the world with those spangled feathers like a nobleman's bedpost! [...] Oh, the gallants of these times are shallow lechers;
    Blah-blah-blah.
    He's a dandy, not a writer.
     

    se16teddy

    Senior Member
    English - England
    Another idea: I am sure there is a play here on the obsolete expression two feathers out of a goose, which meant (according to the Oxford English Dictionary, meaning I1b of the noun feather) a very small part of anything.

    I wonder whether feather, as well as referring to a single feather, is also being used in the sense of Attire, ‘get-up’ (meaning I2a in the OED). Here are two of the Dictionary's examples:
    - 1842 G. DARLING in Proc. Berw. Nat. Club II. 10 Which proved to be the male in tolerable feather and condition.
    - 1855 THACKERAY Newcomes II. 34, I saw him in full clerical feather.
    I think that feather is used in this sense earlier in the play: as defective in courting as a farmer's son the first day of his feather (= on the first day wearing his new set of clothes?) that doth nothing at court but woo the hangings and glass windows for a month together...
     
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