Story for the Day: Salt and Vinegar - Part 1

Bartleby is horrified by many things, but most terrifying of all to him is the sad want of intelligence in a person and the butchering of a language he loves so well:

                The drinks over, the glasses empty, and the consequences thereof now settled safely in-- Damson slumping forward over the table with his cheek pressed against the wood, bemoaning the horrors of his delightful cushions somehow vanished, Rannig and Danaco moderately flushed and well cheered, and Bartleby tolerably inebriated and sibilating bibulousness through his speeches—a meal must be ordered and aet if they were to recover from their varying states. Danaco and Rannig had little to recuperate from; their cheerful volubility only increased, and both were disposed to talk of how best they might besiege the castle now that they were come close to it and had the chief of the king’s men under their ascendance, but Damson was in no state for schemes: he was listening to Bartelby, whose voice was alternately lisping and gruzzling as he went on about the chemical composition of alcohol and its various effects on the body, and was trying, by dint of much useless exertion, to prop his elbow against the table and his head against his hand, his attention waning, his eyelids growing heavy, his mouth labouring to hang despite itself.
                “You are looking rather gallied. A meal shall cure you both,” Danaco announced. “The old man I knew should be affected directly, but Damson—you are a rather robust young fellow. I was certain of your threshold being higher.”
                Damson said something about how sorry he was, but was interrupted when his face grew uncommonly attracted to the table and rushed to meet it. Hanging filipendulous as he was, his chin resting perilously against the edge of his palm, he had glanced at the table to discover his reflection closer than he had suspected, and before he could exclaim and say how pristine the table was, how replendant and how reflective—and who is that handsome young man in the table? It cannot be myself, for I am not half so attractive without my helm on-- and his nose was pressing against the wooden one of his reflection before he was aware. I can no longer see the handsome man, thought Damson sorrowfully, perhaps he has gone away now that I have got too close to him. Oh, there he is again—thank you, sir giant, for lifting me. I was having a difficult time. It felt as though someone was pulling me down into the table. Perhaps it was this fellow?—but he does rather look more like me now. I think he has taken my face to scandalize me.  Hello, sir-in-the-table, but I believe you have taken my face and I should very much like it back, if you do not mind—Damson allowed the preponderance of inebriation to overwhelm him, and he sank again to the table, his nose between the brandished boards. He was lifted again, and found that the stranger in the table, had gone, leaving only himself behind. “Yes, I have got my face back and the rogue is gone,” Damson triumphantly declared.
“Well, you are in a merry pin,” said Danaco, laughing. “I am almost sorry to have a meal sent for to ensure your coherence. I should love to have you by the ears while in your semiconscious state.”
“Sir?” Damson moaned, turning his head toward the captain, his ear sinking toward the table. “Do you speak to me, sir, or to the sir-in-the-table who has just gone and left me my face?”
“You, sir knight. I have no need of fleeting reflections. Rannig?”
“Aye, boss?”
“Do help poor Damson to sit up. He is beginning to drool, and he might ruin the varnish.”
“Aye, boss.”
The giant reached over and pulled the knight up, to save him from leaning into a puddle of his own dribble.
“There. And we shall clean you and make you presentable for when your friend the pulchritudinous pillow makes her triumphant return.”
“Return, sir?” said Damson, remarking Rannig with a vacant expression as the giant dabbed the corners of his mouth with a clean cloth. “Is my pillow to come back to me, sir? It has gone away—perhaps the sir-in-the-table has gone with it—I will challenge him if he has, for that was my own pillow-- and I should very much like to be comfortable again, though the giant holding me and jostling me like he would a doll is strangely reassuring.”
“Because you enjoy being manhandled, sir knight,” said Bartleby, his voice flying off with musical intonation. “Might as well admit it to yourself and spare yourself who knows how many years of misunderstood and misapplied sincerity—No, Rannig, no!” stabbing a finger at the giant’s mouth as he was about to ask how many. “You understand rhetorical questions-- I know you do-- and you ask your infernal questions regardless just to discompose me.”
“Whether he ask or not, you old sauce, you are discomposed anyhow.”
Bartleby frowned as hard as his wrinkles would allow and flapped his lower lip at the captain.
“I think I see a great chasm lurking between the folds, my friend,” said Danaco, staring at Bartleby’s cruteacous wrines. “For every moment you try to rob the knight of his innocence, a new crevice on your face does form.” .
Bartleby, disdaining the captain, his glabrious skin, his stupid and subrisive face, was very sure he did not care about new crevices and proclaimed that innocence was a foolish thing to keep for so long.
“Damson does wear it well, however. He dons it like a shimmering frock and waves it about for everyone to admire.”
At that moment, Rannig released Damson, and his head instantly sunk to his left shoulder, causing his lips to part and his jaw to droop against the captain.
“I think you mean infancy, captain, not innocence,” Bartleby humphed. “Only an infant would drool against someone else’s shoulder.”
“But old men would do it against open books.”
A sly look on one side, an offended sniff on the other, and Bartleby folded his arms and turned away, grumbling that he should never suffer to drool on his books, though his desk was not offered the same sympathy.   
“Better to continue holding him, Rannig,” said Danaco, pushing Damson toward the giant, “else he slaver and sully my waistcoat.”
“Aye, boss,” said Rannig, gripping the back of Damson’s gorge and holding him in place.
 “Yes, I think a meal will do for him. By Myrellenos, judging by the plates going round, I am half afraid of ordering something. Most of it is either bathing in a pond of boiled fat or crusted over with seasalt. Further dehydration is just what Damson and Bartleby do not need at present. A headache will certainly be their reward if something in the way of tolerable food and water is not got into them. Madam,” calling to the waitress who was just passing the table, “if you please, we are in desperate need of your services.”
                “Yer charmin’ an’ tha’,” said the waitress, her chest flouncing as she stopped beside Damson, “an’ whyle Ah don’t mynd havin’ a man lean on meh, Ah’ll not do it for the askin’, though he is a handsome lad, an’re yeh awll.”
                “Careful, madam,” said Danaco, with a sagacious half smile, “you address all of us as becoming men and invite my old friend to solicit you.”
Bartleby mumbled something about the waitress being a vulgar harridan, and he folded his arms and turned away, to glunch fiercely at the opposing wall and ignore the untamed flesh issuing forth from an open blouse.
“Ah’m used to the awld grumps anehow,” said the waitress, “though Ah don’t mynd a young thing lyke yerself restin’ his eyes on meh.”
“Madam,” said the captain, in a tender hue, “if you knew my age, you should be classing me amongst the old grumps, I assure you.”
“Wha? Ye can’t be mor than therteh.”
Danaco only smiled.
“Gawn, yer not older than tha’, though ye’ve got them pointy ears an’ tha’, an’ of a tyme, Ah’ve seen young pointy men what were older than they looked.”
“I believe Lucentians make it their object to be pointy, madam. It keeps us pleasant and intriguing.”
The waitress blushed and giggled, though she had little idea what she was giggling about, and asked what the pointy-eared young man would have.
“Something safe, if it please. I do not wish to expose myself to the dangers of a Marrdonian diet by ordering something besalted and submerged in suet. Is there anything that is baked which does not resemble a pie?”
The waitress rattled off a great many things that bore the semblance of pie, talking of pockets and pasties and pastries stuffed with mushrooms and meats—which were all, in her estimation, not pies at all—and then mentioned roasted root vegetables and broiled starch skins.
“We will have those, if you please, madam.”
“An’ it please yerself, sir.”
The waitress’ cheeks rounded with erubescent smiles, and she simpered and kicked up her heel as she skipped away, disregarding the flocks of eager guards and edacious eyes remarking her bounding flesh as she tittupped into the kitchen.

Twisk made this. It is both frightening and hilarious.
“One more button would save her from a sea of starving faces,” said Bartleby, “and would save my ears from the sound of smacking lips—is that stewed cabbage? It doesn’t look terrific, but the smell is right—and anyway, one more button would not kill her and it would keep her from attacking me with her bushel. You talk of my chasms and caverns and so forth, but she has a crater to be lost in. She jingles with change when walking by, and yet I see not pockets on her. Well, now I know where her purse is.”

Danaco grinned  and looked suprised. “How unlike you, my friend, to make such a vulgarism—“
“Oh, fee-faw-fum!” the old man interposed. “You know very well what I meant, and were she more disposed to keep her gobbets better checked, I wouldn’t have had to say anything at all.”
“Do have pity on her. She is a delight, and she has only been kind to us thus far.”
“Always be courteous with a lady, sir,” Damson groaned, his head lolling back and forth between hands, “and be even more courteous with those who bear pillows.”
“A fine piece, sir knight, and excellent advice for old men with lirks larger than the pleasant gap on which he casts his hateful asperions. If her pleasing trove bother you so much, simply avert your eyes. Or you might remove your spectacles and pretend that a palid and shapeless mass is speaking to you.”
 Bartleby would have told the Lucentian to hang his recommendations, as now that he had been assailed by such a glorified fleshbroker, but the waitress was returning, her breasts dithering with every bounding step, her low blouse pressing against the two plates which she was carrying close to her chest. She lay down the vegetables in front of the captain and the starch skins before the knight, and adjusted herself with her cinch, much to Bartleby’s dislike.