The knowledgeable Mr Sylvester Patridge

poor robin

Frank is handing over responsibility for his correspondence to an 18th century chap called Patridge (or possibly Partridge – there’s a fair chance he misspelled his own name)…

I regularly receive letters from readers, both of The Dabbler and of my own Hooting Yard blog, imploring me to offer advice on all manner of subjects, such as the killing of pigs and the boiling of puddings.

It is easy to see why so many lost souls seek my counsel, so easy in fact that I am not going to spell it out for you in words of one syllable, as I might do for a somewhat dimwitted child. In fact, I am not going to spell it out at all.

But quite frankly I am sick and tired of dispensing so much wisdom to so many, and in future I shall be passing all such correspondence to my good friend Sylvester Patridge. It is true that Mr Patridge died many years ago, but I feel sure that somebody else must be carrying on his business, as advertised in Poor Robin’s Almanack for 1773:

 The best time to cut hair. How moles and dreams are to be interpreted. When most proper season to bleed. Under what aspect of the moon best to draw teeth, and cut corns. Paring of nails, on what day unlucky. What the kindest sign to graft or inoculate in; to open bee-hives, and kill swine. How many hours boiling my Lady Kent’s pudding requires. With other notable questions, fully and faithfully resolved, by me Sylvester Patridge, student in physic and astrology, near the Gun in Moorfields.

Of whom likewise may be had, at reasonable rates, trusses, antidotes, elixirs, love-powders. Washes for freckles, plumpers, glass-eyes, false calves and noses, ivory-jaws, and a new receipt to turn red hair into black.

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About Author Profile: Frank Key

Frank Key is a London-based writer, blogger and broadcaster best known for his Hooting Yard blog, short-story collections and his long-running radio series Hooting Yard on the Air, which has been broadcast weekly on Resonance FM since April 2004. By Aerostat to Hooting Yard - A Frank Key Reader, an ideal introduction to his fiction, is published for Kindle by Dabbler Editions. Mr Key's Shorter Potted Brief, Brief Lives was published in October 2015 by Constable and is available to buy online and in all good bookshops.

One thought on “The knowledgeable Mr Sylvester Patridge

  1. Worm
    December 5, 2014 at 11:12

    Lady Kent sounds quite demanding

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