At HEB this afternoon, having verified that I had, indeed, spent my last sou on a cup of coffee at Waterloo Writers, I ran my credit card through the scanner. The resulting screen read, Select Tender Type.
Such a formal, old-fashioned word for this new-fangled device.
It reminded me of the scene in which Polonius asks Ophelia about the status of her relationship with Hamlet:
Polonius: What is between you? give me up the truth.
Ophelia: He hath, my lord, of late made many tenders
Of his affection to me.
Polonius: Affection! pooh! you speak like a green girl,
Unsifted in such perilous circumstance.
Do you believe his tenders, as you call them?
Ophelia: I do not know, my lord, what I should think.
Polonius: Marry, I’ll teach you: think yourself a baby;
That you have ta’en these tenders for true pay,
Which are not sterling. Tender yourself more dearly;
Or–not to crack the wind of the poor phrase,
Running it thus–you’ll tender me a fool.
Poor Ophelia. She was a sweet thing, and young, and the men in her life treated her so shabbily.
But even though Polonius belittles his daughter, the way Shakespeare moves tender through the passage, varying its meaning from one line to the next, makes the speech lovely. Polonius is a rat—and he pays for it a couple of acts down the road—but he has a way with words.
Thinking of Polonius and Ophelia reminded me of Lord Capulet’s rage when Juliet tells him she will not marry Paris. He explodes, and Juliet adds fuel to the fire.
Capulet: How now, how now, chop-logic! What is this?
‘Proud,’ and ‘I thank you,’ and ‘I thank you not;’
And yet ‘not proud,’ mistress minion, you,
Thank me no thankings, nor, proud me no prouds,
But fettle your fine joints ‘gainst Thursday next,
To go with Paris to Saint Peter’s Church,
Or I will drag thee on a hurdle thither.
Out, you green-sickness carrion! out, you baggage!
“Thank me no thankings, nor, proud me no prouds, / But fettle your fine joints ‘gainst Thursday next,…” Beautiful.
Capulet sounds like a terrible father, but, as I pointed out to my freshmen, year after year, Juliet started the argument. She was rude and disrespectful. Her father didn’t know she was already married; he thought she would be thrilled to marry Paris. But she behaved like a brat. It’s no wonder Capulet threatened to drag her on a hurdle thither.
The two characters present an interesting contrast: Ophelia refused to speak for herself; Juliet shouted. Neither one lasted to the end of Act V.
A scholarly paper might lurk in there somewhere: “Shakespeare’s Women: A Study of the Consequences of Self-Actualization Within the Context of the Father-Daughter Relationship Complicated by Nascent Heterosexual Bonding, with a Focus on Hamlet’s Ophelia and Romeo and Juliet’s Juliet.”
Or perhaps not.
By the time I finished with the Capulets, the cashier had almost finished with the scanning. While she bagged the items, I had time to wonder whether the name of Jason FForde’s protagonist, Thursday Next, was inspired by the once-projected date for Juliet’s wedding.
I also remembered that The Idylls of the King contains a line echoing Thank me no thankings, nor, proud me no prouds; I believe it’s spoken by Guinevere, but I’ve not been able to locate it, and it looks as if I’ll have to read the entire Idylls to ease my mind.
But I did find the next lines that drifted by: Guinevere, jealous of Elaine, takes up Lancelot’s gift of diamonds
And thro’ the casement standing wide for heat
Flung them and down they flash’d, and smote the stream.
Then from the smitten surface flash’d, as it were
Diamonds to meet them, and they past away.
That image—diamonds falling into the sunlit stream, and water splashing up, like diamonds to meet them—remains with me when the rest of the book has passed from memory.
Well. By this time, the cashier and I had completed our transaction. I wheeled the groceries to the car. End of shopping.
End of post.
Except to point out that I stood for ten minutes in one of the most boring places imaginable and forgot to be bored.
I was too busy elsewhere.