My kingdom for a pitcher!!

(a recently discovered scene from a famous play)

Owing to the research of a renown Shakespearean scholar, Mr. Arthur Lawrie of Scotland, we have the pleasure of introducing a hitherto unpublished passage from Henry V., which throws new light on circumstances preceding the famous Battle of Agincourt. Mr Lawrie was apparently able to trace a rare copy of Master's annotated oeuvre to the Central Library of Dunfermline. From the sketchy reports, it is not clear how much of this success was owed to his rigorous interrogation techniques and how much was owed to an ingenuous use of his favorite Beamish-Beevers' Old Contemptible 'Peat Purge' single Highland malt whisky as an emergency bribing vehicle. At any rate, considering his significant barrel-tapping expertise, locating the precious copy in a cavity of one of the Libraryís original walls was an afternoon walk through a rose garden. After the careful restoration, the book was put on display in the section of rare prints. On the margin of page 629, scribbled in splay handwriting, we can read the following words.


------------------------------------------

Henry: Methinks our pitcher is weary in life and limb. 
            Perhaps we might think of gaining a new one.
Gloucester: My Lord, these days a pitcher is hard to come by. 
            The last one we got from the Duke of York and 
             cost us many a fine florin.
Henry: Dost thou defy the will of the King? Go and fetch me 
              a pitcher to fortify and ready our men for battle!
Gloucester: My Liege, our coffers are empty. 
             We must forbear and make do with the one we have.
Bedford [enters holding a big pitcher filled with ale]: Your 
               Majesty, we have found the pitcher we lost this year past.
Henry [drinks from the pitcher]: All's well that ends well.
            Already I sense victory! [drinks again]. 
            And now on to Agincourt!
Jester: You're all nuts - cricket and rugby are the only games in 
              for aspiring empire-builders.*

*Henry V, pt. III, act VII, scene 14.

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One day in early November, two library mice of Dunfermline were seen sprawling behind an old copy machine. Having just gnawed through the above-mentioned precious copy, they were enjoying a well-deserved siesta. Not many creatures frequented the copy machineís dusty underbelly, but being careful rodents, the mice sprayed each other with a hefty dose of a cat-repellent, lest any feline beast should sneak up on them while they were quietly dozing.

After a peaceful repose, one of them rubbed its cynical belly contentedly, took out its rodent braces and yawned: "Well, this tome was much more delicious than that dead snake we found last week behind the International Cuisine shelf, don't you think?" But the other mice didnít offer any opinion, as it was fully absorbed in dreams of intercepting a spiffily dressed hamburger falling over waterfalls of melted cheddar cheese.

© 2004† Jan Rehacek

The Book of Cardinals 2004

Part II.

Inning: 6

When the Cards were down 2:3 to the Astros, I remembered a scene from the movie Henry V., in which Kenneth Branagh, as the king, gives his soldiers a rousing speech before the battle of Harfleur. The speech that begins with the words:

"Once more unto the breach, dear friends, once more,
Or close the wall up with our English dead."

I wished at the time that Tony LaRussa gave such speech to his soldiers, for the situation seemed grave indeed. I do not know what LaRussa actually said to his players, but the fact that the Cardinals, much like the good old king, went on to win two gargantuan battles convinced me that Henry V. should have a place in The Book of Cardinals 2004.

Prologue

Part I. Namesakes
1. Cardinal Stritch University
2. Cardinal, Virginia
3. Cardinal Systems
4. Vatican Cardinals
5. Tantoo Cardinal
6. Arizona Cardinals
7. Cardinal Numbers
8. Cardinal Bar
9. Cardinal Fish

Part II. 7th Inning Stretch of Imagination
1. What's In A Name?
2. Nine Amendments For Extreme Motorists
3. Better Butter For Bitter Batter
4. Infield Fly Rule For Dummies
5. How To Wash Red Socks Properly
6. My Kingdom For A Pitcher!
7. East St Louis Vacations Inc
8. Are You A Cardinals Fan?
9. Banbury Cross

Part III. Three Dreams
1. Dodgers: The Robbery
2. Dodgers: The Handshake
3. Dodgers: The Shower
4. Astros: The Flight
5. Astros: The Homer
6. Astros: The Ritual
7. Red Sox: The Comedy
8. Red Sox: The Drama
9. Red Sox: The Heartbreak

Epilogue