Jeffery Farnol made The Bull Inn in Sissinghurst famous by right of its importance in The Broad Highway.

Gadzooks!, it's Jeffery Farnol!

Jessica Amanda Salmonson


My great-grampa, a Yakama Indian, was fond of punctuating his speech with such exclamations as "Gadzooks!" "Egad!" & "Forsooth!" & called the children "Gaffers." In retrospect I'm sure he was a fan of Jeffery Farnol & like authors & picked these up from old adventure-romances. But Grampa died when I was fairly young & I don't remember if he had Farnol books. He certainly had Poe, Kipling, Gautier & many others which were passed down to me.

From grampa I inherited these words. As a child it was some while before I broke myself of Gadzooking & Forsoothing which somehow adults regarded as some sort of sassing back. And in my youth when I first began submitting heroic fantasy stories they were riddled with forsoothings & mayhaps that likewise won more giggles than laudations from editors, though even when I started to have writing successes I snuck a few of 'em in when I thought I could get away with it.

I remember in school this once got me in trouble. It was a music class, inevitably lorded over by someone who couldn't do it so taught it. The music instructor had written F.A.C.E. and E.G.B.D.F. on the blackboard. We were all supposed to make words from just these letters, & he began to fill up the blackboard with words us kids could see with just those letters. Obviously this had nothing to do with learning music but for whatever reason the teacher thought it was a spiffy idea & us kids were delighted to play.

When it was my turn, I offered the word "Egad!" The teacher was annoyed & said that Egad wasn't a word. I insisted it was a word & it was in the dictionary but he wouldn't look it up. When the class was over I fetched a dictionary & showed him the word. It made him madder still & I got a bad mark for the day.

Forsooth, he musts surely hast been frustrated in his life to take it out on a kid playing an innocuous wordgame.


Here are just a few words Jeffery Farnol
thrills to use, & I thrill to read:

"Thine" "Methinks" & "Quoth"

"I was scarce fifteen years old, & he, methinks, would be twenty, as I guess. And this youth saved me from savage dog & was bit in arm & leg. He was my playfellow."

"Happy Imp!" quoth Richard.

"And his name, like thine, was Richard."

[from "White Friars" in Voices in the Dust, 1932]

And by the way, I have for the last thirty years habitually signed my correspondence "Thine" instead of "Yours" which occasionally gets comments.


"But our philosopher will just glance at you with his slow, grave smile, & tell you, in his solemn, affable way, that it is a very fine morning, heigho!"

[from The Broad Highway, 1911]


I had told Gregor of the rascal Mumping Joe's monstrous tale & had been greatly heartened when he had answered with rather more than his usual Highland fervor:

"Man, Oliver, I'll no believe it! Sic' a wheen o' sculduddery nonsense!"

[from The Happy Harvest, 1939]

"Toddle" & "Gent"

"Lord!" signed the watchman. "To be a real gent — a nob or a nobleman, able to drink all you wants, when you wants, & servants to carry you when you can't toddle! Lord — 'oo wouldn't be a noble gent, like them."

"I'd rather be a watchman!" said Jeremy.

"Lord love me, sir — & because why?"

"Because when you're eating your breakfast & enjoying it, these noble gentlemen will be whishing themselves dead."

[from The High Adventure, 1925]

"Molls" & "Ecod"

Anthony dragged me down suddenly into the shadow of the balustrade, as round a corner of the house two men appeared.

"Wot," growled one, pausing, the better to spit in passionate disgust, "put the 'orses to the phaeton, must I? And at this time o' night — an' all for a couple o' light country Molls as is afeard to foot it 'ome in the dark, curse 'em!"

"She ain't no country Moll, Ben, leastways not 'er as I see — a reg'lar 'igh-stepper — the lady, Ben — such eyes, ecod — such a shape to 'er, ben — "

"Well, dang 'er shape, I says! Why can't she go as she come?"

[from Peregrine's Progress, 1922]

"Egad!" & "Peeper" & "Deuced"
"Why, I've only just woke up, Dick!"

"Woke up! D'you mean to say you've actually — been asleep?" demanded the Viscount reproachfully. "Gad! what a devlish cold-blooded fish you are, Bev! Haven't closed a peeper al lnight, myself. Couldn't, y'know, what with one deuced thing or another. So I got up, horus ago, went & looked at the horses. Found your man Martin on guard with a loaded pistol in each pocket, y'know, — deuced trustworthy fellow. The horses couldn't look better, Bev. Egad! I believe they know today is — the day!"

[from The Amateur Gentleman, 1912]

"hearkened" & "galligaskins"
Thus Godby, as he led me from gun to gun, slapping hand on breech or trunnion, & as I hearkened, 'twas hard to recognize the merry pedddler in this short, square, grave-faced gunner who spake with mariner's tongue, hitched ever & anon at the broad belt of his galligaskins & rolled in his gait already.

"She's a fair ship!" said I, seating myself on one of the great guns mounted astern.

[from Black Bartlemy's Treasure, 1920]

You will find a lovely array of Jeffery Farnol dustwrappers depicted in
The Jeffery Farnol Gallery.

And there's portrait of Jeffrey & other illustrations with the
Annotated Jeffery Farnol Bibliography.


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