In "Stolen Ingots" in Dr. Thorndyke's Case-Book by R. Austin Freeman, Mr. Badger was standing on a bridge watching a boat running with a stolen case.

Badger cursed volubly, and, turning to the fishermen, exclaimed in a rather offensively peremptory tone:

“I want a boat. Now. This instant.”

The elder piscator regarded him doggedly and replied: “All right. I ain’t got no objection.”

Where can I get a boat?” the inspector demanded, nearly purple with excitement and anxiety.

“Where do you think?” the mariner responded, evidently nettled by the inspector’s masterful tone. “Pastrycook’s? Or livery stables?”

“Look here,” said Badger. “I’m a police officer and I want to board that barge, and I am prepared to pay handsomely. Now where can I get a boat?”

I can't get the connection between a boat and livery stables?! Or did he just mock him?


There is no more connection between a livery stable and a boat than there is a Pastrycook’s and a boat.

The mariner is mocking the Inspector sarcastically, by suggesting businesses that have nothing to do with boats, because he thinks the Inspector’s question is ridiculous.

  • But I found here that "boat" may mean a boat-shaped dish, so I found the connection to the pastrycook, and asked about the connection to stables. @Spagirl Sep 17 '20 at 12:50
  • @AhmedSamir but you have to look at the sense of the passage. The Inspector has just spotted the missing case attached to the anchor of the barge as it is being raised for the barge to leave. Why would he suddenly demand a dish rather than a craft to move over water?
    – Spagirl
    Sep 17 '20 at 12:54
  • Yes I know he means a real boat, but I just try to know if the mockery of the mariner had connections to real things. Sep 17 '20 at 12:58
  • @AhmedSamir Ah, I see. Even so, in crockery terms ‘boat’ would be relatively obscure, best known as denoting a type of jug for sauce or gravy eg ‘gravy-boat’ which it is unlikely our gruff mariner would associate on the spur of the moment with a Pastrychef specifically.
    – Spagirl
    Sep 17 '20 at 13:20

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