Pages: 75, 76, 77, 78, 79, 80, 81, 82, 83, 84, 85, 86, 87, 88, 89, 90, 91, 92, 93, 94, 95, 96, 97, 98, 99, 100, 101, 102
[In which the narrator describes the entombed Earwicker as being in an inverted castle with seven towers, followed by another 'spring offensive' in which an 'attacker' Shem wrestles with an Earwicker/Shaun type - until the latter hands over some money for whiskey. There is a subsequent court case, during which Shaun and Shem testify to the Four Masters concerning the attack - but no verdict is handed down. The Earwicker figure is again hounded out of town and disappears. Smoke is seen rising from the seventh tower of the inverted castle, and a new Earwicker is seen there with his ALP escort.]
As the lion in our zoo remember the lotus of the Nile, it may be – now that all 29 letters have been sealed and posted in the letter box - that the besieged [Earwicker] dreamt only of those lilith girls who were his undoing and did not know of the watchful traitors at his wake who are now here to stay. It may be, we must hasten to declare, that he glimpsed or foresaw the fields of wheat where Issy with the corn-gold hair would both shame him and herself shine. It may be that with this deep insight he, conscious of enemies, prayed as he sat anxiously on his seat during that three and half hours of agonising silence and bred his ‘wordwounder’ (this wordwounder [Shem] was an Engels to his teeth and would go anywhere in the world on his mottled belly for milk, music or married women). He hoped might impart into the first of a distinguished dynasty of his successors…
… namely his elder children, one of his most besetting ideas, that being the formation of a criminal stratum in more favoured climes – where the Meadow of Honey is guest-friendly and the Mountain of Joy receives - and thereby eliminate ruffians and urban terror from all classes and masses: and to make a city charter motto for Dublin, ‘the obedience of the citizens helps the health of the whole.’
Now good. Let us leave all theories there and return to the here and now. Now hear – the reception is good again. The teak coffin, with a fitted glass panel and with its feet to the east, was to turn up later, and to get to the purpose, materially effect the cause. This is the thing. A public bodies which had the power to appoint additional members before voting themselves or Earwicker out of existence, made him a gift – while he was still alive – of a grave plot in the best Lough Neagh pattern [a city is supposed to lie under Lough Neagh]. Just a moment! It was in fairly fishy area, after Finn had taken his handful [of Lough Neagh and cast it as the Isle of Mann into the sea] - rich with ancient trees and those dear, dirty Dubliners – in the middle of which there was Howth and the Liffey so proud of her willows, and in which anyone might do a little fishing – and where Finnegan lay beneath them interred into the landscape beside his watery consort.
This ‘was to be’ underground heaven of the grave plot, a mole’s paradise, a sort of inverted lighthouse intended to foster crops and the bolster the tourist trade (its architect was blinded lest…
… he attempt to create another copy and the contractors were martyred) the masterbuilder ‘Castlevillainous’ blasted an open mine using T.N.T, fired from a bombing platform using an aerial torpedo that made contact with the minefield using tins of ammonia lashed to its gunwale that were also fused to cables connected to ground battery fuseboxes – the latter were all set to different keys as no-one seemed to have the same time, with some saying that it was six strokes to nine, and others that it was ten to five. Afterwards the masterbuilder – with his voice failing and his rough bark gone husky [!] - lined the hole with ferro-concrete and rotproof bricks and mortar face-to-face, then retired behind its seven towers, which resulted in a public council presenting him with a stone slab, and with funeral pomp they delivered a fair valediction that stated: ‘We have done our bit, so go to hell with you Lord Herewhippit, give it up and skiddo!’
But at home and all aboard shops! All sorts of funerary good – coffins, winding sheets, ‘goodbye bier chaps’ – naturally followed, and enabled the global wanderer …
… to live in opulence, whiling away the time between thunderous explosion and re-explosion, lulled by the Liffey between Howth Head and his big feet, embalmed and rich in death.
But he must abide Time’s summons to rise after a fall. Blasted by lightning and buried, he burrows deep, proliferating in his underworld, seam by seam, grave by grave, the divine one, the hidden hoarder propagating his midden collection with his Pluto-popular [i.e. dead] progeny both at home and abroad.
The other spring ‘offensive’ to have occurred on the Ides of April – i.e. when Earwicker was accosted by the Cad – our Father had only been buried three months (and he had to be buried seven times like Cain – what a Wake there had been!) when factions began forming and the armies began to march. Consequently ALP - a woman with a lot of hats – gave the signal and a Letter freed the flood. Why did the Patrician make himself so scarce? Because armies of his descendants were firing muskets at his door. From both ends of the world (assuming that men on both sides, dark men and pale faces, had more or less the same idea) men - equally on the offensive because the eternals were always on their side – were drawn towards the dance of war [i.e. Bellona’s Bllack Bottom] – both poor and rich men - some for want of proper feeding, others in the midst of carving out lucrative military careers; and the emaciated person being garrotted may have suggested to whomever he…
… had stolen the ham from, that everyone had to eat - nothing was clear and some form of whiggery was going on – even the old bugger himself – a whigger incarnate – when seen by the bully on the hill - was chewing and his opposition thought that while hibernating, Earwicker – who in life had been known between soups and savouries to eat his own length in rainbow trout and salmon as no man born of woman could, nay could like the great crested grebe, devour three score and ten roaches in a day and as many minnows in a minute - was now, like the migrating salmon, in secrecy feeding on his own fat.
Ladies did not then disdain the pagan iron-age of the first city when a friend was a friend to carry, as earwigs do their dead, to the grave in which eventually we shall all in calm recline, our legacy to the world unknown. In those times, Venuses were giggling temptresses, Vulcans erupted in guffaws and wives were in general fickle. Fact: any young woman you liked in the morning or after would show her bare body – or even a pair of women – and prettily play with a man – or ‘them’ even – for every man was to her taste, and they would kiss a long time for luck, girl and boy and perhaps another girl too. Very well did she woo and she won over their wills – but the poor dear had no idea who she’d marry! Rich man, poor man, beggar man, thief…
Kate Strong, a widow [the janitrix of the museum or ‘tip’] – lugs a sack containing a picture of Dublin as she knew it, with a dreary, dramatic setting, it shows a homely, stone cottage with a range of utensils and rubbish strewn about it, its window panes smashed to smithereens. Widow Strong – as Earwicker had turned to the wall and died, did most of the scavenging in good King Hamlaugh’s [Shaun/Hamlet] golden days, though with her lean body she cleaned but sparingly and her bare statement reads that…
… as there was no macadamised roads in those days, and in fact the flower-lined road left off where the plaintiff was struck, that’s where she left her filth dump, in Phoenix Park where duels have been fought and murders committed, all over which there were fossil footprints, bootmarks etc, all successfully traced and described. What subtler time or place in the world than in the wolf’s belly of the Magazine fortress to hide a book from the Viking village burners, or a love letter, lustful of ma, that would have been lost if she’d got it, right here were it all started, where the Irish race began: and four hands of reconcilement [four counties], the babe of reconcilement [independence?] is laid at last in the cradle of home sweet home. But give it over – no more of that. Pass the pick [to dig] for child’s sake!
For here at the tomb-site of Dublin the All Highest commanded the Christians to begin the work of missionaries – and his eagle churchmen sharpened their beaks of prey: and every mortal one of us falls, apple by apple, back into the earth: as it was, let it be, says he! And it is as though where the Hindu Agni flamed and the Persian Mithra monished and Hindu Shiva slew as our ancient gods - our early memories of them obediently retreated and were cast into oblivion at the rude word of some carpenter priest [Christ] with a flaming torch – the word of the wind that lay in the wood that Jove built. Poseidon O’Flaherty! Leave that bloody stone as it is! What are you doing you minx – can’t you see his big tree [monument] is blocking your path? Slip around the back of it! And you – take that barrel back where you got it, MacShane, and go the way of your father! And gosh – how they rushed away, wearing pinafores, a whole school of them scampering with their sashes flying behind them, the girly pets. Issy from Chapelizod! [People ride her like tram] Anyone getting off at Lucan?
Yes, the way forged by he who is now invisible, is invincible. And we are not trespassing on his crops [corns] either [we are part of them]. Look at all the plots! A river of them! If this civilisation could be called Hannibal’s walk – it was Hercules’ work. And a hundred thousand hungry slaves were the ones who did it. The mausoleum [of Finnegan] (O giant Multi-populator!) lies behind us and there are the hundred thousand milestones of our heroes along the road of life all the way to Hades. For ever and ever. It is the past that has made his road we travel on now in the present. So, this is O’Connell St! Though he’s hidden, he is enduring. And if he’s not roaming about somewhere you may eat your hat – he’s way up there in the window pane of a hackney coach. Halt! [For a story about the other 'spring offensive']
It was close to the hills there – on a very cold day in the pass between the hills, and miles and miles from civilisation, where the land met the sea - that the attacker – short and off-colour – engaged the Adversary with true native pluck. The latter had more spark in his eye and was taller but for the sake of plunder, and in the heavy rain, the attacker mistook the Adversary for a wealthy man, an Oglethorpe or some other fellow, Parr perhaps, to whom the egg bore some resemblance, and using course language he promised to cannon the bloody bugger’s life out of him and lay him out as soon the bugger had said his bloody prayers - three paternosters and two hail Mary’s – so as to bloody well let the wailing ghosts out of him, then taking up an oblong bar he had, with which he normally broke up furniture, he raised the stick at him. The incident previously described by the boarders repeated itself. The pair (whether Napoleon engaging with Wellington, or the Russian reconnoitring the General Buckley, we cannot say) struggled for some time, and…
… (with the balance tipping one way then the other) they fought using the ‘All In’ rules around the midden-mound, red-head against blonde. In the course of the tussle, the taller man, who had opened his bully bowl, his pouch of valuables, to beg, said to the attacker who was holding the distillery pipe [the bar]: ‘Let me go, Potheen! I hardly knew ye!’ Later on, after a pause, the same man [the attacker] asked in the vernacular and with a very ugly jew-chin grin: ‘Were six ‘Victorias’ [pounds?] and fifteen shillings taken from you, tell me, strong fellow, by a pickpocket some ten, two, four month ago?’ There were some more trading of insults and severe attempts to dominate the struggle [and changing of identities] for the best part of an hour, when a warlike Webley pistol [the bar] fell from the hand of the attacker (who is recognisable as the one who writes so many ill-tempered letters). Whereupon the attacker became friendly and said, in the hope not to tear his shirt, that he wanted to know whether his ‘change’ companion – who still had possession of the strong box of valuables – happened to have the loose change of the ten pound note spare at that moment. He added, that if he did, he would pay him back the six ‘Victoria’s’ out of that, in repayment for what was taken from him last June or July, ‘Do you follow me Captain?’ To this, Billy [the adversary] with the bowl [the container of wealth] who had, up to this point ‘ummed and arred’, rather amusedly responded: ‘W-w-would you be surprised to learn that I honestly do not have such a thing as the loo-least chance of a ten pound crackler about me at present mo-ho-moment , but I believe I can see my way, as you suggest, it being Yuletide or Yuddenfest - and as its midnight for you …
… and the Ides of March [mad as a March hare] for me - to advance you four and sevenpence to buy whiskey with.’ There was a minute’s silence as the fires of memory rekindled – then, Heart alive! At the intimation of a gay time ahead and whiskey, the starving gunman became calm and swore that he would do some good for him sometime, for a real chip off the old Flint (this is not language in any sense of the word, and one couldn’t be sure whether the war trophy alluded to [the bowl] was something like a jug) and remarked – very pleased at the thought of the night’s entertainments that lay ahead – ‘You stunning little southdowner [Sidlesham is just below the South Downs in England]! I’d know you anywhere Delaney, let me truthfully tell you by the white patch on your boney part [Bonaparte/white hair]. A goal ball I’ve struck this day-lit die-late night of nights, by golly! My hat, you have some bully German grit, sundowner!’ He then spat in his fist, took the money, and took French leave. And, as with Frenchmen or the portfolio of hastes and leisures [i.e. marriage], the queer mixture – Attacker and Adversary - exchanged peace in an embrace and a kiss as practised between brothers breast to breast and, having ratified their truce – which belittlers have called the ‘Treating to Cognac’ – turning to face the …
… direction of Mecca/Moscow, he said a few prayers [bismillahs – middle eastern] and hoorays and ran off jubilantly over the bridge, with the four and seven and the unidentified, wooden weapon, in case he met any other wealthy people he could pluck like crows, while the Delaney fellow, who he left behind with his fender parcel, bore up wonderfully well despite a number of plum-sized contusions and a bruised coccyx and he reported the incident to the flabbergasted onlookers [?] and gave the police the military salute - in the hope that in their review of the satisfactory conclusion of their negotiations and the jungle monkey grips he applied, that some lotion or poultice of opium might be applied to the parts – at the nearest watchhouse in Vicar Lane – and showed how the white background of his face was covered in a diagonal red cross of blood [St Patrick’s flag] as positive proof of both the seriousness of his character and that he was bleeding from the mouth and nose, and some of his hair had been pulled out of his head, though otherwise he was in good health and none of his 206 bones or his five hundred and one muscles were a whit worse for their whacking.
Now then, leaving aside the clash of wooden weapons against brawn and muscles, to worm our way back towards mother waters so many miles from Dublin for, in regards to the question of Bonaparte’s [the Attacker’s] unlawfully obtaining a pierced paraflamme and claptrap fireguard [the secret of fire stolen from the gods], there is the more salient point of the political leanings and town pursuits of our forebear, El Don De Dunnelli [Delaney/O’Donnell] (may his ship stay…
… at the bottom of the river and his crew stay locked at the bottom of the seas!) who - when being close to being ambushed by one of the other fellows and close to being knocked-out [K.O.ed] when a Huguenot heckler wanted to shoot him – was practising the first of the primary liberties of the subject by circulating alongside one of our main roads – Wellington Park road – or number two of the public legitimate acts public of being on the brink of taking a place on a public seat, as a public protest but without intent to annoy and jolly well pleased to be enjoying the weather.
But to return to the subject. Little headway was made in solving the ‘was-not-to-be-crime-conundrum’ [the robbery] when Festy King, of a family long and honourably associated with the tar and feather industries, who came from the heart of a district notorious for its illegal distilleries, was hauled up before the Old Bailey on the 1st of March under incompatible indictments of hiding stolen coal in his overalls and making feces amidst the armed forces in the field. Oyez! Oyez! When the prisoner - soaked in methylated spirit appeared in the dock smelling like Kersse’s Korduroy Karikature [the Norwegian Captain] and wearing – besides stains, rents and patches – his fight shirt, straw braces, a sou’wester and a policeman’s corkscrew trousers, all ill-fitting, and stating…
… with all the flowery speech of the Irish vocabulary how the whole three piece suit and all the surfeit coppers had fallen off him quite unaccountably while he was trying to set fire to his cell (in time he was dripping wet as he was found when stripping in exchange for a shot of malt to brace himself for the cold rain) - it was attempted by the Crown to show that King - also known as ‘Crowbar’ and once known as ‘Meleky’ [King], impersonating a chimney sweep, had rubbed some pieces of alluvial ‘peatsmoor’ over his face with a piece of turf to disguise himself - was at the pig fair in Mudford [where the robbery took place] under the assumed names of Tykingfest and Rabworc [Festy King and Crowbar], names picked out of a telephone book – and was in possession of an unlicensed pig and a hyacinth. The two combatants were on that plain of Ireland nine hundred and ninety nine years and neither gave in or ceased from hitting the other until they had landed themselves – greybeard and suckling, priest and pauper – into the middle of the maelstrom. The gathering at the pig fair – convened by the Irish Agricultural and Pastoral Organisation to help the Irish pig farmer take on the competition from his Danish brother and attended in large numbers by Christians and pigs [Jewish totem] in spite of the rain – scattered when the bally pig he could not sell, after cock-of-the-walking through a streets, bit off a piece of the door way – and the gypsy [pikey/King] later sold the pig [gentleman’s ratepayer] at a loss [struggle Street] because it ate a whole side of its sty – and in order to pay off six doubloons and fifteen of his rent that was in arrears.
Remarkable evidence was given by an eye, ear and throat witness, suspected of being a plain clothes priest W.P. [word painter], who, on putting down a plate-cover over his rice and green peas, and having been cautioned against yawning while…
… being questioned, stated with a morose accent that he remembered the fifth of November, which was going to sink into the ephemera of profane history – all one with yesterday, today and tomorrow – and one thing that would particularly strike a person and which he was petrified to see, hear and smell at that time of night, was how Hyacinth O’Donnell B.A. [Delaney] – described as a mixer and wordpainter [writer] – with part of a pitchfork, at midnight, sought to sack, sock, stab and slaughter one of the two old kings, Gush MacGale and Rory O’Crain, Jr, - both changelings, not local, of no address and incommunicado – because between Hyacinth and them bad blood had existed perhaps because of his trespass or because he parted his hair the wrong way, or because they argued over a girl, or because they couldn’t pronounce meace as ‘meathe’. The litigants, he said, were local kingsmen and O’Donnells - kings of the arans and dalkeys [Arra na Pogue], kings of mud and glory – and were egged on by their supporters, good looking women with long hair, waving crimson underwear and screaming from Isod’s towertop. There were cries from the thickset men in the court, and from the sons of Dublin, of: ‘Mind the bang from Banagher, Mick sir! Prodooce O’Donnell. Ay! Exhibit his relics! Bu! Use the tongue more! Give lip less!’ But it came out in court under cross-examination that when and where that night the ambush was laid (roughly speaking midway between dusk and dawn…
…European time, near ‘Stop and Think’ , high chief environs [Howth Castle and Environs (3.1)] and the only apple tree in all the land) there was hardly any light from the moon. Then the subject of the mixer [Hyacinth O’Donnell] was bluntly broached, and the eye specialist was asked whether he was one of those lucky cocks for whom the sensate world existed. He replied that he was only too cognitively sure of it because just living, loving, breathing and sleeping made-a-sort-of-music [?] – as though whenever he thought or he heard or he saw or he felt he made a mental bell tinkle. He was also asked whether he was sure of the truth of his ears and names he heard in this Festy King and ‘blouseman’ [tailor] business. He was pedantically sure, he replied. Certain? he was asked. As much as he could be. Would he belie what had already been told to the court? ‘By gob I will’, he replied. Was O’Donnell a diseased sort of person? ‘Quite.’ Was it a Thursday? ‘As sure as a satyr at a wedding.’ And how did the green-eyed monster, the absinthe drinker, O’Donnell, attain a B.A.? ‘It was just a bare pass.’ Was he a difficult person with murky vision, cauliflower ears, an aquiline nose and twitching, treacherous mouth? ‘That he was.’ Could he beat anyone over ten yards to a plate of food on a table from standstill? ‘Bally easy job.’ And was he a wine drinking bore? ‘Yes, an injiune [?]. [Indian]’ And with such shaky legs – was he renamed H..E..R..E.. C..O..M..E..S.. E..V..E..R..Y..O..N..E..? ‘Holy St Eiffel tower, it’s the very man!’ Was it the Chudley Magnall situation all over again, with the daffodil girls, like on the dumb scene in the hotel? ‘The two child spies were holding him over a barrel, while the renting of his rock was done by the three wicked Undercovers.’ The fairest, bent over a while - are you sure? ‘You bet, by Dublin!’ One of the Viking towns, you say? And had he been refreshed by the founts of bounty that were playing [he sings] ‘There – is – a – pain – in – Ireland’ in Long’s gurgling barrel [i.e. drunk]? ‘A lot of Lord Edward [rebel drinking] and a lack of Sir Phillip [water], only a surgery siphon could suck more gargling bubbles [fizzy drink] out of five jars of Porter.’ He married a virgin? ‘And who wouldn’t, having lived his life in Dublin.‘ But of course he could call ‘Time’ to end things too if he wanted? ‘You bet he could, anytime.’ Whenever he pleased? ‘You can bet a win and place on it.’
‘Was O’Donnell a worker tempted by the girls into eavesdropping and reporting on a manager who was a witness [to the sin] as well? ‘Absolutely, how the devil did you guess?’ Were they twin dreamers located in the one place [drome]? ‘Yes, no error there.’ And both as alike as a duet of peas in a pod? [poss of porter pease] ‘Precisely.’ So he was pelted out of the public view? ‘Yes, by the powers that be.’ Would you say the prince, in principle, should not expose his person? ‘Naturally.’ Was he a Russian comrade by political persuasion? ‘More Galwegian [or Norwegian], he would say.’ Was he intoxicated? ‘Drunk as a fish, hiccup.’ What did the girl say when he asked her whether she minded if he smoked? ‘Not unless he burst into flames.’ What about his singing of Cruiskeen Lawn? ‘We’re cursed to return to the courser way of life [encore].’ Was the gracious girl aware of how the song was altered? ‘She usually was, oh doubt me not!’ What was his religion, if any? ‘It was the social Sunday sort.’ Exactly what did he mean by carrying a pedigree pig about? ‘By jaysus, it was the gentleman who pays the rent.’ Would you say it was a normal relationship with such a beast? ‘By night, it was as useful as vomit to a shorn [drunk?] man.’ Did he recognise their court marshal of him? ‘That day, over period of time he did.’ Londonderry, Cork or Skerries, spell me a garter without a gate. ‘Heliotrope [i.e. Issy].’ The feeding rights of the wife expired with the expiry of her husband , if they were not mistaken? ‘That he could not tell his worshipfuls, but the surviving mother would sell them recipes for the price of the coffin [for her husband] and that he was here to tell them that she was the old bicycle who could best give a picture of the father.’ Did O’Donnell speak with his tongue in his cheek? ‘Father had orders about matters of pronunciation.’ Were his goods distributed at his end? ‘We recommend so.’ Quare hircum? [Where is the goat?] ‘No answer.’ Unde gentium fe.. [What are you running from?] ‘No an…’ Are you not dancing on the edge of a volcano? ‘Sir I am indeed.’ And how odd was he? ‘He was intending to study Pali.’ What about that Ogham about the girls in their shifts and the ‘going up Finn’ by the three hats, as though up a ladder? ‘Girls urinating in a bush with their head between their thighs, caused a snake to rush at them through the heather.’ As sure as ABCDEF, perhaps [??] ‘Sure and GHIJ as well [??]’ Holy jaysus, then an exegesis of the event? ‘On a pontiff’s order, as sure as there’s a tail on a cat’. And ‘glory be to god’? ‘Really and truly.’ And, why this handkerchief and…
… and what happened to the second one, the son? ‘He had to kowtow to the boxers and lost all face [Shem?]’. So the sisters took the lead from the Labour movement? ‘Which displeased Tom, Dick and Harry, who were not enamoured with their game.’ And in changing the vendors, from the king’s head to the republican’s arms [i.e. father to sons], as to the pugnacity shown during the frays round father time’s backside, and the regina’s with their pants down urinating, how did that appeal to him then? ‘It was a wild fire night on the hill. Mick’s sword creating fear in the wilderness and Nick’s toasting fork pricking its prongs into the tiny bladders.’ Was there a fight? ‘There was one fought.’ On the side of the angels [girls], would you say? ‘Well, "Good god", he said, in between what the girls said and what the pussy kitties did.’ In the middle of their girth [legs?] then? ‘So that they might not touch it.’ So, the two girls were disappointed prostitutes working the unfortunate classes near the Magazine Wall? ‘That was about it, yes.’ And the twin Camellus said to the twin Gemellus: I should know you? ‘Exactly.’ And Gemellus said to Camellus: We’re brothers? ‘Absolutely.’ And that’s what it was all about? ‘About that and the other.’ Was the twin alluding to the hole in the wall? ‘Or eluding the whole of the woman – his mother [both the wall and the woman being HCE’s hiding place].’ How did his end and new beginning strike Earwicker? ‘Like the crack that broke the bank in Montecarlo.’ Was it a question of whether he fell in with what they meant? ‘He was cursed because he supposed that he did.’ They were like Thors, and he the Viking invader Thomar? ‘He was the rudest rotter in Dublin.’ Was he above topical behaviour? ‘More subhuman behaviour.’ If it was a bad clap of thunder? ‘It was the Omega and Alpha!’ The eyes and ears, nose and throat specialist – were we wrong? ‘Shocking, but true.’ Such as, that despite persse o’reilly’s statement, he might never have done anything that night? ‘Truly and really.’ Thunder clap It was the whores, eh? ‘You have it alright.’
But a new complexion was cast upon the matter when…
… Pegger Festy King [Shem] declared in an outburst of poesy ‘with best wishes for a very merry christmas’, that, by the relics of Patrick and before God, he would swear to the Lord of Dundalgan, and despite the statement of the eyeballed, pie-bald, big-eared, knave-nosed, cut throat, last witness, he did not fire a stone at any time. And, he added with his head bowed over his noreaster so barefacedly, that he would impart to the Lord Jesus, the gentlemen of the jury and the Four Masters – who had all those years yearned for the story about why Earwicker had left Dublin – that even if he was to perish by the stake before the dawning of the morn, he should never ask to see the light of this or any other world, if ever in his checkered career he ever threw a stick or stone at man, woman or salvation army officer, either before or after being baptised right down to that hour. Then, as Pegger on one knee tried to lift his left hand and make the sign of the cross of the Roman Catholic faith (in his excitement the lad had…
… broke into poor Latin and the audience followed suite) laughter broke out amongst the owners in the hall, laughter in which the testifier Pegger Festy under the influence of mead, reluctantly joined.
The hilarious hoot of Pegger’s wind-up jest contrasted with the seriousness of the Word Painter’s [the ear, eye and throat specialist, Shaun] as they were opposites, evolved through the one power in nature or in spirit, but so polarised for eventual reunion via the synthesis of their antipathies. Distinctly different were their destinies. Whereas the 28 maids of the bar, those spring flowers, murmured, ‘Shaun the Post’, and fluttered and pressed around him, nominating him for the prize pig, complimenting him, putting hyacinths through his curls, bringing a deep blush to his cheeks and calling him their masculine Irish Rose, pinching his woolly sideburns, with their sugar candy ‘my darling’, a child courier flown to relieve [?] his young dames and send messages of ‘peace in their times’. But it was not unobserved by those present how being one amongst them all - with one more deputised to defend him with the Lunar Sisters Celibacy Club, a lovely looking girl all alone, gentle Gemma - he was wan and pale and seemed blindly, mutely, tastelessly, tactlessly (eyes, throat, ears) and loveless with her as she hugged him [?], and his shame shifted into her, until her wild wish melted in the deepness of his shame.
And so distracted, the Four judges laid their wigs together, but could do no worse than to promulgate…
… their standing verdict of no evidence [?], whereafter Festy King [Pegger], despite having murdered all the English he knew, left the tribunal scotfree, his tunic trailing behind him, and showing off his barefacedness to the girls and British gits to prove himself a ‘real genteel’. To the Swiss guard’s enquiry, ‘How fares your health today, noble gentleman’, the firewater lover retorted with such a vilesmelling f.a.r.t. as would turn the lead stomach of a horse so that all the 28 advocatesses took up their briefs with the cry: ‘Shun the Pen man’ [Pegger]: and safely and surely secured that effeminate parish poser [Pegger] all the way home, with his thanks going to all the wrong girls, all the way to Drinkbattle’s Dingy Dwellings where (for like your true Esau he was timid of girls at heart) as a prisoner they shut him in, the chastity belles proclaiming: ‘You and your gift of the gab and garbage about our Father!’ and again: ‘Shame, shame, shame, shame, shame, shame, shame!’
And so it all ended. Ask Kate the janitrix for the key. And so everyone heard the two sides, and cried: ‘The letter, the letter! And the sooner the better!’ With his pen he pencilled eyebrows and lips lipsticked, he borrowed words and begged the question - from dark Rosa Lane he took a sigh and a weep, from Lesbia Looshe, the gleam in her eye, from Coogan Barry his song, from Sean Kelly, the blush at a name, from ‘I am the Sullivan’ he took the travelling tramp… from Timm Finn again’s weak tribes, the loss of strength in his elbow…
… from Pat Mullen, he took Tom Mullen, from Dan Meldon, Don Maldon, and a slapstick picnic in the mud made by millions. It was a story about a solid man saved by his solid woman. And in it he cracks jokes like a house on fire. The elm that whimpers in the wind told the story to the stone that moans when struck. The wind and waves bore it and the writers’ reeds copied it. The groom ran away with it, it was torn and war resulted. Then a hen retrieved it from the mound and in so doing created peace. The letter was folded with cunning and sealed with crime, both tied by a harlot and undone by a child. It was life but was it fair? It was free but was it art? The Four Masters read it perfectly. As they read about themselves, it made Ma merry and sissy so shy, and rubbed some shine off Shem and put some shame into Shaun. Yet there is thirst and famine, and you should be afraid of fruit, particularly apples, but freedom is found with the woman and sweet it is too. The letter story tells of the sin: a pair of girls in their underwear with Mary Magdalene eyes, an old lobster Humpty Dumpty Earwicker and three meddling soldiers. After how from the sin, and the children, a city arose.
Now tell me, what it was about?
[a recital in a flash of time – perhaps a pointing to the present]
?…..Omega [the end]
So when the trial was all over, the Four Masters sat around the judges chambers to talk it over. It was a very dry discussion, so thank god there was no more of them, so pass the port for god’s sake. [The discussion went like this:] ‘And do you remember Thingamebob, the bad father, the great Howdoyoucallhim, with his nickname "Dirty Daddy Pantaloons", with his social monopoly, caught behind in the war over the two girls, by Mick, the women’s favourite priest, then …
… had all the bad writing about him by the old menace, and the papal dispensation from the pope, Master North?’ ‘Did you mind him?’ ‘I minded the smell off the man that was like the manure works on tradewind day’, was the reply. ‘How do you do, Master North? [one of the Four Masters]’ ‘Get into my way! Ah, the fearsome Prankquean – she’s gone over the sea. Why would he heed that old gas bag with his dying cough and everyone on the southside of the Liffey after her, they call her their "dear divorce darling" and all the jimmies and jonnies want to be her sweetheart.’ ‘Hold on a minute, there’s three other masters with a view on that.’ ‘I can also smell him, the stink was would take the breath of a township away’, said the second Master. ‘God knows I can smell him myself, heaving up the quay wall, his horsebags full and puffing out his thundering big brown cigar! "Goodmorrow", sez he, "Lancashire". "Go bugger yer", sez I in reply’, said the third Master. ‘I smelled that lad out long before anyone’, said the fourth Master. ‘It was when I was courting the redheaded girl, and I’d sooner have a precious sip of your pure mountain dew than smell that big brewer’s belch.’
And so they went on, the Four Masters, discussing all the details, the paintings, the scandals, and all the people that used to be living around Nunsbelly Square. And talked about all the birds in the bush [girls]. And their laughing…
…jackass hee hawed: ‘The rose girls were white in the dark and Earwicker got a swollen nose from haunting the roses in the park. After that all the rogues learnt to rhyme, but contradicted themselves about what happened between the girls and their grandfather. There was no Mark afterward among the men, except Sir Armoury [Shaun] and Sir Rumoury [Shem], and the four old Masters were in the Park as Earwicker made her laugh in the language of flowers and felt her all soft, both of them…’ ‘I beg to differ with ye!’ ‘Are you sure of yourself now?’ ‘You’re a liar, excuse me!’ ‘I will not and you’re another!’ ‘And Lally [the jackass] held the peace for them. Poor old Lally [Tomkins?]! ‘It was too bad to be falling out about her kindness and the shape of time.’ ‘Well, alright Lally.’ ‘And shake hands.’ ‘And shake some more.’ For christ’s sake, let it be so.
Even should we not arrive at the truth in the way that a seer might find an unknown star after searching the starchart, or as all the speeches of humankind have spring from the root of some forerunner’s stutter – the thinking of our specialists holds that by playing dead, Earwicker, our ancestor, saved his tail amongst his posterity - namely amongst, you, charming co-heirs, us, the heirs of his story. Gundogs of all breeds following bugles were…
… hot to run him down, on a strong scent and keen to worry his hide. View the picture: from his wood he ran like a rat across Humfries’ Chase and then bearing right , an outlier – a white dog originally thought to be brown or black – led the baying pack on the run, which continued through several towns in Meath and looping the loop, circled back to Tankardstown. A canny hare he was for doubling back, and they raced on hoping to wind him by the Boolies. But the good turn he made when he was last lost allowed him to hide fox-like in some woody cover – miraculously raven-fed [his daughter] on clotted-cream cinnamon syllabub. Afterwards the hounds all went home. His perseverance in eating alternative foods was the way in which he got the better of all the hunters, dieting on Glues and Gravies [the dead in Sidlesham] in those early times. In vain did violence seek to attack the great shipping mogul [middle east] and underlinen overlord.
But the ruin of Earwicker the hesitant was at the spell of those who maligned him. His only attacker was a ‘she’ – a tittery tattery telltail.
The Masters murmured: Reynard is slow!
We feared for his life. He had laid violent hands upon himself [Van Hoother] it was said in the Letter, that he was all fagged out and melancholy. For the celebration of Saturnalia, his servant had paraded wellingtons in the Forum while his wife gave birth to a girl who was greeted with holly, ivy and mistletoes all the way from…
… the Hundred of Manhood [Sidlesham] and with the murmuring of women. The was an explosion on his fall: then worldwide it was quiet: a Letter: then silence: and the last rumour was laid to rest. The noise or the roar had driven him blind, stone blind. Sparks flew, and he fled again from this country of his exile, to Slough [England] and Sidlesham, stowed away under the name of Anker [name in Sidlesham cemetery] in a Dutch ship, S.S. Finlandia, and was now occupying, with a new Islamic name [middle east], the physical body of Cornelius Magrath (a bad old character, as common as could be) in Asia Minor – where, as a Turk at the theatre, he gave money to the dancers from his ‘omnibox’ [fender/parcel?], and while as an arab at the street door he pestered the soldiers for alms. People talked, and general astonishment with him, in this time of peace, led the populace to regretfully put an end to his existence: resigned, he saw his family suffer, put off his retainers, was recalled and sacked. It was claimed that he had venereal disease, and when that got around he was closed out of his social circle. Inebriated, it was said, he had walked into the centre of an ornamental lily pond up to his waist and was rescued by some fishermen with rods rescued him from the water. Others said how, on Umbrella St, where he was drinking from a public water pump, like a workman, a Mr Whitlock [Finn], gave him a piece of wood. What words went between them? That piece of information would cause every ear to wag in every pub in the city! Batty believes the bit of wood was a baton, while Hogan thinks it was hod, and Heer prefers a pencil sharpener, and Cope and Bull believe it was cup and ball. Cassidy and Craddock are still fighting over whether it is a cradle with a child in it, or a casket with a dead body. The war or argument is just words, for the wood is all the world.
No-one paid any attention, only the rain heard what they had to say. Then he was sighted cycling while drunk and the morse code messages started flying. He was loose and at large and might be anywhere – when a disguised ex-nun of masculine bearing in her forties attracted attention by her conduct on a bus. Aerials buzzed from coast to coast about a find of clothing that might belong to him - the tax collector [landlord] - including a bloody cloak labelled with the initials of Victoria Palace Hotel which were found in a cave, and everyone shivered to think of what beasts, wolves, farmers or poor friars had devoured him. On his gate post was nailed a name and title inscribed in ink: ‘Move over Mumpty! Make room for Rumpty! By order, Nicholas [Shem]’; and this – no matter how wise or profound he was, or whether he was a chief or count or a prince with a mansion, or that there had been a murder – it was this that did him in. On a field of green, the combatants had left him lying with his right hand open, erected and dripping blood [the shield of the O’Reilly’s]. Some of his more ‘Irish’ supporters [Clontarf] ventured to loan or beg copies of the Evening Post to be certain of his having become genuinely…
…dead, whether by land or by water. There was a worldwide clamour: ‘the letter, the letter!’ Shall their hope stay silent through a lack of lamentation? He lay under leagues of lamentation in Bartholomew’s Deep.
Attention! Viceroy visits beautiful young schoolgirls. Three little Irish children meet with a Scandinavian giant in Phoenix Park. The ale-woman gives a tongue lashing to the newly rich farmers - as being base fellows.
But, on the next morning after the suicidal murder of the expatriate, at a quarter to nine a spike of smoke came from the seventh gable of the King of Ireland’s buttressed tower to announce a new order and then, on Thursday evening, the outstanding man [HCE] and his doll-like lady [ALP] were seen there during the night - lit by lamplight – as handsome figures in the fine glass transom and leadlight panes.
Wherefore, let it not be said or thought that the prisoner of that sacred edifice was at his best merely a parable, a rumour, or even the cyclic key to a world beyond the whorl of the visible, for few of his fellow countrymen doubted the sacred fact of his existence.
The women wanted to know whether his wife was ‘fast’.
Do tell us about her, they clamour. We want to hear all about her. So tell us all about her. Whether she looked like us hussies and whether he had his wind-up as they say? Who was the other woman? Who was the scourge of the parts in Lucalizod, it was asked, in the age of HCE who struck Buckley – although every school girl, every colleen bawn, every warwife and widow knows as sure as eggs that it was Buckley who struck him down, and it was the Russian general who was struck, not Buckley. What pride-full poison pen in the pay of three castles [Dublin coat of arms] or which hate-filled smiley salesman, could say such things? And such a vitriol of venom – with a stamp bearing the Queen’s head like a sticking plaster – was posted as the letter! The lounge lizards were in the pumproom and the laundresses were at their pails and everyone else besides, saying Happy Christmas, when a woman, looking into her glass, her eyes twinkling, her hair waved, the bondwoman of the man of the house and the subject of all the gossip, she for whom he had given an eye to take to his bed, and a tooth for a child – and there were hundreds of them including me and you and the twins …
… she who sheltered him after his fall, who gave him tea and made him able, she who would not rest from her running to find him and then hiding his remains in the sea, stood forth, burning the old world for his sake, dragging the countryside in her train, with her brogues and bustle, her boa and 40 bonnets, with stars in her eyes, muffs on her ears and spectacles on her Parisienne nose - alone, with her pawns, prelates and goblins in her sack, plotting for Humphrey to return and crush the slander’s head.
The weary, small person, pleading for more and more! Your woman of the town, mercy of the balm of your warm heart. The old gardener is beyond tea, he himself is now physically in the herbs of the druggist. Let him rest and take no gravespoil from him. Leave alone his mound – it is cursed! But there’s a little lady waiting for him and her name is A.L.P. [Anna Livia Plurabelle]. Her lovely golden hair hangs down her back. He spent his strength running amok with all those women with their rainbow-coloured clothes and laughing, and yet for her whims he still had a cure. Tiffs in the day, kisses tonight, but an age of pining for him tomorrow. That’s when she who was crippled with children would speak up for he who was dropping with sweat.
[The narrator sings a song of HCE and ALP, describing how she married him for 99 years – a lease – he was taken in with her beauty, but who had the cash? And who was he? She met him at Island Bridge, and now we’re up to our ears in colours – flags - and babies, that’s what she did for us!]
The wandering writer may wander with the book about HCE, but let no-one laugh at ALP, for we have washed our sheet upon the stones of her river, and we have hung our hearts in her trees, and we lie, as she bids us, by her waters.