Monday, February 10, 2014

November 1923: Cad level three

     Guiltless he was clearly for so once at least he clearly and with still a trace of his erstwhile burr declared himself to be and we know that it is true. They tell the story that one happy-go-gusty April morning long after the alleged misdemeanour when billowing across the wide expanse of our great park in his rubberised inverness he met a cad with a pipe. The latter hardily accosted him to ask could he say how much o'clock it was that the clock struck had he any idea. Earwicker, realising on fundamental principles the supreme importance of physical life and unwishful of being sent into eternity plugged by the sap's bullet, halted and, quick on the draw, produced from his gunpocket his shrapnel-Waterbury and, at the same instant hearing above the skirling of harsh Mother East old Fox Goodman working the tenor bell in the speckled church, told the cad it was twelve punctual, adding however, as he bent to give weight to the utterance that the accusation against him had been made, as was well known in high quarters, by a creature in human form who was several degrees lower than a snake. In greater support of his words the flaxen giant tapped his chronometer and, now standing erect with one Berlin gauntlet pointed towards the duke's overgrown milestone solemnly averred: Credit me, my friend. I have won straight. Hence my nationwide business and I am prepared to take my stand upon the monument any hygienic day at this hour and to declare upon the open bible before the Great Taskmaster's eye and in the presence of the deity and my immediate neighbours and every living soul in every corner of this globe in general acquainted with the British tongue that there is not one tittle of truth in that purest of fabrications. The cad, perceiving that he had to do with a plainly postpuberal hyperpituitary type, thanked for the time of day, not a little taken aback all the same that that was all the time it was, and repeated as many of the words as he could call to mind that same evening at his fireside where he spat in museful thought after having eaten very excellent peas boiled with malt vinegar, a plateful he frankly relished in raw weather. The cad's wife (as the aftertale has it) spoke of the matter the next night but one after sodality meeting to the reverend, the director, a freshcomplexioned clergyman, yet it was he in all human probability who, when seized of the facts, was overheard by accident-- if indeed, it was an accident-- repeating a slightly different version of the words to a layteacher of organic chemistry in the middle forties during a priestly flutter for safe and sane bets at the racecourse of Baldoyle on a date easily capable of remembrance by good turfites when the Portmarnock plate was captured by two lengths from Bold Boy Cromwell after a clever getaway by Captain Blount's fresh colt Drummer Coxon at short odds. It was two coves of the name of Treacle Tom and his own blood and milk brother Frisky Shorty come off the hulks what was out on the bum around for an oofbird game for a jimmyogoblin or a small thick as heard the reverend parson make use of the language which he was having a gurgle off his own along of the bloke in the specs. This Treacle Tom, to whom reference has just been made, had been absent from his usual wild and woolly haunts for some time previous to that (he was, in fact, in the habit of frequenting common lodginghouses where he slept in a nude state in strange men's bunks) but revisiting on racenight his house of call at Block W, Pump square, the Liberties, he repeated the tale in parts more than once during uneasy slumber in the joint hearing of a discharged drapery executive Peter Cloran, O'Donnell, a secretary of no fixed abode who had passed several nights in a doorway and Hosty, an illstarred busker who, feeling suicidal, had been tossing on his shakedown devising ways and means of somehow getting ahold of some chap's parabellum in the hope of lighting upon a dive somewhere off the main tramline where he could go and blow the napper off himself in peace and quietness, he having been trying all he knew for over eighteen months to get into Jervis street hospital without having been able to wangle it anyway. O'Donnell and Peter Cloran, as an understood thing, slept in the one bed with Hosty, and the housewife dawn-of-all-work had not been very many hours furbishing potlids, doorbrasses, scholars' applecheeks and livery metals when the rejuvenated busker and his bedroom suite were up and afoot crosstown to the thrumming of a crewth fiddle and, after a visit to a publichouse not a thousand leagues from the site of Parnell's statue where, the tale runs on, the trio were shortly joined by a further casual and a decent sort who had just pocketed the weekly insult and all had stimulants in the shape of five gee and gees stood by the decent sort after which all came out of the licensed premises wiping their mouth on their sleeve and the world was the richer for a new halfpenny ballad which was first sung under the shadow of the monument of the dead legislator to an overflow meeting fully filling the visional area and easily representative of all sections and cross sections of the Irish people ranging from slips of boys with pocketed hands and corporation bucket emergency men in search of an honest crust to busy professional gentlemen, massgoing ladies in their chairs and a few old souls obviously under the spell of liquor. Word went round and the ballad printed on a strip of blue paper headed by a rough woodcut soon fluttered on highway and byway to the rose of the winds from lane to lattice and from mouth to ear throughout the five corners of the land of Ireland. And around the land this rann it ran and this is the ran that Hosty made: [...]

    A cloud of witnesses indeed! Yet all of these are now as much no more as were they not yet now or had they then not ever been. Of Hosty, quite a musical genius in a small way, the end is unknown. O'Donnell, somewhat depressed by things, is said to have accepted the (Saxon) king's shilling on the outbreak of the Crimean war, enlisting under the name of Blanco Buckley. Peter Cloran, at the suggestion of the master in lunacy, became an inmate of an asylum. Treacle Tom passed away painlessly one hallow e'en in a state of nature, propelled into the great beyond by footblows of his last bedfellows, three Norwegians of the seafaring class. Shorty disappeared from the surface of the earth so entirely as to lead the speculative to opine that it came to pass that he (who possessed a large amount of the humorous) had removed his habitat to the interior. Again, was the reverend, the sodality director that fashionable vice preacher to whom sinning society sirens (vide the daily press) at times became so enthusiastically attached and was an objectionable ass who very occasionally wore a raffle ticket in his hat and was openly convicted of malpractices with his tableknife that same cad with a pipe encountered by Humphrey Chimpden?

    It is a well authenticated fact that the average human face changes its shape with the passing of years. Hence it is no easy matter to identify the individual with already an inclination to baldness who was asked by some boardschool children to tell them the story. It was the Lord's day and the request was put to the party as he paused for a smoke in his pastime of executing empty bottles. One sad circumstance the narrator mentioned which goes at once to the heart of things. He rose to his feet and told of it in the simplest of language to a group of little caremakers of the great mythical figure in his widewinged hat, the four-in-hand cravat and the gauntlet upon the hand which had struck down Destrelle. In words a bit duskish he aptly described the scene, the monolith rising stark from the twilit pinebarren, the fallow doe belling softly her approach and how brightly he outed his wallet and gives him a topping cheroot and says he was to suck that one and spend a half hour in Havana. And says he: As sure as eggs is what they are in high quarters my business credit will stand as straight as that monument's fabrication before the hygienic globe (and here the reverent sabbath and bottle breaker uncovered himself of his boater cordially inviting the adolescents whom he was wising up to do in like manner) globe of the great Pastmaster's eye. The scene was never forgotten for later in the same century one of that little band of factferreters, then an ex civil servant retired under the sixtyfive act, rehearsed it to a cousin of the late archdeacon Coppinger in a pullman of the transhibernian with one still sadder circumstance which is a heartskewer if ever was. For when the archdeacon spoke of it by request all hearing the cousin's description of that fellow-traveller's features could really imagine themselves as listening to the cockshy shooter's evensong evocation of the doomed liberator, his hand protended towards the monumental leadpencil which as the Molyvdokondylon was to be his mausoleum while over his exculpatory features the ghost of a resignation diffused a spectral appealingness similar in origin and in effect to a beam of sunshine upon a coffinplate.

    The data, did we possess them, are too imprecisely few to warrant our certitude, the testifiers too untrustworthily irreperible but certain one thing is, that ere the following winter turned the leaves of the book of nature, the shadow of the huge outlander had stood at the bar of a hundred tribunals, here sentenced before trial with Jedburgh justice, there acquitted against evidence by benefit of clergy. Big, human, erring, forgivable the unforgettable shade looms up behind the varied judgments of those unrecapturable days. Three soldiers of the Coldstream guards were walking in Montgomery Street. One gave an opinion in which all concurred. It was the first woman, they said. He showed himself a man afterwards. A coming actress (who has been called by one critic a vestpocket Siddons) was interviewed in a beauty parlour and said, while righting her cartwheel hat, she hoped he would get a Christmas pardon because the world had been unkind. Then he has been so truly wonderful, she added. A dustman named Sevenchurches in the employ of Bullwinkle and M'Tigue was asked the question in a hashhouse and replied: We have been discussing this case. All our fellows say that he is a gamey one. A more than usually sober taxidriver said: Earywigger is a pink joint scoundrel in private life but folks say he has parliamentary privilege. A barmaid's view was: It would be a crying shame to jail him in consequence of his health. Brian Linskey, the boy curser, was questioned and gave a snappy comeback when saying: I am for caveman sex, curse it! Them two women ought to be strangled, I say! Miss Ida Wombwell, the seventeen year old revivalist, said concerning the fusiliers incident: That man is a brute-- but a magnificent brute. Sylvia Silence, the girl detective, when told of the different facts in her easy bachelor's flat overlooking Anderson's mews, asked quietly: Have you thought that sheer greatness was his tragedy? But in my view he should pay the full penalty. A sailor, seated on the granite setts of the fishmarket, was encouraged to talk by his fiancée and said: I lay he was to blame about the two slaveys as he had his perfect right but I think there was someone else behind it about the three drummers.

    Can it be that so diversified outrages were planned and partly carried out against a staunch covenanter if it is true those recorded ever took place? The city of refuge whither he had fled to forget in expiating manslaughter, the land in which by the commandment with promise his days apostolic were to be long murmured, would rise against him, do him, poor jink, ghostly upon bodily, as were he made a curse for them, the corruptible lay quick, all saints of incorruption of an holy nation, the common or garden castaway in resurrection of damnation so they convince him of their proper sins. Businessbred to a stiff upper lip he took nothing but good fighting chances. Yet he or his was or were subjected to terror. One tall man humping a suspicious parcel when returning late to the old spot had a barking revolver put to his face by an unknown assailant (masked) against whom he had been jealous. More than that when the waylayer (not a Lucalizodite) mentioning that he had a loaded pistol which left only two alternatives as either he would surely shoot him or, failing of that, bash in his face beyond all recognition, pointedly asked him how he came by the fender he was answered by the aggravated assaulted that that was for him to find out. But how transparently untrue! Six feet one is not tall. Was it supposedly to explode or to force an entrance that the man in a butcher blue blouse from a men's wear store with a bottle of single stout in his possession seized by the town guard in H.C.E.'s very gateway, was in the gateway? How true on first time of hearing his statement that he had had a lot too much to drink and was only falling against the gate yet how lamely proceeds his then explanation that he was merely trying to open the bottle of stout by hammering it against the gate for the boots in the place, Maurice Behan, who hastily threw on a pair of pants and came down in his socks without coat or collar, attracted by the noise of gunplay, said he was safe in bed when he was wakened up out of the land of byelo by hearing hammering emanating from the gate. This battering all over the door and sideposts, he always said, was not in the very remotest like a bottle of stout which would not rouse him out of sleep but far more like the overture to the last day, if anything. Notice a fellow who calls on his skirt. Note his sleek hair so elegant, tableau vivant. He vows her to be his own honeylamb, swears they will be pals, by Sam, and share good times way down west in a happy lovenest when May moon shines but that guy is not so dippy between you and I (not on your life! not in these trousers! not by a large jugful!) for somewhere on the sly this guy has his girl number two and he would like to canoodle her too some part of the time for he is downright fond of his own number one but he is fair mashed on peachy number two so that if he could only canoodle the two all three would be genuinely happy, the two numbers, that is, with their mutual chappy (for he is simply shamming dippy) if they were afloat in a dreamboat, his tippy canoe, his tippy upanddowndippy tiptoptippy canoodle canyou. With this our friends the fender and the bottle at the gate seem on an identical basis, bearing several of the earmarks of a plot for there is in fact no use putting a tooth on a thing of that sort and the amount of that sort of thing which was then going on was simply stupendous.

    Next morning the postman handed in a letter superscribed to Humpty, Pot and gallows king. The coffin, at first sight mistaken for a fender, had been removed from hardware premises, a noted house of the middle east which, as an ordinary everyday transaction, supplied funeral requisites of every description. In the parallel case Laddy Cummings, the conscientious guard and a scripture reader to boot, swore before the proper functionary that the butcher in the blouse, after delivering some carcasses, went and kicked at the door and when challenged about it on his oath by the imputed, said simply: I am on my oath. You did, as I stressed before. You are deeply mistaken, sir, let me then tell you, denied MacPartland (the meat man's name).

    These outrages were thought to have been instigated by either or both of the rushy hollow heroines but one shortly after drank carbolic with all her life before her while her sister-in-love finding while one day doing her chores that she stripped well began to feel her hat too small for her and took to selling her spare time in the haymow and elsewhere. But a little thought ought to allow the facts to fall in and take up their due places. If violence to life, limb and chattels has as often as not been an expression, direct or through a male agency, of offended womanhood has not levy of blackmail from the earliest ages followed in worldlywise a whispered reputation. First, a gateway there was for the suroptimist had bought and enlarged that shack under fair rental of one yearly sheep, value of sixpence, and one small yearly pig, value of eightpence, to grow old and happy in for the remaining years and when everything was got up for the purpose he put a gate on the place and thenabouts the gate was locked purposely by his faithful people to keep him inside in case he felt like sticking out his chest too far and tempting gracious providence. It ought to be always remembered that there was a commercial stopping in the hotel before that and he missed six pounds fifteen and found his overcoat disturbed. The gate business was in fact all threats and abuse and in this sort. Humphrey's unsolicited visitor promised through the gate outside which he was first, that he would break his head for him, next, that he would break the gate over his head the way he would crack a nut with a monkey wrench and, last of all, that he would give him his (Humphrey's) blood to drink. He went on at a great rate abusing him from ten thirty up to one in the afternoon without even a lunch interval. Earwicker, longsuffering, under restraint in the sittingout corner of his conservatory, his thermos flask by his side, compiled a long list (now feared lost) to be kept on file of all the abusive names he was called (informer, old fruit, yellow whigger, wheatears, goldygoat, funnyface, bogside beauty, muddle the plan, mister fatmeat) but did not otherwise respond beyond such sedentarity, though it was as easy as kisshands for him to reach for the hello grip and ring up Crumlin exchange, because as he explained, touching his wounded feelings in the future, the dominican mission was on at the time and he thought it might reform him. The more than considerably unpleasant bullocky before he rang off pegged a few stones all of a size, but possibly seeing the seriousness of what he had not done made him leave down the stones and having sobered up a bit, he left the scene, after exhorting him to come outside so as he could burst him all up and proceeded in the direction of the deaf and dumb institution.

    It may be that with his deepseeing insight (had not wishing been but good time wasted) H.C.E. prayed all that time in silence that his wordwounder might become the first of a distinguished dynasty, his most cherished of all ideas being the formation, as in more favoured climes, of a truly criminal stratum, thereby at last eliminating much general delinquency from all classes and masses.

    The coffin was to come in handy later. This is the how of that. A number of public bodies made him a present of a grave in a fair state of repair which nobody had ever been able to dig much less occupy. This grave he blasted with a landmine and carefully lined the result with bricks and mortar, encouraging the same and other public bodies to present him over and above that with a stone. Coffins, windingsheets, cinerary urns and any kind of funeral bric a brac would naturally follow in the ordinary course.

    The other spring offensive may have come about all quite by accident. From both camps (granted at once for the sake of argument that men on both sides had grand ideas) all conditions were drawn into the conflict, some for lack of proper feeding, others already caught in the act of carving honourable careers for self and family, and, if emaciated, the person garotted may have suggested incarnate whiggery or even the grand old whig himself in the flesh when falsesighted by the wouldbe burglar, a tory of the tories, for there then circulated pretty freely the feeling that in so hibernating Earwicker was secretly feeding on his own fat.

    Kate Strong, a widow, did all the scavenging from good King Charles golden days down but she cleaned only sparingly and her statement was that, there being no macadamized sidewalks in those R.I.C. days barring a footpath which left off where the man was struck, she left, as scavengers will, a filth dump near the dogpond in the park, all over which bootmarks, fingerprints, elbowdints, kneecaves, breechbowls were all successively found of a very involved description. It was on this resurfaced spot evidently that the attacker, though under medium, with truly native pluck tackled him whom he mistook to be somebody else, making use of sacrilegious language to the effect that he would have his life and lay him out at the same time catching hold of a long bar he had and with which he usually broke furniture. They struggled for some considerable time and in the course of it the masked man said to the other: Let me go, Pat. Later on the same man asked: Was six pounds fifteen taken off you by anyone 2 or 3 months ago? There was some further severe mauling and then a wooden affair in the shape of a revolver fell from the intruder who thereupon became friendly and wanted to know whether his chance companion who still had the fender happened to have the change of a ten pound note about him as, if so, he would pay the six pounds odd out of that for what was taken on last July. To this the other then said: Would you be surprised to hear that I honestly have not such a thing as the loose change of a ten pound note about me at the moment but I believe I can see my way to advance you four and sevenpence between hopping and trotting to buy whisky. At the mention of whisky the gunman became calm and remarking, apparently highly pleased: You stunning little southdowner! Goalball I've struck this day, by golly! You have some grit, south downer! he went off with the four and seven and the hurlbat, picked up, while the man who was left with the fender who bore up under it with a number of plumsized bruises on him, reported the occurrence at the watch house in Vicar Street, his face all covered with blood as good proof of his serious character and that he was bleeding from the nose, mouth and two ears while some of his hair had been pulled off his head though other wise his allround health was middling enough.

    Now coming on to the question of unlawfully obtaining a pierced fender and fireguard there crops up like a shot the far more capital point of the political bias of a person who, when mistakenly ambushed, was simply exercising one of the most primary liberties of the subject by walking along a public thoroughfare in broad daylight.

    As if that was not enough for anyone but little headway was made when a countryman, Festy King, who gave an address in Joyce's country in the heart of a wellfamed poteen district, was subsequently brought up on an improperly framed indictment. It was attempted to show that King rubbed some dirt on his face to disguise himself and was at the fair of a Monday with a pig when the animal ate some of the doorpost, King selling it because she ate a lot of the woodwork of her sty in order to pay off arrears of rent. An eyewitness said he remembered the fifth of November which was going to go down in the annals of history and that one thing which particularly struck him was that he saw or heard Pat O'Donnell beat and murder another of the Kings, Simon, between whom bad blood existed but it turned out in crossexamination that where the ambush was laid there was not as much light as would dim a child's altar and to the perplexedly uncondemnatory bench the first King, Festy, declared through his interpreter on his oath and before God and all their honours that he did not fire a stone either before or after he was born down to that day and this he supplemented by postasserting what he would impart that he might never ask to see sight or light of this world or the next world or any other world if ever he up with a hand to take or throw the sign of a stone at man, sheep or salvation army either before or after being baptised down to that holy and blessed hour. [cite] [FDV]

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