Guiltless he was clearly for so once at least he clearely with a brave outlander's burr declared himself to be & we know that it is true. They tell the story that one happy-go-blowy April morning some years after the alleged misdemeanour whitst billowing across the fair expanse of the park in the rubberised inverness he met a cad with a pipe. The latter accosted him to ask if he could say what it was o'clock that the clock struck, had he any idea. Earwicker realising on fundamental principles the supreme importance of physical life & being unwishful to be plugged by the sap's bullet sending him to eternity halting quick on the draw produced his shrapnel Waterbury from his gunpocket and hearing above the skirling of sharp Mother East old Fox Goodman working the tenor bell in the speckled church, and told the cad it was punctually twelve adding however that the accusation against him had been made as was well known by a creature in human form who was several degrees lower than a snake. In support of his words the flaxen goliath tapped his chronometer and pointed a Berlin gauntlet to the dukes overgrown milestone as he said solemnly: credit me my friend. I have won straight. Hence my nationwide business. 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 & in the presence of the deity my immediate neighbour and my fellows in every corner on this globe in general & to each living soul 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 clear postpuberal hyperpituitary type, thanked him for the time of day not a little surprised, all the same, that that was all the time it was repeated the words that same evening at his fireside where he spat in museful thought after having eaten some boiled peas with vinegar a plateful he much fancied. The aftertale has it that The next evening but one the cad's wife spoke of the matter after sadality meeting to the Reverend the director, a fresh complexioned clergyman and it was he in all haman probability who, seized of the facts, was overheard by accident-- if indeed it was an accident-- to repeat the words in an undertone to a layteacher of natural science in the middle 40's during a priestly flutter for safe & sane bets on the race course of baldoyle on a date easily capable of remembrance by all turfites when the portmanock plate was captured after a clever getaway by a full length from Bold Boy Cromwell by Captain Blounts fresh colt drummer coxon at short odds. It was 2 coves of the name of Treacle Tom & Frisky Shorty off the hulks what was on the bum for an oofbird good for a jimmygoblin as heard this reverend gent make use of the language which he was having a gurgle on his own along of the bloke in the specs. This Treacle Tom to whom reference has been made had been absent from his usual wild and woolly haunts for some time previously (he was in the habit of frequenting common lodging-houses where he slept in a nude state in strange shakedowns) but returning on Baldoyle night to his house of call at Block Z, Pump Square, the Liberties, he sought his warm bed he repeated the tale more than once during uneasy slumber and in the 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 streetsinger who, feeling suicidal, had been tossing on his doss in the hope of soon getting a loan of some chaps' parabellum to go & find some dive somewhere off the main tram line & blow the napper off himself in peace & quietness. He having been trying for over a year to get into Jervis street hospital without having been able to wangle it anyway. O'Donnell & Peter Cloran as an understood thing, slept in the one bunk with hosty and the housewife dawn-of-all-work had not been many hours furbishing potlids, doorbrasses, scholars' applecheeks & horny buttons when the busker and his bedroom suite were up and afoot crosstown thrumming his crewth fiddle and after a visit to a public house not 1,000 miles from Parnell's statue where the trio were joined by another casual & a decent sort who had just pocketed his weekly insult where all had stimulants in the shape of gee and gees stood by the decent sort at the decent sort's expense & came out of the licensed premises wiping their mouth on their sleeves the world was the richer for a new halfpenny ballad first sung under the shadow of the monument of the dead legislator to an overflow meeting fully filling the visional area representative of every section of the Irish people ranging from slips of boys with pocketed hands, ladychairs, a few old souls obviously under the spell of liquor & emergency men in search of an honest crust to busy professional gentlemen. Word went round and etc. This on a slip of blue paper headed by a woodcut soon fluttered on highway & byway to the rose of the winds from lane to lattice and from mouth to ear, throughout the 5 corners of the land of Ireland, and round the land his rann it ran and this is the rann that Hosty made: [FDV]
A cloud of witnesses indeed! Yet all of these are as much no more as were they now not yet 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 enlisted at the time of the Crimean war under the name of Buckley. Peter Cloran, at the suggestion of the Master in Lunacy, became an inmate of an asylum. Treacle Tom passed away painlessly in a state of nature propelled into the great beyond by footblows of his last bedfellows, 3 Norwegian of the seafaring class.Shorty disappeared from the surface of the earth so completely as to lead one to suppose that it had come to pass that he (who possessed at times a large amount of the humorous) his habitat had become the interior. Then was the reverend, the sodality director that fashionable vice preacher to whom sinning society beauties (vide the daily press) often became so enthusiastically attached and was an objectionable ass who sometimes wore a nondescript raffle ticket in his hat & was openly guilty of malpractices with his tableknife the cad with a pipe encountered by HCE?