Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Page 393 (14.1042-1081) "reminiscence, that staid... scattering a perennial"

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reminiscence, that staid agent of publicity and holder of a modest substance in the funds.

He is young Leopold. There, as in a retrospective arrangement, a mirror within a mirror (hey, presto!), he beholdeth himself.

That young figure of then is seen, precociously manly, walking on a nipping morning from the old house in Clanbrassil street to the high school, his booksatchel on him bandolierwise, and in it a goodly hunk of wheaten loaf, a mother's thought.

Or it is the same figure, a year or so gone over, in his first hard hat (ah, that was a day!), already on the road, a fullfledged traveller for the family firm, equipped with an orderbook, a scented handkerchief (not for show only), his case of bright trinketware (alas! a thing now of the past!) and a quiverful of compliant smiles for this or that halfwon housewife reckoning it out upon her fingertips or for a budding virgin, shyly acknowledging (but the heart? tell me!) his studied baisemoins.

The scent, the smile, but, more than these, the dark eyes and oleaginous address brought home at duskfall many a commission to the head of the firm, seated with Jacob's pipe after like labours in the paternal ingle (a meal of noodles, you may be sure, is aheating), reading through round horned spectacles some paper from the Europe of a month before.

Jacob's pipe

But hey, presto, the mirror is breathed on and the young knighterrant recedes, shrivels, dwindles to a tiny speck within the mist.

Now he is himself paternal and these about him might be his sons. Who can say? The wise father knows his own child.

He thinks of a drizzling night in Hatch street, hard by the bonded stores there, the first. Together (she is a poor waif, a child of shame, yours and mine and of all for a bare shilling and her luckpenny), together they hear the heavy tread of the watch as two raincaped shadows pass the new royal university.

Bridie! Bridie Kelly! He will never forget the name, ever remember the night: first night, the bridenight. They are entwined in nethermost darkness, the willer with the willed, and in an instant (fiat!) light shall flood the world.

Did heart leap to heart? Nay, fair reader. In a breath 'twas done but— hold! Back! It must not be! In terror the poor girl flees away through the murk. She is the bride of darkness, a daughter of night. She dare not bear the sunnygolden babe of day.

No, Leopold. Name and memory solace thee not. That youthful illusion of thy strength was taken from thee— and in vain.

No son of thy loins is by thee. There is none now to be for Leopold, what Leopold was for Rudolph.

The voices blend and fuse in clouded silence: silence that is the infinite of space: and swiftly, silently the soul is wafted over regions of cycles of cycles of generations that have lived. A region where grey twilight ever descends, never falls on wide sagegreen pasturefields, shedding her dusk, scattering a perennial




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