Her untitled memorial to the allhighest has gone by many names at disjointed times. Thus we hear of Rebus de Hibernicis, The Crazier Letters, Groans of a Britoness, An Apology for a Big (the noun Husband is probably understood), Ought We To Visit Him?, Cock in the Pot for Father, Placeat Vestrae, The Following Fork, Measly Ventures of Two Lice and the Fall of Fruit, First and Last Only True Account all about the Honorary Mr Earwicker L.S.D. and the Snake by a Woman of the World who only can Tell Naked Truths about a Dear Man and all his Conspirators how they all Tried to Fall him by Putting it all around Lucalizod about Earwicker and a Pair of Sloppy Sluts plainly Showing all the Unmentionability falsely Accusing about the Redcoats.
The proteiform graph itself is a polyhedron of scripture. There was a time when naif alphabetters would have written it down the tracing of a purely deliquescent recidivist, possibly (6ambidexterous ambidextrous6), snubnosed probably and presenting a strangely profound rainbowl in his (or her) occiput. Closer inspection of the bordereau would reveal a multiplicity of personalities inflicted on the document and some prevision of virtual crime or crimes might be made by anyone unwary enough before any suitable occasion for it or them had so far managed to happen along. In fact, under the close eyes of the inspector the traits featuring the chiaroscuro coalesce, their contrarieties eliminated, in one stable somebody similarly as by the providential warring of heartbreaker with housebreaker and of dramdrinker against freethinker our social something bowls along bumpily, experiencing a jolting series of prearranged disappointments, down the long lane of generations, more generations and still more generations.
Say, who in hell wrote the durn thing
Erect, beseated, ahorseback, against a partywall, below zero, by the use of quill or style, with turbid or pellucid mind, accompanied or the reverse by mastication, interrupted by visit of person to scribe or of scribe to place, rained upon or blown around, by a rightdown regular racer from the soil or by a too pained whittlewit laden with the loot of learning?
Now, patience. And remember patience is the great thing. And above all things else we must avoid anything like being or becoming out of patience. A good plan used by worried business folk is just to think of all the sinking fund of patience possessed in their conjoint names by both brothers Bruce with whom is incorporated their Scotch spider. If after years upon years of delving in ditches dark one tubthumper more than others has got up for the purpose of reassuring us that our great ascendant was properly speaking three syllables less than his own surname (yes, less!), that the ear of Earwicker aforetime was the trademark of a broadcaster with wicker local cant for an ace's patent, then as to this radiooscillating epiepistle to which we must ceaselessly return, whereabouts exactly at present is that bright soandsuch to slip us the dinkum oil?
Naysayers we know. To conclude purely negatively from the positive absence of political odia and monetary requests that its page cannot ever have been a penproduct of a man or woman of that period or those parts is only one more unlookedfor conclusion leaped at, being tantamount to inferring from the nonpresence of inverted commas (sometimes called quotation marks) on any page that its author
was always constitutionally incapable of misappropriating the spoken words of others.
Has any fellow, it might with some profit some dull evening quietly be hinted — has any usual sort of ordinary fellow ever looked sufficiently longly at a quite everydaylooking stamped addressed envelope? Admittedly it is an outer husk: its face is its fortune: it exhibits only the civil or military clothing of whatever passionpallid nudity or plaguepurple
nakedness may happen to tuck itself under its flap. Yet to concentrate solely on the literal sense or even the psychological content of any document to the sore neglect of the enveloping facts themselves circumstantiating it is just as hurtful to sound sense (and, let it be added, to the truest taste) as were some fellow in the act of perhaps getting an intro from another fellow turning out to be a friend in need of his, say, to a lady of the latter's acquaintance straightway to run off and vision her plump and plain in her natural altogether, preferring to close his eyes to the fact that she was, after all, wearing for the time being some definite articles of clothing, inharmonious, a captious critic might describe them as, or not strictly necessary or a trifle irritating here and there but for all that suddenly full of local colour and personal perfume and suggestive, too, of so much more and capable of being stretched, filled out, if need or wish were, of having their surprisingly like coincidental parts separated for better survey by the deft hand of an expert. Who in his heart doubts either that the facts of feminine clothing are there all the time or that the feminine fiction, stranger than the facts, is there also at the same time, only a little to the rere? Or that one may be separated from the other? Or that both may then be contemplated simultaneously? Or that each may be taken up and considered in turn apart from the other?
Here let a few facts speak in their own favour. That stern chuckler, Mayhappy Mayhapnot, once said and repeated that Lucalizod was the one place in the world where the possible was the improbable and the improbable the inevitable. If the proverbial bishop of our holy and undivided hit his two nails on the head we are in for a sequentiality of improbable possibles though possibly nobody after
having grubbed up his subject probably in Aristotle will go out of his way to applaud him on the back of his remark for, utterly impossible as are all these here events, they are probably as like those which may have taken place as any others which never took place at all are ever likely to be.
About that original hen. Midwinter was in the (6onning offing6) when an iceclad shiverer, merest of bantlings, observed a cold fowl behaviourising strangely on that fatal midden (dump for short) afterwards changed into the orangery when in the course of deeper demolition unexpectedly it threw up a few spontaneous fragments of orangepeel, the last remains of an outdoor meal by some unknown sunseeker illico way back in his mistridden past. What child but chippy little Kevin in the despondful surrounding of such sneezing cold would ever have picked up a motive for future saintity by euchring the finding of the Ardagh chalice by another holy innocent whilst trying with pious clamour to wheedle Tipperary potatoes out of the seasand in sight of the scene of the massacre of most of the Jacobiters. The bird in the case was the hen of the Dorans and what she was scratching at looked for all this world like a goodishsized sheet of letterpaper originating from Boston (Mass.) of the last of the first to Dear and it proceeded to mention Maggy well & allathome's health well with a lovely face of some born gentleman with a beautiful present of cakes for dear thank you with grand funferall of poor Father Michael don't forget unto life's & Muggy well how are you Maggy & hopes soon to hear well & must now close it with fondest with four crosskisses pee ess from affectionate largelooking stain of tea. The stain, and that a teastain, marked it off on the spur of the moment as a genuine relique of ancient Irish pottery of that pleasingly languishing class known as a hurry-me-off-from-Queenstown.
Why then how?
Well, almost any photoist worth his chemicals will tell anyone asking him at home that if a negative of a horse happens to melt enough during drying, well, what you do get is, well, a positively grotesque distortion of all sorts of horse values and masses of horse. Well, this freely is what must have occurred to our missive unfilthed
by the sagacity of a slanteyed hen. Heated residence in the heart of the orangeflavoured mudmound had partly obliterated the negative to start with, causing some features palpably nearer the reader to be swollen up most grossly while
the farther back we manage to wiggle the more we need the loan of a lens to see as much as the hen saw.
Lead, kindly fowl! They always did: ask the ages. What bird has done yesterday man may do next year, be it fly, be it moult, be it hatch, be it agreement in the nest. For her socioscientific sense is sound as a bell, sir: her volucrine automutativeness right on normalcy: she knows, she just feels she was kind of born to lay and love eggs (trust her to propagate the species and hoosh her fluffballs safe through din and danger!): lastly but mostly, in her genesic field it is all game and no gammon: she is ladylike in everything she does and plays the gentleman's part every time. Let us auspice it! Yes, before all this has time to end the golden age must return with its vengeance. Man will become dirigible, age will be rejuvenated, woman with her ridiculous white burden will reach by one step sublime incubation, the manewanting human lioness with her dishorned discipular manram will lie down together publicly flank upon fleece. No, assuredly, they are not justified, those gloompourers who grouse that letters have never been quite their old selves again since that weird weekday in bleak Janiveer when, to the shock of both, Biddy Doran looked at literature.
Let us now, if perfectly convenient, talk straight turkey as man to man for while the ear may sometimes be inclined to believe others the eye finds it devilish hard now and again even to believe itself. Drawing nearer to take our slant at it (since after all it has met with misfortune while all underground), let us see all there may remain to be seen. One cannot help noticing that rather more
than half of the lines run north-south while the others go west-east for, tiny tot though it looks alongside other incunabula, it has its cardinal points for all that. These ruled barriers along which the traced words run, march, halt, walk, stumble at doubtful points, stumble up again in comparative safety seem to have been drawn first of all in a pretty checker with lampblack and blackthorn.
Such crossing is antechristian, of course, but the use of the homeborn shillelagh as an aid to calligraphy shows a distinct advance from savagery to barbarism. It is seriously believed by some that the intention may have been geodetic or, in the view of the cannier, domestic economical. Another point. In addition to the original sand, pounce powder, drunkard paper or soft rag used it has acquired
accretions of terricious matter whilst loitering in the past. The teatimestained terminal is a cosy little study all to itself and its importance in establishing the identities in the writer complexus (for if the hand was one the minds of active and agitated were more than so) will be best appreciated by never forgetting that both before and after the battle of the Boyne it was a habit not to sign
always. The end? Say it with missiles then and thus arabesque the page. You have your cup of scalding Souchong, your taper's waxen drop, your cat's paw, the clove or coffinnail you chewed or champed as you worded it, your lark in clear air. So why, pray, sign anything as long as every word, letter, penstroke, space is a perfect signature of its own? A true friend is known much more easily, and better into the bargain, by his personal touch, habits of full or undress, movements, response to appeals for charity than by his footwear, say.
And, speaking anent Tiberias and other incestuish salacities among gerontophils, a world of warning about the tenderloined passion hinted at. Some softnosed peruser might mayhem take it up erogenously as the usual perfectly usual case of spoons, heroine in dinky pinks deliberatively summersaulting off her bisexycle at the foot of hero's usual soutane suit who picks her up as gingerly as
any woman would to feel whereupon the virgin was most hurt and nicely asking have you been chaste, my child? be who, father? and so wider but we grisly old psychoes who have done our unsmiling bit on 'alices in the penumbra of the procuring room could (did we care to sell our feebought silence in camera) tell our very moistnostrilled one that father in such virgated contexts is
not always that undemonstrative relative (often held up to our contumacy) who
settles our hashbill for us and what an innocent allabroad's adverb such as Michael looks like can be suggestive of under the pudendascope and, finally, what a neurasthene nympholept, endocrine-pineal typus, of inverted parentage with a prepossessing drauma present in her past and a priapic urge for congress with agnates before cognates fundamentally is feeling for under her lubricitous meiosis when she refers with liking to some feeler she fancie's face. And. Mm. We could. Yes. But. Est modest in verbos. For if the lingo gasped between kicksheets were to be preached from the mouths of divines and physicians and advocates where would their practice be or where the human race itself were the sesquipedalia of the panepistemion grunted and gromwelled over country stiles, down dark lanes or, when all fruit fails, under some sacking left on a cart?
Now while we in our wee free state may have our irremovable doubts as to the whole sense of the lot, the interpretation of any phrase in
the whole, the meaning of every word of a phrase so far deciphered out of it, however unfettered our Irish daily independence, we must vaunt no idle dubiosity as to its genuine authorship and holusbolus authoritativeness. On the face of it and to your rough mind the affair is a thing once for all done and there you are somewhere and finished in a certain time, be it a day or a year or even supposing it should eventually turn out to be a serial number of goodness gracious alone knows how many days or years. Anyhow, somehow and somewhere somebody mentioned by name in his telephone directory wrote it, wrote it all, wrote it all down, and there you are,
full stop. O, undoubtedly yes, but one who deeper thinks will always bear in his mind that this downright there you are and there it is is only all in his eye. Why?
Because, if it goes to that, every person, place and thing anyway connected with it was moving and changing every part of the time: the travelling inkhorn (possibly pot), the hare and turtle pen and paper, the continually more and less intermisunderstanding minds of the anticollaborators, the as time went on as it will variously inflected, differently pronounced, otherwise spelled, changeably meaning vocable scriptsigns. No, it is not a miseffectual riot of blots and blurs and bars and balls and hoops and wriggles and juxtaposed jottings linked by spurts of speed: it only looks as like it as damn it: and, sure, we ought really to rest thankful that we have even a written on with now dried ink scrap of paper at all to show for ourselves after all it has gone through and by all means cling to it as with drowning hands, hoping against hope all the while that things will begin to clear up a bit one way or another within the next quarter of an hour and be hanged to them as ten to one they will too as they ought to categorically as, strictly between ourselves, this will never do.
For who that in scrutinising marvels at those indignant whiplooplashes: those so prudently bolted or blocked rounds: the touching reminiscence of an incomplete trail or dropped final: the gossipy threadreels, a round thousand whirligig glorioles, prefaced by (alas!) now illegible airy plumeflights, all tiberiously ambiembellishing the initials majuscule of Earwicker: the meant to be baffling
chrismon trilithon sign H, called Hec, which, moved contrawatchwise, represents his title in sigla as the smaller A, called alp or delta, stands for or tautologically stands beside the consort: the steady monology of the interiors: the pardonable confusion for which some blame the cudgel and more blame the soot but thanks to which the pees with
their caps awry are quite as often as not
taken for kews with their tails in their mouths: the curt witty dashes never quite just right at the truth letter: the sudden spluttered petulance of some capitalised middle: a word as cunningly hidden in its maze of confused drapery as a fieldmouse in a nest of coloured ribbons: that absurdly bullsfooted bee declaring with an even plainer dummpshow than does the mute commoner with us how hard a thing it is to mpe mporn a gentlerman: and look at this prepronominal funferal, engraved and retouched and edgewiped and puddenpadded, very like a whale's egg farced with pemmican, as were it sentenced to be nuzzled over a full million times for ever and a night till his noddle sink or swim by that ideal reader suffering from an ideal insomnia: all those red raddled obeli cayennepeppercast over the text calling unnecessary attention to errors, omissions, repetitions and misalignments: that (probably local or personal) variant maggers for the more generally accepted majesty which is but a trifle and yet may quietly amuse: those superciliouslooking Greek ees awkwardlike perched there and here out of date like sick owls hawked back to Athens: and the gees too, jesuitically formed at first but afterwards genuflected toewards the occident: the Ostrogothic kakography affected for certain phrases of Etruscan stabletalk and, in short, the learning betrayed at almost every line's end: the headstrength revealed by a constant labour to make a ghimel pass through the eye of an iota: this, for instance, utterly unexpected sinistrogyric return to one peculiar sore point in the past: those throneopen doubleyous (of an early muddy terranean origin whether man chooses to damn them agglutinatively loo — too — blue — face — ache or illvoodawpeehole or, kants koorts, topplefouls) seated with such floprightdown determination and reminding one ineluctably of nature at her naturalest while that fretful eff (the digamma of your bornabarbarian, rarely heard now save when falling from the unfashionable mouth of some heterosexual but used always in two boldfaced print types — one of
them as wrongheaded as
his brother, is it worth while interrupting to say? — throughout the papyrus by our copyist as the revise mark) stalks all over the page, broods, sensationseeking an idea, amid the verbiage, gaunt, stands dejectedly in the diapered window margin with its basque of bayleaves all aflutter about its middle, paces with a frown, jerking to and fro, flinging phrases here, there, or returns, inhibited, with some half-halted suggestion, dragging its shoestring: the curious warning sign before our protoparent's ipsissima verba (a very pure nondescript, by the way, sometimes a palmtailed otter, often the arbutus fruitflowerleaf of the cainapple) which paleographers call a leak in the thatch or the Aranman whispering through the hole of his hat, indicating that the words which follow may be taken in any order desired: those haughtypitched disdotted aitches easily of the rariest inasdroll as most of the jaywalking eyes we do plough into halve as pipless as threadworms: the innocent exhibitionism of those frank yet capricious underlinings: that strange exotic serpentine, since so properly banished from our scripture, which, ever longer and of more morosity, seems to uncoil so spirally and swell lacertinelazily before our eyes under pressure of the writer's hand: the ungainly musicianlessness so painted in sculpting selfsounder ah ha as blackartful as a podatus and dumbfounder oh ho oaproariose as ten canons in skelterfugue: the studious omission of year number and era name from the date, the one and only time when the writer seems at least to have grasped the beauty of restraint: the lubricitous conjugation of the last with the first: the gipsy mating of a grand stylish gravedigging with secondbest buns (an interpolation: these munchables occur only in the Bootherbrowth family of MSS, Bb = Cod iv, Pap ii, Brek xi, Lun iii, Dinn xvii, Sup xxx, Fullup MDCXC: the scholiast has hungrily misheard a deadman's toller as a muffinbell): the four shortened
ampersands under which we can feel for ourselves across all those rushyears the warm soft short pants of the quickscribbler: the vocative lapse from which it begins and the accusative hole in which it ends itself: the aphasia of that heroic agony of recalling a once loved number leading slip by slipper to a general amnesia of misnomering one's own: next those ars — rrrr! — those ars all bellical, the highpriest's hieroglyph of kettletom and oddsbones, wrasted redhandedly from our hallowed rubric prayer for truce with booty, O'Remus pro Romulo, and rudely from the fane's pinnacle tossed down by porter to within an
aim's ace of their quatrain of rubijets among Those Who arse without the Temple nor since Roe's Distillery burn'd have quaff'd Night's firefill'd Cup But jig jog jug as Day the Dicebox Throws, whang, loyal six I lead, out wi' yer hearts' bluid, blast ye, and there she's for you, sir, whang her, the fine ooman, rouge to her lobster locks, the rossy, whang, God and O'Mara has it with his ruddy old Villain Rufus, wait, whang, God and you're another he hasn't for there's my spoil five of spuds's trumps, whang, whack on his pigsking's kisser for him, K.M. O'Mara where are you!: then (coming over to the left aisle corner down) the cruciform postscript from which three basia or shorter and smaller oscula have been overcarefully scraped away, plainly inspiring the tenebrous τunc page of the Book of Kells (and then it need not be lost sight of that there are exactly three squads of candidates for the cross awaiting their turn in the marginal panels of Columkiller, chugged in their three ballotboxes, then set apart for such hanging parties, where two was enough for anyone, starting with old Matthew himself, as he with great distinction said then just as since then people speaking have fallen into the custom, when speaking to a person, of saying two is company when the third person is the person darkly spoken of, and then that last labiolingual basium might be read as a suavium if whoever the embracer then was wrote with a tongue in his — or perhaps her — cheek as the case may have been then): and the fatal droopadwindle slope of the blamed scrawl, a sure sign of imperfectible moral blindness: the toomuchness, the fartoomanyness
of all them fourlegged ems — and why spell dear god with a big thick dhee (why, O why, O why?) — the cut and dry aks and wise form of the semifinal: and, eighteenthly or twentyfourthly, but at least, thank Maurice, lastly when all is zed and done, the penelopean patience of its last paraphe, a colophon of no fewer than seven hundred and thirtytwo strokes tailed by a leaping lasso — who thus at all this marvelling but will press on hotly to see the vaulting feminine libido of those interbranching ogham sex upandinsweeps sternly controlled and easily repersuaded by the uniform matteroffactness of a meandering male fist?
Duff-Muggli, who now may be quoted by very kind arrangement, first called this kind of paddygoeasy partnership the odyssean or tetrachiric-quadrumane perplex (v. Some Forestallings over that Studium of Sexophonologistic Schizophrenesis, vol. XXIV pp. 2-555) after the
wellinformed observation, made miles apart from the Master by Tung-Toyd (cf. Later Frustrations amengst the Neomugglian
Teachings abaft the Semiunconscience, passim), that in the case of the littleknown periplic poem popularly associated with the name of the wretched mariner a Punic admiralty report had been cleverly capsized and saucily republished as a dodecanesian baedeker of the every-tale-a-treat-in-itself variety which could hope satisfactorily to tickle the gander as well as the goose.
The unmistaken identity of the persons in the Tiberiast duplex came to light in the most devious of ways. The original document was in what is known as unbreakable script, that is to say it showed no signs of punctuation of any sort. Yet on holding the verso against a lit rush it responded most remarkably to the silent query of our world's oldest light and its recto let out the piquant
fact that it was pierced or punctured (in the university sense of the term) by numerous stabs and foliated gashes made by a pronged instrument. These paper wounds, four in type, were gradually and correctly understood to mean stop, please stop, do please stop, and O do please stop respectively and, following up their one true clue, the circumflexuous wall of a singleminded men's asylum, accentuated by bi tso fb rok engl a ssan dspl itch ina — Yard (6enquiries inquiries6) pointed out → that they ἀd bîn “provòked” by D fork, ὁf ἁ grave Profèssor; ἁth é's Brèak — fast — table; ; acùtely profèššionally piquéd, to = introdụ̀çe ἁ nòtiön ὁf time [ὑpòn ἁ plāñe (?) sụ̀’’rfaiç’e’] by pụ̀nct! ingh ὀles (sic) in iSpåce?! Deeply religious by nature and position, it was rightly suspected that such ire could not have been visited by him, even underwittingly, upon the ancestral pneuma of one whom, with rheuma, he venerated shamelessly at least once a week as our first boy's best friend and, though plain English for a married lady misled heaps by the way, yet when some peerer or peeress detected that the fourleaved shamrock or quadrifoil jab was more recurrent wherever the script was clear and the term terse and that these two were the selfsame spots naturally selected for her perforations by Dame Partlet on her dungheap thinkers all put grown in Ireland only and a playful fowl and musical me by not you in any case, two and two together, and a sigh for shame separated modest mouths. It was. Small need after that for quizzing your weekenders with: he shoots off in a hiss, muddles up in a mussmass and his whole's a dismantled noondrunkard's son. To all's much relief one's half hypothesis of a jabberjaw ape amok the showering jestnuts of Bruisanose was hotly dropped and his room taken up by that odious and still today insufficiently malestimated notesnatcher, Shem the Penman.