Wednesday, 18 August 2010
Ever-seeking and never-finding, Nashe, I sighd to me, pausing on a bench in the RUSSELL square. A squirell insensately collected a Nut in front of me. What violent pangs redounded too, when I saw it, that microsentient thing like to a Mechanism, laying up with good sense his store for the winter and I, a tissue of divinity transfix'd in humble flesh, pissing away the morning on fanglings of the news-paper crossworde. And an apt name I thought, struggling with the clew and feelyng my temper increase. I bit the pencil in half and stormed to'ard a park cafeteria where I demanded that black Liquid which makyth a man incapable of lassitude.
—AND WHY NOT, askd a voix behind me. Aghast I revolvd to face mine interlocutor. Looking the mighty figure up and down I apprehended violence in's eye, physical force in the jaw, and a bald head. Then I staggered back'ard into a three-tier scone display, knocking it to the floor. The figure bore itself toward me without footstep or sound, bobbyng on its heavy skirts.
—Nashe! bellowed the form, the devil in human format pelting me with organick snackes
—Why dost thou persecute me so? I cryd protecting myself with my handes
—I wish a bargain
—Stop, stop, I shouted, drawing my newspaper
—What wishest thou, sire?
—Alas I have no wit left in me
Tuesday, 17 August 2010
"Heap the voltaick pile high", I murmurd, "and wheel out the wet-cell—the night is on its knees begging for a beating". Lights plash'd and slash'd the sky o'er our heads and the cobbl'd square rang with the bullying of "synthesizer". At moments some maiden would sashay out to'ard me, waving high her flouncèd Ra-Ra and bopping con vigore to the straines of popular protestant melodies.
Yet—I was in Popish Spaine! A meal of dead bull and a glimpse of the red-and-yellow heraldry assured me of that. And what could be the import of the import of these Danish straines, these Bjorns and 'Whig-Fields', that set athrobb the very foundations of San Lorenzo's gilded monastery (for I was there in San Lorenzo, sweete reader, and athwart the continent had I travelled on the most post-human and steeliest railes, for youre Nashe is no slouche internationally nor behindhand in locomotion) and made the caryatids jiggle to the atavist rhythms of LUTHERAN music.
I almost—I confess it, I do not shrink from confession—almost desir'd to hear some more catholickal melody, for however the spread of Protestant values and minimalist approach to personal comfort gain footholds in Europe, I do have a high tolerance for Emnity and perhaps even a constitutional Requirement for that commodity from predictable sources. To visit a foreign place and be confronted with the insipid, with the o'er-familiar, the self-made yellow meal open on the plate instead of the mysteriose seal'd Croquette with G— knows what inside is no prescription for Adventure.
However these Spanish have a way of Gyration.
Thursday, 5 August 2010
HOW VERY LIKE THE SUN, I thought loudly, to shyne so INDISCRIMINATELY on all, and as a partickularly generous Beame slotted into my Eye-ball I wonder'd how the children outside would regard its Jamming-in-a-Sack and subsequent Snuffing, and if they had to live their days by the light of the Moone, would they be so merry nowe eh? Wereupon I drove my knife through all three storeys of sandwich'd meat and stood to my full height, declaring that the SUN was friend to man.
The Sunne hath got his hatte on
And is coming oute to pleye
This pretty poesie I had heard in passyng a local infirmary for the Insane and I now humm'd it inward where it found full accordance with my Mentality. As I stood thus infested wyth Satisfacioun a bottle shot through my window at Velocity, tinkling litel my glass pane into hard and lethal rags, one fallyng into the meat leaving me quite incompetent of Speech.
Tuesday, 3 August 2010
How has youre Nashe come to this appalling pass? To laye it out flatly: tempted in by the GOOGLE-medusa with her hair of Links - and Nashe intangled, petrified, the sword of Witt nowhere to slice it...
No power shall containe me long—if life giveth sour grapes, Ile make sour wine.
Sunday, 15 July 2007
As kinde testamente to my heroick axions and eke Compensation for my flesshe-wounde, whyche tooke a tincture of gang-grene, my Benefactor and Patron gave me a booke to rede in my convalescence, whych was 'The Odyssey' i'th'originaul Greke. Although I am forcd to lie in my sicke-bed to rede of't I fynde it nice physic for my paralysis, spekeing as it doth of various foreign country; youre Nashe is become the Armchaire Traveller, voyagyng by shete and bed-hede through antique demesnes.
A small flicker of resentment was super-ceded by a conflagracioun of payne.
-Lord G-- it hurteth! I complaynd inwardly but presented the MD wyth a milde face.
-There is a kind of automatick vacuum that sucks out the pus & corruption, he replied smugly as he rummaged for't. We can do't now.
-Oughtn't there be a nurse?
-Oh no. Eat this pille.
I didde, and laye backe on the synthetick sheet with Anxiety. Abruptly that he began hooveryng my leg wyth all kinds of whirryng and suction pumpyng the disease oute into a small transparent Bag. What an age this is for medicine! It tickled a litel at the first, but as the gangrene gushd oute it proceedyd to rather grate and at the laste I hadde the notion my entire leg was beyng hoover’d up into the small Bagge. Which it was. I seized at the Doctour's maske and reveald the grinnynge face beneathe.
-Gabriel Harvey! Arch-scholar of the dust-and-skulls seasoun, splitter of dead hair, the fusspot of Saffron Walden! cryd I, pushyng him away and just managyng to un-plug the nefarious Device. What art thou atte, I blazed, scrimshanderyng evil onto the immaculate face of Homerton?
-Nashe, thou brainless leech! Literary smallpox, strangler of the infant Word!
I musterd my strength and founde that meetyng
-Thou shalt paye for thys. But first bandage me up! I orderd, I shall be dede otherwise.
-Now, Gabriel Harvey, prepare to be cast into the lowest echelon of unpublished torpor, where all thy tracts shall be fit toiletpaper for the greate unwashed and thy person be mockd in brainless free verse composd by menopausal women.
After this I climbd on the couche and indicted hym from above.
-With God as my witness, Harvey, I declare thou art an illiterate meatslabbe, a mouldy campfire of self-satisfaction whose feeble smoakings merely remynd passersby not to spit thereon and so put out the few remaining embers. Thou burntst all thy viable talent at the furnace of self-promocioun before you found me, Nashe, and thereat draggd into thy mind, crazd wyth jealousy and hard-fogged wyth indolence and stupidy, the absurde nocioun thy watery selfe couldst best me at penmanshippe. Now I see you attemptynge Murther.
-Oh Nashe, thou rambunctious lickdaisy, thou art a true rhetorician! The sweetenesse of thy collocaciouns goeth so well wyth litel thy face I myght almost swoone wyth admiracioun of so well-appointed a Fellow. What writest thou wyth, a Peacock-feather? Give way to thy superior, O disconsolate prostitute of the letter 'e'.
-What, hast thou f----d it too many a time, and spurted all thy inke in vaine? My penne is the bone of a Brontosaurus compar'd wyth thine, whose issue runneth slackly in the mouthe of the Gutter. Perchance thou hast boild thy owne hede too longe to thynke cooly.
-And thine I find, O Harvey, rather Dulle.
Relieve thy palsied wit and put it downe
-My Nashe, thy teethe shall ring a hollow sound
When in thy vacant head they set to rattle
-So you shall see them gleame - let's to battle!
So we began.
-A wooden planke adrift on
Doth mindless trail in briny endless sea,
But hath more witt than Doctour Harvey's prose,
That she-goats have outdone wyth shit and cheese.
He treats of this, and treats of that, he roves,
He scrubs his logic cleane with turgid sponge;
And from fragment unto fragment without close,
He snouts around his sty of learned crumbs.
Treating weary time and treatyng heaven,
Treating of split haire wyth deference due:
Flavourless and wretched treats unleaven’d
By witt or any cousin thereunto:
Doth well, for no man living e’er will want to.
-Nashe-wit doth wilt at the breke of daye,
His mind desert him at auspicious hours;
It rusheth here and yon and eke away,
And leaves the victim choaking on its flowers.
Elan he hath, and vigour, sooth to say
And sharpend tongue and flint to keep it keen;
Yet hath not sense his figures to array:
He spatters them in muck upon the sheet.
His gentile speche doth well befit rich whores
As leathern bootes herpetic heels shoe,
Tho had he but a sentence in his maw
That pricked that mouth wyth sense, he’d bleed and pule.
He maunders on, unlogically designed,
Weak-lispynge in the warm bath of hys mynde.
His pen doth plough; for
Grainless harvests of dead spring
-Nashes choice of form is ill:
His haiku festers.
May God give him wit to purge it!
I laughed at hys pitiful octosyllable, and thusly asserting my Superiority made streygte for the doore where I koude see the vile man from the Waytingroome was rubbynge ‘Harpers’ against the glass. Before I left the miserable
The bankrupt office of thy mind ought now
To reckon up all thy engrossed loss.
Thy investment hath bred ninety worm in’s
Bagge, who turn thy wit to moulder’d droppings
And bite thy grasping hand that scoops for more.
At thys brilliaunt declaration Dr Harvey shrivelled inwardly and I left hym quite exhausted after so vociferous a tete-a-tete.
I discharg’d myself wyth ease and saunter’d homeward feeling much restor’d by this Duel of Wittes. When I walked back in Thrang abruptly fell unconscious wyth surprise, and steppyng o’er her, I satte downe in my arme-chaire suddenly faynte from th’exertion.
Thursday, 5 July 2007
I feare the first reason for the inaptitvde and heartelessnesse of all my Imagery and Conceits to be the Circumstances in whych I have spent the past days. Havynge mette the Girle under clandestine condiciouns once or Twyce, the better t'evade the attenciouns of her father R. Hyndemarshe who whilst remaynyng generally benygn demands constantly that I marrye her, I have continued my Eternal dealynges with the publick servyces and wag'd grimme War on those who woulde Diminish or other-wise undo my Persoun. I have tried to deliver Justice. I have met wyth scenes too unspeakable to relate in polite company. I menciound to an inquisityve reader that the business of the Ratte woulde be brought to a Close and I undertake nowe to sette downe what remains to tell of the miserable Lyfe and Tymes of that Entity who - Thank G--! - subverts my Hovel no longer. To begin:
-Ile teare out youre basal ganglion howled the Poste-Man as he struggld furiously in the bonds I had fastend him inne.
-Silence, oafe! I strucke himme wyth a telephone. Thy postal Methods are oute-dated in this tremendous Age of electrick transfer! Thy tongue will shrivell issueless between thy chekes as the older methods of Communication are fazed oute one after another by the Electrick Godde. May postage stamps seal thy furry mouthe when finally thou art "Consignia'd " to the grounde, and fountaine pennes leake in the breaste-pockete of thy gravecloathes! No quarter is gi'en by the rampaging armies of Progress to the man who abjures Newer and need I adde Better Things - and suche men are theire lawful preye, strugglyng helpless & exposed in the snaily mucous of Obsolescence! I thwackd himme wyth a quille.
NOTE: As the reader wyll infer I was quite taken wyth Progress at thys pointe. It is the lot of a man who has suffered a temporal Transplant to occasionally be o'erwhelmed by a desire to see hys peculiar Fortune vindicated, and he will seleckt some aspeckt of his present Environment to extol above all things in a deranged attempt on Happiness. In this Instaunce it was the numerous advances in Communications and I.T. that seemd to represent the epitome of goodness in the world in whych I finde myselfe. Synce now I am recoverd from that Phrenzie I would lyke to state my unequivocall dis-agreement wyth many of the sentiments therein expressd although expressd they were and admirably - my rhetorick does tend to sharpen uppe at these times I mvst admit.
I hadde kidnapp'd the Poste-Mann for one particular reason and one reasone alone. I hadde to acquire a certeyn letter that was beynge sente to another house in my strete, and wayted in the shadowes of the Mornyng for the merry fellowe to come by on hys bicycle. At hys arrival I stucke a rollynge-pinn in amonst the spokes whereat he Crashed Downe and turnd on me fumynge.
-Stop where you stand, I orderd from behynd a wheelybin.
-Ile turne youre skinne into Manila envelopes! He bellowed, tearyng the bin from its wheeles. Why!? He cryd in a pitiful but not un-demented voix, face upturned t'adress the Heavens and his bothe handes rubbing an Injured knee. Why must the Youthe fight the Publick Servyces as if they were merely another Gang but dressed in Royal Blue? Thou'rt what a better age woulde have calld a whippersnapper and treated as suche but nowe -
He broke off startled, seeynge I was a full-growne Manne. I stoode up to drinke off the cock-taile of incadescent rage and well-meanyng social commentary, lookynge at him squarely and puttynge my handes on my hippes. He rapidly dried his shameful Eyes and Lung'd for me; I sydestepped and he drove his bald hede right into the Fire Escape which must have hurte Plentifully. Unable to extract informations from hys unconscious corse I thoughte it expediente to dragge Postman Bike and Letter-Sacke all downe into the cellar where I locked them all save the Sacke; I tooke thatte upstaires and began goyng through't.
I examind th'adresses. Mrs Pepperpot, Simon Magus, Ummar Chowdhury, Francine LeBeouf, John-Paul Telliaci, Peter Stone, Mrs Ulysses Karpeles, Ali Murgh, Nikolai Lobachevsky, William Dorling, none of these were the one. I putte themm backe in the sacke, nervous. I was lookynge for my neighbours letteres and Postman Patte woulde be backe on the Warpath in a few moments. Aha! Here it was, Miriam Thrang. Quickly I restord order to the Bag and went down to the cellar carrynge some leftovers for my Prisouner, at whyche pointe we had the exchange above detailed. He went on to threaten other deeply intimate parts of my body but as we shared some cold ox we fell to Talkyng and eventually got onne rather welle. I agreed it hadde been a terrible mistake, accidentally to have kidnappd hym and that I was surely only the product of a Society Too Wretched to care for its historical record of excellence and being an ignorant young 'un I didn't thynk of the feelynges of Society At Large enow. Gratified by the chance to take the Moral Lawe into his owne Handes and relieved not to have been Murderd he told me I shouldnt doe it agayn, and thatte I oughte to take care of his rounde if ever he shoulde fancy a daye off. I told hym I shoulde be gladd to take up that poste now, at whyche we exchangd cloathes, and at the door-step I restord the Bicycle to hym before I parted ways with that estimable Ambassador of Right-thinkingness and Conservative Zeal. Finally, dressed in full Postal garb, I whizzed upstaires to planne my next move.
The envelope was a letter to my landlady and I fully intended to destroye't as revenge for some certeyn items of Mayle from Evianne that I believd she had quarantin'd for being unsuitable for a single manne. Thys was a note from hire Husband in Scotland, diabolically spelt, and I fed it to my rodent houseguest - whose presence I now explaine. Synce the pest-controuller payd hys second visite duryng thatte fateful nyght with E. Hyndemarshe and her goode Uncle Ballast, I hadde continu'd to suffer from th'ill effects of havyng a Giant Ratte at Home. The nincompoop had founde and engagd wyth the Ratte, but hadde not killd it. Nowe I hadde disposd of't myselfe. Here are the reasouns for the pest-controuler's pusillanimity that set me on thys wretched roade,;they were layd oute in a letter whych I reproduce hereinunder:
I, Officer 4, gained access to your house through the Southernmost street door at approximately 11.09 pm and discovered the Category 14 Pest at the lowermost point of the Easternmost cupboard in the Northernmost room of your Flat, which I presumed to be your designated place of rest or 'Bedroom'. I prepared Toxin B in a disposable gas-gun F9 and prepared for fumigation with said disposable armament. I, Officer 4, then proceeded to entice the Pest into a different room for reasons of Health & Safety associated with the use of Toxin B in accommodation areas. The bathroom was the most suitable for this purpose so I managed the Category 14 into said Quarantine and was about to enter for the execution of the fumigation aforementioned with Toxin B and the throwaway gas-gun F9, where I would proceed with interrogation (Good Practice, Good Morale, 2003, 2375.8) and finally to extermination. As I entered the bathroom I observed the Category 14 held open the door for me. When we were in the death-chamber I observed the Category 14 kneeling down and praying to God. I, Officer 4, then wiped my tears with the Cloth Officially for Blood and registered Pity, Level 3.
Looking over the evidence for this case, it is my opinion that the Category 14 Pest in your Flat is none other than the offspring of a member of the Aristocracy and a Giant Rat. As it is a potential Knight of the Realm and future Peer it behoved me, Officer 4 to spare its life in the interests of a fair judgement on it. I leave the matter in your capable hands and I have not informed the newspapers. Although it is quite irregular I, Officer 4, will not be telling my superiors, Pest & Vermin Authority DS9, District Authority NCC-1701, nor Ruling Government P7, about this incident.
If you have any further queries please do not hesitate to direct them to
An horrendous messe. I kept the b----- locked up in a cage for the days since that scrupulous blunderhede had spard its lyfe. Its true I oft'n had thought of murderyng it in colde blude but I koude nat, it were too mercilesse a thing to do. Also, I had discoverd that wyth some literature it deemd appropriate to its stacion the Beaste could e'en be pacified, and would merrily make its gentle bede out of 'The Litel Booke of Sartre', 'The Genealogy of Morals' and other Modern Thought it seemd to think quite became it. However, when the laste footnote was chewd up the thing became insatiable in a quest for human blude so I quickly learnd to find bigger and longer bookes including 'Jilly Cooper' of whom I knew not but the blood-sucker devourd hire at the highest of speedes. At one point I had nought but a ten-pounde banknote to give it and it eat it wyth Fervour. It was appeased by the syghte of the Holy Bible and refus'd to eat that and I fancy it ton'd downe some of its more radical Anticks for the benefit of Oure Lord.
It remaind to do twa thynges, and these were they: firste, I hadde to conceal the presence of this unwelcome lodger to any visitor I might have, and secondly I had to get ridd of it somehow, for its appetite grewe by the day and I shoulde soone runne out of bookes. The first was no problem, I took care not to receive any man woman or childe. I kept the Cage in my cupboard whych presently came to reeke of corrupcioun, that even reached my sleepynge nostrils and infested my dremes wyth disgusting images of aristocratick wormes and moles all feastynge on England's Landskip Gardens. As to the seckond, I sought to remove the cage to a Stately Home somewhere and if possible reintroduce its contents to their father (or mother). In order to do thys I simply intended to smuggle the monster oute by nyghte but I hadde nowhere to release't for it would surely wreak havock wherever it went. Part of my quandrary was undone when, several days following the Visit of Off. 4, the story broke in the News-Papers that Lady Coldham had had an illegitimate childe in Ireland, of whych she never spake, and that Lady beyng a particularly pretentious and bloated woman I sett oute to pinne this on her and deflate her (whether or no it were true) and winne increased admiration from Evian as well as a litel lite Fame.
To prepare for my jouneye I drew oute the grete Oaken Cheste from neathe my bed and, setting asyde th'ephemera, caste the ratte into't wyth a merry laugh t'accompany an agreeable interior fantasy of that beast's ultimate Tumble into the Void. I plac'd hard by a deuce volumes of Kant to hem the creature inne and on th'other syde of thys Impermeable barrier I placed some miscellaneous snackes and sandwiches to almsgive wyth sholde the fancy take me, or more likely to consume should I be shiveryng wyth hunger as I usually am whenever I visit my social superiours, who openly deem it a Proser's lotte to be a starvelyng louse, and eke deem it Charity too trivial to give Hospitality to a man so nearly (yet so patently Not) theyre social equal. Then they hyde thys prize curmudgeonliness under the cloke of 'Manners'. Hardnyng my inteciouns dagger in the furnace of those thoughts, I resolvd to leave for Coldham hall forthwyth.
I steppd off the 'Euro-Lynes' and admir'd the depiction of A Woman on the handbill, whose ecstacy at travllyng on 'The National Express' seemd to overflowe from her grateful eye. The halle was a mere 14 myles from the bus-stoppe so I marchd off to'ard it and arrivyd in due course havyng consumed my entire provision and the Ratt was almost runnynge out of Kant it was so Far. When I strode uppe to the gate I encounterd a 'National Trust' bully lordyng It over a small square of grasse from the Impregnable stronghold of a plastick boothe, whyche I kickd over in alarm at his staggeryng hubris. He stoode, brushd himselfe off and welcomd me to Coldham Halle, offerynge me membershippe and a flyer whylste referrynge to 'the Wyfe' and askyng me if I hadde 'little ones' or any interest in a Steame Railway which Ide sooner see annihilated. I explaind I was a deliverymanne, notte a journalyst, and if I myghte be broughte rounde to gyve thys parcel to Lady C in personne, for it were ever suche an illustrious Piece from her London Dealer (As indeed it was), it wolde be very nyce, thank you.
In due corse the greenshirt conduckted me up the staires of th'almighty Pyle and I was introduced into its Guts at a syde-door, oute of the way of other Euro-Lynes passengers, some of whom had dyd on the walke and were beynge brought inne for a washe and a Decent Burial. Soon enough I was carrynge my Cargo of Justice up the fluted and finely-turnd staircases, past th'indoor ziggurat, into and out of quadrangles, mazes, shambleses, small chapels, carpet mosaicks, swimmyng-baths, reconstructions of Pompeii and all th'Aristocratick pomp and splendour of Coldham Hall, whych is a legendary Hall, amongst those who know their Halls. Eventually the labyrynthe vomited us oute onto a tremendous promenade uppe high in the halle where we met wyth the mighty and infinitely weary voice of Lady Coldham demandyng another plate of Veal. My feete and the Greanshirte's trod softly on the red carpett as we approachd the Source.
-Veal! VEAL! she moaned in infinite langour, as she tinkld a bell. My darlyng, veal please.
-The lady is unwelle, explaind the National Trustee, turnyge aboute and leavynge me.
A butler scuttld off to fetch her the Delicacy. I was announced and introducd. The lady Coldham was dressed in gloriously, unspeakably fine cloathes that festooned her skeletal frame. Hoald! I mutterd. The Lady Coldham was legendary for being Gigantick. Either this was not she, or she hadd undergone some apallyng Degeneration.
-M'lady? I inquird.
-Yes? Who are you, she yawned, chewyng her teethe.
-Who I am isn't important yette. You are but a scabbard compard with your former selfe.
-I knowe, I knowe, she mop'd and maundered. I am only a frail litel sticke.
-And I knowe why, I sayd, edgyng to'ard hire. You have gi'en birthe to a ratte.
-A what? I have a Terrible Disease! cryd theLady.
-You - ah, Sorry, I backtrackd.
-Yes, I thoughte you were at the centre of a Scandal.
-A scandal? she grumbld softly.
-Yes, th'illegitemate childe in Eire.
-Oh, A fixion! A fixion to put me oute of the publick eye. As far as they knowe I am oute There wyth him, the poor spectral childe. Now what is thys Ratte? Do sitte downe youre makynge me faynte.
I satte downe in the centre of a chesterfielde, sweatynge, the boxe balancd on my knee and rockynge wyth the ravenous Thynge.
-And what's in the boxe? she askd. Her Attendant drew closer.
-I think it sholde be kept hidden, ma'am.
-Hidden? But it's myne! Ile have't! she cryd in an access of cupidity, grabbynge the casket.
-No, m'lady! I calld but to no avayle, she was diggynge in the shreds of the Gesamtwerke, and ere I koude stoppe hire, the ratte, havynge gnawd through his cage, was begynnyng to consume her from the fingers uppe, and she screamd piteously.
-Oh, Lady Coldham! I rushd to her rescue.
The Attendant tore the Mammal from her ruind arme and turnd on me with a rapier, cryynge
-Assassin! False Deliverer! Stand backe!
And he wounded me in the legge.
By thys tyme the beaste had regroupd and sprang at th'Attendant, sawynge his hede cleane offe wyth razorlyke teethe. I seized the rapier and drove't into the Monstrous Being and it laye twytchyng o'th'flore, rivulets of gore stremeing on the cream carpet.
-Oh L---! cryd my Lady before Swooning.
I coulde not thynke strayghte - she was badly wounded on my accounte and I hadde to make amends. Quickly I put here o'er my shoulder and dashd oute of the halle the beste waye I koude, makynge for the coache-parke where we comandeer'd a cab and drove straighte backe to Hackneye, payynge wyth her neck-lace. Her wasted state was enough to disguise her and I needed not make excuses. I deposited her at Homerton hospital and made my waye home, regrettyng my owne birthe into a worlde where suche perfidious quadrapeds as that Ratte may garner sustenaunce from innocent flesshe.
Monday, 18 June 2007
I festerd with the garbage. From my noxious bolt-hole I koude clearly see a lyte curll of smoak driftynge frome the fore-window, that proceeded from a small cigarette pincer'd firmly 'twixt two massive fingers that lookd fit to gouge a man's hande off. Fromme th'interior of the Van, and myngl'd wyth the smoke, there faintly ooz'd an elecktronic pulse garnishd wyth multicoloured arppegios, and my eare made oute a Croone. I was on the verge of steppynge oute and casually enteryng my house when a Gentleman of the Councille gotte oute of the van and began dumpyng bags full of flies and verminne on my doorstep. 'Sblood!
-Heretics! Cradle-snatchers! I cryd at my fvllest, lurchynge from the hydyngplace and brushynge offe a banana skynne. The monstrous syte was enough to stoppe the council Van in the inept three-poynte turne it was already assayyng. I thunderd up to the windscrene and gave them a looke of utter contempte.
-Get oute, comxcombs, and picke up those flies and vermin, I sallied. Thou'rt bothe for the choppe if not, I added wyth more convixion and puttynge my hande into an imaginary inner pockete to retrieve an imaginary rapier. Oute of thatte vanne at once! I bullyd theme bothe into collecktynge all the verminne, lockd them into the seald backe of the vanne wyth it, and drove said torture-chamber oute onto Kingsland Roade whereat I parked it on a Red Route and posted the keyes into a storme-draine. I then marchd up to the nearest telephone boxe, hackd my waye throughe the pornography and immediately range up the Councille.
-Hello. Welcome to Hackneye Council, twitterd the Bint. Please press '1' for an 'I Love Hackneye' badge. Please press '2' for Parkynge. Plese presse '3' to finde oute about leisure and servyces. Please presse '4' to speke wyth youre dustman. Please press '5' to notifye the councille of a gun battle. Plese presse '6' to comment on Nursynge.
I smashd at '0' lyke a goaded ox. Confound the squalid river-delta of choises that is the ramifyinge lunacy of right ingenious automated telephony! After a spate of hammerings at that '0' and one innocente misdirection to the fashion dept I eventually founde myselfe spekeing wyth the selfe-same Pest-Controuller whom I had enthusiastically anathematiz'd in my privayt momentes since firste I mette hym. I demanded to knowe what thys was, he was supposd to be cleneing oute the verminne not pourynge it inne. And that ratte was stille in my roome. He apologysd and promisd to be rounde in two houres tyme, for he hadde a rabid budgerigar that wantd stiflynge and it koude nat wayte. I mockinglye accepted thys feeble crumb of Hys Mercy and decyded to enter my house to wayte - an activitye from whyche I have not hadde muche pleasure since the Ratt-Episode.
I brushd myself downe on my way oute of the boothe, and turnd backe into my syde-streete. It was to my shocke and consternation that I notyced a Woman in a fyne blacke coate knockynge on my doore. She seemd to be lookynge uppe at my windowe and even took a deuce steps backe the better to looke at't. I moppd my browe and quietly approachd.
-Madame? I venturd.
-There you are! She cryd and spanne rounde. Mr Nashe, hello, she sayd and softly extended her hande from the costly sleeve.
My gut wrungg in embarassmente. Thys was more or lesse unprecedented. And what was more, thys was Evian Hyndemarshe, wyth her pleasaunt face peepyng oute from the collar. She wore a clothe cappe, sun-glasses, a goode formal dresse under the cote, and smarte flatte shoes at her lowermost poynt. She tooke offe the glasses and lookd at me. How d'you do? She askd.
-Miss Hyndemarshe. Fyne, thank you. Will you come inne, Ime afrayd it's rather a Typp.
-Delighted, she replyd courteously, foldyng her glasses wyth attracktiue precision.
I led her uppe my steps past the hepes of accreted rubbysh I never car'd to clene, and her excellent shoe trodde on many of my pamphlettes. Enterynge the kitchenne I realisd the Ratte was styll festerynge in the bedroome.
-Please sitte downe, Miss Hyndemarshe. Have you longe? Ile put the kettle on.
-Thank you, she sayd as she drew out a chaire.
-If youle excuse me there is a smalle mattere I must attend to i'th'othere roome, pray forgive me, sayd I, edgynge toward the chamber.
-Certainly, Mr Nashe, Ile see to a cuppe.
When her backe was turned I slippd through the dooreway and quickly closd it behind me. I lookd to the corner. I lookd to the deske. I lookd at the discomposéd bed, and I didde not see the Ratt. What freshe helle was thys? An abominable Ratte-shapd faux pas was brewynge and I was powerlesse to wrest it off the stove of fate. My brayne welter'd at the prospeckt.
-Mr Nashe? came the voice of Evian.
-Just a moment, I calld back.
-I realise I haven't tyme, we must speke at once.
-Very welle, Ile come.
I came backe into the Kitchen where she was standynge by the doore. I nonchalantlie inspecktd the Roome.
-My father has a jobbe for you, she sayd. You must review the Old Jerusalem Coffehouse this nyght.
-Old Jerusalem? I shalle, I replied gallantly.
-But because 'tis unseemly to dine alone in so informal a settynge he suggestd I accompany you. Havynge much pity for youre recent ille healthe, as well as being generally pleased at your persoun, he sees fitte to win you once and for alle to hys employmente by my showynge you a Nighte Oute, which sholde compensate for the Tyme you must have hadde after your latest commission at the Bison.
-Yes, I shoulde lyke that very mvche.
At thys point a whyte whysker sprang silentlye from the cupboard under the synk. I hurriedly dragged my aghast eye off't and back to Evian who demurely inspected the flore. After a silence in whych my nerves were too great to allow of speche she lookd up agayne.
-Mr Nashe, she broke out, we must leave very shortly for the bookynge is Imminent.
-Miss Hyndemarshe, let's. I wille be much refreshd by youre companie. Please to waite here whilst I chaunge.
-I shalle. But hurrye.
I hadde no choise but to returne to the bedroome. I dashd to the deske and wrote oute a note for the pest-controul man, enclosed it with a keye in an creme envelope and scrawld 'council' on't. Thys achieved, I listened for a moment at the doore. I heard only Evain hummynge 'Mary Hamilton' in the Kitchen, and screme nor Ratt-squeak did emanate. I struggld into my critickal outfitte and stuffd note-booke and council lettere into my pockette before re-emergyge into the Kitchen a little untidy.
-Good, sayd Evian.
I noted wyth horrour that the Ratt, whych had slippd oute onto the flore, was approachyng her from behinde wyth all ravenyng aspects usually attendant on predatory creatures deprived of their just meate.
-Let's go, I sayd, and led her to the staircase door. She saw to the latch. As she did, I turnd and saw the terrific beast silently hurl itself at us, its long fangs hinged uppe and a paire of rede eyes brimmynge wyth malice. The cry of digust I stifld emergd as a small cough as I punted the beaste full into the bedroome and ran to slamme the dore. Evian spun rounde decorously, as was her wont.
-What is it? What was that sounde?
-Nothynge I sayd, I don't lyke the draughte.
-But that foot-ball sounde, what was thatte?
-Yes. Now we have to go, I sayd as I userd her oute of the roome. I'm afrayd I have a manne comynge and I have to leave hym a note.
-A note? What kynde of man? Her innocent face lookd at myne. What WAS that sounde?
-I have to leave't, he's from the council. Don't worry.
-At thys houre?
-Yes, he's a very busy manne.
We proceeded downe the steps.
-Here it is.
I got oute th'envelope.
-There's a keye in't.
-Yes, he has to get inne.
-Mr Nashe, you seme extremely foolyshe to leve youre keye oute for any old Tinker to come and Burgle you. And also to go on wyth such sinister noises in youre house. Are you sure I oughtn't go?
-Quite sure, Miss Myndemarshe -
-Right, we'll go.
And wyth that we steppd oute; I shutte the dore behynde us; and slippd all but the edge of th'envelope under the matte.
Over dinner we talkd of odds and endes concernyng her fathers Estate and Business interests whyle enjoyyng the fare. Finally we settld into Coffee, and she spoke quietly and atte lenghte of her father's illnesse. I have not the wit to reproduce her tragick story here; I must hasten to the conclusion of this evenyng's without further ado, for it was a derelickt and carnalised promenade on whych we were to fynde ourselves a-strollyng, whose excesses befit my humble Pen much more closely than does her dutiful and unprintable sympathy.
It was duryng the drayning of oure last cuppes that Evian lookd into my eye wyth her eye and tolde me she knewe of a Nyghte Club to which we could repaire.
-Evian, I have never bene to suche a place. I shall never go.
-Thomas (for we were on first name terms by now, and had been ere long), you must come and have one further drynk wyth me and that ys the place, 'twould be a shame to squander my father's benvolence by sendyng yourselfe holme at half past ten.
-I shan't, I sayd wyth vigour, there is no Question of't. I should sooner drynk congealèd milk than attend suche a plase, I knowe their content and style to be utterly degraded.
-Come, she sayd, there is muche more to saye.
-Thou'rt misleading Nashe, I muttered. And then more loudly: take me not to the 'Nyghte Club' nor any affiliated venue! Send me home in a Hackneye Carriage; I do not care. Thank you for dinner, you are the apogee of gentille womanhood. Goodnyghte.
At thys I cast some of her father's money onto the tableclothe and executed a brilliant volte-face that I assume quyte ruind her evenyng because she cryd oute and pursu'd me into the noisy streete.
-Stop, Mr Nashe, thys is ludicrous.
-Let me go. She hadde my arme.
-Come on, one drynke.
Just thenne, a tall ghoulish manne approachd from behynd her, and intond 'Evian' in a low and penetratyng voix. She shriekd and affectionately introduced her body to hys. Each was kissd on its respective chekes.
-Thys is Thomas Nashe. This is Mr. Ballast. He is my uncle.
-How do you do, I sayd, embarassd at my pitchd battle wyth his neice.
-Good evenynge, Nashe, sayd Ballast.
-Evian, would you lyke to come to the clubbe?
Evian's eye twinkld wyth triumph.
-Yes, we shoulde bothe. Mr Nashe works for my father, Ime just keepyng him companie.
Under force majeure of gentlemanlinesse I was compelled to go to the Club. It lay in Soho, down an alley that sat at an odd angle to the thoroughfare, that barely contaynd its blue awnyng or velvet-cabled queuestall. There was nobody outsyde, so I followed Evian and Ballast down into the depths of the strete, into the dark hole and oute of syghte.
In the foyer a man sate at a deske. Evian signd me inne. This is Mr Ironhand, she sayd, he ownes it. Mr Ironhand produced - improbably - an iron hand from under the deske and shooke myne.
-Welcome, Thomas Nashe, to our Clubbe. Please enter and leave quietly.
Ballast led us into the Private Roome, where we sate on good grene leather chaires and had a drynk of whysky.
-Tell me, enquird Ballast, have you met any of Evian's relatives?
-I worke for her father, I replyd, keen to make a Good Impressioun.
-Rodney Hyndemarshe is the acne of mankynd, spake Ballast.
-Please speke agayne? I sayd as Evian extended a horrifyd glance to'ard me.
-He is the most excrescent jewel in the crowne, extolled B, a credit to psychiatry. He ys the verger at the church of equanimosity, the sultan of mortality and well-deservyng of hys deathe.
A light in hys eye showd he was quite transported.
-Thomas! whisperd Evian, you must forgyve hym, he hath a wayward synapse. Uncle, Thomas knows all about my father. Why don't you introduce hym to some other members?
-With pressure! declard Ballast. The voice rang on.
-That, o'er there, is Mr Treasury, whose cactus is always flourishyng. He ownes thys place. That is Miss Dribble, who is an infamous stencil; that Mr Crauford-Fermont, a wealthy ingestor; that is young Mr Varicose, whose mother is a cyan criminal, contorted in early lyfe and quyte the better for it. Hard by you may read Messrs. Sinew and Scalpel, the Doctours. O'er there are Grimworth and Oppenheim, genteleman hunters of the Aral Sea. And there is a secretion of Younge Ladies and Gentlemen aboute the plase whose names I knowe not.
I tooke them alle inne.
-Now, Mr Nashe, continu'd Ballast, where are my manners? Kepeing you two here in bonds. Woulde you dragge Evian for a daunce?
I was happy to, but where should I take her?
-The daunce-flore, of course, smild Ballast. You young triffids ought to get on wyth a daunce.
I stoppd chewyng my ice-cube and lookd at Evian.
-Well, come on, she sayd, unlesse you have to run away home.
-I do not! I burst forth heroickally and stampd on the carpet. Come wyth me, swete Evian, and have thy delicate feet given the wings thy back already richly deserves!
She blushd a little and stoode up at thys awkward invitation.
-Very well, Thomas. See you soon, Uncle Ballast.
Evian led me up a short flyght of staires to a double doore through which the sounde of loud, energetick music was faintly audible. A man sat at a deske besyde it.
-Good evenynge Mr Hulahoop.
-Good evenynge Miss Hyndemarshe.
-Thys is Mr Nashe. Woulde you sign us in and open the Air-Locke for us?
-Certainly Miss replyd the factotum, and threwe open the doore.
We entered a short padded room wyth double doores at t'other ende. The music was muche louder in here.
-Thankyou Mr H. Please close us uppe, commanded Evian, and that gentleman did as he was tolde.
A short waite.
The double doors opposite blasted open and I was knockd to the ground by an appalyng pummeling of rhymickal noize. Evian landed almost atop me and the situacioun was extremely sensityve. We draggd ourselves oute onto the daunce floor, where sundry other couples were crawlyng around under the black pall of noize. A bar stood empty for nobody koude reache it. Many lyghtes pulsated. Finally, we hauled us into into a chaire and were strappd in by the sounde.
-What a terrible Idea, I mutterd. A couple was attemptynge to pleasure itselfe on the daunce-flore.
-What? howld Evian
-Let's go, I cryd.
-Let's go, screamed Evian but her wordes were lost in the Din.
I tried to replye.
Ten minutes later we were backe i'th'Air-Locke.
-Hulahoop? calld Evian, but there was no answer.
Distracktedly she lookd aboute her. My Ear was ringynge wyth the noise.
-Thom. she said in a friendly waye, I'm very sorry aboute that. Thou lookst lyke a car-accident.
-Yes, I sayd. And you. Looke, youre eyelashe is oute of joynte.
-My eyelashe?, she askd as I approachd to shew her.
-Yes, 'tis -
At exactly that moment the dore to the Disco erupted open agayn and a mighty buffet of noise forced Nashe and Evian against the walle, whereat Evian felle upon Nashe, and Nashe upon Evian, and by the time the interior door was prised open by the remiss Hulahoop, bracketed by the vigilant Ballast and Treasury, and those three men had turned their faces in concert to the scandalised Aire-Locke interior, they were ready-claspd i'th'corner, havyng begun at a kisse that gave such satisfaction to both parties it had continued, and did continue, past all distractioun. Nashe was summarily detached and led off for Expulsion in Disgrace, and the cordial handshake of Mr Ironhand scourd away the last impressiouns of her soft and fragrant hayre.