Herº untitled memorial to the allhighest has gone by many names at disjointed times. Thus we hear ofº Pro Honofrio, The Crazier Letters, Groans of a Britoness, An Apology for a Husband, Ought We To Visit Him?,º Cockº in the Pot for Father, First and Last Only True Account all about Mr Earwicker 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 byº Putting it all around Lucalizod about Earwicker and a Pair of Sloppy Sluts plainly Showing all the Unmentionability falsely Accusing about the Redcoats.
|2This The2| 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 ambidexterous, snubnosed probably and presenting a strangely profound rainbowl in his (or her) occiput. Closer inspection of the bordereauº 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 closeº eyes of the inspectorº the traits featuring the chiaroscuroº 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 down the long lane of generations, more generations and still more generations.
Say, who in hell wrote the durn thing
Erect, |2seated beseated2|, 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,º patience. Andº remember patience is the great thing. Andº 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!), thatº the ear of Earwicker aforetime was the trademark of a broadcaster with wicker local cant for an ace's patent, thenº as to this radiooscillating epiepistle to which we must ceaselessly return,º whereabouts exactly at present is that bright soandso to give us the dinkum oil?
Naysayersº we know. To conclude purely negatively from the positive absence of political odia and monetary |2bequests requests2| 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,º 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 —º has any usual sort of ordinary fellow ever looked sufficiently longly at a quite everydaylooking stamped addressed envelope?º Admittedly it is an outer husk: its face is its fortune: it exhibits only the
|2civic civil2| 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,º to the truest taste) as were some fellow in the act of |2perhaps2| getting an intro from another fellow turning out to be a friend of his, say,º to a lady of the latter's acquaintance straightwayº 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,º 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 thereº but for all thatº suddenly full of local colour and personal perfume and suggestive, too,º 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,º 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, Mahappy Mahapnot, onceº said and repeated that Lucalizod was the one place in the world where the possible was the improbable and the improbable the inevitable. If he hit his two
nails on the head we are in for a sequentiality of improbable possibles though possibly nobody after having read upº 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
hereº events,º 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 onning when an iceclad shiverer, merest of bantlings,º 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 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 on the seasand in sight of the scene of the massacre of most of the Jacobitersº. The bird in the case was the hen of the Dorans andº what she was scratching at looked for all the world like a goodishsized sheet of letterpaper originating from Boston (Mass.)º of the eleventh of the fifth to Dear and it proceededº to mention Maggy well and allathome's health well and a lovely face of some born gentleman with a beautiful present of cakes for dear thank youº with grand funeral of poor Fatherº don't forget unto life's end Muggy well how are youº Maggy and hopes soon to hear well and must now close with fondest with four crosskisses pee ess from affectionate largelooking stain of tea. The stain, and that a teastain of tea, marked it off on the spur of the moment as a genuine relique of ancient Irish poetry of that pleasingly sad class known as a hurry-me-off-from-Queenstown.
Why then how?
Well,º almost any photoist worth his chemicals will tell anyone asking him at home that if a negative of a horse happens to melt enoughº during drying, well,º what you do get is, well,º a positively grotesque distortion of all sorts of
horse values and masses of horse. Well,º this freely is what must have occurred to our missive unfilthed
by the sagacity of a slanteyed hen. Heated residenceº 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 |2seem to get manage to wiggle2| the more we need the loan of a lens to see as much as the hen saw.
Let us now, if perfectly convenient, talk straight turkey asº man to man for while the ear may sometimes be inclined to believe others the eyeº findsº 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 |2while all underground2|), letº
us see all there may remain to be seen. One cannot help noticing that rather more than half of the lines run north-southº while the others go west-eastº for, tiny tot though it looks alongside other incunabula,º it has its cardinal points for all that. These ruled barriers along
which the traced wordsº run, march, halt, walk, stumble |2at doubtful points2|, 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,º of course, but the use of the homeborn |2cudgel
shillelagh2| as an aid to |2caligraphy calligraphy2| shows a distinct
advance from savagery to barbarism. It is seriously believed by some that the intention may have been geodeticº or, in the view of the cannier, domestic economical. Another point. Inº addition to the original sand, pounce
powder|2, drunkardº paper2| or soft rag used it has acquired accretions of terricious matter whilst
loitering in the past. The |2teastain terminal teastain2| is a |2cosy2| little
study all to itself and its importance in establishing the identities in the writer complex (for if the hand was oneº the minds |2of active and agitated2| were more than
so) will be best appreciated by never forgetting that both before and after the battle of the Boyne it was |v2the custom a habitv2| not to sign letters
always. 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,º by his personal touch, habits of fullº or undress, movements,º response to appeals for charity than by his footwear, say.
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,º we must vaunt no idle dubiosity as to its |2genuine2| authorship and |2holusbolus2| 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 supposingº it should eventually turn out to be a serial number of goodness |2gracious2| alone knowsº how many days or years. Anyhow,º somehow and somewhere somebody mentioned by name in his telephone directory wrote it, wrote it all, wrote it all down,º and there you are,º
full stop. O, undoubtedly yes,º 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, everyº 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,º 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 |2and juxtaposed jottings linked by spurts of speed2|: it only looks as like it as damn it:º and, sure, we ought really to rest thankful that we have even a written on with nowº 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 theyº will too as they ought to categoricallyº |2|afor asa|, strictlyº between ourselves,º this will never do2|.
For who that inº scrutinising marvels at those indignant whiplooplashes:º those so prudently bolted or blocked rounds:º the touching reminiscence of an incompleteº trail or dropped final:º the gossipy
threadreels,º a round thousand whirligig glorioles|2, prefaced by (alas!) now illegible airy plumeflights,º all2| ambiembellishing
the |2initials2| majuscule of Earwicker:º the steady monology of the interiors:º the pardonable confusion
|2for which some blame the cudgel and more blame the soot but2| thanks to which the pees with their caps awryº are quite
as often as not
taken for kews with their tails in their mouths:º the curt witty dashes never quite just |2right2| at the truth letter:º the sudden |2spluttered2| petulance of some capitalised middle:º a word as cunningly hidden in its maze of |2confused2| drapery as a fieldmouse in a nest of coloured ribbons:º this|2, for instance,2| utterly unexpected sinistrogyric return to |2a one2| peculiar sore point in the past:º those wideopen doubleyous seated with such |2floprightdown2| determination and reminding one irresistibly of nature at her naturalest while that fretful eff (usedº always |2in |aa twoa| boldfaced print |atype typesa|2| |2in through2| the papyrus by our copyistº as the revise mark) stalks all over the page, broods amid the verbiage, gaunt, stands dejectedly in the |2diapered2| window margin, paces with a frown,º jerking to and fro, flinging phrases here, there, or returns|2, inhibited,º2| with some |2half half-haltedº2| suggestion, dragging its shoestring:º |2the curious warning sign before our protoparent's ipsissima verba |a(a very pure nondescript, by the way, sometimes a palmtailed otter, often the arbutus fruitflowerleaf of the cainapple)a| which paleographers call a leak in the thatch or the Aranman whispering through the hole of his hat,º indicating that the words which follow may be taken in any order desired:º2| the innocent exhibitionism of those frank yet capricious underlinings:º that strange exotic serpentine since so properly banished from our scripture which everº longerº and more headstrong seems to |2grow uncoil |asoº spirallya|2| and swell |2lacertinelazily2| before our eyes under |2pressure of2| the writer's hand:º the studious omission of year number and era name from the date, the one and only time when the writerº seems at least to have grasped the beauty of restraint:º |2then2| the cruciform postscript from which three basia or shorter and smaller oscula have been carefully scraped away,º plainly |2inspired by inspiring2| the tenebrous τuncº page of the Bookº of Kells (and |2then2| 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 Columcille, chugged in their three ballotboxes,º 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,º and then that last labiolingual basium might be read as a suavium if whoever the embracer |2then2| was wrote with a tongue in his — or perhaps her —º cheek as the case may have been then):º |2and2| the fatal |2droopadwindle2| slope of the damned |2thing scrawl2|, a sure sign of imperfectible moral blindness:º the toomuchness, the fartoomanyness
of all themº fourlegged ems, and, |2seventeenthly eighteenthly2|, the penelopean patience of its last paraphe|2, a colophon of no fewer than seven hundred and thirtytwo strokes2| 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 |2ogham2| sex upandinsweeps sternly controlled and easily repersuaded by the uniform matteroffactness of a meandering male fist?º
Duff-Muggli, who now may be quoted by arrangement,º first called this kind of paddygoeasy partnership the odyssean or heterochiric complex after the wellinformed observation, madeº quite apart from him by Tung-Toyd, thatº in the case of the littleknown periplic poem popularly associated with the name of the wretched mariner a Punic admiralty report hadº 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 complex came to light in the most curious of ways. The original document was what is known as unbreakable script, that is to sayº it showed no signs of punctuation of any sort. Yet on holding
|2its recto the verso2| against a lit rush it responded most remarkably to the silent
query of our world's oldest light and |2its recto2| let out the
fact that it was pierced or punctured (in the university sense of the term) by numerous stabs and |2foliated2| 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,º and O do please stop respectively and police investigation showed that they had been provoked byº the fork of a professor at the breakfast table professionally piqued to introduce a notion of time upon a plane surface by punching holes in space. Deeplyº religious by nature and position,º it was rightly suspected that such ire could not have been visited by him upon the ancestral spirit of one whom he openly worshipped at least once a week as our first boy'sº best friend and when some peerer or peeress detected that the |2fourth or deepest fourleaved shamrock or quadrifoil2| jab was more recurrent wherever the script was clear and the term terse and that these two were theº selfsame spotsº naturally selected for her perforations by Dame Partlet on her dungheapº reluctantly the theory of the jabbering ape from Oxford was hotly dropped and his place usurped by that odious and still today insufficiently despised notetaker Shem the Penmanº.