tell me all about
Anna Livia! I want to hear
all about Anna Livia. Well, you know Anna Livia? Yes, of course, we all know Anna Livia. Tell me all. Tell me now. You'll die when you hear. Well, you know, when the old chap went
|3|+phut+|3| and did what you know. Yes, I know, go on. Wash away and don't be dabbling. Tuck up your sleeves and loosen your talktapes. Or whatever it was they try to make out he tried to do in the
Phoenix Park. He's an awful old rep. Look at the shirt of him! Look at the dirt of it! He has all my water black on me. And it steeping and stuping since this time last week. |3|x|aHow many times is it I wonder I washed it?
I know by heart the places he |bsoils likes to
soil.b| Scorching my hand and starving my famine to make his private linen public.a|
Wallop it well with your battle and clean it. My wrists are rusty rubbing the mouldy
stains. And the loads of wet and the
|atons sewersa| of sin in it!x|3| What was it he did at all
|3|+at all on Animal Sunday+|3|? |3|+And
|awhy how longa| was he under lough and neagh?º+|3| It was put in the papers
what he did. But time will tell. I know it will. Time and tide will wash for no man. O, the old old rep! |3|+And the cut of him! And the strut of him! How he used to hold his head as high as a howeth with a
hump of grandeur on him like a walking rat!º+|3| What age is he at all at all? Or where was he born or how was he found and were him and her ever spliced?
|3|+I heard he got some money with her
|awhen he |bcarted broughtb| her home in a perokeet'sº
cage, the quaggy way for stumblinga|. |aDevil a Who
|btold soldb| you that jackalantern's tale? In a gabbard he landed|b, the boat of life, and he loosed
two croakers from under his tilt, the old Phenician rover. By the smell of her kelp they
made the pigeonhouseb|.a|+|3| Don't you know he's a bairn of the sea, Waterhouse the waterbaby? O, I know, so he was. H.C.E. has a cockly ee. Sure, she's nearly as bad as him herself. Who? Anna Livia? Ay, Anna Livia! Do you know she was calling girls from all around to go in
till him|3|+, her erring man,+|3| and tickle him easy? She was? Go to God! O, tell me all I want to hear. Letting on she didn't
care|+3., the proxenete! Proxenete and what is that? Were you never at school? It's just the same as if I was to go for example now and proxenete you. For God' sake and is
that what she is?+|3| Didn't you spot her in her windeye, standing up on a rickety chair, pretending to (3play ripple3) a tune or two on a fiddle she has without a bottom? Sure she can't fiddlededee, top or bottom! Of course, she can't! All a blind. Well, I never heard the like of that! Tell me more. Tell me all.
Well, old Humber was as glum as a grampus, setting moping on his benk, hungerstriking all alone and holding doomsdag over himself, dreeing his weird with his dander up and his (3hair
fringe3) combed over his eygs and keeking on loft till the face of the sternes. |3|+You'd think all was
dead belonging to him. He had been belching for over a year.+|3| And there she was, Anna Livia, she couldn't snatch a wink of sleep, purling around
like a chit of a child, in a short summer skirt and painted cheeks. And an odd time she'd cook him up blooms of fisk |3and |ato
anda| lay at his feet her3| meddery eygs and |3beacons on
toask3| shinking bread for to plaise that man hog stay his stomicker, and as rash as she'd |3run
rush3| with them up on her tray the old chap 'd cast them from him with a scowl of scorn as much as to say you this and you that, and if he didn't peg the tea in her face, believe me, she was safe enough. And then she'd try to fistle a tune,
The Heart Bowed Down or The Rakes of Mallow. What harm if she knew how to cock her mouth! And not a mag out of him no more than |3the wall out of the
mangle weight3|. Is that a fact? That's a fact. And cheeping to him down the feedchute, with all kinds of fondling endings, the poother rambling off her nose: Vuggybarney, Wickerymandy! Hello, ducky, please don't die! |3missing3| Do you know what she started singing then, the voice of her like a water gluck? You'll never guess. Tell me. Tell me. Phoebe, dearest, tell, O tell me and I loved you better nor you knew. And letting on she was daft about the old warbly sangs from over |3holmen: holmen,3| High hellskirt saw ladies hensmoker lilyhung |3pigger. pigger,º and himself below as deaf as a yawn.3| Go away! You're only jeering! Anna Liv? As God is my judge! And didn't she up and rise and go and trot down and stand in the door|3, puffing her old dudheen,º3| and every country wench or farmerette walking the roads usedn't she make her a sign to slip inside by the sallypost? You don't say the sallyport? I did. I do. Calling them in one by one and legging a jig or two to show them how to shake their benders and the dainty how to bring to mind the gladdest garments out of sight and all the way of a maid with a man and making a sort of a cackling noise like two and a penny or half a crown and holding up a silver shiner. Lordy, lordy, did she so? Well, of all the ones ever I heard! Throwing all the girls of the world at him! To any lass you like of no matter what sex of playful ways two and a tanner a girl a go to hug and have fun in Humpy's lap!
And what about the rhyme she made? O that! Tell me that while I'm lathering hell out of Denis Florence MacCarthy's combies. I'm dying down off my feet until I hear Anna Livia's rhyme! I can see that. I see you are. How does it go? Listen now. Are you listening? Yes, yes! Indeed I am! Listen now. Listen in:
By earth and heaven but I badly want a brandnew backside, bedad and I do, and a plumper at that!
For the putty affair I have is wore out, so it is, sitting, yawning and waiting for my old Dane the dodderer, my life in death companion, my frugal key of our larder, my much altered camel's hump, my jointspoiler, my maymoon's honey, my fool to the last Decemberer, to wake himself out of his winter's doze and shout me down like he used to.
Is there a lord of the manor or a knight of the shire at all, I wonder, that'd tip me a pound or two in cash for washing and darning his worshipful socks for him now we're run out of horsemeat and milk?
Only for my featherbed is as snug as it smells it's out I'd lep and off with me to the slobs of the Tolka or the Bull of Clontarf to |3feel hear3| the gay air of my |3sweet salt3| Dublin bay and the race of the seawind up my hole.
O go on! Tell me more. Tell me every tiny bit. I want to know every single thing. Well, now comes the |3childer's hatchery3| part. How many
|3childer aleveens3| had she at all? I can't rightly tell you that. God only knows. Some say she had a hundred and eleven. She can't
remember half |3the names of the cradlenames3| she |3put
smacked3| on them |3by the grace of
|ablank her boxing bishop'sa| infallible
slipper3|. A hundred and how? They did well to christen her Plurabelle. O laws! What a flock! She must have been a gadabout in her day, so she must, more than most. So she was, you bet! |3She had a flewmen of
her owen.3| Tell me, tell me, how did she come through all her fellows, the daredevil? Who was the first that ever burst? Someone it was, whoever you are. Tinker, tailor, soldier, sailor, Paul Pry or polishman. That's the thing I always want to know. She can't put her hand on him for the moment. It's a long long way,
walking weary! Such a long way backwards to go! She says herself she hardly knows who her graveller was or what he did or how young she was or when and where and how often he crossed her. She was just a young thin pale soft shy slim slip of a thing then, sauntering, and he was a heavy trudging lurching lieabroad of a Curraghman, making his hay for the sun to shine on, as tough as the oaktrees used
to rustle that time down by the dykes of killing Kildare, that first fell with a plash across her. |3She thought she'dº sink under the ground with
shame!3| You're wrong there, all wrong! It was ages long before that in county
Wicklow, the garden of Erin, before she ever dreamt she'd |3leave Kilbride and go roaring under Horsepass bridge to3| end her days in the barleyfields and pennylands of Humphrey's fordofhurdlestown and lie with a landleaper, well on the wane. Was it? Was it? Are you sure? Where in Wicklow? Tell me where, the very first time! I will if you listen. You know the hazel dell of Luggelaw? Well, there once dwelt a local hermit, Michael |3Orkney Arklow3| was his name, and one day in burning June so sweet and so fresh and so limber she looked, the kind of curves you simply can't stop feeling, he plunged both of his blessed anointed hands up to his wrists in the singing saffron streams of her hair, parting them and soothing her and mingling it, that was deepred and ample like the brown bog at sundown. And he couldn't help himself, thirst was too hot for him, he had to forget the monk in the man, so, rubbing her up and smoothing her down, he cooled his lips in smiling mood, kiss after kiss |3(asº he warned her never to, never to, never)3|, on Anna Livia's
freckled forehead. O, wasn't he the bold priest? And wasn't she the naughty Livvy? Naughtynaughty is her name. Two lads in their breeches went through her before that, Barefoot Byrne and Billy Wade, Lugnaquilla's noble pair, before she had a hint of a hair there to hide and ere that again she was licked by a hound while doing her pee, sweet and simple, on the slope of a hill in old Kippure, in birdsong and shearingtime, but first of all, worst of all, she sideslipped out by a gap in the Devil's Glen while |3|+Sally+|3| her nurse was sound asleep in a sloot and fell over a spillway before she found her stride and lay and wriggled in all the stagnant black pools of rain under a fallow cow, laughing free with her limbs aloft and a whole drove of maiden hawthorns blushing and looking askance upon her.
Tell me the sound of the shorthorn's name. And tell me why the something was she freckled. And tell me too how long was her hair or was it only a wig she wore. Are you in this game or are you not? O go on, go on, go on! I mean about what you know. I know
|3|+right+|3| well what you mean. What am I rinsing now and I'll thank you? Is it a pinny or is it a surplice? Arrah, where's your nose? And where's the starch? That's not the benediction
smell. I can tell from here by the eau de Cologne and the scent of her moisture they're Mrs Magrath's. |3|xAnd you ought to have aired them. They've just come off her. Creases of silk
they are, not crimps of lawn.
The only pair |awith frillsa| in all the land.x|3| So they are. Well, well! |3|xAnd there'sº her maiden letters too. Elle Ell and a quay in scarlet thread. |aAnd an ex after to show they're not Laura Kelly's.a| O, may the devil twist |aher youra| safety pin!x|3| Now, who has been tearing the leg of her drawers on her? Which leg is it? The one with the bells on it. Rinse them out and run along with you! Where did I stop? Never stop. Continuation! You're not there yet. Go on, go on!
Well, after it was put in the Beggar's Monday Journal |+3everywhere evenº the snow that fell on his hoaring hair had
a skunner against him. Everywhere+|3| ever you went and every bung you ever dropped into or wherever you scoured the countryside you found his picture upside down or the cornerboys burning his guy and Pat the Man
reeling and rolling around the local with oddfellow's triple tiara busby rotundarinking round his scalp. So she said to herself she'd make a plan to make a shine, the mischiefmaker, the like of it you never heard. What plan? Tell me quickly. What the mischief did she do? Well, she borrowed a bag, a mailbag, off one of her sons, Shaun the Post, and then she went and made herself up. O God
gigglers, I can't tell you how! It's too screaming funny, rabbit it all! O, but you must, you must really! By the holy well of Mulhuddart I swear I'd give my chance of going to heaven to hear it all, every word. |3O, leave me my faculties, woman, a while!º |aIf you don't like my story get out of the boat. Well, |btell haveb| it your own wayº so.a|3| Here, sit down and do as you're bid. Go easy and keep quiet. Tell me slow. Take your time now. Breathe deep. That's the way. Hurry up and slow you go. Give us your holy ashes here till I scrub the canon's underpants. Slow now. Slower still.
First she let her hair fall and down it flowed to her feet. Then, mothernaked, she washed herself with bogwater and mudsoap|3, upper and lower,3| from |3her3| crown to |3her3| sole. Next she greased the groove of her keel with |3antifouling3| butterscotch and with leafmould she multiplied a thousand isles and islets dun allover her little mary. And after that she wove a garland for her hair. She pleated it. She plaited it. Of meadowgrass and riverflags, the bulrush and waterweed, and of fallen leaves of weeping willow. Then she made her bracelets and her anklets and her armlets and a jetty amulet for necklace of clicking cobbles and pattering pebbles and rumbledown rubble, rich gems and rare, of Irish rhinestones and shellmarble bangles. That done, she sent her boudoir maid to |3Humphrey His Affluence3| with |3respects from his missus, seepy and sewery, and3| a request she might leave him for a moment |3and. She3| said she wouldn't be any length away. Then, then, with her mealiebag slung over her shoulder, Anna Livia, oysterface, out at last she came.
Describe her! Bustle along, why can't you? |3Spit on the iron while it's hot. I wouldn't miss her for the world.3| I must, I absolute must hear that! What had she on, the little old oddity? How much did she carry |3harness and weights3|? Here she is|3, Amnisty Ann!º Call her calamityº electrifies man3|. |3What has she got? A loin of jubilee mountain mutton.3|
No |3mutton electress3| at all. I'll tell you now. But you must sit still. Will you hold your peace and listen well to what I am going to say now? It might have been ten or twenty to one when the door of her ugly igloo opened and out stepped a fairy woman, the dearest little mother ever you saw, nodding around her, all smiles, |3between two ages,3| a judy queen the height of your knee. And look at her sharp and seize her quick for the longer she lives the shorter she grows. Go away! No more? |3Why where did you ever see a lambloin chop as big as a battering ram? |aAy, you're right. I was forgetting.a|3| The height of your knee|3., I say!3| She wore a ploughboy's nailstudded clogs, a pair of ploughfields in themselves: a sugarloaf hat with a sunrise peak and a band of gorse and a hundred streamers dancing off it and a golden pin to pierce it: owlglassy bicycles boggled her eyes: and a fishnet veil she had to keep the sun from spoiling her wrinkles: potatorings buckled the loose ends of her ears: her nude cuba stockings were salmonspotspeckled: she sported a shimmy of hazegrey |3that once was blued tillº it ran in the |awash washinga|3|: stout stays|3, the rivals,3| lined her length: her bloodorange knickers showed natural nigger boggers, fancyfastened, free to undo: her blackstripe tan joseph was teddybearlined, with wavy grassgreen epaulettes |3and3| a border here and there of swansdown: a brace of gaspers stuck in her hayrope garters: her civvy coat was boundaried round with a twobar tunnel belt: she had a clothespeg tight astride of her nose and she kept on grinding something quaint in her mouth: and the tail of her snuffdrab shuiler's skirt trailed forty Irish miles behind her on the road.
Hellsbells, I'm sorry I missed her! |3But in which of her mouths? Was her nose alight?3| Everyone that saw her said the douce little lady looked a bit queer. Funny poor frump she must have looked. Dickens a funnier ever you saw.
|3|aIt was well Well for hera| she couldn't see
There was a gang of drouthdropping surfacemen,
boomslanging and plugchewing, |3lying lolling3| and leasing on Lazy Wall and as soon as they saw her trip by in profile and twigged who it was was in it, Lucan's fish and Dublin's poison, says one to another: Between me and you and the granite we're warming, as round as a hoop, Alp has doped.
But what was the game in her mixed bag? I want to get it while it's fresh. |3I bet my beard it's worth while poaching on.3| Shake it up, do, do! I promise I'll make it worth your while. And I don't mean maybe. Tell me what and tell me true.
Well, around she pattered and swung and sidled not knowing which way to turn like Santa Claus |3at the call of the pale and
puny,º3| with a Christmas box apiece for each and every one of her childer. And they all about her, youths and maidens, chipping her and raising a bit of a jeer or cheer every time she'd dip in her sack of rubbish she robbed and reach out her maundy merchandise, stinkers and heelers, laggards
and primeboys, all her natural sons and daughters, a thousand and one of them, and something for each of them. A tinker's tan and a bucket to boil his billy for Gipsy Lee: a cartridge of cockaleekie soup for Tommy the Soldier:
for |3Pender's sulky nephew acid drops sulky Pender's acid nephew deltoidº drops3|, curiously strong: a cough and a rattle and wildrose cheeks for poor little Petite O'Hara: a jigsaw puzzle of needles and pins and blankets and shins between them for Isabel and Llewelyn Marriage: a brazen nose and pigiron mittens for Johnny Walker Beg: the papal flag of the saints and stripes for Kevineen O'Dea: a puffpuff for Pudge Craig and a nightmarching hare for Toucher Doyle: waterleg and gumboots each for Bully Hayes and Hurricane Hartigan: a prodigal heart and fatted calves for Buck Jones, the pride of Clonliffe: a loaf of bread and a father's early kick for Tim from Skibereen: a jauntingcar for Larry Doolin, the Ballyclee jackeen: a seasick trip on a government ship for Peat O'Flanagan: a louse and trap for Jerry Coyle: mudmincepies for Andy Mackenzie: a hairclip and clackdish for Penceless Peter: a spellingbee book for Rosy Brooke: |3a drowned doll for Sister Anne:3| scruboak beads for holy Biddy: |3an applewood stool for Eva |aThornton Thornstonea|: for Sara Philpot a jordan |avalleya| tearjar:3| a pretty box of Pettyfib's Powder for Eileen Alannah to whiten her teeth: a whipping top for Eddy Lawless: for Kitty Coleraine of Buttermilk Lane a penny wise for her foolish pitcher: a putty shovel for Larry the Puckaun: a potamus |+3head mask+|3| for Promoter Dunne: (3a dynamite egg for Paul the Curate:3)
a pile with a cross on the back for Sunny Jim: for Nancy Shannon a Tuam brooch: for Dora Hopeandwater a cooling douche and a warmingpan: a pair of Blarney breeks for Wally Meagher: a hairpin slatepencil for Elsie Oram to scratch her toby, doing her best with her |+3vulgar volgar+|3| fractions: |3|xan old age pension for Betty the Beauty: a bag of the blues for Funny Fitz: Jill, the spoon of a girl, for Jack, the broth of a boy: a Robinson Crusoe Friday fast for Patrick Angelus Rubinstein: se three hundred and sixtysix poplin ties for every day in the annual year for Victor Hugonot: a rake and |+plenty of good +|
muck for Kate the Cleaner: a hole in the ballad for Hosty: two dozen of cradles for Archdea J. F. X. P.º Coppinger: a letter to last a lifetime for Maggy beyond by the ashpit: the heaviest deaf and dumb woman from |+here to Howth Lusk to Livienbad+| for Felim the Ferry: |+|aspawater and spes spas and speranzaa| for Gouty Gough:+| a |asunlessa| map of the world including the moon and |+stars stamp+| for Shaun the Post:x| |+|aa stonecold shoulder for Donn Joe Vance:a| a lock and a stable for |aCarmen |bHonour Bright Honorbrightb|a| Meretrix:+|3| a big drum for Billy Dunboyne: |3|xwhatever you like to take to drink for Festus King and Roaring Peter and Frisky Shorty and Treacle Tom and Maurice |aBehana| and Sully the Thug and Master Magrath and Peter Cloran and whoever you like chance to meet knocking around:x|3| and a bladder balloon for |+3Mary Selina |aSara Selina Selina Susquehanaa|+|3| Stakelum. But what did she give to |+3Una Pruda+|3| Ward and Peggy Quilty and Nora Brosna and Teasy Kieran and Ena Lappin |3|+and Una and Bina and Trina Kane+|3| and Philomena O'Farrell and Josephine Foyle (3and Lily and Laura3) and Mary Xavier Agnes |3|+Daisy+|3| Francis de Sales MacCabe? She gave them every mother's daughter a moonflower and a bloodstone. And to Izzy, her youngest, a vision of love beyond her years and to Shem, her eldest, life before his time.
My colonial, what a bagful! That's what you may call a tale of a tub. |3|+No wonder they'd run from her like the plague.+|3| Throw us the soap for the honour of God. |3|xThe wee bit the water left.x|3| You've all the swirls your side of the current. Well, am I to blame for that if I have? Who said you're to blame for that if you have? My hands are as blue between cold and soda as that piece of pattern chayney there, lying below. Or where is it? Lying beside the reeds I saw it. |3|+With that peaty water who could see?+|3| But O, go on. I love a gabber. I could listen to more and more again. Rain on the river. Flies to your float. This is the life for me.
Well, you know or don't you know or haven't I told you every story has an end. Look, look, the dusk is growing. What time is it? It must be late. It's ages now since I or anyone last saw Waterhouse's clock. They took it asunder, I heard them say. When will they reassemble it? |3|xO,
my back, my back, my back!x|3| Wring out the clothes! Wring in the dew! Will we spread them here now? Ay, we will. Spread on your bank and I'll spread mine on mine. It's what I'm doing. Spread! It's turning chill. A wind is rising. I'll lay a few stones
on the hotel sheets. A man and his bride embraced between them. (3Else I'd have sprinkled and folded them only.3) And I'll tie my
butcher's apron here. (3It's suety yet. The strollers will pass it by.3) Six shifts, ten kerchiefs, the convent napkins, twelve, one baby's shawl. Where are all her childer now? Some here, more
no more, more again lost to the stranger. I've heard tell that same brooch of the Shannons was married into a family in Spain. And all the Dunnes |3|+beyond Brendan's sea+|3| takes number nine in
hats. And one of Biddy's
beads went bobbing lonesome till she rounded up last Friday week with a marigold and a cobbler's candle in a main drain off Bachelor's Walk. But all that's left to the last of the Meaghers is
one kneebuckle and two hooks in the front. Do you tell me that now? I do, in troth. Is that the great Dunboyne himself on his statue riding his high horse there forenenst you? There? Is it that? (3On Fallareen Common?º3) Throw the cobwebs from your eyes, woman, and spread your washing proper. (3It's well I know your sort of slop. Were you lifting your elbow, tell us, glazy cheeks, in the Carrigacurra canteen?º Was I what,º hobbledehips? Amn't I up since the damp dawn with varicose veins, soaking and bleaching boiler rags, and sweating cold, a widow like me, to deck my tennis champion son, the laundryman with the lavender flannels? Holy Saint Wolstan, I saw it again! Near the golden falls. There! Subdue your noise, you poor creature!3) What is it but a blackberry growth or the grey mare ass them four old codgers owns. Are you meaning Tarpey and Lyons and Gregory? I mean those four codgers that owns that stray in the mist and old Johnny MacDougal along with
them. Is that the Poolbeg flasher beyond or the mast of a coaster near the Kish or a glow I behold within a hedge? |3|+Wait till the rising of the moon.+|3| My sight is getting thicker on me with the shadows in this place. I'll go home slowly now my own way, the valley way. So will I too, by mine.
Ah, but she was the queer old skeowsha anyhow, Anna Livia, twinkletoes! And sure he was the queer old buntz too, Dear Dirty Dumpling, foostherfather of all of us! Gammer and gaffer, we're all their gangsters. Hadn't he seven dams to wive him? And every dam had her seven
crutches. And every crutch had its seven hues. And each hue had a different cry. Suds for me and supper for you and the doctor's bill for Joe John. |3|aBefore! Before!a| He married his markets, |anear and far cheap by foula|, I know, but at |amilkingtime milkingmassa| who was the spouse? |aThen all that was was fair. Teems of times and happy returns. The same anew.a|3| He had buckgoat paps on him, soft ones for orphans. Ho, Lord! Twins of his bosom. Lord save us! And ho! Hey? What all men. Hot? His tittering daughters of. Whawk?
Can't hear with the waters of. The chittering waters of. Flittering bats, fieldmice bawk talk. Ho! Are you not gone ahome? What Tom Malone? Can't hear with bawk of bats, all the liffeying waters of. Ho, talk save us! My foos woon't moos. I feel as old as yonder elm. A tale told of Shaun or Shem? All Livia's daughtersons. Dark hawks hear us! Night! Night! My ho head halls. I
as heavy as yonder stone. Tell me of John or Shaun? Who were Shem and Shaun the living sons or daughters of? Night now! Tell me, tell me, tell me, elm! Nighty night! Tell me tale of stem or stone. Beside the rivering waters of, hitherandthithering waters of. Night!