Episode III.2

A short paraphrase and guide to the episode

Prepared by Danis Rose

2010 edition FW pages 333-367
1939 edition FW pages 429-473

Concubium: The Second Watch of the Night

Db : Jaun

Although bibliographically in three sections, Joyce divided up III.2 as best he could into 29 segments, most of them single paragraphs. In two cases he forgot to indent a paragraph[286] and in two others he forgot to notice a very short paragraph doesn't count as a full segment. Whatever the case, it is convenient to break up this guide into 29 pieces.[287]

Shaun, travelling under the names Jaun and (later) Haun, delivers his ‘long absurd and rather incestuous Lenten lecture to Izzy, his sister’ (Letters I, 27 June 1924). He is still in the Guinness barrel, a weary travel-worn postman, floating down on the river Liffey.

Para. 1-4: 333, 333.22, 334.06, 334.35 (429, 430, 430.17, 431.13): Narrator's Introduction.

Shaun, now as ‘Jaunty Jaun’ (cf. N12 (VI.B.14).060(d)), lounges by the lasher (or weir) at Lazar's (or Leper's) Walk. He has paused from walking/rolling to catch his breath and loosen the laces of his old worn-out brogues. His feet are killing him.[289] He is fatigued and perspiring yet happy as he lies there in his barrel, propped up for a moment against a log.[290] Tired or not, he is looking every each as splendid as he ever did.

On the bank, not far off, dipping their pretty feet in the water, sits a bunch of twenty-nine girls out of Saint Bride's hedge school, paddling away at the river's edge and playing Postman's Knock, all so young, ‘all barely in their typtap teens.’ Handsome, curly-headed Shaun, redolent of wild thyme and parsley, quickly attracts their attention, which he acknowledges by acting the perfect gentleman, doffing his postman's hat and breaking out in the widest of grins. The girls can see in him as fine a specimen of Irish manhood as they could ever hope to encounter and quite naturally they make a great girlish fuss over him, ‘mussing his frizzy hair and the gollywog curls of him’ and ‘feeling his full fat pouch for him and jingaling his jellybags.’ Kind, gentle Shaun, lover of all creation — including dogs and fish and birds and insects — asks with his customary politeness after the girls' health, hello, missies!, and tactfully reproves a dress a touch too revealing. As he does so he easily makes out among the maidens the sweetly soft features of his beloved sister Issy. He knew her by her way of splashing, his precious little sister and goddaughter of whom he thinks the world, the apple, absolutely, of his eye. Mustering all the eloquence and cordiality that he can, he addresses himself to her.

Para. 5: 335.01 (431.21): Shaun hails Issy and begins his long farewell.

‘Sister dearest’, Shaun delivers himself, ‘as he began to take leave of his scholastica at once so as to gain time.’ He earnestly believes that she will miss him when he is gone, from the instant of his departure, but he consoles her, go he must. It is his duty to be up and off and not to tarry where he is, a burden on her and on the community. Is this not exactly what she herself, the mainstay of their home when they were all children together, told him? Isn't it the very point of her bedtime stories and of all the letters she wrote to him?

Para. 6: 335.17 (432.04): Shaun begins his advice to Issy.

He rises up out of his barrel before the fair assemblage and begins to communicate with the throng of girls and instruct them in his directions to servants as best he can, recalling for the occasion the words and advice of a certain parish-priest friend of his, Father Michael. He enumerates for them the fourteen commandments and prohibitions for their better guidance in this life. They are to be careful to adhere to as many as possible of them while he is far away from the old damp sod on his special mission.

Para. 7: 336.06 (433.04): Shaun introduces his commandments.

Shaun addresses the girls: ‘Now. During our brief apsence from this furtive feugtig season adhere to as many as probable of the ten commandments touching purgations and indulgences and in the long run they will prove for your better guidance along your path of right of way.&rsquo:

Para. 8: 336.14 (433.10): Shaun lists his commandments.

The long list of Shaun's prohibitions all follow the same negative pattern: Never to do (something). They run crookedly with a great deal of digression. Most of Jaun's prohibitions are implicitly or explicitly sexual in nature, as are many of the interpolated directives. A few are modelled on standard Catholic prescriptions (to hear Mass on Sundays, to fast and abstain on the days appointed, to confess one's sins, to receive the Blessed Sacrament worthily, to contribute to the support of one's pastors, not to solemnise marriage at non-appointed times, etc). Summarising somewhere about the middle, Shaun states his case succinctly. The girls are not to smile, not to love and not to commit adultery. He continues on in this didactic vein with a great excess of brotherly advice, again mainly sexual in nature (not to, for example, acquire a penchant for smoking cigarette butts while loitering in hallways with the end in mind of committing acts of indecency). His advice culminates in one golden instruction: sooner than sacrifice their most holy and sacred virginity, ‘rather let the whole ekumene universe belong to merry Hal and do whatever his Mary well likes’ (342.12).

Para. 9: 341.03 (439.15): Shaun instructs Issy in suitable reading material.

He pontificates on the literature he considers suitable for the girls at this point in their development, recommending especially the works of Father Fynn, S.J., Tom Playfair, Ethelred Preston, Percy Wynns, His Luckiest Year and Mostly Boys. Most other books ought to be tossed into the fire: ‘light an allassundrian bompyre’ with them (341.10). Rather than wasting their time with that trash, they could peruse instead the Weekly Standard, a virile organ read by everybody. They must apply themselves studiously, of course, to reflections on death, judgement, heaven, and hell. They could fare worse than try the Revd. R. Archdekin's Essay on Miracles or, perhaps, Viewed to Death by a Priest Hunter. William Archer, he assures them, is a solid Catholic and can be relied on to give them a ‘riser on the route to our nazional labroury.’[291] If they skim through Dante Alighieri's Divine Comedy they are assured of a laugh on every page. And they can swear by the inimitable Lenten Lore by Archbishop Cardinal Cullen. Immanuel Kant, Lope Felix de Vega, and Charles and Mary Lamb are on no account to be overlooked. A smattering of scientific matter, also, is requisite reading: Egg Laid by Former Cock, for instance. And, above all else, they must not omit the Lives of the Saints in instalments.[292]

Para. 10: 342.33 (441.24): Shaun threatens violence to Issy's admirers.

In this phase of his address, suddenly shouting, he commands Issy to divulge to him ‘the curname in undress of any lapwhelp or sleevemongrel’ (342.38) who dares to speak to her on the road and offers to trifle with the roundlings of her sweet breasts without prior production of suitable permits from the ministries of Foreign Affairs in a clean way. He doesn't give a hoot who the dickens the cad may be, even were he to turn out to be a namesake of his own and like enough to his ancestors. It's back he'd stomp, the gravel spinning from under his feet, as certain and as surely as he values the very concept of sisterhood. It would be a poor look-out for the sod from that time on. He would soon show him the Shaun way and ‘go a long way towards breaking his outsider's face for him’ for making up to her without first taking the measurement of her nuptial finger! He would ‘burst out his mouth’ and hand the wretch over to the first policewoman he chanced to meet. Maybe he would even hang the scoundrel himself to be done with him and sweep the streets with him, even if he had to swing for it. Half-kill him, he would, especially if the individual should turn out to be a certain ‘man in brown about town’ of well over or about fifty-six, 5' 8" or so, the usual straightforward type, R.C., with a moustache and false teeth, sipping some stout on a barstool with some crony, always trying to purchase transportable furniture by mail order, a cigarette dangling from a holder, a good pensionable job in Guinness's, a general all-rounder with a stale cough and a touch of a stammer with a second-class wife and family, ten children at least, to pay for.

Para. 11: 344.30 (444.06): Shaun admonishes Issy.

Lest she labour under a misapprehension, he assures her, she had better keep herself ‘in the gun-barrel straight’ or, if not, he swears he will be all over her himself for letting herself down and selling herself so cheaply to some third party. He'll smack her lips for her and just give her one hefty puck in the puss to bring the blush of shame to her cheeks, a belt the traces of which she won't obliterate for the best part of a year. He has a stout pair of arms on him that pack a wallop between them.

Para. 12: 345.38 (445.26): Shaun warns of his return.

Pleased with himself and the impact of his manly threats, he turns to assure his sister that, as he hardly needs to have to tell her, he will fondly cherish the thought of her as he voyages far away while she lies sleeping softly on her distant pillow, sweetly sighing his name. He will fondly remember her moment by moment though he be driven half-insane with the miles and miles of door-knocking he'll have to undergo. And should he survive the endlessness of his travail, as he has every intention of doing, back he'll come to take her by her lily-white hand and positively smother the two pure cheeks of her ‘comely plumpchake’ with sugary kisses (346.14). Of her own accord she'll kiss him back. They will exchange embraces wenn die Schwalben heimwasts ziehr immediately after his travels in distant lands when he gets back safe and sound to the bliss and ignorance of his very own native parish bearing ropes of pearls for all the chorus-girls.

Para. 13: 346.30 (446.27): Shaun speaks of his projected good works.

In this phase of his lecture, Shaun brings up the important business of how Issy and he will spend their days at that future happy time of their reunion. They will purify things, naturally, and render social service and generally help clean things up a little. It's rather called for, doesn't she think? He asks her just to think about the muck and filth of the streets of Dublin: for example the banana-peels and eggshells on Henry, Moore, Earl, and Talbot Streets. Why, if she were to loiter on, say, Aston Quay for thirty-two minutes or so, looking into whatever shop-window she chose, Number 11, for example, Kane and Company, Portmanteau and Trunk-makers, and then turn back around to face the traffic, she would be literally astonished to see how she had been in that brief time literally coated with the slush thrown up by the passing cars. What he would like to know is this: where are the hospitals with vouchers for mothers-in-law and stretchers for their devitalised mates? Who is there to weed the avenues and ways? Who is there to brighten up Bray Head and Howth Head? When, when, will his beloved Dublin, his so-much-loved Dublin, get the face-lift it so desperately needs? Bad as things are, they won't be like that for ever. One thing is certain. Some time shortly now he will take the good advice he has been given and give up his hiking for good, at least until such time as some move is made to guarantee him an increase in footgear. As it currently stands, he is right at his bloody boundary limit.

Para. 14: 348.17 (448.34): Shaun praises nature.

Still addressing Issy as ‘Sis’, but turning his back to her and speaking in a low key, somewhat wistfully, Shaun admits that as far as he is concerned he is in no violent hurry. Why, he'd leave off his walking for good if he could find the right girl with a decent wage to pay his way for him. He'd ask no more of life, everyone can be reassured, than to tarry right where he is now till well into the beautiful, moonlit, perfume-exhaling night. He would lean on his elbows and watch the fire-flies flash in the hedgerows, happy with his tin of tea and some shredded tobacco for his pipe and catch the soft dew on the tip of his tongue. But (bad cess to it!) the clock has just gone ‘twoohoo the hour.’

It would be no burden to him to lounge on as and where he is, lying on his side, till Saint Grouse's Day arrives, gazing up by night at the sky and listening to the night sounds, hoopoes and hooping owls and all the hooting of the wold, thin-billed snipe drumming and the melancholy moaning of the mournful whip-poor-will, to a background of the oldest sound in the world, the croaking of ancient frogs. It would be a pleasure for him, sure, to do no more than open the flaps of his two ears to the rumbling of the night-mail train thundering by or to watch through his nephoscope the gibbous moon roll slowly through the low cirrus cloud all the livelong night and await the sunrise, watching how ‘carefully my nocturnal goosemother would lay her new golden sheegg for me down under in the shy orient.’ There's precious little he would be unwilling to give — the hole in his trousers, the soles of his shoes under his feet, the shirt on his back — to rest here by the water and watch the fish, dace and eel, the Gillaroo trout, carp and sturgeon, and poach away to his heart's content with an orange or a pear maybe to keep the hunger at bay, pipe in mouth and match in hand, and simply suck up into his dilated nostrils the sweet smell of tobacco and the wood's wild odours while from his clump of jasmine he whistles. Why, if the mood were on him, he might even teach the blackbirds how to flute.

Were he to stay, what little he had in the way of money he would sink in poiteen shares, every last dolly farthing, and he'd bet his coat against the bit of a frock she's wearing he's the lad'd make it pay as sure as there's a tail on a cat! It'd take more than a rugby team to shift him. By the unwinking salmon, nothing would stop him making bags of money. Nothing would stop him from making his investment pay, not the Ulster Rifles nor the Cork Militia, not the Dublin Fusiliers nor the Connacht Rangers. He'd churn out buckets of cash, roll in deep clover, and spoil Issy altogether. He'd stake his lamp on it. They'd have sweet damn all to do all day but swallow champagne and chartreuse, and as sure as his name is Shaun he'd not call a halt till he and she shot the bishop and he planted her, his Issy gay, speechless with admiration on the ‘electric ottoman in the lap of lechery.’

Grand isn't the word for it! Dearly would he love to stay here at home with her, staring into the fireplace and picking his nails or listening to the phonogram and the airs coming ‘from th'other over th'ether’ only for one fly in the ointment, he regrets to say. Jupiter Pluvius! He'd be irascible all the time about catching a cold in the damp vaporous air. Sure, it'd be detrimental, fatal, to anyone with his delicate constitution.

To make his point plain, honest Shaun — who seems to be catching a cold — sneezes: Fschue!

Para. 15: 350.39 (452.08): Shaun explains his destiny

He is transported with grief to have to head off on a night so sublime but it is, he holds, ‘a grand thing (superb!) to be going to meet a king, not an everynight king, nenni, by gannies, but the overking of Hither-on-Thither Erin himself, pardee, I'm saying.’

Para. 16: 351.22 (452.34): Shaun speaks of the afterlife

He momentarily despairs.[293] To the dickens with reminiscences and the present whole ill-advised affair. He is beginning to get sun-sick. The ends of all their brief lives, he laments, are not all that far off, his too. So let his sisters not pillow-fight over him when he is gone or sit about sewing and menstruating, sunk in melancholia, turning breakfast into a Last Supper. Let them create no scenes in his wake or squabble over him. Above all else, let them not lose heart. Let them rather become blessed, he adds gaily, and give up their sorrowing, for soon enough they will all be happily dead and buried and all living happily together in the much better world in the orchard of the bones.

Para. 17: 352.21 (454.08): The narrator describes Shaun's laughter

Out of the blue ‘something of a sidesplitting nature’[294] occurs to Shaun and a ‘grand big blossy hearty stenorious laugh’ hops out of his ‘woolly's throat’ at the idea of how absurdly fond of him his female admirers are, all of them so alike in a midsummer madness starting to clap hands and laud him O Jaun so jokable and so geepy, O when, suddenly, as quick as mercury, he wheels round to face the girls again, his eyes blazing sternly.

Para. 18: 352.36 (454.26): Shaun speaks again of the Post Mortem

He speaks: ‘There is something more.’ A word at parting and then shall the harp be silent. Farewell! All he can tell them is this: it is prayer all the time in the heavenly suburbs. There is no family rowing there, no squabbling in the yard, neither hurley-playing nor rugby there, no punching and no yodelling. They will hardly recognise the old wine in its new bottle, or the former sinner now a Latter-day Saint. May God and Mary and Saint Patrick bless them! Sure, he explains, what could conceivably be drearier than this miserable existence here compared to the guaranteed ecstasies of the life to come where true life, properly speaking, really begins.

Para. 19: 353.31 (455.30): Shaun praises food

Speaking of pleasantries, he is put in mind of his dinner. He agrees that the ‘slice and veg joint's well in its way’ and so indeed is a pot roast but give him home cooking and Gentleman's Relish every time. He always feels ‘twice as stewhard’ after a few natives (oysters). That was a damn good cup of scald Issy gave him, to be sure, thick enough to trot a mouse on. And he swallowed her ‘pick of hissing hot luncheon fine’, the most tender beef he ever tasted, and as for the boiled spuds they were simply heavenly. The only flaw was the peas were a touch too salty. Next time she can prepare something simple: some legumes, a grilled duckling cooked with grapes and a few cauliflowers thrown in. But he's happy enough right now with the dinner that's already in him. All ‘the vitalmines is beginning to sozzle in chewn and the hormonies to clingleclangle.’ He's as stuffed as stuffing and ‘fusted like fungstif’ with the partly digested steak inside him and the peas and bacon and rice and onions and duckling and boiled cabbage and mashed potatoes and ‘kates and eaps and naboc and erics and onnios on kingclud and xoxxoxo and xooxox xxoxoxxo…’

He really must be off on his rounds, on to Killadoon and Letternoosh and Letterpeak and Lettermuck and then down Letterananima way and up to Castletown House, the one with all the windows. But before he does there's one other thing he must do. He must collect all the postage still owing to him. And then it's off with him for definite and no delays.

Para. 20: 354.31 (457.05): Shaun scorns the dangers of travel

Here's looking at you! Why, if he stayed he might end up as a Passionate Father. His anchor's weighed. The girls can remain behind as they are and wait in vain. Wish away till the grim reaper arrives as a blessing in disguise. Devil a curly hair on his head he cares. He's off. And if any highwayman should try and hold him up, some Claude Duval or Dick Turpin, to try to deprive him of his letter bag, it's the heels of his two big feet in his face he'll get for his trouble! No, he must go. A tear or two is all there's time for, and then in a tick-tock of the clock it's off we pop.

Para. 21: 355.08 (457.25): Issy interrupts to explain herself (Veronica and Jesus)

Her female intuition sensing that Shaun is seriously thinking of going, Issy addresses him: Meesh, meesh! Yes, pet. She wants to express her grief at the sad news. They were too happy, that she knows. It had to end. Something had to give. It always does. She grabs Shaun and whispers into his ear. There is something else: before he goes he must grant her one wish. She is ashamed of her life of it — her ‘lost moment's gift of memento nosepaper’ — but it represents all the mites she owns. She wants him to have it even if it isn't a linen valentine handkerchief and to take with it all her fondest love and all her kisses and bear it next to his breast morning and evening for ever and always and to the end of his life. When he has an opportunity to blow his nose he must think of her, his absent one. Ahem! She has the ‘stupidest little cough.’ He must take this too: a sprig of veronica.[295]

And of course he simply must write to her. And he can leave behind him any doubts he might still entertain about her. She'll write to him, she promises she will. To remember him she ties a knot in her ‘stringamejip.’ She'll send him letters written on silken paper. While he's away she'll live for her hair only. The doves will pick titbits from her teeth as she watches the breath of his broad back growing smaller as he recedes from her. Don't let him keep her standing there for ever, peppering with fear, but arrange immediately to meet her by appointment. He needn't worry. She wouldn't swap him for another for anything. The rivers of this world would evaporate sooner! She'll write down his name in gold ink in her little pocketbook every day ‘while m'm'ry's leaves are falling deeply.’ She'll wait for him. She swears she will. And he is not to be annoyed with her when she becomes a film star and spends hours burying her face in DuBarry's cosmetics and Pond's Vanishing Cream. She'll wear nothing but a raincoat of elephant grey from Elvery's. Always at this hour at night, when her games are ended and after her ‘lickle pussiness’, she'll steal home in her boots from the park to her bed, drenched and dripping wet. And last thing at night, after her ‘golden violents wetting’ in her bright upstairs bedroom with lilac curtains and wallpaper to match the colour of the cat and a roaring fire of crackling pear-tree logs in the grate, immediately after saying her prayers, she'll strip before her window, slip into her iron bed and bring her china doll with her and when the night is past his name of Shaun will issue forth from between her lips when she opens her eyes when just woken by the cock-a-doodle-doo first thing in the morning.

All that aside, right now, could he, would he, coach her ‘how to tumble’ and could he, would he, warn her which to ‘ah ah ah ah…’

Para. 22: 358.19 (461.33): Shaun swears fidelity to Issy. (III§2B: 358.19–363.23 (461.33–468.19) begins.)

‘MEN!’ Shaun concludes his sister's ‘sororal sonority’. He thanks her for her persistent kindness to him and he indicates his deep undying gratitude to her as he lifts to his lips a ‘chalished drink’, a ‘stiff one’, a ‘bridle's cup’ of Piper Heidsieck champagne,[296] and promises her that as far as he is concerned he'll be faithful to her as long as his ‘hole looks. Down.’

Para. 23: 358.35 (462.15): Shaun introduces his proxy to Issy

Lest he forget. To console the girls in his absence he is leaving behind his darling proxy, Dave the Dancekerl.[297] No sooner has he the words out of his mouth when, speak of the Devil, who should he see coming along, and not on foot either or on two feet but pedalling on a fifth-century bicycle, having just this instant re-arrived by boat from France, but Dave. And the cat-of-nine-lives has a ‘pork's pate’ in his right hand and holds in his other hand the testimonials that he paid for, licenses reading Bearer may leave the church.

The proxy is Shaun's ‘sneaking likeness’, ‘his ‘altar's ego in miniature’ and is every inch of him as noble a Roman as Shaun, forever cracking whips on himself. So there he is, the queer fish, with his speech impediment and his novel ideas, simply crawling with lice, looking aged in his stained pebble-glasses and jolly thin too from living on eggs.[298] He only hopes Dave (Shem) hasn't cholera and he thinks he should find himself a nice spot on an isle in the Faroes perhaps or somewhere else equally remote[299] where he would be as snug as Jonah in the belly of the whale.

Bravo!, he hails him, vamoose! And for the second time referring to Dave as a ‘darling’ he admits there's no-one to hold a candle to him for sheer dare, what with that head on him crammed full of brains, the veritable prince of triflers. He and his proxy, Shaun assures Issy, are as like and as twain as two peas in the one pod and the closest of chums. Be the hokey, he realises that someone has shaved his proxy's head for him as clean as a pie-dish. He's the spat-out spit, so he is, with his snake's skin and his black eye-patch and his goatee of ‘Shemuel Tulliver’ when that dear man takes his hat off.

He welcomes his brother back with unfeigned magnanimity and as is only fit and proper welcomes the Butter Exchange Band to fife and drum Shem home with a few bars of the Marseillaise and Yankee Doodle went to London, Riding on a pony. So this prodigal son can slap his hat back on and give him his right hand. He's seen all sorts of things, surely, in his wandering around the globe. So how was France and Spain and Austria and Hungary and Germany and Italy and Sicily and the isles of Greece and Turkey-in-Europe and Switzerland? And did he ever manage to get as far as Russia or Scandinavia? And was the moon in the sky over the Isle-of-Man as big as it should be? And did he like the landscape as viewed from Lambay Island? Faith, he is proud of him, for this time his twin has surpassed himself.

Shaun next introduces the proxy to the girl he is leaving behind him, his ‘aunt Julia Bride’,[300] who he's sure is dying to have old Dave ‘languish to scandal in her bosky old delltangle.’ Oh, let them at it and enjoy one another up to the hilt in his absence. Let Dave embrace her by all means at his frank incentive. Go on, have a hug. Kissing is good for the lips, they must understand, so ‘let's have a fuchu all round, courting cousins!’ As he is about it, perhaps Dave could ‘wheedle a staveling encore’ out of his harp. He himself will sing along to harmonise, My Love and Cottage near Rochelle say, or if Dave prefers they can scrap as of old and be once more ‘as chummy as two bashed spuds.’ Dave can sing all right even if he sings out of tune. His ‘bark is still there but the molars are gone’. But, hurry, let them embrace. Sure, kissing was known before the Flood.

Reverting to Issy, Shaun asks her in an aside did she note the worried expression on Dave's face and the national emblem, the shamrock leaf, on his frock. Dave, he says, knows better than he does himself how to coach the girls. He's the man that will ‘prisckly soon handtune’ their Erin's ear for them.[301]

Para. 24: 363.22 (468.20): Shaun's leave-taking.. (III§2C: 363.22–367 (468.20–473) begins.)

The narrator describes Shaun's preparations for departure and the girls' Maronite ritual (Shaun as Osiris).

The whole business of the stand-in proxy and surrogate brother now behind him, Shaun starts out on his ‘positively last’ words. He was never one to look at an alarm-clock but, by his seamless socks, it's time for him to be up and going. His middle toe is itching, so a-walking he must go. Farewell, ladies! Tempus fugit! He's bored bawling at sourpuss Sis. This place is not big enough for him. He's going, he knows he is. He's going for sure. He's off to the Azores, to anywhere other than Erin. There will be no messing about with saddles and such like, no. It has to be just on the spur of the moment. He'll travel the wide world over. He'll crisscross both sides of the map. It's Vinland so for him. Come! he implores his beloved, itching, impatient feet, Come! Dublin has seen the last of his backside. It's now All aboard. Lay on, Macduff, so to speak, and damned be him who first cries hold. So long, so! Sweet Inisfallen, fare thee well![302] Here's his ‘takeoff.’ It's now or never! Benedicat vos omnipotens Deus![303] Here goes. As he stands there on the very precipice of taking off, he blesses all in the west with the pan-Roman apologia that Patrick preached to the Kerrymen. Break ranks! Just before the battle, Mother, he is thinking. So he's through. Ready or not. One, two, three … they can watch his smoke.

Para. 25: 364.19 (469.29):

After Shaun the Post's last words of farewell, ending in smoke, the girls rush to his assistance. He has damaged himself in trying to rocket away. He repulses all attempts at first-aid and, giving a jerk, kicks himself upright again while the ‘phalanx of daughters of February Filldyke’, his twenty-nine rose-girls, indicate their approval in the customary manner by dropping to their knees and clapping together the flats of their hands as they view him, their darling, away.

Para. 26: 364.35 (470.11): The wail of the flower-girls (Shaun as Osiris). As adorable Jaun, their solace in darkness, starts to make his way away from the enraptured girls, they wail in woe (German Weh) at his passing, chanting in a wonderful parody a cedar and palm embowered hymn (Dutch loflied:

Quasi cedrus exaltata sum in Libano et quasi cupressus in monte Sion
Quasi palma exaltata sum in Cades et quasi plantatio rosae in Hiericho
Quasi oliva speciosa in campis et quasi platanus exaltata sum juxta aquam in plateis
Sicut cinnamomum et balsamum aromatizans odorem dedi quasi myrrha electa dedi suavitatem odoris.
(Ecclesiasticus 24)

I am exalted as the cedar in Lebanon and as the cyprus on Mount Sion.
I am exalted as the palm tree in Cadiz and as the rose in Jericho.
As a beautiful olive tree in the plains and as a plane-tree I am exalted by the water in the streets.
I gave forth a sweet fragrance like cinnamon and aromatic balm like choicest myrrh.[304]

Para. 27: 365.06 (470.22): The narrator describes Shaun's disappearance

Just then the strangest thing happens. Shaun takes from his sister Issy, the gentlest weeper among the wailers, the piece of tissue paper offered earlier and into it he lets fall a tear, smothers a curse, stifles a giggle, expectorates, and blows his nose. Finally, the notepaper reduced in size and nature to a postage-stamp by his manhandling, he licks it on the gummy side and plants it manfully onto his brow[305] with such irrepressible dash as to make his female audience of ‘ladylike typmanzelles’ turn all at once topsy-turvy as he glances at them from under the parallel shags of his brows. And then he made as if he … but waved instead ‘as notice to quit while the pacifettes made their armpacts widdershins’, the girls calling out to him (see Letters I, 8 August 1928) as they rush to embrace him. Regaining the balance of his self-righting barrel-boat, Jaun exchanges mutual hugs with the sister he loves dearest, topples a little ‘to the off’ and makes a brand-new start for himself, blessing his stars with the sign of the cross. But at that moment his green-edged hat blows off in a gust and Jaun hastens after it on the double, the bulk of a small horse, pelting along the road like a greyhound let loose. The lad! You'd think he'd just been given legs! And the girls waving their handkerchiefs behind him! Soon he is lost to sight though, as the proverb has it, on that account to memory dearer. He leaves narrator behind him, now metamorphosed into a woman and, possibly, into the ‘warmin of her besom’, the besom-carrying woman, Kate, the wringer of his swaddles, who murmurs a last Hail Mary and bids him goodbye.[306]

Para. 28: 366.07 (471.35): The narrator laments Shaun's absence

The narrator addresses Shaun directly to pray that the ‘good people’ (the fairies) speed him on his way, the rural stout fellow and good man that he is, our one-and-only sweet crooner. The goo-gooing of the pouting infant in his cot is now fittingly the loquacity and oratory of the beloved layman in the pulpit-barrel. Let him not forget to come back to Lisdoonvarna to see again that sweet retreat where first he played the bass lute theorbo. Songster! Angler! Choreographer! the narrator cries out in unstinted admiration, Piper to the imprisoned! Alas! Could he but have been spared![307] She (or he, whoever the narrator is now) sadly bids a long farewell to dearest Shauneen, our own Irish Krisnamurti, our fast-vanishing postman with the lamp whose beam recedes, whimsical victor, true one, original torch-bearer, gypsy lad! The light that even now pales may when extinguished, the Lord forbid, be the last we shall ever see of our vanished hero. Could it speak, that voyaging lamp too would sing out its praise of Shaun, our national saint.

Many are they still alive and well in Ireland today, the narrator avows, humble individuals, hapless victims of fate and random accident, who while life's breath still flows in their lungs will pray to the God above that they do not depart this life till the day when Shaun returns after his long run, when he comes marching home along the weathered flagstones of the nation. For life without him will be a dream, a chill December, an elapse of time between a date and a date, from the night one is in and feels and fades with to the yesterdays one dreads to remember.

Para. 29: 367.09 (473.12): The narrator hails Shaun as hero

Concluding on a less dejected note, the narrator is proud to think how Shaun ran his ‘nine furlong mile’ in record time, a deed that shall be remembered, aye, and contested, for centuries yet to come. As the phoenix spreads its wings above its ashes, so too in like vein Shaun shall light the spark to set afire the pyre to shoot a flame up sunwards. Dawn will dawn in and through him. Why, look! already the more sombre opacities of the night have gone. Brave Shaun! May he work his passage in the underworld! May the gods grant he come back as the morning cometh when with daybreak's rays night's silent cock shall crow at last.[308]

‘Walk while ye have the night, for morn, lightbreakfastbringer, morroweth whereon every past shall full fost sleep.’ Amen.