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 and did what you know. Yes, I know, go on. Wash away and don't be dabbling. |2Tuck up your sleeves and loosen your talktapes.2| Or whatever it was they try to make out he tried to do in the Phoenix Parkº. He's an awful old rep. Look at the shirt of him! Look at the dirt of it! |2He has all my water black on me. And it steeping and stuping since this time last week.2| What was it he did at all? It was put in the papers what he did. But time will tell. I know it will. |2Time and tide will wash for no man.2| O, the old old rep! What age is he at all at all?º Or where was he born or how was he found and were him and her ever spliced?º Don't you know he's a bairn of the sea, Waterhouse the waterbaby? O, I know, so he was. H.C.E.º has |2blue in his a cockly2| ee. Sure, she's nearly as bad as him herself. Who? Anna Livia? Ay, Anna Livia!º Do you know she was calling girls from all around to go in till him and tickle him |2easy2|? She was? Go to God! O, tell me all I want to hear. Letting on she didn't care. Didn't you spot her in her windeye|2, standing up on a rickety chair,2| pretending to play 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,º old |2Humper Humber2| was as glum as a grampus, setting moping on his benk, hungerstriking all |2by himself, aloneº2| and holding |2doomsday doomsdag2| over himself, dreeing his weird with his dander upº and his hair combed over his eygs and keeking on loft till the face of the sternes. And there she was, Anna Livia, sheº 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 and meddery eygs |2and shinking bread2| for to plaise |2the that2| man hog stay his |2stomach stomicker2|, andº as rash as she'd run with them up on her tray the old chap 'd cast them from him with a scowl of scornº |2as much as to say you this and you that,2| and if he didn't peg the tea in her face, believe me, she was safe enough. And then she'd try to |2whistle a tune fistle a tune2|, The Heart Bowed Down or The Rakes of Mallowº. What harm if she knew how to cock her mouth!º And not a mag out of him no more than the wall. Is that a fact? That's a fact. And cheeping to him down the feedchute, with all kinds of fondling endings, the poother |2falling from rambling off2| her nose: Vuggybarney, Wickerymandy! Hello, ducky, please don't die! 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 meº and I loved you better nor you knew. And letting on she was daft about the |2camelold oldº warbly2| sangs from over holmen: High hellskirt saw ladies hensmoker lilyhung pigger. Go away! You're only jeering! Anna Liv? As God is my judge! And didn't she |2up and rise and2| go and trot down and stand in the door and every country wench or farmerette walking the roads usedn't she make her a signº to slip inside by the |2sallyport sallypost2|? You don't say the sallyport? I did. I do. Calling them |2all inº2| 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 |2in of2| 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 O that! Tell me that |2while I'm lathering hell out of Denis Florence MacCarthy's combies2|.º I'm dying down off my feet until I hear Anna Livia's rhyme! I can see that.º I see you are. How does it go? Listen now. Are you listening? Yes, yes! Indeedº I am! Listen now. Listen in:
For the putty affair I have is wore out,º so it is, sitting,º yawning and waiting for my old Dane the dodderer,º my life in death companion, my frugal key of our larder, my much alteredº 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 |2mouth slobs2| of the Tolka or the Bull of Clontarf to feel the gay air of my sweet Dublin bay and the race of the seawind up my hole.º
O go on! Tell me more. Tell me every tiny bit. I want to know every single thing. Well, now comes the childer's part. How many childer 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 the names she put on them. A hundred and how? They did well to christen her Plurabelle. O laws! What a flock! She must have been a gadaboutº in
her day, so she must, more than most. So she was, you bet! 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.º |v+2Well, she Shev+|2| can't put her hand on him for the moment.
|2It's a long long way, walking backwards, weary!º |v+O
so Such av+| long way backwards to |v+go. go!v+|2| She says herself she hardly
|v+2knew knowsv+|2| who |2he her
graveller2| was or what he did |2|v+or how young she wasv+|2| 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|2, sauntering,º2| and he was a heavy
|2trudging2| lurching lieabroad of a Curraghman, making his hay for the sun to
shine on, as |2stout tough2| as the |v+2oaks
oaktreesv+|2| used to |v+2grow rustlev+|2| that time down |2by
the dykes2| |v+2in ofv+|2| killing Kildare,º that
first fell |2with a plash2| across her. 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 end her days in the barleyfields and pennylands of |2Humphreystown Humphrey's fordofhurdlestownº2| and lie with a landleaper, well on the wane. |v+2Was it, was it? Was it? Was it?v+|2| Are you sure? Where in Wicklow? Tell meº 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 Orkney|v+2, they say,v+|2| was his name,º 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 inº |2the streams of her hair |v+the bright and saffron streams of her hair the singing saffron streams of her hairv+|2|, |2parting them and soothing her and mingling it, |arubbing her up and smoothing her down,a|2| that was |2richred deepred2| 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 |v+2and, soºv+|, rubbing her up and smoothing her down, he2| cooled his lips in smiling mood, kiss after kiss, onº Anna Livia's
freckled forehead. O, wasn't he the boldº priest? And wasn't she the naughty Livvy? Naughtynaughty is her name. Twoº lads in their breeches went through her before that, Barefoot Byrneº 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 |v+2side slopev+|2| of a hill in old Kippure,º in birdsong and shearingtime,º butº first of all, worst of all, she sideslipped out by a gap in the Devil's Glenº |v+2when whilev+|2| her nurse was sound asleep in a sloot and fell |2over a spillway2| before she found her stride and lay and wriggled |2in all the |arain |bstagnantb| black |bpools of rain |v+rainpools pools of rainv+|b|a|2| under a fallow |2cow cow, laughing free with her limbs aloftº and a whole drove of maiden hawthorns blushing and looking askance upon her2|.
Tell me the sound of the shorthorn's name.º Andº tell me why the something was she freckled. Andº 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 well what you mean. |2What am I rinsing now and I'll thank you? Is it a pinny or is it a surplice? |v+Arrah, where's your nose? |aAnd where's the starch?a| That's not the |asacristy benedictiona| smell. I can tell from here by the eau de Cologne and the scent of her moisture they're Mrs Magrath's. So they are. Well, well! Now,º who has been tearing the leg of her drawers on her? Which leg is it? The one with the bells on it.v+| Rinse |v+it themv+| out and run along with you!º2| Where did I stop? |v+2Don't Neverv+|2| stop. Continuation!º You're not there yet. |v+2Go on. Go on. Go on, go on!v+|2|
Well, after it was put in the |2Beggar's Journal Beggar's Monday
Journal2| everywhere ever you went and every bung you ever dropped intoº or wherever you scoured the countryside you found
his picture upside down or the cornerboys burning
hisº guy and Pat the Man reelingº and rolling
aroundº 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. Whatº 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 of
gigglers,º I can't tell you how! It's too screaming funny, rabbit it all! O,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. 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 |2finish scrub2| 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 from her crown to her sole. Next she greased the groove of her keel with butterscotch and with leafmould she multiplied |2a thousand isles and2| islets dun alloverº 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 |2the fallen2| leaves of weeping willow. Then she made her bracelets and her anklets and her armlets and |2an aº jetty2| amulet for necklace of |2clicking2| cobbles and |2pattering2| pebbles |2and rumblen rumbledown rubble2|, rich gems and rare, of |2Irish2| rhinestones and |2watermarbles shellmarble bangles2|. That done, she sent her boudoir maid to Humphrey with a request she might leave him for a moment and 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? I must, I absolute must hear that! What had she on,º the little old oddity? How much did she carry? Here she is. What has she got? A loin of jubilee mountain mutton.
No mutton 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, a judy queenº the height of your knee. |2And look at her sharp and seize her quick for the longer she lives the shorter she grows.2| Go away! No more?º The height of your knee. 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 |2and a hundred streamers dancing off it2| 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 salmonspotspeckledº: she sported a shimmy of hazegrey: stout stays lined her length: her bloodorange knickers showed natural nigger boggers, fancyfastenedº, free to undo: her blackstripe tan joseph was teddybearlined, with |2a wavy grassgreen epaulettes2| 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 |2she keptº on grinding2| something quaint |2she held2| in her mouth:º 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! Everyone that saw her said the |2dear
douce2| little lady looked a bit queer. Funny poor frump she must have looked.
Dickens a funnier ever you saw.
There was a gang of |2drouthdropping2| surfacemen,
boomslanging and plugchewing, lying and leasing on Lazy Wall and as soon as they |2saw her trip by in profile and2| twigged who it was was in it|2, Lucan's fish and Dublin's poison,2| says one to another: Between |2you and me me and you2| and the |2wall granite2| we're warming, as round as a hoop,º Alp has doped.
Well, around she pattered |2and swung and sidled not knowing which way to turn2| like Santa Claus with a Christmas box apiece for each and
every one of her |2children childer2|.º Andº they all about her, youths and maidens, chippingº
herº and raising a bit of a jeer or cheer every time she'd dip in her sack |2of rubbish she
robbed2| and |2out with reach out2| 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:º a cartridge of cockaleekie soup for Tommy the Soldier:
for Pender's sulky nephew acid drops, curiously strong: a cough and a rattle and wildrose cheeks forº 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:º the papal flag of the saints and stripes for Kevineen O'Dea: a puffpuff for Pudge Craig and a |2marching nightmarching2| hare for Toucher Doyle: waterleg and gumboots each for Bully Hayes and Hurricane Hartigan:º a prodigal heart and fatted calves for Buck Jones, the pride of Clonliffe: |2a loaf of bread and a father's early kick for Tim from Skibereen: |xa jauntingcar for Larry Doolin, the Ballyclee jackeen:x| a |+trial seasick+| trip on a government ship for Peat O'Flanagan: |v+a louse and trap for Jerry Coyle:v+| |xmudmincepies for Andy Mackenzie:x| |xa |v+haircut hairclipv+| and clackdish for Penceless Peter:x| |xa spellingbee book for Rosy Brooke:ºx|2| |2oakwood scruboak2| beads for |v+2Holy holyv+|2| Biddy: |2|+a pretty box of Pettyfib's Powderº for Eileen Alannah to whiten her teeth: a whipping topº for Eddyº Lawless:+|2| for Kitty Coleraine of Buttermilk Lane a penny wise for her foolish pitcher: a putty shovel for Larry the Puckaun: a potamusº head for Promoter Dunne:
a pile with a cross on the back for |v+2Lucky Joe Sunny Jimv+|2|: for Nancy Shannon a Tuam brooch: for Dora Hopeandwater a cooling doucheº and a warmingpan: a |v+2couple of pairs pairv+|2| of Blarney breeks for Wally Meagher: a |2hairpin2| slatepencilº for Elsie Oram to scratch her toby, doing her |2best with her2| vulgar fractions: a big drum for Billy Dunboyne:º and a bladder balloon for Mary Selina Stakelum. But what did she give to Una Ward and Peggy Quilty |2|+and Nora Brosna+|2| and Teasy Kieran and Ena Lappin and Philomena O'Farrell |2|+and Josephine Foyle+|2| and |v+2Moira Maryv+|2| Xavier Agnes 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. Throw us the soap for the honour of God. |2|+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?º My hands are |ablue as bluea| between cold and soda |aas that piece of pattern chayney there, lying below. Or where is it? Lying beside the reeds I saw ita|. But O, go on. I love a gabber.+|2| I could listen to more and more again. |2Rain for the Rain on the2| river. Flies |2for the fish to your float2|. This is the life for me.
Well,º 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? Wring out the clothes! Wring in the dew! Will we spread them here now?º
|v+2Yes Ayv+|2|, we will. Spread on your |2side
bank2| and I'll spread mine on mine. It's what I'm doing. Spread!º |2It's turning chill
it is now. |aThe wind A winda| is rising. I'll
|aput laya| a few stones on the hotel sheets. A man and his bride
|aslept embraceda| between them. |aAnd I'll tie my butcher's apron here.
Six shifts, ten kerchiefs, the convent napkins,º twelve, one baby's shawl.a|2| Where are all her childer now? Some here, more no more, more again
|v+2gone lostv+|2| to the stranger. I've heard tell that same brooch of the Shannons was married into a family in Spain. And all the
Dunnesº takes number nine in hats. |2And one of Biddy's
beads was went |arolling bobbinga| lonesomeº till she |v+stuck |ablank rounded upºa|v+| last Friday week |+with a marigold and a cobbler's candle+| in a |+main+| drain off Bachelor's Walk.2| 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,º in troth. Is that the great Dunboyne himself on his statue riding his high horse there forenenst you? There? Is it that? Throw the cobwebs from your eyes, woman, and spread your washing proper. What is it but a blackberry growthº or the grey mare ass them four old codgers owns. Are you meaning Tarpey and Lyons and Gregory? I mean those four codgers thatº owns that stray in the |v+2night |adark mista|v+|2| and old Johnny MacDougal along with
them. |2Is that the Poolbeg |v+light flasherv+| beyond or |athe mast of a coaster near the Kisha| |v+orv+| a glow |aI beholda| within a hedge?2| My sight is getting thicker on me with the shadows in this place. I'll go home slowly now my own way|2, the valley way2|. So will I too,º by mine.
Ah, but she was the queer old skeowsha anyhow, Anna Livia, twinkletoes! And sure he was the queer old buntzº too, Dear Dirtyº Dumpling, foostherfather of all of
us!º |2Gammer and gaffer,º we're all their gangsters.2|
Hadn't he seven |2wives? dams to wive him? And every dam had
crutches. And every crutch had |v+itsv+| seven hues. And |v+every eachv+| hue had a different cry. Suds for me and supper for you and the doctor's bill forº Joe John.º2| He had |2|v+billygoat buckgoatv+|2| paps on him, soft ones |2for orphans2|. Ho, Lord! Twins of his |v+2chest bosomv+|2|. Lord save us!º And ho! |v+2Yes? Hey?v+|2| What all men. |v+2What? Hot?v+|2| His tittering daughters of. Whawk?
Can't hear with the waters of. The chittering waters of. Flittering bats, fieldmice bawk talk.
|2Ho!2| Are you not gone |2home ahome2|? What
|v+2wrong Tomv+|2| Malone? Can't hear with bawk of bats, all the liffeying waters of. Ho, talk save us! My foos
|2won't woon'tº2| moos. I feel as old as yonder elm. A tale told of Shaun or Shem? All Livia's daughtersons. Dark hawks hear
us!º Night! Night! My ho head halls. I feel
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, |2tell me,2| elm! Nightyº night! Tell me tale of stem or stone. Beside the rivering waters of, hitherandthitheringº waters of. Night!