From “Echo’s Bones”

By Samuel Beckett.

Something simply had to happen, the ground-fog lifted, the sky was mare’s-tail and shed a livid light, ghastly in the puddles that pitted the land, but beautiful also, like the complexion of Addison’s disease. A child, radiant in scarlet diaper and pale blue pilch, skipped down off the road and began to sail a boat.

“Though you hedge” said Belacqua, “Miss Privet, yet do you win, and my shame be my glory.”

“That’s a most sensible cadaver” said Zaborovna. She began to back away most gracefully.

“Let the deadbeats get on” said Belacqua, “I can’t bear a crowd.”

The faithful, seeded with demons, a dim rabble, cringing home after Vespers, regrettably not Sicilian. In the van an Editor, of a Monthly masquerading as a Quarterly, his po hat cockaded fore and aft with a title-page and a poem of pleasure, a tailor of John Jameson o’Lantern dancing before him; next, a friend’s wife, splendid specimen of exophthalmic goitre, storming along, her nipples up her nose; next, a Gipsy Rondo, glabrous but fecund, by-blow of a long line of aguas and iluminaciones; next, Hairy, leaning back, moving very stiff and open; next, in a covered Baby Austen, the Count of Parabimbi and his lady; next, trained to a hair, a nest of rank outsiders, mending in perfect amity a hard place in Eliot, relaxing from time to time to quire their manifesto: “Boycott Poulter’s Measure!”; next, as usual in the thick of the mischief, a caput of highly liberally educated ex-eunuchs, rotating slowly as they tottered forward, their worn buttocks gleaming through the slits in their robes; next, Caleken Frica, stark staring naked, jotting notes for period dialogue with a cauter dipped in cocoa round the riddle of her navel minnehaha minnehaha; next, a honeymoon unicorn, brow-beating his half-hunter; next, a Yogi milkman, singeing his beard with a standard candle, a contortionist leprechaun riding in his brain (abdominal); next, the sisters Debauch and Death, holding their noses. So they passed by and passed away, those mentioned and one or two more, the second after the first, the third after the second, and so forth in order, until the last — a fully grown androgyne of tempestuous loveliness — after the rest, and after the last a spacious nothing.


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