Make your own free website on Tripod.com

List Of Contents | Contents of Dubliners, by James Joyce
< < Previous Page     Next Page > >

to the bazaar on Saturday night. My aunt was surprised and hoped
it was not some Freemason affair. I answered few questions in
class. I watched my master's face pass from amiability to
sternness; he hoped I was not beginning to idle. I could not call my
wandering thoughts together. I had hardly any patience with the
serious work of life which, now that it stood between me and my
desire, seemed to me child's play, ugly monotonous child's play. 

On Saturday morning I reminded my uncle that I wished to go to
the bazaar in the evening. He was fussing at the hallstand, looking
for the hat-brush, and answered me curtly: 

"Yes, boy, I know." 

As he was in the hall I could not go into the front parlour and lie at
the window. I left the house in bad humour and walked slowly
towards the school. The air was pitilessly raw and already my heart
misgave me. 

When I came home to dinner my uncle had not yet been home.
Still it was early. I sat staring at the clock for some time and. when
its ticking began to irritate me, I left the room. I mounted the
staircase and gained the upper part of the house. The high cold
empty gloomy rooms liberated me and I went from room to room
singing. From the front window I saw my companions playing
below in the street. Their cries reached me weakened and
indistinct and, leaning my forehead against the cool glass, I looked
over at the dark house where she lived. I may have stood there for
an hour, seeing nothing but the brown-clad figure cast by my
imagination, touched discreetly by the lamplight at the curved
neck, at the hand upon the railings and at the border below the
dress. 

When I came downstairs again I found Mrs. Mercer sitting at the
fire. She was an old garrulous woman, a pawnbroker's widow, who
collected used stamps for some pious purpose. I had to endure the
gossip of the tea-table. The meal was prolonged beyond an hour
and still my uncle did not come. Mrs. Mercer stood up to go: she
was sorry she couldn't wait any longer, but it was after eight
o'clock and she did not like to be out late as the night air was bad
for her. When she had gone I began to walk up and down the
room, clenching my fists. My aunt said: 

"I'm afraid you may put off your bazaar for this night of Our Lord." 

At nine o'clock I heard my uncle's latchkey in the halldoor. I heard
him talking to himself and heard the hallstand rocking when it had
received the weight of his overcoat. I could interpret these signs.
When he was midway through his dinner I asked him to give me
the money to go to the bazaar. He had forgotten. 

"The people are in bed and after their first sleep now," he said. 

I did not smile. My aunt said to him energetically: 

"Can't you give him the money and let him go? You've kept him
late enough as it is." 

My uncle said he was very sorry he had forgotten. He said he
believed in the old saying: "All work and no play makes Jack a
dull boy." He asked me where I was going and, when I had told
him a second time he asked me did I know The Arab's Farewell to
his Steed. When I left the kitchen he was about to recite the
opening lines of the piece to my aunt. 

I held a florin tightly in my hand as I strode down Buckingham
Street towards the station. The sight of the streets thronged with
buyers and glaring with gas recalled to me the purpose of my
journey. I took my seat in a third-class carriage of a deserted train.
After an intolerable delay the train moved out of the station
slowly. It crept onward among ruinous house and over the
twinkling river. At Westland Row Station a crowd of people
pressed to the carriage doors; but the porters moved them back,
saying that it was a special train for the bazaar. I remained alone in
the bare carriage. In a few minutes the train drew up beside an
improvised wooden platform. I passed out on to the road and saw
by the lighted dial of a clock that it was ten minutes to ten. In front
of me was a large building which displayed the magical name. 

I could not find any sixpenny entrance and, fearing that the bazaar
would be closed, I passed in quickly through a turnstile, handing a
shilling to a weary-looking man. I found myself in a big hall
girdled at half its height by a gallery. Nearly all the stalls were
closed and the greater part of the hall was in darkness. I recognised
a silence like that which pervades a church after a service. I
walked into the centre of the bazaar timidly. A few people were
gathered about the stalls which were still open. Before a curtain,
over which the words Cafe Chantant were written in coloured
lamps, two men were counting money on a salver. I listened to the
fall of the coins. 

Remembering with difficulty why I had come I went over to one of
the stalls and examined porcelain vases and flowered tea- sets. At
the door of the stall a young lady was talking and laughing with
two young gentlemen. I remarked their English accents and
listened vaguely to their conversation. 

"O, I never said such a thing!" 

"O, but you did!" 

"O, but I didn't!" 

"Didn't she say that?" 

"Yes. I heard her." 

"0, there's a ... fib!" 

Observing me the young lady came over and asked me did I wish
to buy anything. The tone of her voice was not encouraging; she
seemed to have spoken to me out of a sense of duty. I looked
humbly at the great jars that stood like eastern guards at either side
of the dark entrance to the stall and murmured: 

"No, thank you." 

The young lady changed the position of one of the vases and went
back to the two young men. They began to talk of the same
subject. Once or twice the young lady glanced at me over her
shoulder. 

I lingered before her stall, though I knew my stay was useless, to
make my interest in her wares seem the more real. Then I turned
away slowly and walked down the middle of the bazaar. I allowed
the two pennies to fall against the sixpence in my pocket. I heard a
voice call from one end of the gallery that the light was out. The
upper part of the hall was now completely dark. 

Gazing up into the darkness I saw myself as a creature driven and
derided by vanity; and my eyes burned with anguish and anger. 

EVELINE 

SHE sat at the window watching the evening invade the avenue.
Her head was leaned against the window curtains and in her
nostrils was the odour of dusty cretonne. She was tired. 

Few people passed. The man out of the last house passed on his
way home; she heard his footsteps clacking along the concrete
pavement and afterwards crunching on the cinder path before the
new red houses. One time there used to be a field there in which
they used to play every evening with other people's children. Then
a man from Belfast bought the field and built houses in it -- not
like their little brown houses but bright brick houses with shining
roofs. The children of the avenue used to play together in that field
-- the Devines, the Waters, the Dunns, little Keogh the cripple, she
and her brothers and sisters. Ernest, however, never played: he was
too grown up. Her father used often to hunt them in out of the field
with his blackthorn stick; but usually little Keogh used to keep nix
and call out when he saw her father coming. Still they seemed to
have been rather happy then. Her father was not so bad then; and
besides, her mother was alive. That was a long time ago; she and
her brothers and sisters were all grown up her mother was dead.
Tizzie Dunn was dead, too, and the Waters had gone back to
England. Everything changes. Now she was going to go away like
the others, to leave her home. 

Home! She looked round the room, reviewing all its familiar
objects which she had dusted once a week for so many years,
wondering where on earth all the dust came from. Perhaps she
would never see again those familiar objects from which she had
never dreamed of being divided. And yet during all those years she
had never found out the name of the priest whose yellowing
photograph hung on the wall above the broken harmonium beside
the coloured print of the promises made to Blessed Margaret Mary
Alacoque. He had been a school friend of her father. Whenever he
showed the photograph to a visitor her father used to pass it with a
casual word: 

"He is in Melbourne now." 

She had consented to go away, to leave her home. Was that wise?
She tried to weigh each side of the question. In her home anyway
she had shelter and food; she had those whom she had known all
her life about her. O course she had to work hard, both in the
house and at business. What would they say of her in the Stores
when they found out that she had run away with a fellow? Say she
was a fool, perhaps; and her place would be filled up by
advertisement. Miss Gavan would be glad. She had always had an
edge on her, especially whenever there were people listening. 

"Miss Hill, don't you see these ladies are waiting?" 

"Look lively, Miss Hill, please." 

She would not cry many tears at leaving the Stores. 

But in her new home, in a distant unknown country, it would not
be like that. Then she would be married -- she, Eveline. People
would treat her with respect then. She would not be treated as her
mother had been. Even now, though she was over nineteen, she
sometimes felt herself in danger of her father's violence. She knew
it was that that had given her the palpitations. When they were
growing up he had never gone for her like he used to go for Harry
and Ernest, because she was a girl but latterly he had begun to
threaten her and say what he would do to her only for her dead
mother's sake. And no she had nobody to protect her. Ernest was
dead and Harry, who was in the church decorating business, was
nearly always down somewhere in the country. Besides, the
invariable squabble for money on Saturday nights had begun to
weary her unspeakably. She always gave her entire wages -- seven
shillings -- and Harry always sent up what he could but the trouble
was to get any money from her father. He said she used to
squander the money, that she had no head, that he wasn't going to
give her his hard-earned money to throw about the streets, and

< < Previous Page     Next Page > >



Other sites:

db3nf.com screen-capture.net floresca.net simonova.net flora-source.com flora-source.com sourcecentral.com sourcecentral.com geocities.com