whispering of fields unsown
Clever Freddie Tanner and beautiful but 'simple' Kathleen Soper are childhood sweethearts in the grimy streets of the East End, growing up in the shadows of deprivation and fascism.
Freddie has high hopes of a glittering, professional career but his, and Kathy's dreams are thwarted by the relentless course of history, their own human weakness and the increasingly tawdry world that followed the War.
This humorous and plaintive story, concerned with Fate as well as the redemptive power of Love, is set in East London; in Paglesham on the Essex Coast and on the Pier of the seaside town of Southend during the years 1936 - 1953.
Extract from the novel: a chapter from Book Four 'Strings of Broken Lyres' 1950-1953
HERE'S A NIGHT PITIES NEITHER WISE MEN NOR FOOLS
Saturday 31st January 1953
The Meteorological Office first begins to send out warnings of rapidly deteriorating weather, especially for the East Coast and the Thames Estuary, on Friday 30th January. A very low depression is moving south; strong, hurricane force winds are whipping the seas into monstrous walls of freezing water, twenty feet or more in height. Spring tides and very high levels of water running into the North Sea from swollen rivers add to the problem. Water begins to pile up in the southern, narrow reaches of the North Sea and then has nowhere to go but onto the marshy coastlines of East Anglia and the Low Countries. It is later described as a one-in-a-thousand-years combination of factors.
Freddie hears the weather forecasts and warnings but, like many people, he does not register their full import straight away. In his case, this is more because he is, "having one of his funny times", as Kathleen puts it, than that he does not understand meteorology.
Just before Christmas, he begins behaving oddly again. When they go to see the Christmas Show at the Pavilion, he has been drinking, even though he is not supposed to do so. He has managed to stay clear of alcohol for a considerable time and the lapse disappoints Kathleen, for his actions threaten their cautious domestic stability, let alone that they might upset her evening out. It is clear he does not approve of the show, but before long he falls asleep - or into a drunken stupor - in his seat. There he thrashes around, kicks his legs, waves his arms about and shouts incoherently a couple of times, much to Kathleen's embarrassment, but otherwise he is mercifully quiet. He is not easily roused at the end of the evening. Fortunately, Bernard is on hand to help Kathleen. He has gone to the theatre to make sure everything is alright, having been worried by Freddie's appearance earlier in the evening. The two of them manage to get him home, although they have to drag him most of the way.
By the Saturday afternoon, there is widespread concern about flooding. The pier is closed as a safety measure, but Freddie, unknown to anyone, is still there and has been since very early morning. He has been hiding in 'Treasure Island' where he has a stash of alcohol: bottles of beer and whisky are carefully smuggled there over many weeks. Between the roof of the Arcade and the top of the 'Pieces of Eight' Change Booth, a space about four feet high, he has made a kind of nest. It is a snug, dark place. It is safe like the Anderson Shelters; enclosed like the burrow on the platform; gloomy like the space under the graveyard yew trees he remembers from his childhood and damp-smelling like the tunnels at Bow Station. It could also be comforting like the marriage bed or the womb but the terrible shrilling of the wind creates a nervous unease. He can hear waves breaking alarmingly loudly against the pier's piles, causing shock waves under his body. He draws his knees higher up into a foetal position and tries to block out the noises of the storm. Better to replace them with his distant memory of Ma singing nursery rhymes to him when he was little. He listens attentively, trying to focus on Ma's face. He cannot now remember her with any certainty. He has never had a photograph to help him remember. It is a source of great sadness to him.
That part of his mind that is not befuddled by drink or his mental confusions knows that he is lying in the cramped space above 'Pieces of Eight' and that a terrible storm is brewing, but this little clarity is fast disappearing like the dull grey light over the Thames. Mostly, it is cold and frightening; not at all what he instinctively anticipated when creating his cave. Sometimes the whistling of the wind and the hissing or running seas sound like voices. They are not soothing or friendly voices either; rather they sneer, hector and denigrate.
Things are being blown about; doors are opening and closing; the sails on 'Hispaniola' are flapping and the fading light is producing flickering shadows that look like people moving amongst the machines and booths. He is not sure and he wipes his glasses on his shirt in case smears are causing illusions. He lifts the whisky bottle to his mouth and takes several gulps. That will be sure to steady his nerves, he thinks.
Across the slippery deck, slicked with brown suds, the old pirate ship's mast is creaking and shuddering with the force of the storm. He can hear the seas smacking against the hull, making every plank groan, and he can hear the wind howling horribly through the rigging. He hopes that 'Hispaniola' will not founder. Is that Long John Silver pacing the deck, lifting his crutch high in the air from time to time and casting imprecations at the unruly elements? Yes, for he is the only one known to have lost a leg. If a man with one leg can ride the storm, there is hope for the rest of us. It seems a good idea to have another ration of grog.
Now there is something scuttling down the mast? It is an odd creature that seems to have five arms and legs. Long John swipes at it with his crutch. There is some old sacking hanging across the opening to Freddie's burrow and he pulls this across his face hoping to conceal himself, as children do when they put their hands over their eyes. Of course, it does not deter the creature's movements towards him. It is Mr. Jester.
"How that personage haunted my dreams, I need scarcely tell you," says little Freddie, reading from his copy of Treasure Island with a shaky voice. "On stormy nights, when the wind shook the four corners of the house, and the surf roared along the cove and up the cliffs, I would see him in a thousand forms, and with a thousand diabolical expressions."
Mr. Jester stands in front of Freddie's hiding place, smoothing his codpiece languidly.
"What are you doing here? Don't you know there's a terrible storm? It's dangerous. There's already several inches of water on the sea front. And in Pleasant Road. What about your lovely young wife?" says Mr. Jester. "You should be looking after her. Otherwise somebody else might."
"My wife is no concern of yours, you leering brute," mumbles Freddie. " 'Hispaniola' will float, never fear."
"Here's a night pities neither wise men nor fools," says Mr. Jester, pointing down at the deck where water is splashing up from below. "She's already listing to port. Going down, as sure as you."
Freddie wipes sea-water from his eyes. As his vision clears, he sees that Mr. Jester is swinging away through the rigging, an ungainly five-limbed monkey. But he is still not alone. He can just make out the door to Benny's workshop, swinging to and fro as the wind takes it. Inside the workshop is the girl with ginger hair, beckoning with her finger.
"Oh, oh, come on, Freddie," she calls. Her thighs are silvered with phosphorescence from the sea. She rubs them together like a praying mantis and Freddie leans forward, hoping to stroke their lissom smoothness, but of course he cannot reach.
"Give her one!" shout Pa and Vinny in unison. "Come on, what's the matter with you?"
Freddie looks around him but he cannot see his father or his brother. Suddenly, in one of those moments of absolute clarity which he experiences even in the depths of his hallucinations, he knows they have been dead, like Ma, like Aunty Vi, for a long time. And the girl with ginger hair and silver loins is not here either. He must be imagining all this then? He begins to weep and then swills at the bottle again.
Now there is another voice, but seemingly not disembodied this time. A thin, emaciated figure shuffles towards Freddie. He taps with a stick on the wet deck or the metal stanchions to find his way. His damp hair is plastered to his furrowed brow; his free hand trembles.
"Who are you? Are you Death?" says Freddie, terrified, trying to push back further into the safety of his hole. "You see? I have my grave ready."
"Hah! I am a poor blind man," says Pew, "who has lost the precious sight of his eyes in the gracious defence of his native country, England, and God bless King George!"
"You're an old soldier? Go away!" screams Freddie, "leave me alone!"
"Too late for that. Ah, now, there you are!" says Blind Pew, coming to a halt in front of Freddie. "I can't see, but I can hear you stirring. I can smell the mouldering earth." He lurches forward, unerringly reaching for Freddie's hand. Freddie tries to withdraw it but he is too slow; the drink has numbed his reactions. The old man has a tight grip on his wrist. With his trembling, bony fingers, he presses something into Freddie's palm.
"Mark it well, boy!" he cackles, tapping his stick repeatedly, in time with the way the wind is clattering the ship's halyards.
Freddie opens his palm and sees that he has been given a corner from a page of one of his own journals. On one side of the damp scrap of paper there is a round, black spot, marked heavily in jet-black ink.
"The black spot! So...but...how..how long have I got?" asks Freddie, reaching for the whisky bottle.
"That's what we'd all like to find out, my lad," saws Pew. "But here's a word of advice from one who knows! Old Pew may be blind but he sees. Don't put too much store by that old gravestone you have propped up there ready, see? "At rest until the day break and the shadows flee away." You remember? Of course you do! Fine words, fine words, but let me tell you, the shadows stay with you, boy, they stay with you." With that, the old man turns and makes his way laboriously across the deck, its planks now awash with sea-water being forced up through the joins by the raging seas beneath.
Freddie looks down at the black spot and then screws it into a small ball before throwing it into the water slopping about in the bilges. He raises the whisky bottle to his lips once again and drains the contents. He feels faint; his head is thumping even more insistently than the swell kicking the structure beneath him. He falls into a stupor.
He lies unconscious for some time. Opening his eyes much later and looking down, he sees that the waters have risen several inches. Is the ship sinking? It is much darker but he can still see enough. Yes, 'Hispaniola' has tipped several degrees to port. She's turning turtle!
Benny's workshop door is still moving, but now not with the wind. It is washing backwards and forwards with the movement of the flood. The girl with ginger hair, whose name he is struggling to recall, is now lying face down in the muddy water sluicing in the doorway. Her hair floats around her head, a strangely luminous mass of tangled, orange seaweed. She appears to be naked from the waist down. Pa is standing beside her, buttoning his fly. He smiles and licks his lips. Someone is shaking his shoulder violently.
"Come on, Mr. Tanner, they're waiting. There isn't much time. Look lively!" snaps the Orderly. "Stand to attention in front of the table."
Marchbanks looks at him, his half-moon glasses perched on the end of his nose. "What have you to say for yourself now?" he asks. "How much for your fine principles this evening?"
"Ah, there you are, boy!" booms the voice of Mr. Williams from the other end of the long table. His bellow is loud even over the howling of the wind. "What did I say? A fine future ruined by gross intemperance! Isn't that right?"
Mr. Vickery looks up from his papers and begins to pull an enormous lump of wax from one ear. It is the size of a stag beetle or a cockroach. He rolls it between his thumb and finger. "How do you feel about your life, Mr. Tanner? Do you feel that you have fulfilled the potential that others saw in you in your youth?"
"Ha!" exclaims the Headmaster. "Boy could have read Law or Medicine, perhaps. Look at him, drunk in charge of a flooded amusement arcade. How tawdry! How superficial! But then, there we are: the country's going to the dogs!"
Freddie hangs his head, blubbering like a child, waiting for the Headmaster's cane to lash his outstretched hand. Fleetingly, through the tears clogging his eyelashes, he sees Mr. Jester again, running across the deck, his codpiece riding high in front of him. "Meet me down on the platform!" he yells, chortling.
"Kathy...I don't think we ought to," Freddie mutters.
"I'm not that kind of girl. But you can if you want," whispers a voice. Freddie peers into the darkness. Is it Kathy? Or someone else?
"These days," yells the Headmaster, "everyone's that kind of girl. No moral fibre; no discipline; youths roaming the streets at night, drunk; polluted cities and polluted minds! What have you to say, Tanner?"
"If I should die, think only this of me: That there's some corner of a foreign field that is for ever England," intones Freddie lamely.
"You?" says Marchbanks. "Clever, maybe, but no soldier, were you? Conscientious objector. No glory or requiems for you, no reserved plot; just everlasting nothingness."
"For ever England? For ever polluted in every way. Mark my words," says the Headmaster. "It's coming."
"...But you can if you want," whispers the little voice again.
"Kathy? Kathy! Where are you? I'm sorry, Kathy, I didn't mean to do it; any of it. Help me, Kathy! For Christ's sake help me!" he cries.
There is no answer other than the screaming wind, the waves jarring the piles and deck planks beneath him and the shattering of glass and crockery as the Thames hammers through the broken windows of 'The Admiral Benbow'.
"She's going down!" shouts Long John Silver from somewhere on the poop deck. "Come on, boys! Abandon ship! You hear me? The old 'Hispaniola' is going down to Davy Jones! Abandon ship!"
Freddie hears the warning shout and jumps towards the steps he has set against the booth. As he begins to slide down them, he sees a crumpled, lifeless body lying at the bottom, its head partly submerged in the rising waters. It is Ma. He wants to tell her that he knows she suffered in order to protect him. He bends to her but it is too late; he can see that her flesh is already decomposing. He opens his mouth to scream but nothing emerges except a trickle of yellow slime.
"Bloody lethal, those stairs," calls Pa as Freddie coughs, retches and stumbles out into the night. On the open deck the noise is deafening. The seas are breaking over the rails and the wind has the screaming intensity of a machine-shop. Pieces of wood, glass, tin and canvas that have been ripped from the super-structure are now being thrown through the air with all the force of shells from a gun. Hearing explosions, Freddie looks off to the East and sees the shape of a Messerschmitt falling out of the flapping rags of clouds. It begins firing."Kathy! Kathy! For God's sake, help me!" screams Freddie again and again as he runs headlong towards the ship's rail. He clambers up its slippery bars and looks down at the boiling, surging sea just a few feet below. Through the spray and the flying debris, he can see the lights of a town flickering fitfully a mile or so away. It must be better to take my chances in the water, for I can swim to shore, he thinks, than to stay here on a sinking ship where I'll either be drowned below decks or be shot to pieces by enemy fighters.
In any case, it would not be possible to hesitate for long on the top of the rail. The hurricane is tugging at him relentlessly and the bitter cold has frozen his fingers so that his hold on the top rail is failing fast. He loosens his grip, closes his eyes and, giving a push with his feet, drops into the foaming sea.
The furious tide spins him and turns him, bringing him to the surface and then sucking him down again amongst sand, cockle shells, broken boat spars, shards of crockery, rusting tins and the carcase of a drowned sheep carried from Foulness Island. He is swept this way for some distance. Eventually, after many minutes, his body, no more than a piece of flotsam to the angry sea, is propelled out of the main flow of the tide by an enormous soupy surge of mud, water and wreckage. He is cast carelessly ashore on the edge of Leigh Creek where his clothing snags on the snapped prow of a long-sunken dinghy.
He lies face down in the mud and sedge grass. As the tide begins to ebb some hours later, the wind abates and he is covered by a layer of snow, woolly pieces of a dirty blanket falling softly from a beaten-lead sky.
The author's remarks:
The title of the novel is a line from Wilfred Owen's poem of 1917, 'Futility', written not long before his death. The poem is re-printed in full at the beginning of the book:
Move him into the sun -
Gently its touch awoke him once,
At home, whispering of fields unsown.
Always it woke him, even in France,
Until this morning and this snow.
If anything might rouse him now
The kind old sun will know.
Think how it wakes the seeds, -
Woke, once, the clays of a cold star.
Are limbs, so dear-achieved, are sides
Full nerved - still warm - too hard to stir?
Was it for this the clay grew tall?
O - what made fatuous sunbeams toil
To break Earth's sleep at all?
I was introduced to this poem, and many others of similar theme, at school was I was 14 or 15. Those poems - bleak, despairing, angry and articulating a resigned hopelessness - had a profound effect on me. I looked around me and wondered why we seemed to have learned nothing from the horrors of the trenches in The Great War, or the terror of aerial bombardment in the Second.
And yet this is not a war story in the conventional sense of the phrase, although it is true that many of the early chapters are set during the Blitz on the East End of London. Rather, the poems and their record of war, coupled with other things, brought me to consider in the story the apparent pointlessness of the human condition. I say 'apparent' because that is not the story's conclusion, as Grace Soper intimates in her introduction to her father Freddie's diaries.
During an abominably hot and humid night in August 1997, my father died; quietly, after a short illness, in the family home at Paglesham. My mother was remarkably calm and stoical, given the circumstances.
"It makes you wonder what it's all for, doesn't it?" she said, after a long, ruminative silence. "All that worrying; that struggling to make things better. The work, the blood sweat and tears."
We are not a 'religious' family. Dad was an analytical chemist and atomic physicist who dismissed talk of an after-life as "complete poppy-cock". Mum is similarly sceptical, so her remark was in character and understandable at the time. Of course, it is also easily answered: without endeavour, human beings would still be in caves.
But the remark has stayed with me and is reflected in the novel's characters' conversations on more than one occasion. As Benny says on page 14, "I mean ter say, whatever 'e did or tried ter do and whatever 'e worried about for 'is whole life, it don't matter no bleedin' more, do it? It's all gone, into this 'ole in the ground."
The gravestone inscription, "At rest until the day break and the shadows flee away", that Benny stumbles to read here is a repeated motif in the early part of the novel (and re-appears later) and is something else from my own past. A few years ago, when researching my maternal grandfather's history, I discovered that this line from The Song of Solomon is carved on the stone on the family vault in which my great-grandparents and many of their children lie in an ancient Oldham churchyard. It struck me as a touching epitaph, seeming to allude with confidence to a life beyond the darkness of the tomb.
But then I discovered from a cousin who still lives in Oldham that the stone and the railings around the vault have been removed. One understands that these things happen (although it's questionable whether they should) but nevertheless I was upset, annoyed and ultimately rueful: there is no certainty for any of us, even in our final resting place! Eventually, we are all tidied away and thereby many of our markers are lost or forgotten.
It is part of human nature to think about who and what we are as individuals; to wonder about what has shaped us and the extent to which our circumstances of birth, our temperaments and then external forces out of our control ('Fate' if you will) affect our lives.
Freddie Tanner, the story's main character (all the action revolves around his fortunes) is a very principled young man of considerable intelligence, charm and potential. But, as we know, human potential is not always fulfilled. Like all of us, Freddie is shaped by his childhood: in this case, a somewhat impoverished and violent one which ultimately unhinges his mental stability. Kathleen, by contrast, although she is introduced to us as a child both orphaned and damaged by her mother's difficult labour, survives all that life throws at her and retains a remarkable stoicism and clarity of purpose to the end. As the story concludes, it is Kathleen who sees the 'point' of their lives and who embodies the redemptive power of forgiveness and love.
Freddie's love for beautiful Kathleen Soper we can see is genuine enough (and it is the lynch-pin of the narrative) but it is accompanied by a sexual fecklessness which, we might conclude, Freddie has in some way 'inherited' from his promiscuous father. In any event, their imprudent actions on Bow Station during an air raid determine the course of their lives. This kind of thing, of course, is not 'Fate' in my view and nor is it pre-meditated. It is human passion. The narrative does not label it as either good or bad but rather sees it as the thing which drives us all and which may be controlled or even subsumed by some, but not by others, depending on our temperaments.
The War affected all who lived through it. Many people's hopes and dreams were thwarted. (My own father's desire to go to University was never realised because, in 1939, the War got in the way, as it did for very many of his generation.) After the War Freddie is in the enviable position of having the money (from an inheritance) to enable him to complete his education. He chooses not to do so, saying that, "time's moved on...I got diverted..." (p. 159).
Again, we are not invited to criticise this, but rather to see it as it is. Similarly, we may be shocked by Freddie's later infidelity, but like his decision to turn his back on higher education, we should not be surprised. The "bright future" that it is thought that Freddie might have when he is a schoolboy, evolves into a life in which the illumination is provided by the flickering signs of an amusement arcade on the end of the pier.
The amusement arcade is named 'Treasure Island' at Freddie's suggestion. He reads Stevenson's adventure in his youth and both the excitement and the murderous menace of that tale are reflected in "Whispering of Fields Unsown". Further, the flippant pursuits of the trippers and the rather tawdry world of the arcade and its surroundings are employed to make us wonder whether this is indeed the 'freedom' that winning the War, at such cost, was meant to deliver. We can perhaps see in it the germ of the 'dumbed-down' world in which we now live.
As Stan observes so bluntly, "I told yer, the war's over. 'Ow many more times 'ave I got ter say it? It's a new world out there. People are fed up to the back teeth with rationing, restraint and fuckin' utility this and utility that. It'll all go, given time, you'll see. Give 'em a little bit of escape; a happy dream, see? Cheap fun, thrills, bright lights and candy floss and they'll be screamin' for more, like tarts on a tandem." (p.161.)
There are several sequences in the novel where I have departed from conventional prose and turned to play script. In these sequences we are never sure what is 'real' or what is not because they are a play and also because we understand that Freddie's perception is increasingly faulty. So, we see the world in these extracts much as Freddie does - with uncertainty and confusion.
I decided to set the story in and around my native Southend-on-Sea for more than just convenience. Paglesham in the story is the place where Freddie and Kathleen commence their married life and where, despite their poverty and the harsh working conditions, they are happiest. It is a place of calm and, perhaps, where Time stands still. In the sequences set in the village, the outside world intrudes with Aunty Vi's death and the nightly air raids - and these have to be attended to - but I wanted these chapters to place the protagonists in a kind of limbo.
But neither Freddie nor Kathleen are entirely content in the village. Kathleen feels isolated and Freddie is frustrated by what he feels is demeaning farm work. But, as I have said, when he has the opportunity later to 'better' himself, he turns away from the chance.
Southend itself was, and still is, a very different place from Paglesham. It has calmer backwaters, perhaps most notably on Leigh Marshes or the upper reaches of the creeks:
But the area around the pier, known locally as 'The Golden Mile', has for as long as I can remember been a place of noise, flickering neon lights, discarded fish'n'chip wrappers and children eating ice creams. I do not mean there is anything wrong with this. Merely, it serves to form a contrast with the slow, farming life of Paglesham but a few miles north and also to point up the rather superficial world that Freddie (the man of principle) slides into.
Furthermore, of course, the unspoken question is to wonder whether it is this world that those who died at Dunkirk (and many other places) gave their lives to protect. 'Was it for this the clay grew tall?' as Owen says in his poem.
Much of the first part of the story alludes to Matthew Arnold's poem 'Dover Beach' (also printed in the book). It was written in 1867 but seems in some respects remarkably modern in despairing about the world we have left behind. (Arnold was actually concerned by the loss of 'Faith' - religion; morality.) He sees his modern world as being sad and having no purpose - it is a 'darkling plain'.
Therefore, he says, we should be 'true to one another' - we should nurture love. It is this line to which Dr Grace Soper refers in the novel's Introduction. She, of course, is Freddie and Kathleen's love-child. It is through her success as a Doctor that we can see that although human life may be difficult, painful or apparently inconsequential, that does not have to be the given condition.
Literary references in the novel
The novel contains a large number of literary references - there are several chapters set in schoolrooms and, of course, Freddie is a learned young man. I had originally intended to print what follows in the book itself, but then thought better of it.
For those readers who may be interested, the references are as follows:
p.14 - Until the day break, and the shadows flee away
The Bible, Old Testament, The Song of Solomon, 4,6
p.33 - Thou hast doves' eyes within thy locks
The Bible, Old Testament, The Song of Solomon, 4,1
p.37 - Mowing like grass your fresh fair virgins and your flow'ring infants
Shakespeare, 'King Henry V', Act 3, Scene 3
p.60 - There is a green hill far away...
Hymn 155, Hymn Book for Methodist Sunday Schools, 1899
p.72 - Carpe diem
Odes, Book 1, Horace (68-8BC)
p.75 - The Lord's my Shepherd, I'll not want...
The Bible, Old Testament, The 23rd Psalm, A Psalm of David
p.77 - (Macduff was from his mother's womb) Untimely ripped
Shakespeare, 'Macbeth', Act 5, Scene 7
p.78 - Theirs not to reason why, Theirs but to do and die...
'The Charge of the Light Brigade', Tennyson (1854)
p.88 - The best laid schemes o' mice an' men gang aft a-gley
'To a Mouse' , Robert Burns (1786)
p.104 - The old Lie: Dulce et decorum est, Pro patria mori
'Dulce et Deecorum Est', Wilfred Owen, 1917
p.114 - ...why in a moment look to see...
Shakespeare, King Henry V, Act 3, Scene 4
p.137 - We are Fred Karno's army, etc
An allusion to Fred Karno, the comedian and producer of stage burlesques, whose real name was Frederick John Westcott (1866-1941). It became a by-word for anything organised by Authority that was chaotic. It was sung to the tune of 'The Church's One Foundation,' and dates from the First World War when, of course, the soldiers would sing of The Kaiser instead of Hitler.
p.138 - What passing-bells for these who die as cattle?
'Anthem for Doomed Youth, Wilfred Owen, 1917
p.141 - As flies to wanton boys, are we to the Gods; They kill us for their sport
Shakespeare, 'King Lear', Act 4, Scene 1
p.147 - Oh, Brave New World, That has such people in't
Shakespeare, 'The Tempest', Act 5, Scene 1
p.157 - Out of the mouth of babes and sucklings (hast thou ordained strength Because of thine enemies...)
The Bible, Old Testament, Psalm 8, Verse 2
p.162 - Keep thy foot out of brothels, thy hand out of plackets, thy pen from lender's books and defy the foul fiend
Shakespeare, 'King Lear', Act 3, Scene 4
p.168 - Qu'ils mangent de la brioche
Allegedly spoken by Marie-Antoinette (1755-93) on being told that her people had no bread to eat.
p.171 - ...will go onward the same, Though Dynasties pass
see page 268
p.171 - ...the monstrous town...marked ominously in the sky, a brooding gloom in sunshine..
'Heart of Darkness', Joseph Conrad, 1902; see also p.143
p.181 - The Child is father of the Man
'My Heart Leaps up when I Behold', William Wordsworth, 1807
p.196 - The blood-dimmed tide is loosed, and everywhere...
p.201 - Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold
'The Second Coming', W.B.Yeats, 1921
p.204 - To sleep, perchance to dream
Shakespeare, 'Hamlet', Act 3, Scene 1
p.209 - Strings of broken lyres
from 'The Darkling Thrush', Thomas Hardy, 1900
p.210 - This tempest in my mind
Shakespeare, 'King Lear, Act 3, Scene 4
p.218 - Shut out that stealing moon
from 'Shut out that Moon', Thomas Hardy, 1904
p.224 - Die for adultery...
Shakespeare, King Lear, Act 4, Scene 6
p.228 - My way of life is fallen into the sere
Shakespeare, Macbeth, Act 5, Scene 3
p.246 - Here's a night pities neither wise men nor fools
Shakespeare, 'King Lear', Act 3, Scene 2
p.250 - If I should die, think only this of me...
'The Soldier', Rupert Brooke, 1914
p.253 - The Weakening Eye of Day
from 'The Darkling Thrush', Thomas Hardy, 1900