Now the town is disk. Each cobble, donkey, goose and gooseberry street is a thoroughfare of dusk; and dusk and ceremonial dust, and- night's first darkening snow, and the sleep of birds, drift under and through the live dusk of this place of love. Llaregyb is the capital of dusk.
Mrs Ogmore-Pritchard, at the first drop of the dusk-shower, seals all her sea-view doors, draws the germ-free blinds, sits, erect as a dry dream on a high-backed hygienic chair and wills herself to cold, quick sleep. At once, at twice, Mr Ogmore and Mr Pritchard, who all dead day long have been gossiping like ghosts in the woodshed, planning the loveless destruction of their glass widow, reluctantly sigh and sidle into her clean house.
MR PRITCHARD You first, Mr Ogmore.
MR OGMORE After you, Mr Pritchard.
MR PRITCHARD No, no, Mr Ogmore. You widowed her first.
FIRST VOICE And in through the keyhole, with tears where their eyes once were, they ooze and grumble.
MRS OGMORE-PRITCHARD Husbands,
FIRST VOICE she says in her sleep. There is acid love in her voice for one of the two shambling phantoms. Mr Ogmore hopes that it is not for him. So does Mr Pritchard.
MRS OGMORE-PRITCHARD I love you both.
MR OGMORE (With terror) Oh, Mrs Ogmore.
MR PRITCHARD (With horror) Oh, Mrs Pritchard.
MRS OGMORE-PRITCHARD Soon it will be time to go to bed. Tell me your tasks in order.
MR OGMORE AND MR PRITCHARD We must take our pyjamas from the drawer marked pyjamas.
MRS OGMORE-PRITCHARD (Coldly) And then you must take them off.
SECOND VOICE Down in the dusking town, Mae Rose Cottage, still lying in clover, listens to the nannygoats chew, draws circles of lipstick round her nipples.
MAE ROSE COTTAGE I'm fast. I'm a bad lot. God will strike me dead. I'm seventeen. I'll go to hell,
SECOND VOICE she tells the goats.
MAE ROSE COTTAGE You just wait. I'll sin till I blow up!
SECOND VOICE She lies deep, waiting for the worst to happen; the goats champ and sneer.
FIRST VOICE And at the doorway of Bethesda House, the Reverend Jenkins recites to Llaregyb Hill his sunset poem.
REV. ELI JENKINS Every morning when I wake, Dear Lord, a little prayer I make, O please to keep Thy lovely eye On all poor creatures born to die
And every evening at sun-down I ask a blessing on the town, For whether we last the night or no I'm sure is always touch-and-go.
We are not wholly bad or good Who live our lives under Milk Wood, And Thou, I know, wilt be the first To see our best side, not our worst.
O let us see another day! Bless us all this night, I pray, And to the sun we all will bow And say, good-bye--but just for now!
FIRST VOICE Jack Black prepares once more to meet his Satan in the Wood. He grinds his night-teeth, closes his eyes, climbs into his religious trousers, their flies sewn up with cobbler's thread, and pads out, torched and bibled, grimly, joyfully, into the already sinning dusk.
JACK BLACK Off to Gomorrah!
SECOND VOICE And Lily Smalls is up to Nogood Boyo in the wash-house.
FIRST VOICE And Cherry Owen, sober as Sunday as he is every day of the week, goes off happy as Saturday to get drunk as a deacon as he does every night.
CHERRY OWEN I always say she's got two husbands,
FIRST VOICE says Cherry Owen,
CHERRY OWEN one drunk and one sober.
FIRST VOICE And Mrs Cherry simply says
MRS CHERRY OWEN And aren't I a lucky woman? Because I love them both.
SINBAD Evening, Cherry.
CHERRY OWEN Evening, Sinbad.
SINBAD What'll you have?
CHERRY OWEN Too much.
SINBAD The Sailors Arms is always open...
FIRST VOICE Sinbad suffers to himself, heartbroken,
SINBAD ...oh, Gossamer, open yours!
FIRST VOICE Dusk is drowned for ever until to-morrow, It is all at once night now, The windy town is a hill of windows, and from the larrupped waves the lights of the lamps in the windows call back the day and the dead that have run away to sea. All over the calling dark, babies and old men are bribed and lullabied to sleep.
FIRST WOMAN'S VOICE Hushabye, baby, the sandman is coming...
SECOND WOMAN'S VOICE (Singing) Rockabye, grandpa, in the tree top, When the wind blows the cradle will rock, When the bough breaks the cradle will fall, Down will come grandpa, whiskers and all.
FIRST VOICE Or their daughters cover up the old unwinking men like parrots, and in their little dark in the lit and bustling young kitchen corners, all night long they watch, beady-eyed, the long night through in case death catches them asleep.
SECOND VOICE Unmarried girls, alone in their privately bridal bedrooms, powder and curl for the Dance of the World.
[Accordion music: dim]
They make, in front of their looking-glasses, haughty or come-hithering faces for the young men in the street outside, at the lamplit leaning corners, who wait in the all-at-once wind to wolve and whistle.
[Accordion music louder, then fading under]
FIRST VOICE The drinkers in the Sailors Arms drink to the failure of the dance.
A DRINKER Down with the waltzing and the skipping.
CHERRY OWEN Dancing isn't natural,
FIRST VOICE righteously says Cherry Owen who has just downed seventeen pints of flat, warm, thin, Welsh, bitter beer.
SECOND VOICE A farmer's lantern glimmers, a spark on Llaregyb hillside.
[Accordion music fades into silence]
VOICE FIRST Llaregyb Hill, writes the Reverend Jenkins in his poem-room,
REV. ELI JENKINS Llaregyb Hill, that mystic tumulus, the memorial of peoples that dwelt in the region of Llaregyb before the Celts left the Land of Summer and where the old wizards made themselves a wife out of flowers.
SECOND VOICE Mr Waldo, in his corner of the Sailors Arms, sings:
MR WALDO In Pembroke City when I was young I lived by the Castle Keep Sixpence a week was my wages For working for the chimbley-sweep. Six cold pennies he gave me Not a farthing more or less And all the fare I could afford Was parsnip gin and watercress. I did not need a knife and fork Or a bib up to my chin To dine on a dish of watercress And a jug of parsnip gin. Did you ever hear a growing boy To live so cruel cheap On grub that has no flesh and bones And liquor that makes you weep? Sweep sweep chimbley sweep, I wept through Pembroke City Poor and barefoot in the snow Till a kind young woman took pity. Poor little chimbley sweep she said Black as the ace of spades O nobody's swept my chimbley Since my husband went his ways Come and sweep my chimbley Come and sweep my chimbley She sighed to me with a blush Come and sweep my chimbley Come and sweep my chimbley Bring along your chimbley brush!
FIRST VOICE Blind Captain Cat climbs into his bunk. Like a cat, he sees in the dark. Through the voyages of his tears he sails to see the dead.
CAPTAIN CAT Dancing Williams!
FIRST DROWNED Still dancing.
CAPTAIN CAT Jonah Jarvis
THIRD DROWNED Still.
FIRST DROWNED Curly Bevan's skull.
ROSIE PROBERT Rosie, with God. She has forgotten dying.
FIRST VOICE The dead come out in their Sunday best.
SECOND VOICE Listen to the night breaking.
FIRST VOICE Organ Morgan goes to chapel to play the organ. He sees Bach lying on a tombstone.
ORGAN MORGAN Johann Sebastian!
CHERRY OWEN (Drunkenly) Who?
ORGAN MORGAN Johann Sebastian mighty Bach. Oh, Bach fach
CHERRY OWEN To hell with you,
FIRST VOICE says Cherry Owen who is resting on the tombstone on his way home.
Mr Mog Edwards and Miss Myfanwy Price happily apart from one another at the top and the sea end of the town write their everynight letters of love and desire. In the warm White Book of Llaregyb you will find the little maps of the islands of their contentment.
MYFANWY PRICE Oh, my Mog, I am yours for ever.
FIRST VOICE And she looks around with pleasure at her own neat neverdull room which Mr Mog Edwards will never enter.
MOG EDWARDS Come to my arms, Myfanwy.
FIRST VOICE And he hugs his lovely money to his own heart.
And Mr Waldo drunk in the dusky wood hugs his lovely Polly Garter under the eyes and rattling tongues of the neighbours and the birds, and he does not care. He smacks his live red lips.
But it is not his name that Polly Garter whispers as she lies under the oak and loves him back. Six feet deep that name sings in the cold earth.
POLLY GARTER (Sings) But I always think as we tumble into bed Of little Willy Wee who is dead, dead, dead.
FIRST VOICE The thin night darkens. A breeze from the creased water sighs the streets close under Milk waking Wood. The Wood, whose every tree-foot's cloven in the black glad sight of the hunters of lovers, that is a God-built garden to Mary Ann Sailors who knows there is Heaven on earth and the chosen people of His kind fire in Llaregyb's land, that is the fairday farmhands' wantoning ignorant chapel of bridesbeds, and, to the Reverend Eli Jenkins, a greenleaved sermon on the innocence of men, the suddenly wind-shaken wood springs awake for the second dark time this one Spring day.
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