« ZurückWeiter »
For an hour the city has What is it that rends the been silent as a place of the midnight so? Only an old dead. The moon oasts its woman, or perhaps many old light upon the waters and on a women, coreaming. And you tangle of gloomy streets inter- would not believe, if you had sected by docks and quays. not heard it, that they were There seems to be no person capable of so immense a volume stirring anywhere save here of sound. It is hard to disand there a group of soldiers tinguish any words, but the standing with fixed bayonets. meaning of their unearthly In one quarter only there is a wailing is defiance to the blaze of light. That comes stranger, and the barthen of from some half dozen enor- their jargon is
their jargon is “God ourse mous lorries, and occasionally King George and all his men !" their rumbling oan be heard as It seems like the soul of an they go heavily here and there, unappeasable restless r&00 stopping at frequent intervals. howling forth its discontent.
Then on a sudden & loud It was when the troubles of dolorous eerie ory, that gathers this distressful land had already force as it spreads over the reached a considerable pitoh darkened streets and up into that it was found necessary to the surrounding hills, breaks close the streets of the city to the ominous silenoe, arouses for all the inhabitants from 10 a moment the interest of the o'olook at night until 3 in the wearied sentinels, or disturbs & morning. This order, oalled slam berer's unrestful sleep. by the name of “Curfew,"
VOL, CCVIII. —NO. MCCLXII,
enjoins that they must all be You might think it an inside their houses by the for- easy question that few could mer hour, and pioquets are fail to answer. If you do, placed in various parts of the you are under a sad decity to prevent insurgents lusion, for the Hibernian, for from arranging a place of some reason that must rerendezvous and flooking to it main a mystery, finds it an on å given signal. Those exceedingly difficult one. He arrested are taken to the is also extremely garrulous, Police House, the place already especially when met between described as ringed with a the hours of ten at night and blaze of light, and there ex: three in the morning; and amined as to their reason for ignoring altogether the very being abroad after the stata modest request of the great tory hour.
in the chair, bursts into Men speak of “the drama of a torrent of impassioned and the Curfew," and maybe the perfootly unintelligible oratory writer of these notes may have -& flood 80 fast and furious signified his approval of the that nothing can stand before phrase in his initial sentences. it. No one else can pronounce But “Comedy” may suit the a syllable. Broadly speaking, cage as well, perhaps better. the length and vehemence of
For when the lorry with its the outpour vary in exaot proburden of delinquents draws portion to the personal appear. up at the entranoe, the same anoe of the questioned. Some humorous prooedure is repeated passably well-groomed way. nearly every time. There stands farers have been known to prethe "Police House" with its serve a reticent and even sulky vestibule, and “the minions demeanour when examined, of the British Government” but this is the exception. In sauntering about the door. the oourse of the oration, he And within there is a kind of reveals nearly everything private Banetum where the about himself that it is not great man of the moment, strictly necessary to know, and ruling supreme over the the only two facts which he destinies of the night, sits in oonoeals with zealous care are & roomy arm-chair before a his name and his address, being, table covered with typewritten in almost every case, the only documents. The prevailing information that the questioner characteristio of the room is requires. loyalty, as opposed to the The hearers, generally numrebellion and lawlessness that bering about six, are quite ramp in the darkness outside, gratuitously presented with for its decorations, which all kinds of terrible family adorn every wall, are portraits secrets, as, to state the mildest, of rulers and generals.
that he has quarrelled with his Facing these, the incomer father or his mother or some is brought before his inter- other relative, who has turned rogator, who asks his name. him out of the house for the night; or that he is out of suit of his trade. This man work and chanoes to have no exercised the dignified and money, although there are useful oalling of a sweep, always vast sums owing to and was justly proud of the him of whioh he has been fact. unjustly defrauded; and he Wearied with hard work, as generally produces a doonment well as obeered with porter, showing the exact amount he had oonceived the notion that is due.
of lying down for & few A third olass consists quite moments to rest in one of simply of belated revellers, the deserted streets, when he who neither desire nor attempt was pounced upon by a ruthto make any concealment of less patrol and conveyed to the fact. They are the most the Police House. garralous, the most humorous, There stood suddenly in the and the most intraotable, for doorway an apparition of they are constitutionally in- titanio size, bearing from head capable of angwering any to foot the august marks of question. When asked what his office, for he was as black his name is, one will reply that with inohes deep of soot as he was at school with the the night out of which he great man's sister; when re- came. quired to give his address, he There he pirouetted round counters by inviting the long- and round, offering with gessuffering potentate to “oome tioulations, though not in along to the mess and have a words, to fight all comers; but drink”; when the cause of no one was willing to touch his being out after ten is him, so he waltzed in the demanded, he will pour coals midst of an awestruok oirole, of fire on the head of his in- who edged sway to escape quisitor by offering him a first- contamination, and shrank rate tip for the Cesarevitoh into walls and doorways, that will prove absolutely where at a safe distance they infallible.
gave themselves ap to an. Of course all do not con- oontrollable laughter. tribute to the
the hilarity of When at last he could be jaded officials, for there are ushered into the inner room, some whose reason has been the usual questions were pat 80 entirely dethroned as to to him; but so filled was he render no word of their with honourable pride in bis speeoh ooherent. But it would profession that, though he was soaroely be fair to pass the willing to dance or fight, and olass by without remembering did actually sing, nothing one who may well be allowed more could be extracted from inolusion in their ranks, al- him by way of an answer than though, according to his own the magic_words, “I am a statement, he was apprehended sweep." "Evidently," was the by the Government's minions great man's rejoinder. when returning from the par- In the darkness and silence where the sentries pace to and his soattered posts and carries fro, the most trivial incidents them off with him to the sapare weloomed as a slight relief port of the threatened domito the seldom varying mon- cile. It often happens that the otony. “Halt! that oat!” loyalist has had time to reshouts one of the sentries of move or hide any documents a pioquet as a feline form that might be dangerous to glides lightly in front of him him, that the raiders plunder down into the enveloping his house without finding what darkness; and wild howls in they seek, and that the proteot. the distance on every side ing force arrives only a few prove that myriads of her minutes too late to find that the oompanions are at large, their birds have flown. penetrating voices taking at But on other occasions they times a full possession of the are more fortunate and seize silence. The wearied soldiery, the raiders red-banded : lucky poor fellows! seem to derive men if they should, for the city an infinite pleasure from these is filled with their spies, and savage miaulings and love to little that passes is unknown. mimio them, making night Or the diversion may be hideous to their hearts' content caused by an incident of the with a thousand blood-curdling opposite kind, and the loyalists ost-oalls.
may turn the tables on the But it sometimes happens insurgents by raiding and that the quiet of the night is searohing a house whose owner broken by sounds of a different is known to be in sympathy kind, and that other more im with them. They retorn as pressive cooarrences serve to a rule with a heterogeneous distraot the sentry from the colleotion of literature, in loneliness of his watch and to which the strange blend of bestir him to a greater aotivity. tragedy and comedy is again A shot, or more rarely several peroeptible: manifestoes oonshots, heard in the dead silence, taining violent denunciations promptly gives birth to a mighty of the Government, as well as family of rumours. Most pro. impassioned protestations of bably a forlorn loiterer has run the justice of the cause, hopeaway in panio from a sentry, lessly mixed up with humorous and the sentry has fired over his doggerel designed to enliven head when the ohallenge proved proceedings at wedding-parties ineffective to stop him. Or and christenings. perhaps & oar will suddenly And outside the Polioe House, oome sweeping up to the lonely where the evidence is being pioquet and carry them away sorted and examined, the hooton some errand that has a deep ings and rumblings of cars, purpose in it. The great man the glare of lights, and the in the Police House has just potent smell of petrol symbolise received a message from some the Empire, by the side of loyal householder that his house which these frantio ebulliis being raided ; 80 he collects tions seem as insignificant as