Giacomo Joyce

written by James Joyce

Who? A pale face surrounded by heavy odorous furs. Her movements are shy and nervous. She uses quizzing-glasses.

Yes: a brief syllable. A brief laugh. A brief beat of the eyelids.

Cobweb handwriting, traced long and fine with quiet disdain and resignation: a young person of quality.

I launch forth on an easy wave of tepid speech: Swedenborg, the pseudo-Areopagite, Miguel de Molinos, Joachim Abbas. The wave is spent. Her classmate, retwisting her twisted body, purrs in boneless Viennese Italian: Che coltura! The long eyelids beat and lift: a burning needleprick stings and quivers in the velvet iris.

High heels clack hollow on the resonant stone stairs. Wintry air in the castle, gibbeted coats of mail, rude iron sconces over the windings of the winding turret stairs. Tapping clacking heels, a high and hollow noise. There is one below would speak with your ladyship.

She never blows her nose. A form of speech: the lesser for the greater.

Rounded and ripened: rounded by the lathe of intermarriage and ripened in the forcing-house of the seclusion of her race.

A ricefield near Vercelli under creamy summer haze. the wings of her drooping hat shadow her false smile. Shadows streak her falsely smiling face, smitten by the hot creamy light, grey wheyhued shadows under the jawbones, streaks of eggyolk yellow on the moistened brow, rancid yellow humour lurking within the softened pulp of the eyes.

A flower given by her to my daughter. Frail gift, frail giver, frail blue-veined child.

 Padua far beyond the sea. The silent middle age, night, darkness of history sleep in the Piazza delle Erbe under the moon. The city sleeps. Under the arches in the dark streets near the river the whores' eyes spy out for fornicators. Cinque servizi per cinque franchi. A dark wave of sense, again and again and again.

 Mine eyes fail in darkness, mine eyes fail,  Mine eyes fail in darkness, love.

 Again. No more. Dark love, dark longing. No more. Darkness.

 Twilight. Crossin the piazza. grey eve lowering on wide sagegreen pasturelands, sheddin silently dusk and dew. She follows her mother with ungainly grace, the mare leading her filly foal. Grey twilight moulds softly the slim and shapely haunches, the meek supple tendonous neck, the fine-boned skull. Eve, peace, the dusk of wonder....... Hillo! Ostler! Hilloho!

Papa and the girls sliding downhill, astride of a toboggan: the Grand Turk and his harem. Tightly capped and jacketted, boots laced in deft crisscross over the flesh-warmed tongue, the short skirt taut from the round nobs of the knees. A white flash: a flake, a snowflake:

 And when she next doth ride abroad  May I be there to see!

 I rush out of the tobacco-shop and call her name. She turns and halts to hear my jumbled words of lessons, hours, lessons, hours: and slowly her pale cheeks are flushed with a kindling opal light. Nay, nay, be not afraid!

Mia padre: she does the simplest acts with distinction. Unde derivatur? Mia figlia ha una grandissima ammirazione per il suo maestro inglese. The old man's face, handsome, flushed, with strongly Jewish features and long white whiskers, turns towards me as we walk down the hill together. O! Perfectly said: courtesy, benevolence, curiosity, trust, suspicion, naturalness, helplessness of age, confidence, frankness, urbanity, sincerity, warning, pathos, compassion: a perfect blend. Iganatius Loyola, make haste to help me!

This heart is sore and sad. Crossed in love?

Long lewdly leering lips: dark-blooded molluscs

Moving mists on the hill as I look upward from night and mud. Hanging mists over the damp trees. A light in the upper room. She is dressing to go to the play. There are ghosts in the mirror..... Candles! Candles!

A gentle creature. At midnight, after music, all the way up the via San Michele, these words were spoken softly. Easy now, Jamesy! Did you never walk the streets of Dublin at night sobbing another name?

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