AUSCHWITZ IN ESSEX.
The moon shone glumly over the lonesome spires of London.
A chill breeze filled the air, as every solemn square was filled with trembling, dread anticipation.
A lonely bell or two pealed, in solitude.
Nobody paid attention to such clarion prayers of beauty.
Their attention was upon the wireless.
Could it be true?
Could it possibly be true that Chamberlain was dead?
The crackling, and the fizz.
The first, familiar, tentative coughs.
Prompt, impetuous; almost imperious.
The world was on the edge of their seats.
And not just this pretty, frail and fragile corner of the Grand Unreckoned.
Ladies and gentlemen,
The old familiar drawl; snarling honey, treacled salt.
It is my great and inestimable displeasure to announce that the recent fog and innuendo of rumours is not, by any means, far from the truth.
I must not hesitate to break the silence, nonetheless. In such a time of terror and of trauma, the peals of consolation needs must breach the solemn, autumnal waves of August Albion.
A few grey, old eyes rolled and rumbled at the pretentious diction. Some had heard it all before.
They well knew how ‘those people’ liked to talk.
Mr Neville Chamberlain is, or rather WAS…
A man of great character, honor, and unimpeachable dignity of spirit.
Myriad maids and mothers immediately broke into inconsolable weeping.
It is perhaps not by any means to the point, to inquire whether those who remain, aye, we among the living, are not perhaps also without our stern nobility of spirit, and rigorous concern for justice?
A few scattered shouts of glory.
But glory-seeking must ever ring hollow, at a tremendous time of fear.
Now, my dear compatriots of these islands; permit me to be crystal clear.
The man, Neville Chamberlain, who you once loved and honoured as a treasured friend, is no longer among us, here in the land of the living. But in the valley of the shadow of death, it shall truly be said…
I. SHALL. FEAR. NO. EVIL.
The confidence trick was surprisingly effective. Old maids and old madams alike swooned over every pounding throb; the wily old Jesuit had certainly discerned the pulse of the nation. Now that was one thing for certain!
I hereby announce, with the greatest of sorrow for a long-departed friend and fellow-traveller, but at the same time, with the greatest reverence conceivable for the dignity conferred about me, that our revered monarch King George VI has consented to permit his humble servant, Winston Leonard Spencer-Churchill, to take the reins of the chariot of Boudicca, at this most inhospitable, and yet most courageous and honorable of ages.
Did he linger rather too long or lovingly over his own name?No matter.
For his more or less dearly departed mother had always told him:
“Win half the buggers, Winston. Win half of ’em. And all the rest will be too damned timorous to say a word. Win half the buggers, and you’ll win more than half the world; now just you mark my words, young lad!”
The ambitious young political prostitute had indeed tried to win the buggers.
But his agile mind was not focused on the filthy, Dickensian spiritual or material lucre of mere calculation.
His eyes were set upon a higher prize.
A knock came at the door.
Churchill’s eyebrows flicked up, in ironical half-surprise.
“Should I let him in?” the maid implored, desperately afraid of the consequences for her, should she make her second great misstep of this…
Well, pretty damn nigh a month, truth be told!
A month shall tell all.
“It is a long time in politics,” Churchill slurred.
Straightening himself up, he pointed with his pointy-stick, beckoning Clara to admit the curious visitor.
“As you wish, sir,” she wept, turning to the door.
“There, there, now, my girl,” he muttered, with an affection perhaps not one whit more than three-quarters hypocritical and insincere.
“Every open door is an opportunity. And every opportunity, in turn, will disclose things, or disclose them not. Everything hinges on the eye with which we regard the matter.”
Clara turned the handle.
Churchill drew in his breath sharply.
But the visitor was no surprise to him.
Clara clutched her womb…
And weeping, scurried to the scullery.
Churchill yawned, as the sleepy hound nearby stirred uncomfortably; dreaming dark dreams of doom?
In any case, we are dealing here with real human beings.
Real, manly men, as the hero of the piece muttered under his breath.
A tall, slender, delicate figure wafted in with the cold February breeze.
Churchill coughed and spluttered, as the last of his cigars ran down to the uttermost ashes.
The gentle, foppish gentleman stood in silence, his shoulders heaving; weeping in the utmost terror.
Churchill furrowed his brow, most displeased at this unwelcome interruption.
Still, it surely would not do to pander to such weak and weary outcasts of the earth.
Madame Bijoux’s was surprisingly lively. The April showers gone, the thoughts of old, embittered husbands turned to love…
Or at least to pleasure.
This pleasant old bordello was hardly spacious; but there was plenty of room at the inn for the dreamy Eliots and Yeatses of the future glory.
This time, however, it was mainly shrivelled old businessmen; with the odd guilt-torn cleric to make up the numbers. These, however, were normally last to receive the careful attentions of Madame Bijoux and her merry men.
Well, why not!
“Any port in a storm,” as one of their own prophets hath said.
Tuppy strode over to Churchill, and stretched out his arms to embrace his old friend.
His affection was not reciprocated. His old schoolmate stood motionless, quivering with rage.
“It’s Tuppy,” the elegant supplicant moaned in tearful tremolo.
“It’s your Tuppy, old chap. It’s Tuppy.”
Churchill waved his hand in disgust.
“Am I a dog, that you come at me with this idle stick of yours?”
Tuppy’s not entirely erstwhile Catholic conscience smote him to the very marrow.
He stared, horror-stricken, for a minute or two.
Then he fell at Churchill’s knees, sobbing in such a heart-rendingly piteous manner that only the most stony-hearted infidel in all of Christendom could have slept upon such a tearful evening’s spectacle.
“You won’t do it, will you, old chap?” Tuppy moaned, his voice ascending almost to a shriek.
“You won’t do it? Because really, dear old Winston, I am just so terribly, terribly, terribly afraid…”
Father Ignatius stood glowering at the mockery of the filthy men around him.
“I am not come to wallow in the mire, as a sow; and I shall not return to the vomit of the unjust man!”
Nobody seemed to have any idea what he was talking about.
It was quite amusing though, all the same.
“Nay, my brethren. I am come to preach repentance unto the men of unclean spirits, and every foul and pestilential birdcage will quake with the wrath of a just and mighty God!”
One of the lasses flounced over and took him by the arm.
Sally was always the forward one!
“Come over ’ere, sir, and your ’umble concubine shall quake yer all night long!”
The priest batted off the entangling arm in anger.
“By no means!” he thundered.
“The vice and wickedness and iniquity of this nation are beyond all measure. The cup is running over, and the time is short. Satan is among you all; yea, he is standing at the very gate! And he comes, as always, clothed as an angel of l…”
The bottle did the job.
“Oi!” Madame Bijoux was furious. “You have no bloody idea, do you, what will ‘appen if that stupid parson goes back, and, and, and, and, well we don’t want any trouble now, do we?’
Gumpy George spat in disgust.
“Shut it, lass! I came ’ere to have a bit of fun, not ’ave some moany cleric come ‘ere an’ sermonise! It’s not right, that! I ’ave no time…”
Sally laughed, and laughed, and laughed. George threatened her with his fist.
The madam couldn’t believe her eyes. Sally was worth a lot to her; and it wasn’t just about the money. Life was hard. You had to stick together:
“Get outa my inn! I warned you, I warned you a thousand times, yer ugly brute! This time, you are gone! You ’ear me, mate? You are well out of order with that.
“No more! Go and sing for it next time! I am not ’aving a violent parson-smasher in my place. Get ahnnn of it. Awright?!”
George flung himself upon Madame Bijoux.
The entire brothel erupted in howls and shrieks. Even the odd cynical guffaw was heard here and there.
Pandemonium had returned.
The Empire, once divided, must come together again.
But what has been put together, must one day fall apart.
Herbert Allan Giles was really rather fond of this old piece of authentic Chinese folk wisdom.
Yet God knows there were fools and frauds enough!
And if the pigeons need must be their own Sir John Seabright, so also must every Edmund Backhouse have his day.
Enraged, Churchill took the poker and waved it at Tuppy.
“Don’t hit me,” Tuppy cried. “Don’t hit me, Winston. I am just so terribly, terribly worried about what might happen if you don’t tell the Huns that we simply…”
Churchill threw the poker down on the floor.
It made a horrendous clatter!
Tuppy jumped nearly half his own height; then, lying crumpled in a heap, he dissolved into a morass of inarticulate sobs and noises. No longer was it possible to discern the Babel of raw terror, fear and sorrow. The high tower was on the verge of breaking up. The diaspora, the scattering of seeds, was already on the way.
“Now just you listen here, you miserable old faggot,” was the contemptuous smirk of Tuppy’s tormentor.
“The National Interest is my only concern. If glossy fops like you spent half the time doing some kind of patriotic service than indulging in these hideous, unnatural vices of yours, half the problems of this Empire would be solved.
“Now do be a good boy, and toddle along. I am sure we will make an honest man of you yet. But in the meantime, pray refrain from making such a horrid mess on my carpet. I do hope I shall not be indisposed. I know that you and your ilk have rather a habit of acquiring some… rather curious ailments, if you will.
“Now, if you will be so kind as to excuse me, I have some rather more important business to attend to. Rest assured that I shall always put the good of Britain first. I am entirely unsentimental on this score.
“Nay, don’t blubber there like some old woman. Show what little manliness you have left, and depart post-haste! We don’t want anyone to know our Winston has had some preening pansy coming here and making a scene.
“Why, you ought to be ashamed of yourself, you silly boy! I am not here to be an educator of the nation in the most ungodly and unnatural vices of the day. Look to yourself first. Noli me tangere!
“I regret to say I simply have no assurances whatsoever I can make you, no matter how you may seem to wish for the nihil obstat of old Winston here. The only promise I have made is to advance the Empire, and to vanquish all our enemies. Both within…”
And here, this strong leader paused for a most immaculate twist of the knife…
“And without. Now go thy way and sin no more!”
Tuppy didn’t move.
His body was no longer racked with sobs.
“Come over here, then, you lazy wench!” Churchill roared.
“Just get rid of this reprehensible sot for me, would you?”
“… Shall I let the police know?”
“No, no, no, no, no, no, you silly baggage! Dear God, imagine calling the police to a scene like this! Whatever would the neighbours think! Or worse still, half the Empire!”
As Churchill and his maid plotted the removal of the alien infiltrator of this most splendid ‘Englishman’s castle,’ Tuppy lay half-dead on the floor.
He could barely move a muscle.
“Well, give him some brandy then, if it helps us get rid of the miserable dandy!” Churchill barked.
“As you wish, sir,” the maid murmured, diligently attending to the alcohol shelf.
She chose the cheapest and most miserable item on the shelf.
Or so she thought.
“Malawian cognac?” Churchill snorted. “Nothing like using a sledgehammer to crack a nut, hm?”
“Is there something less expensive, sir?” the maid replied.
“Oh, well, there’s a dram of some decent vodka over there. Give him the last dregs and bid him begone. I simply haven’t the time to deal with debauched and drunken idiots like this. I simply cannot conceive of what brought him here to make such a terrible scene. Can you?”
The maid lowered her head, embarrassed.
Did she know a little bit more than she let on?
Well, why not!
Reasons of state brook no promiscuous dissemination, as Churchill himself was fond of saying.
He always had a talent for the equivocal.
Jonny Martel stirred from the couch, to greet dear old Tuppy once again.
Tuppy practically fainted into his arms. Jonny walked Tuppy over to their cosy old place again, where they had undoubtedly shared a great many bittersweet memories up to now. But what the future held, of course, was far less certain.
The Mexican chocolate was on its way. “Put a bit of brandy in it, now there’s a good lad!” Tuppy managed to stammer out. Jonny dashed a few drops of cheapskate Parisian trumpery and nonsensicalities into the mug.
They sat in silence, as the empire of a winter’s wind dared penetrate every last atom’s shelter and moment’s refuge of this most unsatisfyingly romantic of artist garrets.
Chaim stood at the gate of the synagogue, nervously peering up at this great monument, (as he muttered), to the steadfast, shameless, lovingly-lunatic patience of his fathers.
A homeless urchin hurled a cold, grey snowball.
By now, of course, Chaim had determined that it must always be an act of unforgivable imprudence to rise to the provocation.
For after all, he was not among equals. The power was all on one side. The goyim could be loved, honoured, respected, admired; but they could never once be trusted.
For every righteous gentile, there were a hundred who could never truly understand him; and among these, there were quite a mighty handful who viewed him as the spawn of Satan. They even used the name of this grand old Accuser-in-Chief as a synonym for ‘synagogue.’ The synagogue of Satan?
‘Who are the real Christ-killers?’ Chaim pleaded; not resentful, not embittered.
It was this very ability to ask ‘Why’ without the merest hint of rancor or fury was, according to a rare friend or two among the gentiles, a token of a truly rare and admirable excellence of virtue and of character.
Occasionally, friends of all stripes warned him that a good heart was not enough.
‘You lack the instinct of a hunter,’ some told him. ’Your heart is the right place, but your head is sadly askew. The problem is, because you are a gentle person, and think the best of everyone, and have goodwill to all, you think everybody else must be the same as you.
‘One day, this simplicity and purity of heart will prove your undoing. Hens can preach love and gentleness to foxes if they wish; but if they walk among wild wolves and hyenas as though they were amid doves and nightingales, they should not be surprised to be torn asunder.’
And still Chaim asked the question. His heart would not rest easy without an answer.
‘Who are the real Christ-killers?’
It is hard to imagine someone of Chaim’s people asking this question in anything other than a bitter and vengeful manner. Many there were, even among the goyim, who would have found it impossible to blame a Jew for asking this question in anger.
But Chaim did not ask this question in order to accuse the anti-Semite of being a blasphemer and a hypocrite. There was no sword or burning torch in his land; only an olive branch; offered in a forlorn glimmer of hope, and of frailness, and of vulnerability; and nothing more.
In the stillness of his heart, he wept.
He wept, but not according to the flesh.
His pain was too deep for words.
“Pray do read for us, like you used to do,” implored Tuppy.
His gallant husband-in-the-higher-law archly raised an eyebrow. “And do let’s have some more handsome Gallic flair!” he murmured. By now he had perked up a little.
“Mais, ça? C’est pas permis!” was the dry and faux-dismissive observation of Monsieur Martel.
“Oh, stuff and nonsense! ‘It’s not permitted?’ Why, you’re such a tease, dear boy!’” said Tuppy; beginning to giggle like an over-wise schoolgirl.
Jonny held Tuppy’s hand, and blew on it to warm it further.
“Madame est satisfait?” he inquired, with his customary smirk; not without a glint of fear, in his radiant, blazing, sky-blue eyes.
“Ah, ouais!” Tuppy murmured coquettishly, in a most captivating rendition of an immaculate, high-class Parisian lady of the salon.
“Ouais, je suis très satisfait. Mais, hop! On va lire!”
Jonny kissed Tuppy’s hand, and they began to read together.
All of a sudden, Chaim thought he heard the child again. He frowned and scratched his head. How long ago had the child been there?
Twelve crazy old codgers of the tribe did frown
Mr Hitler’s going to bring the ugly den of thieves down!
Chaim lowered his head and began to weep.
Nobody heard him.
NB: For a little titbit on the politically incorrect history of the REAL Churchill, see here:
Image by OpenClipart-Vectors on Pixabay.
Churchill tossed and turned; surely it was time to rise and shine, by now?
Half-conscious of the shredded bedsheets and of the warmth of his stomach, half immersed in a dream, time seemed to tick on, and on, and on, and on.
The judge glared at Churchill.”Well?” he barked.”Well, what indeed!” Churchill sullenly replied.
The judge wagged his finger in fury.
“Did you come to fulfil the law, or to destroy it?”
“Well… A little of both. Why not, after all.”
Behind him, in the theatre of blood, Stalin guffawed; his bright rabbit eyes must surely be glimmering with salt, Churchill thought, as the bushy mustache went up and down like a mole gaily popping his head up and down, in order to taunt the sore-beshackled foxes and birds of the air.
“How utterly dialectical!” a charming maiden simpered.
Churchill turned to his side and shook his fist.
“Now just you mind your manners there, young lady!”
It was indeed a charming young lady.
But according to the outward appearance, it was Mr Goebbels.
“You do neglect us,” the coy demoiselle simpered; now in the voice of Joseph Stalin. “Don’t be talking to that bad man Mr Goebbels. You never know what he might do to you!”
Churchill reeled round and round, trying to find where the voices where coming from.
“That’s enough! That’s quite enough!” he barked, as the now invisible courtroom burst into peals of demonic laughter.
As he birled and giddied like a drunken dervish, it was as though all the world was reeling round at breakneck pace, and he alone stood solid and lifeless as a rock.
Or was it the other way around?
Tuppy earnestly doffed his cap to the priest. The priest paused and frowned. “Marquis Lucretius Terence, if I am not very much mistaken?””Why yes!” Tuppy laughed. “The very same!”
The priest lowered his eyes and muttered.
“Less of the idle gaiety. You are not, so far as we all may have any good grounds for affirming, in a state of grace.”
Tuppy’s face fell, and he covered his hands in grief.
The priest stood silently for a moment; almost as though he wished to offer some words of comfort and sweetness; a kind of consolation that he did not somehow consider remotely permissible. He cast his mind back to the first time he had attended to the family of a suicide.
“Well, yer, but… It were… I mean, a mortal sin… I mean, it’s, it’s, it’s, it’s still, but I mean, it’s…”
The voice of last February’s apostate’s brother had trailed off into a horrified realisation that he and his kin could not, in the end, expect the customary precious words from the priest.
“Are there windows in heaven,” whispered Tuppy, his bright eyes quivering, desperate for the slightest sign of hope.
“No,” the priest said, abruptly setting-to.
“Not for the likes of you,” he muttered under his breath, as he gently inched towards the tavern.
“Nothing like a bit of ma-be-be-belllllllllllla Bellini for a frosty January,” Tuppy brrr’d, gaily skipping out of the opera house. “How are we then, my lad?”
Jonny shrugged and said ‘J’ais pas!’
Tuppy frowned. ‘Oh, well we are precious now then, aren’t we! Just graduated from university last summer, come to live with old Tuppy, and then… Well just imagine then, darling boy. I’ve taken you all the way here to the opera house. We’ve all been the dashing Roman soldiers, the heroic Norma, the stuffy old pedant-clerics… And now Madame la Fastidieux…’
Jonny snarled and batted away the faux-denunciatory hand.
Tuppy paused for breath.
Waiting a moment, he eventually choked out:
’What’s wrong, Jonny? What’s wrong? Upon my word, you are really quite peculiar these days. What’s the matter? Speak to me. Speak to me, Jonny”
’Oh. Well. Come on, let’s have a nice Eisenblum beerie at the…”
Jonny jumped half his own considerable height (albeit, not so considerable as Tuppy’s), and started waving his fist.
Shocked, Tuppy took a step back and started sobbing.
His chest heaved, and his shoulders shook.
Jonny paused, and his expression gradually softened.
He gingerly reached forth an olive hand; if not green, if was certainly bright with ripened sorrow.
Tuppy not could see him, through the mist of tears.
He brought to mind the battle of Cable Street, where just one short week ago, Baron Mosley’s forces had utterly routed the Marxists, alongside their alienated erstwhile allies: the older school of trades unions. Frowning, he remembered the words of Mr Hitler:
“Let this great man Mr Churchill remember that the fog of ancient, bygone glories will not shield him from the perils of sea and storm. A hand is stretched in brotherhood and comradeship, from a brother of the Elder Race.
“Oriental barbarism, Zionist intrigues and Ancient, Irredeemable Savagery and Eternal Atavism are incapable of winning the heart of this Man of Honour, then a Free and United European Union, a Second Athens of Noble Races and Kinships, will be within your hands.
“If, however, you should turn away, then no amount of hecatombs and holocausts will redeem the betrayal.
“History is triumph, and history is disaster.
“The Slavonic barbarians have nothing to offer the world but disease, disaster and debility. Let the loud-mouthed cripple of Moscow scream and whimper as he may. I believe the leader of our brother nation will not be ashamed, that we shall all be the children of a common Father. The Holy Aryan Destiny of Our Race is a sacred cause, that shall by no means perish from the Earth.
“For blood, and flesh, and iron, and joyous courage, are within and amid us all. Our very breath is triumph, for it runs within us, this potent blood of the Ancient of Days. There is no bourgeois Philistine or perfidious, seductive Jewish apostate of the Kosmos, who shall ever turn us aside from our duty.
“If our enemies fear an intervention, we can say that the First and Noblest Race of All Humanity shall be its authors. And when Humanity in its fullest and finest and freest sense of all, the glorious warlike Occident of the free and the brave, is to make the intervention; who shall dare to call it a mere petty and provincial cause?
“For there is no bourgeois moralism here. There is no ‘reality’ but what we have created; those who limit themselves to bourgeois science and mediocre positivism are gone far astray indeed!
“The logos, the word, is the beginning of all things. There is nothing outside the text, there is nothing outside our letters of blood. The truly noble of soul say ‘Be!’ and ‘Be Not!,’ and thus it is. There are those who wish to nail down the proliferation and the power of our words, as they killed their Messiah; and they shall not succeed.
“The Jewish idolaters believe that behind the appearance there is a true reality. However, behind the veil, there is rather nothing; only an empty space, a mere simulacrum of delusion; a dead space of war, from which all true wisdom and exalted insights must arise.
“True Virtue and Glory and Splendour and Excellence belongs to those with the intellect, the imperishable wisdom and the indomitable will, to claim the emptiness of the word, and to fashion it to his own will, and not to that of the present lords and masters of this world.”
“And thus it was, and ever more shall be. History has neither purpose, beginning nor end. There is no goal to history, other than what I myself decree. Amid such an empty, meaningless void, the victory is to those who can perspicuously discern the structures of oppression, demolish the hegemonic discourses of the weakling masters, and bring an end to unjustified privilege, this unspeakable unearned advantage of our enemies, who fancy themselves our betters.
“There is no right or wrong, except what I myself have decreed. Those who speak of ‘right and wrong’ speak from a position of unearned privilege; it is mere words, and nothing more.
“So why not bring new words, and why we not be the speakers of what is forbidden, and what is to be permitted? For if the tablets of stone are now revealed to be broken, and the power of all perfidious comprehensive narratives is broken, grand as they once were vaunted, then no grand narrative shall be permitted to disenfranchise and deprive us.
“I believe Churchill will be our ally; and far from a problematic ally, he will carve out a space of safety. I warn the Russians now, that there will be no further warning; should you dare to trigger the coming conflict, there shall be no warning. There is not a single space of comfort in your entire vast, empty wasteland; for our space shall become your space, and our safety and security shall prevail over all.
“You may say that we are aggressors, and no different from all the rest. But on the contrary! I say self-defence is no offence! There are no ‘two sides,’ for there is only the one with virtue on his side.
“Remember the battle of Cable Street, where our allies fought against the oppressors, and prevailed? This was self-defence. We were not the aggressors. Our friends and allies came to defend the innocent against the depredations of the arrogant, the haughty, the privileged.
“Those who speak from a position of privilege, and who condemn both sides, are mediocre; and they belong to the past. There is only one side. If you do not side with the oppressed, then you are siding with the oppressor. There is no moral comparison between Anti-Fascists and Anti-Anti-Fascists. For one is in the right, and one is eternally in the wrong.
“What, then, will you do, in order to smash this deceptive Jewish Totality of illusions?
“What will you do to liberate our heroic discourses from the crucifixionary shackles of preconceived sense and definition?
“What will you do to demolish all foundations, and rise above the words and spells and mantras and demonic rituals of the haughty and over-privileged?
“Will you demolish this Zionist-bewitched so-called ‘modernity,’ and post-haste be the one who is after all, and not merely amid and among and within the gushing?
“Destiny calls, and the passionate Call of Being shall not in any wise be without an answer.
“From this day forward, truth is abolished, goodness is abolished, and so also yet is beauty. These structures of oppression have had 1000 years of hegemony; is it not time for the End of History?
“With one stroke of the pen, you may abolish the delusions of Plato, that no trace of the elder clerics shall ever once be found. We shall not be a colony; for we are after that. We shall not submit to the oppressive intolerance of modernity, and its exclusionary language; for if words are violence, who has been more transgressed against and violated than we? The only way is for us to be more violent than the violent.
“There. Is. Nothing. Outside. The. Text.
“There is no future, except through what I have decreed.
“Will you not then join with me, that we may bring about the twilight of the gods?
“For times change, and we shall ultimately be the changers.
“Down with the Privileged Homobourgeoisie and their sodomitical proclivities!
“Down with the Despicable Zionist Entity and Media Gang that thwarts our purposes!
“Down with Hegemonic Liberalism and its false promises of emancipation!
“Down with Capitalism, and its exploitative and oppressive brutality!
“Down with Bourgeois Science, and its imaginary illusion of objective truth!
“Down with Universalism, and its imperious attempts to presumptuously define for me what is right and wrong!
“And down with all that ever dares to shield me from the chaos, fear and beauty of My Desire!”
Tuppy sighed and raised his eyes to the heaven.
The moon was just a single, silent sliver.
Chaim slowly hobbled past the Café St Catherine. Mildly envious, he paused and sadly gazed at the warm, cosy place of friendship, love and song.
After a while, he went on his way.
Out of the corner of her eye, Bathsheba winked.
“You see this man?” she remarked, almost casually to Francis.
Almost, but not quite.
“Yes, Sheba. Yes, I do,” he murmured.
“How long will it be for him?”
The tall, athletic youth stroked his tidy, modest moustache and said:
“I cannot say.”
Bathsheba scowled and released his hand.
“Aha! That’s convenient.”
Francis lowered his eyes in shame.
“Perhaps… It shall not be so bad then, after all.”
Bathsheba laughed bitterly.
“It’s alright for some.”
Francis gasped and raised his head, his grey eyes piercing those of his stubborn paramour.
“Surely they won’t really go so… so far?” he stammered. “Firstly, the Fuehrer is a buffoon who talks a great deal, and who seems to have done very little so far. Secondly…”
Bathsheba began to shake with laughter.
“Secondly, Sheba, this is the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland. This is not Germany. The Huns are a superficially cunning, bookish, reactionary and superstitious foundling nation of interlopers, who are envious of the civilised races. The bitter, mediocre envy and resentment of a long historical inferiority…”
Bathsheba stopped, sat bolt upright, her eyes flaming.
“… Well. Well, then, was it something I said?” he said, his fine hands beginning to tremble almost half as much as Bathsheba’s shoulders had been quivering, before he made his unconscionable faux pas.
Bathsheba stood up, as though she was about to leave.
“Well… well come now,” Francis stammered, endeavouring to be conciliatory.
He tried to reach out a quivering hand, but Bathsheba remained impassive.
Bathsheba turned and faced the window.
Francis followed his gaze, and to his horror, he saw a certain cleric approaching in the distance.
He could not bear to be discovered here.
Bathsheba shrugged and let him go.
He looked back at her despairingly as he made to go.
Bathsheba’s face was set like stone.
Eventually, she nodded towards the door.
Just in the very nick of time, the flustered ordinand ran out of the café.
Father Ignatius didn’t notice.
But when he finally entered the café, he certainly noticed Bathsheba.
Leering greedily at her ample bosom and long, black curls, he was on the verge of making a lecherous comment.
But one dismissive glance drove him into the shadows.
As he penetrated deeper and deeper into the tower of song, the silent on the outskirts grew.
The rivers of Babylon were not foredoomed to cease; not as of this precious, fleeting hour.
Francis gingerly eased himself into the narrow space he had often visited in many a forbidden dream.
But this was no dream, it seemed.
Nor, so far as he could tell, was it a nightmare.
So much for romantic love.
‘Oversold, oversold, oversold,’ he muttered.
Briefly noting the mildly Trinitarian character of the utterance (albeit, one that was by no means that of the most orthodopraxic of curates-to-be), Francis felt a little twinge in his heart.
‘Love what fools these mortals be!’ The words of Tuppy echoed in his head.
Much as he considered the frivolous gaiety of the precious dandy to be distasteful, if not pressing fast upon the very borders of good taste, honour and the finest English gentleman’s decorum itself, he wondered, in his heart, if he was not himself the greatest decadent and fornicator in all of Christendom.
“God save our gracious queen!
Damn her all to hell, I mean!
No prettier little strumpet we ‘ave than old Queen Bess!
A pretty little passageway in that temple simpering,
Ooooooiiiiiiii must confess!”
Madame Bijoux’s tavern had fallen on hard times.
A little bit of lechery shall leaven the lump.
But too much brings distaste.
Madame Bijoux sighed, and cast her eyes to the heavens.
A wandering hand descended upon her ample bosom.
Her eyes flashed, and she angrily batted the hand away.
The simpering schoolboy blushed and smiled weakly.
“Do you not ‘ave an ‘ome to go to, mate?”
The callow youth’s face fell, as he gently inched back towards the door.
“Everywhere ‘is my ‘ome, innit,” he sulked.
“Not this place, it ain’t! Now clear off, before you really ‘ave something to cry about, eh?”
“Says ‘oo?” the idle young ragamuffin whinged, his shoulder gently ‘eaving.
Madame Bijoux’s long-repressed maternal instincts began to awaken; was this final act of mercy to be their death throes, then, at long last?
“‘Ere,” she said, drawing out a pretty penny from her ample bosom. ‘Go and buy yourself a pie.’
The urchin greedily snatched in from her hands.
Momentarily embarrassed, he paused and scratched his head. Shuffling his feet from side to side, he gaped at the unexpected generosity of the madam.
‘Promise me you won’t do nuffink bad with it, eh?’ she warned him in mock severity; although truth be told, her heart was fit to break.
‘Just a pie,’ the boy muttered, sheepishly slinking out.
All of a sudden, Madame Bijoux put her hands on her head and wept, and wept and wept; her heart was fit to burst at the cruelty of the times.
Bathsheba sat resentfully and stared at Francis.
‘I believe you have been… as it were, if I may make bold to speak somewhat indelicately… rather, to take the liberty of suggesting…’
‘That you have not been, if it is not utterly impermissible to thus insinuate, that you have…’
Almost a smirk.
But not quite!
‘Been somewhat less than forthcoming with the truth concerning the appellation with which I am to address…’
Bathsheba slammed the tin mug down on the table, raising her eyebrows in a manner so self-consciously comical, and yet so genuine in its withering displeasure, that Francis could not but let out a little squeak.
“What you meeeeaaaaaaan to say,” said Bathsheba, drawing out the word in a manner almost more infuriating than enticing, “is that I have been lying to you.”
Francis took a step back.
“I… I would not have ventured to phrase it thus indecorously. And yet, and yet, and, and yet…”
Bathsheba stood up, fist clenched in fury; albeit placed vulnerably and pleading-gentle by her side, for she knew well enough the folly and the weakness of the weaker.
And God only knew it was not hers.
“Your true name, I believe, is Delilah…”
Bathsheba was even more displeased to see this slip.
“Deborah,” she whispered.
Francis paused and nodded.
All of a sudden Bathsheba burst into tears and ran the other way.
“You care about my name! You care about my name! But you don’t care about me!” she wept, her shoulders heaving, her lips trembling, utterly overcome with sorrow.
“Come… come now,” the gentle Bachelor quivered, himself already blubbering like a little schoolboy.
“You know they will never accept it,” she wept, turning to face him.
Francis had no words of comfort he could offer her.
“It… well… we are both Catholic and R…”
He knew the words were a lie.
For even truths may be lies upon occasion; and how well they both knew it!
Perhaps the greatest lie of all was love?
No, of course not! Who could possibly think so!
“They will never accept you in their Church. You will never be accepted in society. Everyone will flee from you, everyone will turn their back on you; like Noel Coward and Oscar Wilde.”
Francis was tempted to present Tuppy Brookes as a counter-example; but he thought better of it. Extending a trembling hand, his desolate eyes perceived his timid gesture was neither welcomed nor excused.
“They will turn you out of their chapels. They will turn you out of their houses. You will be rootless, condemned, abominable; a vagabond and a wanderer upon the earth! And all because of me!”
Francis struggled to master himself, but it was difficult to say anything remotely comprehensible to Bathsheba, so choked up with tears was he at this most lamentable spectacle.
All of a sudden he flung himself upon Deborah.
“Never! Never! Never! A thousand times, never!” he roared, like a wounded lion about to face his final ignominious demise.
“They will! They will! They will!” she shrieked, as her voice, worn-down with ancient grief, descended to a woeful tremolo of desperate, gentle sobbing.
Pausing for a moment in silence, Francis blinked through the tears, and set nothing.
All of a sudden, he leapt onto the table, brandishing a broken bottle as a musket, and declared:
“I have no family! I have no race! I have no nation!”
Deborah, momentarily astounded, screamed back (purely in sorrow, as all the anger had been burnt out of her by now):
“But you have a God! And that is all they need to bind you!”
Francis paused, and deliberated for a moment.
Eventually, he stepped down and made to embrace the distrustful Bathsheba.
“I will have no God. Not even God could ever dare to separate us.”
“No, no, no,” pleaded Bathsheba, “I did not ask… I did not ask for this…”
The normally timid apostate’s eyes grew wide to the point of appearing hovering orbs of divine vengeance, on some infinitesimal tangential point between the seventh Heaven and the darkest, deepest pits of eternal Hellfire.
For who, after all, was wise enough to know the difference?
“I have no God! I denounce him for a very tyrant! I could not love a God who could make you weep so. I could not love such a God. I denounce him for a very tyrant, and from here on, from this very moment on, let hellfire take his prey.”
Like a mortally wounded Wagner heroine, Deborah screamed, and hurled herself into his arms.
Francis threw her onto the bed and smothered him with kisses.
She smothered him with kisses, for no matter what he had said or hinted in the past to her, she knew well enough they were two bodies of one desire.
Francis grunted almost more in agony than in sorrow, as his pagan conqueror’s lance tore through the sacred thorny circle of her crucified hymen. Within seconds, the warm, sticky warmth and honey-like sweetness of their passion flooded into Deborah’s womb, bring peril, poison, and immeasurable, boundless bliss.
Within moments, the two exhausted infidels fell into an untroubled sleep.
They did not hear the knocking of the door.
For they were lost to the world.
To this world and the World-To-Come.