"And I'll tell you another thing," said the man in the bar. "Your queen of England. She owns half of Manhattan."
"That's a lie," Enderby said. "Not that I give a bugger either way."
It was a small dark and dirty bar not far from the television theatre whence Enderby had been not exactly ejected but as it were ushered with some measure of acrimony. The programme that had been recorded could not, it was felt, go out. The audience had been told too and had been angry until told that they were going to do it all over again but this time without Enderby.
"What's the matter with you then?" this man asked. "You not patriotic?" He had a face round and shiny as an apple but somehow unwholesome, as though a worm was burrowing within. "Your Winston Churchill was a great man, wasn't he? He wanted to fight the commies."
"He was half American," Enderby said, then sipped at his sweetish whisky sour.
"Ain't nothing wrong with that. You trying to say there's something wrong with that?"
"After six years of fighting the bloody Germans," Enderby said, "we were supposed to spend another six or sixty years fighting the bloody Russians. And he always had these big cigars when the rest of us couldn't get a single solitary fag."
"What's that about fags?"
"Cigarettes," Enderby explained. "While you've a lucifer to light your fag, smile, boys, that's the style."
"My mother was German. That makes me half German. You trying to say there's something wrong with that?" And then: "You one of these religious guys? What's that you was saying about Lucifer?"
"The light-bringer. Hence a match. For lighting a fag."
"I'd set a light to them. I'd burn the bastards. It's fags that pretends the downfall. The Sin of Sodom. You ever read that book?"
"I don't think so."
"Jack," this man called to the bartender, "do you have that book?"
"Gave it back to Shorty."
"There," the man said. "But there's plenty around. Where you going now?"
"No more money," Enderby said. "Just one subway token."
"Right. And your queen of England owns half the real estate in Queens. That's why they call it Queens, I guess."
Enderby walked slowly, not too displeased, towards the Times Square subway hellmouth. He had told the bastards anyway. Not apparently as many as he had expected to tell, but these matters could not always be approached quantitatively. He passed a great lighted pancake house and hungered as he did. No, watch diet, live. A whining vast black came out at him and whined for a coin. Enderby was able sincerely to say that he had no money, only a subway token. Well gimme that mane. I kin sell that for thirty cents. But how do I get home? That ain't ma problem mane. Enderby shook his head compassionately. Two other blacks and a white man, dispossessed or alienated, had made a little street band for their own apparent pleasure-guitar, flageolet, tambourine. Music of the people-was that a possible approach?
An ole Sain Gus he said yo born in sin
Cos when Eve ate de apple she let de serpent in
He shook his head sadly and went down below, wondering not for the first time whether it was really necessary to be so punctilious about setting the turnstile working with a token in the slot, since so many black and brown youths merely used, without official protest, the exit gate as an entrance. There were a lot of noisy ethnic people, as they were stupidly called, around, but Enderby did not fear. Nor was it just a matter of his being illegally armed. It was a matter of being integer vitae and also of having committed himself to a world in which pure and simple aggression was to be accepted as part of the human fabric. Die with Beethoven's Ninth howling and crashing away or live in a safe world of silly clockwork music?
He got into a train, thinking, and then realised his mistake. This was not the uptown express to 96th Street but the uptown local. Never mind. He was interested to see that, among the few passengers, all harmless, there was a nun. She was a nun of a kind not to be seen in backward Europe or North Africa, since she wore the new reformed habit, fruit of ill-thought-out Catholic liberalism. There had been a nun in a class he had taken in the previous semester, though it had been a long time before he realised it, since she wore a striped sailor sweater and bell-bottomed trousers. When he discovered her name was Sister Agnes, he had wondered if she were part of some religious mission to seawomen. But then she left the class, being apparently put off by Enderby's occasional blasphemies. This nun on the train was dressed in a short skirt that revealed veal-to-the-heel legs in what looked like lisle stockings, a modest tippet, a rather heavy pectoral cross, and the wimple of her order. She had a round shining Irish face with a dab of lipstick. Of the world and yet not of it. She had a Bloomingdale's shopping bag on her lap. She smiled at some small inner vision-perhaps of the kettle on the hob singing peace into her breast, a doorstep spiced veal sandwich waiting for her supper. Enderby looked kindly at her.
The two brown louts who got on, quickening Enderby's heart, spoke not Spanish but Portuguese. Brazilians, a new spice for the ethnic stew, plenty of Indian blood there. Enderby at once feared for the nun, but she seemed protected either by her reformed uniform or by their own superstition. They leered instead towards a blonde lay girl reading some thick college tome, probably on what was called sociology, further up the car. CRISTO 99. JISM 292. They wore long flared pants with goldish studs stretching on the outer seams from waist to instep. Their jackets were of a bolero type, blazoned with symbols of destruction and death-thunderbolt, raw-head, fasces, Union Jack, swastika. One of them wore a Gott Mit Uns belt. They stood, two brown left hands gently frotting the metal monkey pole. They spoke to each other. Enderby hungrily hearkened.
"E conta o que ele fez com ela e tem fotografia e tudo."
"Um velho l'el'e da cuca."
They were apparently talking about literature. At the next stop they grinned at everybody, leered at the girl with the tome, mock-genuflected at the nun, then got off. "B^oa noite," Enderby said, having once had a regular drunk from Matosinhos in his Tangier bar, one much given in his cups to protesting the deuterocaroline dowry. Now there was a kind of quiet general exhalation. At the next stop but one three nice WASP boys, as Enderby took them to be, got on. In the eyes of two of them was the very green of the ocean between Plymouth and Plymouth Rock. The other had warm tea-hued pupils. They were chubby-faced and wore toggled duffel jackets. Their hair belonged to some middle crinal zone between aseptic nord and latinindian jet-walled lousehouse. Without words and almost with the seriousness of asylum nurses they at once set upon an unsavoury-looking matron who began to cry out Mediterranean vocables of distress. Staggering but laughing, they had her staggering upright, held from the back by the tea-eyed one, while her skirt was yanked up to disclose sensible thick navy-blue knickers. One drew nail scissors and began delicately to slice at them. Oh rny God, Enderby prayed. Gerontal violation. The nun, who had lapsed back into her dream of supper, was quicker than Enderby. She staggered onto them, the train jolting much, hitting with her Bloomingdale's bag. Delighted, the nail-scissored one turned on her, while the knicker-ripping was completed by hand by the others. Enderby was, in the desperate resigned second before his own intervention, interested to see the reading girl go on reading and even turn a page, while an old man slept uneasily and two black boys chewed and watched as if this were television. Enderby, tottering to the train's rocking, was now there with his stick. How much better to be out of it, the kettle on the hob, a spiced veal sandwich. Delighted, the nail-scissored one turned on him, dropping his nun to the deck to pray or something. And yet God has not said a word, nor they either. Yet noises were coming out, even out of Enderby, such as yaaark and grerrr and gheee.
"Scrot," one of them said. "Balzac." Educated then. You did not educate people out of aggression, great liberal fallacy that. The one with scissors was trying to stab at Enderby's crotch. The other two had left the matron to moan and stagger and were grinning at the prospect of doing in an old man. Enderby lunged out at random with his stick and, as he had expected, it was at once grasped-by, strangely, two left hands. Enderby pulled back. The sword emerged, half then wholly naked. They had not expected this. It flashed Elizabethanly in the swaying train, hard to keep upright, they all had legs bowed to it like sailors. Whitelady looked down amazed at Enderby from an EMPLOY A VETERAN advertisement. LOPEZ 95 MARLOWE 93 BONNY SWEET ROBIN 1601. Enderby at once pinked one of them in the throat and red spurted. "Glory be to God," the nun prayed, getting up from the deck. Spot-of-blood-and-foam dapple Bloom lights the orchard apple. Enderby tried a more ambitious thrust in some belly or other. It hit a belt. He tried underarm pricking on one who raised a fist wrapped round an object dull and hard. He drew a sword tip on which red rode and danced. And thicket and thorp are merry With silver-surf'ed cherry. The train danced clumsily to its next stop. There was a lot of loud language now-fuckabastardyafuckingpiggetyafuckingballs. One of the boys, the throat-pinked one who now gave out blood like a pelican, led the way out. Enderby thrust towards his backside and then felt pity. Enough was enough. He lunged halfheartedly instead at the one who had not yet received gladial attention. Ow ouch. Nothing really: plenty of flesh there: a fleshy-bottomed race. They were all out now, the oxter-pierced bleeding quite nastily, all crying bitterly and fiercely fuckfuckassbastardcuntingfuckbastardfuckingpig and so on. The door closed and their faces were execrating holes out there on the platform. The human condition. No art without aggression. Then they were execrating briefly out of the past into the future. Enderby, winded and dangerously palpitant, picked up his hollow stick from the deck, not without falling on his face first. He found his seat and, with great difficulty, threaded the trembling bloody metal back in. The matron sat very still, handbag on lap, blue at the lips, seeing visions that made her cry out. The reading girl turned another page. The old man slept uneasily. The two black boys, seated tailorwise, made fencing gestures wow sssh zheeeph and so on at each other. The nun, still standing, said:
"That's a terrible weapon you have there."
"Look," Enderby panted, "that was my stop. I've gone past my bloody stop."
"You can ride back from the next one."
"But I've no money." And then: "Are you all right now? Is she all right now?" They were all all right now except for the shock.
"You can get on without a token," the nun said. "A lot of them do it." And then: "You shouldn't be carrying a thing like that around with you. It's against the law."
"Entitled self-protection. Bugger the law."
"Are you an Englishman?" Nodnod. Nod. "I thought so from your way of swearing. Are you a Protestant?" Shake-shake. "I said to myself you had a Catholic face."
"Aren't you," Enderby said, "frightened? Travelling like this. A lot of thugs and rapists and-"
"I trust in Almighty God."
"He wasn't all that bloody quick in. Coming to your. Help."
"Are you all right now? You look very pale."
"Heart," Enderby said. "Heart."
"I'll say a decade of the rosary for you."
"You have your supper first. A nice veal sandwich. A cup of-"
"What a strange thing to say. I can't stand veal."
Enderby got shakily off at the next stop but would not take a free ride back to 96th Street. Timorousness? No, he did not think it was that. It was rather something to do with vital integrity, not lowering oneself, wearing a suit evocative of an age of decency when gentlemen thrashed niggers but paid their bills. So he walked as far as the Symphony movie house and thought it might be a good plan to sit there, resting in the dark, judging once more, if he had the strength, certain ethical aspects of The Wreck of the Deutschland, and then go home calmly and starving to bed. But, of course, approaching the paybox, he realised once more he had no money. He said, to the bored chewing black bespectacled girl behind the grille: "Look, I just want to go in for a minute. I was involved in the making of this er movie, you see. Something I have to check. Business not pleasure." She did not seem to care. She waved him towards the cavern of the antechamber, see man in charge, man. But there was no one around who cared much. It was past the hour for anyone to care much. Enderby entered tempestuous darkness: the breakers were rolling on the beam of the Deutschland with ruinous shock. And canvas and compass, the whorl and the wheel idle for ever to waft her or wind her with, these she endured. There did not seem to be, now he could see better, many audients taking it all in. An old man slept uneasily. Some blacks chortled inexplicably at the sight of one stirring from the rigging to save the wild womankind below, with a rope's end round the man, handy and brave. Some fine swooping camerawork showed him being pitched to his death at a blow, for all his dreadnought breast and braids of thew. Cut to night roaring, with the heartbreak hearings a heartbroke rabble, the woman's wailing, the crying of child without check. Then a lioness arose breasting the babble. Gertrude, lily, Franciscan robe already rent, spoke of courage, God. Then came the flashback-Deutschland, double a desperate name. Beautifully contrived colour contrasts: black uniforms, white nun flesh, red yelling gob, blood, a patch of yellow convent-garden daffodils crushed under black-booted foot. Hitler appeared briefly, roaring something (beast of the waste wood) to black approbation in the audience.
Away in the loveable west, on a pastoral forehead of Wales, Father Tom Hopkins, S.J., seemed mystically or ESPishly aware of something terrible going on out there somewhere. Putting down his breviary, he dreamed back to boy-and-girl love. A student in Germany, Gertrude not yet coifed, passion amid Vogelgesang in the Schwarzwald. Rather touching, really, but far too naked. Song of Hitlerjugend marching in the distance. Bad times coming for us all. Ja ja, Tom. It all seemed pretty harmless, Enderby thought. It aroused desire to see off the Nazis, no more, but that had already been done, Enderby vaguely assisting. And so he left. He walked down chill blowing Broadway as far as 91st Street, then crossed towards Columbus Avenue. At this point.
At this point it happened again. Pain was pumped rapidly into his chest and he stopped breathing. The surplus of pain overflowed into the left shoulder and went rattling down the arm to the elbow. At the same time both legs went suddenly dead and the tough metalled stick was not enough to sustain him. He went over gently onto the sidewalk and lay, writhing, trying to deal with the pain and the inability to breathe like a pair of messages that both had to be answered at once. Pain passed and breath shot in with the hiss of an airtight can being opened. But still he lay, now feeling the cold. A few people passed by, naturally ignoring him, some junky, a man knifed, dangerous to be involved. And they were right, of course, in a world that thought the worst of involvement. Why did you help him, mister? Got scared, did you? Let's see what you got in your pockets. What's this? A stomach tablet? That's a laaaugh. Soon he was able to get up. Blood and a kind of healthy pain were flowing into his legs. He felt all right, even gently elated. After all, he knew now where he stood. There was no need to plan anything long-that Odontiad, for instance. A loosening artistic obligation. There was only the obligation of setting things in order. He might live a long time yet, but time would be doled out to him in very small denominations, like pocket money. On the other hand, there was no need to work at living a long time. He had not done too badly. He was fifty-six, already had done four years better than Shakespeare. As for poor Gervase Whitelady. Kindly he suddenly decided to allow Whitelady to live till 1637, which meant he could benefit from the critical acumen of Ben Jonson.
He got to the apartment block without difficulty. Mr. Audley, the black guard, sat in his chair in the warmth of the foyer, while the many telescreens showed dull programmes-people muffled up hurrying round the corner, the basement empty, the main porch newly free of entering Enderby. They nodded at each other, Enderby was allowed in, he took the elevator to his floor, he entered his apartment. Thanked, so to speak, Almighty God. He drew his bloody sword and executed a courtly flourish with it at the mess in the kitchen. Then he cleaned off the blood with a dishrag. His stomach, crassly ignoring the day's circulatory warnings, growled at him, knowing it was in the kitchen, messy or not.
There was an episode, Enderby remembered, in Galsworthy's terrible Forsyte or Forsyth epic, in which some old scoundrel of the dynasty faced ruin and determined to kill himself like a gentleman by eating a damn good dinner. In full fig, by George. By George, they had got him an oyster. By George, he had forgotten to put his teeth in, and here was a brace of mutton chops grilled to a turn. A rather repulsive story, but it did not debar Galsworthy from getting the Order of Merit and the Nobel Prize. Enderby had never got or gotten anything, not even the Heinemann Award for Poetry, but he did not give a bugger. He did not now propose to eat himself to death, in a subforsytian manner befitting his station, but rather just not to give a bugger. To take a fairly substantial supper with, since time might be short, a few unwonted luxuries added. Such as that French chocolate ice cream that was iron-hard in the deep freeze. And that small tin of p^at'e mixed in the great culminatory stew he envisaged after, for tidiness' sake, finishing off his Sara Lee collection and eating the potato pieces and spongemeat that waited for a second chance, nestling ready in their fat. And to get through the mixed pickles and Major Gray's chutney. He had always hated waste.