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You Are In The Corridor Discovering Your Own Desires! It Is The Eighteenth Century, And You Mustn't – And Sir Charles Is Coming! What Will You Do, You Gay Ruffian?
Oh, what a day for mayn’t it is! Copper washstand by the bed, dim light of the fire, glass on the windows always wavy for the eighteenth century: But how will you century, gay as you are? The fastidiousness of your breeches, the uncorseted rowdiness of your shoulders, have given you away as the most bent — hush and whist away, the master’s coming! Swiftly bend to straighten a portrait-end, and hustle yourself into good worksmanship and fine quality. Quicken yourself into fine womanhood, and decrease the buttons on your greatcoat! You’ve lingered overlong on the grass-hills by the sea and caught such a spraying as to wash your insides the wrong sort of clean. Hushabye now! Ask yourself, before the maidlings enter and squash your thinking:
Is this Paris yet? Are we safely furrow’d round with decadence, enough to pass off as an eccentric with hats and genius?
It isn’t Paris, worst luck; it’s most England, with mustments all brick’d round, and no hope of a shared gaze with a sweet set of eyes for miles round
It might yet be Paris
There’s a train bound for Paris in the hour next, and I’ll be on it most of a certain, brother to steam and swiftness, off to find the kissing lads who don’t mind!
Nothing was ever Paris, and I’ll marry repression and grim-mouthedness
Trundle the thought of her lovely rapid body off with a rushness and bury it with the hounds!
That I never will do; my thoughts are my own, even in this century that’s all handshakes and no tender-touch
I’ll trundle everything off, I will! I’ll make children with my body and a servant with my mind!
What is there either to remember or forget? All I know is Hallway, and dusting things in it, and how man and woman kiss together – all I’ll ever know, either
My mind’s a bird full of the queerest little kiss-thoughts and that bird’s circled the world round, Rupert
Grow out your beard to demonstrate sorrow and the growth that only springs up after grief!
I’ll do’t — for sweet William
I’ll shave simultaneous with every train and factory in England now that Queen Victoria has invented time – I’ll shave each trace of sweet William from my skin, and build a proper husband of myself each morning as the lads besuit me
Ah sweet William never could grow a beard – and never will, now
I’ll grow a beard of drunkenness and Paris, and never neaten it! Liquor will stain it, and repentance, and tobacco-leaves, and dancing-girls, but never growth, Mother London!
This talk grows too queer for the library (boys) or the kitchen (girls) – the only place for such Greek touchings is the corridor! Will you move, or risk discovery?
I’ll kill him if I see him! Let him come! The books and I are allies, and I’ll crush him with my deathless paper army – I’ve learned myself today, Grenfield!
If you’ve got my wrist and I’ve got yours, Rachel — let’s hedgeburst —
Yes, I’ll move, smooth my cap, fix the catchment on the sill, tap the wall, look away, look back, return to work, all undone and all done up — a sneak now and forever
I’m too queered off for such a moving now — all’s to be done is tunnel out to the sea and take everything with me —