4 'A Sentimental Journey through Sydney' edited
The Australian continent was not inhabited by humans when around the world civilisations had been flourishing for a long time. The Aborigines began to arrive 13 thousand years ago. 1788 British began settling. After 1945 other Europeans came too.
4 ‘A Sentimental Journey through Sydney’ edited
Fernando García Izquierdo
On a fine November morning, half a century ago, a rather taciturn man in his late twenties was striding along amongst what seemed to be a regular moving crowd of commuters, Sydneysiders all or most of them, who were walking, each one, quite obviously with a special intention.
The square was lined on three sides by lines of houses, and on the fourth by lots of cement columns, behind which there were a dozen jetties where ferryboats were berthed, waiting to sail across the bay or just arriving with new loads of commuters.
Upon the plaza itself, twenty or so bus-shelters where double-decker buses were arriving all the time with more citizens moving away in all directions. The man, who obviously was there for the first or second time in his life and was not (as we have intimated) exceedingly pleasant person, was watching with great attention, striding along, as we have said, but with less energy and determination.
It was an ample square or plaza, known as “the Quay”, more properly called Circular Quay, which by the way was not circular or round at all. It constitutes the spot where, under the first governor-designate, Captain Arthur Phillip, R.N., the frugally victualled, and parsimoniously outfitted ‘First Fleet’ of eleven small ships, filled up from the notorious prison hulks back home, had landed in January 1788. And then there was a reason for the name, the place of landing being called “Sydney Cove”, a most beautiful circular sandy beach, and a land around full of primeval forests.
Today, in the spring of 1958, one no longer can see the sea from said Circular Quay. Instead there is the view overhead of an expressway and the railway line running underneath, the whole being held up in the air by a multiplicity of concrete bars and columns, which is the reason why the sea cannot be seen from the plaza.
Crowds are being formed on this big plaza: Sydneysiders, mainly commuters who just now are proceeding from the twenty or so bus-stops or shelters situated all around the square. Towards these shelters many double-decker buses have been seen descending these fifty or sixty minutes, all loaded with people coming from the far or near suburbs.
Now and again fresh clusters of men and women are being formed, filtering between the parked buses and other vehicles, then edging in and out of existing traffic, then reaching a pavement or turning round to catch a ferry and then starting another journey.
Lines of disciplined citizens on the move, going to their respective destination are filling pavements and footpaths: commuters constantly arriving from the buses, men and women marching with sure foot to their places of employment, mostly office workers, but also entreprneurs to open their little usiness or agency.
Newspaper boys were seen in some corners, as well as sreet-vendors with their carts and tiny stands. They certainly have arrived earlier, and have been selling their mercnandise and commodities sometimes sunce six or seven a.m. The employees in cafés, bars and milkbars have also been here one or two hours; perhaps also shop-attendants, managers of general stores and others workers of the same sort, as in all big cities.
“Multitudes on the move,” thinks Luis Galvao to himself (he likes to philosophise.) For he has always been a chritical character. Observing, analysing and reaching conclusions about odd things.
Can there be anything more interesting to watch than a varied mass of commuters in a modern capital of our free world, thousands of miles away from the place your eyes were open to life, say, twenty-six years ago?
Impossible to say why and how he has at this moment, suddenly thought of mass of exiled individuals, finding themselves on the same boat, travelling together, seem so isolated from one another.
“As lonely, everyone of as,” he thinks, “as the shelfish on the rocks by the sea.”
… moving alone in a crowd, no linkage, I see. Worse than when our uncivilised ancestrors trod in hords on the the earth so thousand years ago. Suburban-dwellers travelling together and no relation, no communion among them.
… every citizen following faithfully the crowd’s fix direction: mysterious, invisible at first. The horror of losing one’s bearings. Regular lines of commuters being formed all the time, advancing. And all the time, someone one gone. Freedom.
Thus felt Luis Galvao observing the crowd on that November morning of 1958. He was going to have an interview with an important man in town, an engineer graduated from Manchester Tech and also a graduated lawyer from the New South Wales Barristers’ Admision Board. That was the reason why this morning he found himself in the midst of the madding crowd: he was rushing with a special purpose, hoping that a certain interview he was to have would be successful, that he would repeat this march every morning from now on.
Entering the main commercial avenue of the City, George Street, he proceeded on another well constituted row of citizens (under the long overhanging covering the way of the capitalism, STERNS, DAVID JONE’S, GOLDEN CIRCLE, NOCK & KIRBY’S and so many other trading names and trademarks and neon-lights.
The pace of the moving crowd has been lately increased. You can’t help it. A new impulse, impelling all of the marchers on, almost instinctively, hurrying to their respective posts.
Now, two neighbouring streams gliding on the same path in oppossite directions.The men wear mainly flanel suits and some also hats, balancing their briefcases as they advance. Some of the ladies also wear hats or bonnets, and carryi their shopping bags. The younger women, all very pretty, wear cotton dresses, or scirts blouses, some with slender legs wear mini-skirts; and all of them carry their stiletto-hill shoes in their ample bags.
And no communication: not even a moment anyone has to say “Hellow!” to any other, friend or acquaintance, or “Excuse, Madam!” or “Beg your pardon, Sir!”; say, when one of the pedestrian’s thigh or knee is bumped by the briefcase or the bag of someone else. The accidental cad as well as the victim resume at once the slightly interrupted career: a wonder if they have noticed anything.
Corner Grovenor Street. Some Sydneysiders stop at the zerbra crossing and wait for the traffic lights to change. Green! Two goups of pedesrtrians crossing, coming from opposite sides. The encounter threatens to be tremendous. But nothing very horrible happens. The two currents filter through one another. The light, in the meantime, has changed to amber, changed to red. The members of each opposing band scramble up onto the desired pavement, and a split, some turning into the same George Street, some up into Grosvenor Street.
He starts the ascent towards Caltex House, a lofty building looming above the rest of the city. It was approximately there where the First Garrison was built in colonial times. He crosses a tiny square with a famous hotel, The Wentworth, the first built in Australia, in colonial times. He then crosses York and Clarence streets and finally reaches a long platform with a shelter and people descending from the buses coming mainly from North Sydney, over the Harbour Bridge.
A score of people over the final zebra, crossing with him, rushing towards Caltex House . They pass through the revolving doors into the ground-floor hall, already crowded with office workers all queuing before one or other of the five lifts. Several men now find some leisure to prepare themselves a cigarette for afterwards. Galvao’s lift arrives. Twelve of those waiting scramble inside, the doors slide closed again, the lift flies up. The travellers are compressed, but all of them are observing courteous manners: some with chin against chest, others looking at the ceiling; no one utters a single sound. The lift stops with a bump, the doors slide open. Seventh floor. Some people scramble out with Galvao, who stops before a large glass-door with the notice, ‘Hutchkinson and Whyte – Registered Patent Agents’. He talks to a beautifully made-up receptionist. Afterwards he sits down on a chair at the small reception hall, observing the girl and all the people just entering the premises: ‘Morning Ivy!’ ‘Good morning, Mr Rance!’ ‘Good morning, Ivy!’ ‘Good morning, Barry!’
At legth, a middle-aged gentlemen appears in the reception room, confronting him. ‘Morning, Mr. Galvao, pleased to meet you!
Luis Galvao found Mr. Kim Hutchkinson a most agreeable person and a very untypical Australian. He was in fact a Yorkshireman who had fought, when young, in the Pacific with the Royal Navy, helping the Americans to liberate some of the islands from the Japs, and who had stayed in Sydney ever since.
The visitor opened his briefcase and showed the originals of his diplomas and credentials, copies of which the gentleman had already received by mail. He looked at them, asked for the translation of some Spanish words, which apparently Luis had omitted to include in the sworn translations which he had sent with the originals. Afterwards, with a nice smile on his face, the gentleman sat back in his armchair and spoke about Australia.
‘Mark my words, Mr. Galvao, in ten years’ time this country is going to be a new America,’ he said. He had a nice face, wore gold-rimmed glasses and looked younger than he was (considering – Luis thought- he must be between forty-five and fifty.)
‘The newest continent, that is how it is,’ the gentleman went on. They call it the Awakening Giant. We’ll have doubled our population in less than ten years.’
Luis Galvao was listening, trying to look relaxed and interested in the conversation. It was a rather big office they were in, very well furnished and a nice décor, with oil paintings that looked original, aboriginal art. The partner’s bureau and the chairs on which both sat were undoubtedly of some fine wood. And looking discreetly about the office, which was big and in a corner of the building, he also had a vision of the outside: the sun shone bright across the bay and all over that part of North Sydney in the distance, of which he could just have a glimpse from his seat.
‘So you know well Mr. Scziadovo, is that it?’ he heard Mr. Hutchkinson say. ‘He was telling me the other day that you’re trying to requalify your degree. He seems to be interested in your wellbeing. Good friends?’
‘Lasek’s ancestors… oh, long ago!... originated from Spain, Castille, which is the region where I was born. He thinks we may be related.’
‘How come he doesn’t offer you, say, a partnership. Don’t want to meddle, of course. Let me tell you, I’m all for association, as opposed to a one-man practice. Since I decided to bring Ray Whyte in, I’ve never looked back. The firm hasn’t ceased to grow these last eight years.’
‘You’re right, Mr. Hutchkinson. Partnership is a great thing, the way to grow, as you say. Division of labour and all that. But no…, conveyancing is not my cup of tea. I did some patent law before… oh, long ago,’ Luis realised that he was getting nervous, a thing he had not anticipated at all. But in fact, his practice as a lawyer was nothing to boast about.
‘I see. Anyhow, not everyone is interested in partnerships, which also can bring headaches.”
There was a knock at the door of the office. A woman entered with a big trolley, carrying the urn of tea, a big tray with biscuits, plus cups and the rest. When the tea had been served and the lady had left, Mr. Hutchkinson resumed the interrupted conversation.
‘But going back to the subject,’ he began, ‘the whole country is continually growing. We need many migrants. The good sort of migrant. Have you heard of the Kimberleys? A region in the west. It is enormous and it’s empty, and an immensely rich subsoil.’
‘Yes, I know. Arid, though.’
‘There are plans to build dams. Tens of thousands of acres of desert land could be devoted to agriculture; cattle stations could be created; with airstrips; there are plans for two or three new townships already.’
Luis Galvao was looking out of the window (the whole of the two opposite walls were made of glass, from the low ceiling to the wall-to-wall carpet.
… the several landstrips between arms of sea he could see in the distance. Being so fond of colours he delighted perceiving the perfect blue sky with one or two cumulus clouds; then the vivid green of the land, and the prussian-blue of the bay.
… the only drawback: there were industrial installations on the side of the Harbour Bridge, underneath on one the side, and some curling snakes of black smoke.
‘I know. Australia is now an industrial power,’ Galvao said.
‘How right you are. We make our own motorcars. A flourishing industry, automobiles. Have you seen the all-Australian “Holden”?’
‘Yes, Mr. Hutchkinson. I own one myself.’
‘Good on you! Our own car, yes. Factories in Sydney and Melbourne. Constant growth. See what I mean? We build our own destroyers, too. Here! A few miles from where we are. The Royal Australian Navy. I was in the service in the Navy. First RN, then the RAN.’
‘Ah, yes! the Korean War,’ Galvao muttered, and he at once knew he shouldn’t have spoken. ‘I mean, now we are keeping the peace in South East Asia... the free world, in partnership with the United States.’
Mr. Hutchkinson, however, went on talking, without listening. “More importantly, as I was saying, there is every reason to believe that one day Australia will satisfy the most optimistic. Yes, a life both pleasant and satisfying. If only God one day made Australian agriculture work,’ he repeated, ‘so we could satisfy that ambition! The demands of a food-hungry world!”
Luis remembered he had worked in agriculture in Yorkshire, and said so to his extraordinarily nice interlocutor (he had always been a good talker and now was pleased to show he had once been a manual worker.)
‘Millions of acres of good arable land, I assure you,’ the other developed his own theme, ‘when once we have managed to secure bountiful rainfall.’
‘You know, Mr. Hutchkinson,’ Galvao said, ‘even Franco knew, what you say, the importance of water. During the first years of the regime, already, many dams were built in Spain.’
“We export wool. Number one in the world. Your Merino, sir.”
‘Estremadura, that was the origin of the Merino, yes!. Some came here from Saxony, though. Part of Germany was linked to Spain many centuries ago. That is why.’
‘You’re saying!’ the man uttered, and for the moment said no more.
‘World commerce,’ said the Spaniard a bit lost. ‘What I mean to say, a sturdy race, the Merino. Wool. Trade, you can’t beat it. A lovely country, Estremadura, Mr. Hutchkinson, all that land. Southern Spain. Very poor.’
‘And we make our own wine, Mr. Galvao. The Barossa Valley. Have you tried our sparkling wine? Talk of French wines, Barossa Pearl, sir. I say, “ça vaut bien un Champagne!” Mr. Hutchkinson spoke French.)
For a time, while the Yorkshireman spoke, Luis Galvao looked absent- mindedly at the prospect beyond what he guessed was North Sydney, beyond the petrol refinery with the trade mark of a multinational. “Green,” he thinks, “like the moors in northern England,” he thinks. Only, there are many brown specks, here and there which break the image in his mind. Residential properties.
‘Engulfed in the wonderful corner of Sydney Cove, where the First Fleet built a town,’ the gentleman was going on, ‘now this city. It contains part of our history, in many beautiful areas…’
The office was large and L-shaped, situated right on one of the four corners of the building, the one facing Harbour Bridge, with a view too of the docks of Darling Harbour. From his armchair Luis Galvao was facing the man separated from him by a large table. There was air-conditioning in the premises which suddenly caused Luis Galvao to sneeze. ‘There is going to be a change in the weather,’ he said, for no reason at all.
But his interlocutor went on with the theme of the changing face of Australia. ‘Industry, sir, economic growth. We haven’t allowed the world to relegate us to being a simple supplier of raw materials. I say, industrial production, all over: Sydney, Newcastle, Melbourne, Wollongong… have you seen the industrial complex at Port Kembla?”
Galvao said he had lived and worked near Wollongong, without explaining what kind of work he did.’ The interview lasted an unexpected two hours. Mr. Hutchkinson was an extremely convivial man, specially after Galvao (who did not mind mentioning he had been long ago a manual worker) mentioned his having worked long ago in an agricultural camp in England, Yorkshire. ‘A VAC near Pocklington, sir!,’ he said, ‘in my student days.’
‘Ah, Pocklington! And what do you think of the Yorkshire moors! How much I miss them despite everything,’ the gentleman became sentimental, and he sang ‘soto-voce’: ‘I loove Down oonder! boot after all… these hills ain’t the hills of my youth!’ And he showed photographs which he brought out of a drawer on one side of his desk. ‘Do you take snaps, sir?’
‘Well, not so many,’ Galvao lied; for he did not take any. ‘Don’t have a camera at present.’
‘Oh, you’ll have to buy yourself one. Buy a Canon. D’you know, the Japanese are not what some think. Cheap stuff, they say. On the contrary. They sell cheap to conquer markets, but their products are good, excellent in fact. They’ll be like America in a few years time, mark my words. I’ve been to Tokyo, sir. Nippon corporations. I’ve been to offices, visited plants. Got some clients for the partnership. Mitsubishi, Mr. Galvao. D’you know what that name means? Hutchkinson and Whyte, Patents and Trade Marks, registration, oppositions, licenses, court actions fighting against infringement. Well, I feel I have now convinced you,’ he heard the nice Yorkshireman conclude. ‘If we are not an industrial giant yet, we soon shall be.’
Luis Galvao was offered a job. There would be a trial-period. He would be allowed to show his knowledge and the partnership would decide, after he had actually worked in the office. He would be contacted by letter. Hutchkinson and Whyte’s had an international ambition (he was told) and Luis felt that morning, after such a long interview with such a nice person, happier and more confident than ever since his arrival in Australia. He knew luck had played in his favour, a combination of circumstances as often happened: Australia was full of opportunities and then an old articled lawyer, Mr. Kevin Dean, whose place he would occupy, was about to retire.
Galvao passed through one of the revolving glass-doors into Kent Street and turned right, quite agitated by the extraordinary events of the morning. He perceived the smell of frying somewhere and eventually reached the shop, bought his luncheon and a minute later was going down through a narrow lane to Sussex Street, extracting with oily fingers chunks of fish and pieces of ‘taties’ from the greasy paper-bag, and proceeding towards the waterfront.
He was now in the street, precisely, where he used to work (for he had been these last few days without a job); and knew how to find a bench where to sit down and finish his lunch and tin of GOLDEN CIRCLE juice, which he had also bought at the small shop.
His future boss had just expressed some thoughts about his future in the partnership, whose clients oversees all corresponded with the firm in English. It was not his speaking several languages that interested them. He expected him to perfect his English and requalify his degree, as he himself had done long ago: the New South Wales Barristers’ Admision Board was mentioned.
“What a nice chap, he said as he stood up and began to walk towards Pyrmont Bridge and home.
Malgorata received the news with great excitement. “Oh Luis, darling, that’s what you wanted. How happy I am! We’ve got to celebrate ,” she said. “Let’s get dressed up and go to King’s Cross and spend the night dancin’ in The Club.”
‘The Club’ was a famous nightclub where they had gone celebrating before. She enjoyed that very much, because she was a good dancer. But he was not so keen on dancing as she was, and because he had been trying other avenues regarding new employment, he found himself, in a real pickle. He would have to go that same evening (he said) to the City. An acquaintance, in the Rocks district, named Joseph Patrick Murphy, lived there. He was a foreman of some sort in the docks, at Woolloomoolloo. It had come to happen that he was about that time without a job, having left the factory, being allergic to the air he breathed there, every day.
“No, darling,” he replied. “I must go to the Rocks, straight away, I have to see Joe Murphy, he’s got me a job in a real estate agency.”
In effect, a friend, Joe Patrick Murphy had tentatively fixed for him an interview for the next morning. For Paddy was an important foreman, who knew everyone on Woolloomooloo bay, where the job was being offered. So they drove to the Rocks, one of the oldest and oddest districts of Sydney. Joe and Connie Murphy received them with friendship and kindness. They were accompanied by a comrade named Norman Danton, whom Luis had already seen at a literary-political gathering. The three ot them belonged to the Communist Party of Australia, and had been in Spain in 1937-1938, the men fighting under the banner of the International Brigades.
It was a very succesful party, apart from the fact that too much alcohol was consumed. Connie Murphy had simply purchased the dinner in take-away boxes at the Chinese Restaurant, next to the Australian Hotel where her husand had bought the drinks of porter and ale.
Connie had been a London journalist and writer who belonged to a well-known family of intellectuals, and who at twenty-one had joined the party and had since struggled for communism, as she put it.
The following day, they went to Narrabeen Lagoon, north of Sydney. Malgorata had these fifteen or sixteen hours been in two minds about the turn their life together was taking. She suspected Luis had become too radical in politics, and saw in this a contradition in her lover’s character, which could not but cause him great prejudice one day. Because she had followed him obediently last night to the Rocks, he was taking her today for a trip to a big beach, sunshine, a blue lagoon and a boundless ocean.
They passed the Harbour Bridge, drove along the Pacific Highway for a very short while until they hit a narrower road that took them to Pittwater, and the North, all the time bordering the ocean with its beaches of abundant fine yellow sand: Curl-Curl, Dee-Why, Collaroy and others; then left the recently-purchased Holden in the car-park of the Esplanade, facing the lagoon, a rather large mass of quiet blue water and irregular littoral, like a lake with an opening to the sea. Everywhere they saw euchalypt forests, alternating with uniform lines of new dwellings. They had their midday meal in a bar by the War Veterans’ Home; and there bought provisions for the rest of the trip.
A sandy strip between two large masses of water, the blue lagoon on the left, and the infinitely expanding dark-blue mass of the Pacific on the right. It being a glorious day, of a fantastic luminosity and the atmosphere being one of absolute solitude and tranquility, they plodded joyfully on and on. As there were two water’s edges, on the left the peaceful blue lagoon, and on the right the turbulent ocean, their walk was purposely changing from one side to the other, serpent-like. It was Malgorata, all-bursting with happiness, that led the tune. Sometimes she would be quietly plodding along, waiting for the moment a shower would burst in the air after the explosion of a giant breaker, and then moving to the left until they reached the few trees that remained there, contemplating the splendorous blue of the lagoon.
They had this time left the car not far from the sands, in a street newly built where houses were under construction and where they talked to two newly arrived migrant workers. After that, they walked around for another quarter of an hour and they were alone in the world.
All the freshness of the wind was on their faces, which sometimes also received like a mysterious shower from Above; for most of the coming rollers were concerted into mountains of ocean-water breaking so powerfully at once on the battered ground that cute Malgorata uttered a strident cry, half laugh, half scream. They were on a real desert, not far from the lagoon’s entrance, and once Luis almost fell into a reverie, all became blue for him. The poor fellow had been watching for beautiful colours all the time and now, upon a big dune, temporarily alone, he perceived one colour only, blue. All was blue in different hues: Heaven and Ocean.
Both of them carried a haversack from which thongs and other belongings were happily hanging, inside mainly carrying water and refreshments. At Galvao’s suggestion, they stripped off their clothes, save their tee-shirts (necessary to wear when carrying rough bags), for as they plodded on the sands, the temperature rose considerably; and just at that moment the sun was fiercely hot and dazzling. In addition she wore a large-brimmed straw hat and he had a white golf-cap.
Whenever they stopped for a rest or simply to admire the scenery, they left their loads on the ground and stayed silently for a tender cuddle: he would look at her glowing face, those eyes he had come to love, for there was grace and mystery in the way she looked at him, her fingers touching the buttons of his tee-shirt and then one of his shoulders, expecting so sweet a kiss.
… like in a dream I felt her sincere devotion, so adorable, that sweet cuddling, that perfect union now on the ground, that human warmth so wanted in life.
… the two bodies were touching, and I saw her above me passing her arm tenderly around my waist; her shiny blond curls and her smile. “Naughty!”
At a certain moment, when Malgorata and Luis were lying under some shrubs in the fine forested part of that gorgeous land, suddenly and unexpectedly, they felt a tremendous commotion coming from the middle of the lagoon. Like an explosion or say the attack of an enemy army. And it turned out to be just the passage of a speed-boat down below (for the copse where they had been having their siesta was on a shaded height) and they saw the bolide flying past, the pilot in a shower of sea-water, with his goggles on; and his navy cap and his mariner’s jacket were drenched in water, it seemed. There came following this bolide, one could say, the handsomely naked bodies of two individuals upon skis, pulled from the boat by means of two very long cables to which they held on for their lives. The two cables were not parallel, but were separating them from one another as the distance from the boat increased; the two lovers on the land looked at the two handsome bodies in admiration: two athletes bending backwards with energy and courage; and the perfectly suntanned bodies (faces included) were as unmoved and unconnected as if they had really been bronze statues, man and woman, either naked or (Luis said to himself on second thoughts) wearing microscopic swimmers; in any case very appetising bodies. Distant from one another about fifteen or eighteen feet, they never turned their eyes to look at one another.
Luis Galvao followed them in imagination, thinking they were trying to reach the open sea. The part of the lagoon called the Entrance, where they were, was like a long and narrow canyon. “It will be tremendous foolishness,” he said to himself.” But he was wrong: the noise and the bolide returned. “There must be a place at the Head,” he said aloud, “where they turn and come back.”
He had been helping Malgorata to dress, too solicitous for words, receiving a sound rebuff. “No, darling,” she shouted, “now it’s time to go; we have to get back to the car. We haven’t a drop of water with us.”
Luis Galvao was glancing out at the empty yard down below. Malgorata had gone for the day to Wollongong, where one of her pupils was competing for a violin prize of some sort. It was a splendid afternoon and he did not know what to do, except for the time being look at the gardens and properties outside the windows. Both neighbours were mowing their lawns, and he could see the mug of the one on the left, plodding up down behind the pailing. After a while he heard his room-companion approach.
“Pretty Woman is making you suffer, yes?’ Heribert whispered in his ear.
“What do you know?”
“Me, nothing; but tell me, where has she gone, a Saturday, yes?”
“Non of your business. She’s an artist… has her obligations to attend to.”
“And you, what are…”
“Shut up! You’re jealous, Heribert. We know you once tried…”
“Oh mine God! You surprise me. I’m only trying to give advice to a young friend. I wouldn’t personally place all my affection on a single bird. Australia is full of beautiful women, yes.”
“If you knew what it is to love a woman,” Luis said, with his habitual self-sufficiency.
“Hold there, my lad,” Heribert said, with typical Germanic scorn. “Love a bird, love a woman, love a dozen pretty ones. Now, I possess a jewel, a real Valkyrie. D’you want me to introduce her to you and ye’ll see I’m not inventing? I’ll pass her on to you when I sail to Europe.”
“What d’you bloody mean? I need none of yer whores,” Luis hissed, “who d’you think I am?”
“Calm down,” the other said, with a sneer. “It’s a lady I’m talking of, I’ll show you something if you come with me now to a party in Double Bay.”
“What? Who invites me?”
“I do. And I’ll introduce you to the husband. He is a potentate, one of them captains of industry, yes. You’ll see their mansion in Rose Bay, two-storeyed, columnated porch, frenchwindows all around, and balconies on the two upper floors; immense grounds almost like a park, and very near the sea.’
“Have you seen the property, then?” asked Luis in astonishment.
“I go there quite often. Come and meet the husband, too. You may find him useful in your career, my little lawyer.’
Heribert Wormser drove his new Ford Falcon round the corner into Railway Square and towards George Street and the City; then turned right in order to hit New South Head Road. At the hight of Woolloomooloo Bay, Luis said. “Do you know, I was there the other day, getting a job.”
“On the docks?” Heribert asked, in surprise.
“Not on my life! A militant union needed a translator. French pamphlets, propaganda sort of thing… to put them into English. Do you know a Joseph Murphy?”
“Paddy!” the German exclaimed as if some one had mentioned to him the devil. “Joe Paddy Murphy, d’you know he once was in the Royal Guards, Buckingham Palace, and joined the communist with his brother. Real poison the two.”
“Well, I don’t agree. Joe Murphy is the nicest, most helpful friend I’ve ever had. He fougnt in the Spanish War, 1937.”
The conversation went on in this vein and Heribert being a good driver they soon were in Double Bay.
Sir Reginald Greene (the Valkyrie’s husband) was giving one of those sumptuous parties for which he was most famous. It was one of those social gatherings where folks drink endlessly, standing up, chatting about nothing in particular, touching only, and that superficially, the most anodyne subjects, the same things being said over and over again by all sorts of people with the same modulated brain power. A score of people engaged in eating and drinking, standing up in little groups, each guest holding a glass in one hand, something to eat in the other, while the smiling host and hostess plus one or two intimate friends moved about from group to group making sure that everybody is enjoying himself or herself.
Luis Galvao has been introduced to the couple. About ten years age difference between husband and wife . He saw the beautiful being led by the arm out into the garden through one of the french-windows. Taller even than Heribert, who was himself a handsome German fellow.
‘Enjoying yourself, Mr. Gallway?’
‘Yes, M… Sir Reginald.’
The two moved into an L-shaped room, where most of the guests were congregated. Noisy too. ‘Now, what would you like for a drink?’ the host asked one of them. ‘Louise love, what will you have?’ ‘Well…?’ ‘Gin-n-tonic, dear, or vodka-n-orange, whisky-n-soda, brandy-n-ginger ale, rum-n-coke, you name it?’ Without interfering with the servants, who moved quietly about, handing around trays of tiny sandwiches (pâté, salmon, caviar), Sir Reginald Greene passed from group to group.
A servant with a marked Aussie accent comes to lonely Galvao: ‘Like another drink, sir?’ Or the Valkyrie herself (who has reappeared, but not Heribert.) ‘What can I offer you, Sissy?’ ‘You alright, Kim?’ ‘So pleased ye could come, Gladys and John!’
In one of the groups, made up exclusively of male elements, a bloke of about forty is relating his exploits with unnamed individuals of the opposite sex. ‘’And now, listen to this… a devil of a woman she was… and she wasn’t such a fright after all… well, no! I’d say she was tolerably good-looking, ha! ha!… (there is that accompanying roar of laughter.) Well, I say… You know, I couldn’t get it up… devil of a fucking bastard! Maybe I didn’t feel like it. No sexual chemistry between me and her after all.‘’ The laughter bursts out afresh and then another guy, dressed in immaculate white and quite refined, starts to tell his adventure. Luis Galvao moves away.
At one stage of the celebrations (for sir Reginald is celebrating a big success in a certain speculation which has brought him ‘a cool million’) the dolls begin to withdraw to some suitable corners in order to talk more freely of their things, the guys’ bawling out all the time, telling idiotic jokes, stamping their feet and making those aggressive gestures.
Luis Galvao moves on, is stopped by a servant. ‘Shall I fill your glass?’ ‘Scotch, please.’ ‘And how would you like it?’ ‘Neat, please.’ ‘On the rocks?’ ‘Oh yes, on the rocks.’ Afterwards he joins a group composed exclusively of young ladies. A cloud of tobacco smoke envelops the few things still visible in the pervading darkness of the room. Two people are dancing. A bearded young man, shaking like an epileptic, with an apathetic young woman, who however follows him with absolute precision like a mechanical doll. Modern music comes from the ceiling.
‘Oh, hold it!’ Galvao protests; for somebody is filling his glass again. He hears a woman’s voice. ‘Beg yer pardon?’ ‘You a friend of the house?’ ‘Well, a friend of a friend.’ ‘A friend of Hildegard’s?’ ‘Ah, yes.’ A pretty doll joins in the conversation. ‘New Australian?’ ‘That’s correct. Aye!’ ‘You Italian, why don’t you write about Itie migrants?’ ‘I know what you mean; eating spaghetti. Pure rubbish, my pretty one. Besides I’m Spanish.’ ‘Olé, torero!’
Through a cloud of smoke, Galvao sees the two dancers in the middle of the floor, still shaking convulsively this way and that, sometimes coming together, other times drawing away from one another, now bending forward so that their foreheads almost touch; then towards one side; towards the other; now squatting, their shoulders quivering, their faces grimacing, and all the while moving their arms backwards and forwards, elbows rigid, on and on.
Another pretty bird talks to him, and in a moment, another three. They are all about thirty to thirty-two, and, but for the perfume and sometimes the tint of their hair, all very much alike, both physically and mentally. Still holding his glass with some whisky, he exchanges some words with the women, here and there.
‘Shall I fill your glass to cheer you up?’ ‘Ritee oh! I need cheerin’ up.’ ‘Of course, a little sip of this gives one some nerve to go on,’ ‘What is it?’ ‘Pimm’s.’ ‘Lemme first put me lips to yer drink a’ see.’ ‘Just now Luis has young ladies all around him. Large drooping eyes and black hair that sticks upwards like the spines of a porcupine or glittering platinum blond. ‘Let me drink to yer health, Lewis! Is that the nime?’ ‘Ye a friend o’ Hildegard’s?’ ‘Actually, a friend o’ a friend.’ ‘I see.’’
As he comes out into the corridor in search of the bathroom, the intensity of the neon light, contrasting with the previously pervading twilight, makes his poor eyes blink. He opens a door at random and sees two persons making love on a couch. ‘Sorry!’ he mutters, shifting away. In two contiguous narrow doors he sees stylised designs: one is a little girl sitting on a chamber pot; the other one, a male toddler urinating holding his willy with both hands. He opens the appropriate door and steps inside. Three Pekinese puppies, that probably were asleep, jump out of a feather-cushioned wicker-basket as the light is switched on and run shakily toward the intruder, yapping. Galvao kicks them aside and for the next few moments the pets are at his feet, six shiny beady eyes fixed on him, three insignificant bodies trembling like electric toys.
At length he finds the way out, and breathes in the pure evening air, resting his tired head back on the palm of one hand, while in the other he still holds his glass with some whisky. A prussian-blue sky resplendent with stars, a colourful jacaranda tree in the light of a spherical garden lamp. Oh, such a splendid night! And the feeble sound of music, rising and falling in monotonous style, coming from the house in waves as he wanders in a sort of shrubbery where from time to time he glimpses passing shadows, solitary beings or amorous couples.
A lozenge-shaped swimming pool with a naked woman showing her exquisite forms on the shining surface of the water. It’s actually an inflated rubber balloon.
From the shouts and peals of laughter, coming from the garage, and the pungent smell of burned meat that blows to the path on which he is now walking, he understands there is another party going on in that part of the property. He approaches the immense garage step by step.
‘Hellish pump !’ he hears a scream. Another voice is heard, replying: ‘Fuckin’ pump works fair dinkum!’ A hysterical cry. ‘My foot!’ ‘Like hell, it does!’ ‘Works marvellously’. Some stamping of heavy footwear is heard, like bestial dancing. ‘Nothing of the kind!’ A sudden fight crops up. ‘Pump, he says! Shit!’ ‘You bastard! why I repeat it does fuckin’ well’ ‘Shit, lika-fuckin’bust, you wait!’ Three men with half-a-pint glasses in their hands; some movement inside the garage: and out ‘Fuckin’ bastard o’a fuckin’ keg!’ ‘Shake, man!’ ‘Stye there, yer fuckin’ bastards!’ ‘Any fuckin’how a bloody good drop, I sye!’ ‘My word!’ ‘Jesus Christ!’
As Luis Galvao comes nearer there is like a mild explosion and a piercing cry, and he sees two guys emerging from behind the shrubbery splitting their sides with laughter: jets of frothing beer now shooting up into the air, uncontrollably.
‘Told you!’ ‘Fuckin’ mess of a fuckin’ keg of bloody beer!’ ‘Bastards! They’ve cheated me this time, the rogues!’ And Sir Reginald Greene in person is now rushing into the shed, where the keg has burst, at full speed, screeching.
At the same time a young fellow squeezes out through the narrow back entrance, thoroughly drenched with foaming liquid. ‘Keg exploding on me! Crissake!!’ he yells, amid much laughter. And the fun goes on.
‘Well done, Keith!’ Sir Reginald said, ‘I know your great value.’
For the shower of beer has now stopped. Yet, the boss too comes out half wet, though triumphant, exultant with the exploit. ‘Never mind!’ he shouts, with military dignity. ‘No use crying over spilt milk.’
‘Spilt ale!’ cries a joker.
‘They’ve brought me a bad keg this time, the bastards! Bruce, you will see to it on Monday. Now, bring out the bottles, double quick! And let everyone have a bite of something, too.’ A big cardboard box full of bottles is brought out from a fridge in the garage. And for the moment they all have another fish to fry.
Galvao thinks nobody has seen him, but he is mistaken. In another moment the master himself is next to him, patting him affectionately on the shoulder. ‘’You a friend of Heribert’s, if I remember rightly?’’ he asks.
‘That’s right, Mr. Greene.’
‘Call me Reg. Yer Lewis?’
‘Luis,’ the great technocrat goes on, ‘polish off that glass and enjoy this middy.’ (For strangely enough Luis Galvao is still holding his glass of whisky.)
For the next quarter of an hour there is only guzzling and drinking, with some belching and a guffaw now and then. Galvao thinks Mr. Greene has forgotten him, but again he is wrong.
‘Tell me, Luis,’ he hears, ‘how d’yer like Australia?’
‘Wonderful, sir…, Reg. Lovely land, generous people, plenty of everything.’
‘Right you are, plenty o’ everything!’ Sir Reginald exclaims, vehemently. ‘It is a good country, dammit! ‘S’good as any and much better than many. Ye agree?’
‘O’course. I couldn’t agree more. Plentifully… good of every thin’, yeah…’
‘Plenty o’ everything, you say. Full of windows of opportunities.’
‘You are right, hip!.’
‘Opportunities, sir, at this point of time in particular. Immense wealth, comfort. What d’yer do for a living, Luis?’
‘Studying, I mean… I’m in the Law. Just beginning… a lawyer.’
‘Are you?! Great! Splendid opportunities for lawyers. No doubt you’ve already found out. For lawyers and for many others, Hip! Business. A most respectable rate of investment. I’m an entrepreneur!’ Reg shouts. ‘Ye a man of property?’
‘Well, no. Not really.’
‘What?!’ growls the technocrat, getting redder in the face.
The other elements of the party, who have come and crowd around the guru, and are looking at the New Australian, also express their wonderment: Not a man of property! one with a growl, another with a subdued laugh, and the rest with grimaces or guffaws. Like their women, they all look alike, somewhat younger than the boss, but made entirely of the same stuff. Well educated men all of them. Sir Reginald Greene is a hard-featured man of about fifty or fifty-two, tall and big-bellied, with abundant black hair and a stern keen eye.
‘Splendid opportunities, yes,’ says someone who wishes to ingratiate himself with the great man.
‘Plenty of job opportunities,’ adds another sycophant.
‘Continuous productivity increase,’ comments a third.
‘You’ve said it, Keith, dear. Good on you! Now the question is,’ growls the great technocrat, turning to view the whole assembly. ‘Will this growth continue to be satisfactory in the long run? My own view – I’m an optimist – is that it will. Anyhow, I’ve decided, after long and due consideration, to invest this coming year in mining. Broken Hill. Equities. There is the rub!’
‘A bit risky,’ Luis ventures to say, not knowing exactly what he says or why.
‘Nonsense!’ Sir Reginald rejoins. ‘I’m a decider, sir, and I see opportunities where others see only problems.’
‘My! problems! Ah, yes, hip, mine are of another nature. I think…’ starts Luis . His mind is miles away, for he is thinking of women… Malgorata – Margaret… he hasn’t yet solved the dilema. He is a frustrated ‘family man’. They… these Aussies around wouldn’t see him here, if he had a wife, a family to stay with…
But the great man stops his reverie short. ‘Oh, Jesus Christ!’ he exclaims, touching him ‘You said a minute ago… you think that…. Don’t think, man! We need men of action, numbers… Think! You Luis, you’re unbelieveable!’
‘But, unbelieveable is only an adjective…’
‘…which qualifies something… an unbelievable story, need… the noun, hip!’
‘Nonsense, Luis! Let’s have another beer.’
‘A person says some…thing believable… but he himself is neither believable nor un… unbelieveable,’ Galvao insists.
‘Stuff and nonsense!’
After a drinking pause, Mr. Greene goes on, patronisingly: ‘Luis, I’ll show you a manual later on, when… when’ee go inside. Mining, you said? Good… good prospects. Operations have turned out to be quite… quite fascinating. Yes, very exciting deals! I’ll show you, I’ll show you. You’ve to take the plunge, man, if you wish to invest.’ (Turning to the whole audience and his voice gaining strength): ‘I’ve lived in America!’ And again patting the New Australian: ‘Yer old Europe is a thousand light-years behind, believe me. Another beer?’ And after some further eating and drinking: ‘Ah, here it is… Broken Hill.’ He shows a paper during another drinking pause: ‘You were saying, Luis?’
‘No. I was simply… simply wondering.’
‘It’s forbidden to wonder. Deeds, Luis, is what the world requires at this moment of time. I’m a practical man, sir, and as a practical man at the end of the day I want to see results, balance sheets, pounds, shillings and pence!’
‘You see, Reg, I ain’t pragmatical… that I know. I am, I am… simply a wretched… man of letters.’
With a terrific guffaw, which is followed by the usual accompanying laughs, Sir Reginald explains to the audience: ‘Letters!? Why, he’s making me laugh. Be positive, man, be positive. Numbers, numbers, numbers, pleaeee…ssse! Look at me. I’ve invested myself most decidedly on the future. Finance, Industry. There is a market for everything. You a lawyer, you said?’
‘Well, but …’
‘No, I’m not asking yer that. How much money d’you command?’
‘I beg your pardon?’
‘Now, have another drink.’
Another large carton of bottles has been brought out. And for the moment that is the Sacred Cow they all devote themselves to most religiously. For their thirst for beer is never quenched. Cold beer, at that: for it has come out from a fridge in the garage. One, two, three… twenty bottles have already been consumed. Best quality. As they like it: numbers, marks, symbols and market values. And as with all fundamentalisms, here too, the guru has to impart some knowledge. Lifting one bottle he talks about quality, good quality, all that money can buy.
‘You were saying, Luis, now, about thinking, hip!, how much is it worth, say, that thinking of yours? What I say to you is, facts, sir, gimme facts. Be positive.’
‘Well, I fear…’
‘What! There’s no need, at this moment of time, to fear any downturn. A healthy environment, good salaries, good rents and profits. No need to panic.’
‘I’ve heard a squeeze in the economy is coming.’
‘Nonsense! On the contrary,’ the great man goes on, smacking his lips, ‘we are looking at a long period of expansion. Hip! That economic slowdown of which we heard last month is bottoming out. And I see progress coming. Growth, sir, growth! Consumers’ expectations. Unlimited possibilities. The long and the short of it is…
‘You’ve got productivity growth in all branches of activity.The smart citizen grows rich and thrives; the uncouth die and are forgotten.’
‘There is chaos and anarchy.’
‘There’s where the error lies,’ Sir Reginald growls. ‘Not at all, Luis. Satisfying… Investor in the form of paying out dividends will see to it. The invisible hand of the economy, hip!, sees to all that. Paying money to investors. Progress, productivity numbers, d’you understand? Now, boys, let’s go back, the girls must be getting bored.’
All the guys now get on the move, bawling at one another. The boss, who has decided to patronise poor Galvao, passes his long arm round his shoulder and leads the way to the house, adding some bits of advice here and there.
‘You talk, Luis, about investing,?’ he says as soon as they are in the house, ‘now that’s the sixty-seven million dollar question, my friend. What I won’t hesitate to tell you, at this point of time, is this: computers, sir, computers, there lies the future. We are entering an entirely new era.’ (For the Spaniard, who has no idea about computers, mum’s the word.) ‘And credit, you see… I’ve already told you this, hip! And now mark my words, how are we going to become sure winners in an age of computers and credit? Now you tell me!’
He really likes Galvao. Giving him a friendly pat on the shoulder, Sir Reginald adds solemnly: ‘You see, in every aspect of every situation we must try to adopt a system, Luis, which ensures optimisation of results. We live in a free world.’
In the twilight of the large L-shaped room when the guys entered the house the dolls were in fact so bored as to be nearly asleep, seated as they were in comfortable armchairs, sofas and cushions, all around. The music was still going on, but no one was dancing. A guy then ceremoniously approached one of the sleeping beauties, pulled her up by both hands, and they started dancing. Others followed suit. The butler had in the meantime brought a cardboard box, and soon there were balloons of all sizes, shapes and colours everywhere, particularly on the floor, among the dancers, or floating up and sticking to the ceiling. One of the young ladies inadvertently pierced one of the balloons with her stiletto heel and there was a minor explosion. The men laughed, the women giggled. Whereupon a young man, who had something of the buffoon in him, stuck the lit-end of his cigarette upon a phallus-shaped red balloon, and there was another explosion, and then another guy, and another cigarette and another balloon blown to pieces, followed by another, and another… ‘Boom!’ ‘Boom!’ ‘Boom!’ It was an extraordinary moment. To see the pretty faces so frightened, eyes opened wide with excitement and admiration while their rounded pouting mouths looked pretty like appetising red cherries!
Only Luis and Reginald aren’t partaking of the general enjoyment.
‘You’ll find it all in here, Luis, in… he…here,’ said the great man, handing over an expensively printed booklet. ‘Yyerrr can keep it… There are exciting opportunities for those, and.. and only f…for those, who know how to conduct themselves…, I mean … h..how… how to conduct themselves.’
‘O’course… mining… hip! What d’yer… think? That is, mining. But… I warn you, as in all business… you must take a very robust approach… a very robust approach… or… or it won’t work. Another whisky?’
‘Thank’eee… Couldn’t hold another drop.’
‘Or… orr, what can I serve you?’
‘Ooooh! No… thing, nothing reel... reeeel-ly.’
‘What can I do for… for you, then? As for… for an investment, Luis… I recommend you to invest your… yourself in… in the task. Follow me? You… We’re talking about… about results… business… this moment of time… as good a one as money can… can buy. You see? Now, please, don’t say no… You must take a pull at this! …from …mmm-bia.’
‘I’ve never smoked in my life.’
‘This is dif… different.’
‘Oa… oak… keeey, le… lemme, thanks!’
‘Now I must under…line this for… for your good… goood. Tell me, what are your views on… on the subject, eh? Printed a week ago… mm..mining. See… are finding it fascinating. Pray, you keep it…. Take it with you…. Hey!’
A servant passes by, and their glasses are filled again.
‘Yerrr seeee, Reg…, what I meenter say… no ques… question of my….’
Sir Reginald looks at his now intimate and very tired friend with a look of surprise. ‘That’s beside the point, Lu… Luis. Liberate your potentials, man.’
‘Earn two hund… two tootoo thousand a year plus, man. You… you can do.’
‘Millions…, sir, yer… yer mean?’
‘Oh yes, mmm… millions. Yer glass is emmm… pty.’
‘Well, orright sir… sir… Sir Reg, just pour one… finger. Oooh, hold it!’
‘A… very… extra… ordinary occ… occasion, I’m tellin’ you. Hip!’
‘Yeah… a verrrry… ord… dinarextroc… casion diinarrrycation.’
‘Oo! Haw… haw! Yer funny! A very extra..remarkable oc… occurrence, that one, dear Luis… which has occ… occurred to yeerrr.’
He was awakened by a horrible scratching noise and found he was lying on a tiger skin utilised in that sumptuous residence as a rug (he had been embracing the tiger’s head when he awoke.) All his body was aching, his heart was throbbing, his head about to split. Sitting up, he sees he is in a large L-shaped room. The place is full of sunlight and the frenchwindows are open, but the horrible smell of nicotine and ladies’ perfume is there.
Scattered about on the floor lay rubber or plastic particles of all colours, and now Luis remembered the explosions of the night before. Balloons, many balloons bursting all the time, and the handsome guys and painted dolls of Sir Reginald Greene’s party: everywhere, on the carpet, the tables, the chairs, the sofas, mantlepieces… bottles lying about… vodka, whisky, wine, gin… and on the coffee-table on which Luis puts his hand in a moment to stand up. He falls to a sitting position upon an armchair and when he finally moves on, he has to close his eyes and remain stockstill for a minute to avoid tumbling down.
After a while he realises he has lost his tie and jacket, and moves around in search of them: opening a sort of pantry or dressing-room he sees a record-player with a record turning round and round, but no music. It was the scratching of the needle on the record that he heard when he awoke. It probably had been going all the time since the end of the party in the early hours.
At length he comes out into a long corridor, hanging his jacket with one hand from his shoulder. The sound of running water directs him towards a door which he opens, and as he steps inside he sees the face of a red-haired woman emerging from a rose-marble bath overflowing with a quantity of snow-white suds. He cannot help it, and next moment he is urinating in a corner of the room; three pekinese dogs are barking and frisking at his feet.
‘Eh you!’ he hears, ‘Behave, yes!’ The woman, no longer young, has firm round breasts and large sensual lips. Water is dripping down her long red hair.
Luis mumbles something, buttoning his trouser front, and she bursts out laughing, her dainty pointed foot emerging from inside the white foam, then the other foot. Luis Galvao loses his pants altogether, which fall on the carpeted floor.
A generous female body, bronze-coloured and handsome, shaking off suds all over, white pearls firstly, which then leave black circular marks on the carpet. ‘Now, don’t stand there like a scarecrow,’ she calls out. ‘Shut the door and pass me a towel, yes?’
Dumbfounded Luis pushes the door shut, and gets hold of a towel, which he is going to hand to the Valkyrie, while Pekinese puppies jump forward yelping and showing their little fangs. And Luis Galvao begins to dry the beauty’s back, caressing her shoulders with the towel, the small of her back, the sublime rounded buttocks and the thighs. He passes the tip of one finger along the entrancing borderline where the bronze of her shoulders meets the milky-white of her breasts, pressing the nipples caressingly, and she writhes with pleasure. Not being a practical man he totters to the floor, when she falls on him and they begin to make love.
Just then, the bathroom door is flung open and in steps a tall, big-bellied man, kicking his way about and shouting. ‘Hildegard! I’ve told you! Not in the bathroom! There’s a place for everything!’
Upon which he proceeds to punish the insolent intruder, grabbing him by the sleeves of his shirt (which is the only thing he is still wearing), shaking him and forcibly leading him out of the bathroom. And the mythical Valkyrie, knowing she has infringed the law, does nothing to save her lately-arrived lover from her husband’s wrath. She stands naked in a corner, with the three pets silently frisking about her legs. Sir Reginald Greene, never letting go of his victim, opens the front door and throws him like a rag upon the dewy lawn.
‘My belongings, sir?’ Galvao asks, pleadingly.
The door opens again, and trousers, shoes and glasses come flying out.
‘And my jacket!’
Through an open frenchwindow now come tie and jacket, and a yell: ‘Sir, leave my property at once. I insist upon it!’
It was a tired downtrodden Luis Galvao that began moving on, that Sunday morning, all along New South Head Road, not knowing what to do or where to go. In the end he just walked to the nearest public garden, lay down on the buffalo grass and fell into a slumber, more convinced now than ever that he was not made for this world. He would never fit in anywhere. One of those poor creatures for whom nothing ever would turn out right, an odd number whom god or nature have officially designed as redundant, worthy only of being thrown into that hole which some call the dustbin of history and forgotten for evermore,
He spent most of that Sunday on a promontory overlooking the cove of Rose Bay, watching the yachts sailing in and out; others going directly out of the great bay of Sydney into the ocean, for Rose Bay is quite near the Heads. And there, in the park, at the other end of the lawn, two separate groups of immigrants were picnicking. In one of them, some of the men played the accordion and the rest of the party were dancing; and in the other group there was a guitar player, and both men and women were singing and clapping their hands.
Luis Galvao left the place when one of groups began to make preparations for eating and drinking, roasting an entire pig in a stand they have built, away from the euchalyptus trees, but still quite dangerously. The evening was mild and pleasant. The air was full of the scent of the flowers blossoming in the gardens of the properties on both sides of the avenue. Just before the bus stop he saw a fountain with a pump. He worked the handle a couple of times, and thrusting his head under the spout, his mouth wide open, let the water gush upon his face and head, until he no longer felt that itchy dryness which had been troubling him since the morning. He ran to catch a bus which was going to the town centre.
Luckily Heribert was not in the room; for he would have hated to enter into conversation with his fellow lodger concerning Rose Bay, Mr. Greene and in particular the handsome Valkyrie. firstname.lastname@example.org