Weymouth and Mr. Punch


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Weymouth Sands

[ ... in French   ]
⇒  Cover

⇒  Preface

⇒  Introduction

⇒  The visit

⇒  Weymouth map c.1930

⇒  Portland map c.1930

⇒  Works quoted

⇒  Postface

A visit to the Weymouth Sands of John Cowper Powys     [ ⇒ continue... ]

And ever as we gaze at this phantasmal picture — which is our life, the ghost-mummers of our play, — there breathes that far-off breath from the outer spaces, from beyond the last star-galaxy, which reminds us that no man has ever understood the real mystery of another man, or pitied him enough, or forgiven him enough.



    At the moment, on this particular afternoon, when the hands of the Jubilee Clock, across all its faces, pointed to the hour of four, Magnus, strolling along the beach, stopped at the outskirts of a crowd of children gathered before the miniature stage.
   "Judy! Judy! Judy! Judy!"  screamed Marret's father from inside his coffin-shaped stage.
   "Judy! Judy! Judy! Judy!"
   There was something unique — like no other sound in the world — about this more than brazen challenge. It was brutal, it was heartless, it was shocking, and yet there was about it, some indefinable quality — possibly simply the revival of his childhood — that flicked at Magnus' navel. Mr. Jones' voice was a very powerful one and possessed the penetration, and something of the harshness, of those Babylonian sackbuts that proclaimed the worship of the Graven Image set up by Nebuchadnezzar. It was like a savage chorus of age-old mockery, as if all the Mimes and the Mummers of Antiquity, without pity or sensitiveness or remorse, were jibing at our modern sympathies.(...) He seemed to hear this incorrigible beady-eyed little reprobate, this Panurge, grown corpulent, with the huge red nose and the nut-cracker chin who now was banging the stage so viciously, leaping up out of a rabbit-hole beside those despairing pilgrims and calling out in his ferocious Babylonian intonation :
   "Judy! Judy! Judy! Judy!"(...)
   Magnus found himself wondering whom he knew in Weymouth who most resembled this irrepressible and paunchy villain. There! He caught it under the man's own inspired intonation.
   "There's something," he said to himself, "of Punch in me, in Gaul, in Jerry, in old Poxwell, in the Jobber! Punch must be the eternal embodiment of what Rabelais calls the 'Honest Cod', the essential masculine element, in every living man..."

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