The Bastards’ Paradise

– as that door opens, turned by a key, to admit in silence a figure of such strange opulence that he becomes the show just by entering, a man with a case in one bandaged hand and a black cigarette in the other, its acrid smoke to set the boys’ noses twitching as he takes a seat politely near the back. . . “Bravo,” says the man with the cigarette, dropping it to crush beneath a cracked boot heel; as he rises, something white winks at his ear, a pearl earring swinging as he opens his case and mounts the little stage as easily as if he has done so a thousand times before, accompanied now by a dark scrapwood creature, one-armed, one-eyed, who turns that singular stare upon the Faustus, so much larger yet demonstrably at a loss and “Pour faire changement,” says the man to his puppet. “Gentlemen and ladies, fellow players, I give you Mr. Loup.”

From the opening of THE BASTARDS’ PARADISE, coming in 2015 from Roadswell Editions, in ebook and bespoke versions. Wherein the wheel is spun, journeys are begun and concluded, lovers not lost are reunited, and play continues to offer its gifts to Rupert and Istvan, eternally the gentlemen of the road.

John Atkinson Grimshaw

“Moonlight After Rain,” John Atkinson Grimshaw

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