That early morning, in January 1933, only one person was awake in the street, and he was the quietest ... He stood still and listened to the noises of the house: there was nothing to fear. Upstairs the family breathed and snored securely. He heard his sister sleeping in the box-room under the signed photographs of actors from the repertory theatre and the jealous pictures of the marriages of friends. In the biggest bedroom overlooking the field that was called the back, his father turned over the bills of the month in his one dream; his mother in bed mopped and polished through a wood of kitchens. He closed the door; now there was nobody to disturb him.

But all the noises of the otherwise dead or sleeping, dark early morning, the intimate breathing of three invisible relations, the loud old dog, could wake up the neighbours. And the gaslight, bubbling, could attract to his presence in the breakfast-room at this hour Mrs. Probert next door, disguised as a she-goat in a nightgown, butting the air with her kirby-grips; her dapper, commercial son, with a watch-chain tattooed across his rising belly; the tubercular lodger, with his neat umbrella up and his basin in his hand. The regular tide of the family breath could beat against the wall of the house on the other side, and bring the Baxters out. He turned the gas low and stood for a minute by the clock, listening to sleep...

Dylan Thomas, Adventures In The Skin Trade, New Directions, 1964, p.1-2.

TIME: 1933

PLACE: Wales

CIRCUMSTANCE: a young man prepares to leave home...



As Polly closed and locked the door birds began to sing.

"It's only the birds," she said. She put the key down her dress. "You needn't be frightened."

Two cages hung from the ceiling.

..."It's a funny place to have birds," he said.

"They're mine." Polly let the hot water run and the birds sang more loudly as though they had heard a waterfall.

Dylan Thomas, Adventures In The Skin Trade, New Directions, 1964, p. 29-30.

TIME: 1933

PLACE: London

CIRCUMSTANCE: the young Samuel is trapped in the bathroom by the young Polly



Voices began to reach him from a great distance, travelling in lavatories in racing trains along a liquid track, diving from the immeasurably high ceiling into the cold sea in the enormous bath.

Dylan Thomas, Adventures In The Skin Trade, New Directions, 1964, p. 35.

TIME: 1933

PLACE: London

CIRCUMSTANCE: Sam comes to after having drunk up all the eau de cologne