He walked towards the north where the stars were, mumbling a song with no tune, hearing his feet suck in and out of the spongy earth.

Now there was time to collect his thoughts, but no sooner had he started to set them in order than an owl made a cry in the trees that hung over the road, and he stopped and winked up at her, finding a mutual melancholy in her sounds. Soon she would swoop and fasten on a mouse. He saw her for a moment as she sat screeching on her bough. Then, frightened of her, he hurried on, and had not gone more than a few yards into the darkness when, with a fresh cry, she flew away. Pity the hare, he thought, for the weasel will drink her. The road sloped to the stars, and the trees and the valley and the memory of the guns faded behind.

He heard footsteps. An old man, radiant with rain, stepped out of the mist... In the distance a poacher's dog yelled at the trap on its foot, and he heard it and ran the faster, thinking the enemy was on his heels.

Dylan Thomas, 'The Dress,' from Adventures in the Skin Trade, New Directions, 1964, p.160-161.

TIME: l9th or 20th c.?

PLACE: Wales

CIRCUMSTANCE: a madman espapes into the woods



In squeaking galoshes, with macintosh collars up and bowlers and trilbies weeping, youngish men from the offices bundled home against the thistly wind ... and older men, clinging onto the big, black circular birds of their umbrellas, were wafted back, up the gaslit hills, to safe, hot, slippered, weatherproof hearths, and wives called Mother, and old, fond fleabag dogs, and the wireless babbling.

Young women, from the offices, who smelt of scent and powder and wet pixie hoods and hair, scuttled, giggling, arm-in-arm, after the hissing trams, and screeched as they splashed their stockings in the puddles rainbowed with oil between the slippery lines ... A plump blonde girl, smelling of wet rabbits, self-conscious even in that dirty night, minced past on high-heeled shoes. The heels clicked, the soles squelched ... We walked towards the Marlborough ... hearing the sneeze and rattle of the bony trams and a ship hoot like a fog-ditched owl in the bay...

Dylan Thomas, 'The Followers,' from Adventures in the Skin Trade, New Directions, 1964, p. 171-173.

TIME: early 20th c.

PLACE: London? Cardiff?

CIRCUMSTANCE: two young men meet for an evening out