From Mr Knott's voice nothing was to be learnt. Between Mr Knott and Watt no conversation passed. From time to time, for no apparent reason, Mr Knott opened his mouth in song. From bass to tenor, all male registers were employed by him, with equal success. He did not sing well, in Watt's opinion, but Watt had heard worse singers. The music of these songs was on an extreme monotony. For the voice, save for an occasional raucous sally, both up and down, to the extent of a tenth or even an eleventh, did not leave the pitch at which, having elected to begin, it seemed obliged to remain, and finally to end. The words of these songs were either without meaning, or derived from an idiom with which Watt, a very fair linguist, had no aquaintance. The open 'a' sound was predominant, and the explosives 'k' and 'g'. Mr Knott talked often to himself too, with great variety and vehemence of intonation and gesticulation, but this so softly that it came, a wild dim chatter, meaningless to Watt's ailing ears. This was a noise of which Watt grew exceedingly fond. Not that he was sorry when it ceased, not that he was glad when it came again, no. But while it sounded he was gladdened, as by the rain on the bamboos, or even rushes, as by the land against the waves, doomed to cease, doomed to come again. Knott was also addicted to solitary dactylic ejaculations of extraordinary vigour, accompanied by spasms of the members. The chief of these were: Exelmans! Cavendish! Habbakuk! Ecchymose!

Samuel Beckett, Watt, Olympia Press, Paris, 1953, p. 208-209.

TIME: Indeterminate

PLACE: Northern Europe (Ireland?)