Watchman, What of the Night?

Prostitutes at a Bar (1902) – Picasso

‘Have you thought of the night, now, in other times, in foreign countries – in Paris? When the streets were gall high with things you wouldn’t have done for a dare’s sake, and the way it was then; with the pheasants’ necks and the goslings’ beaks dangling against the hocks of the gallants, and not a pavement in the place, and everything gutters for miles and miles, and a stench to it that plucked you by the nostrils and you were twenty leagues out! The criers telling the price of wine to such good effect that the dawn saw good clerks full of piss and vinegar, and blood-letting in side streets where some wild princess in a night shift of velvet howled under a leech; not to mention the palaces of Nymphenburg echoing back to Vienna with the night trip of late kings letting water into plush cans and fine wood-work, no’, he said looking at her sharply, ‘I can see you have not! You should, for the night has been going on for a long time.’

Nightwood (1936), Djuna Barnes

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