Type of Work and Year of Publication
.......James Joyce's “Araby” is a short story centering on an Irish adolescent
emerging from boyhood fantasies into the harsh realities of everyday life in
his country. Joyce based this coming-of-age tale, which he wrote in 1905,
on his own experiences while growing up in Dublin in the late nineteenth
century. The London firm of Grant Richards Ltd. published the story in 1914
in Dubliners, a collection of fifteen of Joyce's stories.
Background and Setting
.......James Joyce based "Araby" on his own experiences as an adolescent
resident of Dublin in 1894, when Ireland was chafing under British rule. Like
the fictional narrator of "Araby," Joyce lived on North Richmond Street (No.
17) in the central part of the city. And like the narrator, he was undergoing a
period of self-discovery. However, unlike the narrator of "Araby," Joyce was
not an orphan. .......In "Araby" and other stories in Dubliners, Joyce
presents Dublin as a bleak city struggling against oppressive forces. Winter
scenes of boys at play take place near the dead end of North Richmond
Street and in nearby lanes, as indicated in the first and third paragraphs.
The climactic scene takes place in South Dublin, across the River Liffey
from central Dublin, at a bazaar in a large building. Such a bazaar—billed
as “Araby: a Grand Oriental Fête” (or as “A Grand Oriental Fête: Araby in
Dublin”) was actually held in Dublin between May 14 and May 19, 1894, to
benefit a local hospital.
Point of View
.......An adolescent boy narrates the story in first-person point of view. He
does not identify himself. But to readers familiar with the life and works of
Joyce, it becomes clear that he represents the author. Joyce based
characters, places, and events in the story on recollections from his
boyhood, although he altered reality from time to time. For example, Joyce
was not an orphan, as is the narrator.
Narrator: Boy of about twelve who becomes infatuated with the sister of his
friend, Mangan. Although she hardly notices him and converses with him
only once, he fantasizes about her and tells her he will buy her a gift if he
. Cummings. the pages of which were curled
and damp: The Abbot. the fact that she is English
diminishes the Middle Eastern atmosphere of the Araby bazaar. the narrator and his friends.
says the unidentified narrator.
Mangan: Boy about the same age as the narrator... hung in all the rooms.. tea sets.
. a boy of about twelve who lives on the street
with his uncle and aunt. If
the narrator's uncle turns into the street.
By Michael J.attends a bazaar called Araby. and The
Memoirs of Vidocq. The uncle. I liked the last best because its leaves were yellow... Aunt: Relatives who are rearing the narrator.. She
visits the narrator's home to collect used stamps to support what the
narrator terms "a pious cause. Among
these I found a few paper-covered books. Other Neighbor Boys: Companions of the
narrator." Schoolmaster: Narrator's teacher. musty from having been long enclosed. The street dead-ends at an empty house of two stories. for he bequeathed his
money to institutions and his furniture to his sister. Mrs...
. and similar
wares at the Araby bazaar... the narrator explored his quarters.The narrator says the priest was a good man. Two
Englishmen: Young men with whom the stall attendant flirts. He reports that
Air. by Walter Scott. The Devout Communicant. drunks. To the narrator.The year is 1894. Dublin... The place is North Richmond Street in Ireland's
largest city.. Porters at Train Station
Attendant at Bazaar Turnstile
play in the street and in the muddy lanes along and behind the houses. and the
waste room behind the kitchen was littered with old useless papers. suggesting that
he is not close to his nephew. including a boy named Mangan..© 2010
. Mangan's Sister: Girl to whom the narrator is attracted. Mercer: Widow of a pawnbroker. laborers. everyone hides until he enters his
. His trip to the bazaar to find her the
gift then becomes something of a knight's quest on behalf of his lady fair. Stall
Attendant: Young Englishwoman who sells vases.
a drinker.. He seems to regard her as noble and pure of
heart.. shop boys. A priest was once a tenant in the house they
occupy.In winter. Dubliners:
Pedestrians. like a maiden in a tale of chivalry. addresses the narrator as "boy" (paragraph 14). After he died.
. He is a companion and
neighbor of the narrator.
. boy.Finally. all he can think about is the bazaar and Mangan's
sister. Mrs.. Irritated by the ticking of the clock.. The narrator always observes
her closely..“I'm afraid you may put off your bazaar for this night of Our Lord.. But the aunt presses him on behalf of the boy. everyone
keeps in the shadows. who is in the hallway looking for a hat
brush. his uncle has still not returned home. he sits downstairs staring at a
. Mercer gossips with the narrator's aunt over tea. When the narrator
asks him for money for the bazaar. On Saturday morning.... She asks whether he is
going to the Araby bazaar Saturday evening.
imagining he sees her in front of her house—her curved neck.. If Mangan's sister comes out and calls her brother to tea.. “O love! O love!”
. He tells her that if he goes to the bazaar.
her hand on the railing..... he waits for her to come out.. her dress. Mrs.During the next several days..... he will bring back
something for her. for he is strongly attracted to her even though he hardly knows
her.On school mornings.. which means he has been drinking..
.. Mercer says she can wait no longer and leaves. While dinner awaits
his return.After the narrator returns from school. She is a pawnbroker's widow who
collects used stamps for a charitable cause. But
.At nine. Just after
eight o'clock. he reminds his uncle that he will be attending
the bazaar that evening. The uncle. If she stands there and waits.. "Yes. She is also waiting for the
narrator's uncle.. For fully an hour.... curtly replies.... It may be that the uncle
owes her money or has promised to give her stamps. One rainy
evening in the kitchen of the priest's empty quarters. he goes to the highest part of the
dwelling and looks out at the Mangan girl's house while neighbor boys are
playing in the street..house.. He is
talking to himself. The uncle then
gives the boy a florin and asks him whether he has heard of "The Arab's
. waiting for his uncle to come home and give him money for the
bazaar. Mercer is there sitting at the fire. having received permission from his aunt
to attend the event. noting that she herself wants
to go but cannot because she must attend a retreat scheduled at her
convent... She is constantly in
his thoughts even though they had never had a conversation..."
.. a day comes when she speaks to him. the narrator hears his uncle come through the door. he presses his hands
together as if to pray and says. then grabs his
school books and follows her until their paths diverge..When he returns downstairs...” the
narrator's aunt says. I know.. but the narrator does not say why. the boys reveal
themselves and Mangan answers her call. he stands there thinking of her. the uncle says people are going to bed
by this time.
two men are counting money.." In a hurry. or Jesuits.
She comes over and asks the narrator whether he wishes to make a
Publisher's Web Site
.... and "Araby"
.. rising to the top of his class.. He pays his way and walks through a turnstile only to
discover that most of the stalls are already closed. Jesuits at Belvedere school admitted Joyce free of charge. also run by the Jesuits... “No.Farewell to His Steed. Plot Summaries of All the Plays and Narrative
Poems | Themes | Imagery | Historical Background | Glossaries Shakespeare's
Theatre | Drama Terms | Essays | Analysis of the Sonnets | and Much More ....James Joyce grew up a Catholic and attended Clongowes boarding
school. operated by priests of the Society of Jesus. Joyce had renounced Catholicism. and my eyes burned with anguish and anger. Her tone is perfunctory. she exhibits little enthusiasm.. Joyce had to withdraw from school and
return home. mainly because of its
. ..A young lady is talking with two gentlemen. thank
you.. Religion.” he says. the boy leaves while the uncle prepares
to recite the first few lines of the poem to his wife. By this time.. he goes inside and looks over a display of tea
sets and porcelain vases.. He
flourished academically. it is
nearing ten o'clock. Cafe Chantant. Of this moment. But his
father's heavy drinking and incompetence in home finances plunged the
family into debt. where he kept up his studies with the help of his mother. When he walks down the street to the bazaar building. the narrator
tells the reader:
... Consequently.The narrator takes an empty third-class train across the river to the site
of the bazaar.At University
College in Dublin.. In front of a curtain at
one stall.. Two
Shakespeare: a Guide to the Complete Works
By the Author of This Web Site . When the narrator
finds a stall that is still open... he received an excellent
education in languages and participated in literary activities.
Amazon.. All have English accents.... He lingers a moment. The lights of the
gallery in the upper part of the building go out..“Gazing up into the darkness I saw myself as a creature driven and
derided by vanity.
.. then walks away...
had died in the back drawingroom.. the boy attaches no special meaning to the condition of the room or
the “useless papers.
and the waste room behind the kitchen was littered with old useless
papers . I pressed the palms of my hands together until they trembled. and cultural conditions arising from British dominance of Ireland. a priest... These feelings are most obvious in the
following sentence at the end of the sixth paragraph: "All my senses
seemed to desire to veil themselves and. .. Like the priest.
. He also frequently mocks the church.unbending rules and strict enforcement of them.” Nor does he look down on the priest.. feeling that I was about to slip
from them.. for he notes that
he had been a charitable man.One may argue that Joyce felt conscience-bound to criticize the
Catholic Church in "Araby" and other short stories. it would die.. These forces include adverse economic. as well as in novels such
as Ulysses. The following sentences from
the second paragraph exhibit this double perspective..
The former tenant of our house. As to the generosity
of the priest. as Joyce was in his
youth—and that of the irreligious adult author. He had been a very charitable priest. in his will he had left all his
money to institutions and the furniture of his house to his sister...In Araby.. Air. He
also struggles against lustful feelings toward the Mangan girl. he
repeatedly accuses the Catholic Church of oppressing and debilitating
Ireland. and its rituals even
though Jesuit priests generously provided him an education at a crucial time
in his life.. However. it appears that the author himself
—in looking back on his adolescence—intended the musty air and the
useless papers to suggest that the church was an outdated institution with
effete rules and doctrines.
social. musty from having been long enclosed.." .
Here.. hung in all the rooms. its clergy..
murmuring: `O love! O love!' many times. In his stories.The narrator contends with environmental forces that inhibit and
oppress him and other Dubliners. Joyce seems to be raising the question of why he had money
and property in the first place. . feelings that
his religion tells him he must control. But his unfair generalizations about the church and the mean
spirit in which he delivers his criticism bring into question the reliability and
objectivity of his criticism.. . Joyce presents the church from two perspectives:
that of the young narrator—who is a practicing Catholic..
the thirdclass train he rides to the site of the bazaar. his spirits soar..One may interpret his depiction
of the priest as a foreshadowing of what will happen to the youthful narrator. and
nurtures a dream: to win the attentions of the Mangan girl.. where we ran the gantlet of the rough tribes from the cottages. he suddenly awakens to the bleakness of the
humdrum life around him. as it is
called—represents a distant... believing that they had been a negative influence on Ireland over
the years. lovely creature. decaying Dublin environment.When we met in the street the houses had grown sombre.... .. the nearly empty bazaar hall.
. foreign to Dublin.. He is like a knight
planning a quest. The space of
sky above us was the colour of ever-changing violet and towards it the
lamps of the street lifted their feeble lanterns... The
career of our play brought us through the dark muddy lanes behind the
houses.. the narrator describes the depressing
..The working-class street on which the narrator resides is a dead end.
Awakening to the Humdrum Life of Dublin
. mystical land to which he will travel on behalf
of his beloved to obtain for her a splendid keepsake.. dreary people.. And the bazaar—Araby. . with its dreary weather. They will grow up to
live in the same dreary Dublin... to
the back doors of the dark dripping gardens where odours arose from the
ashpits. to the dark odorous stables . and
. the narrator bears up. For him.. Consequently.
the English accents of the saleswoman and her men friends all disillusion
him... he makes the priest (paragraph 2) part of the
dreary. she is
an exotic... Our shouts echoed in the silent street.
suggesting that he and his friends are going nowhere... In the third paragraph.Nevertheless. he can think of
nothing but her and of the gift he will buy her at the bazaar. In this moment. After she speaks
to him one day about the Araby bazaar. . He has friends.But when he goes to the bazaar late one Saturday evening.As a young adult Joyce turned hostile toward Roman Catholicism and
its clergy.. keeps active.
. The cold air stung us and we
played till our bodies glowed.
young narrator views Araby as a symbol of the mystique and allure of the
Fret not to roam the desert now. that the priest in his youth was probably hopeful and
optimistic. In Joyce's short story. thou'rt sold. His backyard garden—a sort of Eden. my steed. and Terms
The Abbot: Novel by Sir Walter Scott (1771-1832).—thou'rt sold. as Joyce would have the reader
At the end of the poem.. Symbols.—thy master hath his gold. with all thy winged speed.—
Fleet-limb'd and beautiful. "In
Araby.The priest's experience thus
foreshadows the awakening of the narrator from his dreamy adolescent
idealism to the harsh reality of Dublin life. a young man reared by relatives (like the Araby narrator).. 1894.—snuff not the breezy wind. and dark and fiery eye. the former owner returns the money and reclaims
the horse. . granddaughter of
the famed Irish-born British playwright Richard Brinsley Sheridan. he may have attempted
to maintain the ebullience of his youth and reaffirm the importance of
religion by reading the books mentioned in the second paragraph of
"Araby. Its central character is
Roland Graeme. "The Arab's Farewell to His Steed": Alternate
title for "An Arab's Farewell to His Horse. There is a rusty bicycle pump in the garden. farewell. thou'rt sold.
With thy proudly arch'd and glossy neck. reflecting the destruction of the priest's
idealism." However. as the narrator of
"Araby" dreams of doing after meeting Mangan's sister and then going on a
knightly "quest" to the bazaar. for example. complete with an apple tree
—then began decomposing. he eventually awakened to the bleakness of life around
him and to the barrenness of religion..—
The farther that thou fliest now." the narrator's uncle is about to recite the opening lines of the poem
when the boy leaves for the Araby bazaar.
Graeme becomes involved in romance and adventure. to benefit a local hospital. Here is the first stanza of the
My beautiful! that standest meekly by.Consider." a popular poem by the English
writer and social reformer Caroline Norton (1808-1877). like the narrator.. suggesting the
deflation of his vicarious travels.
Araby: Name of a bazaar (“Araby: a Grand Oriental Fête”) held in Dublin
May 14-19. . After he was ordained. my Arab steed!
Fret not with that impatient hoof.
I may not mount on thee again..
Glossary of Allusions. so far am I behind:
The stranger hath thy bridle-rein.
Middle East." the presence of a café chantant at the Grand Oriental
Fête suggests that the bazaar is actually less than grand. The cold air stung us and we played till
our bodies glowed. But after he attends the
bazaar.) He also uses it to
describe the figure of the Mangan girl. a café in which singers. In the third paragraph.
Café Chantant: In Europe. to the back doors of
the dark dripping gardens where odours arose from the ashpits. to the dark
odorous stables .
Joyce mentions the book in "Araby" perhaps as a hint that the narrator
equates his attraction to the Mangan girl to a religious experience.
Blind Street: Street that dead-ends. Sometimes bawdy performances were
featured. dreary people.
Empty House: Two-story dwelling at the end of North Richmond Street. or Pious Meditations and Aspirations for the Three
Days Before and Three Days After Receiving the Holy Eucharist. When he crosses the river to attend the bazaar and purchase
a gift for the Mangan girl. But his trip to the
bazaar disappoints and disillusions him.
. with its dreary
weather. it is as if he is crossing into a foreign land. In "Araby. for she conjured up for him images of
the Middle East.
Brown: Color that Joyce uses in "Araby" to draw attention to the plainness
and dreariness of Dublin. and other
entertainers performed for patrons. like a
knight-errant. where we
ran the gantlet of the rough tribes from the cottages. he no doubt begins to associate the brownness of her figure with
the dreary brownness of Dublin. awakening him to the harsh reality
of life around him. (See the first paragraph. Our shouts echoed in the silent street. The space of sky
above us was the colour of ever-changing violet and towards it the lamps of
the street lifted their feeble lanterns. . The full title is The
Devout Communicant: Abbreviation of a book title. . In the story and in real life. on a mission on behalf of his lady fair. .
Ashpits: Perhaps symbols of the hellish life of many Dubliners. in particular the people of Arabia. Dublin's
North Richmond Street is a dead end.
Joyce mentions it perhaps to suggest an empty future awaiting the boys
playing on the street. The
author was Pacificus Baker (1695-1774). the
narrator describes the depressing atmosphere:
When we met in the street the houses had grown sombre. dancers. Mention
of the book also obliquely foreshadows the narrator's trip to the bazaar to
obtain a gift for the girl—a trip that to him is a like a quest for the Holy Grail. as Joyce points out in the first four
words of "Araby"—perhaps to suggest that the boys playing on it are going
nowhere. an English Franciscan priest. The career of our
play brought us through the dark muddy lanes behind the houses. and dreary houses. They will grow up to live in the same dreary Dublin.
the coin bore the image
of Queen Victoria on one side.
Vidocq. Her brother and two other boys were fighting for their caps.
Westland Row Station: Train station in South Dublin. Between his
adolescence and age twenty. just visible as she stood at ease. By giving the name Mangan to the girl with whom the young
"Araby" narrator is infatuated.
Florin: British coin worth two shillings.. including Ireland's Celtic language (sometimes referred to
as Irish Gaelic). he was a thief. At fell over one side of her dress and caught the white
border of a petticoat. The light from the lamp opposite our door caught the white
curve of her neck.
Spike: Perhaps a phallic symbol. traveling entertainer. Some of his translations include his own original writing. bowing her head
towards me. soldier. In the late nineteenth century. Clarence. he founded a police unit in Paris that later became the national security
prison inmate. prison escapee. and discovering ways to improve one's moral
life. receiving advice.
Mangan: James Mangan (1803-1849). When he was thirtysix..
Garden of the Priest: Garden of Eden. Here is the paragraph:
. The florin was a bitter reminder to the Irish
that they were under British rule.. Today it is known as
Pearse Station. She held one of the spikes.
and I was alone at the railings. Joyce links her with an author who
sometimes wrote about exotic eastern locales—in other words Araby.
Mangan adopted a middle name. because there would be a retreat that week in
O'Donovan Rossa: Jeremiah O'Donovan Rossa (1831-1915). After later being
imprisoned again. from which the priest and his religion
emerged to labor in a less-than-perfect world. He also translated poetry from German and
other languages. she said.. whom Joyce read and wrote about..
and some of his original poems are presented as translations from Oriental
languages. when he was a teenager.
Mangan wrote poetry on romantic and patriotic themes. lit up her hair that rested there and. and forger. falling. a period of seclusion for praying. a
revolutionary who worked to overthrow British rule in Ireland. Joyce uses the word in the ninth
paragraph. notably poems
supporting Irish nationalism.Gantlet: Military punishment in which an offender was forced to run between
two lines of men who beat him with clubs when he passed.While she spoke she turned a silver bracelet round and round her wrist. Circulation of it began in 1849 and
continued until 1971. lit up the hand
upon the railing.
She could not go. duelist. he spied on inmates for the police..
Retreat: In Roman Catholicism. Eugène François: Celebrated French adventurer.
Paragraph 25: girded at half its height by a gallery. including Balzac
and Victor Hugo. He was an acquaintance of great writers." realizing that
his perception of reality has been distorted.
Figures of Speech
. or Sûreté Nationale. Entitled Mémoires
de Vidocq... The reference to Vidocq in "Araby" appears to suggest that the dead
priest had escaped from the austerity of his clerical life and the drabness of
Dublin by reading about the adventuresome Vidocq... The reference also
foreshadows the young narrator's "escape" across the river to the Araby
bazaar. Belief that she was attracted to
him was a result of his vanity.
.. He went back to work for the police as a
detective but in 1832 was accused of theft and fired. conscious of decent lives
When the Araby bazaar darkens.. and served as a model for many fictional characters..The climax occurs when the narrator.. realizes that life in Dublin is humdrum and that the Mangan girl
probably has no romantic interest in him."
Paragraph 3: the back doors of the dark dripping gardens
Paragraph 5: Her name sprang to my lips at moments in strange prayers
and praises which I myself did not understand. He then founded a
detective agency... chef de la police de Sûreté... he believes.
Paragraph 3: shook music from the buckled harness (comparison of music
to an object that can be shaken from something)
Paragraph 5: the shrill litanies of shop-boys (comparison of the cries of the
shop boys to a repetitive prayer)
Paragraph 1: The other houses of the street. disillusioned by what he finds at
the bazaar.police. it became a best
wrote his memoirs with the assistance of other writers. the narrator "sees the light. but the business failed.Following are examples of figures of speech in "Araby. jusqu'en 1827.. He left police work in 1827 to operate a paper
.. (Comparison of body to a harp and
of words and gestures to fingers)
Study Questions and Essay Topics
1.In what ways did British rule of Ireland affect the everyday life of the Irish
.Write a short psychological profile of the narrator. gazed at one another with brown imperturbable faces
(comparison of houses to persons)
Paragraph 6: All my senses seemed to desire to veil themselves
(comparison of senses to persons)
Paragraph 5: But my body was like a harp and her words and gestures
were like fingers running upon the wires.Write an essay that speculates on what the narrator's life will be like
when he is in his early thirties.Are the coachman and horse (paragraph 3) symbols of Britain and
5...What are "the troubles in our native land"? (Paragraph 5).... Support your views
with passages from the story and quotations from scholarly works that
analyze the story.within them...
Our shouts echoed in the silent street. The cold air stung us and we played till our bodies glowed. being blind. .. I liked the last best because its leaves were yellow.The former tenant of our house. the pages of which were curled and damp: The Abbot.
by Walter Scott... had
died in the back drawing-room.. a priest. He had been a very charitable priest. was a quiet street except at
the hour when the Christian Brothers' School set the boys free... Air. gazed at one another with brown
imperturbable faces.. An
uninhabited house of two storeys stood at the blind end.Araby
By James Joyce
... .... When we met in the street the houses had
grown sombre. hung in all the rooms. detached from
its neighbours in a square ground. The career of our play brought
. and the waste room behind the kitchen
was littered with old useless papers. musty from having been long
conscious of decent lives within them.. The space of sky above us was the colour of everchanging violet and towards it the lamps of the street lifted their feeble
lanterns.North Richmond Street. The wild
garden behind the house contained a central apple-tree and a few
straggling bushes. The Devout Communicant.. Among these I found a few papercovered books. and The Memoirs of
Vidocq.. The other houses of the street.. under one of which I found the late tenant's rusty
bicycle-pump. dusk fell before we
had well eaten our dinners.. in his will he had
left all his money to institutions and the furniture of his house to his
sister.When the short days of winter came.
who sang a come-all-you about O'Donovan Rossa. When we returned to the
street. jostled by drunken men and bargaining women. My
eyes were often full of tears (I could not tell why) and at times a flood
. I kept her
brown figure always in my eye and. the nasal chanting of streetsingers. This
happened morning after morning.. light from the kitchen windows had filled the areas. Her name sprang to my lips at moments in
strange prayers and praises which I myself did not understand. and I stood by the railings looking at her. we watched her from our shadow peer up
and down the street. I quickened my pace and passed her. we hid in the shadow until we had seen
him safely housed. These noises converged in a
single sensation of life for me: I imagined that I bore my chalice safely
through a throng of foes.Her image accompanied me even in places the
most hostile to romance. When she came out on the doorstep my heart
leaped..Every morning I lay on the floor in the front parlour watching
her door.. I had never spoken to her.. If my uncle
was seen turning the corner. if she remained.. except for
a few casual words.us through the dark muddy lanes behind the houses. I ran to the hall. The blind was pulled down to within an inch of the sash so
that I could not be seen. and yet her name was like a summons to all my
foolish blood... We walked through
the flaring streets.
amid the curses of labourers. Her brother always teased her before he
obeyed.. the shrill litanies of shop-boys who stood
on guard by the barrels of pigs' cheeks. or a ballad
about the troubles in our native land.. .. She was waiting for us. her figure defined by the light
from the half-opened door... when we came near the point at
which our ways diverged. to the back doors of the
dark dripping gardens where odours arose from the ashpits. seized my books and followed her. and the soft rope of her hair tossed from side to
side. we left our shadow and walked up to Mangan's
steps resignedly. where we ran the
gantlet of the rough tribes from the cottages. We waited to see whether she would remain or go
in and. Or if Mangan's sister came out on the doorstep to
call her brother in to his tea. to the dark
odorous stables where a coachman smoothed and combed the horse
or shook music from the buckled harness. . On Saturday evenings when my aunt went
marketing I had to go to carry some of the parcels. Her dress swung as
she moved her body.
thankful that I could see so little...
and I was alone at the railings. she said... I thought little
of the future... She asked me was I going to Araby. It would be a splendid bazaar. All my senses seemed to desire to veil
if I spoke to her." I said..What innumerable follies laid waste my waking and
sleeping thoughts after that evening! I wished to annihilate the tedious
intervening days. Through one of the broken panes I heard the rain impinge upon
the earth.. I did not know whether I would ever speak to her or not or... just visible as she stood at ease.... I forgot whether I
answered yes or no." ...
. bowing her
head towards me. Some distant lamp or lighted window gleamed below me." she said... ... She held one of the spikes. It was a dark rainy evening and there was no sound in the
house. the fine incessant needles of water playing in the sodden
beds."If I go.. But my
body was like a harp and her words and gestures were like fingers
running upon the wires."And why can't you?" I asked."It's well for you..At last she spoke to me. At night in my
bedroom and by day in the classroom her image came between me
and the page I strove to read........ murmuring: `O
love! O love!' many times. I chafed against the work of school. "I will bring you
something. The light from the lamp opposite our door caught the
white curve of her neck... lit up her hair that rested there and. Her brother and two other boys were fighting for their caps. She could not
go.from my heart seemed to pour itself out into my bosom.. lit
up the hand upon the railing. When she
addressed the first words to me I was so confused that I did not know
what to answer.. how I could tell her of my confused adoration.. .. At fell over one side of her dress and
caught the white border of a petticoat.. falling. ..
... I pressed
the palms of my hands together until they trembled. . feeling that I was about to slip from them..While she spoke
she turned a silver bracelet round and round her wrist... she said she would
love to go. The syllables of the word Araby were
. because there would be a retreat that week in her
convent.One evening I went into the back drawing-room in which the priest
and hoped it was not some
Freemason affair....As he was in the hall I could not go into the
front parlour and lie at the window.. who collected used stamps
for some pious purpose.. empty. Still it was early. I watched my
master's face pass from amiability to sternness. seeing
nothing but the brown-clad figure cast by my imagination. a pawnbroker's widow.... She was an old.called to me through the silence in which my soul luxuriated and cast
an Eastern enchantment over me. My aunt was surprised. he hoped I was not
beginning to idle.. and answered me curtly:
. .On Saturday morning I reminded my
uncle that I wished to go to the bazaar in the evening.. From the front window I saw my companions playing
below in the street. The air was pitilessly raw and
already my heart misgave me."Yes. Their cries reached me weakened and indistinct
and. I left the house in bad humour and
walked slowly towards the school. . I may have stood there for an hour.
garrulous woman.. seemed to me child's play.. I know.. touched
discreetly by the lamplight at the curved neck. looking for the hat-brush. when its ticking began to irritate me.... I had
hardly any patience with the serious work of life which. Mrs Mercer stood up to go: she was sorry she couldn't wait any
longer. He was fussing
at the hallstand.. I had to endure the gossip of the tea-table.When I came home to dinner my
uncle had not yet been home. I asked for leave to go to the bazaar
on Saturday night. . gloomy rooms liberated me and I went from room to
room singing.When I came
downstairs again I found Mrs Mercer sitting at the fire.." .. When she had gone I began to walk up
and down the room..... I answered few questions in class. leaning my forehead against the cool glass.
I mounted the staircase and gained the upper part of the house. The
high. I left the room..
The meal was prolonged beyond an hour and still my uncle did not
as the night air was bad for her."I'm afraid
. boy... clenching my fists.. but it was after eight o'clock and she did not like to be out late. at the hand upon the
railings and at the border below the dress.. I sat staring at the clock
for some time and. My aunt said: .. cold. now that it
stood between me and my desire...... I looked over at the
dark house where she lived. ugly
monotonous child's play.. I could not call my wandering thoughts together..
o'clock I heard my uncle's latchkey in the hall door.... but the porters moved them back...you may put off your bazaar for this night of Our Lord. .." ...My uncle said he was very
sorry he had forgotten.. I found myself in a big hall girded at half its height by a
gallery. when I told him a second time. The sight of the streets thronged with buyers and glaring with
gas recalled to me the purpose of my journey."Can't you give him the money and let him go?
You've kept him late enough as it is...I could not find any
sixpenny entrance and.."The people are in bed and after
their first sleep now. ... He said he believed in the old saying: All work
and no play makes Jack a dull boy. In front of me was a large
building which displayed the magical name. He asked me where I was going
and.. . Nearly all the stalls were closed and the greater part of the hall
was in darkness. After an intolerable delay the train
moved out of the station slowly.. I
passed in quickly through a turnstile... I could interpret these signs. My aunt said to him
saying that it was a special train for the bazaar..... I passed out on to the road and saw by the lighted
dial of a clock that it was ten minutes to ten.. fearing that the bazaar would be closed. In a few minutes the train drew up beside an improvised
wooden platform.....I held a florin
tightly in my hand as I strode down Buckingham Street towards the
station. I heard him talking
to himself and heard the hallstand rocking when it had received the
weight of his overcoat.....I did not smile. I took my seat in a thirdclass carriage of a deserted train..... I recognized a silence like that which pervades a
church after a service. I remained alone in the
bare carriage. He had forgotten." he said. ." . handing a shilling to a wearylooking man. I walked into the centre of the bazaar timidly. When he was
midway through his dinner I asked him to give me the money to go to
the bazaar.... he asked me did I know "The
Arab's Farewell to his Steed... At Westland Row Station a crowd of people
pressed to the carriage doors.. It crept onward among ruinous houses
and over the twinkling river. A
few people were gathered about the stalls which were still open.. Before
." When I left the kitchen he was about to
recite the opening lines of the piece to my aunt.
me.. ... fib!" . They began to talk of the same subject.."O. to make my interest in her
wares seem the more real.. I listened to the fall
of the coins... and my eyes burned with
anguish and anger.. ."O...The young lady
changed the position of one of the vases and went back to the two
young men. I went
over to one of the stalls and examined porcelain vases and flowered
tea-sets... ." .. two men were counting money on a salver... At the door of the stall a young lady was talking and laughing
with two young gentlemen.. the young lady came over and asked me did I wish to buy
anything..Gazing up into the darkness I saw myself as a
creature driven and derided by vanity.Remembering with difficulty why I had come. but you did!" . I remarked their English accents and
listened vaguely to their conversation........ there's a..... thank you.."O...
.. The tone of her voice was not encouraging...I lingered before her
stall. I allowed the two pennies to fall against
the sixpence in my pocket..." .."O... over which the words Café Chantant were written in coloured
lamps..... ... but I didn't!" ... she seemed to
have spoken to me out of a sense of duty... Once or twice the
young lady glanced at me over her shoulder. The upper part of the hall was now
completely dark... I heard her..
. I heard a voice call from one end of the
gallery that the light was out....... though I knew my stay was useless... I never said such a
thing!" ........ I looked humbly at the great
jars that stood like eastern guards at either side of the dark entrance to
the stall and murmured: .."Didn't she say
that?" ... Then I turned away slowly and walked
down the middle of the bazaar..