Thursday, June 16, 2005
From the sundial towards James's Gate walked Mr Kernan pleased with the order he had booked for Pulbrook Robertson boldly along James's street, past Shackleton's offices. Got round him all right. How do you do, Mr Crimmins? First rate, sir. I was afraid you might be up in your other establishment in Pimlico. How are things going? Just keeping alive. Lovely weather we are having. Yes, indeed. Good for the country. Those farmers are always grumbling. I'll just take a thimbleful of your best gin, Mr Crimmins. A small gin, sir. Yes, sir. Terrible affair that General Slocum explosion. Terrible, terrible! A thousand casualties. And heartrending scenes. Men trampling down women and children. Most brutal thing. What do they say was the cause? Spontaneous combustion: most scandalous revelation. Not a single lifeboat would float and the firehose all burst. What I can't understand is how the inspectors ever allowed a boat like that... Now you are talking straight, Mr Crimmins. You know why? Palmoil. Is that a fact? Without a doubt. Well now, look at that. And America they say is the land of the free. I thought we were bad here.
I smiled at him. America, I said, quietly, just like that. What is it? The sweepings of every country including our own. Isn't that true? That's a fact.
Graft, my dear sir. Well, of course, where there's money going there's always someone to pick it up."
Mr. Crimmins is talking about the burning and sinking of the General Slocum in the East River. When you raise a pint to the bard who penned those words, bow your head a moment for the over 1000 souls who lost their lives in that disaster on the day before Bloomsday.