Stage Set:The Ninth Tailor
"Nine tailors make a man." ~anon.
The night was dark-haired and delirious.
The cheeky moon clung precariously
to a crooked branch, a bibulous marquess
embracing a lamp post, ready
to strut a whole dancehall
for a cigarette and another chance.
It was the last act of a first edition.
Drying at the prompt, they walked on the
edge of a feather. She'd stopped feeling sorry;
her heart was a trespasser in Vienna,
silent at the soiree instead of begging to
strip to the skin pour épater les bourgeois.
He knew he was passing his prime,
going flabby at center, his bons mots
withering like December dahlias. He'd lost count
of the hands that had picked his pocket, stroked
his celebrated champagne hair, each morning
combed back unsteadily at the hotel
before the bitter waver in the mirror.
When the curtain came down
it was too weak to exist in more than
one dimension, but it knocked the play
into next week, and left behind its mournful bell
broken at the ninth tailor.
posted for Fireblossom's word list at
epater les bourgeois: to shock or startle the coventional
Nine tailors: "As explained by John Shand in his 1936 Spectator article The Bellringers' Art, 'Nine Tailors' means the nine strokes which at the beginning of the toll for the dead announce..that a man is dead. A woman's death is announced with 'Six Tailors'. Hence the old saying ... '" ~wikipedia
Images: The Human Parody, circa 1878 © Felicien Rops
The Hanged Man At The Bell, 1867, © Felicien Rops