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Pittwater Online News

March 5 - 11, 2017: Issue 303

Emile Theodore Argles

Portrait of Harold Grey (left) and Victor Daley ,&nbs wiggpkqo. bottes de neige timberlandp; circa 1880 -1895 Retrieved from http://nla.gov.au/nla.obj-146669281 , courtesy National Library of Australia“Let him who is without sin among you be the first to throw a stone at her.” - JOHN 8:7 - Holy Bible
Satire  is a genre of literature, and sometimes graphic and performing arts, in which vices, follies, abuses, and shortcomings are held up to ridicule, ideally with the intent of shaming individuals, corporations, government, or society itself into improvement.
The gentleman referred to in Victor Daley’s ‘Some People’ as Harold Grey when he and ‘Harold’ were gallivanting at Manly in the cooler months of 1882, was in fact Emile Theodore Argles, one of the first real critics Australia had, who wrote under the nom de plumes 'A Pilgrim',  ‘The Pilgrim’, ‘Harold Grey’ and ‘Pasquin’ and also gave ‘Lectures’ under his own name when he first arrived in Australia, as well as under ‘Talbot Marshall’ later on, as well under as the pen names he became famous for. His was a crusade to look after the voiceless and shine a spotlight on the abused, a crusade he succeeded at in many instances, but not without personal cost.
Credited by many as the man who ‘made’  The Bulletin  through a characteristic voice that styled the criticism levied with a good dose of humor of that paper during its formative years, Theodore, ‘Theo’ as he would on occasion sign his name, displayed all the true characteristics of the critic who can be cynical in being a true romantic at heart. He also seemed to love the water, had to be near or be able to see it, wherever he was during his ‘Pilgrimage’.
In holding up a mirror to society in order to address what is clearly wrong, and not spoken of, critics often come in for a lot of ridicule in the least and vilification, at worst. Ways and means to silence them are sought and practiced, and Mr. Argles certainly experienced this. As one of our favourite  New York Times  writers said just a few months ago, "A truly independent press is not stocked with political acolytes but political adversaries." and " ...members of the press ..., when properly performing, ...are truth seekers rather than ego-strokers.."
Theodore seems to have had a healthy ego himself but this didn't fill his words in ways that detracted from them, in fact that seemed to be part of the jokes he would pull - in this case, on himself. 
His work lay at the centre of two of our earliest libel cases when a writer for the then fledgling  The Bulletin . He was also an entrepreneur of sorts in starting his own publications when removed from larger papers and instead of being silenced, seemed only to sing louder during a time when those who sang the right tune profited thereby.
His story is one that’s still relative to today, especially today when so many seem to be hesitating to speak their minds or the notion of a Free Press evaporates through the endless stream of news devoid of threads attached to those who hold purse strings and merely parroting what’s been paid for or what will suit. Mr. Argles seemed of the permanently opposed to this ilk, although he clearly kept an eye on making money, quickly squandered, from wielding a pen. While he was here though he did much to speak out against what was wrong and could be righted, championing the maligned, thumbing his nose at those who would publish platitudes through the Press to suit their own agendas or the prevailing wishes of those in charge. His actions, and the way he did it what he did, could be a first instance of anyone speaking out in our Press years before he joined  The Bulletin .
He left the salons of Europe to come to Australia and invested all he had into this place when our nation was coming of age. It is solely through the great work of the National Library of Australia in continuing to add our newspapers of those times to the great font of TROVE that we are able to restore the paths he trod during his short time here and hopefully make one who had become invisible visible again. 
He died too soon from tuberculosis, a disease that was to take his fellow wordsmiths around him before and after his time and is still rated the highest infectious disease killer, taking more than HIV/Aids worldwide every single year. 
Did he spend much time in Pittwater?He certainly loved the water – always tried to live in sight of it. He certainly sought refuge and respite at Manly with Daley, Archibald and certainly championed peoples on the Hawkesbury as well as further afield. There was not one eastern state he did not travel through and live in – he also spent a fair amount of time in South Australia. It seems likely he did visit here, writing under yet another nom de plume, while travelling through Pittwater on the way to a tourist excursion on the Hawkesbury during that ill-fated one time (!?) the engineer of the Florrie was drunk. The voice/s that recounts this episode is very alike his own and display his humour, even in what may have been trying circumstances.
There are also records of Henry Lawson being given the use of a yacht close to Manly Wharf - and this too seems to confirm certain aspects of these formative and, as some state, writers and artists of the first 'Golden Age of Australian Literature' gallivanting about here and there (at Manly) in between other escapades and providing us with wonderful words strung well together:
Then there were memories of Lawson and his friends in The Village, as they called Manly. Lord Beauchamp lent them his yacht the "Vesta," which was moored close to Manly Wharf. Roderic Quinn, Victor Daley and E. J. Brady were among those who joined Lawson. For many years, I kept a few verses written by Daley, leaving instructions for Lawson what to do after they had gone to the Village for further supplies.  The verses were good, although the subject matter was very crude.  They didn't mind living like toffs, even though they could see through it all.  Harry was no man for family life. He drifted out of it, as he drifted out of other things. Back came memories of Harry's accounts of his tussles with the Bulletin. They would go up and see J. F. Archibald, the editor. He would give them a voucher. Then they would try to collect from "that so-and-so Scotsman, Mac-leod." "It was like trying to get blood out of a stone," Lawson would moan. But they invariably collected just the same.  Or the time that Bland Holt, the theatrical manager of the day, commissioned him to localise the "Mystery of the Hansom Cab."  Bland said he would not pay until Lawson did the job. THEY BURIED HARRY LIKE A LORD.INSIDE POLITICSby Jack LangTHEY BURIED HARRY LIKE A LORD ( 1954, September 5 ).  Truth  (Sydney, NSW : 1894 - 1954), p. 40. Retrieved from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article168409933 
George Augustine Taylor also recounts in his  Those Were the Days  (1918) a trip to Gosford as 'an adventure' by The Bohemians of Sydney, of which Argles was a core member, although this is reported in his  reminisces as  set later than the actual articles then run, which are also after that incident of September 1882, the 'voices' of those writing under other names are too familiar and too alike Theo Argles and Victor Daley to not have had their hand (or pen) in them. Many of the reports found and run in a timeline below state they were firm and fast friends, along with Caddy, Melville (the Manly wordsmith who would also delve in poetry) and a host of 'scribes' that dazzle us still.
That Daley and Argles were firm friends when 'still bachelors' appears in one recounting after another; including their exhorting other publications to show more of the same kind of spine that speaks opening, truthfully - Daley may have done this in gentler terms, Argle with a joyous glee still communicated. One such 'story' is of their poking fun at the Sydney Morning Herald, considered a little to dour and sober in their reign of the streets. The legend states that one day during the early 1880's they drove around the Herald office in a hearse calling to those indoors;
" Bring out your dead! Bring out your dead !" 
That would have livened things up! 
Daley is also supposedly to have addressed this few stanzas to younger Herald reporters and may have had his then dear departed friend in mind:
'Be safe, be slow, be sure;
Take nothing upon rumor. And ever more be pure And wholesome' in your  humor.
'Be sparinig in your jests, 'Tis safer to be solemn, For Vested Interests There is no Funny Column'." LETTER FROM LESLIE HAYLEN ( 1948, March 23 ).  The Cumberland Argus and Fruitgrowers Advocate  (Parramatta, NSW : 1888 - 1950), p. 3. Retrieved from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article105736336
Another oft repeated story, even decades after both had passed:
MORE BOHEMIAN MEMORIES By W.H.E. THE writer in his previous article mentioned the Saturday night beer and saveloy supper as the weekly consummation dear to the heart and stomach of every true-begotten freelance journalist in the dear days of local Bohemia. Relevant is a good story, the truth of which he can vouch for, having fraternised with the principals.  The venue of our comedy-tragedy was Sydney. The principals were the late Mr. Archibald (kindly patron and father-confessor of all the literary and journalistic hacks of the day), the late Victor Daley (already mentioned), and the late Howard Gray (a clever paragraphilitst).  It was customary for the Illustrious fraternity to mobolise at Power's Hotel Victoria, In George-street, when arrangements were made for the weekly beer and saveloy orgy on the fateful Saturday. Alas ! on one unforgettable occasion It was found that the exchequer (a Joint and several affair) was depleted, nay, non-existant. Gloomy despair descended upon the august assembly, where, bravely and unconsciously, were being moulded the painful beginnings of Australia's literary history. What was to be done ? Never before, even during the worst periods of the brotherhood's chequered history had occurred such a gastronomic cul de sac. Always, somewhere or somehow, the weekly banquet had been made possible. 
Eventually a stuttering, tentative proposal was half-Jokingly preferred, that one of the craft should Interview Mr. Archibald and, tearfully informing him of the untimely demise of one of them, Inveigle a cheque for the honorable purposes of decent interment. It was noticeable, in the light of after events, that following on a profound silence the gloomy assemblage suddenly dispersed in twos and threes. The next scene is laid in the kindly magnate's newspaper office in George-street. He was exceptionally busy on that fateful Saturday morning, but when a timorous knock sounded on the door he, as was his wont, invited a courteous entry. Enter Victor Daley. "Hullo, Victor, what brings you hence at this unusual hour ?" Daley, with a sepulchral sigh and a lugubrious leer beneath his handsome whiskers:"I've come along to break sad news to you, Mr. Archibald." "I'm sorry to hear that, Victor. What's the trouble ?" "Poor Howard Gray died last night." "What ? Is It possible ? Dear, dear, how Inexpressibly sad ! What a loss ! — what a loss !", . "Yes, Mr. Archibald, a big loss to us all. I've— er— just come from the boys. They — er — asked me to break the news to you." "Extremely thoughtful of them !" "And " "Yes, Victor, what is It ?" "They— er— thought that you may be inclined to help us do the last honors decently to poor old Gray. We’re all anxious to do the thing properly, but the trouble is, Mr. Archibald, that there's no money in the camp this week." "I'm pleased that you came along, Victor, Here (diving into a drawer of his desk), I'll give you a cheque for £10. If you want any more, command me. Dear, dear, poor Gray !" Hurriedly exit Victor Daley. Scene, the same. Mr. Archibald saddened, but increasingly busy. A knock. "Come In." Enter Howard Gray. One glance and the whole story is Illuminated as with a searchlight to the shrewd but kindly mentor, who carries on with his work. A precipitous sigh from Gray. (No response.) A groan. (Continuation of silence). A desperate appeal — "Surely, Mr. Archibald, you’ve already heard the bad news." (Aforesaid silence more profound.) "I — I hope that It's not my beastly Job to break the news, but — I — I'm sorry to say that poor old Victor Daley died suddenly last night." To Gray's astonishment Mr. Archibald continues his work, unperturbed by the carefully rehearsed tidings of I doom. "As a matter of fact I've Just come along from the boys, as a committee of one so to say, to ask if you— uh I might advance us something on account so as to inter poor old Victor decently" A stern, but twinkling, Archibald swivels around in his chair and confronts the suppliant, with a threatening gesture, which somehow has no menace behind it, he roars: "Get out of this, you blighter. If you hurry you'll just about catch up with Daley. I've given him enough to bury the two of you !."
That night the fraternal get-together was voted sans parallel. ...  MORE BOHEMIAN MEMORIES ( 1937, September 4 ).  The Age  (Melbourne, Vic. : 1854 - 1954), p. 6. Retrieved from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article206720801 
There is evidence Emile Theodore Argles lived at Manly before his fun weeks with Victor Daley, and perhaps was the earlier 'Poet of  Manly:
From  My unnatural life  / by H. Grey.Harold Grey 1878-1879 - 30 pages Available online at State Library of Victoria
Also, from the same 'book' 9 pages 6-7), although some termed them 'pamphlets': ....' Mr. Stace, then is, as I have said, singularly prepossessing  in appearance. He is tall, well formed, and as straight as a  young sapling or—or—dear me! I’m quite at a loss for another si mile—well—straighter than Henry Ward Beeeimer’s morals,  anyway. Deep blue his eyes, and very lustrous, the kind, of eyes I  shouldn't  care to have looking expressively into those of my love some evening at Manly when I, having missed the boat  was standing forlornly on Woolloomooloo pier,  hiding my  streaming eyes in a three-penny check handkerchief.... '
From materials listed at the end of this small book it would date this as 1878 as well.

Pier at Manly, New South Wales, ca. 1876 [picture] Image No.: nla.obj-141520962-1, courtesy National Library of Australia

Frank Molloy's excellent work on Victor Daley,  Victor Daley: A Life . (2004), states one of the many reasons writers of this era chose to write under nom de plumes was they wrote for rival papers and did not want one or another boss to know. Their social activities, unless at war in words with each other, show those who worked on these papers would have known as they were all mates. Another reason, that a paper only had a handful of writers, or even just one or two, would be a better solution in using other names so readers would not think this was all just one person. 
In Mr. Argle's case his dealings with courts and laws due to what he said and they way he said it meant any 'nom de plume's he wrote under were notorious, and he with them.  This would indicate the one chosen to publish under for each piece cast especial meaning on that story. More importantly, in  Theodore's choice of the pseudonyms he most frequently employed are high literature or high ideals, or simply the summoning of  remembrance  of these, and these were the songs favoured by a well-educated, well- travelled young man. In 'A Pilgrim, 'The Pilgrim' and 'Harold Grey' you are instantly reminded of Byron's  Childe Harold’s Pilgrimage . 
Childe Harold’s Pilgrimage , w ritten by Lord Byron, and published between 1812 and 1818 is a poem that describes the travels and reflections of a world-weary young man who, disillusioned with a life of pleasure and revelry, looks for distraction in foreign lands. In a wider sense, it is an expression of the melancholy and disillusionment felt by a generation weary of the wars of the post-Revolutionary and Napoleonic eras. The title comes from the term childe, a medieval title for a young man who was a candidate for knighthood.
The work provided the first example of the Byronic hero, who must have a rather high level of intelligence and perception as well as be able to easily adapt to new situations and use cunning to his own gain. It is clear from this description that this hero is well-educated and by extension is rather sophisticated in his style. Aside from the obvious charm and attractiveness that this automatically creates, he struggles with his integrity, being prone to mood swings. Generally, the hero has a disrespect for certain figures of authority, thus creating the image of the Byronic hero as an exile or an outcast. The hero also has a tendency to be arrogant and cynical, indulging in self-destructive behaviour which leads to the need to seduce men or women.
In the meaning of ‘Pasquin’ (1877, then again in 1880 to 1886 in Freeman’s Journal  and others) is found –  Pasquino or Pasquin (Latin: Pasquillus) the name used by Romans since the early modern period to describe a battered Hellenistic-style statue dating to the third century BC, which was unearthed in the Parione district of Rome in the fifteenth century. Located in a piazza of the same name on the southwest corner of the Palazzo Braschi (Museo di Roma); near the site where it was unearthed. The statue is known as the first of the talking statues of Rome, because of the tradition of attaching anonymous criticisms to its base.
Right: Pasquino Rome, August 2006- photo by Peter Heeling

The statue's fame dates to the early sixteenth century, when Cardinal Oliviero Carafa draped the marble torso of the statue in a toga and decorated it with Latin epigrams on the occasion of Saint Mark's Day.  The Cardinal's actions led to a custom of criticizing the pope or his government by the writing of satirical poemsin broad Roman dialect—called "pasquinades" from the Italian "pasquinate"—and attaching them to the statue "Pasquino".  Thus Pasquino became the first "talking statue" of Rome. He spoke out about the people's dissatisfaction, denounced injustice, and assaulted misgovernment by members of the Church. From this tradition are derived the English-language terms  pasquinade  and  pasquil , which refer to an anonymous lampoon in verse or prose. 
The actual subject of the sculpture is Menelaus supporting the body of Patroclus, and the subject, or the composition applied to other figures as in the Sperlonga sculptures, occurs a number of times in classical sculpture, where it is now known as a "Pasquino group". The actual identification of the sculptural subject was made in the eighteenth century by the antiquarian Ennio Quirino Visconti, who identified it as the torso of Menelaus supporting the dying Patroclus; the more famous of two Medici versions of this is in the Loggia dei Lanzi in Florence, Italy. The Pasquino is more recently characterized as a Hellenistic sculpture of the third century BC, or a Roman copy.
The origin of the name, "Pasquino", remains obscure. By the mid-sixteenth century it was reported that the name "Pasquino" derived from a nearby tailor who was renowned for his wit and intellect; speculation had it that his legacy was carried on through the statue, in "the honor and everlasting remembrance of the poor tailor" [2].
It should be noted that a former 'Pasquin' seemed to author insights on matters in South Australia prior to Theodore's landing in Australia and others took on this namesake after and during his time in other states.  Theodore's adoption as one of his writing names of 'Pasquin' may, in part, be his honouring one such wordsmith in South Australia's forerunner of the same pen-name - Eustace Revely Mitford.
Those Mr. Argles made use of when writing the 'Sundry Shows’ (theatre review) column in the ‘Sans Culotte’ signature commenced on 26 March 1881, the evolved tone is continued. The signature is originally spelled ‘Des Sans-Culottes’, later ‘Un Sans Culotte’. [3]He would also resort to feminine 'guises' in some works, although these, from what records could be found, and bear in mind there must be scores missed, were utilised to suit the subject, or column. Researchers into the early  Bulletin  years state some of these columns were penned by Daley and Argles together.
The flip side of this coin is there are few images to be found of Mr. Argles. Those tracked down seem to be related to publications he had a long association with - the  Bulletin  taken with his boon companion Victor Daley, and that run in a celebration of its great authors and publication  Freeman's Journal
Picture – photo from:  JUBILEE JOTTINGS ( 1900, June 30 ). Freeman's Journal  (Sydney, NSW : 1850 - 1932), p. 14. Retrieved fromhttp://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article111313994 
What is not widely acknowledged is that many took the tone of the Bulletin during Argles lifetime  as to be all his own:" The Bulletin, he said, had really been “made” by a dissolute but very clever Frenchman named Argles, who wrote the dramatic criticism, and originated the present characteristic style of the whole paper. But Argles worked through Archibald the principal editor, on whom he had a great influence until his (Argles) death from consumption. Now Archibald had gathered round him a brilliant staff of young Bohemians. " - From The Diaries of Beatrice Webb (1898) – October 5th.

‘ It was through the existence of the Bulletin alone that a purely Australian school of art and literature became possible ,’ wrote Henry Lawson, adding: ‘T he Australian atmosphere is in the Bulletin, and the Bulletin is the spirit of Australia .’-  Henry Lawson,  Autobiographical and Other Writing  1887-1922, Sydney..
Theodore's attention to detail, in citing reports, in putting himself in the places he speaks of, not only conjures brilliantly the Sydney, and Pittwater, he speaks of, they also give us details of these places not recorded so well elsewhere - further adding to the many reasons we should make some accessible record to this denizen of all things good about Australia and his determination to ensure the good prevailed here. 
A typical example that underlines his kind of voice and attention to detail, while employing humour that can still make you laugh over a hundred years on is this little piece on the Debtors Prison in Darlinghurst:

By Pasquin.
No. 19. The Humours Of The Debtors' Prison. Section I.

Meo sum pauper in uere. —  Horace.  My business in this state Made me a looker on here. Shakespeare — Measure for Measure. Yo bayiiixe bouldo strode up ye streete, Close eyein^o alio heo chanced to meete, 'When suddenlie he gave a chappo Upon ye shoulder blade a tappe. — Tussito.
I COMMENCE this, my first exhilarating sketch upon the Debtors' side of Darlinghurst prison, in the awful precincts of the gaol itoelf. The room in which I am writing is the salle a manger of the establishment, and I will treat my readers to a description of it just by way of putting them (and myself) into a good humour at the commencement of the narrative of my experiences. An apartment, some twelve feet by twenty-four, with a little closely-barred dormer window, and a small door, the centre panels of which are of glass. The walls are of stone and whitewashed, but the floor is boarded, and the ceiling also is of painted planking. The fittings are of parochial primitiveness. They consist of a narrow deal table, and a couple of forms, a shelf with a curtain of green calico, four hooks, a gas bracket, and a spittoon. There is a certain club-house splendour lingering about the last article, which tends to make it out of keeping with the rest of the things ; and I rather incline to the belief that it was not originally included in the furnishing contract, but was added by Mr. Read for necessary purposes during the temporary incarceration of an American book canvasser. 
It is evening and we have just had tea. When I say 'we' it must not be thought ' we are seven,' for we are not. There are only three of us — Mr. G. R. Dibbs, a Mr. Vavasour, and the distinguished popular educator who pens these lines. As we all ' keep ourselves,' the tea table (which will not be cleared away until to-morrow morning, our prison servant being locked up) presents quite a luxurious appearance. There is cold beef, and ham, and half-cold chops ; not to mention jams of various kinds — the whole life up and embellished by Mr. Dibbs's silver-teapot, upon which the rays of the gas-jet play fantastically. Looked at as imprisoned debtors, we are all three comparatively wealthy. Although George Richard has assigned his estate, his name is good at the cookshop over the way, and Mr. Vavasour is a young gentleman of independent means, in merely a temporary condition of embarrassment. I know he is a gentleman of independent means, because he told me when I first arrived that he couldn't live under a thousand year : — upon which I immediately borrowed a pipe of tobacco. With regard to myself, I can ruminate upon my financial position without being seized with a desire to commit suicide. I could satisfy my detaining creditor with the handful of loose silver in my trousers' pocket. Indeed, after paying him in full, there would be sufficient change remaining to purchase intoxication for a couple of baliffs ; and, mark you, making a Sydney bailiff drunk is by no means an inexpensive proceeding. 
I have selected the dining-room for a writing den for several reasons. And that they are unanswerable ones may be inferred from the fact that besides being as gloomy as a sepulchre, my present quarters are as cold as an Arctic ruin. The fact is, not being of a literary turn himself, Mr. Dibbs resorts to many expedients for whiling away the time of an evening, which renders original composition in his immediate vicinity a matter of some difficulty. For half-an-hour perhaps he will perform on his lathe, turning ornamental articles of gun-metal, with a noise resembling the growling of five hundred Polar bears. Tiring of this, he, will 'put his tools to rights,' and as in this process he lets a 6lb. chisel fall about three times in every five minutes, the effect is a very tolerable imitation, on a small scale, of Nelson's bombardment of Copenhagen. It is, however, when he sits down to talk political economy, and compliments certain judges upon their legal acumen, that things get the most unsettled. His voice (which I should say was originally manufactured for a giant, who for some reason or other neglected to call for it) possesses a depth and volume sufficient to fill Wynyard Square on a windy morning. When therefore he becomes carried away by his subject (his chronic state) his tones vibrate through the prison until they make all the padlocks rattle, and the people in Burton-street, over the way, hide their fire-irons under their hearth-rugs until the thunderstorm shall have blown over.' And, when, in addition to all this, I add that us, Mr. Vavasour has a passion for 'fives' and a turn for singing operatic music with a voice of which a quavering falsetto is the principal ingredient, the reader will understand that the sitting-room is hardly a place for a man to write effectively in. And thus I have descended below, relinquishing many comforts, to manufacture my copy amongst the debris of the feen-equipage. 
Now for a slight retrospect. When some little time ago I had made up my mind to ventilate the workings of the clause in the Insolvency Act which provides for imprisonment of debtors, I consulted a friend as to the easiest and most expeditious way of obtaining admission to the prison, and staying there until such time as I should have gathered sufficient material for a series of articles — ' Oh,' he said, ' it's the simplest thing in the world. Get the District Court Judge to make an order for you to pay a certain amount on a certain day, and don't pay it. Then you'll be arrested soon enough, never fear.' Also for the ignorance of mankind  I took his advice ; was served with a summons appeared at the Court ; was ordered by Judge Dowling to pay a certain amount on a certain day ; didn't pay it : — and what resulted ? — very little. When the day came I walked, about waiting to be arrested. The day growing old, I ||a hunted up the plaintiffs solicitor and entreated him to carry out the law. He said he had done all he could, but recommended to hunt up a bailiff. So until evening with its ' twinking vapours' arrived, I careered over the city screaming for an officer — but without avail. At all the hotels where I am known I left messages calculated, as I thought, to ensure my almost immediate capture. Here is a sample : — 
'If man comes in and asks for me, saying his name is Lavish Sholomon Aaronsh, tell him I will be back at three.' But it bore no fruit. Not one bailiff turned up. So the next morning I went up to the Local Court, resolved that if I did not find an officer, I would call at the office for the warrant, and take it up to the gaol myself. But its luck favoured me that morning. While I was hanging about, I heard my name pronounced from behind. In a moment I was round and faced my interlocutor. He had no need to say a word! —to make a gesture. His identity rushed upon me immediately. He was the executive administrator of the law under civil process. 
Tap, tap! against; the nail-studded gate with the knocker. With a clash and a groan the huge portal swung upon its hinges, and we entered. The bailiff produced a paper and pointed to me; the gate keeper read the document, and I was a prisoner. The place was a square enclosure, railed at the front and back and enclosed by the two lodges on either side. A number of warders were lounging about warming themselves at fires, and reading very dirty looking newspapers. The ceremony of my reception occupied only about two minutes. 

Entrance to Darlinghurst Gaol, date: 3/1871, Image No.: d1_05678, courtesy State Library of New South Wales

Entrance to Darlinghurst Gaol, 1887 - by New South Wales. Government Printing Office, Image No.: a089169, courtesy State Library of New South Wales  ( see under Extras below ).

Being given into the custody of a mild-faced warder, I was taken through the inner gate, across the court-yard, down some stone steps into a passage dimly lighted by a gaslamp. We then entered a subterranean chamber on the left — a gloomy place likewise lit with gas. This was the office. Here my name was taken by a warder who was sitting down, and echoed by a warder who was standing up. I was asked no questions of any kind, and was told nothing — not even to sit down. I made a remark upon the inclemency of the weather, but it elicited no reply; neither when I made a request that my portmanteau should be looked after, did any of the figures ' yapp ' out a rejoinder. 
It was a dark, mysterious-looking place, fitted with a large table upon which loomed huge ledgers, and to the right was a high desk at which stood a man of careworn aspect, who was rapidly totting up columns of figures. The room reminded me of a description I had once read of a cellar occupied at night by a section or the Florentine carbonari, and in which they planned little nose-slittings and assassinations for the especial behoof of people who annoyed them ; and so strong was the impression that I almost expected the warder who was standing to momentarily produce a skull and a beef-bone, and enrol me as a member of the society. My name having been entered in the book, I was led out into the fresh air, and taken away to the quarters assigned to me by Government.. The debtors' prison at Darlinghurst is a large, square, one-story freestone building, one side of which is occupied by warders of the gaol, and the other by such unfortunates as are compelled to undergo imprisonment under civil process. It stands inside the walls, at the intersection of Burton and Forbes streets, and the windows of 'the debtors' sitting-room command quite a lovely view of the windows of the houses in those picturesque and salubrious thoroughfares, The ward comprises six separate apartments — a day room, a dining-room (already described), a kitchen (which contains a bath), and three bedrooms, two of which lead out of the day room, and one of which is in the basement. 
The ward is approached through a small garden, which fronts the warders' quarters, and in turning the corner you come into a small floricultural patch sacred to the 'Hard-up Club.' Both gardens are, however, common to the debtors, who, indeed, are allowed to stroll as far as the front gate, but are not permitted to hold any converse with prisoners on the criminal side. Our garden, it being winter time, has rather a dreary appearance, the most flourishing object it contains being a pomegranate tree in the centre bed, upon which forlornly dangles a solitary pomegranate. The only living thing that seems to take the faintest interest in the garden is a large black and tan terrier that belongs to one of the warders. This animal, it would seem, has taken to amateur gardening merely as a pastime, and without any serious idea as to the general embellishment of the prison grounds. Every morning he trots in about nine, surveys all the geraniums with a critical eye, and usually, before departing, scratches up a particularly fine plant and lays it carefully in the centre of the principal walk. One day he brought another dog — one of Mr. Read's greyhounds — to show him the improvements. But the visitor didn't seem to think much of them ; for the interview ended in high words, which culminated in a pitched battle, in which the greyhound was signally worsted. 

Darlinghurst Gaol and Court House, Sydney, 1870 / attributed to Charles Pickerin. Date: 1870. Image No.: a089253, courtesy State Library of NSW.

On being introduced into the prison I was shown straight up stairs into the sitting-room, in order, as the warder jocularly observed — ' To be made free o' tho premises.' On the door being opened a very strange sight presented itself — one which will live for a considerable time in my memory. The room itself was large and lofty, and well ventilated, notwithstanding that the air was rendered somewhat oppressive by the fumes of a gas-stove which burned at one end of the apartment. A large table covered with American cloth stood in the centre of the room. ' Upon it were scattered about a number of law-books, papers, novels, pipes, tobacco jars-cigar-boxes — every conceivable kind of litter the mind of man could imagine. At the end nearest the stove were a couple of exquisitely executed photographs of a very beautiful little girl. These were framed in handsome leather cases, and were flanked by two glasses filled with flowers. Three or four polished cedar chairs were scattered about the room, and the wall was lined with forms. Near the fire, however, were a number of cane lounges, and one American sofa. The floor was covered with cocoa-nut matting, and, although the wails were only roughly whitewashed, the place had a comfortable aspect. The most striking object in the room was a large iron lathe, fitted in work man-like fashion close up against the window. Upon the racks near the machine, and upon a form running at right angles with it, were arranged tools without number ; and a considerable quantity of material in the shape of myall logs, sawn cedar planks, and bags of vegetable ivory (of which more anon) were heaped pell-mell in an adjacent corner. 
With the exception of the regulation boards, the only relief to the white stone walls was a large print of the Prince and Princess of Wales. I may remark, en passant, that this picture gives great offence to Mr. David Buchanan, who is a frequent visitor to Mr. Dibbs. Whenever David enters and his fiery eye alights on the engraving, his soul is immediately in arms. 'Tak doon tharr-t thung,' he cried, ' tear doon tharrt half-bred Garman and his missus, and let am noot disgrace the room.' It is a very fortunate thing that the Prince, living so far away, is comparatively unlikely to be affected in any serious degree by Davie's dislike. I hope no one will tell him that David is antagonistic to the line of the Guelphs. It would, in any case, make him seriously uncomfortable, and possibly tend to make him abandon his project of visiting the colonies. 
There were three persons in the room when I entered. One of these was a very tall man, who was sharpening a small tool on a hone upon the shelf of his lathe. A remarkable figure this. Upon his head he wore a blue-velvet skull cap, embroidered with yellow silk. His attire consisted of a shabby tweed vest and trousers, and long brown double-breasted overcoat of exceedingly ancient appearance. This garment brought to one's recollection the 'Father of the Marshalsea,' it was so thread-bare and dilapidated. All the clothes hung loosely about him, and his shoes were but lightly laced; an infirmity of the feet being perceptible when he moved. But, despite the ragged coat and shapeless inexpressibles, you had but to look at the man's face and you would at once see that he was a person out of the common order of mortals. It was in truth a most remarkable face — not remarkable for any peculiar or striking trait of personal beauty — but on account of its general expression. The head was the head of a lion; the features bold and striking — more especially the eyes, which were of a light blue, and singularly bold and restless. Both his hair and beard were thick and curly and very much grizzled, and being unkempt, rendered his appearance fiercer than it would otherwise have been. He wore gold spectacles, and was smoking a long pipe, blowing forth clouds of smoke with an evident relish. 
He looked around at me as I entered, with a loud — ' Hullo ! what's up now ?' and laughed in such a loud key that all the tools in his rack were set a-jingling. As doubtless the reader will have guessed, the gentleman I have described was none other than the redoubtable Mr. G. R. Dibbs. For a sketch of the other occupants of the room, I must refer my readers to the forthcoming number of the Freeman. THE SOCIAL KALEIDOSCOPE. ( 1880, July 24 ).  Freeman's Journal  (Sydney, NSW : 1850 - 1932), p. 17. Retrieved from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article133488528 
Although we have listed in the timeline beneath a fair portion and examples of Theodore's works, this really is only a smidgen of the materials available - what the denseness of these underlines is this was a man who worked hard all the time. 
There is in his story, too, evidence of what was becoming prevalent in society - that of sons not born first but of good and well-off or wealthy families, taking issue with the 'powers that be' through inheritance laws etc., of speaking out against any laws that denied any citizen the same rights given only to a few. These were not 'convicts', these were well brought up and well-educated young men who sought places overseas, like Australia, and began a shift, in the generation prior to Theodore's, and his, and after him, that has made what anyone may 'inherit' today of equal standing and in many cases of 'worths' that cannot be attributed solely to goods and chattels.
Prior to this timeline are the 'Pittwater stories', varying slightly in tone, which let us hear voices from the past that could still be speaking today - and with one paradox here as Mr. Argles was said, by many of his contemporaries, to be fond of a drink.  Also bear in mind that Charles Jeanerrett was investing heavily in Newport, developing the mail line via his steamer the 'Florrie' and had much to gain in attracting or even 'cultivating' very favourable reviews- for one thing this would allow him to install a permanent steamer (ferry) to Brisbane Water - something now very popular again.
Visit:  Collin’s Retreat, Bay View House, Scott’s Sanatorium, Guest And Boarding House: Crystal Bay, Newport
Newport Wharf  - history page
The Mail Route to Pittwater and Beyond 
The S.S. Florrie
References 1.  A Lie by Any Other Name , Charles M. Blow JAN. 26, 2017, New York Times.2. Pasquino. (2017, February 8). In Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia. Retrieved from  https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Pasquino&oldid=7642893183.  Kelly, Veronica. 'Un Sans Culotte': the Bulletin's early theatre criticism and the masculine Bohemian masquerade. [ online ].Australian Literary Studies, 19, 3 (May), 2000, 254-268. Also available at  The University of Queensland - UQ eSpace

The Tourist.
Our Pleasure Trip To The Hawkesbury.
By Grandmamma.

' If, sick of home and luxuries, you want a new sensation,  And sigh for the unwonted ease of unaccommodation—  If you would taste, as amateur and vagabond beginner,  The painful pleasures of the poor, get up a picnic dinner!' 
Such was the advice of Horace Smith in days of old, when we were young, and rather failed to appreciate his pleasant sarcasm. But as years go on, and the romance of youth goes off. in company with lissomness of limb and elasticity of spirit, his words of wit and wisdom find readier echo in our thoughts, and 'The days when we went gipsying, a long time ago.'  assume a somewhat fabulous halo —even a lunar halo— as they are pictured in our sane and sober elderly memories. A recent experience of our own suggests a variation on the above-quoted verse :  If, sated with the loveliness of Sydney's peerless haven  You covet sight of other scenes more rugged and unshaven—  If steamers swift and clean and trim you value not a stiver.  But like them slow, and black and grim, go up the Hawkesbury River!  We did, and as a member of the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals I am constrained to say to all who may think of doing likewise, 'Don't' — until a thorough reformation and rearrangement in the modes of transit be effected. On last Friday afternoon, our small party of three, viz., Mr. and Mrs. B ? and 'Grandmamma,' steamed pleasantly to Manly Beach in the Fairlight, in time to 'catch the coach' for Newport, as prescribed in our sailing directions. These assured us that the trip was always accomplished in the easiest and pleasantest manner, and that we should arrive in town on Saturday evening. How delusive these promises proved will be seen hereafter. Two rough vehicles were in waiting at Manly, and we scrambled into the better looking of the twain, drawn by four horses, to be immediately taken to task and roundly rated in no measured terms by the driver of the two-horse machine for not going in his coach and to his 'hotel,’ he seeming to claim a monopoly of all Hawkesbury-bound passengers, whether he had room for them or not. Dire and dismal were the threats he hurled at us, and which rumbled in our rear as our good-humoured 'whip' drove off with us. The road was good, and glimpses of grand shore cliffs and headlands, and bits of lovely unspoiled ' bush,' bright with exquisite native flowers (which, alas, we might not stay to gather and delight in), pleasantly beguiled the way, and softened many a jolt ; whilst the discovery that two other lady passengers (visitors) were friends of mutual friends in various parts of Australia made a cheery, chatty quintette of the performance which had begun as a trio. 'Crack went the whip, round went the wheels, Were never folks more glad. They told the deeds of long ago, And merry tales and sad.' 
Presently we splashed through a wide lagoon, looking, or at any rate intending to look, as though we found it quite an agreeable incident, but holding on tightly all the same, and hailing our return to dry land again with little gasps of satisfaction. The appearance, not far from the roadside, of a plant of the panoanus was a sensation. We greeted it with a cry of joyous welcome, as the advanced guard of those tropical glories which previous visitors to this region had glowingly described. The graceful plumy crowns of the cycas, too, were abundant in parts of the bush as we neared Newport, and we revelled in rich anticipation of the wealth to come. 
Our conveyance brought us to the steps of the only visible house, a new-looking abode, of the usual country inn type, where, after considerable delay, a rough (very rough) meal was served; chops, coarse and nearly raw, over which the contents of the frying-pan had been liberally bestowed, and a piece of beef, which seemed to have been just introduced to a fire, but not permitted more than a brief acquaintance therewith. 

 Scott's Hotel from Broadhurst image 1900-1927 106124h Courtesy State Library of NSW.

Henry King Photographs, courtesy National Library of Australia and Pittwater Image Library Mona Vale, c. 1900-1910. Top: Bay view House, Newport NSW.  Below: Pittwater from BayView House.

But appetite for even a more luxurious repast was destroyed by the announcement that the engineer of the steamer which we expected to take us on the morrow was very drunk at the other 'hotel' (kept by the opposition driver whom we did not patronise), and that he declared the vessel out of repair and unfit for the voyage, whilst darker rumours were soon afloat that he said she would 'blow up.' One version was that he threatened he would blow her up himself, as 'he could swim if others couldn't.' The roseate hue began to fade from the complexion of our hopes, and we spoke of returning to Manly in the morning; but a promise that the tipsy engineer should be well watched, and kept sober when he became so, allowed us still to dream of pursuing our intended course. 
Our rooms, though small and scant of comfort, were clean; and our rest undisturbed by any entomological specimens. After a very early breakfast, we were summoned to go on board the steamer, which lay half a mile off, at a rude sort of landing place near the other 'hotel.' With great difficulty and fatigue we made the descent of the steep bank, some 50 feet in height, by means of logs laid at uncertain distances, making a species of stairway, some steps being thrice the depth of others, and all slippery. The captain — whose civility and kind attention throughout we all gratefully appreciate— assured us that the engineer was 'all right,' so, on arriving on board, we picked the least dirty spots to sit in, the deck being strewn over with coal, and off we steamed down Pittwater, at a very moderate rate, but fast enough for one of the party, who, pencil in hand, took rapid notes, rather than sketches, of the ever-changing and most picturesque headlands and islets as we proceeded. A pretty stiff breeze was blowing, and through the broken waters of Broken Bay the little steamer puffed and groaned and rolled horribly. 
Elliot Island was long: the central point in our view, and its isolated position seemed, in our perhaps superficial judgment, to point it out as a suitable spot for the storage of at least a portion of the 900 tons of mischief in the shape of dynamite and powder, the expected explosion of which is now so sorely exercising the fears of many a worthy resident in and near Sydney. 
The absence of nearly all evidence of population, so far as we could see, and the barren nature of the land around, seem to render it improbable that even in the future any number of inhabitants would occupy the neighbouring shores to be endangered by the proximity of a magazine on Elliot Island. The discovery that two passengers who had come by the other coach to the other hotel were friends from Melbourne, also, like ourselves, 'on pleasure bent,' was an agreeable surprise, and conversation, in often varying knots of twos and threes, went on with animation. As the channel narrowed, the shores gained in picturesqueness, and we understood the comparisons which have been drawn between the scenery of the Rhine and that of the Hawkesbury, but surely they were made by enthusiastic Australians of die 'Marchioness' persuasion, prepared to 'make believe a great deal' on patriotic grounds ! The towering heights, crowned and bristling with fantastic rocks, resembling in many places the ruined fortresses and castles of the old world, are most striking, and we gazed, in keen enjoyment, as cliff after cliff, and crag on crag appeared. But, alas for the imperfections of humanity ! We found that, after doing some 20 miles of ecstasy, the old story of ' Toujours perdrix! ' made itself remembered; for there is, it must be confessed, considerable monotony in the general aspect of the wall-like barriers of cliffed and caverned rocks, although, if considered in detail, nature's inexhaustible variety gives to each some special feature. 
The few habitations near the river are of a very humble character, and our expectations of seeing orange groves were but scantly realised. The native fig and a graceful pine in some spots gave a pleasant relief to the too common forms and sombre hues of the universal gum trees, but the prevalent browns and dim olive tints of the general masses were most aesthetic combinations, and ' tropical vegetation' was conspicuously absent. Long before we arrived at Wiseman's Ferry the condition of the delinquent engineer had again become critical, and our apprehensions as to progress and safety anything but pleasant. Our landing was effected in very primitive fashion, no attempt whatever had been made to cut down the bank, or to make the most rudimentary stepping-places, but we all had to scramble and claw our way up, clinging to projecting roots or hanging boughs, as we best might. 
A walk of half a mile to the inn followed, and then succeeded luncheon, roughly served, but clean and abundant. On returning to the bank where the boat lay, the engineer was found lying on the deck in a hopeless state of intoxication, inert and insensible, he having, as was ascertained, brought with him a bottle of gin which he had finished. The captain said he did not understand working the engine himself, and that he could not take us further. The result of a council of war held on the spot was the decision that we must perforce return to the inn for the night, and that the captain should obtain the services of a sober engineer he knew of, and to whom he went forthwith; and  our party, disgusted and disappointed, crawled wearily back again to the welcome shelter of the inn, and severally disappeared from public view for a 'siesta.' After tea we adjourned to the wide balcony to look at the brightly blazing bush fires on the neighbouring hills. 
Next morning, Sunday, after breakfast we again walked down to the boat, and found the difficulties of re-embarkation greatly increased by the low tide. A large space of black mud now intervened between the steep bank and the vessel; over this some bits of firewood had been flung down for us to step upon and only the aid of strong and kindly hands enabled the elders of our party to escape being bogged, but no serious disaster happened, and we went on, under the care of the new sober engineer, the semi-sober one frequently and vainly endeavouring to interview the passengers, who very naturally declined to have aught to do with him. Parts of these higher reaches of the river were beautiful, even though but partially discerned through the thick veil of vapour — a most provokingly opaque combination of smoke and fog — and we were pleased and hopeful until, on reaching the end of our voyage at the landing place at Sackville Reach, it was found that the conveyance which had come to meet us the previous evening, and brought a number of passengers to go down the river, by the steamer that brought us up it, had returned to Windsor with its cargo of deluded tourists; and we were left without any means of proceeding, as arranged, to the railway. Another council was held. One passenger, not of our party, a young man, Winded, to walk the 10 miles; but we were (some of us) not young, and not able to be so independent. To land was simply absurd. We could not sit starving on the shore till on some future day (date uncertain) we might be picked up, and returned to our friends. The inn at Wiseman's ferry seemed our inevitable destination once more, and thither we steered, as vexed, humiliated, and indignant a group of grumblers, justified in the very strongest Utterances of our grumblings, as ever had the cup of pleasure embittered and spoiled by unpardonable negligence in those on whom the arrangements depended. 

Sackville Wharf, Hawkesbury River, from Scenes of Hawkesbury River, N.S.W. ca. 1900-1927 Sydney & Ashfield : Broadhurst Post Card Publishers Image No.: a105344, courtesy State Library of NSW. 
On arriving at Wiseman's, the new engineer positively refused to take us any further, and we as positively refused to put our lives in peril by going in charge of the drunkard. Meanwhile, dinner was an imperative necessity, and all of the passengers, save two, went up to the inn, a buggy having been sent down to convey them in relays. The two who remained, feeling unequal to any exertion, in their weary and hungry condition (having breakfasted at 7, and it was now nearly 4 p.m.), begged that some food might be sent down to them. 
The indefatigable sketcher  beguiled the first half-hour with a pencil; then the cravings of Nature conquered even love of art, and eyes were strained in the direction of the inn. Poor Mrs. Bluebeard herself could scarcely have uttered in more plaintive accents, 'Sister Ann! Sister Ann! do you see anybody coming?' than our pair of expectants might have been heard to faintly exclaim in turn : — ' Look ! there's something moving. Is it a man? No, its only a cow.' 'Surely that's a human shape. No, it's a stump.' 'There's another figure ; yes, it really moves this way. Is it carrying anything ?' 'I think I see a bundle— perhaps a plate in a handkerchief!' 'Yes, he sets it down as he climbs die fence.' The excitement grew too intense for words. It teas a man!— he had a bundle! There was a plate inside with chicken and bread upon it! Knife and fork came not; but that chicken's bones were picked with a relish that rarely comes to mortal lips in civilised lands, and those two poor sufferers, restored and comforted, could listen calmly to the plans discussed. 
At the price of five guineas extra, the sober engineer undertook to see us back to Newport that night.  Our Melbourne friends, fearful of the rough, sea and the lateness of the hour, and being utterly weary of the dirt and discomfort of the wretched little boat, resolved to sleep at the Ferry Inn and hire a vehicle to take them to Parramatta (39 miles) next morning. But our party of five remained on board. The return voyage was slow, and after sundown the seabreeze blew very cold. The wooden gridiron-seats were not couches to satisfy a sybarite, however one might twist and turn and ingeniously feel for a batten softer than the rest.  Broken Bay was what an old non-nautical Scotch servant of ours in the old days termed 'vary lumpy,' and the little vessel tossed and rolled amongst the lumps in so unpleasantly active a fashion that, had the exercise continued long, it would have had serious results; but we fixed our gaze either on Venus, brilliant above us, or on the bright red lighthouse star on Barrenjoey, and came safely into smooth water, going, I should think, about two knots an hour.  Remembering vividly the terrible steps at the Newport landing, grandmamma had determined to roll a sail about her and lie on the deck till daylight, but the good captain pledged himself that we should be helped safely up, and well redeemed the promise, with the ship's lantern carried in front, to show the 'course' to be steered. 
The time being nearly midnight, the people of the inn had been long in bed, when the yelling steam whistle, telling of our approach, aroused them to prepare supper and beds. It would be hardly fair to criticise preparations so hurriedly made, however many their shortcomings. We had this and a half hour's rest, and rose at 5 on Monday morning. It was the opposition inn to which we had come, as being the nearest to the landing, and in the opposition conveyance, which exceeded, in ragged roughness of form and material, any other conveyance we ever beheld, we reached Manly, very thankful that our expedition had safely ended; and resolved to give friendly warning to others: that, until sober and civil persons are employed by the proprietors of all conveyances concerned, and punctuality, safety, and passable comfort assured to passengers, the grand scenery of the Hawkesbury had better remain unvisited.  The Tourist. ( 1882, October 14 ).  The Sydney Mail and New South Wales Advertiser  (NSW : 1871 - 1912), p. 638. Retrieved fromhttp://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article161925522 

Wiseman's Ferry, N.S.W. circa 1900-19127 - Sydney & Ashfield : Broadhurst Post Card Publishers, Image No.: a106388, courtesy State Library of NSW

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ٹام سیام بے حد چالاک اور مکار آدمی تھا۔ یہی وجہ تھی کہ اس نے موجودہ صورت حال میں خوفزدہ ہونے کے بجائے خود کو سنبھال لیا تھا۔ دو سیاہ پوش اسے یوں اپنی آہنی گرفت میں لئے ایک طرف جا رہے تھے جیسے ان کو خدشہ ہو، ذرا سی گرفت ڈھیلی پڑتے ہی وہ غائب ہو جائے گا۔ چاروں طرف بے حد خوفناک تاریکی تھی اور ٹام کو لگ رہا تھا جیسے وہ کسی سرنگ میں سفر کر رہے ہیں۔ عجیب بات یہ تھی کہ اسے یاد نہیں آرہا تھا کہ وہ اس جگہ اور ان لوگوں کی گرفت میں کیسے آیا۔ بس اس کی آنکھ کھلی تو وہ اس طرح سفر کر رہا تھا۔ اس کے پاﺅں جیسے خود بہ خود اٹھتے جا رہے تھے۔ ”سنو، تم کون ہو…. اور مجھے کہاں لے جا رہے ہو؟“ اس نے خاصی دیر بعد ہمت کر کے پوچھا۔ ”خاموش رہو!“ دائیں طرف والے نے گونجتی درشت آواز میں کہا۔ ”ابھی تمہارے سامنے سب آجائے گا۔“ ٹام کو شبہ ہونے لگا کہ وہ مر چکا ہے اور یہ موت کے فرشتے ہیں۔ اگرچہ وہ مرنے کے بعد زندگی کے تصور پر یقین نہیں رکھتا تھا۔ کوئی بھی برا آدمی نہیں رکھتا ورنہ وہ برے کام کیوں کرے۔ اگر کسی کے دل میں خوف ہو کہ اسے مرنے کے بعد کہیں جواب دینا ہے تو اس کے قدم برائی کی طرف جاتے ہوئے ضرور لڑکھڑاتے ہیں۔ ٹام کے ساتھ ایسا معاملہ تھا۔ وہ ایک مکمل برا آدمی تھا اور اس نے کبھی برا کام کرتے ہوئے کوئی جھجک محسوس نہیں کی تھی۔ بہرحال اس نے دوسری دنیا پر یقین نہ بھی کیا ہو تو اس نے اس کے بارے میں سن ضرور رکھا تھا۔ اسے شروع میں مجبوراً پادری کا وعظ سننا پڑتا تھا جس میں بڑی تفصیل سے دوزخ اور اس کی سزاﺅں کا ذکر ہوتا تھا۔ سزا دینے کے لئے ایسے ہی سیاہ نقاب پوش فرشتے ہوتے ہیں جیسے اس کے دائیں بائیں تھے اور ماحول بھی کچھ دہشت ناک قسم کا تھا۔ ”چلو، میں یہ نہیں پوچھتا کہ تم مجھے کہاں لے جا رہے ہو مگر تم مجھے یہ تو بتا سکتے ہو کہ میں تمہارے ہاتھ کیسے آیا؟“ ٹام نے پھر ہمت کر کے کہا۔ ”اس کا بھی تمہیں پتا چل جائے گا۔“ اس بار بائیں طرف والے نے آہنی جھنکار کی طرح گونجتی آواز میں کہا۔ اس کی آواز میں کوئی ایسی بات تھی کہ ٹام کا دل خوف سے بھر گیا تھا۔ اس نے دہشت زدہ ہو کر سوچا۔ ”یہ میرے ساتھ کیا ہو رہا ہے۔ مجھے یاد کیوں نہیں آرہا کہ میں ان کے ہاتھ کیسے لگا؟“ درحقیقت ٹام کو کچھ بھی یاد نہیں تھا۔ اس نے اپنی جسمانی حالت محسوس کرنے کی کوشش کی نہ تو اسے کہیں درد ہو رہا تھا اور نہ ہی ایسے آثار تھے کہ اس کے ساتھ مارپیٹ ہوئی۔ تاریکی اور سیاہ پوشوں کی آہنی گرفت کی وجہ سے وہ خود کو دیکھنے سے قاصر تھا۔ ”میرا قصور کیا ہے؟“ اس نے تیسری بار ہمت کی۔ ”اس کا بھی تمہیں پتا چل جائے گا۔“ دائیں طرف والا بولا۔ ”بلکہ تم نے اپنی زندگی میں جتنے قصور اور برائیاں کی ہیں، وہ سب سامنے آئیں گی۔“ ٹام کو ایک بار پھر خیال آیا کہ وہ مر چکا ہے اور عذاب کے فرشتے اسے حساب کتاب کے لئے لے جا رہے ہیں۔ اس کا گھبراہٹ سے برا حال ہو گیا۔ اس کے خیال میں یہ اس کے ساتھ ناانصافی تھی۔ اول تو وہ مرا نہیں تھا اور اگر مر بھی گیا تھا تو جس چیز پر اسے یقین ہی نہیں تھا، اس کے سامنے پیش کرنے کا اسے اختیار بھی نہیں ہونا چاہئے تھا مگر وہ مجبور تھا۔ ان لوگوں کے سامنے قطعی بے بس تھا۔ وہ اسے نہ جانے کہاں لے جا رہے تھے۔ پھر جس طرح ٹام نے خود کو ان سیاہ پوشوں کی گرفت میں اس تاریک سرنگ میں محوسفر پایا تھا، اسی طرح اس نے خود کو اچانک اس کمرے میں پایا۔ اس کے درودیوار سیاہ تھے۔ وہاں ایک سیاہ کرسی پر ایک اور سیاہ پوش بیٹھا تھا۔ عجیب بات تھی کہ بے حد تاریکی کے باوجود وہاں سب صاف دکھائی دے رہا تھا۔ کرسی نشین نے اس کی طرف دیکھا۔ ”ٹام سیام ، نیویارک، ہارلم سٹی…. ستر ہویں گلی۔“ ”حاضر ہے جناب۔“ ٹام کو دائیں طرف سے پکڑنے والے نے جواب دیا۔ ”تم اقرار کرتے ہو تم ہارلم سٹی کی گلی نمبر سترہ میں رہنے والے ٹام سیام ہو۔“ اس نے اپنے حواس پر قابو پاتے ہوئے کہا۔ ”ہاں، میں ٹام سیام ہوں لیکن میں کسی قسم کا اقرار نہیں کر رہا۔“ ”مجھے صرف تمہارے نام کی تصدیق درکار ہے۔ باقی باتوں کا تم اقرار نہ بھی کرو تو اس سے کوئی فرق نہیں پڑے گا۔“ ”کیا مطلب…. کیا میں کسی عدالت میں ہوں؟“ ”ہاں، تم ایک عدالت میں ہو اور تمہیں تمہارے جرائم کی سزا دی جائے گی۔“ ”مگر کیوں…. میں نے کیا کیا ہے؟“ ”تم واقعی نہیں جانتے؟“ کرسی نشین نے حیرت سے کہا۔ ”خیر، ابھی تمہارے سامنے تمہارے کئے کو پیش کیا جائے گا اور تم اس کی تردید نہیں کرسکوگے۔“ ”یہ کون سی عدالت ہے اور تم کو کیا اختیار ہے مجھے میرے جرائم کی سزا دینے کا؟“ ٹام چلایاتھا۔ ”ہاں، یہ آخری عدالت ہے اور تمہیں تمہارے کئے کی سزا دی جائے گی۔“ ”آخری عدالت!“ ٹام نے ہکلا کر کہا۔ ”ہاں، اور اس کی دی ہوئی سزا کی کہیں اپیل نہیں ہے۔“ ”کیسی سزا؟“ ”جہنم کی اورکیسی سزا۔“ کرسی نشین نے آرام سے کہا۔ ”تم نے اپنی حرکتوں سے خود کو جہنم کی سزا کا مستحق کر لیا ہے تبھی تو تم میرے پاس آئے ہو۔ میرا کام تمہیں تمہارے جرائم اور برائیوں سے آگاہ کرنا ہے تاکہ تم جہنم جاتے ہوئے مطمئن رہو۔“ ”جہنم!“ ٹام چلایا۔ ”بھلا جہنم جاتے ہوئے کون مطمئن ہو سکتا ہے۔“ ”وہ جسے یقین ہو کہ اسے درست طور پر جہنم بھیجا جا رہا ہے۔“ ”ہرگزنہیں…. میں جہنم جانے کے لے تیار نہیں ہوں۔“ ”کوئی بھی نہیں ہوتا مگر جانے والے کو جانا پڑتا ہے۔“ کرسی نشین مسکرایا۔ کم سے کم اس کی آواز سے ایسا ہی لگ رہا تھا۔ ”تم جہنم کے داروغہ ہو؟“ ”تم چاہو تو ایسا بھی سمجھ سکتے ہو۔ ویسے میرا کام ان افراد کو ان کے کرتوں کو دکھانا ہوتا ہے جن کو جہنم بھیجنے کا فیصلہ کیا جا چکا ہو۔“ ”میرے خدا! کیا کوئی راستہ نہیں ہے کہ میں بچ جاﺅں۔“ ”میرے پاس تو ایسا کوئی راستہ نہیں ہے۔ صرف ایک راستہ ہے جس پر تمہیں جہنم روانہ کیا جائے گا۔“ ”میں نے ایسا کیا کیا ہے؟“ اس نے ڈوبتی آواز میں پوچھا۔ ”دیکھو۔“ کرسی نشین نے ایک طرف اشارہ کیا۔ ٹام نے اس طرف دیکھا تو اچانک ہی دیوار روشن ہو گئی۔ اس پر فلم سی چلنے لگی۔ ایک عمارت دکھائی جا رہی تھی۔ ”تم نے ایک چرچ کے یتیم خانے میں پرورش پائی اور بارہ سال کی عمر میں تم نے ادارے کے منتظم فادر جوزف کے چوغے میں چھپکلی ڈال دی۔“ اسکرین پر بارہ سال کے ٹام کو یہ حرکت کرتے ہوئے دکھایا جا رہا تھا۔ ”بوڑھا جوزف چھپکلی سے بہت ڈرتا تھا۔ مارے خوف کے اس کا دل رک گیا۔“ ”مجھے اس کا اندازہ نہیں تھا۔“ ”مگر تمہیں مسز کاﺅڈرے کے ساتھ کی جانے والی حرکت کا بہ خوبی احساس تھا جب تم نے اس کی دوا کی شیشی میں چوہے مار دوا کی گولیاں ملا دی تھیں۔“ کرسی نشین نے کہا اور پردے پر دوا کی شیشی میں چوہے مار دوا شامل کرتے ہوئے دکھایا۔ ظاہر ہے یہ کارنامہ بھی ٹام نے انجام دیا تھا۔ ”مسز کاﺅڈرے اسی سلوک کی مستحق تھی۔ وہ یتیم بچوں کے حصے کا راشن چراتی تھی اور ان کو ہمیشہ مقدار سے کم کھانا دیا کرتی تھی۔“ ”چلو مان لیا…. ادارے کی باورچی مسز کاﺅڈرے تمہارے ساتھ ایسا سلوک کرتی تھی۔ بے چارے ہنری نے تمہارے ساتھ کیا برائی کی تھی جس پر تم نے شہد کی مکھی کا چھتہ پھینکا تھااور مکھیوں نے اس بے چارے کو ڈنک مار مار کر سجا دیا تھا۔“ ”وہ ہمیں عمارت سے باہر جانے سے روکتا تھا اس لئے ہم نے ایسا کیا۔“ ٹام بولا۔ ”ہمیں…. نہیں صرف تمہیں…. یہ دیکھو تو ذرا…. مکھیوں نے بے چارے کا کیا حشر کیا تھا۔ اسکرین پر ہنری نظر آنے لگا۔ وہ بے چارہ کھانے والا تھیلا کھول رہا تھا کہ مکھیوں نے اس پر حملہ کر دیا۔ وہ بے چارہ ان سے بچنے کے لئے ادھر ادھر بھاگ رہا تھا مگر مکھیاں اس کا پیچھا چھوڑنے کے لئے تیار نہیں تھیں اور یہ اتنا درد ناک منظر تھا کہ خود ٹام بھی ترس کھائے بغیر نہ رہ سکا تھا۔ حالانکہ یہ اس کا ہی کارنامہ تھا۔ ”تم بچپن سے اذیت پسندانہ رجحانات رکھتے تھے۔“ کرسی نشین نے کہا۔ ”تمہیں انسانوں اور ان سے زیادہ بے زبان جانوروں کو اذیت دے کر لطف آتا تھا کیونکہ یہ بے چارے نہ تو ازخود تم سے بدلہ لے سکتے تھے اور نہ ہی تمہارے روئیے کے خلاف کہیں شکایت کر سکتے تھے۔ تمہیں اپنا وہ ظلم تو یاد ہوگا جب تم نے ایک معصوم سے کتے کے پلے کو بھٹی میں ڈال دیا تھا۔ وہ بے چارہ شعلوں سے بچنے کے لئے دیوانہ وار ادھر اُدھر بھاگتا رہا اور تم اس کی خوفزدہ چیخوں پر مسرت سے قہقہے لگاتے رہے تھے۔ یہ دیکھو!“ کرسی نشین کے لہجے میں قہر آگیا تھا۔ ٹام نے سہمے انداز میں پردے کی طرف دیکھا جہاں بھٹی میں کتے کے پلے کے زندہ جل جانے کا منظر دکھایا جا رہا تھا۔ ”یہ معصوم پلا جل کر راکھ ہو گیا۔ تمہارے پاس اپنے اس ظالمانہ فعل کا کوئی جواز ہے؟“ ”یہ مجھے تنگ کرتا تھا…. مجھے برا لگتا تھا۔“ ٹام نے تھوک نگل کر کہا۔ ”تم جھوٹ بول رہے ہو۔ وہ نہیں…. تم اسے ستاتے تھے۔ میرے پاس زیادہ وقت نہیں ہے۔ ابھی تم سے فارغ ہو کرمجھے تم جیسے چند اور برے لوگوں سے نمٹنا ہے۔ ورنہ تم نے مارنے سے پہلے اس پلے کے ساتھ جو کیا تھا، وہ سب دکھاتا۔ خیر، تمہاے آنے والے جرائم اس سے بھی زیادہ بھیانک ہیں۔“ ”پلیز، ایسا مت کرو۔“ وہ کراہا۔ ”سولہ سال کی عمر میں تم سکول کی تعلیم ادھوری چھوڑ کر اس یتیم خانے سے بھاگ نکلے تھے اور تم نے جرائم پیشہ لڑکوں کی ایک ٹولی میں شمولیت اختیارکرلی۔“ ”میں مجبور تھا۔ میں ایسا نہ کرتا تو بھوکوں مرجاتا۔“ ”صرف نیویارک میں پانچ لاکھ بے گھر لوگ ہیں اور ان میں سے دو فیصد حصہ بھی جرائم پیشہ نہیں ہیں مگر ان میں سے کوئی بھوک سے نہیں مرتا۔ تم صرف ایک جھوٹا عذر پیش کر رہے ہو۔ تمہیں اپنی اولین واردات یاد ہے جب تم ایک اکیلی بڑھیا کے گھر گھسے تھے۔ اس بے چاری کو لوٹنے کے علاوہ تشدد کا نشانہ بنایا تھا اور اس کام میں تم پیش پیش تھے۔ تم نے اس بے چاری بوڑھی عورت کو اتنی بے دردی سے مارا کہ اس کے دونوں ہاتھ ٹوٹ گئے تھے اور سر پھٹ گیا تھا۔“ ”میں اپنے ساتھیوں کی وجہ سے مجبور تھا۔ ان کے کہنے پر میں نے بڑھیا پر تشدد کیا تھا۔“ ”بکواس مت کرو…. ادھر دیکھو۔ کوئی کسی کو خوش کرنے کے لئے یہ سب کرتا ہے۔“ اسکرین پر نوجوان ٹام اس ستر سالہ بوڑھی عورت کو بیس بال کے بلّے سے مار رہا تھا وہ اپنا دفاع کرنے کی کوشش کر رہی تھی اور اس کوشش میں اس کے دونوں ہاتھ ٹوٹ گئے۔ پھر ایک ضرب نے اس کا سر پھاڑ دیا تھا۔ ”میں اپنے کئے پر شرمندہ ہوں۔“ اس نے تھوک نگل کر کہا۔ ”ابھی تمہارے پاس شرمندہ ہونے کے اور مواقع بھی آئیں گے۔“ ”اوکے…. میں تسلیم کرتا ہوں میں نے بہت سارے جرم اور گناہ کئے ہیں۔“ ”ایسے نہیں۔ ابھی تمہیں بہت کچھ دیکھنا ہوگا، تب تمہیں درست طور پر اندازہ ہوگا کہ تم کتنے برے آدمی تھے اور تمہارے کرموں کی سزا صرف جہنم ہو سکتی ہے۔“ ”اب کیا ہے؟“ ٹام نے مردہ لہجے میں کہا۔ ”تیرہویں گلی کے ایک کچرے دان کے آس پاس پھرنے والی سیاہ بلی یاد ہے۔“ ”مجھے اس سے نفرت تھی۔“ ٹام نے بے ساختہ کہا۔ ”اس وجہ سے تم نے اسے اس کے چار بچوں سمیت بے دردی سے یخ بستہ پانی میں پھینک کر مار ڈالا۔ تمہارے اس ظلم کی یہ ویڈیو جب میرے پاس آئی تو میرے اندر خواہش جاگی کہ تم جلد از جلد میرے پاس آﺅ اور میں تمہیں جہنم بھیج سکوں۔“ ”اس بلی نے مجھے پریشان کیا تھا۔“ ”اس نے تمہارے رہزنی کی واردات ناکام بنا دی تھی اور تم نے اپنا غصہ اس پر اور اس کے معصوم بچوں پر نکالا تھا۔ ذرا دیکھو۔ یہ بے چارے کیسے مرے تھے۔“ پردے پر بچوں اور ان کی ماں کے دریا میں بے بسی سے ڈوبنے کا منظر دکھائی دینے لگا۔ ٹام نے ان کو تاروں سے بنے تھیلے میں ڈال کر دریا میں پھینکا تھا اور بلی اس کی وجہ سے تیر بھی نہیں سکتی تھی اس لئے وہ بے چاری اپنے بچوں سمیت ڈوبنے کے سوا کچھ نہیں کر سکتی تھی۔ وہ بے بسی سے آوازیں نکالتی ڈوب گئی۔ یہ بے حد اندوہناک منظر تھا۔ ”اپنا ظلم دیکھا تم نے سفاک آدمی!“ کرسی نشین کا لہجہ غضب ناک ہوتا جا رہا تھا۔ ”ٹھیک ہے، میں نے برائیاں کی ہیں مگر دنیا میں مجھ سے بھی برے لوگ ہوتے ہیں۔“ ”اپنی باری پر وہ بھی جہنم میں جائیں گے۔ تم فکر مت کرو، اپنے جرائم دیکھو۔‘ پردے پر یکے بعد دیگرے اس کے اعمال پیش کئے جا رہے تھے اور یہ سب برے اعمال تھے۔ ٹام نے دنیا میں جو بھی غلط کام کئے تھے ان کے پاس اس کا مکمل ریکارڈ تھا۔ اس نے جو چوریاں کیں، لوگوں کو لوٹا، ان کو تشدد کا نشانہ بنایا۔ ان کی چیزوں کو تباہ کیا اور ان کے کاروباروں کو تباہ کیا۔ اس نے انسانوں کے ساتھ ساتھ جانوروں پر بھی ظلم کئے اور ان کو اذیت سے مارا۔ اس نے ایک کتے کو محض اس وجہ سے گوشت میں کوپرآکسائیڈ نامی زہرملا کر دے دیا کہ اس نے ایک بار ٹام پر بھونکنے کی جسارت کی تھی۔ خداخدا کر کے ان فلموں کا سلسلہ ختم ہوا۔ ”تم نے سب دیکھا؟“ کرسی نشین نے سوال کیا۔ ”ہاں…. سب دیکھ لیا۔“ ”تم اس میں سے کسی شے سے انکار کرتے ہو؟“ ”نہیں جناب یہ سب سچ ہے۔ میں نے ایسا ہی کیا ہے۔“ ”اب تم بتاﺅ تم جہنم کے سزا وار ہو یا نہیں؟“ ”جناب اگر اجازت ہو تو ایک بات کہوں؟“ ”کہو۔“ ”میں یہ پوچھنا چاہتا ہوں۔“ اس نے بے حد احتیاط سے کہا۔ ”میں نے اپنی زندگی میں کبھی نہ کبھی کچھ نیک اعمال بھی کئے ہوں گے۔ کیا آپ کے پاس ان کا ریکارڈ ہے؟“ ”نہیں۔“ کرسی نشین نے سوچ کر جواب دیا۔ ”میرے پاس صرف برے اعمال کا ریکارڈ ہوتا ہے۔“ ”تب آپ اس بات کا فیصلہ کیسے کر سکتے ہیں کہ مجھے جہنم کی سزا دی جائے۔ جب آپ کو معلوم ہی نہیں ہے کہ میں نے کچھ نیک اعمال بھی کئے ہیں۔“ ”میرے پاس نیک اعمال پرکھنے کا شعبہ نہیں ہے۔“ ”جس کے پاس ہو مجھے اس کے پاس بھیج دیں۔“ ”نہیں ۔ بات یہ ہے کہ اعمال کی بنیاد پر یہ پہلے ہی طے کر دیا جاتا ہے کہ کون جہنم جائے گا اور کون جنت میں۔ اس لحاظ سے انسان کو بھیجا جاتا ہے۔“ ٹام کا دل ڈوبنے لگا۔ ”یعنی مجھے صفائی کا موقع نہیں ملے گا؟“ ”اس کا موقع تمہیں دنیا میں مل چکا ہے۔“ کرسی نشین بولا۔ پھر دونوں سیاہ پوشوں سے کہا۔ ”اسے لے جاﺅ اور جہنم کا نشان لگا کر اسے جہنم کے دروازے تک چھوڑ آﺅ۔“ ”جہنم کا نشان؟“ وہ چونکا ۔ ”یہ کیا ہوتا ہے؟“ ”ابھی پتا چل جاتا ہے۔“ ایک سیاہ پوش نے کہا۔ اور سیاہ پوش نے اسے کلائی سے پکڑا۔ ٹام کی جان نکل گئی تھی۔ اسے لگا جیسے اس کی کلائی کے گرد دہکتا ہوا تارلپیٹ گیا ہے۔ اس نے بلبلا کر کلائی چھڑائی۔ بلکہ سیاہ پوش نے خود چھوڑ دی۔ ٹام نے دیکھا اس کی کلائی پر سیاہ حلقہ بن گیا تھا اور اس جگہ سے کھال کوئلے کی طرح سیاہ ہو گئی تھی مگر اب اس میں تکلیف نہیں رہی تھی۔ بس سیاہ سا دائرہ تھا۔ ”یہ کیا ہے؟“ اس نے پوچھا۔ ”اسے جہنم کا نشان کہتے ہیں۔“ کرسی نشین نے جواب دیا۔ ”اسے لے جاﺅ۔“ ”میں نہیں جاﺅں گا۔“ اس نے مچل کر کہا مگر اتنی دیر میں سیاہ پوش اسے دبوچ چکے تھے۔ وہ اسے وہاں سے لے کر جانے لگے اچانک ٹام نے خود کو ایک بلند جگہ پایا۔ جہاں سے نیچے دور تک آگ ہی آگ تھی۔ جس میں بھیانک شکلیں بن رہی تھیں۔ ان کو دیکھتے ہی ٹام کی جان نکلنے لگی تھی۔ ”یہ کون سی جگہ ہے۔“ ”جہنم“ ایک سیاہ پوش بولا۔ ”اور اب یہ تمہارا مقدر ہے۔“ ”نہیں!“ ٹام کے منہ سے چیخ نکلی تھی مگر فرشتے اسے بھڑکتی آگ میں اچھال چکے تھے۔ ٭٭٭ ٹرک والے نے پوری قوت سے بریک لگائے۔ ٹرک اس سے صرف چند انچ دور رُکا تھا اور وہ نیچے گر گیا۔ چاروں طرف سے لوگ دوڑ پڑے تھے۔ا یک نے اسے چیک کیا اور بولا۔ ”اس کی نبض رکی ہوئی ہے۔“ وہاں موجود چند افراد جو ابتدائی طبی امداد کے طریقوں سے واقف تھے، وہ اس کی سانس اور دل کی دھڑکن بحال کرنے کی کوشش کرنے لگے۔ مگر خاصی دیر گزرنے کے بعد بھی اس کی سانس چلی اور نہ دل نے حرکت کی۔ اسی اثناءمیں ایمبولینس آگئی اور طبی عملہ اسے امداد دینے لگا۔ ”لگتا ہے، یہ مر چکا ہے۔“ ایک شخص نے کہا۔ ”یہ بے احتیاطی سے سڑک عبور کر رہا تھا اور اچانک ٹرک سامنے آگیا۔“ دوسرے نے بتایا۔ ”ٹرک والے نے بروقت بریک لگائے۔ میرا خیال ہے خوف سے اس کا دل رک گیا ہے۔“ طبی عملہ بھی ناکامی کے بعد اسے اسٹریچر پر ڈال رہا تھا۔ اچانک اس نے زور سے سانس لی اور اٹھ بیٹھا۔ وہاں موجود لوگوں کو لگا، اس نے زور سے نہیں کہا ہو۔ وہ اٹھ بیٹھا اور اس نے دہشت زدہ نظروں سے چاروں طرف دیکھا۔ ”میں کہاں ہوں؟“ سب اس کے اس طرح اٹھ جانے پر حیران تھے۔ ایک پیرامیڈک نے جلدی سے اس کی بنض اور دل کی دھڑکن چیک کی۔ ”ناقابلِ یقین…. یہ بالکل نارمل ہے۔“ ”اے…. میرے ساتھ کیا ہوا تھا؟“ وہ چلایا۔ ”تم اس ٹرک کے سامنے آگئے تھے۔“ ایک عینی شاہد نے اسے بتایا۔ ”ٹکر سے تو بچ گئے تھے مگر خوف سے گر گئے۔“ ”تمہاری سانس اور دل کی دھڑکن رک گئی تھی۔“ ایک اور نے انکشاف کیا۔ ”تم نصف گھنٹے تک ایسے ہی پڑے رہے تھے۔“ ”بکواس، میں بالکل ٹھیک ہوں۔“ اس تند لہجے میں کہا اور اسٹریچر سے کھڑا ہو گیا۔ وہ ٹام سیام تھا۔ ”اے رکو۔ ابھی تمہیں ہسپتال جانا ہے۔“ ایک پیرامیڈک نے اسے روکنے کی کوشش کی اور منہ پر ایک شاندار گھونسا کھایا۔ اس کے بعد کسی نے اس کا راستہ روکنے کی کوشش نہیں کیا اور وہ ایک بغلی گلی میں غائب ہو گیا۔ اسے خوف تھا کہ پولیس نہ آجائے یا کوئی اس کا پیچھا نہ کرے۔ خاصی دور جا کر اسے اطمینان ہوا تھا اور اس نے پہلی بار سوچا۔ ”میں نے یقینا کوئی خواب دیکھا تھا۔ جہنم …. ہنہ!“ اسی لمحے ایک کتا سامنے سے نمودار ہوا۔ وہ ٹام پر بھونکا تو اس نے کچرے دان کے پاس پڑی چھڑی اٹھانی چاہی۔ اس کی نظر اپنی بائیں کلائی پر مرکوز ہو گئی جس پر سیاہ کڑے نما حلقہ واضح تھا۔ ….٭…. 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