We shouldn't expect, or even hope for, the tumbrel
to be wheeled out every time somebody goes in to the dock.
As the crowd falls silent the carnival music subsides into a sinister murmuring of cellos, and the palace castrati drag Malocchio onto the stage in a tumbrel
. He stands with his hands tied behind his back, but he has lost nothing of his feckless and buoyant spirit.
The French have a far more hands-on approach when it comes to venting their spleens and have been known to wheel out the tumbrel
to transport incompetent jockeys to an appointment with Mme Guillotine.
In the concluding pages of Talese, as the Southern gentlemen tumbrel
off to retirement or the guillotine, what rough beast do we see slouching?
Many favourite-backers would call it justifiable homicide; others would be queuing up to pull the tumbrel
and sharpen the blade.
"I would not harness to this tumbrel
, this bloody cart of severed heads and glittering prizes."
The condemned en route to execution must feel the same, he supposes, while at the same time wanting the dread thing done with: the tumbrel
has not yet arrived at the guillotine; until it does, we are immortal, and here meanwhile is this once-pleasing avenue, this handsome small park with its central fountain, this plane tree-shaded corner where, in happier times .
And motherless Margaret, brought to Lady Well in a tumbrel
, dressed up in pauper's blue, subjected to rapeseed oil and leather belting, drive shafts and tobacco spittle, prayer books and dirty candle stubs.
If there is a hint of revolutionary tumbrels
in this format, it's purely imaginary.
Think of chariots, tumbrels
, the tank, lawnmowers (well, for some) and, of course, the shopping trolley, not to mention Swiss rolls.
Sound spills from this clay chrysalis like that of distant tumbrels
, or your wagons mounded high with straw-packed mugs and porringers.
A few months later, after the 1987 market crash, she's fantasizing about the "tumbrels
" coming for Trump "and the horrible heavies of Wall Street." But that doesn't stop her from attending Trump's book party, perfectly juxtaposed with a gala aids benefit the same night, whose bungling impresarios send Brown into a rage by keeping her and the "thirty millionaires" on hand waiting too long for their dinner.