Tales of the Five Towns eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 193 pages of information about Tales of the Five Towns.
which enliven the four seasons in the Five Towns.  It is still called Knype Wakes, because once Knype overshadowed Hanbridge in importance; but its headquarters are now quite properly at Hanbridge, the hub, the centre, the Paris of the Five Towns—­Hanbridge, the county borough of sixty odd thousand inhabitants.  It is the festival of the masses that old Jack sprang from, and every genteel person who can leaves the Five Towns for the seaside at the end of July.  Nevertheless, the district is never more crammed than at Knype Wakes.  And, of course, genteel persons, whom circumstances have forced to remain in the Five Towns, sally out in the evening to ‘do’ the Wakes in a spirit of tolerant condescension.  Ellis was in this case.  His parents and sisters were at Llandudno, and he had been left in charge of the works and of the new house.  He was always free; he could always pity the bondage of his sisters; but now he was more free than ever—­he was absolutely free.  Imagine the delicious feeling that surged in his heart as he prepared to plunge himself doggishly into the wild ocean of the Wakes.  By the way, in that heart was the image of a girl.


He stepped off the car on the outskirts of Hanbridge, and strolled gently and spectacularly into the joyous town.  The streets became more and more crowded and noisy as he approached the market-place, and in Crown Square tramcars from the four quarters of the earth discharged tramloads of humanity at the rate of two a minute, and then glided off again empty in search of more humanity.  The lower portion of Crown Square was devoted to tramlines; in the upper portion the Wakes began, and spread into the market-place, and thence by many tentacles into all manner of streets.

No Wakes is better than Knype Wakes; that is to say, no Wakes is more ear-splitting, more terrific, more dizzying, or more impassable.  When you go to Knype Wakes you get stuck in the midst of an enormous crowd, and you see roundabouts, swings, switchbacks, myrioramas, atrocity booths, quack dentists, shooting-galleries, cocoanut-shies, and bazaars, all around you.  Every establishment is jewelled, gilded, and electrically lighted; every establishment has an orchestra, most often played by steam and conducted by a stoker; every establishment has a steam—­whistle, which shrieks at the beginning and at the end of each round or performance.  You stand fixed in the multitude listening to a thousand orchestras and whistles, with the roar of machinery and the merry din of car-bells, and the popping of rifles for a background of noise.  Your eyes are charmed by the whirling of a million lights and the mad whirling of millions of beautiful girls and happy youths under the lights.  For the roundabouts rule the scene; the roundabouts take the money.  The supreme desire of the revellers is to describe circles, either on horseback or in yachts, either simple circles or complex circles,

Project Gutenberg
Tales of the Five Towns from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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