Eeldrop and Appleplex

T.S. Eliot
Eeldrop and Appleplex, by T.S.

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Title: Eeldrop and Appleplex
Author: T.S. Eliot

Release Date: June, 2004 [EBook #5982] [Yes, we are more than one
year ahead of schedule] [This file was first posted on October 6, 2002]
Edition: 10
Language: English
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Eeldrop and Appleplex
T.S. Eliot


Eeldrop and Appleplex rented two small rooms in a disreputable part of
town. Here they sometimes came at nightfall, here they sometimes slept,
and after they had slept, they cooked oatmeal and departed in the
morning for destinations unknown to each other. They sometimes slept,
more often they talked, or looked out of the window.
They had chosen the rooms and the neighborhood with great care.
There are evil neighborhoods of noise and evil neighborhoods of
silence, and Eeldrop and Appleplex preferred the latter, as being the
more evil. It was a shady street, its windows were heavily curtained;
and over it hung the cloud of a respectability which has something to
conceal. Yet it had the advantage of more riotous neighborhoods near
by, and Eeldrop and Appleplex commanded from their windows the
entrance of a police station across the way. This alone possessed an
irresistible appeal in their eyes. From time to time the silence of the
street was broken; whenever a malefactor was apprehended, a wave of

excitement curled into the street and broke upon the doors of the police
station. Then the inhabitants of the street would linger in
dressing-gowns, upon their doorsteps: then alien visitors would linger
in the street, in caps; long after the centre of misery had been
engulphed in his cell. Then Eeldrop and Appleplex would break off
their discourse, and rush out to mingle with the mob. Each pursued his
own line of enquiry. Appleplex, who had the gift of an extraordinary
address with the lower classes of both sexes, questioned the onlookers,
and usually extracted full and inconsistent histories: Eeldrop preserved
a more passive demeanor, listened to the conversation of the people
among themselves, registered in his mind their oaths, their redundance
of phrase, their various manners of spitting, and the cries of the victim
from the hall of justice within. When the crowd dispersed, Eeldrop and
Appleplex returned to their rooms: Appleplex entered the results of his
inquiries into large notebooks, filed according to the nature of the case,
from A (adultery) to Y (yeggmen). Eeldrop smoked reflectively. It may
be added that Eeldrop was a sceptic, with a taste for mysticism, and
Appleplex a materialist with a leaning toward scepticism; that Eeldrop
was learned in theology, and that Appleplex studied the physical and
biological sciences.
There was a common motive which led Eeldrop and Appleplex thus to
separate themselves from time to time, from the fields of their daily
employments and their ordinarily social activities. Both were
endeavoring to escape not the commonplace, respectable or even the
domestic, but the too well pigeonholed, too taken-for-granted, too
highly systematized areas, and,--in the language of those whom they
sought to avoid--they wished "to apprehend the human soul in its
concrete individuality."
"Why," said Eeldrop, "was that fat Spaniard, who sat at the table with
us this evening, and listened to our conversation with occasional
curiosity, why was he himself for a moment an object of interest to us?
He wore his napkin tucked into his chin, he made unpleasant noises
while eating, and while not eating, his way of crumbling bread between
fat fingers made me extremely nervous: he wore a waistcoat cafe au lait,
and black boots with brown tops. He was oppressively gross and vulgar;

he belonged to a type, he could easily be classified in any town of
provincial Spain. Yet under the circumstances--when we had been
discussing marriage, and he suddenly leaned
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