I am reading Brendan Behan’s play The Quare Fellow. It takes place in the Irish Prison Mountjoy. This play is where one of my favorite songs of all time originated, The Auld Triangle. In the following excerpt a young prisoner makes a disparaging remark about the Bible and the older prisoners comment upon it:
Other Fellow: And talking so disrespectfully about the Bible.
Neighbour: Belied and they needn’t; many’s the time the Bible was a consolation to a fellow all alone in the old cell. The lovely thin paper with a bit of mattress coir in it, if you could get a match or a bit of tinder or any class of light, was as good a smoke as ever I tasted. Am I right, Dunlavin?
Dunlavin: Damn the lie, Neighbour. The first twelve months I done, I smoked my way half-way through the book of Genesis and three inches of my mattress. When the Free State came in we were afraid of our life they were going to change the mattresses for feather beds. And you couldn’t smoke feathers, no, be God, if they were rolled in the Song of Solomon itself. But sure, thanks to God, the Free State didn’t change anything more than the badge of the warders’ cap.