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Plate III: "The Slim White Gentleman"



ACT III: The Skeleton Dance (Death)



- In which a strange prancing man meets the boy for a tale of nature


A sign on the stage ahead announced:



Welcome to the Amazing Skeleton Dance: Skin and flesh are gone today; cold bones stay to dance for you! For, we are all hard, slender gentlemen on the inside.


A tall, emaciated, bleached-white figure emerged from behind night black curtains. He began a lazy dance:


"Clickty-clack and dance macabre.

Dead calm with bones alive,

All white on white my slender suit.

All clickity-clickity my marching joints

All clackity-clack, skull and crossed bones.

Two steps back, the dead do sing

Spin and circle-round to where we began

The ground will find me dust by dawn

And dust then to mortal clay

By midnight, a bony dance again.

The black waltz of time will find

All our grinning bones shown

To circle-round back to dust

Then to fertile fruit:

To jig once more again!

This, the mirror of life,

Reflecting the music of the spheres,

Spinning a song to eternity."

With this, the tall, bleached white creature let out a bellow and turned a magnificent dervish spin on his heels. Around he went, spinning faster and faster:


"On, on!

Round, round!

To the exit, to the entrance!

Rush now, rush now,

To the dance eternal!

On through the House of Mirrors!"