The gas lamps flicker and shine, a harsh glow in the misting air.

Old Benjamin, now the cold of the night draws closer in, sneaks in to the chapel, no longer guarded by the virtuous Robert Purefoy and more welcoming to Benjamin's variety of heathenism and his dreams of architecture over gods.

Captain Flynn, from his corner of the market place, sings:

CAPTAIN FLYNN : On the seven seas when I was young

I lived by the pirate code

A fair share to all who sailed

And everywhere the bounty flowed

All we needed was good luck

Easy prey and a fair wind

We took it all with deadly flair

Keeping the Seahawk's sails well-trimmed

We were beautiful and cruel

We were nature running wild

Each and every one of us sure

We were Satan's most favourite child

How were we to know it would all end

With the gift of true love

Stolen from the fair Seraphim

Looking like a peaceful dove?

There was that pretty boy,

Too pretty to keep aboard

So I put him in a boat

Instead of putting him to the sword.

My Seahawk's first mate was distraught

His toy stolen and gone

So he threatened me with drawn blade

With angry words and his gun.

Oh what was I to do

Oh what was I to do

Except to raise mutiny?

Oh what was I to do

Oh what was I to do

But take on the captaincy?

And tears wash blind Captain Flynn's eyes clean. Through sootfall, the light is unseen brass. It falls on the drowned and damned, sucker-mouthed and dead-eyed.

CAPTAIN FLYNN : The donkey engine!

FIRST DAMNED MAN : The dancer.

CAPTAIN FLYNN : My lovely boy.


Simon Barber's ghost smiles.

DAMNED WOMAN : Captain Flynn, you rogue. Loves the boys and loathes the ladies.

He closes his eyes and covers his ears.

Listen to the night breaking.

The night breaks but the cog-turning factory work does not. It rings and sings its hymns to anyone with ears to hear: workers, light sleepers, loud dreamers. So the soot falls and the soiled town chokes.

OLD ABRAHAM : To the Devil with you!


OLD ABRAHAM : To the devil with soot and black smoke. Clean, clean, clean.

A FELLOW STOKER : To hell with them,

agrees Old Abraham's shift-mate as they work into the graveyard shift.

Ms Layla Bahur and Ms Parvathi Das are apart but together again in their night-time dreams of mind-reading soft-handed lovers that stroke and stoke desire. Their dreams will never meet and if they knew the truth of these imaginings they wouldn't want them to.

MS DAS : Oh, Layla, you are my every wish.

And the machinery moves beneath her unseeing hands as cotton weaves quicker than her fastest fantasies.

MS BAHUR : I want to be loved, distracted.

Even in sleep she hugs the accounts closely.

And Jacquard Adams sits in the Old Ship Inn with a warm wet pint to wash away the worst of the day's dirt from his dry mouth and lips, smiling about love. River Khan will find him.

But it is not his name that Jacquard Adams sings to himself between mouthfuls of the house brown ale. The song of the machines still rings in him.

JACQUARD ADAMS : Our jolly old Jack Tar and his fine young Sonny Jim

Though Sonny Jim just wanted Flynn, Flynn, Flynn.

The night is velvet. Laying over the tarnished silver lake and the town's soot-darkened brickwork. The lake, whose crow-dark depths swallow dreams of escape as if they were so much carrion, gentles the industry-choked land with soft waves of tar-black affection and the whispered sighs of a false lover who cares only that possession is held, while the factories ring and sing their cloth-led work into the star-hiding sky, and, for those well placed enough to sleep, those with money or those who completed their days work, dreams stalk the smoke-softened streets carrying thoughts of Summer and Better and Tomorrow.