Molly's fond memories of Gibraltar near the conclusion of her monologue include "the night we missed the boat at Algeciras the watchman going about serene with his lamp." From medieval times until nearly the end of the 19th century, many European cities employed perambulatory night watchmen. The strange word that Molly applies to this one makes sense in context: the Spanish name for such a guard was sereno. Moments earlier she has indulged a similar slide into remembered Spanish by applying the strange term "vague" to some men sleeping in the shade. Both words evoke realities somewhat darker than their English analogues might suggest.

John Hunt 2024

. Charlie Rouse, reputedly London's last night watchman, outside his office on Brixton Road in 1890. Source:

The Nightwatchman, a late 18th century painting by Thomas Rowlandson.

Attacking the Night Watchman, another work by Rowlandson.