Lieutenant Yolland Quotes in Translations
Manus: And they call you Roland! They both call you Roland!
Owen: Shhhhh. Isn't it ridiculous? They seem to get it wrong from the very beginning — or else they can't pronounce Owen. I was afraid some of you bastards would laugh.
Manus: Aren't you going to tell them?
Owen: Yes - yes - soon - soon.
Manus: But they...
Owen: Easy, man, easy. Owen - Roland - what the hell. It's only a name. It's the same me, isn't it? Well, isn't it?
Owen: Bun is the Irish word for bottom. And Abha means river. So it's literally the mouth of the river.
Yolland: Let’s leave it alone. There's no English equivalent for a sound like that.
Owen: What is it called in the church registry?
Only now does Yolland open his eyes.
Yolland: Let's see ... Banowen.
Owen: That's wrong. (Consults text.) The list of freeholders calls it Owenmore — that's completely wrong: Owenmore’s the big river at the west end of the parish. […] (at map) Back to first principles. What are we trying to do?
Yolland: Good question.
Owen: We are trying to denominate and at the same time describe that tiny area of soggy, rocky, sandy ground where that little stream enters the sea, an area known locally as Bun na hAbhann… Burnfoot! What about Burnfoot?
Owen: Can't you speak English before your man?
Owen: Out of courtesy.
Manus: Doesn't he want to learn Irish? (to Yolland) Don't you want to learn lrish?
Yolland: Sorry - sorry? I - I –
Manus: I understand the Lanceys perfectly but people like you puzzle me.
Even if I did speak Irish I'd always be an outsider here, wouldn't I? I may learn the password but the language of the tribe will always elude me, won't it? The private core will always be ... hermetic, won't it?
I understand your sense of exclusion, of being cut off from a life here; and I trust you will find access to us with my son's help. But remember that words are signals, counters. They are not immortal. And it can happen — to use an image you'll understand — it can happen that a civilisation can be imprisoned in a linguistic contour which no longer matches the landscape of… fact.
Owen: What is happening?
Yolland: I'm not sure. But I'm concerned about my part in it. It's an eviction of sorts.
Owen: We're making a six-inch map of the country. Is there something sinister in that?
Yolland: Not in ...
Owen: And we're taking place-names that are riddled with confusion and ...
Yolland: Who's confused? Are the people confused?
Owen: … and we're standardising those names as accurately and as sensitively as we can.
Yolland: Something is being eroded.
And ever since that crossroads is known as Tobair Vree — even though that well has long since dried up. I know the story because my grandfather told it to me. But ask Doalty — or Maire — or Bridget — even my father — even Manus — why it's called Tobair Vree; and do you think they'll know? I know they don't know. So the question I put to you, Lieutenant, is this: what do we do with a name like that? Do we scrap Tobair Vree altogether and call it — what? — The Cross? Crossroads? Or do we keep piety with a man long dead, long forgotten, his name ‘eroded’ beyond recognition, whose trivial little story nobody in the parish remembers?
Maire: Don't stop - I know what you're saying.
Yolland: I would tell you how I want to be here - to live here - always - with you - always, always.
Maire: 'Always'? What is that word - 'always'?
Maire: Shhh - listen to me. I want you, too, soldier.
Yolland: Don't stop - I know what you're saying.
Maire: I want to live with you - anywhere - anywhere at all-always-always.
Yolland: 'Always'? What is that word -'always'?
Manus: (again close to tears) But when I saw him standing there at the side of the road - smiling - and her face buried in his shoulder - I couldn't even go close to them. I just shouted something stupid - something like, 'You're a bastard, Yolland.' If I'd even said it in English... 'cos he kept saying 'Sorry-sorry?' The wrong gesture in the wrong language.