fe# A ^M^
University o£ Toronto
BY THE SAME AUTHOR
A POKTRAIT OF THE ArTIST
AS A Young Man
Published by B. W. Huebsch
DU BLINE RS
B. W. HUEBSCH
Published in the United States, December, 1916
Second printing, April, 1917
Printed in U. S. A.
The Sistees 7
An Encouxteb 20
Afteb the Race 49
Two Gallants 58
The Boaeding House 74
A Little Cloud 85
A Painful Case 133
Ivy Day in the Committee Eoom 148
A MOTHEB 171
The Dead 224
Digitized by the Internet Archive
in 2007 with funding from
There was no hope for him this time : it was the
third stroke. Night after night I had passed the
house (it was vacation time) and studied the
lighted square of window : and night after night
I had found it lighted in the same way, faintly
and evenly. If he was dead, I thought, I would
see the reflection of candles on the darkened blind
for I knew that two candles must be set at the
head of a corpse. He had often said to me : "I
am not long for this world," and I had thought his
words idle. Now I knew they were true. Every
night as I gazed up at the window I said softly
to myself the word paralysis. It had always
sounded strangely in my ears, like the word gno-
mon in the Euclid and the word simony in the
Catechism. But now it sounded to me like the
name of some maleficent and sinful being. It
filled me with fear, and yet I longed to be nearer
to it and to look upon its deadly work.
Old Cotter was sitting at the fire, smoking,
when I came downstairs to supper. "WTiile my
aunt was ladling out my stirabout he said, as if
returning to some former remark of his :
" No, I wouldn't say he was exactly . . . but
there was something queer . . . there was some-
thing uncanny about him. I'll tell you my
opinion. . . ."
He began to puff at his pipe, no doubt arrang-
ing his opinion in his mind. Tiresome old fool !
When we knew him first he used to be rather in-
teresting, talking of faints and worms ; but I soon
grew tired of him and his endless stories about
" I have my own theory about it," he said. " I
think it was one of those . . . peculiar cases. . . .
But it's hard to say. . . ."
He began to puff again at his pipe without giv-
ing us his theory. My uncle saw me staring and
said to me :
"Well, so your old friend is gone, you'll be
sorry to hear."
" Who? " said I.
" Father Flynn."
" Is he dead? "
"Mr. Cotter here has just told us. He was
passing by the house."
I knew that I was under observation so I con-
tinued eating as if the news had not interested
me. My uncle explained to old Cotter.
" The youngster and he were great friends.
The old chap taught him a great deal, mind you ;
and they say he had a great wish for him."
" God have mercy on his soul," said my aunt
Old Cotter looked at me for a while. I felt
that his little beady black eyes were examining
me but I would not satisfy him by looking up
from my plate. He returned to his pipe and
finally spat rudely into the grate.
THE SISTERS 9
" I wouldn't like children of mine/' he said,
" to have too much to saj to a man like that."
" How do you mean, Mr. Cotter? " asked my
" What I mean is," said old Cotter, " it's bad
for children. My idea is: let a young lad run
about and play with young lads of his own age
and not be . . . Am I right. Jack? "
" That^s my principle, too," said my uncle.
" Let him learn to box his corner. That's what
I'm always saying to that Rosicrucian there:
take exercise. Why, when I was a nipper every
morning of my life I had a cold bath, winter and
summer. And that's what stands to me now.
Education is all very fine and large. . . . Mr.
Cotter might take a pick of that leg of mutton,"
he added to my aunt.
" No, no, not for me," said old Cotter.
My aunt brought the dish from the safe and put
it on the table.
" But why do you think it's not good for chil-
dren, Mr. Cotter? " she asked.
" It's bad for children," said old Cotter, " be-
cause their minds are so impressionable. When
children see things like that, you know, it has an
I crammed my mouth with stirabout for fear
I might give utterance to my anger. Tiresome
old red-nosed imbecile!
It was late when I fell asleep. Though I was
angry with old Cotter for alluding to me as a
child, I puzzled my head to extract meaning from
his unfinished sentences. In the dark of my room
I imagined that I saw again the heavy grey face
of the paralytic. I drew the blankets over my
head and tried to think of Christmas. But the
grey face still followed me. It murmured; and
I understood that it desired to confess something.
I felt my soul receding into some pleasant and
vicious region ; and there again I found it waiting
for me. It began to confess to me in a murmur-
ing voice and I wondered why it smiled con-
tinually and why the lips were so moist with
spittle. But then I remembered that it had died
of paralysis and I felt that I too was smiling
feebly as if to absolve the simoniac of his sin.
The next morning after breakfast I went down
to look at the little house in Great Britain Street.
It was an unassuming shop, registered under the
vague name of Drapery. The drapery consisted
mainly of children's bootees and umbrellas ; and
on ordinary days a notice used to hang in the
window, saying : Umbrellas Re-covered. No no-
tice was visible now for the shutters were up. A
crape bouquet was tied to the door-knocker with
ribbon. Two poor women and a telegram boy
were reading the card pinned on the crape. I
also approached and read :
July 1st, 1895
The Rev. James Flynn (formerly of S. Cath-
erine's Church, Meath Street), aged sixty -five
R. I. P.
THE SISTERS 11
The reading of the card persuaded me that he
was dead and I was disturbed to find myself at
check. Had he not been dead I would have gone
into the little dark room behind the shop to find
him sitting in his arm-chair by the fire, nearly
smothered in his great-coat. Perhaps my aunt
would have given me a packet of High Toast for
him and this present would have roused him from
his stupefied doze. It was always I who emptied
the packet into his black snuff-box for his hands
trembled too much to allow him to do this with-
out spilling half the snuff about the floor. Even
as he raised his large trembling hand to his nose
little clouds of smoke dribbled through his fingers
over the front of his coat. It may have been these
constant showers of snuff which gave his ancient
priestly garments their green faded look for the
red handkerchief, blackened, as it always was,
with the snufif-stains of a week, with which he
tried to brush away the fallen grains, was quite
I wished to go in and look at him but I had not
the courage to knock. I walked away slowly
along the sunny side of the street, reading all the
theatrical advertisements in the shop-windows as
I went. I found it strange that neither I nor the
day seemed in a mourning mood and I felt even
annoyed at discovering in myself a sensation of
freedom as if I had been freed from something by
his death. I wondered at this for, as my uncle
had said the night before, he had taught me a
great deal. He had studied in the Irish college in
Rome and he had taught me to pronounce Latin
properly. He had told me stories about the cata-
combs and about Napoleon Bonaparte, and he had
explained to me the meaning of the different cere-
monies of the Mass and of the different vest-
ments worn by the priest. Sometimes he had
amused himself by putting difficult questions to
me, asking me what one should do in certain cir-
cumstances or whether such and such sins were
mortal or venial or only imperfections. His
questions showed me how complex and mysterious
were certain institutions of the Church which I
had always regarded as the simplest acts. The
duties of the priest towards the Eucharist and
towards the secrecy of the confessional seemed so
grave to me that I wondered how anybody had
ever found in himself the courage to undertake
them; and I was not surprised when he told me
that the fathers of the Church had written books
as thick as the Post Office Directory and as closely
printed as the law notices in the newspaper, eluci-
dating all these intricate questions. Often when
I thought of this I could make no answer or only
a very foolish and halting one upon which he
used to smile and nod his head twice or thrice.
Sometimes he used to put me through the re-
sponses of the Mass which he had made me learn
by heart ; and, as I pattered, he used to smile pen-
sively and nod his head, now and then pushing
huge pinches of snuff up each nostril alternately.
When he smiled he used to uncover his big dis-
coloured teeth and let his tongue lie upon his
THE SISTERS 13
lower lip — a habit which had made me feel un-
easy in the beginning of our acquaintance before
I knew him well.
As I walked along in the sun I remembered old
Cotter's words and tried to remember what had
happened afterwards in the dream. I remem-
bered that I had noticed long velvet curtains and
a swinging lamp of antique fashion. I felt that
I had been very far away, in some land where the
customs were strange — in Persia, I thought. . . .
But I could not remember the end of the dream.
In the evening my aunt took me with her to
visit the house of mourning. It was after sun-
set; but the window-panes of the houses that
looked to the west reflected the tawny gold of a
great bank of clouds. Nannie received us in the
hall ; and, as it would have been unseemly to have
shouted at her, my aunt shook hands with her for
all. The old woman pointed upwards interroga-
tively and, on my aunt's nodding, proceeded to
toil up the narrow staircase before us, her bowed
head being scarcely above the level of the banis-
ter-rail. At the first landing she stopped and
beckoned us forward encouragingly towards the
open door of the dead-room. My aunt went in
and the old woman, seeing that I hesitated to en-
ter, began to beckon to me again repeatedly with
I went in on tiptoe. The room through the
lace end of the blind was suffused with dusky
golden light amid which the candles looked like
pale thin flames. He had been coffined. Nan-
nie gave the lead and we three knelt down at the
foot of the bed. I pretended to pray but I could
not gather my thoughts because the old wom-
an's mutterings distracted me. I noticed how
clumsily her skirt was hooked at the back and
how the heels of her cloth boots were trodden
down all to one side. The fancy came to me that
the old priest was smiling as he lay there in his
But no. When we rose and went up to the
head of the bed I saw that he was not smiling.
There he lay, solemn and copious, vested as for
the altar, his large hands loosely retaining a
chalice. His face was very truculent, grey and
massive, with black cavernous nostrils and cir-
cled by a scanty white fur. There was a
heavy odour in the room — the flowers.
We crossed ourselves and came away. In the
little room downstairs we found Eliza seated in
his arm-chair in state. I groped my way to-
wards my usual chair in the corner while Nannie
went to the sideboard and brought out a decanter
of sherry and some wine-glasses. She set these
on the table and invited us to take a little glass of
wine. Then, at her sister's bidding, she filled out
the sherry into the glasses and passed them to
ns. She pressed me to take some cream crackers
also but I declined because I thought I would
make too much noise eating them. She seemed
to be somewhat disappointed at my refusal and
went over quietly to the sofa where she sat down
THE SISTERS 15
behind her sister. No one spoke : we all gazed at
the empty fireplace.
My aunt waited until Eliza sighed and then
" Ah, well, he's gone to a better world."
Eliza sighed again and bowed her head in as-
sent. My aunt fingered the stem of her wine-
glass before sipping a little.
" Did he . . . peacefully? " she asked.
" Oh, quite peacefully, ma'am," said Eliza.
" You couldn't tell when the breath went out of
him. He had a beautiful death, God be praised."
" And everything . . . ? "
" Father O'Rourke was in with him a Tuesday
and anointed him and prepared him and all."
"He knew then?"
" He was quite resigned."
" He looks quite resigned," said my auat.
" That's what the woman we had in to wash
him said. She said he just looked as if he was
asleep, he looked that peaceful and resigned. No
one would think he'd make such a beautiful
" Yes, indeed," said my aunt.
She sipped a little more from her glass and
" Well, Miss Flynn, at any rate it must be a
great comfort for you to know that you did all
you could for him. You were both very kind to
him, I must say."
Eliza smoothed her dress over her knees.
" Ah, poor James ! " she said. " God knows
we done all we could, as poor as we are — we
wouldn't see him want anything while he was in
Nannie had leaned her head against the sofa-
pillow and seemed about to fall asleep.
" There's poor Nannie," said Eliza, looking at
her, " she's wore out. All the work we had, she
and me, getting in the woman to wash him and
then laying him out and then the coffin and then
arranging about the Mass in the chapel. Only
for Father O'Rourke I don't know what we'd
done at all. It was him brought us all them flow-
ers and them two candlesticks out of the chapel
and wrote out the notice for the Freeman's Gen-
eral and took charge of all the papers for the
cemetery and poor James's insurance."
" Wasn't that good of him ? " said my aunt.
Eliza closed her eyes and shook her head
" Ah, there's no friends like the old friends,"
she said, " when all is said and done, no friends
that a body can trust."
" Indeed, that's true," said my aunt. " And
I'm sure now that he's gone to his eternal re-
ward he won't forget you and all your kindness
" Ah, poor James ! " said Eliza. " He was no
great trouble to us. You wouldn't hear him in
the house any more than now. Still, I know he's
gone and all to that. . . ."
THE SISTERS 17
" It's when it's all over that you'll miss him,"
said my aunt.
" I know that," said Eliza. " I won't be bring-
ing him in his cup of beef-tea any more, nor you,
ma'am, sending him his snuff. Ah, poor
James ! "
She stopped, as if she were communing with
the past and then said shrewdly :
"Mind you, I noticed there was something
queer coming over him latterly. Whenever I'd
bring in his soup to him there I'd find him with
his breviary fallen to the floor, lying back in the
chair and his mouth open."
She laid a finger against her nose and frowned :
then she continued :
" But still and all he kept on saying that be-
fore the summer was over he'd go out for a drive
one fine day just to see the old house again where
we were all born down in Irishtown and take me
and Xannie with him. If we could only get one
of them new-fangled carriages that makes no
noise that Father O'Rourke told him about, them
with the rheumatic wheels, for the day cheap —
he said, at Johnny Rush's over the way there and
drive out the three of us together of a Sunday
evening. He had his mind set on that. . . .
Poor James ! "
" The Lord have mercy on his soul I " said my
Eliza took out her handkerchief and wiped her
eyes with it. Then she put it back again in her
pocket and gazed into the empty grate for some
time without speaking,
"He was too scrupulous always," she said.
" The duties of the priesthood was too much for
him. And then his life was, you might say,
"Yes," said my aunt. "He was a disap-
pointed man. You could see that."
A silence took possession of the little room and,
under cover of it, I approached the table and
tasted my sherry and then returned quietly to
my chair in the corner. Eliza seemed to have
fallen into a deep revery. We waited respectfully
for her to break the silence: and after a long
pause she said slowly :
" It was that chalice he broke. . . . That was
the beginning of it. Of course, they say it was
all right, that it contained nothing, I mean. But
still. . . . They say it was the boy's fault. But
poor James was so nervous, God be merciful to
" And was that it? " said my aunt. " I heard
" That affected his mind," she said. " After
that he began to mope by himself, talking to no
one and wandering about by himself. So one
night he was wanted for to go on a call and they
couldn't find him anywhere. They looked high
up and low down; and still they couldn't see a
sight of him anywhere. So then the clerk sug-
gested to try the chapel. So then they got the
THE SISTERS 19
keys and opened the chapel and the clerk and
Father O'Rourke and another priest that was
there brought in a light for to look for him. . . .
And what do you think but there he was, sitting
up by himself in the dark in his confession-box,
wide-awake and laughing-like softly to himself? "
She stopped suddenly as if to listen. I too
listened; but there was no sound in the house:
and I knew that the old priest was lying still in
his coffin as we had seen him, solemn and trucu-
lent in death, an idle chalice on his breast.
Eliza resumed :
" Wide-awake and laughing-like to himself. . . .
So then, of course, when they saw that, that made
them think that there was something gone wrong
with him. ..."
It was Joe Dillon who introduced the Wild West
to us. He had a little library made up of old
numbers of The Union Jack, Pluck and The Half-
penny Marvel. Every evening after school we
met in his back garden and arranged Indian bat-
tles. He and his fat young brother Leo, the idler,
held the loft of the stable while we tried to carry
it by storm ; or we fought a pitched battle on the
grass. But, however well we fought, we never
won siege or battle and all our bouts ended with
Joe Dillon's war dance of victory. His parents
went to eight-o'clock mass every morning in
Gardiner Street and the peaceful odour of Mrs.
Dillon was prevalent in the hall of the house.
But he played too fiercely for us who were
younger and more timid. He looked like some
kind of an Indian when he capered round the gar-
den, an old tea-cosy on his head, beating a tin
with his fist and yelling :
" Ya ! yaka, yaka, yaka ! "
Everyone was incredulous when it was re-
ported that he had a vocation for the priesthood.
Nevertheless it was true.
A spirit of unruliness diffused itself among us
and, under its influence, differences of culture and
constitution were waived. We banded ourselves
AN ENCOUNTER 21
together, some boldly, some in jest and some al-
most in fear : and of the number of these latter,
the reluctant Indians who were afraid to seem
studious or lacking in robustness, I was one.
The adventures related in the literature of the
Wild West were remote from my nature but, at
least, they opened doors of escape. I liked better
some American detective stories which were
traversed from time to time by unkempt fierce and
beautiful girls. Though there was nothing
w^rong in these stories and though their inten-
tion was sometimes literary they were circulated
secretly at school. One day when Father Butler
was hearing the four pages of Roman History
clumsy Leo Dillon was discovered with a copy of
The Halfpenny Marvel.
" This page or this page? This page? Now,
Dillon, up! ^Hardly had the day' . . . Go on I
What day? ^Hardly had the day dawned' . . .
Have you studied it? What have you there in
your pocket? "
Everyone's heart palpitated as Leo Dillon
handed up the paper and everyone assumed an in-
nocent face. Father Butler turned over the
"What is this rubbish?" he said. ''The
Apache Chief! Is this what you read instead of
studying your Roman History? Let me not find
any more of this wretched stuff in this college.
The man who wrote it, I suppose, was some
wretched fellow who writes these things for a
drink. I'm surprised at boys like you, educated,
reading such stuff. I could understand it if you
were . . . National School boys. Now, Dillon,
I advise you strongly, get at your work or . . ."
This rebuke during the sober hours of school
paled much of the glory of the Wild West for me
and the confused puffy face of Leo Dillon awak-
ened one of my consciences. But when the re-
straining influence of the school was at a dis-
tance I began to hunger again for wild sensa-
tions, for the escape which those chronicles of
disorder alone seemed to offer me. The mimic
warfare of the evening became at last as weari-
some to me as the routine of school in the morn-
ing because I wanted real adventures to hap-
pen to myself. But real adventures, I reflected,
do not happen to people who remain at home:
they must be sought abroad.
The summer holidays were near at hand when
I made up my mind to break out of the weari-
ness of school-life for one day at least. With
Leo Dillon and a boy named Mahony I planned a
day's miching. Each of us saved up sixpence.
We were to meet at ten in the morning on the
Canal Bridge. Mahony's big sister was to write
an excuse for him and Leo Dillon was to tell his
brother to say he was sick. We arranged to go
along the Wharf Koad until we came to the ships,
then to cross in the ferryboat and walk out to
see the Pigeon House. Leo Dillon was afraid we
might meet Father Butler or someone out of the
college; but Mahony asked, very sensibly, what
would Father Butler be doing out at the Pigeon
AN ENCOUNTER 28
House. We were reassured: and I brought the
first stage of the plot to an end by collecting six-
pence from the other two, at the same time show-
ing them mv own sixpence. When we were mak-
ing the last arrangements on the eve we were
all vaguely excited. We shook hands, laughing,
and Mahony said :
" Till to-morrow, mates! "
That night I slept badly. In the morning I
was first-comer to the bridge as I lived nearest
I hid my books in the long grass near the ashpit
at the end of the garden where nobody ever came
and hurried along the canal bank. It was a mild
sunny morning in the first week of June. I sat
up on the coping of the bridge admiring my frail
canvas shoes which I had diligently pipeclayed
overnight and watching the docile horses pulling
a tramload of business people up the hill. All
the branches of the tall trees which lined the
mall were gay with little light green leaves and
the sunlight slanted through them on to the
water. The granite stone of the bridge was be-
ginning to be warm and I began to pat it with
my hands in time to an air in my head. I was
When I had been sitting there for five or ten
minutes I saw Mahony's grey suit approaching.
He came up the hill, smiling, and clambered up
beside me on the bridge. While we were waiting
he brought out the catapult which bulged from
his inner pocket and explained some improve-
ments which he had made in it. I asked him why
he had brought it and he told me he had brought
it to have some gas with the birds. Mahony used
slang freely, and spoke of Father Butler as Old
Bunser. We waited on for a quarter of an hour
more but still there was no sign of Leo Dillon.
Mahony, at last, jumped down and said :
" Come along. I knew Fatty'd funk it.'*
" And his sixpence . . . ? " I said.
" That's forfeit," said Mahony. " And so much
the better for us — a bob and a tanner instead of
We walked along the North Strand Eoad till
we came to the Vitriol Works and then turned
to the right along the Wharf Road. Mahony be-
gan to play the Indian as soon as we were out of
public sight. He chased a crowd of ragged girls,
brandishing his unloaded catapult and, when two
ragged boys began, out of chivalry, to fling stones
at us, he proposed that we should charge them.
I objected that the boys were too small, and so
we walked on, the ragged troop screaming after
us: ^^ Swaddlers! Swaddlers!^^ thinking that we
were Protestants because Mahony, who was dark-
complexioned, wore the silver badge of a cricket
club in his cap. When we came to the Smooth-
ing Iron we arranged a siege ; but it was a failure
because you must have at least three. We re-
venged ourselves on Leo Dillon by saying what a
funk he was and guessing how many he would get
at three o-clock from Mr. Ryan.
We came then near the river. We spent a long
time walking about the noisy streets flanked by
AN ENCOUNTER 25
high stone walls, watching the working of cranes
and engines and often being shouted at for our
immobility by the drivers of groaning carts. It
was noon when we reached the quays and, as all
the labourers seemed to be eating their lunches,
we bought two big currant buns and sat down to
eat them on some metal piping beside the river.
We pleased ourselves with the spectacle of Dub-
lin's commerce — the barges signalled from far
away by their curls of woolly smoke, the brown
fishing fleet beyond Ringsend, the big white sail-
ing-vessel which was being discharged on the op-
posite quay. Mahony said it would be right skit
to run away to sea on one of those big ships and
even I, looking at the high masts, saw, or
imagined, the geography w^hich had been scantily
dosed to me at school gradually taking substance
under my eyes. School and home seemed to re-
cede from us and their influences upon us seemed
We crossed the Liffey in the ferryboat, paying
our toll to be transported in the company of two
labourers and a little Jew with a bag. We were
serious to the point of solemnity, but once during
the short voyage our eyes met and w^e laughed.
When we landed we watched the discharging of
the graceful three-master which we had observed
from the other quay. Some bystander said that
she was a Norwegian vessel. I went to the stern
and tried to decipher the legend upon it but, fail-
ing to do so, I came back and examined the
foreign sailors to see had any of them green eyes
for I had some confused notion. . . . The sailors'
eyes were blue and grey and even black. The only
sailor whose eyes could have been called green
was a tall man who amused the crowd on the
quay by calling out cheerfully every time the
"All right! All right!"
When we were tired of this sight we wandered
slowly into Ringsend. The day had grown sul-
try, and in the windows of the grocers' shops
musty biscuits lay bleaching. We bought some
biscuits and chocolate which we ate sedulously as
we wandered through the squalid streets where
the families of the fishermen live. We could find
no dairy and so we went into a huckster's shop
and bought a bottle of raspberry lemonade each.
Refreshed by this, Mahony chased a cat down a
lane, but the cat escaped into a wide field. We
both felt rather tired and when we reached the
field we made at once for a sloping bank over
the ridge of which we could see the Dodder.
It was too late and we were too tired to carry
out our project of visiting the Pigeon House.
We had to be home before four o'clock lest our ad-
venture should be discovered. Mahony looked
regretfully at his catapult and I had to suggest
going home by train before he regained any cheer-
fulness. The sun went in behind some clouds
and left us to our jaded thoughts and the crumbs
of our provisions.
There was nobody but ourselves in the field.
When we had lain on the bank for some time
AN ENCOUNTER 27
without speaking I saw a man approaching from
the far end of the field. I watched him lazily as
I chewed one of those green stems on which girls
tell fortunes. He came along by the bank slowly.
He walked with one hand upon his hip and in the
other hand he held a stick ^ith which he tapped
the turf lightly. He was shabbily dressed in a
suit of greenish-black and wore what we used to
call a jerry hat with a high crown. He seemed to
be fairly old for his moustache was ashen-grey.
When he passed at our feet he glanced up at us
quickly and then continued his way. We fol-
lowed him with our eyes and saw that when he
had gone on for perhaps fifty paces he turned
about and began to retrace his steps. He walked
towards us very slowly, always tapping the
ground with his stick, so slowly that I thought
he was looking for something in the grass.
He stopped when he came level with us and
bade us good-day. We answered him and he sat
down beside us on the slope slowly and with
great care. He began to talk of the weather,
saying that it would be a very hot summer and
adding that the seasons had changed gi'eatly
since he was a boy — a long time ago. He said
that the happiest time of one's life was undoubt-
edly one's schoolboy days and that he would give
anything to be young again. While he expressed
these sentiments which bored us a little we kept
silent. Then he began to talk of school and of
books. He asked us whether we had read the
poetry of Thomas Moore or the works of Sir
Walter Scott and Lord Lytton. I pretended that
I had read every book he mentioned so that in
the end he said :
" Ah, I can see you are a bookworm like myself.
Now," he added, pointing to Mahony who was
regarding ns with open eyes, " he is different ; he
goes in for games."
He said he had all Sir Walter Scott's works
and all Lord Lytton's works at home and never
tired of reading them. " Of course," he said,
" there were some of Lord Lytton's works which
boys couldn't read." Mahony asked why
couldn't boys read them — a question which
agitated and pained me because I was afraid the
man would think I was as stupid as Mahony.
The man, however, only smiled. I saw that he
had great gaps in his mouth between his yellow
teeth. Then he asked us which of us had the
most sweethearts. Mahony mentioned lightly
that he had three totties. The man asked me
how many I had. I answered that I had none.
He did not believe me and said he was sure I must
have one. I was silent.
" Tell us," said Mahony pertly to the man,
" how many have you yourself? "
The man smiled as before and said that when
he was our age he had lots of sweethearts.
" Every boy," he said, " has a little sweetheart."
His attitude on this point struck me as
strangely liberal in a man of his age. In my
heart I thought that what he said about boys
and sweethearts was reasonable. But I disliked
AN E/NCOUXTER 29
the words in his mouth and I wondered why he
shivered once or twice as if he feared something
or felt a sudden chill. As he proceeded I no-
ticed that his accent was good. He began to
speak to us about girls, saying what nice soft
hair they had and how soft their hands were
and how all girls were not so good as they
seemed to be if one only knew. There was
nothing he liked, he said, so much as looking at
a nice young girl, at her nice white hands and
her beautiful soft hair. He gave me the impres-
sion that he was repeating something which he
had learned by heart or that, magnetised by some
words of his own speech, his mind was slowly
circling round and round in the same orbit. At
times he spoke as if he were simply alluding to
some fact that everybody knew, and at times he
lowered his voice and spoke mysteriously as if he
were telling us something secret which he did
not wish others to overhear. He repeated his
phrases over and over again, varying them and
surrounding them with his monotonous voice. I
continued to gaze towards the foot of the slope,
listening to him.
After a long while his monologue paused. He
stood up slowly, saying that he had to leave us for
a minute or so, a few minutes, and, without
changing the direction of my gaze, I saw him
walking slowly away from us towards the near
end of the field. We remained silent when he
had gone. After a silence of a few minutes I
heard Mahonv exclaim :
" I say ! Look what he's doing ! "
As I neither answered nor raised my eyes Ma-
hony exclaimed again :
" I say . . . He's a queer old josser ! "
" In case he asks us for our names," I said, " let
you be Murphy and I'll be Smith."
We said nothing further to each other. I was
still considering whether I would go away or not
when the man came back and sat down beside us
again. Hardly had he sat down when Mahony,
catching sight of the cat which had escaped him,
sprang up and pursued her across the field. The
man and I watched the chase. The cat escaped
once more and Mahony began to throw stones at
the wall she had escaladed. Desisting from this,
he began to wander about the far end of the field,
After an Interval the man spoke to me. He
said that my friend was a very rough boy and
asked did he get whipped often at school. I was
going to reply indignantly that we were not Na-
tional School boys to be whipped, as he called it ;
but I remained silent. He began to speak on the
subject of chastising boys. His mind, as if mag-
netised again by his speech, seemed to circle
slowly round and round its new centre. He said
that when boys were that kind they ought to be
whipped and well whipped. When a boy was
rough and unruly there was nothing would do
him any good but a good sound whipping. A
slap on the hand or a box on the ear was no good :
what he wanted was to get a nice warm whipping.
AN ENCOUXTER 31
I was surprised at this sentiment and involun-
tarily glanced up at his face. As I did so I met
the gaze of a pair of bottle-green eyes peering
at me from under a twitching forehead. I turned
my eyes away again.
The man continued his monologue. He seemed
to have forgotten his recent liberalism. He said
that if ever he found a boy talking to girls or hav-
ing a girl for a sweetheart he would whip him
and whip him ; and that would teach him not to
be talking to girls. And if a boy had a girl for a
sweetheart and told lies about it then he would
give him such a whipping as no boy ever got in
this world. He said that there was nothing in
this world he would like so well as that. He de-
scribed to me how he would whip such a boy as if
he were unfolding some elaborate mystery. He
would love that, he said, better than anything in
this world ; and his voice, as he led me monoton-
ously through the mystery, grew almost affec-
tionate and seemed to plead with me that I should
I waited till his monologue paused again.
Then I stood up abruptly. Lest I should betray
my agitation I delayed a few moments pretend-
ing to fix my shoe properly and then, saying that
I was obliged to go, I bade him good-day. I went
up the slope calmly but my heart was beating
quickly with fear that he would seize me by the
ankles. TVTien I reached the top of the slope I
turned round and, without looking at him, called
loudly across the field :
" Murphy ! "
My voice had an accent of forced bravery in it
and I was ashamed of my paltry stratagem. I
had to call the name again before Mahony saw
me and hallooed in answer. How my heart beat
as he came running across the field to me! He
ran as if to bring me aid. And I was penitent ;
for in my heart I had always despised him a
;Nobth Richmond Street, being blind, was a
quiet street except at the hour when the Christian
Brothers' School set the boys free. An unin-
habited house of two storeys stood at the blind
end, detached from its neighbours in a square
ground. The other houses of the street, con-
scious of decent lives within them, gazed at one
another with brown imperturbable faces.
The former tenant of our house, a priest, had
died in the back drawing-room. Air, musty
from having been long enclosed, hung in all the
rooms, and the waste room behind the kitchen
was littered with old useless papers. Among
these I found a few paper-covered books, the
pages of which were curled and damp : The Ab-
bot, by Walter Scott, The Devout Communicant
and The Memoirs of Vidocq. I liked the last best
because its leaves were yellow. The wild garden
behind the house contained a central apple-tree
and a few straggling bushes under one of which
I found the late tenant's rusty bicycle-pump.
He had been a very charitable priest ; in his will
he had left all his money to institutions and the
furniture of his house to his sister.
When the short days of winter came dusk fell
before we had well eaten our dinners. When we
met in the street the houses had grown sombre.
The space of sky above us was the colour of ever-
changing violet and towards it the lamps of the
street lifted their feeble lanterns. The cold air
stung us and we played till our bodies glowed.
Our shouts echoed in the silent street. The
career of our play brought us through the dark
muddy lanes behind the houses where we ran the
gauntlet of the rough tribes from the cottages, to
the back doors of the dark dripping gardens
where odours arose from the ashpits, to the dark
odorous stables where a coachman smoothed and
combed the horse or shook music from the
buckled harness. When we returned to the strfeet
light from the kitchen windows had filled the
areas. If my uncle was seen turning the corner
we hid in the shadow until we had seen him
safely housed. Or if Mangan's sister came out
on the doorstep to call her brother in to his
tea we watched her from our shadow peer up and
down the street. We waited to see whether she
would remain or go in and, if she remained, we
left our shadow and walked up to Mangan's steps
resignedly. She was waiting for us, her figure
defined by the light from the half-opened door.
Her brother always teased her before he obeyed
and I stood by the railings looking at her. Her
dress swung as she moved her body and the soft
rope of her hair tossed from side to side.
Every morning I lay on the floor in the front
parlour watching her door. The blind was pulled
down to within an inch of the sash so that I could
not be seen. When she came out on the door-
step my heart leaped. I ran to the hall, seized
mv books and followed her. I kept her brown
figure always in my eye and, when we came near
the point at which our ways diverged, I quick-
ened my pace and passed her. This happened
morning after morning. I had never spoken to
her, except for a few casual words, and yet her
name was like a summons to all my foolish blood.
Her image accompanied me even in places the
most hostile to romance. On Saturday evenings
when my aunt went marketing I had to go to
carry some of the parcels. We walked through
the flaring streets, jostled by drunken men and
bargaining women, amid the curses of labourers,
the shrill litanies of shop-boys who stood on guard
by the barrels of pigs' cheeks, the nasal chanting
of street-singers, who sang a came-all-you about
O'Donovan Rossa, or a ballad about the troubles
in our native land. These noises converged in a
single sensation of life for me : I imagined that
I bore my chalice safely through a throng of foes.
Her name sprang to my lips at moments in
strange prayers and praises which I myself did
not understand. My eyes were often full of tears
(I could not tell why) and at times a flood from
my heart seemed to pour itself out into my bosom.
I thought little of the future. I did not
know whether I would ever speak to her
or not or, if I spoke to her, how I could tell
her of my confused adoration. But my body was
like a harp and her words and gestures were like
fingers running upon the wires.
One evening I went into the back drawing-room
in which the priest had died. It was a dark
rainy evening and there was no sound in the
house. Through one of the broken panes I heard
the rain impinge upon the earth, the fine inces-
sant needles of water playing in the sodden beds.
Some distant lamp or lighted window gleamed
below me. I was thankful that I could see so
little. All my senses seemed to desire to veil
themselves and, feeling that I was about to slip
from them, I pressed the palms of my hands to-
gether until they trembled, murmuring : "
love! love! " many times.
At last she spoke to me. When she addressed
the first words to me I was so confused that I did
not know what to answer. She asked me was I
going to Araby. I forgot whether I answered yes
or no. It would be a splendid bazaar, she said
she would love to go.
" And why can't you? " I asked.
While she spoke she turned a silver bracelet
round and round her wrist. She could not go,
she said, because there would be a retreat that
week in her convent. Her brother and two other
boys were fighting for their caps and I was alone
at the railings. She held one of the spikes, bow-
ing her head towards me. The light from the
lamp opposite our door caught the white curve of
her neck, lit up her hair that rested there and,
falling, lit np the hand upon the railing. It
fell over one side of her dress and caught the
white border of a petticoat, just visible as she
stood at ease.
" It's well for you," she said.
" If I go," I said, " I will bring you something."
What innumerable follies laid waste my wak-
ing and sleeping thoughts after that evening ! I
wished to annihilate the tedious intervening days.
I chafed against the work of schooL At night
in my bedroom and by day in the classroom her
image came between me and the page I strove to
read. The syllables of the word Arahy were
called to me throngh the silence in which my
soul luxuriated and cast an Eastern enchantment
over me. I asked for leave to go to the bazaar
on Saturday night. My aunt was surprised and
hoped it was not some Freemason affair. I
answered few questions in class. I watched my
master's face pass from amiability to sternness;
he hoped I was not beginning to idle. I could
not call my wandering thoughts together. I had
hardly any patience with the serious work of life
which, now that it stood between me and my de-
sire, seemed to me child's play, ugly monotonous
On Saturday morning I reminded my uncle
that I wished to go to the bazaar in the evening.
He was fussing at the hallstand, looking for the
hat-brush, and answered me curtly :
" Yes, boy, I know."
As he was in the hall I could not go into the
front parlour and lie at the window. I felt the
house in bad humour and walked slowly towards
the school. The air was pitilessly raw and al-
ready my heart misgave me.
When I came home to dinner my uncle had not
yet been home. Still it was early. I sat staring
at the clock for some time and, when its ticking
began to irritate me, I left the room. I mounted
the staircase and gained the upper part of the
house. The high cold empty gloomy rooms lib-
erated me and I went from room to room sing-
ing. From the front window I saw my com-
panions playing below in the street. Their cries
reached me weakened and indistinct and, leaning
my forehead against the cool glass, I looked over
at the dark house where she lived. I may have
stood there for an hour, seeing nothing but the
brown-clad figure cast by my imagination,
touched discreetly by the lamplight at the curved
neck, at the hand upon the railings and at the
border below the dress.
When I came downstairs again I found Mrs.
Mercer sitting at the fire. She was an old gar-
rulous woman, a pawnbroker's widow, who col-
lected used stamps for some pious purpose. I
had to endure the gossip of the tea-table. The
meal was prolonged beyond an hour and still my
uncle did not come. Mrs. Mercer stood up to go :
she was sorry she couldn't wait any longer, but it
was after eight o'clock and she did not like to be
out late, as the night air was bad for her. When
she had gone I began to walk up and down the
room, clenching mj fists. My aunt said :
" I'm afraid you may put off your bazaar for
this night of Our Lord."
At nine o'clock I heard my uncle's latchkey in
the halldoor. I heard him talking to himself and
heard the hallstand rocking when it had received
the weight of his overcoat. I could interpret
these signs. "WTien he was midway through his
dinner I asked him to give me the money to go to
the bazaar. He had forgotten.
" The people are in bed and after their first
sleep now,'' he said.
I did not smile. My aunt said to him ener-
" Can't you give him the money and let him
go? You've kept him late enough as it is.''
My uncle said he was very sorry he had forgot-
ten. He said he believed in the old saying:
" All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy."
He asked me where I was going and, when I had
told him a second time he asked me did I know
The Arab's Fareicell to his Steed. When I left
the kitchen he was about to recite the opening
lines of the piece to my aunt.
I held a florin tightly in my hand as I strode
down Buckingham Street towards the station.
The sight of the streets thronged with buyers and
glaring with gas recalled to me the purpose of my
journey. I took my seat in a third-class carriage
of a deserted train. After an intolerable delay
the train moved out of the station slowly. It
crept onward among ruinous houses and over the
twinkling river. At Westland Kow Station a
crowd of people pressed to the carriage doors;
but the porters moved them back, saying that it
was a special train for the bazaar. I remained
alone in the bare carriage. In a few minutes the
train drew up beside an improvised wooden plat-
form. I passed out on to the road and saw by the
lighted dial of a clock that it was ten minutes to
ten. In front of me was a large building which
displayed the magical name.
I could not find any sixpenny entrance and,
fearing that the bazaar would be closed, I passed
in quickly through a turnstile, handing a shilling
to a weary-looking man. I found myself in a big
hall girdled at half its height by a gallery.
Nearly all the stalls were closed and the greater
part of the hall was in darkness. I recognised
a silence like that which pervades a church after
a service. I walked into the centre of the bazaar
timidly. A few people were gathered about the
stalls which were still open. Before a curtain,
over which the words Cafe Ch^antant were writ-
ten in coloured lamps, two men were counting
money on a salver. I listened to the fall of the
Remembering with difficulty why I had come I
went over to one of the stalls and examined por-
celain vases and flowered tea-sets. At the door
of the stall a young lady was talking and laugh-
ing with two young gentlemen. I remarked their
English accents and listened vaguely to their con-
" O, I never said such a thing ! "
" O, but you did ! "
«0, buti didn't!"
"Didn't she say that?"
" Yes. I heard her."
"O, there's a ... fib!"
Observing me the young lady came over and
asked me did I wish to buy anything. The tone
of her voice was not encouraging; she seemed to
have spoken to me out of a sense of duty. I
looked humbly at the great jars that stood like
eastern guards at either side of the dark entrance
to the stall and murmured :
" No, thank you."
The young lady changed the position of one of
the vases and went back to the two young men.
They began to talk of the same subject. Once or
twice the young lady glanced at me over her
I lingered before her stall, though I knew my
stay was useless, to make my interest in her
wares seem the more real. Then I turned away
slowly and walked down the middle of the bazaar.
I allowed the two pennies to fall against the six-
pence in my pocket. I heard a voice call from one
end of the gallery that the light was out. The
upper part of the hall was now completely dark.
Gazing up into the darkness I saw myself as a
creature driven and derided by vanity; and my
eyes burned with anguish and anger.
She sat at the window watching the evening in-
vade the avenue. Her head was leaned against
the window curtains and in her nostrils was the
odour of dusty cretonne. She was tired.
Few people passed. The man out of the last
house passed on his way home; she heard his
footsteps clacking along the concrete pavement
and afterwards crunching on the cinder path
before the new red houses. One time there used
to be a field there in which they used to play every
evening with other people's children. Then a
man from Belfast bought the field and built
houses in it — not like their little brown houses
but bright brick houses with shining roofs. The
children of the avenue used to play together in
that field — the Devines the Waters, the Dunns,
little Keogh the cripple, she and her brothers and
sisters. Ernest, however, never played: he was
too grown up. Her father used often to hunt
them in out of the field with his blackthorn stick ;
but usually little Keogh used to keep nix and call
out when he saw her father coming. Still they
seemed to have been rather happy then. Her
father was not so bad then; and besides, her
mother was alive. That was a long time ago;
she and her brothers and sisters were all grown
up; her mother was dead. Tizzie Dunn was
dead, too, and the Waters had gone back to Eng-
land. Everything changes. Xow she was going
to go away like the others, to leave her home.
Home ! She looked round the room, reviewing
all its familiar objects which she had dusted once
a week for so many years, wondering where on
earth all the dust came from. Perhaps she would
never see again those familiar objects from which
she had never dreamed of being divided. And yet
during all those years she had never found out
the name of the priest whose yellowing photo-
gi'aph hung on the wall above the broken har-
monium beside the coloured print of the prom-
ises made to Blessed Margaret Mary Alacoque.
He had been a school friend of her father.
WTienever he showed the photograph to a visitor
her father used to pass it with a casual word :
" He is in Melbourne now."
She had consented to go away, to leave her
home. Was that wise? She tried to weigh each
side of the question. In her home anyway she
had shelter and food; she had those whom she
had known all her life about her. Of course she
had to work hard, both in the house and at busi-
ness. What would they say of her in the Stores
when they found out that she had run away with
a fellow? Say she was a fool, perhaps; and her
place would be filled up by advertisement. Miss
Gavan would be glad. She had always had an
edge on her, especially whenever there were peo-
" Miss Hill, don't you see these ladies are wait-
" Look lively, Miss Hill, please."
She would not cry many tears at leaving the
But in her new home, in a distant unknown
country, it would not be like that. Then she
w ould be married — she, Eveline. People would
treat her with respect then. She would not be
treated as her mother had been. Even now,
though she was over nineteen, she sometimes felt
herself in danger of her father's violence. She
knew it was that that had given her the palpita-
tions. When they were growing up he had never
gone for her, like he used to go for Harry and
Ernest, because she was a girl; but latterly he
had begun to threaten her and say what he would
do to her only for her dead mother's sake. And
now she had nobody to protect her. Ernest was
dead and Harry, who was in the church decorat-
ing business, was nearly always down somewhere
in the country. Besides, the invariable squabble
for money on Saturday nights had begun to
weary her unspeakably. She always gave her en-
tire wages — seven shillings — and Harry al-
ways sent up what he could but the trouble was
to get any money from her father. He said she
used to squander the money, that she had no
head, that he wasn't going to give her his hard-
earned money to throw about the streets, and
much more, for he was usually fairly bad on Sat-
urday night. In the end he would give her the
money and ask her had she any intention of buy-
ing Sunday's dinner. Then she had to rush out
as quickly as she could and do her marketing,
holding her black leather purse tightly in her
hand as she elbowed her way through the crowds
and returning home late under her load of provi-
sions. She had hard work to keep the house to-
gether and to see that the two young children
who had been left to her charge went to school
regularly and got their meals regularly. It was
hard work — a hard life — but now that she
was about to leave it she did not find it a wholly
She was about to explore another life with
Frank. Frank was very kind, manly, open-
hearted. She was to go away with him by the
night-boat to be his wife and to live with him in
Buenos Ayres where he had a home waiting for
her. How well she remembered the first time she
had seen him ; he was lodging in a house on the
main road where she used to visit. It seemed a
few weeks ago. He was standing at the gate, his
peaked cap pushed back on his head and his hair
tumbled forward over a face of bronze. Then
they had come to know each other. He used to
meet her outside the Stores every evening and see
her home. He took her to see The Bohemian Girl
and she felt elated as she sat in an unaccustomed
part of the theatre with him. He was awfully
fond of music and sang a little. People knew
that they were courting and, when he sang about
the lass that loves a sailor, she always felt pleas-
antly confused. He used to call her Poppens out
of fun. First of all it had been an excitement for
her to have a fellow and then she had begun to
like him. He had tales of distant countries. He
had started as a deck boy at a pound a month on
a ship of the Allan Line going out to Canada.
He told her the names of the ships he had been on
and the names of the different services. He had
sailed through the Straits of Magellan and he
told her stories of the terrible Patagonians. He
had fallen on his feet in Buenos Ayres, he said,
and had come over to the old country just for a
holiday. Of course, her father had found out the
affair and had forbidden her to have anything to
say to him.
" I know these sailor chaps," he said.
One day he had quarrelled with Frank and
after that she had to meet her lover secretly.
The evening deepened in the avenue. The
white of two letters in her lap grew indistinct.
One was to Harry; the other was to her father.
Ernest had been her favourite but she liked Harry
too. Her father was becoming old lately, she no-
ticed ; he would miss her. Sometimes he could be
very nice. Not long before, when she had been
laid up for a day, he had read her out a ghost
story and made toast for her at the fire. Another
day, when their mother was alive, they had all
gone for a picnic to the Hill of Howth. She re-
membered her father putting on her mother's bon-
net to make the children laugh.
Her time was running out but she continued to
sit by the window, leaning her head against the
window curtain, inhaling the odour of dusty ere-
tonne. Down far in the avenue she could hear a
street organ playing. She knew the air. Strange
that it should come that very night to remind her
of the promise to her mother, her promise to keep
the home together as long as she could. She re-
membered the last night of her mother's illness;
she was again in the close dark room at the other
side of the hall and outside she heard a melan-
choly air of Italy. The organ-player had been
ordered to go away and given sixpence. She
remembered her father strutting back into the
sickroom saying :
" Damned Italians ! coming over here ! "
As she mused the pitiful vision of her mothers
life laid its spell on the very quick of her being —
that life of commonplace sacrifices closing in final
craziness. She trembled as she heard again her
mother's voice saying constantly with foolish in-
" Derevaun Seraun I Derevaun Seraun ! "
She stood up in a sudden impulse of terror.
Escape! She must escape I Frank would save
her. He would give her life, perhaps love, too.
But she wanted to live. Why should she be un-
happy? She had a right to happiness. Frank
would take her in his arms, fold her in his arms.
He would save her.
She stood among the swaying crowd in the sta-
tion at the Xorth Wall. He held her hand and
she knew that he was speaking to her, saying
something about the passage over and over again.
The station was full of soldiers with brown bag-
gages. Through the wide doors of the sheds she
caught a glimpse of the black mass of the boat,
lying in beside the quay wall, with illumined port-
holes. She answered nothing. She felt her
cheek pale and cold and, out of a maze of distress,
she prayed to God to direct her, to show her what
was her duty. The boat blew a long mournful
whistle into the mist. If she went, to-morrow
she would be on the sea with Frank, steaming to-
wards Buenos Ayres. Their passage had been
booked. Could she still draw back after all he
had done for her? Her distress awoke a nausea
in her body and she kept moving her lips in silent
A bell clanged upon her heart. She felt him
seize her hand :
All the seas of the world tumbled about her
heart. He was drawing her into them : he would
drown her. She gripped with both hands at the
" Come ! "
No ! No ! No ! It was impossible. Her hands
clutched the iron in frenzy. Amid the seas she
sent a cry of anguish !
He rushed beyond the barrier and called to her
to follow. He was shouted at to go on but he
still called to her. She set her white face to him,
passive, like a helpless animal. Her eyes gave
him no sign of love or farewell or recognition.
AFTER THE RACE
The cars came scudding in towards Dublin, run-
ning evenly like pellets in the groove of the Naas
Road. At the crest of the hill at Inchicore sight-
seers had gathered in clumps to watch the cars
careering homeward and through this channel of
poverty and inaction the Continent sped its
wealth and industry. Now and again the clumps
of people raised the cheer of the gratefully op-
pressed. Their sympathy, however, was for the
blue cars — the cai*s of their friends, the French.
The French, moreover, were virtual victors.
Their team had finished solidly; they had been
placed second and third and the driver of the win-
ning German car was reported a Belgian. Each
blue car, therefore, received a double measure of
welcome as it topped the crest of the hill and
each cheer of welcome was acknowledged with
smiles and nods by those in the car. In one of
these trimly built cars was a party of four young
men whose spirits seemed to be at present well
above the level of successful Gallicism : in fact,
these four young men were almost hilarious.
They were Charles Segouin, the owner of the car ;
Andr^ Riviere, a young electrician of Canadian
birth; a huge Hungarian named Villona and a
neatly groomed young man named Doyle. Se-
gouin was in good humour because he had unex-
pectedly received some orders in advance (he
was about to start a motor establishment in
Paris) and Riviere was in good humour because
he was to be appointed manager of the establish-
ment; these two young men (who were cousins)
were also in good humour because of the success
of the French cars. Villona was in good humour
because he had had a very satisfactory luncheon ;
and besides he was an optimist by nature. The
fourth member of the party, however, was too
excited to be genuinely happy.
He was about twenty-six years of age, with a
soft, light brown moustache and rather innocent-
looking grey eyes. His father, who had begun
life as an advanced Nationalist, had modified his
views early. He had made his money as a
butcher in Kingstown and by opening shops in
Dublin and in the suburbs he had made his money
many times over. He had also been fortunate
enough to secure some of the police contracts and
in the end he had become rich enough to be al-
luded to in the Dublin newspapers as a merchant
prince. He had sent his son to England to be
educated in a big Catholic college and had after-
wards sent him to Dublin University to study
law. Jimmy did not study very earnestly and
took to bad courses for a while. He had money
and he was popular ; and he divided his time curi-
ously between musical and motoring circles.
Then he had been sent for a term to Cambridge
to see a little life. His father, remonstrative, but
covertly proud of the excess, had paid his bills
AFTER THE RACE 51
and brought him home. It was at Cambridge
that he had met Segouin. They were not much
more than acquaintances as yet but Jimmy found
great pleasure in the society of one who had seen
so much of the world and was reputed to own
some of the biggest hotels in France. Such a
person (as his father agi'eed) was well worth
knowing, even if he had not been the charming
companion he was. Villona was entertaining
also — a brilliant pianist — but, unfortunately,
The car ran on merrily with its cargo of hilari-
ous youth. The two cousins sat on the front
seat; Jimmy and his Hungarian friend sat be-
hind. Decidedly Villona was in excellent spirits ;
he kept up a deep bass hum of melody for miles
of the road. The Frenchmen flung their laughter
and light words over their shoulders and often
Jimmy had to strain forward to catch the quick
phrase. This was not altogether pleasant for
him, as he had nearly always to make a deft guess
at the meaning and shout back a suitable answer
in the face of a high wind. Besides Villona's
humming would confuse anybody; the noise of
the car, too.
Rapid motion through space elates one ; so does
notoriety; so does the possession of money.
These were three good reasons for Jimmy's ex-
citement. He had been seen by many of his
friends that day in the company of these Conti-
nentals. At the control Segouin had presented
him to one of the French competitors and, in an-
swer to his confused murmur of compliment, the
swarthy face of the driver had disclosed a line of
shining white teeth. It was pleasant after that
honour to return to the profane world of spec-
tators amid nudges and significant looks. Then
as to money — he really had a great sum under
his control. Segouin, perhaps, would not think
it a great sum but Jimmy who, in spite of tempo-
rary errors, was at heart the inheritor of solid
instincts knew well with what difficulty it had
been got together. This knowledge had previ-
ously kept his bills within the limits of reasona-
ble recklessness and, if he had been so conscious
of the labour latent in money when there had
been question merely of some freak of the higher
intelligence, how much more so now when he was
about to stake the greater part of his substance !
It was a serious thing for him.
Of course, the investment was a good one and
Segouin had managed to give the impression that
it was by a favour of friendship the mite of Irish
money was to be included in the capital of the
concern. Jimmy had a respect for his father's
shrewdness in business matters and in this case
it had been his father who had first suggested the
investment ; money to be made in the motor busi-
ness, pots of money. Moreover Segouin had the
unmistakable air of wealth. Jimmy set out to
translate into days' work that lordly car in which
he sat. How smoothly it ran. In what style
they had come careering along the country roads I
The journey laid a magical finger on the genuine
AFTER THE RACE 53
pulse of liie and gallantly the machinery of hu-
man nerves strove to answer the bounding
courses of the swift blue animal.
They drove down Dame Street. The street
was busy with unusual traffic, loud with the
horns of motorists and the gongs of impatient
tram-drivers. Xear the Bank Segouin drew up
and Jimmy and his friend alighted. A little
knot of people collected on the footpath to pay
homage to the snorting motor. The party was
to dine together that evening in Segouin's hotel
and, meanwhile, Jimmy and his friend, who was
staying with him, were to go home to dress. The
car steered out slowly for Grafton Street while
the two young men pushed their way through the
knot of gazers. They walked northward with a
curious feeling of disappointment in the exercise,
while the city hung its pale globes of light above
them in a haze of summer evening.
In Jimmy's house this dinner had been pro-
nounced an occasion, A certain pride mingled
with his parents' trepidation, a certain eagerness,
also, to play fast and loose for the names of great
foreign cities have at least this virtue. Jimmy,
too, looked very well when he was dressed and, as
he stood in the hall giving a last equation to the
bows of his dress tie, his father may have felt
even commercially satisfied at having secured for
his son qualities often unpurchaseable. His fa-
ther, therefore, was unusually friendly with Vil-
lona and his manner expressed a real respect for
foreign accomplishments ; but this subtlety of his
host was probably lost upon the Hungarian, who
was beginning to have a sharp desire for his
The dinner was excellent, exquisite. Segouin,
Jimmy decided, had a very refined taste. The
party was increased by a young Englishman
named Routh whom Jimmy had seen with Se-
gouin at Cambridge. The young men supped in
a snug room lit by electric candle lamps. They
talked volubly and with little reserve. Jimmy,
whose imagination was kindling, conceived the
lively youth of the Frenchmen twined elegantly
upon the firm framework of the Englishman's
manner. A graceful image of his, he thought,
and a just one. He admired the dexterity with
which their host directed the conversation. The
five young men had various tastes and their
tongues had been loosened. Villona, with im-
mense respect, began to discover to the mildly
surprised Englishman the beauties of the English
madrigal, deploring the loss of old instruments.
Riviere, not wholly ingenuously, undertook to ex-
plain to Jimmy the triumph of the French mecha-,
nicians. The resonant voice of the Hungarian
was about to prevail in ridicule of the spurious
lutes of the romantic painters when Segouin
shepherded his party into politics. Here was
congenial ground for all. Jimmy, under gener-
ous influences, felt the buried zeal of his father
wake to life within him: he aroused the torpid
Routh at last. The room grew doubly hot and
Segouin's task grew harder each moment: there
AFTER THE RACE 56
was even danger of personal spite. The alert
host at an opportunity lifted his glass to Human-
ity and, when the toast had been drunk, he threw
open a window significantly.
That night the city wore the mask of a capital.
The five young men strolled along Stephen's
Green in a faint cloud of aromatic smoke. They
talked loudly and gaily and their cloaks dangled
from their shoulders. The people made way for
them. At the corner of Grafton Street a short
fat man was putting two handsome ladies on a
car in charge of another fat man. The car drove
off and the short fat man caught sight of the
A torrent of talk followed. Farley was an
American. No one knew very well what the talk
was about. Villona and Riviere were the noisi-
est, but all the men were excited. They got up
on a car, squeezing themselves together amid
much laughter. They drove by the crowd,
blended now into soft colours, to a music of
merry bells. They took the train at Westland
Row and in a few seconds, as it seemed to Jimmy,
they were walking out of Kingstown Station.
The ticket-collector saluted Jimmy; he was an
old man :
" Fine night, sir ! "
It was a serene summer night ; the harbour lay
like a darkened mirror at their feet. They pro-
ceeded towards it with linked arms, singing
Cadet Romsel in chorus, stamping their feet at
'^ Ha! Ho! Hohe,vraiment!"
They got into a rowboat at the slip and made
out for the American's yacht. There was to be
supper, music, cards. Villona said with convic-
"It is delightful !''
There was a yacht piano in the cabin. Vil-
lona played a waltz for Farley and Riviere, Far-
ley acting as cavalier and Eiviere as lady. Then
an impromptu square dance, the men devising
original figures. What merriment! Jimmy
took his part with a will ; this was seeing life, at
least. Then Farley got out of breath and cried
" Stop! " A man brought in a light supper, and
the young men sat down to it for form's sake.
They drank, however: it was Bohemian. They
drank Ireland, England, France, Hungary, the
United States of America. Jimmy made a
speech, a long speech, Villona saying: "Hear!
hear! " whenever there was a pause. There was
a great clapping of hands when he sat down. It
must have been a good speech. Farley clapped
him on the back and laughed loudly. What
jovial fellows ! What good company they were !
Cards! cards! The table was cleared. Vil-
lona returned quietly to his piano and played
voluntaries for them. The other men played
game after game, flinging themselves boldly into
the adventure. They drank the health of the
Queen of Hearts and of the Queen of Diamonds.
AFTER THE RACE 57
Jimmy felt obscurely the lack of an audience:
the wit was flashing. Play ran very high and
paper began to pass. Jimmy did not know ex-
actly who was winning but he knew that he was
losing. But it was his own fault for he fre-
quently mistook his cards and the other men had
' to calculate his I.O.U.'s for him. They were
devils of fellows but he wished they would stop :
it was getting late. Someone gave the toast of
the yacht The Belle of Xeicport and then some-
one proposed one great game for a finish.
The piano had stopped; Villona must have
gone up on deck. It was a terrible game. They
stopped just before the end of it to drink for
luck. Jimmy understood that the game lay be-
tween Routh and Segouin. What excitement!
Jimmy was excited too ; he would lose, of course.
How much had he written away? The men rose
to their feet to play the last tricks, talking and
gesticulating. Routh won. The cabin shook
with the young men's cheering and the cards
were bundled together. They began then to
gather in what they had won, Farley and
Jimmy were the heaviest losers.
He knew that he would regret in the morning
but at present he was glad of the rest, glad of the
dark stupor that would cover up his folly. He
leaned his elbows on the table and rested his
head between his hands, counting the beats of his
temples. The cabin door opened and he saw the
Hungarian standing in a shaft of grey light :
" Daybreak, gentlemen I ''
The grey warm evening of August had descended
upon the city and a mild warm air, a memory of
summer, circulated in the streets. The streets,
shuttered for the repose of Sunday, swarmed with
a gaily coloured crowd. Like illumined pearls
the lamps shone from the summits of their tall
poles upon the living texture below which, chang-
ing shape and hue unceasingly, sent up into the
warm grey evening air an unchanging, unceasing
Two young men came down the hill of Rutland
Square. One of them was just bringing a long
monologue to a close. The other, who walked on
the verge of the path and was at times obliged to
step on to the road, owing to his companion's
rudeness, wore an amused listening face. He
was squat and ruddy. A yachting cap was
shoved far back from his forehead and the nar-
rative to which he listened made constant waves
of expression break forth over his face from the
corners of his nose and eyes and mouth. Little
jets of wheezing laughter followed one another
out of his convulsed body. His eyes, twinkling
with cunning enjoyment, glanced at every mo-
ment towards his companion's face. Once or
TWO GALLANTS 59
twice he rearranged the light waterproof which
he had slung over one shoulder in toreador fash-
ion. His breeches, his white rubber shoes and
his jauntily slung waterproof expressed youth.
But his figure fell into rotundity at the waist, his
hair was scant and grey and his face, when the
waves of expression had passed over it, had a
When he was quite sure that the narrative had
ended he laughed noiselessly for fully half a min-
ute. Then he said :
" Well ! . . . That takes the biscuit ! "
His voice seemed winnowed of vigour; and to
enforce his words he added with humour :
" That takes the solitary, unique, and, if I may
so call it, recherche biscuit I "
He became serious and silent when he had said
this. His tongue was tired for he had been talk-
ing all the afternoon in a public-house in Dorset
Street. Most people considered Lenehan a leech
but, in spite of this reputation, his adroitness
and eloquence had always prevented his friends
from forming any general policy against him.
He had a brave manner of coming up to a party
of them in a bar and of holding himself nimbly
at the borders of the company until he was in-
cluded in a round. He was a sporting vagrant
armed with a vast stock of stories, limericks and
riddles. He was insensitive to all kinds of dis-
courtesy. No one knew how he achieved the
stern task of living, but his name was vaguely
associated with racing tissues.
" And where did you pick her up, Corley? " he
Corley ran his tongue swiftly along his upper
" One night, man," he said, " I was going along
Dame Street and I spotted a fine tart under
Waterhouse's clock and said good-night, you
know. So we went for a walk round by the
canal and she told me she was a slavey in a house
in Baggot Street. I put my arm round her and
squeezed her a bit that night. Then next Sun-
day, man, I met her by appointment. We went
out to Donnybrook and I brought her into a field
there. She told me she used to go with a dairy-
man. ... It was fine, man. Cigarettes every
night she'd bring me and paying the tram out
and back. And one night she brought me two
bloody fine cigars — O, the real cheese, you know,
that the old fellow used to smoke. ... I was
afraid, man, she'd get in the family way. But
she's up to the dodge."
" Maybe she thinks you'll marry her," said
" I told her I was out of a job," said Corley.
" I told her I was in Pim's. She doesn't know
my name. I was too hairy to tell her that. But
she thinks I'm a bit of class, you know."
Lenehan laughed again, noiselessly.
" Of all the good ones ever I heard," he said,
" that emphatically takes the biscuit."
Corley's stride acknowledged the compliment.
TWO GALLANTS 61
The swing of his burly body made his friend ex-
ecute a few light skips from the path to the road-
way and back again. Corley was the son of an
inspector of police and he had inherited his fa-
ther's frame and gait. He walked with his
hands by his sides, holding himself erect and
swaying his head from side to side. His head
was large, globular and oily; it sweated in all
weathers; and his large round hat, set upon it
sideways, looked like a bulb which had grown out
of another. He always stared straight before
him as if he were on parade and, when he wished
to gaze after someone in the street, it was neces-
sary for him to move his body from the hips. At
present he was about town. Whenever any job
was vacant a friend was always ready to give him
the hard word. He was often to be seen walking
with policemen in plain clothes, talking earn-
estly. He knew the inner side of all affairs and
was fond of delivering final judgments. He
spoke without listening to the speech of his com-
panions. His conversation was mainly about
himself: what he had said to such a person and
what such a person had said to him and what he
had said to settle the matter. When he reported
these dialogues he aspirated the first letter of his
name after the manner of Florentines.
Lenehan offered his friend a cigarette. As the
two young men walked on through the crowd
Corley occasionally turned to smile at some of
the passing girls but Lenehan's gaze was fixed on
the large faint moon circled with a double halo.
He watched earnestly the passing of the grey web
of twilight across its face. At length he said :
" Well . . . tell me, Corley, I suppose you'll be
able to pull it off all right, eh? "
Corley closed one eye expressively as an an-
" Is she game for that? " asked Lenehan dubi-
ously. " You can never know women."
" She's all right," said Corley. " I know the
way to get around her, man. She's a bit gone on
" You're what I call a gay Lothario," said Len-
ehan. "And the proper kind of a Lothario,
A shade of mockery relieved the servility of his
manner. To save himself he had the habit of
leaving his flattery open to the interpretation of
raillery. But Corley had not a subtle mind.
" There's nothing to touch a good slavey," he
affirmed. " Take my tip for it."
"By one who has tried them all," said Lenehan.
" First I used to go with girls, you know," said
Corley, unbosoming ; " girls ofif the South Circu-
lar. I used to take them out, man, on the tram
somewhere and pay the tram or take them to a
band or a play at the theatre or buy them choco-
late and sweets or something that way. I used
to spend money on them right enough," he added,
in a convincing tone, as if he was conscious of
TWO GALLANTS 63
But Lenehan could well belieTe it; he nodded
" I know that game," he said, " and it's a mug's
'* And damn the thing I ever got out of it," said
" Ditto here," said Lenehan.
" Only off of one of them," said Corley.
He moistened his upper lip by running his
tongue along it. The recollection brightened his
eyes. He too gazed at the pale disc of the moon,
now nearly veiled, and seemed to meditate.
" She was ... a bit of all right," he said re-
He was silent again. Then he added :
" She's on the turf now. I saw her driving
down Earl Street one night with two fellows
with her on a car."
" I suppose that's your doing," said Lenehan.
" There was others at her before me," said Cor-
This time Lenehan was inclined to disbelieve.
He shook his head to and fro and smiled.
" You know you can't kid me, Corley," he said.
" Honest to God ! " said Corley. " Didn't she
tell me herself? "
Lenehan made a tragic gesture.
" Base betrayer I " he said.
As they passed along the railings of Trinity
College, Lenehan skipped out into the road and
peered up at the clock.
" Twenty after," he said.
" Time enough," said Corley. " She'll be there
all right. I always let her wait a bit."
Lenehan laughed quietly.
" Ecod ! Corley, you know how to take them,"
" I'm up to all their little tricks," Corley con-
" But tell me," said Lenehan again, " are you
sure you can bring it off all right? You know
it's a ticklish job. They're damn close on that
point. Eh? . . . What?"
His bright, small eyes searched his compan-
ion's face for reassurance. Corley swung his
head to and fro as if to toss aside an insistent
insect, and his brows gathered.
" I'll pull it off," he said. " Leave it to me,
Lenehan said no more. He did not wish to
ruffle his friend's temper, to be sent to the devil
and told that his advice was not wanted. A lit-
tle tact was necessary. But Corley's brow was
soon smooth again. His thoughts were running
" She's a fine decent tart," he said, with appre-
ciation ; " that's what she is."
They walked along Nassau Street and then
turned into Kildare Street. Not far from the
porch of the club a harpist stood in the roadway,
playing to a little ring of listeners. He plucked
at the wires heedlessly, glancing quickly from
time to time at the face of each new-comer and
TWO GALLANTS 65
from time to time, wearily also, at the sky. His
harp, too, heedless that her coverings had fallen
about her knees, seemed weary alike of the eyes
of strangers and of her master's hands. One
hand played in the bass the melody of Silent^ O
Moyle, while the other hand careered in the
treble after each group of notes. The notes of
the air sounded deep and full.
The two young men walked up the street with-
out speaking, the mournful music following them.
When they reached Stephen's Green they crossed
the road. Here the noise of trams, the lights and
the crowd released them from their silence.
" There she is ! " said Corley.
At the corner of Hume Street a young woman
was standing. She wore a blue dress and a white
sailor hat. She stood on the curbstone, swinging
a sunshade in one hand. Lenehan grew lively.
" Let's have a look at her, Corley," he said.
Corley glanced sideways at his friend and an
unpleasant grin appeared on his face.
" Are you trying to get inside me? " he
" Damn it ! ' ' said Lenehan boldly, " I don't
want an introduction. All I want is to have a
look at her. I'm not going to eat her.''
" O . . . A look at her? " said Corley, more
amiably. " Well . . . I'll tell you what. ' I'll go
over and talk to her and you can pass by."
" Right ! " said Lenehan.
Corley had already thrown one leg over the
chains when Lenehan called out:
" And after? Where will we meet? "
" Half ten," answered Corley, bringing over his
" Corner of Merrion Street. We'll be coming
" Work it all right now," said Lenehan in fare-
Corley did not answer. He sauntered across
the road swaying his head from side to side. His
bulk, his easy pace, and the solid sound of his
boots had something of the conqueror in them.
He approached the young woman and, without
saluting, began at once to converse with her.
She swung her umbrella more quickly and exe-
cuted half turns on her heels. Once or twice
when he spoke to her at close quarters she
laughed and bent her head.
Lenehan observed them for a few minutes.
Then he walked rapidly along beside the chains
at some distance and crossed the road obliquely.
As he approached Hume Street corner he found
the air heavily scented and his eyes made a swift
anxious scrutiny of the young woman's appear-
ance. She had her Sunday finery on. Her blue
serge skirt was held at the waist by a belt of
black leather. The great silver buckle of her
belt seemed to depress the centre of her body,
catching the light stuff of her white blouse like a
clip. She wore a short black jacket with mother-
of-pearl buttons and a ragged black boa. The
ends of her tulle collarette had been carefully
TWO GALLANTS 67
disordered and a big bunch of red flowers was
pinned in her bosom stems upwards. Lenehan's
eyes noted approvingly her stout short muscular
body. Frank rude health glowed in her face, on
her fat red cheeks and in her unabashed blue
eyes. Her features were blunt. She had broad
nostrils, a straggling mouth which lay open in a
contented leer, and two projecting front teeth.
As he passed Lenehan took off his cap and, after
about ten seconds, Corley returned a salute to the
air. This he did by raising his hand vaguely and
pensively changing the angle of position of his
Lenehan walked as far as the Shelbourne Hotel
where he halted and waited. After waiting for
a little time he saw them coming towards him
and, when they turned to the right, he followed
them, stepping lightly in his w^hite shoes, down
one side of Merrion Square. As he walked on
slowly, timing his pace to theirs, he watched Cor-
ley's head which turned at every moment towards
the young woman's face like a big ball revolving
on a pivot. He kept the pair in view until he
had seen them climbing the stairs of the Donny-
brook tram ; then he turned about and went back
the way he had come.
Now that he was alone his face looked older.
His gaiety seemed to forsake him and, as he came
by the railings of the Duke's Lawn, he allowed
his hand to run along them. The air which the
harpist had played began to control his move-
ments. His softly padded feet played the melody
while his fingers swept a scale of variations idly
along the railings after each group of notes.
He walked listlessly round Stephen's Green
and then down Grafton Street. Though his eyes
took note of many elements of the crowd through
which he passed they did so morosely. He found
trivial all that was meant to charm him and did
not answer the glances which invited him to be
bold. He knew that he would have to speak a
great deal, to invent and to amuse, and his brain
and throat were too dry for such a task. The
problem of how he could pass the hours till he met
Corley again troubled him a little. He could
think of no way of passing them but to keep on
walking. He turned to the left when he came to
the corner of Rutland Square and felt more at
ease in the dark quiet street, the sombre look of
which suited his mood. He paused at last before
the window of a poor-looking shop over which the
words Refreshment Bar were printed in white let-
ters. On the glass of the window were two flying
inscriptions: Ginger Beer and Ginger Ale. A
cut ham was exposed on a great blue dish while
near it on a plate lay a segment of very light
plum-pudding. He eyed this food earnestly for
some time and then, after glancing warily up and
down the street, went into the shop quickly.
He was hungry for, except some biscuits which
he had asked two grudging curates to bring him,
he had eaten nothing since breakfast-time. He
sat down at an uncovered wooden table opposite
TWO GALLANTS 69
two work-girls and a mechanic. A slatternly girl
waited on him.
" How much is a plate of peas? " he asked.
" Three halfpence, sir," said the girl.
" Bring me a plate of peas," he said, " and a
bottle of ginger beer."
He spoke roughly in order to belie his air of
gentility for his entry had been followed by
a pause of talk. His face was heated. To ap-
pear natural he pushed his cap back on his head
and planted his elbows on the table. The me-
chanic and the two work-girls examined him point
by point before resuming their conversation in a
subdued voice. The girl brought him a plate of
grocer's hot peas, seasoned with pepper and
vinegar, a fork and his ginger beer. He ate his
food greedily and found it so good that he made a
note of the shop mentally. When he had eaten
all the peas he sipped his ginger beer and sat for
some time thinking of Corley's adventure. In his
imagination he beheld the pair of lovers walking
along some dark road ; he heard Corley's voice in
deep energetic gallantries and saw again the leer
of the young woman's mouth. This vision made
him feel keenly his own poverty of purse and
spirit. He was tired of knocking about, of pull-
ing the devil by the tail, of shifts and intrigues.
He would be thirty-one in November. Would he
never get a good job? Would he never have a
home of his own? He thought how pleasant it
would be to have a warm fire to sit by and a good
dinner to sit down to. He had walked the streets
long enough with friends and with girls. He
knew what those friends were worth : he knew the
girls too. Experience had embittered his heart
against the world. But all hope had not left him.
He felt better after having eaten than he had felt
before, less weary of his life, less vanquished in
spirit. He might yet be able to settle down in
some snug corner and live happily if he could only
come across some good simple-minded girl with a
little of the ready.
He paid twopence halfpenny to the slatternly
girl and went out of the shop to begin his wan-
dering again. He went into Capel Street and
walked along towards the City Hall. Then he
turned into Dame Street. At the corner
of George's Street he met two friends of his and
stopped to converse with them. He was glad that
he could rest from all his walking. His friends
asked him had he seen Corley and what was the
latest. He replied that he had spent the day with
Corley. His friends talked very little. They
looked vacantly after some figures in the crowd
and sometimes made a critical remark. One said
that he had seen Mac an hour before in Westmore-
land Street. At this Lenehan said that he had
been with Mac the night before in Egan's. The
young man who had seen Mac in Westmoreland
Street asked was it true that Mac had won a bit
over a billiard match. Lenehan did not know:
he said that Holohan had stood them drinks in
TWO GALLANTS 71
He left his friends at a quarter to ten and went
np George's Street. He turned to the left at the
City Markets and walked on into Grafton Street.
The crowd of girls and young men had thinned
and on his way up the street he heard many
groups and couples bidding one another good-
night. He went as far as the clock of the College
of Surgeons : it was on the stroke of ten. He set
off briskly along the northern side of the Green
hurrying for fear Corley should return too soon.
When he reached the corner of Merrion Street he
took his stand in the shadow of a lamp and
brought out one of the cigarettes which he had re-
served and lit it. He leaned against the lamp-
post and kept his gaze fixed on the part from
which he expected to see Corley and the young
His mind became active again. He wondered
had Corley managed it successfully. He won-
dered if he had asked her yet or if he would leave
it to the last. He suffered all the pangs and thrills
of his friend's situation as well as those of his
own. But the memory of Corley's slowly revolv-
ing head calmed him somewhat : he was sure Cor-
ley would pull it off all right. All at once the idea
struck him that perhaps Corley had seen her home
by another way and given him the slip. His eyes
searched the street : there was no sign of them.
Yet it was surely half-an-hour since he had seen
the clock of the College of Surgeons. Would
Corley do a thing like that? He lit his last ciga-
rette and began to smoke it nervously. He
strained his eyes as each tram stopped at the far
corner of the square. They must have gone home
by another way. The paper of his cigarette broke
and he flung it into the road with a curse.
Suddenly he saw them coming towards him.
He started with delight and keeping close to his
lamp-post tried to read the result in their walk.
They were walking quickly, the young woman tak-
ing quick short steps, while Corley kept beside her
with his long stride. They did not seem to be
speaking. An intimation of the result pricked
him like the point o.f a sharp instrument. He
knew Corley would fail ; he knew it was no go.
They turned down Baggot Street and he fol-
lowed them at once, taking the other footpath.
When they stopped he stopped too. They talked
for a few moments and then the young woman
went down the steps into the area of a house.
Corley remained standing at the edge of the path,
a little distance from the front steps. Some min-
utes passed. Then the hall-door was opened
slowly and cautiously. A woman came running
down the front steps and coughed. Corley
turned and went towards her. His broad figure
hid hers from view for a few seconds and then she
reappeared running up the steps. The door
closed on her and Corley began to walk swiftly
towards Stephen's Green.
Lenehan hurried on in the same direction.
Some drops of light rain fell. He took them as a
warning and, glancing back towards the house
which the young woman had entered to see that
TWO GALLANTS 73
he was not observed, he ran eagerly across the
road. Anxiety and his swift run made him pant.
He called out :
Corley turned his head to see who had called
him, and then continued walking as before.
Lenehan ran after him, settling the waterproof on
his shoulders with one hand.
" Hallo, Corley I " he cried again.
He came level vrith his friend and looked keenly
in his face. He could see nothing there.
" Well ? " he said. " Did it come oflf ? "
They had reached the corner of Ely Place.
Still without answering Corley swerved to the left
and went up the side street. His features were
composed in stern calm. Lenehan kept up with
his friend, breathing uneasily. He was baffled
and a note of menace pierced through his voice.
" Can't you tell us? " he said. " Did you try
Corley halted at the first lamp and stared
grimly before him. Then with a grave gesture he
extended a hand towards the light and, smiling,
opened it slowly to the gaze of his disciple. A
small gold coin shone in the palm.
THE BOARDING HOUSE
Mes. Mooney was a butcher's daughter. She
was a woman who was quite able to keep things to
herself : a determined woman. She had married
her father's foreman and opened a butcher's shop
near Spring Gardens. But as soon as his father-
in-law was dead Mr. Mooney began to go to the
devil. He drank, plundered the till, ran head-
long into debt. It was no use making him take
the pledge : he was sure to break out again a few
days after. By fighting his wife in the presence
of customers and by buying bad meat he ruined
his business. One night he went for his wife
with the cleaver and she had to sleep in a neigh-
After that they lived apart. She went to the
priest and got a separation from him with care of
the children. She would give him neither money
nor food nor house-room ; and so he was obliged to
enlist himself as a sheriff's man. He was a
shabby stooped little drunkard with a white face
and a white moustache and white eyebrows, pen-
cilled above his little eyes, which were pink-veined
and raw ; and all day long he sat in the bailiff's
room, waiting to be put on a job. Mrs. Mooney,
who had taken what remained of her money out
of the butcher business and set up a boarding-
THE BOARDING HOUSE 75
house in Hardwicke Street, was a big imposing
woman. Her house had a floating population
made up of tourists from Liverpool and the Isle
of Man and, occasionally, artistes from the music
halls. Its resident population was made up of
clerks from the city. She governed the house
cunningly and firmly, knew when to give credit,
when to be stern and when to let things pass. All
the resident young men spoke of her as The
Mrs. Mooney's young men paid fifteen shillings
a week for board and lodgings (beer or stout at
dinner excluded). They shared in common
tastes and occupations and for this reason they
were very chummy with one another. They dis-
cussed with one another the chances of favourites
and outsiders. Jack Mooney, the Madam's son,
who was clerk to a commission agent in Fleet
Sti'eet, had the reputation of being a hard case.
He was fond of using soldiers' obscenities:
usually he came home in the small hours. When
he met his friends he had always a good one to
tell them and he was always sure to be on to a
good thing — that is to say, a likely horse or a
likely artiste. He was also handy with the mits
and sang comic songs. On Sunday nights there
would often be a reunion in Mrs. Mooney's front
drawing-room. The music-hall artistes would
oblige; and Sheridan played waltzes and polkas
and vamped accompaniments. Polly Mooney,
the Madam's daughter, would also sing. She
" I'm a . . . naughty girl.
You needn't sham:
You know I am."
Polly was a slim girl of nineteen ; she had light
soft hair and a small full mouth. Her eyes,
which were grey with a shade of green through
them, had a habit of glancing upwards when she
spoke with anyone, which made her look like a
little perverse madonna. Mrs. Mooney had first
sent her daughter to be a typist in a corn-factor's
office but, as a disreputable sheriff's man used to
come every other day to the office, asking to be
allowed to say a word to his daughter, she had
taken her daughter home again and set her to do
housework. As Polly was very lively the inten-
tion was to give her the run of the young men.
Besides, young men like to feel that there is a
young woman not very far away. Polly, of
course, flirted with the young men but Mrs.
Mooney, who was a shrewd judge, knew that the
young men were only passing the time away : none
of them meant business. Things went on so for a
long time and Mrs. Mooney began to think of
sending Polly back to typewriting when she no-
ticed that something was going on between Polly
and one of the young men. She watched the pair
and kept her own counsel.
Polly knew that she was being watched, but still
her mother's persistent silence could not be mis-
understood. There had been no open complicity
between mother and daughter, no open under-
standing but, though people in the house began to
THE BOARDING HOUSE 77
talk of the affair, still Mrs. Mooney did not inter-
vene. Polly began to grow a little strange in her
manner and the young man was evidently per-
turbed. At last, when she judged it to be the
right moment, Mrs. Mooney intervened. She
dealt with moral problems as a cleaver deals with
meat : and in this case she had made up her mind.
It was a bright Sunday morning of early sum-
mer, promising heat, but with a fresh breeze blow-
ing. All the windows of the boarding house were
open and the lace curtains ballooned gently to-
wards the street beneath the raised sashes. The
belfry of George's Church sent out constant peals
and worshippers, singly or in groups, traversed
the little circus before the church, revealing their
purpose by their self-contained demeanour no less
than by the little volumes in their gloved hands.
Breakfast was over in the boarding house and the
table of the breakfast-room was covered with
plates on which lay yellow streaks of eggs with
morsels of bacon-fat and bacon-rind. Mrs.
Mooney sat in the straw arm-chair and watched
the servant Mary remove the breakfast things.
She made Mary collect the 2rusts and pieces of
broken bread to help to make Tuesday's bread-
pudding. When the table was cleared, the
broken bread collected, the sugar and butter safe
under lock and key, she began to reconstruct the
interview which she had had the night before
with Polly. Things were as she had suspected:
she had been frank in her questions and Polly
had been frank in her answers. Both had been
somewhat awkward, of course. She had been
made awkward by her not wishing to receive the
news in too cavalier a fashion or to seem to have
connived and Polly had been made awkward not
merely because allusions of that kind always
made her awkward but also because she did not
wish it to be thought that in her wise innocence
she had divined the intention behind her mother's
Mrs. Mooney glanced instinctively at the little
gilt clock on the mantelpiece as soon as she had
become aware through her re very that the bells of
George's Church had stopped ringing. It was
seventeen minutes past eleven: she would have
lots of time to have the matter out with Mr. Doran
and then catch short twelve at Marlborough
Street. She was sure she would win. To begin
with she had all the weight of social opinion on
her side : she was an outraged mother. She had
allowed him to live beneath her roof, assuming
that he was a man of honour, and he had simply
abused her hospitality. He was thirty-four or
thirty-five years of age, so that youth could not
be pleaded as his excuse ; nor could ignorance be
his excuse since he was a man who had seen some-
thing of the world. He had simply taken ad-
vantage of Polly's youth and inexperience : that
was evident. The question was : What repara-
tion would he make?
There must be reparation made in such case.
It is all very well for the man : he can go his ways
as if nothing had happened, having had his mo*
THE BOARDING HOUSE 79
ment of pleasure, but the girl has to bear the
brunt. Some mothers would be content to patch
up such an affair for a sum of money; she had
known cases of it. But she would not do so.
For her only one reparation could make up for
the loss of her daughter's honour : marriage.
She counted all her cards again before sending
Mary up to Mr. Doran's room to say that she
wished to speak with him. She felt sure she
would win. He was a serious young man, not
rakish or loud-voiced like the others. If it had
been Mr. Sheridan or Mr. Meade or Bantam
Lyons her task would have been much harder.
She did not think be would face publicity.
All the lodgers in the house knew something of
the affair; details had been invented by some.
Besides, he had been employed for thirteen years
in a great Catholic wine-merchant's oflSce and
publicity would mean for him, perhaps, the loss
of his job. Whereas if he agreed all might be
well. She knew he had a good screw for one
thing and she suspected he had a bit of stuff put
Xearly the half -hour! She stood up and sur-
veyed herself in the pier-glass. The decisive ex-
pression of her great florid face satisfied her and
she thought of some mothers she knew who could
not get their daughters off their hands.
Mr. Doran was very anxious indeed this Sun-
day morning. He had made two attempts to
shave but his hand had been so unsteady that he
had been obliged to desist. Three days' reddish
beard fringed his jaws and every two or three
minutes a mist gathered on his glasses so that he
had to take them off and polish them with his
pocket-handkerchief. The recollection of his con-
fession of the night before was a cause of acute
pain to him; the priest had drawn out every
ridiculous detail of the affair and in the end had
so magnified his dn that he was almost thankful
at being afforded a loophole of reparation. The
harm was done. What could he do now but
marry her or run away? He could not brazen it
out. The affair would be sure to be talked of and
his employer would be certain to hear of it.
Dublin is such a small city: everyone knows
everyone else's business. He felt his heart leap
warmly in his throat as he heard in his excited
imagination old Mr. Leonard calling out in his
rasping voice : " Send Mr. Doran here, please."
All his long years of service gone for nothing I
All his industry and diligence thrown away ! As
a young man he had sown his wild oats, of course ;
he had boasted of his free-thinking and denied the
existence of God to his companions in public-
houses. But that was all passed and done with
. . . nearly. He still bought a copy of Rey-
nolds's Newspaper every week but he attended to
his religious duties and for nine-tenths of the year
lived a regular life. He had money enough to
settle down on ; it was not that. But the family
would look down on her. First of all there was
her disreputable father and then her mother's
boarding house was beginning to get a certain
THE BOARDING HOUSE 81
fame. He had a notion that he was being had.
He could imagine his friends talking of the affair
and laughing. She was a little vulgar; some
times she said " I seen " and " If I had've known."
But what would grammar matter if he really
loved her? He could not make up his mind
whether to like her or despise her for what she
had done. Of course he had done it too. His
instinct urged him to remain free, not to marry.
Once you are married you are done for, it said.
While he was sitting helplessly on the side of
the bed in shirt and trousers she tapped lightly at
his door and entered. She told him all, that she
had made a clean breast of it to her mother and
that her mother would speak with him that morn-
ing. She cried and threw her arms round his
neck, saying :
"O Bob! Bob I What am I to do? What
am I to do at all?"
She would put an end to herself, she said.
He comforted her feebly, telling her not to cry,
that it would be all right, never fear. He felt
against his shirt the agitation of her bosom.
It was not altogether his fault that it had hap-
pened. He remembered well, with the curious
patient memory of the celibate, the first casual
caresses her dress, her breath, her fingers had
given him. Then late one night as he was un-
dressing for bed she had tapped at his door,
timidly. She wanted to relight her candle at his
for hers had been blown out by a gust. It was
her bath night. She wore a loose open combing-
jacket of printed flannel. Her white instep shone
in the opening of her furry slippers and the blood"
glowed warmly behind her perfumed skin. From
her hands and wrists too as she lit and steadied
her candle a faint perfume arose.
On nights when he came in very late it was she
who warmed up his dinner. He scarcely knew
what he was eating feeling her beside him alone,
at night, in the sleeping house. And her thought-
fulness ! If the night was anyway cold or wet or
windy there was sure to be a little tumbler of
punch ready for him. Perhaps they could be
happy together. . . .
They used to go upstairs together on tiptoe,
each with a candle, and on the third landing ex-
change reluctant good-nights. They used to kiss.
He remembered well her eyes, the touch of her
hand and his delirium. . . .
But delirium passes. He echoed her phrase,
applying it to himself: ^'What am I to do?'^
The instinct of the celibate warned him to hold
back. But the sin was there; even his sense of
honour told him that reparation must be made for
such a sin.
While he was sitting with her on the side of
the bed Mary came to the door and said that the
missus wanted to see him in the parlour. He
stood up to put on his coat and waistcoat, more
helpless than ever. When he was dressed he went
over to her to comfort her. It would be all right,
never fear. He left her crying on the bed and
moaning softly : " O my God! "
THE BOARDING HOUSE 83
Going down the stairs his glasses became so
dimmed with moisture that he had to take them
off and polish them. He longed to ascend
through the roof and fly awaj to another country
where he would never hear again of his trouble,
and yet a force pushed him downstairs step by
step. The implacable faces of his employer and
of the Madam stared upon his discomfiture. On
the last flight of stairs he passed Jack Mooney
who was coming up from the pantry nursing two
bottles of Ba^s. They saluted coldly; and the
lover's eyes rested for a second or two on a thick
bulldog face and a pair of thick short arms.
When he reached the foot of the staircase he
glanced up and saw Jack regarding him from the
door of the return-room.
Suddenly he remembered the night when one of
the music-hall artistes, a little blond Londoner,
had made a rather free allusion to Polly. The
reunion had been almost broken up on account
of Jack's violence. Everyone tried to quiet him.
The music-hall artiste, a little paler than usual,
kept smiling and saying that there was no harm
meant : but Jack kept shouting at him that if any
fellow tried that sort of a game on with his sister
he'd bloody well put his teeth down his throat,
so he would.
Polly sat for a little time on the side of the bed,
crying. Then she dried her eyes and went over
to the looking-glass. She dipped the end of the
towel in the water-jug and refreshed her eyes with
the cool water. She looked at herself in profile
and readjusted a hairpin above her ear. Then
she went back to the bed again and sat at the
foot. She regarded the pillows for a long time
and the sight of them awakened in her mind
secret, amiable memories. She rested the nape of
her neck against the cool iron bed-rail and fell
into a revery. There was no longer any pertur-
bation visible on her face.
She waited on patiently, almost cheerfully,
without alarm, her memories gradually giving
place to hopes and visions of the future. Her
hopes and visions were so intricate that she no
longer saw the white pillows on which her gaze
was fixed or remembered that she was waiting for
At last she heard her mother calling. She
started to her feet and ran to the banisters.
" Yes, mamma? "
" Come down, dear. Mr. Doran wants to
speak to you."
Then she remembered what she had been wait-
A LITTLE CLOUD
Eight years before he had seen his friend off at
the North Wall and wished him godspeed. Gal-
laher had got on. You could tell that at once
by his travelled air, his well-cut tweed suit, and
fearless accent. Few fellows had talents like his
and fewer still could remain unspoiled by such
success. Gallaher's heart was in the right place
and he had deserved to win. It was something to
have a friend like that.
Little Chandler's thoughts ever since lunch-
time had been of his meeting with Gallaher, of
Gallaher's invitation and of the great city London
where Gallaher lived. He was called Little
Chandler because, though he was but slightly un-
der the average stature, he gave one the idea of
being a little man. His hands were white and
small, his frame was fragile, his voice was quiet
and his manners were refined. He took the
greatest care of his fair silken hair and moustache
and used perfume discreetly on his handkerchief.
The half -moons of his nails were perfect and when
he smiled you caught a glimpse of a row of child-
ish white teeth.
As he sat at his desk in the King's Inns he
thought what changes those eight years had
brought. The friend whom he had known under
a shabby and necessitous guise had become a bril-
liant figure on the London Press. He turned of-
ten from his tiresome writing to gaze out of the
office window. The glow of a late autumn sun-
set covered the grass plots and walks. It cast
a shower of kindly golden dust on the untidy
nurses and decrepit old men who drowsed on the
benches ; it flickered upon all the moving figures
— on the children who ran screaming along the
gravel paths and on everyone who passed through
the gardens. He watched the scene and thought
of life ; and (as always happened when he thought
of life) he became sad. A gentle melancholy
took possession of him. He felt how useless it
was to struggle against fortune, this being the
burden of wisdom which the ages had bequeathed
He remembered the books of poetry upon his
shelves at home. He had bought them in his
bachelor days and many an evening, as he sat in
the little room off the hall, he had been tempted
to take one down from the bookshelf and read out
something to his wife. But shyness had always
held him back ; and so the books had remained on
their shelves. At times he repeated lines to him-
self and this consoled him.
When his hour had struck he stood up and took
leave of his desk and of his fellow-clerks punc-
tiliously. He emerged from under the feudal
arch of the King's Inns, a neat modest figure, and
walked swiftly down Henrietta Street. The gol-
den sunset was waning and the air had grown
sharp. A horde of grimy children populated the
A LITTLE CLOLTD 87
street. They stood or ran in the roadway or
crawled up the steps before the gaping doors or
squatted like mice upon the thresholds. Little
Chandler gave them no thought. He picked his
way deftly through all that minute vermin-like
life and under the shadow of the gaunt spectral
mansions in which the old nobility of Dublin had
roystered. No memory of the past touched him,
for his mind was full of a present joy.
He had never been in Corless's but he knew
the value of the name. He knew that people
went there after the theatre to eat oysters and
drink liqueurs ; and he had heard that the waiters
there spoke French and German. Walking
swiftly by at night he had seen cabs drawn up be-
fore the door and richly dressed ladies, escorted
by cavaliers, alight and enter quickly. They
wore noisy dresses and many wraps. Their faces
were powdered and they caught up their dresses,
when they touched earth, like alarmed Atalantas.
He had always passed without turning his head
to look. It was his habit to walk swiftly in the
street even by day and whenever he found himself
in the city late at night he hurried on his way ap-
prehensively and excitedly. Sometimes, how-
ever, he courted the causes of his fear. He chose
the darkest and narrowest streets and, as he
walked boldly forward, the silence that was
spread about his. footsteps troubled him, the
wandering, silent figures troubled him; and at
times a sound of low fugitive laughter made him
tremble like a leaf.
He turned to the right towards Capel Street.
Ignatius Gallaher on the London Press! Who
would have thought it possible eight years be-
fore? Still, now that he reviewed the past, Lit-
tle Chandler could remember many signs of fu-
ture greatness in his friend. People used to say
that Ignatius Gallaher was wild. Of course, he
did mix with a rakish set of fellows at that time,
drank freely and borrowed money on all sides.
In the end he had got mixed up in some shady
affair, some money transaction: at least, that
was one version of his flight. But nobody denied
him talent. There was always a certain . . .
something in Ignatius Gallaher that impressed
you in spite of yourself. Even when he was out
at elbows and at his wits' end for money he kept
up a bold face. Little Chandler remembered
(and the remembrance brought a slight flush of
pride to his cheek) one of Ignatius Gallaher's
sayings when he was in a tight corner :
" Half time now, boys," he used to say light-
heartedly. " Where's my considering cap? "
That was Ignatius Gallaher all out ; and, damn
it, you couldn't but admire him for it.
Little Chandler quickened his pace. For the
first time in his life he felt himself superior to the
people he passed. For the first time his soul re-
volted against the dull inelegance of Capel Street.
There was no doubt about it: if you wanted to
succeed you had to go away. You could do
nothing in Dublin. As he crossed Grattan
Bridge he looked down the river towards the
A LITTLE CLOUD 89
lower quays and pitied the poor stunted houses.
They seemed to him a band of tramps, huddled to-
gether along the river-banks, their old coats cov*-
ered with dust and soot, stupefied by the pano-
rama of sunset and waiting for the first chill of
night to bid them arise, shake themselves and be-
gone. He wondered whether he could write a
poem to express his idea. Perhaps Gallaher
might be able to get it into some London paper
for him. Could he write something original?
He was not sure what idea he wished to express
but the thought that a poetic moment had touched
him took life within him like an infant hope. He
stepped onward bravely.
Every step brought him nearer to London,
farther from his own sober inartistic life. A
light began to tremble on the horizon of his mind.
He was not so old — thirty -two. His tempera-
ment might be said to be just at the point of
maturity. There were so many different moods
and impressions that he wished to express in
verse. He felt them within him. He tried to
weigh his soul to see if it was a poet's soul.
Melancholy was the dominant note of his tempera-
ment, he thought, but it was a melancholy tem-
pered by recurrences of faith and resignation and
simple joy. If he could give expression to it in a
book of poems perhaps men would listen. He
would never be popular : he saw that. He could
not sway the crowd but he might appeal to a
little circle of kindred minds. The English
critics, perhaps, would recognise him as one of
the Celtic school by reason of the melancholy tone
of his poems; besides that, he would put in al-
lusions. He began to invent sentences and
phrases from the notice which his book would get.
" Mr. Chandler has the gift of easy and graceful
verse/'. . ." A wistful sadness pervades these
poems.'' . . . " The Celtic note." It was a pity
his name was not more Irish-looking. Perhaps it
would be better to insert his mother's name be-
fore the surname : Thomas Malone Chandler, or
better still: T. Malone Chandler. He would
speak to Gallaher about it.
He pursued his revery so ardently that he
passed his street and had to turn back. As he
came near Corless's his former agitation began to
overmaster him and he halted before the door in
indecision. Finally he opened the door and en-
The light and noise of the bar held him at the
doorways for a few moments. He looked about
him, but his sight was confused by the shining of
many red and green wine-glasses. The bar
seemed to him to be full of people and he felt that
the people were observing him curiously. He
glanced quickly to right and left (frowning
slightly to make his errand appear serious), but
when his sight cleared a little he saw that no-
body had turned to look at him : and there, sure
enough, was Ignatius Gallaher leaning with his
back against the counter and his feet planted far
" Hallo, Tommy, old hero, here you are ! What
A LITTLE CLOUD 91
is it to be? What will you have? I'm taking
whisky : better stuff than we get across the water.
Soda? Lithia? No mineral? I'm the same.
Spoils the flavour. . . . Here, gargon, bring us
two halves of malt whisky, like a good fellow. . . .
Well, and how have you been pulling along since
I saw you last? Dear God, how old we're get-
ting ! Do you see any signs of aging in me — eh,
what? A little grey and thin on the top —
Ignatius Gallaher took off his hat and dis-
played a large closely cropped head. His face
was heavy, pale and clean-shaven. His eyes,
which were of bluish slate-colour, relieved his un-
healthy pallor and shone out plainly above the
vivid orange tie he wore. Between these rival
features the lips appeared very long and shapeless
and colourless. He bent his head and felt \sith
two sympathetic fingers the thin hair at the
crown. Little Chandler shook his head as a
denial. Ignatius Gallaher put on his hat
" It pulls you down," he said, " Press life. Al-
ways hurry and scurry, looking for copy and
sometimes not finding it : and then, always to have
something new in your stuff. Damn proofs and
printers, I say, for a few days. I'm deuced glad,
I can tell you, to get back to the old country.
Does a fellow good, a bit of a holiday. I feel a
ton better since I landed again in dear dirty Dub-
lin. . . . Here yon are, Tommy. Water? Say
Little Chandler allowed his whisky to be very
" You don't know what's good for you, my
boy," said Ignatius Gallaher. " I drink mine
" I drink very little as a rule," said Little
Chandler modestly. "An odd half -one or so
when I meet any of the old crowd : that's all."
" Ah, well," said Ignatius Gallaher, cheerfully,
" here's to us and to old times and old acquaint-
They clinked glasses and drank the toast.
" I met some of the old gang to-day," said
Ignatius Gallaher. " O'Hara seems to be in a
bad way. What's he doing? "
" Nothing," said Little Chandler. " He's gone
to the dogs."
" But Hogan has a good sit, hasn't he? "
" Yes ; he's in the Land Commission."
" I met him one night in London and he seemed
to be very flush. . . . Poor O'Hara! Boose, I
" Other things, too," said Little Chandler
Ignatius Gallaher laughed.
" Tommy," he said, " I see you haven't changed
an atom. You're the very same serious person
that used to lecture me on Sunday mornings when
I had a sore head and a fur on my tongue. You'd
want to knock about a bit in the world. Have
you never been anywhere even for a trip? "
A LITTLE CLOUD 93
" I've been to the Isle of Man," said Little
Ignatius Gallaher laughed.
" The Isle of Man ! " he said. " Go to London
or Paris : Paris, for choice. That'd do you good."
" Have you seen Paris? "
" I should think I have ! I've knocked about
there a little."
" And is it really so beautiful as they say? "
asked Little Chandler.
He sipped a little of his drink while Ignatius
Gallaher finished his boldly.
" Beautiful? " said Ignatius Gallaher, pausing
on the word and on the flavour of his drink.
" It's not so beautiful, you know. Of course, it is
beautiful. . . . But it's the life of Paris; that's
the thing. Ah, there's no city like Paris for gai-
ety, movement, excitement. . . ."
Little Chandler finished his whisky and, after
some trouble, succeeded in catching the barman's
eye. He ordered the same again.
" I've been to the Moulin Rouge," Ignatius Gal-
laher continued when the barman had removed
their glasses, " and I've been to all the Bohemian
cafes. Hot stuff ! Not for a pious chap like you,
Little Chandler said nothing until the barman
returned with two glasses: then he touched his
friend's glass lightly and reciprocated the former
toast. He was beginning to feel somewhat dis-
illusioned. Gallaher's accent and way of express-
ing himself did not please him. There was
something vulgar in his friend which he had not
observed before. But perhaps it was only the re-
sult of living in London amid the bustle and com-
petition of the Press. The old personal charm
was still there under this new gaudy manner.
And, after all, Gallaher had lived, he had seen the
world. Little Chandler looked at his friend en-
" Everything in Paris is gay," said Ignatius
Gallaher. " They believe in enjoying life — and
don't you think they're right ? If you want to en-
joy yourself properly you must go to Paris. And,
mind you, they've a great feeling for the Irish
there. When they heard I was from Ireland they
were ready to eat me, man."
Little Chandler took four or five sips from his
" Tell me," he said, " is it true that Paris is
so . . . immoral as they say? "
Ignatius Gallaher made a catholic gesture with
his right arm.
" Every place is immoral," he said. " Of
course you do find spicy bits in Paris. Go to one
of the students' balls, for instance. That's lively,
if you like, when the cocottes begin to let them-
selves loose. You know what they are, I sup-
" I've heard of them," said Little Chandler.
Ignatius Gallaher drank off his whisky and
shook his head.
"Ah," he said, "you may say what you like^
A LITTLE CLOUD 95
There's no woman like the Parisienne — for style,
"Then it is an immoral city," said Little
Chandler, with timid insistence — " I mean, com-
pared with London or Dublin? "
" London ! " said Ignatius Gallaher. " It's six
of one and half-a-dozen of the other. You ask
Hogan, my boy. I showed him a bit about Lon-
don when he was over there. He'd open your
eye. ... I say. Tommy, don't make punch of that
whisky : liquor up.''
" No, really. . . ."
" O, come on, another one won't do you any
harm. What is it? The same again, I sup-
« Well ... all right."
" Frangois, the same again. . . . Will you
smoke, Tommy? ''
Ignatius Gallaher produced his cigar-case.
The two friends lit their cigars and puffed at them
in silence until their drinks were served.
" I'll tell you my opinion," said Ignatius Gal-
laher, emerging after some time from the clouds
of smoke in which he had taken refuge, " it's a
rum world. Talk of immorality I I've heard of
cases — what am I saying? — I've known them:
cases of . . . immorality. . . ."
Ignatius Gallaher puffed thoughtfully at his
cigar and then, in a calm historian's tone, he pro-
ceeded to sketch for his friend some pictures of
the corruption which was rife abroad. He sum-
marised the vices of many capitals and seemed in-
clined to award the palm to Berlin. Some things
he could not vouch for (his friends had told him),
but of others he had had personal experience. He
spared neither rank nor caste. He revealed many
of the secrets of religious houses on the Conti-
nent and described some of the practices which
were fashionable in high society and ended by
telling, with details, a story about an English
duchess — a story which he knew to be true. Lit-
tle Chandler was astonished.
" Ah, well," said Ignatius Gallaher, " here we
are in old jog-along Dublin where nothing is
known of such things."
" How dull you must find it," said Little Chand-
ler, " after all the other places you've seen ! "
" Well," said Ignatius Gallaher, " it's a relaxa-
tion to come over here, you know. And, after all,
it's the old country, as they say, isn't it? You
can't help having a certain feeling for it. That's
human nature. . . . But tell me something about
yourself. Hogan told me you had . . . tasted the
joys of connubial bliss. Two years ago, wasn't
Little Chandler blushed and smiled.
" Yes," he said. " I was married last May
" I hope it's not too late in the day to ofifer my
best wishes," said Ignatius Gallaher. " I didn't
know your address or I'd have done so at the
He extended his hand, which Little Chandler
A LITTLE CLOUD 97
" Well, Tommy," he said, " I wish you and
yours every joy in life, old chap, and tons of
money, and may you never die till I shoot you.
And that's the wish of a sincere friend, an old
friend. You know that?"
" I know that," said Little Chandler.
" Any youngsters? " said Ignatius Gallaher.
Little Chandler blushed again.
" We have one child," he said.
" Son or daughter? "
« A little boy."
Ignatius Gallaher slapped his friend sonor-
ously on the back.
" Bravo," he said, " I wouldn't doubt you,
Little Chandler smiled, looked confusedly at
his glass and bit his lower lip with three child-
ishly white front teeth.
" I hope you'll spend an evening with us," he
said, " before you go back. My wife will be de-
lighted to meet you. We can have a little music
" Thanks awfully, old chap," said Ignatius
Gallaher, " I'm sorry we didn't meet earlier.
But I must leave to-morrow night."
" To-night, perhaps ... ? "
" I'm awfully sorry, old man. You see I'm
over here with another fellow, clever young chap
he is too, and we arranged to go to a little card-
party. Only for that. . ."
" O, in that case. . . ."
" But who knows? " said Ignatius Gallaher con-
siderately. " Next year I may take a little skip
over here now that I've broken the ice. It's only
a pleasure deferred."
" Very well," said Little Chandler, " the next
time you come we must have an evening together.
That's agreed now, isn't it? "
" Yes, that's agreed," said Ignatius Gallaher.
" Next year if I come, parole d' honneur/'
" And to clinch the bargain," said Little Chand-
ler, " we'll just have one more now."
Ignatius Gallaher took out a large gold watch
and looked at it.
" Is it to be the last? " he said. " Because you
know, I have an a.p."
" O, yes, positively," said Little Chandler.
" Very well, then," said Ignatius Gallaher, " let
us have another one as a deoc an doruis — that's
good vernacular for a small whisky, I believe."
Little Chandler ordered the drinks. The blush
which had risen to his face a few moments before
was establishing itself. A trifle made him blush
at any time : and now he felt warm and excited.
Three small whiskies had gone to his head and
Gallaher's strong cigar had confused his mind,
for he was a delicate and abstinent person. The
adventure of meeting Gallaher after eight years,
of finding himself with Gallaher in Corless's sur-
rounded by lights and noise, of listening to Gal-
laher's stories and of sharing for a brief space
Gallaher's vagrant and triumi)hant life, upset the
equipoise of his sensitive nature. He felt acutely
the contrast between his own life and his friend's,
A LITTLE CLOUD 99
and it seemed to him unjust. Gallaher was his
inferior in birth and education. He was sure
that he could do something better than his friend
had ever done, or could ever do, something higher
than mere tawdry journalism if he only got the
chance. What was it that stood in his way?
His unfortunate timidity I He wished to vindi-
cate himself in some way, to assert his manhood.
He saw behind Gallaher s refusal of his invita-
tion. Gallaher was only patronising him by his
friendliness just as he was patronising Ireland by
The barman brought their drinks. Little
Chandler pushed one glass towards his friend and
took up the other boldlj.
" Who knows? " he said, as they lifted their
glasses. " When you come next year I may have
the pleasure of wishing long life and happiness to
Mr. and Mrs. Ignatius Gallaher.''
Ignatius Gallaher in the act of drinking closed
one eye expressively over the rim of his glass.
When he had drunk he smacked his lips decisively,
set down his glass and said :
" Xo blooming fear of that, my boy. I'm go-
ing to have my fling fiirst and see a bit of life and
the world before I put my head in the sack — if
I ever do."
" Some day you will," said Little Chandler
Ignatius Gallaher turned his orange tie and
slate-blue eyes full upon his friend.
" You think so? " he said.
" You'll put your head in the sack," repeated
Little Chandler stoutly, " like everyone else if
you can find the girl."
He had slightly emphasised his tone and he was
aware that he had betrayed himself ; but, though
the colour had heightened in his cheek, he did not
flinch from his friend's gaze. Ignatius Gallaher
watched him for a few moments and then said :
" If ever it occurs, you may bet your bottom
dollar there'll be no mooning and spooning about
it. I mean to marry money. She'll have a good
fat account at the bank or she won't do for me."
Little Chandler shook his head.
" Why, man alive," said Ignatius Gallaher, ve-
hemently, " do you know what it is? I've only
to say the word and to-morrow I can have the
woman and the cash. You don't believe it? Well,
I know it. There are hundreds — what am I say-
ing? — thousands of rich Germans and Jews, rot-
ten with money, that'd only be too glad. . . . You
wait a while, my boy. See if I don't play my
cards properly. When I go about a thing I mean
business, I tell you. You just wait/'
He tossed his glass to his mouth, finished his
drink and laughed loudly. Then he looked
thoughtfully before him and said in a calmer
" But I'm in no hurry. They can wait. I
don't fancy tying myself up to one woman, you
He imitated with his mouth the act of tasting
and made a wry face.
A LITTLE CLOUD 101
" Must get a bit stale, I should think," he said.
Little Chandler sat in the room ofif the hall,
holding a child in his arms. To save money they
kept no servant but Annie's young sister Monica
came for an hour or so in the morning and an
hour or so in the evening to help. But Monica
had gone home long ago. It was a quarter to
nine. Little Chandler had come home late for tea
and, moreover, he had forgotten to bring Annie
home the parcel of coffee from Bewley's. Of
course she was in a bad humour and gave him
short answers. She said she would do without
any tea but when it came near the time at which
the shop at the comer closed she decided to go
out herself for a quarter of a pound of tea and
two pounds of sugar. She put the sleeping child
deftly in his arms and said :
" Here. Don't waken him."
A little lamp with a white china shade stood
upon the table and its light fell over a photo-
graph which was enclosed in a frame of crumpled
horn. It was Annie's photograph. Little
Chandler looked at it, pausing at the thin tight
lips. She wore the pale blue summer blouse
which he had brought her home as a present one
Saturday. It had cost him ten and elevenpence ;
but what an agony of nervousness it had cost
him ! How he had suffered that day, waiting at
the shop door until the shop was empty, standing
at the counter and trying to appear at his ease
while the girl piled ladies' blouses before him,
paying at the desk and forgetting to take up the
odd penny of his change, being called back by the
cashier, and finally, striving to hide his blushes as
he left the shop by examining the parcel to see if
it was securely tied. When he brought the blouse
home Annie kissed him and said it was very
pretty and stylish ; but when she heard the price
she threw the blouse on the table and said it was a
regular swindle to charge ten and elevenpence for
it. At first she wanted to take it back but when
she tried it on she was delighted with it, especially
with the make of the sleeves, and kissed him and
said he was very good to think of her.
Hm ! . . .
He looked coldly into the eyes of the photo-
graph and they answered coldly. Certainly they
were pretty and the face itself was pretty. But
he found something mean in it. Why was it so
unconscious and ladylike? The composure of the
eyes irritated him. They repelled him and defied
him: there was no passion in them, no rapture.
He thought of what Gallaher had said about rich
Jewesses. Those dark Oriental eyes, he thought,
how full they are of passion, of voluptuous long-
ing! . . . Why had he married the eyes in the
He caught himself up at the question and
glanced nervously round the room. He found
something mean in the pretty furniture which he
had bought for his house on the hire system.
Annie had chosen it herself and it reminded him
of her. It too was prim and pretty. A dull re-
A LITTLE CLOLTD 103
sentment against his life awoke within him.
Could he not escape from his little house? Was
it too late for him to try to live bravely like
Gallaher? Could he go to London? There was
the furniture still to be paid for. If he could
only \\Tite a book and get it published, that might
open the way for him.
A volume of Byron's poems lay before him on
the table. He opened it cautiously with his left
hand lest he should waken the child and began to
read the first poem in the book :
** Hushed are the Kinds and still the evening gloom,
Not e'en a Zephyr xcanders through the grove.
Whilst I return to view my Margaret's tomb
And scatter flowers on the dust I love."
He paused. He felt the rhythm of the verse
about him in the room. How melancholy it was!
Could he, too, write like that, express the melan-
choly of his soul in verse? There were so many
things he wanted to describe : his sensation of a
few hours before on Grattan Bridge, for example.
If he could get back again into that mood. . . .
The child awoke and began to cry. He turned
from the page and tried to hush it : but it would
not be hushed. He began to rock it to and fro in
his arms but its wailing cry grew keener. He
rocked it faster while his eyes began to read the
second stanza :
" Within this narrow cell reclines her clay.
That clay where once . . ."
It was useless. He couldn't read. He
couldn't do anything. The wailing of the child
pierced the drum of his ear. It was useless, use-
less! He was a prisoner for life. His arms
trembled with anger and suddenly bending to the
child's face he shouted :
The child stopped for an instant, had a spasm
of fright and began to scream. He jumped up
from his chair and walked hastily up and down
the room with the child in his arms. It began to
sob piteously, losing its breath for four or five
seconds, and then bursting out anew. The thin
walls of the room echoed the sound. He tried to
soothe it but it sobbed more convulsively. He
looked at the contracted and quivering face of
the child and began to be alarmed. He counted
seven sobs without a break between them and
caught the child to his breast in fright. If it
died! . . .
The door was burst open and a young woman
ran in, panting.
" What is it? What is it? " she cried.
The child, hearing its mother's voice, broke out
into a paroxysm of sobbing.
" It's nothing, Annie . . . it's nothing. ...
He began to cry ..."
She flung her parcels on the floor and snatched
the child from him.
"What have you done to him?" she cried,
glaring into his face.
Little Chandler sustained for one moment the
gaze of her eyes and his heart closed together as
A LITTLE CLOLTD 105
he met the hatred in them. He began to stam-
" It's nothing. . . . He ... he began to cry.
... I couldn't ... I didn't do anything. . . .
Giving no heed to him she began to walk up
and down the room, clasping the child tightly in
her arms and murmuring :
" My little man I My little mannie ! Was 'ou
frightened, love? . . . There now, love! There
now ! . . . Lambabaun ! Mamma's little lamb of
the world I . . , There now I "
Little Chandler felt his cheeks suffused with
shame and he stood back out of the lamplight.
He listened while the paroxysm of the child's sob-
bing grew less and less; and tears of remorse
started to his eyes.
The bell rang furiously and, when Miss Parker
went to the tube, a furious voice called out in a
piercing North of Ireland accent :
" Send Farrington here ! "
Miss Parker returned to her machine, saying
to a man who was writing at a desk :
" Mr. AUeyne wants you upstairs."
The man muttered ^' Blast him ! " under his
breath and pushed back his chair to stand up.
When he stood up he was tall and of great bulk.
He had a hanging face, dark wine-coloured, with
fair eyebrows and moustache: his eyes bulged
forward slightly and the whites of them were
dirty. He lifted up the counter and, passing by
the clients, went out of the oflfice with a heavy
He went heavily upstairs until he came to the
second landing, where a door bore a brass plate
with the inscription Mr. AUeyne. Here he
halted, puffing with labour and vexation, and
knocked. The shrill voice cried :
" Come in ! "
The man entered Mr. Alleyne's room. Simul-
taneously Mr. AUeyne, a little man wearing gold-
rimmed glasses on a clean-shaven face, shot his
head up over a pile of documents. The head it-
self was so pink and hairless it seemed like a
large egg reposing on the papers. Mr. Alleyne
did not lose a moment :
"Farrington? What is the meaning of this?
Why have I always to complain of you? May I
ask you why you haven't made a copy of that con-
tract between Bodley and Kirwan? I told you
it must be ready by four o'clock."
" But Mr. Shelley said, sir "
*' Mr. Shelley said, sir. . . . Kindly attend to
what I say and not to what Mr. Shelley says, sir.
You have always some excuse or another for
shirking work. Let me tell you that if the con-
tract is not copied before this evening I'll lay the
matter before Mr. Crosbie. ... Do you hear me
" Yes, sir."
" Do you hear me now? ... Ay and another
little matter I I might as well be talking to the
wall as talking to you. Understand once for all
that you get a half an hour for your lunch and
not an hour and a half. How many courses do
you want, I'd like to know. ... Do you mind me
" Yes, sir."
Mr. Alleyne bent his head again upon his pile
of papers. The man stared fixedly at the pol-
ished skull which directed the affairs of Crosbie
& Alleyne, gauging its fragility. A spasm of
rage gripped his throat for a few moments and
then passed, leaving after it a sharp sensation of
thirst. The man recognised the sensation and
felt that he must have a good night's drinking.
The middle of the month w as passed and, if he
could get the copy done in time, Mr. Alleyne
might give him an order on the cashier. He
stood still, gazing fixedly at the head upon the
pile of papers. Suddenly Mr. Alleyne began to
upset all the papers, searching for something.
Then, as if he had been unaware of the man's
presence till that moment, he shot up his head
" Eh? Are you going to stand there all day?
Upon my word, Farrington, you take things
easy I "
" I was waiting to see . . ."
" Very good, you needn't wait to see. Go
downstairs and do your work."
The man walked heavily towards the door and,
as he went out of the room, he heard Mr. Alleyne
cry after him that if the contract was not copied
by evening Mr. Crosbie would hear of the matter.
He returned to his desk in the lower office and
counted the sheets which remained to be copied.
He took up his pen and dipped it in the ink but
he continued to stare stupidly at the last words
he had written : In no case shall the said Ber-
nard Bodley he , . . The evening was falling
and in a few minutes they would be lighting the
gas: then he could write. He felt that he must
slake the thirst in his throat. He stood up from
his desk and, lifting the counter as before, passed
out of the office. As he was passing out the chief
clerk looked at him inquiringly.
" It's all right, Mr. Shelley," said the man,
pointing with his finger to indicate the objective
of his journey.
The chief clerk glanced at the hat-rack, but,
seeing the row complete, offered no remark. As
soon as he was on the landing the man pulled a
shepherd's plaid cap out of his pocket, put it on
his head and ran quickly down the rickety stairs.
From the street door he walked on furtively on
the inner side of the path towards the corner and
all at once dived into a doorway. He was now
safe in the dark snug of O'Neill's shop, and, fill-
ing up the little window that looked into the bar
with his inflamed face, the colour of dark wine
or dark meat, he called out:
" Here, Pat, give us a g.p., like a good fellow."
The curate brought him a glass of plain porter.
The man drank it at a gulp and asked for a cara-
way seed. He put his penny on the counter and,
leaving the curate to grope for it in the gloom,
retreated out of the snug as furtively as he had
Darkness, accompanied by a thick fog, was
gaining upon the dusk of February and the lamps
in Eustace Street had been lit. The man went
up by the houses until he reached the door of the
oflSce, wondering whether he could finish his copy
in time. On the stairs a moist pungent odour of
perfumes saluted his nose: evidently Miss Dela-
cour had come while he was out in O'XeiU's. He
crammed his cap back again into his pocket and
re-entered the oflSce, assuming an air of absent-
'* Mr. Alleyne has been calling for you," said
the chief clerk severely. " Where were you ? "
The man glanced at the two clients who were
standing at the counter as if to intimate that
their presence prevented him from answering.
As the clients were both male the chief clerk al-
lowed himself a laugh.
" I know that game," he said. " Five times in
one day is a little bit. . . . Well, you better look
sharp and get a copy of our correspondence in
the Delacour case for Mr. Alleyne."
This address in the presence of the public, his
run upstairs and the porter he had gulped down
so hastily confused the man and, as he sat down
at his desk to get what was required, he realised
how hopeless was the task of finishing his copy of
the contract before half past five. The dark
damp night was coming and he longed to spend
it in the bars, drinking with his friends amid the
glare of gas and the clatter of glasses. He got
out the Delacour correspondence and passed out
of the office. He hoped Mr. Alleyne would not
discover that the last two letters were missing.
The moist pungent perfume lay all the way up
to Mr. Alleyne's room. Miss Delacour was a
middle-aged woman of Jewish appearance. Mr.
Alleyne was said to be sweet on her or on her
money. She came to the office often and stayed
a long time when she came. She was sitting be-
side his desk now in an aroma of perfumes,
smoothing the handle of her umbrella and nod-
ding the great black feather in her hat. Mr. Al-
leyne had swivelled his chair round to face her
and thrown his right foot jauntily upon his left
knee. The man put the correspondence on the
desk and bowed respectfully but neither Mr. Al-
leyne nor Miss Delacour took any notice of his
bow. Mr. Alleyne tapped a finger on the corre-
spondence and then flicked it towards him as if
to say: " That's all right: you can go."
The man returned to the lower office and sat
down again at his desk. He stared intently at
the incomplete phrase: In no case shall the said
Bernard Bodley he . . . and thought how strange
it was that the last three words began with the
same letter. The chief clerk began to hurry Miss
Parker, saying she would never have the letters
typed in time for post. The man listened to the
clicking of the machine for a few minutes and
then set to work to finish his copy. But his head
was not clear and his mind wandered away to the
glare and rattle of the public-house. It was a
night for hot punches. He struggled on with his
copy, but when the clock struck five he had still
fourteen pages to write. Blast it I He couldn't
finish it in time. He longed to execrate aloud, to
bring his fist down on something violently. He
was so enraged that he wrote Bernard Bernard
instead of Bernard Bodley and had to begin
again on a clean sheet.
He felt strong enough to clear out the whole
office single-handed. His body ached to do some-
thing, to rush out and revel in violence. All the
indignities of his life enraged him. . . . Could he
ask the cashier privately for an advance? No, the
cashier was no good, no damn good : he wouldn't
give an advance. . . . He knew where he would
meet the boys: Leonard and O'Halloran and
Nosey Flynn. The barometer of his emotional
nature was set for a spell of riot.
His imagination had so abstracted him that his
name was called twice before he answered. Mr.
Alleyne and Miss Delacour were standing outside
the counter and all the clerks had turned round
in anticipation of something. The man got up
from his desk. Mr. Alleyne began a tirade of
abuse, saying that two letters were missing. The
man answered that he knew nothing about them,
that he had made a faithful copy. The tirade
continued: it was so bitter and violent that the
man could hardly restrain his fist from descend-
ing upon the head of the manikin before him :
" I know nothing about any other two letters,"
he said stupidly.
" You — know — nothing. Of course you know
nothing," said Mr. Alleyne. " Tell me," he
added, glancing first for approval to the lady be-
side him, " do you take me for a fool? Do you
think me an utter fool? "
The man glanced from the lady's face to the
little egg-shaped head and back again; and, al-
most before he was aware of it, his tongue had
found a felicitous moment:
" I don't think, sir," he said, " that that's a fair
question to put to me."
There was a pause in the very breathing of the
clerks. Everyone was astounded (the author of
the ^-itticism no less than his neighbours) and
Miss Delacour, who was a stout amiable person,
began to smile broadly. Mr. Alleyne flushed to
the hue of a wild rose and his mouth twitched
with a dwarf's passion. He shook his fist in the
man's face till it seemed to vibrate like the knob
of some electric machine:
" You impertinent ruffian ! You impertinent
ruffian ! I'll make short work of you I Wait till
you see! You'll apologise to me for your im-
pertinence or you'll quit the office instanter!
You'll quit this, I'm telling you, or you'll apolo-
gise to me ! "
He stood in a doorway opposite the office
watching to see if the cashier would come out
alone. All the clerks passed out and finally the
cashier came out with the chief clerk. It was no
use trying to say a word to him when he was with
the chief clerk. The man felt that his position
was bad enough. He had been obliged to offer
an abject apology to Mr. Alleyne for his imperti-
nence but he knew what a hornet's nest the office
would be for him. He could remember the way
in which Mr. Alleyne had hounded little Peake
out of the office in order to make room for his
own nephew. He felt savage and thirsty and re-
vengeful, annoyed with himself and with every-
one else. Mr. Alleyne would never give him an
hour's rest ; his life would be a hell to him. He
had made a proper fool of himself this time.
Could he not keep his tongue in his cheek? But
they had never pulled together from the first, he
and Mr. Alleyne, ever since the day Mr. Alleyne
had overheard him mimicking his North of Ire-
land accent to amuse Higgins and Miss Parker :
that had been the beginning of it. He might
have tried Higgins for the money, but sure Hig-
gins never had anything for himself. A man
with two establishments to keep up, of course he
couldn't. . . .
He felt his great body again aching for the
comfort of the public-house. The fog had begun
to chill him and he wondered could he touch Pat
in O'Neill's. He could not touch him for more
than a bob — and a bob was no use. Yet he must
get money somewhere or other : he had spent his
last penny for the g.p. and soon it would be too
late for getting money anywhere. Suddenly, as
he was fingering his watch-chain, he thought of
Terry Kelly's pawn-office in Fleet Street. That
was the dart ! Why didn't he think of it sooner?
He went through the narrow alley of Temple
Bar quickly, muttering to himself that they could
all go to hell because he was going to have a good
night of it. The clerk in Terry Kelly's said A
crown! but the consignor held out for six shil-
lings ; and in the end the six shillings was allowed
him literally. He came out of the pawn-office
joyfully, making a little cylinder of the coins be-
tween his thumb and fingers. In Westmoreland
Street the footpaths were crowded with young
men and women returning from business and rag-
ged urchins ran here and there yelling out the
names of the evening editions. The man passed
through the crowd, looking on the spectacle gen-
erally with proud satisfaction and staring mas-
terfully at the oflQce-girls. His head was full of
the noises of tram-gongs and swishing trolleys
and his nose already sniffed the curling fumes of
punch. As he walked on he preconsidered the
terms in which he would narrate the incident to
" So, I just looked at him — coolly, you know,
and looked at her. Then I looked back at him
again — taking my time, you know. * I don't
think that that's a fair question to put to me,'
Nosey Flynn was sitting up in his usual corner
of Davy Byrne's and, when he heard the story, he
stood Farrington a half-one, saying it was as
smart a thing as ever he heard. Farrington
stood a drink in his turn. After a while O'Hal-
loran and Paddy Leonard came in and the story
was repeated to them. O'Halloran stood tailors
of malt, hot, all round and told the story of the
retort he had made to the chief clerk when he was
in Callan's of Fownes's Street ; but, as the retort
was after the manner of the liberal shepherds in
the eclogues, he had to admit that it was not as
clever as Farrington's retort. At this Farring-
ton told the boys to polish off that and have
Just as they were naming their poisons who
should come in but Higgins! Of course he had
to join in with the others. The men asked him
to give his version of it, and he did so with great
vivacity for the sight of five small hot whiskies
was very exhilarating. Everyone roared laugh-
ing when he showed the way in which Mr. Alleyne
shook his fist in Farrington's face. Then he imi-
tated Farrington, saying, ^^ And here was my
nabs, as co^l as you please" while Farrington
looked at the company out of his heavy dirty eyes,
smiling and at times drawing forth stray drops of
liquor from his moustache with the aid of his
When that round was over there was a pause.
O'Halloran had money but neither of the other
two seemed to have any ; so the whole party left
the shop somewhat regretfully. At the corner of
Duke Street Higgins and Nosey Flynn bevelled
off to the left while the other three turned back
towards the city. Kain was drizzling down on the
cold streets and, when they reached the Ballast
Office, Farrington suggested the Scotch House.
The bar was full of men and loud with the noise
of tongues and glasses. The three men pushed
past the whining match-sellers at the door and
formed a little party at the corner of the counter.
They began to exchange stories. Leonard intro-
duced them to a young fellow named Weathers
who was performing at the Tivoli as an acrobat
and knockabout artiste. Farrington stood a
drink all round. Weathers said he would take a
small Irish and Apollinaris. Farrington, who
had definite notions of what was what, asked the
boys would they have an Apollinaris too ; but the
boys told Tim to make theirs hot. The talk be-
came theatrical. O'Halloran stood a round and
then Farrington stood another round, Weathers
protesting that the hospitality was too Irish.
He promised to get them in behind the scenes and
introduce them to some nice girls. O'Halloran
said that he and Leonard would go, but that
Farrington wouldn't go because he was a married
man ; and Farrington's hea^'y dirty eyes leered at
the company in token that he understood he was
being chaffed. Weathers made them all have
just one little tincture at his expense and prom-
ised to meet them later on at Mulligan's in Pool-
When the Scotch House closed they went
round to Mulligan's. They went into the parlour
at the back and O'Halloran ordered small hot
specials all round. They were all beginning to
feel mellow. Farrington was just standing an-
other round when Weathers came back. Much to
Farrington's relief he drank a glass of bitter this
time. Funds were getting low but they had
enough to keep them going. Presently two
young women with big hats and a young man in
a check suit came in and sat at a table close by.
Weathers saluted them and told the company
that they were out of the Tivoli. Farrington's
eyes wandered at every moment in the direction
of one of the young women. There was some-
thing striking in her appearance. An immense
scarf of peacock-blue muslin was wound round
her hat and knotted in a great bow under her
chin ; and she wore bright yellow gloves, reaching
to the elbow. Farrington gazed admiringly at
the plump arm which she moved very often and
with much grace; and when, after a little time,
she answered his gaze he admired still more her
large dark brown eyes. The oblique staring ex-
pression in them fascinated him. She glanced
at him once or twice and, when the party was
leaving the room, she brushed against his chair
and said '' 0, pardon! " in a London accent. He
watched her leave the room in the hope that she
would look back at him, but he was disappointed.
He cursed his want of money and cursed all the
rounds he had stood, particularly all the whiskies
and Apollinaris which he had stood to Weathers.
If there was one thing that he hated it was a
sponge. He was so angry that he lost count of
the conversation of his friends.
When Paddy Leonard called him he found that
they were talking about feats of strength.
Weathers was showing his biceps muscle to the
company and boasting so much that the other
two had called on Farrington to uphold the na-
tional honour, Farrington pulled up his sleeve
accordingly and showed his biceps muscle to the
company. The two arms were examined and
compared and finally it was agreed to have a trial
of strength. The table was cleared and the two
men rested their elbows on it, clasping hands.
When Paddy Leonard said " (J(fl " each was to
try to bring down the other's hand on to the table.
Farrington looked very serious and determined.
The trial began. After about thirty seconds
Weathers brought his opponent's hand slowly
down on to the table. Farrington's dark wine-
coloured face flushed darker still with anger and
humiliation at having been defeated by such a
" You're not to put the weight of your body be-
hind it. Play fair," he said.
" Who's not playing fair? " said the other.
" Come on again. The two best out of three."
The trial began again. The veins stood out on
Farrington's forehead, and the pallor of Weath-
ers' complexion changed to peony. Their hands
and arms trembled under the stress. After a
long struggle Weathers again brought his oppo-
nent's hand slowly on to the table. There was a
murmur of applause from the spectators. The
curate, who was standing beside the table, nod-
ded his red head towards the victor and said with
"Ah! that's the knack!"
" What the hell do you know about it? " said
Farrington fiercely, turning on the man. " What
do you put in your gab for? "
" Sh, sh ! " said O'Halloran, observing the vio-
lent expression of Farrington's face. " Pony up,
boys. We'll have just one little smahan more
and then we'll be off."
A very sullen-faced man stood at the comer of
O'Connell Bridge waiting for the little Sandy-
mount tram to take him home. He was full of
smouldering anger and revengefulness. He felt
humiliated and discontented ; he did not even feel
drunk; and he had only twopence in his pocket.
He cursed everything. He had done for himself
in the office, pawned his watch, spent all his
money ; and he had not even got drunk. He be-
gan to feel thirsty again and he longed to be back
again in the hot reeking public-house. He had
lost his reputation as a strong man, having been
defeated twice by a mere boy. His heart swelled
with fury and, when he thought of the woman in
the big hat who had brushed against him and said
Pardon! his fury nearly choked him.
His tram let him down at Shelbourne Road and
he steered his great body along in the shadow of
the wall of the barracks. He loathed returning
to his home. When he went in by the side-door
he found the kitchen empty and the kitchen fire
nearly out. He bawled upstairs:
His wife was a little sharp-faced woman who
bullied her husband when he was sober and was
bullied by him when he was drunk. They had
five children. A little boy came running down
" Who is that? " said the man, peering through
" Me, pa."
" Who are you? Charlie? "
" No, pa. Tom."
" Where's your mother? "
" She's out at the chapel."
" That's right. . . . Did she think of leaving
any dinner for me? "
" Yes, pa. I "
" Light the lamp. What do you mean by hav-
ing the place in darkness? Are the other chil-
dren in bed? "
The man sat down heavily on one of the chairs
while the little boy lit the lamp. He began to
mimic his son's flat accent, saying half to him-
self: ''At the chapel At the chapel^ if you
please! " When the lamp was lit he banged his
fist on the table and shouted :
" What's for my dinner? "
" I'm going ... to cook it, pa," said the little
The man jumped up furiously and pointed to
" On that fire ! You let the fire out ! By God,
I'll teach you to do that again I "
He took a step to the door and seized the walk-
ing-stick which was standing behind it.
" I'll teach you to let the fire out ! " he said,
rolling up his sleeve in order to give his arm free
The little boy cried " 0, pa! " and ran whimper-
ing round the table, but the man followed him
and caught him by the coat. The little boy
looked about him \sdldly but, seeing no way of
escape, fell upon his knees.
" Now, you'll let the fire out the next time ! "
said the man, striking at him vigorously with the
stick. " Take that, you little whelp ! "
The boy uttered a squeal of pain as the stick
cut his thigh. He clasped his hands together in
the air and his voice shook with fright.
" O, pa ! " he cried. " Don't beat me, pa ! And
I'll . . . I'll say a Hail Mary for you. . . . I'll say
a Hail Mary for you, pa, if you don't beat me.
. . . I'll say a Hail Mary. . . ."
The matron had given her leave to go out as soon
as the women's tea, was over and Maria looked
forvsard to her evening out. The kitchen was
spick and span : the cook said you could see your-
self in the big copper boilers. The fire was nice
and bright and on one of the side-tables were four
very big barmbracks. These barmbracks seemed
uncut ; but if jou went closer you would see that
they had been cut into long thick even slices and
were ready to be handed round at tea. Maria
had cut them herself.
Maria was a very, very small pei*son indeed but
she had a very long nose and a very long chin.
She talked a little through her nose, always sooth-
ingly: "Yes, my dear,^- and ^^Xo, my dear^
She was always sent for when the women quar-
relled over their tubs and always succeeded in
making peace. One day the matron had said to
" Maria, you are a veritable peace-maker ! "
And the sub-matron and two of the Board
ladies had heard the compliment. And Ginger
Mooney was always saying what she wouldn't do
to the dummy who had charge of the irons if it
wasn't for Maria. Everyone was so fond of
The women would have their tea at six o'clock
and she would be able to get away before seven.
From Ballsbridge to the Pillar, twenty minutes ;
from the Pillar to Drumcondra, twenty minutes ;
and twenty minutes to buy the things. She
would be there before eight. She took out her
purse with the silver clasps and read again the
words A Present from Belfast. She was very
fond of that purse because Joe had brought it to
her five years before when he and Alphy had gone
to Belfast on a Whit-Monday trip. In the purse
were two half-crowns and some coppers. She
would have five shillings clear after paying tram
fare. What a nice evening they would have, all
the children singing! Only she hoped that Joe
wouldn't come in drunk. He was so different
when he took any drink.
Often he had wanted her to go and live with
them ; but she would have felt herself in the way
(though Joe's wife was ever so nice with her) and
she had become accustomed to the life of the
laundry. Joe was a good fellow. She had
nursed him and Alphy too; and Joe used often
"Mamma is mamma but Maria is my proper
After the break-up at home the boys had got
her that position in the Dublin by Lamplight
laundry, and she liked it. She used to have such
a bad opinion of Protestants but now she thought
they were very nice people, a little quiet and seri-
ous, but still very nice people to live with. Then
she had her plants in the conservatory and she
liked looking after them. She had lovely ferns
and wax-plants and, whenever anyone came to
visit her, she always gave the visitor one or two
slips from her conservatory. There was one
thing she didn't like and that was the tracts on
the walks ; but the matron was such a nice person
to deal with, so genteel.
When the cook told her everything was ready
she went into the women's room and began to pull
the big bell. In a few minutes the women began
to come in by twos and threes, wiping their steam-
ing hands in their petticoats and pulling down
the sleeves of their blouses over their red steam-
ing arms. They settled down before their huge
mugs which the cook and the dummy filled up
with hot tea, already mixed with milk and sugar
in huge tin cans. Maria superintended the distri-
bution of the barmbrack and saw that every
woman got her four slices. There was a great deal
of laughing and joking during the meal. Lizzie
Fleming said Maria was sure to get the ring and,
though Fleming had said that for so many Hal-
low Eves, Maria had to laugh and say she didn't
want any ring or man either; and when she
•laughed her grey-green eyes sparkled with disap-
pointed shyness and the tip of her nose nearly met
the tip of her chin. Then Ginger Mooney lifted
up her mug of tea and proposed Maria's health
while all the other women clattered with their
mugs on the table, and said she was sorry she
hadn't a sup of porter to drink it in. And Maria
laughed again till the tip of her nose nearly met
the tip of her chin and till her minute body nearly
shook itself asunder because she knew that
Mooney meant well though, of course, she had the
notions of a common woman.
But wasn't Maria glad when the women had
finished their tea and the cook and the dummy
had begun to clear away the tea-things! She
went into her little bedroom and, remembering
that the next morning was a mass morning,
changed the hand of the alarm from seven to six.
Then she took off her working skirt and her
house-boots and laid her best skirt out on the bed
and her tiny dress-boots beside the foot of the bed.
She changed her blouse too and, as she stood be-
fore the mirror, she thought of how she used to
dress for mass on Sunday morning when she was
a young girl; and she looked with quaint affec-
tion at the diminutive body which she had so
often adorned. In spite of its years she found it
a nice tidy little body.
When she got outside the streets were shining
with rain and she was glad of her old brown
waterproof. The tram was full and she had to
sit on the little stool at the end of the car, facing
all the people, with her toes barely touching the
floor. She arranged in her mind all she was go-
ing to do and thought how much better it was to
be independent and to have your own money in
your pocket. She hoped they would have a nice
evening. She was sure they would but she could
not help thinking what a pity it was Alphy and
Joe were not speaking. They were always fall-
ing out now but when they were boys together
they used to be the best of friends : but such was
She got out of her tram at the Pillar and fer-
reted her way quickly among the crowds. She
went into Downes's cake-shop but the shop was so
full of people that it was a long time before she
could get herself attended to. She bought a
dozen of mixed penny cakes, and at last came out
of the shop laden with a big bag. Then she
thought what else would she buy : she wanted to
buy something really nice. They would be sure
to have plenty of apples and nuts. It was hard
to know what to buy and all she could think of
was cake. She decided to buy some plumcake
but Downes's plumcake had not enough almond
icing on top of it so she went over to a shop in
Henry Street. Here she was a long time in suit-
ing herself and the stylish young lady behind the
counter, who was evidently a little annoyed by
her, asked her was it wedding-cake she wanted to
buy. That made Maria blush and smile at the
young lady; but the young lady took it all very
seriously and finally cut a thick slice of plumcake,
parcelled it up and said :
" Two-and-four, please."
She thought she would have to stand in the
Drumcondra tram because none of the young men
seemed to notice her but an elderly gentleman
made room for her. He was a stout gentleman
and he wore a brown hard hat ; he had a square
red face and a greyish moustache. Maria
thought he was a colonel-looking gentleman and
she reflected how much more polite he was than
the young men who simply stared straight before
them. The gentleman began to chat with her
about Hallow Eve and the rainy weather. He
supposed the bag was full of good things for the
little ones and said it was only right that the
youngsters should enjoy themselves while they
were young. Maria agreed with him and fa-
voured him with demure nods and hems. He was
very nice with her, and when she was getting out
at the Canal Bridge she thanked him and bowed,
and he bowed to her and raised his hat and smiled
agreeably ; and while she was going up along the
terrace, bending her tiny head under the rain, she
thought how easy it was to know a gentleman
even when he has a drop taken.
Everybody said : ^' 0, here's Maria! '' when she
came to Joe's house. Joe was there, having come
home from business, and all the children had their
Sunday dresses on. There were two big girls in
from next door and games were going on. Maria
gave the bag of cakes to the eldest boy, Alphy, to
divide and Mrs. Donnelly said it was too good of
her to bring such a big bag of cakes and made all
the children say :
" Thanks, Maria."
But Maria said she had brought something spe-
cial for papa and mamma, something they would
be sure to like, and she began to look for her
plumcake. She tried in Downes's bag and then
in the pockets of her waterproof and then on the
hallstand but nowhere could she find it. Then
she asked all the children had any of them eaten
it — by mistake, of course — but the children all
said no and looked as if they did not like to eat
cakes if they were to be accused of stealing.
Everybody had a solution for the mystery and
Mrs. Donnelly said it was plain that Maria had
left it behind her in the tram. Maria, remember-
ing how confused the gentleman with the greyish
moustache had made her, coloured with shame
and vexation and disappointment. At the
thought of the failure of her little surprise and
of the two and four-pence she had thrown away
for nothing she nearly cried outright.
But Joe said it didn't matter and made her sit
down by the fire. He was very nice with her.
He told her all that went on in his office, repeat-
ing for her a smart answer which he had made
to the manager. Maria did not understand why
Joe laughed so much over the answer he had made
but she said that the manager must have been a
very overbearing person to deal with. Joe said
he wasn't so bad when you knew how to take him,
that he was a decent sort so long as you didn't
rub him the wrong way. Mrs. Donnelly played
the piano for the children and they danced and
sang. Then the two next-door girls handed
round the nuts. Is'^obody could find the nut-
crackers and Joe was nearly getting cross over it
and asked how did they expect Maria to crack
nuts without a nutcracker. But Maria said she
didn't like nuts and that they weren't to bother
about her. Then Joe asked would she take a bot-
tle of stout and Mrs. Donnelly said there was port
wine too in the house if she would prefer that.
Maria said she would rather they didn't ask her
to take anything : but Joe insisted.
So Maria let him have his way and they sat by
the fire talking over old times and Maria thought
she would put in a good word for Alphy. But
Joe cried that God might strike him stone dead
if ever he spoke a word to his brother again and
Maria said she was sorry she had mentioned the
matter, Mrs. Donnelly told her husband it was
a great shame for him to speak that way of his
own flesh and blood but Joe said that Alphy was
no brother of his and there was nearly being a
row on the head of it. But Joe said he would
not lose his temper on account of the night it
was and asked his wife to open some more stout.
The two next-door girls had arranged some Hal-
low Eve games and soon everything was merry
again. Maria was delighted to see the children
so merry and Joe and his wife in such good
spirits. The next-door girls put some saucers on
the table and then led the children up to the table,
blindfold. One got the prayer-book and the
other three got the water; and when one of the
next-door girls got the ring Mrs. Donnelly shook
her finger at the blushing girl as much as to say :
Oy I know all about it! They insisted then on
blindfolding Maria and leading her up to the
table to see what she would get ; and, while they
were putting on the bandage, Maria laughed and
laughed again till the tip of her nose nearly met
the tip of her chin.
They led her up to the table amid laughing and
joking and she put her hand out in the air as she
was told to do. She moved her hand about here
and there in the air and descended on one of the
saucers. She felt a soft wet substance with her
fingers and was surprised that nobody spoke or
took off her bandage. There was a pause for a
few seconds; and then a great deal of scuffling
and whispering. Somebody said something about
the garden, and at last Mrs. Donnelly said some-
thing very cross to one of the next-door girls and
told her to throw it out at once : that was no play.
Maria understood that it was wrong that time
and so she had to do it over again : and this time
she got the prayer-book.
After that Mrs. Donnelly played Miss Mc-
Cloud's Reel for the children and Joe made Maria
take a glass of wine. Soon they were all quite
merry again and Mrs. Donnelly said Maria would
enter a convent before the year was out because
she had got the prayer-book. Maria had never
seen Joe so nice to her as he was that night, so full
of pleasant talk and reminiscences. She said
they were all very good to her.
At last the children grew tired and sleepy and
Joe asked Maria would she not sing some little
song before she went, one of the old songs. Mrs
Donnelly said '' Do, please, Maria! " and so Maria
had to get up and stand beside the piano. Mrs.
Donnelly bade the children be quiet and listen to
Maria's song. Then she played the prelude and
said "Now, Maria!" and Maria, blushing very
much, began to sing in a tiny quavering voice.
She sang / Dreamt that I Dwelt, and when she
came to the second verse she sang again :
"/ dreamt that I dwelt in marble halls
With vassals and serfs at my side
And of all who assembled within those walls
That I was the hope and the pride.
" / had riches too great to count, could boast
Of a high ancestral name,
But I also dreamt, which pleased me most.
That you loved me still the same."
But no one tried to show her her mistake ; and
when she had ended her song Joe was very much
moved. He said that there was no time like the
long ago and no music for him like poor old Balf e,
whatever other people might say; and his eyes
filled up so much with tears that he could not find
what he was looking for and in the end he had to
ask his wife to tell him where the corkscrew was.
A PAINFUL CASE
Mr. James Duffy lived in Chapelizod because he
wished to live as far as possible from the city of
which he was a citizen and because he found all
the other suburbs of Dublin mean, modem and
pretentious. He lived in an old sombre house
and from his windows he could look into the dis-
used distillery or upwards along the shallow river
on which Dublin is built. The lofty walls of his
uncarpeted room were free from pictures. He
had himself bought every article of furniture in
the room: a black iron bedstead, an iron wash-
stand, four cane chairs, a clothes-rack, a coal-
scuttle, a fender and irons and a square table on
which lay a double desk. A bookcase had been
made in an alcove by means of shelves of white
wood. The bed was clothed with white bed-
clothes and a black and scarlet rug covered the
foot. A little hand-mirror hung above the wash-
stand and during the day a white-shaded lamp
stood as the sole ornament of the mantelpiece.
The books on the white wooden shelves were ar-
ranged from below upwards according to bulk.
A complete Wordsworth stood at one end of the
lowest shelf and a copy of the Maynooth Cate-
chism, sewn into the cloth cover of a notebook,
stood at one end of the top shelf. Writing ma-
terials were always on the desk. In the desk lay
a manuscript translation of Hauptmann's Mi-
chael Kramer, the stage directions of which were
written in purple ink, and a little sheaf of papers
held together by a brass pin. In these sheets a
sentence was inscribed from time to time and, in
an ironical moment, the headline of an advertise-
ment for Bile Beans had been pasted on to the
first sheet. On lifting the lid of the desk a faint
fragrance escaped — the fragrance of new cedar-
wood pencils or of a bottle of gum or of an over-
ripe apple which might have been left there and
Mr. Duffy abhorred anything which betokened
physical or mental disorder. A mediaeval doctor
would have called him saturnine. His face,
which carried the entire tale of his years, was of
the brown tint of Dublin streets. On his long
and rather large head grew dry black hair and a
tawny moustache did not quite cover an unami-
able mouth. His cheekbones also gave his face a
harsh character; but there was no harshness in
the eyes which, looking at the world from under
their tawny eyebrows, gave the impression of a
man ever alert to greet a redeeming instinct in
others but often disappointed. He lived at a lit-
tle distance from his body, regarding his own
acts with doubtful side-glances. He had an odd
autobiographical habit which led him to compose
in his mind from time to time a short sentence
about himself containing a subject in the third
A PAINFUL CASE 135
person and a predicate in the past tense. He
never gave alms to beggars and walked firmly,
carrying a stout hazel.
He had been for many years cashier of a pri-
vate bank in Baggot Street. Every morning he
came in from Chapelizod by tram. At midday
he went to Dan Burke's and took his lur.ch — a
bottle of lager beer and a small trayful of ar-
rowroot biscuits. At four o'clock he was set free.
He dined in an eating-house in George's Street
where he felt himself safe from the society of
Dublin's gilded youth and where there was a cer-
tain plain honesty in the bill of fare. His eve-
nings were spent either before his landlady's
piano or roaming about the outskirts of the city.
His liking for Mozart's music brought him some-
times to an opera or a concert: these were the
only dissipations of his life.
He had neither companions nor friends, church
nor creed. He lived his spiritual life without
any communion with others, visiting his relatives
at Christmas and escorting them to the cemetery
when they died. He performed these two social
duties for old dignity' sake but conceded nothing
further to the conventions which regulate the
civic life. He allowed himself to think that in
certain circumstances he would rob his bank but,
as these circumstances never arose, his life rolled
out evenly — an adventureless tale.
One evening he found himself sitting beside two
ladies in the Rotunda. The house, thinly peopled
and silent, gave distressing prophecy of failure.
The lady who sat next him looked round at the
deserted house once or twice and then said :
" What a pity there is such a poor house to-
night ! It's so hard on people to have to sing to
He took the remark as an invitation to talk.
He was surprised that she seemed so little awk-
ward. While they talked he tried to fix her per-
manently in his memory. When he learned that
the young girl beside her was her daughter he
judged her to be a year or so younger than him-
self. Her face, which must have been handsome,
had remained intelligent. It was an oval face
with strongly marked features. The eyes were
very dark blue and steady. Their gaze began
with a defiant note but was confused by what
seemed a deliberate swoon of the pupil into the
iris, revealing for an instant a temperament of
great sensibility. The pupil reasserted itself
quickly, this half-disclosed nature fell again un-
der the reign of prudence, and her astrakhan
jacket, moulding a bosom of a certain fulness,
struck the note of defiance more definitely.
He met her again a few w«eeks afterwards at a
concert in Earlsfort Terrace and seized the mo-
ments when her daughter's attention was diverted
to become intimate. She alluded once or twice
to her husband but her tone was not such as to
make the allusion a warning. Her name was
Mrs. Sinico. Her husband's great-great-grand-
father had come from Leghorn. Her husband
A PAINFUL CASE 137
was captain of a mercantile boat plying between
Dublin and Holland ; and they had one child.
Meeting her a third time by accident he found
courage to make an appointment. She came.
This was the first of many meetings; they met
always in the evening and chose the most quiet
quarters for their walks together. Mr. Dufify,
however, had a distaste for underhand ways and,
finding that they were compelled to meet stealth-
ily, he forced her to ask him to her house. Cap-
tain Sinico encouraged his visits, thinking that
his daughter's hand was in question. He had dis-
missed his wife so sincerely from his gallery of
pleasures that he did not suspect that anyone else
would take an interest in her. As the husband
was often away and the daughter out giving
music lessons Mr. Duffy had many opportunities
of enjoying the lady's society. Neither he nor
she had had any such adventure before and
neither was conscious of any incongruity. Little
by little he entangled his thoughts with hers. He
lent her books, provided her with ideas, shared his
intellectual life with her. She listened to all.
Sometimes in return for his theories she gave
out some fact of her own life. With almost ma-
ternal solicitude she urged him to let his nature
open to the full : she became his confessor. He
told her that for some time he had assisted at the
meetings of an Irish Socialist Party where he had
felt himself a unique figure amidst a score of
sober workmen in a garret lit by an inefficient oil-
lamp. When the party had divided into three
sections, each under its own leader and in its own
garret, he had discontinued his attendances. The
workmen's discussions, he said, were too timor-
ous; the interest they took in the question of
wages was inordinate. He felt that they were
hard-featured realists and that they resented an
exactitude which was the produce of a leisure not
within their reach. No social revolution, he told
her, would be likely to strike Dublin for some cen-
She asked him why did he not write out his
thoughts. For what, he asked her, with careful
scorn. To compete with phrasemongers, incapa-
ble of thinking consecutively for sixty seconds?
To submit himself to the criticisms of an obtuse
middle class which entrusted its morality to
policemen and its fine arts to impresarios?
He went often to her little cottage outside Dub-
lin ; often they spent their evenings alone. Little
by little, as their thoughts entangled, they spoke
of subjects less remote. Her companionship was
like a warm soil about an exotic. Many times
she allowed the dark to fall upon them, refrain-
ing from lighting the lamp. The dark discreet
room, their isolation, the music that still vibrated
in their ears united them. This union exalted
him, wore away the rough edges of his character,
emotionalised his mental life. Sometimes he
caught himself listening to the sound of his own
voice. He thought that in her eyes he would as-
cend to an angelical stature ; and, as he attached
the fervent nature of his companion more and
A PAINFUL CASE 139
more closely to him, he heard the strange imper-
sonal voice which he recognised as his own, insist-
ing on the soul's incurable loneliness. We can-
not give ourselves, it said : we are our own. The
end of these discourses was that one night during
which she had shown every sign of unusual ex-
citement, Mrs. Sinico caught up his hand passion-
ately and pressed it to her cheek.
Mr. Duffy was very much surprised. Her in-
terpretation of his words disillusioned him. He
did not visit her for a week ; then he wrote to her
asking her to meet him. As he did not wish their
last interview to be troubled by the influence of
their ruined confessional they met in a little
cakeshop near the Parkgate. It was cold au-
tumn weather but in spite of the cold they wan-
dered up and down the roads of the Park for
nearly three hours. They agreed to break off
their intercourse : every bond, he said, is a bond
to sorrow. When they came out of the Park they
walked in silence towards the tram ; but here she
began to tremble so violently that, fearing an-
other collapse on her part, he bade her good-bye
quickly and left her. A few days later he re-
ceived a parcel containing his books and music.
Four years passed. Mr. Duffy returned to his
even way of life. His room still bore witness of
the orderliness of his mind. Some new pieces of
music encumbered the music-stand in the lower
room and on his shelves stood two volumes by
Nietzsche: Thus Spake Zarathustra and The
Gay Science. He wrote seldom in the sheaf of
papers which lay in his desk. One of his sen-
tences, written two months after his last inter-
view with Mrs. Sinico, read : Love between man
and man is impossible because there must not be
sexual intercourse and friendship between man
and woman is impossible because there must be
sexual intercourse. He kept away from concerts
lest he should meet her. His father died; the
junior partner of the bank retired. And still
every morning he went into the city by tram and
every evening walked home from the city after
having dined moderately in George's Street and
read the evening paper for dessert.
One evening as he was about to put a morsel of
corned beef and cabbage into his mouth his hand
stopped. His eyes fixed themselves on a para-
graph in the evening paper which he had propped
against the water-carafe. He replaced the mor-
sel of food on his plate and read the paragraph
attentively. Then he drank a glass of water,
pushed his plate to one side, doubled the paper
down before him between his elbows and read the
paragraph over and over again. The cabbage be-
gan to deposit a cold white grease on his plate.
The girl came over to him to ask was his dinner
not properly cooked. He said it was very good
and ate a few mouthfuls of it with difficulty.
Then he paid his bill and went out.
He walked along quickly through the Novem-
ber twilight, his stout hazel stick striking the
ground regularly, the fringe of the buff Mail
peeping out of a side-pocket of his tight reefer
A PAINFUL CASE 141
over-coat. On the lonely road which leads from
the Parkgate to Chapelizod he slackened his
pace. His stick struck the ground less emphati-
cally and his breath, issuing irregularly, almost
with a sighing sound, condensed in the wintry
air. When he reached his house he went up at
once to his bedroom and, taking the paper from
his pocket, read the paragraph again by the fail-
ing light of the window. He read it not aloud,
but moving his lips as a priest does when he reads
the prayers Secreto. This was the paragraph :
DEATH OF A LADY AT SYDNEY PARADE
A Painful Case
To-day at the City of Dublin Hospital the Dep-
uty Coroner (in the absence of Mr. Leverett)
held an inquest on the body of Mrs. Emily Sinico,
aged forty-three years, who was killed at Sydney
Parade Station yesterday evening. The evidence
showed that the deceased lady, while attempting
to cross the line, was knocked down by the engine
of the ten o'clock slow train from Kingstown,
thereby sustaining injuries of the head and right
side which led to her death.
James Lennon, driver of the engine, stated that
he had been in the employment of the railway
company for fifteen years. On hearing the
guard's whistle he set the train in motion and a
second or two afterwards brought it to rest in
response to loud cries. The train was going
P. Dunne, railway porter, stated that as the
train was about to start he observed a woman at-
tempting to cross the lines. He ran towards her
and shouted, but, before he could reach her, she
was caught by the'*buffer of the engine and fell to
A juror. " You saw the lady fall? "
' Witness. " Yes."
Police Sergeant Croly deposed that when he
arrived he found the deceased lying on the plat-
form apparently dead. He had the body taken
to the waiting-room pending the arrival of the
Constable 57E corroborated.
Dr. Halpin, assistant house surgeon of the City
of Dublin Hospital, stated that the deceased had
two lower ribs fractured and had sustained se-
vere contusions of the right shoulder. The right
side of the head had been injured in the fall.
The injuries were not sufficient to have caused
death in a normal person. Death, in his opinion,
had been probably due to shock and sudden fail-
ure of the heart's action.
Mr. H. B. Patterson Finlay, on behalf of the
railway company, expressed his deep regret at
the accident. The company had always taken
every precaution to prevent people crossing the
lines except by the bridges, both by placing no-
tices in every station and by the use of patent
spring gates at level crossings. The deceased
had been in the habit of crossing the lines late at
night from platform to platform and, in view of
A PAIXFUL CASE 143
certain other circumstances of the case, he did
not think the railway officials were to blame.
Captain Sinico, of Leoville, Sydney Parade,
husband of the deceased, also gave evidence. He
stated that the deceased was his wife. He was
not in Dublin at the time of the accident as he
had arrived only that morning from Rotterdam.
They had been married for twenty-two years and
had lived happily until about two years ago when
his wife began to be rather intemperate in her
Miss Mary Sinico said that of late her mother
had been in the habit of going out at night to buy
spirits. She, witness, had often tried to reason
with her mother and had induced her to join a
League. She was not at home until an hour
after the accident.
The jury returned a verdict in accordance with
the medical evidence and exonerated Lennon from
The Deputy Coroner said it was a most painful
case, and expressed great sympathy with Captain
Sinico and his daughter. He urged on the rail-
way company to take strong measures to prevent
the possibility of similar accidents in the future.
No blame attached to anyone.
Mr. Duffy raised his eyes from the paper and
gazed out of his window on the cheerless evening
landscape. The river lay quiet beside the empty
distillery and from time to time a light appeared
in some house on the Lucan road. What an end !
The whole narrative of her death revolted him
and it revolted him to think that he had ever
spoken to her of what he held sacred. The
threadbare phrases, the inane expressions of sym-
pathy, the cautious words of a reporter won over
to conceal the details of a commonplace vulgar
death attacked his stomach. Not merely had she
degraded herself; she had degraded him. He
saw the squalid tract of her vice, miserable and
malodorous. His soul's companion ! He thought
of the hobbling wretches whom he had seen car-
rying cans and bottles to be filled by the barman.
Just God, what an end ! Evidently she had been
unfit to live, without any strength of purpose, an
easy prey to habits, one of the wrecks on whicli
civilisation has been reared. But that she could
have sunk so low! Was it possible he had de-
ceived himself so utterly about her? He remem-
bered her outburst of that night and interpreted
it in a harsher sense than he had ever done. He
had no diflQculty now in approving of the course
he had taken.
As the light failed and his memory began to
wander he thought her hand touched his. The
shock which had first attacked his stomach was
now attacking his nerves. He put on his over-
coat and hat quickly and went out. The cold air
met him on the threshold ; it crept into the sleeves
of his coat. When he came to the public-house
at Chapelizod Bridge he went in and ordered a
The proprietor served him obsequiously but
A PAINFUL CASE 145
did not venture to talk. There were five or six
workingmen in the shop discussing the value of a
gentleman's estate in County Kildare. They
drank at intervals from their huge pint tumblers
and smoked, spitting often on the floor and some-
times dragging the sawdust over their spits with
their heavy boots. Mr. Duffy sat on his stool
and gazed at them, without seeing or hearing
them. After a while they went out and he called
for another punch. He sat a long time over it.
The shop was very quiet. The proprietor
sprawled on the counter reading the Herald and
yawning. Now and again a tram was heard
swishing along the lonely road outside.
As he sat there, living over his life with her
and evoking alternately the two images in which
he now conceived her, he realised that she was
dead, that she had ceased to exist, that she had
become a memory. He began to feel ill at ease.
He asked himself what else could he have done.
He could not have carried on a comedy of decep-
tion with her; he could not have lived with her
openly. He had done what seemed to him best.
How was he to blame? Now that she was gone
he understood how lonely her life must have been,
sitting night after night alone in that room. His
life would be lonely too until he, too, died, ceased
to exist, became a memory — if anyone remem-
It was after nine o'cock when he left the shop.
The night was cold and gloomy. He entered the
Park by the first gate and walked along under
the gaunt trees. He walked through the bleak
alleys where they had walked four years before.
She seemed to be near him in the darkness. At
moments he seemed to feel her voice touch his
ear, her hand touch his. He stood still to listen.
Why had he withheld life from her? Why had
he sentenced her to death? He felt his moral
nature falling to pieces.
When he gained the crest of the Magazine Hill
he halted and looked along the river towards
Dublin, the lights of which burned redly and hos-
pitably in the cold night. He looked down the
slope and, at the base, in the shadow of the wall
of the Park, he saw some human figures lying.
Those venal and furtive loves filled him with de-
spair. He gnawed the rectitude of his life; he
felt that he had been outcast from life's feast.
One human being had seemed to love him and he
had denied her life and happiness: he had sen-
tenced her to ignominy, a death of shame. He
knew that the prostrate creatures down by the
wall were watching him and wished him gone.
No one wanted him; he was outcast from life's
feast. He turned his eyes to the grey gleaming
river, winding along towards Dublin. Beyond
the river he saw a goods train winding out of
Kingsbridge Station, like a worm with a fiery
head winding through the darkness, obstinately
and laboriously. It passed slowly out of sight;
but still he heard in his ears the laborious drone
of the engine reiterating the syllables of her
A PAINFUL CASE 147
He turned back the way he had come, the
rhythm of the engine pounding in his ears. He
began to doubt the reality of what memory told
him. He halted under a tree and allowed the
rhythm to die away. He could not feel her near
him in the darkness nor her voice touch his ear.
He waited for some minutes listening. He could
hear nothing : the night was perfectly silent. He
listened again : perfectly silent. He felt that he
IVY DAY IN THE COMMITTEE
Old Jack raked the cinders together with a piece
of cardboard and spread them judiciously over
the whitening dome of coals. When the dome
was thinly covered his face lapsed into darkness
but, as he set himself to fan the fire again, his
crouching shadow ascended the opposite wall and
his face slowly re-emerged into light. It was an
old man's face, very bony and hairy. The moist
blue eyes blinked at the fire and the moist mouth
fell open at times, munching once or twice me-
chanically when it closed. When the cinders
had caught he laid the piece of cardboard against
the wall, sighed and said :
" That's better now, Mr. O'Connor."
Mr. O'Connor, a grey-haired young man, whose
face was disfigured by many blotches and pim-
ples, had just brought the tobacco for a cigarette
into a shapely cylinder but when spoken to he
undid his handiwork meditatively. Then he be-
gan to roll the tobacco again meditatively and
after a moment's thought decided to lick the
" Did Mr. Tierney say when he'd be back? " he
asked in a husky falsetto.
" He didn't say."
IVY DAY IN COMMITTEE ROOM 149
Mr. O'Connor put his cigarette into his mouth
and began to search his pockets. He took out a
pack of thin pasteboard cards.
" I'll get you a match," said the old man.
" Never mind, this'll do," said Mr. O'Connor.
He selected one of the cards and read what was
printed on it :
KOYAL Exchange Ward
Mr. Richard J. Tierney, P.L.G., respectfully so-
licits the favour of your vote and influence at
the coming election in the Royal Exchange
Mr. O'Connor had been engaged by Tierney's
agent to canvass one part of the ward but, as the
weather was inclement and his boots let in the
wet, he spent a great part of the day sitting by
the fire in the Committee Room in Wicklow
Street with Jack, the old caretaker. They had
been sitting thus since the short day had grown
dark. It was the sixth of October, dismal and
cold out of doors.
Mr. O'Connor tore a strip off the card and,
lighting it, lit his cigarette. As he did so the
flame lit up a leaf of dark glossy ivy in the lapel
of his coat. The old man watched him atten-
tively and then, taking up the piece of cardboard
again, began to fan the fire slowly while his com-
" Ah, yes," he said, continuing, " it's hard to
know what way to bring up children. Now
who'd think he'd turn out like that ! I sent him
to the Christian Brothers and I done what I
could for him, and there he goes boosing about.
I tried to make him someway decent."
He replaced the cardboard wearily.
" Only I'm an old man now I'd change his tune
for him. I'd take the stick to his back and beat
him while I could stand over him — as I done
many a time before. The mother, you know, she
cocks him up with this and that. . . ."
" That's what ruins children," said Mr. O'Con-
" To be sure it is," said the old man. " And lit-
tle thanks you get for it, only impudence. He
takes th'upper hand of me whenever he sees I've
a sup taken. What's the world coming to when
sons speaks that way to their fathers? "
" What age is he? " said Mr. O'Connor.
" Nineteen," said the old man.
" Why don't you put him to something? "
" Sure, amn't I never done at the drunken
bowsy ever since he left school ? * I won't keep
you,' I says. * You must get a job for yourself.'
But, sure, it's worse whenever he gets a job ; he
drinks it all."
Mr. O'Connor shook his head in sympathy, and
the old man fell silent, gazing into the fire.
Someone opened the door of the room and called
" Hello ! Is this a Freemason's meeting? "
IVY DAY IN COMMITTEE ROOM 151
" Who's that? " said the old man.
"What are you doing in the dark?" asked a
" Is that yon, Hynes? " asked Mr. O'Connor.
"Yes. What are you doing in the dark?"
said Mr. Hynes, advancing into the light of the
He was a tall, slender young man with a light
brown moustache. Imminent little drops of rain
hung at the brim of his hat and the collar of his
jacket-coat was turned up.
" Well, Mat," he said to Mr. O'Connor, " how
Mr. O'Connor shook his head. The old man
left the hearth, and after stumbling about
the room returned with two candlesticks which
he thrust one after the other into the fire
and carried to the table. A denuded room came
into view and the fire lost all its cheerful colour.
The walls of the room were bare except for a copy
of an election address. In the middle of the
room was a small table on which papers were
Mr. Hynes leaned against the mantelpiece and
" Has he paid you yet? ''
"Not yet," said Mr. O'Connor. "I hope to
God he'll not leave us in the lurch to-night.'*
Mr. Hynes laughed.
" O, he'll pay you. Never fear," he said.
" I hope he'll look smart about it if he means
business," said Mr. O'Connor.
" What do you think, Jack? " said Mr. Hynes
satirically to the old man.
The old man returned to his seat by the fire,
" It isn't but he has it, anyway. Not like the
" What other tinker? " said Mr. Hynes.
" Colgan," said the old man scornfully.
" It is because Colgan's a working-man you say
that? What's the difference between a good
honest bricklayer and a publican — €?h ? Hasn't
the working-man as good a right to be in the Cor-
poration as anyone else — ay, and a better right
than those shoneens that are always hat in hand
before any fellow with a handle to his name?
Isn't that so, Mat? " said Mr. Hynes, addressing
" I think you're right," said Mr. O'Connor.
" One man is a plain honest man with no
hunker-sliding about him. He goes in to repre-
sent the labour classes. This fellow you're
working for only wants to get some job or other."
" Of course, the working-classes should be
represented," said the old man.
" The working-man," said Mr. Hynes, " gets
all kicks and no halfpence. But it's labour
produces everything. The working-man is not
looking for fat jobs for his sons and nephews and
cousins. The working-man is not going to drag
the honour of Dublin in the mud to please a
" How's that? " said the old man.
IVY DAY IN COMMITTEE ROOM 153
" Don't you know they want to present an ad-
dress of welcome to Edward Rex if he comes here
next year? What do we want kowtowing to a
foreign king? "
" Our man won't vote for the address," said
Mr. O'Connor. " He goes in on the Nationalist
" Won't he? " said Mr. Hynes. " Wait till you
see whether he will or not. I know him. Is it
Tricky Dicky Tierney? "
" By God I perhaps you're right, Joe," said Mr.
O'Connor. " Anyway, I wish he'd turn up with
The three men fell silent. The old man began
to rake more cinders together. Mr. Hynes took
off his hat, shook it and then turned down the
collar of his coat, displaying, as he did so, an ivy
leaf in the lapel.
" If this man was alive," he said, pointing to
the leaf, " we'd have no talk of an address of
" That's true," said Mr. O'Connor.
" Musha, God be with them times I " said the
old man. " There was some life in it then."
The room was silent again. Then a bustling
little man with a snuffling nose and very cold ears
pushed in the door. He walked over quickly to
the fire, rubbing his hands as if he intended to
produce a spark from them.
" No money, boys," he said.
" Sit down here, Mr. Henchy," said the old
man, offering him his chair.
" O, don't stir, Jack, don't stir," said Mr.
He nodded curtly to Mr. Hynes and sat down
on the chair which the old man vacated.
" Did you serve Aungier Street? " he asked
" Yes," said Mr. O'Connor, beginning to search
his pockets for memoranda.
" Did you call on Grimes? "
" I did."
" Well ? How does he stand ? "
" He wouldn't promise. He said : * I won't
tell anyone what way I'm going to vote.' But I
think he'll be all right."
" He asked me who the nominators were ; and
I told him. I mentioned Father Burke's name.
I think it'll be all right."
Mr. Henchy began to snuflSe and to rub his
hands over the fire at a terrific speed. Then he
" For the love of God, Jack, bring us a bit of
coal. There must be some left."
The old man went out of the room.
" It's no go," said Mr. Henchy, shaking his
head. " I asked the little shoeboy, but he said :
^ O, now, Mr. Henchy, when I see the work going
on properly I won't forget you, you may be sure.'
Mean little tinker ! 'Usha, how could he be any-
thing else? "
" What did I tell you, Mat? " said Mr. Hynes,
" Tricky Dicky Tierney."
IVY DAY IN COMMITTEE ROOM 135
" O, he's as tricky as they make 'em," said Mr.
Henchy. " He hasn't got those little pigs' eyes
for nothing. Blast his soul I Couldn't he pay
up like a man instead of : ^ O, now, Mr. Hen-
chy, I must speak to Mr. Fanning. . . . I've
spent a lot of money '? Mean little schoolboy of
hell I I suppose he forgets the time his little old
father kept the hand-me-down shop in Mary's
" But is that a fact? " asked Mr. O'Connor.
" God, yes," said Mr. Henchy. " Did you
never hear that? And the men used to go in on
Sunday morning before the houses were open to
buy a waistcoat or a trousers — moya! But
Tricky Dicky's little old father always had a
tricky little black bottle up in a corner. Do you
mind now? That's that. That's where he first
saw the light."
The old man returned with a few lumps of coal
which he placed here and there on the fire.
" That's a nice how-do-you-do," said Mr. O'Con-
nor. " How does he expect us to work for him if
he won't stump up? "
" I can't help it," said Mr. Henchy. " I expect
to find the bailiffs in the hall when I go home."
Mr. Hynes laughed and, shoving himself away
from the mantelpiece with the aid of his shoul-
ders, made ready to leave.
" It'll be all right when King Eddie comes,'' he
said. " Well, boys, I'm off for the present. See
you later. 'Bye, 'bye."
He went out of the room slowly. Neither Mr.
Henchy nor the old man said anything, but, just
as the door was closing, Mr. O'Connor, who had
been staring moodily into the fire, called out sud-
" 'Bye, Joe."
Mr. Henchy waited a few moments and then
nodded in the direction of the door.
" Tell me," he said across the fire, " what brings
our friend in here? What does he want? "
" 'Usha, poor Joe ! " said Mr. O'Connor, throw-
ing the end of his cigarette into the fire, " he's
hard up, like the rest of us."
Mr. Henchy snuffled vigorously and spat so
copiously that he nearly put out the fire, which
uttered a hissing protest.
" To tell you my private and candid opinion,"
he said, " I think he's a man from the other camp.
He's a spy of Colgan's, if you ask me. Just go
round and try and find out how they're getting on.
They won't suspect you. Do you twig? "
"Ah, poor Joe is a decent skin," said Mr.
" His father was a decent, respectable man,"
Mr. Henchy admitted. " Poor old Larry Hynes !
Many a good turn he did in his day! But I'm
greatly afraid our friend is not nineteen carat.
Damn it, I can understand a fellow being hard
up, but what I can't understand is a fellow spong-
ing. Couldn't he have some spark of manhood
about him? "
" He doesn't get a warm welcome from me when
he comes," said the old man. " Let him work for
IVY DAY IX COMMITTEE ROOM 157
his own side and not come spying around here."
" I don't know," said Mr. O'Connor dubiously,
as he took out cigarette-papers and tobacco. " I
think Joe Hynes is a straight man. He's a clever
chap, too, with the pen. Do you remember that
thing he wrote ... ? "
" Some of these hillsiders and fenians are a bit
too clever if you ask me," said Mr. Henchy. " Do
you know what my private and candid opinion is
about some of those little jokers? I believe half
of them are in the pay of the Castle."
" There's no knowing," said the old man.
" O, but I know it for a fact," said Mr. Henchy.
" They're Castle hacks. ... I don't say Hynes.
. . . No, damn it, I think he's a stroke above that.
. . . But there's a certain little nobleman with a
cock-eye — you know the patriot I'm alluding
Mr. O'Connor nodded.
" There's a lineal descendant of Major Sirr for
you if you like I O, the heart's blood of a patriot !
That's a fellow now that'd sell his country for
fourpence — ay — and go down on his bended
knees and thank the Almighty Christ he had a
country to sell."
There was a knock at the door.
" Come in I " said Mr. Henchy.
A person resembling a poor clergyman or a
poor actor appeared in the doorway. His black
clothes were tightly buttoned on his short body
and it was impossible to say whether he wore a
clergyman's collar or a layman's, because the col-
lar of his shabby frock-coat, the uncovered but-
tons of which reflected the candlelight, was
turned up about his neck. He wore a round hat
of hard black felt. His face, shining with rain-
drops, had the appearance of damp yellow cheese
save where two rosy spots indicated the cheek-
bones. He opened his very long mouth suddenly
to express disappointment and at the same time
opened wide his very bright blue eyes to express
pleasure and surprise.
" O Father Keon ! " said Mr. Henchy, jumping
up from his chair. " Is that you? Come in ! "
" O, no, no, no ! " said Father Keon quickly,
pursing his lips as if he were addressing a child.
" Won't you come in and sit down? "
" No, no, no ! " said Father Keon, speaking in
a discreet, indulgent, velvety voice. " Don't let
me disturb you now! I'm just looking for Mr.
Fanning. . . ."
"He's round at the Black Eagle/' said Mr.
Henchy. " But won't you come in and sit down a
" No, no, thank you. It was just a little busi-
ness matter," said Father Keon. " Thank you,
He retreated from the doorway and Mr. Hen-
chy, seizing one of the candlesticks, went to the
door to light him downstairs.
" O, don't trouble, I beg! "
" No, but the stairs is so dark."
" No, no, I can see. . . . Thank you, indeed."
" Are you right now? "
IVY DAY IN COMMITTEE ROOM 159
" All right, thanks. . . . Thanks."
Mr. Henchy returned with the candlestick and
put it on the table. He sat down again at the
fire. There was silence for a few moments.
" Tell me, John,'- said Mr. O'Connor, lighting
his cigarette with another pasteboard card.
" What he is exactly? "
" Ask me an easier one," said Mr. Henchy.
" Fanning and himself seem to me very thick.
They're often in Kavanagh's together. Is he a
priest at all?"
" 'Mmmyes, I believe so. ... I think he's what
you call a black sheep. We haven't many of
them, thank God ! but we have a few. . . . He's
an unfortunate man of some kind. . . ."
"And how does he knock it out?" asked Mr.
" That's another mystery.''
"Is he attached to any chapel or church or
institution or "
" No," said Mr. Henchy, " I think he's trav-
elling on his own account. . . . God forgive me,"
he added, " I thought he was the dozen of stout."
" Is there any chance of a drink itself? " asked
" I'm dry too," said the old man.
" I asked that little shoeboy three times," said
Mr. Henchy, " would he send up a dozen of stout.
I asked him again now, but he was leaning on the
counter in his shirt-sleeves having a deep goster
with Alderman Cowley."
" Why didn't you remind him? " said Mr.
" Well, I couldn't go over while he was talking
to Alderman Cowley. I just waited till I caught
his eye, and said: * About that little matter I
was speaking to you about. . . .' * That'll be
all right, Mr. H.,' he said. Yerra, sure the little
hop-o'-my-thumb has forgotten all about it."
" There's some deal on in that quarter," said
Mr. O'Connor thoughtfully. " I saw the three of
them hard at it yesterday at Suffolk Street cor-
" I think I know the little game they're at,"
said Mr. Henchy. " You must owe the City
Fathers money nowadays if you want to be made
Lord Mayor. Then they'll make you Lord
Mayor. By God! I'm thinking seriously of be-
coming a City Father myself. What do you
think ? Would I do for the job ? "
Mr. O'Connor laughed.
" So far as owing money goes. . . ."
" Driving out of the Mansion House," said Mr.
Henchy, " in all my vermin, with Jack here stand-
ing up behind me in a powdered wig — eh? "
" And make me your private secretary, John."
" Yes. And I'll make Father Keon my private
chaplain. We'll have a family party."
" Faith, Mr. Henchy," said the old man, " you'd
keep up better style than some of them. I was
talking one day to old Keegan, the porter. * And
how do you like your new master, Pat?' says
I to him. 'You haven't much entertaining
IVY DAY IN COMMITTEE ROOM 161
now,' says I. * Entertaining ! ' says he. * He'd
live on the smell of an oil-rag.' And do you
know what he told me? Now, I declare to God,
I didn't believe him."
" What? " said Mr. Henchy and Mr. O'Connor.
" He told me : * What do you think of a Lord
Mayor of Dublin sending out for a pound of chops
for his dinner? How's that for high living?' says
he. * Wisha ! wisha,' says I. * A pound of
chops,' says he, ' coming into the Mansion House.'
* Wisha ! ' says I, ' what kind of people is going
at aU now? ' "
At this point there was a knock at the door, and
a boy put in his head.
" What is it? " said the old man.
" From the Black Eagle/' said the boy, walking
in sideways and depositing a basket on the floor
with a noise of shaken bottles.
The old man helped the boy to transfer the
bottles from the basket to the table and counted
the full tally. After the transfer the boy put his
basket on his arm and asked :
"What bottles? " said the old man.
" Won't you let us drink them first? " said Mr.
" I was told to ask for bottles."
" Come back to-morrow," said the old man.
" Here, boy I " said Mr. Henchy, " will you run
over to O'Farrell's and ask him to lend us a cork-
screw — for Mr. Henchy, say. Tell him we won't
keep it a minute. Leave the basket there."
The boy went out and Mr. Henchy began to rub
his hands cheerfully, saying :
" Ah, well, he's not so bad after all. He's as
good as his word, anyhow."
" There's no tumblers," said the old man.
" O, don't let that trouble you. Jack," said Mr.
Henchy. " Many's the good man before now
drank out of the bottle."
" Anyway, it's better than nothing," said Mr.
" He's not a bad sort," said Mr. Henchy, " only
Fanning has such a loan of him. He means well,
you know, in his own tinpot way."
The boy came back with the corkscrew. The
old man opened three bottles and was handing
back the corkscrew when Mr. Henchy said to the
" Would you like a drink, boy? "
" If you please, sir," said the boy.
The old man opened another bottle grudgingly,
and handed it to the boy.
" What age are you? " he asked.
" Seventeen," said the boy.
As the old man said nothing further, the boy
took the bottle, said : " Here's my best respects,
sir, to Mr. Henchy," drank the contents, put the
bottle back on the table and wiped his mouth with
his sleeve. Then he took up the corkscrew and
went out of the door sideways, muttering some
form of salutation,
" That's the way it begins," said the old man.
IVY DAY IX COMMITTEE ROOM 163
" The thin edge of the wedge," said Mr. Henchy.
The old man distributed the three bottles which
he had opened and the men drank from them
simultaneously. After having drank each placed
his bottle on the mantelpiece within hand's reach
and drew in a long breath of satisfaction.
" Well, I did a good day's work to-day," said
Mr. Henchy, after a pause.
"That so, John?''
" Yes. I got him one or two sure things in
Dawson Street, Crofton and myself. Between
ourselves, you know, Crofton ( he's a decent chap,
of course), but he's not worth a damn as a can-
vasser. He hasn't a word to throw to a dog. He
stands and looks at the people while I do the
Here two men entered the room. One of them
was a very fat man, whose blue serge clothes
seemed to be in danger of falling from his sloping
figure. He had a big face which resembled a
young ox's face in expression, staring blue eyes
and a grizzled moustache. The other man, who
was much younger and frailer, had a thin, clean-
shaven face. He wore a very high double collar
and a wide-brimmed bowler hat.
" Hello, Crofton ! " said Mr. Henchy to the fat
man. " Talk of the devil ..."
" Where did the boose come from? " asked the
young man. " Did the cow calve? *'
" O, of course, Lyons spots the drink first
thing I " said Mr. O'Connor, laughing.
" Is that the way you chaps canvass," said Mr.
Lyons, " and Crofton and I out in the cold and
rain looking for votes? "
" Why, blast your soul," said Mr. Henchy, " I'd
get more votes in five minutes than you two'd get
in a week."
" Open two bottles of stout. Jack," said Mr.
" How can I ? " said the old man, " when there's
" Wait now, wait now ! " said Mr. Henchy, get-
ting up quickly. " Did you ever see this little
He took two bottles from the table and, carry-
ing them to the fire, put them on the hob. Then
he sat down again by the fire and took another
drink from his bottle. Mr. Lyons sat on the edge
of the table, pushed his hat towards the nape of
his neck and began to swing his legs.
" Which is my bottle? " he asked.
" This, lad," said Mr. Henchy.
Mr. Crofton sat down on a box and looked
fixedly at the other bottle on the hob. He was
silent for two reasons. The first reason, suffi-
cient in itself, was that he had nothing to say ; the
second reason was that he considered his com-
panions beneath him. He had been a canvasser
for Wilkins, the Conservative, but when the Con-
servatives had withdrawn their man and, choos-
ing the lesser of two evils, given their support to
the Nationalist candidate, he had been engaged to
work for Mr. Tierney.
IVY DAY IN COMMITTEE ROOM 165
In a few minutes an apologetic " Pok ! " was
heard as the cork flew out of Mr. Lyons' bottle.
Mr. Lyons jumped off the table, went to the fire,
took his bottle and carried it back to the table.
" I was just telling them, Crofton,'' said Mr.
Henchy, " that we got a good few votes to-day."
" Who did you get? " asked Mr. Lyons.
" Well, I got Parkes for one, and I got Atkin-
son for two, and I got Ward of Dawson Street.
Fine old chap he is, too — regular old toff, old
Conservative I * But isn't your candidate a
Nationalist? ' said he. ' He's a respectable man,'
said I. ^ He's in favour of whatever will benefit
this country. He's a big ratepayer,' I said. ^ He
has extensive house property in the city and three
places of business and isn't it to his own advant-
age to keep down the rates? He's a prominent
and respected citizen,' said I, * and a Poor Law
Guardian, and he doesn't belong to any party,
good, bad, or indifferent.' That's the way to talk
" And what about the address to the King? "
said Mr. Lyons, after drinking and smacking his
" Listen to me," said Mr. Henchy. " \Miat we
want in this country, as I said to old Ward, is
capital. The King's coming here will mean an
influx of money into this country. The citizens
of Dublin will benefit by it. Look at all the fac-
tories down by the quays there, idle ! Look at all
the money there is in the country if we only
worked the old industries, the mills, the ship-
building yards and factories. It's capital we
" But look here, John," said Mr. O'Connor.
" Why should we welcome the King of England?
Didn't Parnell himself . . ."
" Parnell," said Mr. Henchy, " is dead. Now,
here's the way I look at it. Here's this chap
come to the throne after his old mother keeping
him out of it till the man was grey. He's a man
of the world, and he means well by us. He's a
jolly fine decent fellow, if you ask me, and no
damn nonsense about him. He just says to him-
self : * The old one never went to see these wild
Irish. By Christ, I'll go myself and see what
they're like.' And are we going to insult the man
when he comes over here on a friendly visit?
Eh? Isn't that right, Crofton? "
Mr. Crofton nodded his head.
" But after all now," said Mr. Lyons argumen-
tatively, " King Edward's life, you know, is not
the very ..."
"Let bygones be bygones," said Mr. Henchy.
" I admire the man personally. He's just an
ordinary knockabout like you and me. He's fond
of his glass of grog and he's a bit of a rake, per-
haps, and he's a good sportsman. Damn it, can't
we Irish play fair? "
" That's all very fine," said Mr. Lyons. " But
look at the case of Parnell now."
"In the name of God," said Mr. Henchy,
" Where's the analogy between the two cases? "
IVY DAY IN COMMITTEE ROOM 167
" What I mean," said Mr. Lyons, '' is we have
our ideals. Why, now, would we welcome a man
like that? Do you think now after what he did
Parnell was a fit man to lead us? And why,
then, would we do it for Edward the Seventh? "
" This is Parnell's anniversary,'' said Mr.
O'Connor, " and don't let us stir up any bad
blood. We all respect him now that he's dead
and gone — even the Conservatives," he added,
turning to Mr. Crofton.
Pok ! The tardy cork flew out of Mr. Crofton's
bottle. Mr. Crofton got up from his box and
went to the fire. As he returned with his capture
he said in a deep voice :
" Our side of the house respects him, because he
was a gentleman."
" Eight you are, Crofton ! " said Mr. Henchy
fiercely. " He was the only man that could keep
that bag of cats in order. * Down, ye dogs ! Lie
down, ye curs ! ' That's the way he treated them.
Come in Joe I Come in I " he called out, catch-
ing sight of Mr. Hynes in the doorway.
Mr. Hynes came in slowly.
" Open another bottle of stout, Jack," said Mr.
Henchy. " O, I forgot there's no corkscrew !
Here, show me one here and I'll put it at the
The old man handed him another bottle and
he placed it on the hob.
" Sit down, Joe," said Mr. O'Connor, " we're
just talking about the Chief."
" Ay, ay ! " said Mr. Henchy.
Mr. Hynes sat on the side of the table near Mr.
Lyons but said nothing.
" There's one of them, anyhow," said Mr. Hen-
chy, " that didn't renege him. By God, I'll say
for you, Joe ! No, by God, you stuck to him like
a man ! "
" O, Joe," said Mr. O'Connor suddenly. " Give
us that thing you wrote — do you remember?
Have you got it on you? "
" O, ay ! " said Mr. Henchy. " Give us that.
Did you ever hear that, Crofton? Listen to this
now : splendid thing."
" Go on," said Mr. O'Connor. "'Fire away,
Mr. Hynes did not seem to remember at once
the piece to which they were alluding, but, after
reflecting a while, he said :
" O, that thing is it. . . . Sure, that's old now."
" Out with it, man ! " said Mr. O'Connor.
" 'Sh, 'sh," said Mr. Henchy. " Now, Joe ! "
Mr. Hynes hesitated a little longer. Then
amid the silence he took off his hat, laid it on the
table and stood up. He seemed to be rehearsing
the piece in his mind. After a rather long pause
he announced :
THE DEATH OF PARNELL
6th October, 1891
He cleared his throat once or twice and then
began to recite :
IVY DAY IN COMMITTEE ROOM 169
He is dead. Our Uncrowned King is dead.
O, Erin, mourn witli grief and woe
For he lies dead whom the fell gang
Of modern hypocrites laid low.
He lies slain by the coward hounds
He raised to glory from the mire;
And Erin's hopes and Erin's dreams
Perish upon her monarch's pyre.
In palace, cabin or in cot
The Irish heart where'er it be
Is bowed with woe — for he is gone
Who would have wrought her destiny.
He would have had his Erin famed,
The green flag gloriously unfurled.
Her statesmen, bards and warriors raised
Before the nations of the World.
He dreamed (alas, 'twas but a dream!)
Of Liberty : but as he strove
To clutch that idol, treachery
Sundered him from the thing he loved-
Shame on the coward, caitiff hands
That smote their Lord or with a kiss
Betrayed him to the rabble-rout
Of fawning priests — no friends of his.
May everlasting shame consume
The memory of those who tried
To befoul and smear the exalted name
Of one who spumed them in his pride.
He fell as fall the mighty ones.
Nobly undaunted to the last.
And death has now united him
With Erin's heroes of the past.
No sound of strife disturb his sleep!
Calmly he rests: no human pain
Or high ambition spurs him now
The peaks of glory to attain.
They had their way: they laid him low.
But Erin, list, his spirit may
Rise, like the Phoenix from the flames.
When breaks the dawning of the day.
The day that brings us Freedom's reign.
And on that day may Erin well
Pledge in the cup she lifts to Joy
One grief — the memory of Parnell.
Mr. Hynes sat down again on the table. When
he had finished his recitation there was a silence
and then a burst of clapping: even Mr. Lyons
clapped. The applause continued for a little
time. When it had ceased all the auditors drank
from their bottles in silence.
Pok ! The cork flew out of Mr. Hynes' bottle,
but Mr. Hynes remained sitting flushed and bare-
headed on the table. He did not seem to have
heard the invitation.
" Good man, Joe ! " said Mr. O'Connor, tak-
ing out his cigarette papers and pouch the better
to hide his emotion.
"What do you think of that, Crofton? " cried
Mr. Henchy. " Isn't that fine? What? "
Mr. Crofton said that it was a very fine piece of
Mr. Holohan, assistant secretary of the Eire Ahu
Society, had been walking up and down Dublin
for nearly a month, with his hands and pockets
full of dirty pieces of paper, arranging about the
series of concerts. He had a game leg and for
this his friends called him Hoppy Holohan. He
walked up and down constantly, stood by the
hour at street corners arguing the point and
made notes ; but in the end it was Mrs. Kearney
who arranged everything.
Miss Devlin had become Mrs. Kearney out of
spite. She had been educated in a high-class
convent, where she had learned French and
music. As she was naturally pale and unbend-
ing in manner she made few friends at school.
When she came to the age of marriage she was
sent out to many houses, where her playing and
ivory manners were much admired. She sat
amid the chilly circle of her accomplishments,
waiting for some suitor to brave it and offer her
a brilliant life. But the young men whom she
met were ordinary and she gave them no encour-
agement, trying to console her romantic desires
by eating a great deal of Turkish Delight in
secret. However, when she drew near the limit
and her friends began to loosen their tongues
about her, she silenced them by marrying Mr.
Kearney, who was a bootmaker on Ormond Quay.
He was much older than she. His conversa-
tion, which was serious, took place at intervals
in his great brown beard. After the first year of
married life, Mrs. Kearney perceived that such a
man would wear better than a romantic person,
but she never put her own romantic ideas away.
He was sober, thrifty and pious ; he went to the
altar every first Friday, sometimes with her,
oftener by himself. But she never weakened in
her religion and was a good wife to him. At
some party in a strange house when she lifted her
eyebrow ever so slightly he stood up to take his
leave and, when his cough troubled him, she put
the eider-down quilt over his feet and made a
strong rum punch. For his part, he was a model
father. By paying a small sum every week into
a society, he ensured for both his daughters a
dowry of one hundred pounds each when they
came to the age of twenty-four. He sent the
older daughter, Kathleen, to a good convent,
where she learned French and music, and after-
ward paid her fees at the Academy. Every year
in the month of July Mrs. Kearney found occa-
sion to say to some friend :
" My good man is packing us off to Skerries for
a few weeks."
If it was not Skerries it was Howth or Grey-
When the Irish Revival began to be appreciable
Mrs. Kearney determined to take advantage of
A MOTHER 173
her daughter's name and brought an Irish teacher
to the house. Kathleen and her sister sent Irish
picture postcards to their friends and these
friends sent back other Irish picture postcards.
On special Sundays, when Mr. Kearney went
with his family to the pro-cathedral, a little
crowd of people would assemble after mass at the
corner of Cathedral Street. They were all
friends of the Kearneys — musical friends or
^Nationalist friends; and, when they had played
every little counter of gossip, they shook hands
with one another all together, laughing at the
crossing of so many hands, and said good-bye to
one another in Irish. Soon the name of Miss
Kathleen Kearney began to be heard often on peo-
ple's lips. People said that she was very clever
at music and a very nice girl and, moreover, that
she w^as a believer in the language movement.
Mrs. Kearney was well content at this. There-
fore she was not surprised when one day Mr.
Holohan came to her and proposed that her
daughter should be the accompanist at a series of
four grand concerts which his Society was going
to give in the Antient Concert Rooms. She
brought him into the drawing-room, made him
sit down and brought out the decanter and the
silver biscuit-barrel. She entered heart and soul
into the details of the enterprise, advised and
dissuaded : and finally a contract was drawn up
by which Kathleen was to receive eight guineas
for her services as accompanist at the four grand
As Mr. Holohan was a novice in such delicate
matters as the wording of bills and the disposing
of items for a programme, Mrs. Kearney helped
him. She had tact. She knew what artistes
should go into capitals and what artistes should
go into small type. She knew that the first tenor
would not like to come on after Mr. Meade's comic
turn. To keep the audience continually diverted
she slipped the doubtful items in between the old
favourites. Mr. Holohan called to see her every
day to have her advice on some point. She was
invariably friendly and advising — homely, in
fact. She pushed the decanter towards him, say-
" Now, help yourself, Mr. Holohan! "
And while he was helping himself she said :
" Don't be afraid ! Don't be afraid of it ! "
Everything went on smoothly. Mrs. Kearney
bought some lovely blush-pink charmeuse in
Brown Thomas's to let into the front of Kath-
leen's dress. It cost a pretty penny; but there
are occasions when a little expense is justifiable.
She took a dozen of two-shilling tickets for the
final concert and sent them to those friends who
could not be trusted to come otherwise. She for-
got nothing, and, thanks to her, everything that
was to be done was done.
The concerts were to be on Wednesday, Thurs-
day, Friday and Saturday. When Mrs. Kearney
arrived with her daughter at the Antient Concert
Rooms on Wednesday night she did not like the
look of things. A few young men, wearing
A MOTHER 175
bright blue badges in their coats, stood idle in the
vestibule ; none of them wore evening dress. She
passed by with her daughter and a quick glance
through the open door of the hall showed her the
cause of the stewards' idleness. At first she won-
dered had she mistaken the hour. No, it was
twenty minutes to eight.
In the dressing-room behind the stage she was
introduced to the secretary of the Society, Mr.
Fitzpatrick. She smiled and shook his hand.
He was a little man, with a white, vacant face.
She noticed that he wore his soft brown hat care-
lessly on the side of his head and that his accent
was flat. He held a programme in his hand, and,
while he was talking to her, he chewed one end of
it into a moist pulp. He seemed to bear disap-
pointments lightly. Mr. Holohan came into the
dressing-room every few minutes with reports
from the box-office. The artistes talked among
themselves nervously, glanced from time to time
at the mirror and rolled and unrolled their music.
When it was nearly half-past eight, the few peo-
ple in the hall began to express their desire to be
entertained. Mr. Fitzpatrick came in, smiled
vacantly at the room, and said :
" Well now, ladies and gentlemen. I suppose
we'd better open the ball."
Mrs. Kearney rewarded his very flat final syl-
lable with a quick stare of contempt, and then
said to her daughter encouragingly:
" Are you ready, dear? "
[When she had an opportunity, she called Mr.
Holohan aside and asked him to tell her what it
meant. Mr. Holohan did not know what it
meant. He said that the committee had made a
mistake in arranging for four concerts : four was
" And the artistes! " said Mrs. Kearney. " Of
course they are doing their best, but really they
are not good."
Mr. Holohan admitted that the artistes were no
good but the committee, he said, had decided to
let the first three concerts go as they pleased and
reserve all the talent for Saturday night. Mrs.
Kearney said nothing, but, as the mediocre items
followed one another on the platform and the
few people in the hall grew fewer and fewer, she
began to regret that she had put herself to any
expense for such a concert. There was some-
thing she didn't like in the look of things and Mr.
Fitzpatrick's vacant smile irritated her very
much. However, she said nothing and waited
to see how it would end. The concert expired
shortly before ten, and everyone went home
The concert on Thursday night was better at-
tended, but Mrs. Kearney saw at once that the
house was filled with paper. The audience be-
haved indecorously, as if the concert were an in-
formal dress rehearsal. Mr. Fitzpatrick seemed
to enjoy himself; he was quite unconscious that
Mrs. Kearney was taking angry note of his con-
duct. He stood at the edge of the screen, from
time to time jutting out his head and exchanging
A MOTHER 177
a laugh with two friends in the corner of the bal-
cony. In the course of the evening, Mrs, Kearney
learned that the Friday concert was to be aban-
doned and that the committee was going to move
heaven and earth to secure a bumper house on
Saturday night. When she heard this, she
sought out Mr. Holohan. She buttonholed him
as he was limping out quickly with a glass of
lemonade for a young lady and asked him was it
true. Yes, it was true.
" But, of course, that doesn't alter the con-
tract," she said. " The contract was for four
Mr. Holohan seemed to be in a hurry; he ad-
vised her to speak to Mr. Fitzpatrick. Mrs.
Kearney was now beginning to be alarmed. She
called Mr. Fitzpatrick away from his screen and
told him that her daughter had signed for four
concerts and that, of course, according to the
terms of the contract, she should receive the sum
originally stipulated for, whether the society gave
the four concerts or not. Mr. Fitzpatrick, who
did not catch the point at issue very quickly,
seemed unable to resolve the difficulty and said
that he would bring the matter before the com-
mittee. Mrs. Kearney's anger began to flutter in
her cheek and she had all she could do to keep
" And who is the Cometty pray? "
But she knew that it would not be ladylike to
do that : so she was silent.
Little boys were sent out into the principal
streets of Dublin early on Friday morning with
bundles of handbills. Special puffs appeared in
all the evening papers, reminding the music-lov-
ing public of the treat which was in store for it
on the following evening. Mrs. Kearney was
somewhat reassured, but she thought well to tell
her husband part of her suspicions. He listened
carefully and said that perhaps it would be better
if he went with her on Saturday night. She
agreed. She respected her husband in the same
way as she respected the General Post Office, as
something large, secure and fixed ; and though she
knew the small number of his talents she appre-
ciated his abstract value as a male. She was
glad that he had suggested coming with her.
She thought her plans over.
The night of the grand concert came. Mrs.
Kearney, with her husband and daughter, ar-
rived at the Antient Concert Rooms three-quar-
ters of an hour before the time at which the
concert was to begin. By ill luck it was a rainy
evening. Mrs. Kearney placed her daughter's
clothes and music in charge of her husband and
went all over the building looking for Mr. Holo-
han or Mr. Fitzpatrick. She could find neither.
She asked the stewards was any member of the
committee in the hall and, after a great deal of
trouble, a steward brought out a little woman
named Miss Beirne to whom Mrs. Kearney ex-
plained that she wanted to see one of the secre-
taries. Miss Beirne expected them any minute
and asked could she do anything. Mrs. Kearney
A MOTHER 179
looked searchinglj at the oldish face which was
screwed into an expression of trustfulness and
enthusiasm and answered :
" Ko, thank you I "
The little woman hoped they would have a good
house. She looked out at the rain until the mel-
ancholy of the wet street effaced all the trustful-
ness and enthusiasm from her twisted features.
Then she gave a little sigh and said :
" Ah, well ! We did our best, the dear knows."
Mrs. Kearney had to go back to the dressing-
The artistes were arriving. The bass and the
second tenor had already come. The bass, Mr.
Duggan, was a slender young man with a scat-
tered black moustache. He was the son of a hall
porter in an office in the city and, as a boy, he
had sung prolonged bass notes in the resounding
hall. From this humble state he had raised him-
self until he had become a first-rate artiste. He
had appeared in grand opera. One night, when
an operatic artiste had fallen ill, he had under-
taken the part of the king in the opera of Ifari-
tana at the Queen's Theatre. He sang his
music with great feeling and volume and was
warmly welcomed by the gallery; but, unfortu-
nately, he marred the good impression by wiping
his nose in his gloved hand once or tT\ice out of
thoughtlessness. He was unassuming and spoke
little. He said yotis so softly that it passed un-
noticed and he never drank anything stronger
than milk for his voice's sake. Mr. Bell, the sec-
ond tenor, was a fair-haired little man who com-
peted every year for prizes at the Feis Ceoil. On
his fourth trial he had been awarded a bronze
medal. He w^as extremely nervous and ex-
tremely jealous of other tenors and he covered
his nervous jealousy w^ith an ebullient friendli-
ness. It was his humour to have people know
what an ordeal a concert was to him. Therefore
when he saw Mr. Duggan he went over to him
and asked :
" Are you in it too? "
" Yes," said Mr. Duggan.
Mr. Bell laughed at his fellow-sufferer, held out
his hand and said :
Mrs. Kearney passed by these two young men
and went to the edge of the screen to view the
house. The seats were being filled up rapidly
and a pleasant noise circulated in the audito-
rium. She came back and spoke to her husband
privately. Their conversation was evidently
about Kathleen for they both glanced at her
often as she stood chatting to one of her Nation-
alist friends, Miss Healy, the contralto. An un-
known solitary woman with a pale face walked
through the room. The women followed with
keen eyes the faded blue dress which was
stretched upon a meagre body. Someone said
that she was Madam Glynn, the soprano.
" I wonder where did they dig her up," said
Kathleen to Miss Healy. " I'm sure I never
heard of her."
A MOTHER 181
Miss Healy had to smile. Mr. Holohan limped
into the dressing-room at that moment and the
two young ladies asked him who was the un-
known woman. Mr. Holohan said that she was
Madam Glynn from London. Madam Glynn
took her stand in a corner of the room, holding a
roll of music stiffly before her and from time to
time changing the direction of her startled gaze.
The shadow took her faded dress into shelter but
fell revengefully into the little cup behind her
collar-bone. The noise of the hall became more
audible. The first tenor and the baritone arrived
together. They were both well dressed, stout
and complacent and they brought a breath of
opulence among the company.
Mrs. Kearney brought her daughter over to
them, and talked to them amiably. She wanted
to be on good terms with them but, while she
strove to be polite, her eyes followed Mr. Holo-
han in his limping and devious courses. As soon
as she could she excused herself and went out
" Mr. Holohan, I want to speak to you for a
moment,-' she said.
They went down to a discreet part of the cor-
ridor. Mrs. Kearney asked him when was her
daughter going to be paid. Mr. Holohan said
that Mr. Fitzpatrick had charge of that. Mrs.
Kearney said that she didn't know anything
about Mr. Fitzpatrick. Her daughter had signed
a contract for eight guineas and she would have
to be paid. Mr. Holohan said that it wasn't his
" Why Isn't it your business? " asked Mrs.
Kearney. " Didn't you yourself bring her the
contract? Anyway, if it's not your business it's
my business and I mean to see to it."
" You'd better speak to Mr. Fitzpatrick," said
Mr. Holohan distantly.
"I don't know anything about Mr. Fitzpat-
rick," repeated Mrs. Kearney. " I have my con-
tract, and I intend to see that it is carried out."
When she came back to the dressing-room her
cheeks were slightly suffused. The room was
lively. Two men in outdoor dress had taken pos-
session of the fireplace and were chatting famil-
iarly with Miss Healy and the baritone. They
were the Freeman men and Mr, O'Madden Burke.
The Freeman man had come in to say that he
could not wait for the concert as he had to report
the lecture which an American priest was giving
in the Mansion House, He said they were to
leave the report for him at the Freeman ofl&ce
and he would see that it went in. He was a grey-
haired man, with a plausible voice and careful
manners. He held an extinguished cigar in his
hand and the aroma of cigar smoke floated near
him. He had not intended to stay a moment be-
cause concerts and artistes bored him consider-
ably but he remained leaning against the mantel-
piece. Miss Healy stood in front of him,
talking and laughing. He was old enough to
suspect one reason for her politeness but young
A MOTHER 188
enough in spirit to turn the moment to account.
The warmth, fragrance and colour of her body
appealed to his senses. He was pleasantly con-
scious that the bosom which he saw rise and fall
slowly beneath him rose and fell at that moment
for him, that the laughter and fragrance and wil-
ful glances were his tribute. When he could
Btay no longer he took leave of her regretfully.
"O'Madden Burke will write the notice," he
explained to Mr. Holohan, " and I'll see it in."
" Thank you very much, Mr. Hendrick," said
Mr. Holohan. " You'll see it in, I know. Now,
won't you have a little something before vou
" I don't mind," said Mr. Hendrick.
The two men went along some tortuous pas-
sages and up a dark staircase and came to a se-
cluded room where one of the stewards was
uncorking bottles for a few gentlemen. One of
these gentlemen was Mr. O'Madden Burke, who
had found out the room by instinct. He was a
suave, elderly man who balanced his imposing
body, when at rest, upon a large silk umbrella.
His magniloquent western name was the moral
umbrella upon which he balanced the fine prob-
lem of his finances. He was widely respected.
While Mr. Holohan was entertaining the Free-
man man Mrs. Kearney was speaking so animat-
edly to her husband that he had to ask her to
lower her voice. The conversation of the others
in the dressing-room had become strained. Mr.
Bell, the first item, stood ready with his music
but the accompanist made no sign. Evidently
something was wrong. Mr. Kearney looked
straight before him, stroking his beard, while
Mrs. Kearney spoke into Kathleen's ear with sub-
dued emphasis. From the hall came sounds of
encouragement, clapping and stamping of feet.
The first tenor and the baritone and Miss Healy
stood together, waiting tranquilly, but Mr. Bell's
nerves were greatly agitated because he was
afraid the audience would think that he had come
Mr. Holohan and Mr. O'Madden Burke came
into the room. In a moment Mr. Holohan per-
ceived the hush. He went over to Mrs. Kearney
and spoke with her earnestly. While they were
speaking the noise in the hall grew louder. Mr.
Holohan became very red and excited. He spoke
volubly, but Mrs. Kearney said curtly at inter-
" She won't go on. She must get her eight
Mr. Holohan pointed desperately towards the
hall where the audience was clapping and stamp-
ing. He appealed to Mr. Kearney and to Kath-
leen. But Mr. Kearney continued to stroke his
beard and Kathleen looked down, moving the
point of her new shoe : it was not her fault. Mrs.
Kearney repeated :
" She won't go on without her money."
After a swift struggle of tongues Mr. Holohan
hobbled out in haste. The room was silent.
When the strain of the silence had become some-
A MOTHER 185
what painful Miss Healy said to the baritone:
" Have you seen Mrs. Pat Campbell this
The baritone had not seen her but he had been
told that she was very fine. The conversation
went no further. The first tenor bent his head
and began to count the links of the gold chain
which was extended across his waist, smiling and
humming random notes to observe the effect on
the frontal sinus. From time to time everyone
glanced at Mrs. Kearney.
The noise in the auditorium had risen to a
clamour when Mr. Fitzpatrick burst into the
room, followed by Mr. Holohan, who was pant-
ing. The clapping and stamping in the hall were
punctuated by whistling. Mr. Fitzpatrick held
a few bank-notes in his hand. He counted out
four into Mrs. Kearney's hand and said she
would get the other half at the interval. Mrs.
Kearney said :
" This is four shillings short."
But Kathleen gathered in her skirt and said :
*' Now, Mr. Bell," to the first item, who was shak-
ing like an aspen. The singer and the accompa-
nist went out together. The noise in the hall
died away. There was a pause of a few seconds :
and then the piano was heard.
The first part of the concert was very success-
ful except for Madam Glynn's item. The poor
lady sang Killarney in a bodiless gasping voice,
with all the old-fashioned mannerisms of intona-
tion and pronunciation which she believed lent
elegance to her singing. She looked as if she
had been resurrected from an old stage-wardrobe
and the cheaper parts of the hall made fun of her
high wailing notes. The first tenor and the con-
tralto, however, brought down the house. Kath-
leen played a selection of Irish airs which was
generously applauded. The first part closed
with a stirring patriotic recitation delivered by a
young lady who arranged amateur theatricals.
It was deservedly applauded; and, when it was
ended, the men went out for the interval, content.
All this time the dressing-room was a hive of
excitement. In one corner were Mr. Holohan,
Mr. Fitzpatrick, Miss Beirne, two of the stew-
ards, the baritone, the bass, and Mr. O'Madden
Burke. Mr. O'Madden Burke said it was the
most scandalous exhibition he had ever witnessed.
Miss Kathleen Kearney's musical career was
ended in Dublin after that, he said. The bari-
tone was asked what did he think of Mrs.
Kearney's conduct. He did not like to say any-
thing. He had been paid his money and wished
to be at peace with men. However, he said that
Mrs. Kearney might have taken the artistes into
consideration. The stewards and the secretaries
debated hotly as to what should be done when
the interval came.
" I agree with Miss Beirne," said Mr. O'Mad-
den Burke. " Pay her nothing."
In another corner of the room were Mrs. Kear-
ney and her husband, Mr. Bell, Miss Healy and
the young lady who had to recite the patriotic
A MOTHER 187
piece. Mrs. Kearney said that the committee
had treated her scandalously. She had spared
neither trouble nor expense and this was how she
They thought they had only a girl to deal with
and that, therefore, they could ride roughshod
over her. But she would show them their mis-
take. They wouldn't have dared to have treated
her like that if she had been a man. But she
would see that her daughter got her rights: she
wouldn't be fooled. If they didn't pay her to the
last farthing she would make Dublin ring. Of
course she was sorry for the sake of the artistes.
But what else could she do? She appealed to the
second tenor, who said he thought she had not
been well treated. Then she appealed to Miss
Healy. Miss Healy wanted to join the other
group but she did not like to do so because she
was a great friend of Kathleen's and the Kear-
neys had often invited her to their house.
As soon as the first part was ended Mr. Fitz-
patrick and Mr. Holohan went over to Mrs.
Kearney and told her that the other four guineas
would be paid after the committee meeting on
the following Tuesday and that, in case her
daughter did not play for the second part, the
committee would consider the contract broken
and would pay nothing.
"I haven't seen any committee," said Mrs.
Kearney angrily. " My daughter has her con-
tract. She will get four pounds eight into her
hand or a foot she won't put on that platform."
" I'm surprised at you, Mrs. Kearney," said
Mr. Holohan. " I never thought you would treat
us this way."
" And what way did you treat me? " asked Mrs.
Her face was inundated with an angry colour
and she looked as if she would attack someone
with her hands.
" I'm asking for my rights," she said.
" You might have some sense of decency," said
" Might I, indeed? . . . And when I ask when
my daughter is going to be paid I can't get a civil
She tossed her head and assumed a haughty
" You must speak to the secretary. It's not my
business. I'm a great fellow fol-the-diddle-I-do."
" I thought you were a lady," said Mr. Holo-
han, walking away from her abruptly.
After that Mrs. Kearney's conduct was con-
demned on all hands : everyone approved of what
the committee had done. She stood at the door,
haggard with rage, arguing with her husband and
daughter, gesticulating with them. She waited
until it was time for the second part to begin in
the hope that the secretaries would approach her.
But Miss Healy had kindly consented to play one
or two accompaniments. Mrs. Kearney had to
stand aside to allow the baritone and his accom-
panist to pass up to the platform. She stood
still for an instant like an angry stone image and,
A MOTHER 189
when the first notes of the song struck her ear,
she caught up her daughter's cloak and said to
her husband :
" Get a cab : "
He went out at once. Mrs. Kearney wrapped
the cloak round her daughter and followed him.
As she passed through the doorway she stopped
and glared into Mr. Holohan's face.
" I'm not done with you yet," she said.
" But I'm done with you,'' said Mr. Holohan.
Kathleen followed her mother meekly. Mr.
Holohan began to pace up and down the room, in
order to cool himself for he felt his skin on fire.
" That's a nice lady ! " he said. " O, she's a
nice lady I "
" You did the proper thing, Holohan," said Mr.
O'Madden Burke, poised upon his umbrella in
Two gentlemen who were in the lavatory at the
time tried to lift him up : but he was quite help-
less. He lay curled up at the foot of the stairs
down which he had fallen. They succeeded in
turning him over. His hat had rolled a few
yards away and his clothes were smeared with
the filth and ooze of the floor on which he had
lain, face downwards. His eyes were closed and
he breathed with a grunting noise. A thin
stream of blood trickled from the corner of his
These two gentlemen and one of the curates
carried him up the stairs and laid him down
again on the floor of the bar. In two minutes he
was surrounded by a ring of men. The manager
of the bar asked everyone who he was and who
was with him. No one knew who he was but one
of the curates said he had served the gentleman
with a small rum.
" Was he by himself? " asked the manager.
"No, sir. There was two gentlemen with
" And where are they? "
No one knew ; a voice said :
" Give him air. He's fainted."
The ring of onlookers distended and closed
again elastically. A dark medal of blood had
formed itself near the man's head on the tessel-
lated floor. The manager, alarmed bv the grey
pallor of the man's face, sent for a policeman.
His collar was unfastened and his necktie un-
done. He opened his eyes for an instant, sighed
and closed them again. One of the gentlemen
who had carried him upstairs held a dinged silk
hat in his hand. The manager asked repeatedly
did no one know who the injured man was or
where had his friends gone. The door of the bar
opened and an immense constable entered. A
crowd which had followed him down the laneway
collected outside the door, struggling to look in
through the glass panels.
The manager at once began to narrate what he
knew. The constable, a young man with thick
immobile features, listened. He moved his head
slowly to right and left and from the manager to
the person on the floor, as if he feared to be the
victim of some delusion. Then he drew off his
glove, produced a small book from his waist,
licked the lead of his pencil and made ready to
indite. He asked in a suspicious provincial ac-
" Who is the man? What's his name and ad-
A young man in a cycling-suit cleared his way
through the ring of bystanders. He knelt down
promptly beside the injured man and called for
water. The constable knelt down also to help.
The young man washed the blood from the in-
jured man's mouth and then called for some
brandy. The constable repeated the order in an
authoritative voice until a curate came running
with the glass. The brandy was forced down the
man's throat. In a few seconds he opened his
eyes and looked about him. He looked at the
circle of faces and then, understanding, strove to
rise to his feet.
" You're all right now? " asked the young man
in the cycling-suit.
" Sha, 's nothing," said the injured man, trying
to stand up.
He was helped to his feet. The manager said
something about a hospital and some of the by-
standers gave advice. The battered silk hat was
placed on the man's head. The constable asked :
" Where do you live? "
The man, without answering, began to twirl the
ends of his moustache. He made light of his acci-
dent. It was nothing, he said : only a little acci-
dent. He spoke very thickly.
" Where do you live? " repeated the constable.
The man said they were to get a cab for him.
While the point was being debated a tall agile
gentleman of fair complexion, wearing a long yel-
low ulster, came from the far end of the bar.
Seeing the spectacle, he called out :
" Hallo, Tom, old man ! What's the trouble? "
" Sha, 's nothing," said the man.
The new-comer surveyed the deplorable figure
before him and then turned to the constable, say-
" It's all right, constable. 1*11 see him
The constable touched his helmet and an-
"All right, Mr. Power!"
" Come now, Tom," said Mr. Power, taking his
friend by the arm. " No bones broken. What?
Can you walk? "
The young man in the cycling-suit took the man
by the other arm and the crowd divided.
" How did you get yourself into this mess? "
asked Mr. Power.
" The gentleman fell down the stairs," said the
" I' 'ery 'ueh o'liged to you, sir," said the in-
" Not at all."
"'ant' we have a little . . .?"
" Not now. Not now."
The three men left the bar and the crowd sifted
through the doors in to the laneway. The man-
ager brought the constable to the stairs to inspect
the scene of the accident. They agreed that the
gentleman must have missed his footing. The
customers returned to the counter and a curate
set about removing the traces of blood from the
When they came out into Grafton Street, Mr.
Power whistled for an outsider. The injured
man said again as well as he could :
" I' 'ery 'uch o'liged to you, sir. I hope we'll
'eet again, 'y na'e is Kernan."
The shock and the incipient pain had partly
" Don't mention it," said the young man.
They shook hands. Mr. Kernan was hoisted on
to the car and, while Mr. Power was giving direc-
tions to the carman, he expressed his gratitude to
the young man and regretted that they could not
have a little drink together.
" Another time," said the young man.
The car drove off towards Westmoreland
Street. As it passed the Ballast Office the clock
showed half-past nine. A keen east wind hit
them, blowing from the mouth of the river. Mr.
Kernan was huddled together with cold. His
friend asked him to tell how the accident had
" I 'an't 'an," he answered, " 'y 'ongue is hurt."
The other leaned over the well of the car and
peered into Mr. Kernan's mouth but he could not
see. He struck a match and, sheltering it in the
shell of his hands, peered again into the mouth
which Mr. Kernan opened obediently. The sway-
ing movement of the car brought the match to and
from the opened mouth. The lower teeth and
gums were covered with clotted blood and a mi-
nute piece of the tongue seemed to have been
bitten off. The match was blown out.
" That's ugly," said Mr. Power.
" Sha, 's nothing," said Mr. Kernan, closing his
mouth and pulling the collar of his filthy coat
across his neck.
Mr. Kernan was a commercial traveller of the
old school which believed in the dignity of its call-
ing. He had never been seen in the city without
a silk hat of some decency and a pair of gaiters.
By grace of these two articles of clothing, he said,
a man could always pass muster. He carried on
the tradition of his Napoleon, the great Black-
white, whose memory he evoked at times by
legend and mimicry. Modern business methods
had spared him only so far as to allow him a little
oflQce in Crowe Street, on the window blind of
which was written the name of his firm with the
address — London, E.G. On the mantelpiece of
this little oflSce a little leaden battalion of canis-
ters was drawn up and on the table before the
window stood four or five china bowls which were
usually half full of a black liquid. From these
bowls Mr. Kernan tasted tea. He took a mouth-
ful, drew it up, saturated his palate with it and
then spat it forth into the grate. Then he paused
Mr. Power, a much younger man, was employed
in the Royal Irish Constabulary Office in Dublin
Castle. The arc of his social rise intersected the
arc of his friend's decline, but Mr. Kernan's de-
cline was mitigated by the fact that certain of
those friends who had known him at his highest
point of success still esteemed him as a character.
Mr. Power was one of these friends. His inex-
plicable debts were a byword in his circle ; he was
a debonair young man.
The car halted before a small house on the
Glasnevin road and Mr. Kernan was helped into
the house. His wife put him to bed, while Mr.
Power sat downstairs in the kitchen asking the
children where they went to school and what book
they were in. The children — two girls and a
boy, conscious of their father's helplessness and
of their mother's absence, began some horseplay
with him. He was surprised at their manners
and at their accents, and his brow grew thought-
ful. After a while Mrs. Kernan entered the
kitchen, exclaiming :
" Such a sight ! O, he'll do for himself one
day and that's the holy alls of it. He's been
drinking since Friday.''
Mr. Power was careful to explain to her that
he was not responsible, that he had come on the
scene by the merest accident. Mrs. Kernan, re-
membering Mr. Power's good ofiSces during
domestic quarrels, as well as many small, but op-
portune loans, said :
" O, you needn't tell me that, Mr. Power. I
know you're a friend of his, not like some of the
others he does be with. They're all right so long
as he has money in his pocket to keep him out
from his wife and famil}''. Nice friends! Who
was he with to-night, I'd like to know? "
Mr. Power shook his head but said nothing.
" I'm so sorry," she continued, " that I've noth-
ing in the house to offer you. But if you wait a
minute I'll send round to Fogarty's, at the cor-
Mr. Power stood up.
" We were waiting for him to come home with
the money. He never seems to think he has a
home at all/'
" O, now, 3Irs. Kernan," said Mr. Power, " we'll
make him turn over a new leaf. I'll talk to Mar-
tin. He's the man. Well come here one of these
nights and talk it over."
She saw him to the door. The carman was
stamping up and down the footpath, and swing-
ing his arms to warm himself.
" It's very kind of you to bring him home," she
" Not at all," said Mr. Power.
He got up on the car. As it drove off he raised
his hat to her gaily.
"We'll make a new man of him," he said.
" Good-night, Mrs. Kernan."
Mrs. Kernan's puzzled eyes watched the car till
it was out of sight. Then she withdrew them,
went into the house and emptied her husband's
She was an active, practical woman of middle
age. Xot long before she had celebrated her
silver wedding and renewed her intimacy with
her husband by waltzing with him to Mr. Power's
accompaniment. In her days of courtship, Mr.
Kernan had seemed to her a not ungallant figure :
and she still hurried to the chapel door whenever
a wedding was reported and, seeing the bridal
pair, recalled with vivid pleasure how she had
passed out of the Star of the Sea Church in
SandTinount, leaning on the arm of a jovial well-
fed man, who was dressed smartly in a frock-coat
and lavender trousers and carried a silk hat
gracefully balanced upon his other arm. After
three weeks she had found a wife's life irksome
and, later on, when she was beginning to find it
unbearable, she had become a mother. The part
of mother presented to her no insuperable diffi-
culties and for twenty-five years she had kept
house shrewdly for her husband. Her two eldest
sons were launched. One was in a draj>er's shop
in Glasgow and the other was clerk to a tea-mer-
chant in Belfast. They were good sons, wrote
regularly and sometimes sent home money. The
other children were still at school.
Mr. Kernan sent a letter to his office next day
and remained in bed. She made beef -tea for him
and scolded him roundly. She accepted his fre-
quent intemperance as part of the climate, healed
him dutifully whenever he was sick and always
tried to make him eat a breakfast. There were
worse husbands. He had never been violent since
the boys had grown up, and she knew that he
would walk to the end of Thomas Street and back
again to book even a small order.
Two nights after, his friends came to see him.
She brought them up to his bedroom, the air of
which was impregnated with a personal odour,
and gave them chairs at the fire. Mr. Kernan's
tongue, the occasional stinging pain of which had
made him somewhat irritable during the day, be-
came more polite. He sat propped up in the bed
by pillows and the little colour in his puffy cheeks
made them resemble warm cinders. He apolo-
gised to his guests for the disorder of the room,
but at the same time looked at them a little
proudly, with a veteran's pride.
He was quite unconscious that he was the vic-
tim of a plot which his friends, Mr. Cunningham,
Mr. M'Coy and Mr. Power had disclosed to Mrs.
Keman in the parlour. The idea had been Mr.
Power's, but its development was entrusted to
Mr. Cunningham. Mr. Kernan came of Protes-
tant stock and, though he had been converted
to the Catholic faith at the time of his marriage,
he had not been in the pale of the Church for
twenty years. He was fond, moreover, of giving
side-thrusts at Catholicism.
Mr. Cunningham was the very man for such a
case. He was an elder colleague of Mr. Power.
His own domestic life was not very happy. Peo-
ple had great sympathy with him, for it was
known that he had married an unpresentable
woman who was an incurable drunkard. He had
set up house for her six times ; and each time she
had pawned the furniture on him.
Everyone had respect for poor Martin Cun-
ningham. He was a thoroughly sensible man,
influential and intelligent. His blade of human
knowledge, natural astuteness particularised by
long association with cases in the police courts,
had been tempered by brief immersions in the
waters of general philosophy. He was well in-
formed. His friends bowed to his opinions and
considered that his face was like Shakespeare's.
When the plot had been disclosed to her, Mrs.
Kernan had said :
" I leave it all in your hands, Mr. Cunning-
After a quarter of a century of married life, she
had very few illusions left. Keligion for her was
a habit, and she suspected that a man of her hus-
band's age would not change greatly before death.
She was tempted to see a curious appropriateness
in his accident and, but that she did not wish to
seem bloody-minded, she would have told the gen-
tlemen that Mr. Kernan's tongue would not suf-
fer by being shortened. However, Mr. Cunning-
ham was a capable man; and religion was relig-
ion. The scheme might do good and, at least, it
could do no harm. Her beliefs were not ex-
travagant. She believed steadily in the Sa-
cred Heart as the most generally useful of all
Catholic devotions and approved of the sacra-
ments. Her faith was bounded by her kitchen,
but, if she was put to it, she could believe also in
the banshee and in the Holy Ghost.
The gentlemen began to talk of the accident.
Mr. Cunningham said that he had once known a
similar case. A man of seventy had bitten off a
piece of his tongue during an epileptic fit and the
tongue had filled in again, so that no one could
see a trace of the bite.
" Well, I'm not seventy," said the invalid.
" God forbid," said Mr. Cunningham.
" It doesn't pain you now? " asked Mr. M'Coy.
Mr. M'Coy had been at one time a tenor of some
reputation. His wife, who had been a soprano,
still taught young children to play the piano at
low terms. His line of life had not been the
shortest distance between two points and for
short periods he had been driven to live by his
wits. He had been a clerk in the Midland Rail-
way, a canvasser for advertisements for The Irish
Times and for The Freeman's Journal, a town
traveller for a coal firm on commission, a private
inquiry agent, a clerk in the office of the Sub-
Sheriff, and he had recently become secretary to
the City Coroner. His new office made him pro-
fessionally interested in Mr. Kernan's case.
"Pain? Not much," answered Mr. Kernan.
" But it's so sickening. I feel as if I wanted to
" That's the boose," said Mr. Cunningham
" No," said Mr. Kernan. " I think I caught
cold on the car. There's something keeps coming
into my throat, phlegm or "
" Mucus," said Mr. M'Coy.
" It keeps coming like from down in my throat ;
"Yes, yes," said Mr. M'Coy, "that's the
He looked at Mr. Cunningham and Mr. Power
at the same time with an air of challenge. Mr.
Cunningham nodded his head rapidly and Mr.
Power said :
" Ah, well, all's well that ends well."
" I'm very much obliged to you, old man," said
Mr. Power waved his hand.
" Those other two fellows I was Tsdth "
"Who were you with?" asked Mr. Cunning-
" A chap. I don't know his name. Damn it
now, what's his name? Little chap with sandy
hair. . . ."
" And who else?"
" Hm," said Mr. Cunningham.
When Mr. Cunningham made that remark, peo-
ple were silent. It was known that the speaker
had secret sources of information. In this case
the monosyllable had a moral intention. Mr.
Harford sometimes formed one of a little de-
tachment which left the city shortly after noon
on Sunday with the purpose of arriving as soon
as possible at some public-house on the outskirts
of the city where its members duly qualified them-
selves as hona-fide travellers. But his fellow-
travellers had never consented to overlook his
origin. He had begun life as an obscure finan-
cier by lending small sums of money to workmen
at usurious interest. Later on he had become
the partner of a very fat, short gentleman, Mr.
Goldberg, in the Liffey Loan Bank. Though he
had never embraced more than the Jewish ethical
code, his fellow-Catholics, whenever they had
smarted in person or by proxy under his exac-
tions, spoke of him bitterly as an Irish Jew and
an illiterate, and saw divine disapproval of usury
made manifest through the person of his idiot
son. At other times they remembered his good
" I wonder where did he go to," said Mr. Ker-
He wished the details of the incident to remain
vague. He wished his friends to think there had
been some mistake, that Mr. Harford and he had
missed each other. His friends, who knew quite
well Mr. Harford's manners in drinking were
silent. Mr. Power said again :
" All's well that ends well."
Mr. Kernan changed the subject at once.
" That was a decent young chap, that medical
fellow," he said. " Only for him "
" O, only for him," said Mr. Power, " it might
have been a case of seven days, without the option
of a fine."
" Yes, yes," said Mr. Kernan, trying to remem-
ber. " I remember now there was a policeman.
Decent young fellow, he seemed. How did it
happen at all?"
" It happened that you were peloothered,
Tom," said Mr. Cunningham gravely.
" True bill," said Mr. Kernan, equally gravely.
" I suppose you squared the constable. Jack,"
said Mr. M'Coy.
Mr. Power did not relish the use of his Chris-
tian name. He was not straight-laced, but he
could not forget that Mr. M'Coy had recently
made a crusade in search of valises and portman-
teaus to enable Mrs. M'Coy to fulfil imaginary
engagements in the country. More than he re-
sented the fact that he had been victimised he
resented such low playing of the game. He an-
swered the question, therefore, as if Mr. Kernan
had asked it.
The narrative made Mr. Kernan indignant.
He was keenly conscious of his citizenship,
wished to live with his city on terms mutually
honourable and resented any affront put upon
him by those whom he called country bump-
" Is this what we pay rates for? " he asked.
" To feed and clothe these ignorant bostooms . . .
and they're nothing else."
Mr. Cunningham laughed. He was a Castle
official only during office hours.
" How could they be anything else, Tom? " he
He assumed a thick, provincial accent and said
in a tone of command :
" 65, catch your cabbage ! "
Everyone laughed. Mr. M'Coy, who wanted to
enter the conversation by any door, pretended
that he had never heard the story. Mr. Cun-
ningham said :
" It is supposed — they say, you know — to
take place in the depot where they get these
thundering big country fellows, omadhauns, you
know, to drill. The sergeant makes them stand
in a row against the wall and hold up their
He illustrated the story by grotesque gestures.
" At dinner, you know. Then he has a bloody
big bowl of cabbage before him on the table and
a bloody big spoon like a shovel. He takes up a
wad of cabbage on the spoon and pegs it across
the room and the poor devils have to try and
catch it on their plates: 65, catch your cab-
Everyone laughed again : but Mr. Kernan was
somewhat indignant still. He talked of writing
a letter to the papers.
" These yahoos coming up here," he said,
" think they can boss the people. I needn't tell
you, Martin, what kind of men they are."
Mr. Cunningham gave a qualified assent.
" It's like everything else in this world," he
said. " You get some bad ones and you get some
" O yes, you get some good ones, I admit," said
Mr. Kernan, satisfied.
" It's better to have nothing to say to them,"
said Mr. M'Coy. " That's my opinion I "
Mrs. Kernan entered the room and, placing a
tray on the table, said :
" Help yourselves, gentlemen."
Mr. Power stood up to officiate, offering her
his chair. She declined it, saying she was iron-
ing downstairs, and, after having exchanged a
nod with Mr. Cunningham behind Mr. Power's
back, prepared to leave the room. Her husband
called out to her:
" And have you nothing for me, duckie? "
" O, you ! The back of my hand to you ! " said
Mrs. Kernan tartly.
Her husband called after her :
" Nothing for poor little hubby ! "
He assumed such a comical face and voice that
the distribution of the bottles of stout took place
amid general merriment.
The gentlemen drank from their glasses, set
the glasses again on the table and paused. Then
Mr. Cunningham turned towards Mr. Power and
" On Thursday night, you said, Jack? "
" Thursday, yes," said Mr. Power.
" Righto ! " said Mr. Cunningham promptly.
" We can meet in M'Auley's," said Mr. M'Coy.
" That'll be the most convenient place."
" But we mustn't be late," said Mr. Power ear-
nestly, " because it is sure to be crammed to the
" We can meet at half-seven," said Mr. M'Coy.
" Righto ! " said Mr. Cunningham.
" Half-seven at M'Auley's be it ! "
There was a short silence. Mr. Kernan waited
to see whether he would be taken into his friends'
confidence. Then he asked:
"What's in the wind?"
" O, it's nothing," said Mr. Cunningham. " It's
only a little matter that we're arranging about
" The opera, is it? " said Mr. Kernan.
" No, no," said Mr. Cunningham in an evasive
tone, " it's just a little . . . spiritual matter."
"0,'*'said Mr. Kernan.
There was silence again. Then Mr. Power
said, point blank :
" To tell you the truth, Tom, we're going to
make a retreat."
" Yes, that's it," said Mr. Cunningham. " Jack
and I and M'Cov here — we're all going to wash
He uttered the metaphor with a certain homely
energy and, encouraged by his own voice, pro-
" You see, we may as well all admit we're a
nice collection of scoundrels, one and all. I say,
one and all," he added with gruff charity and
turning to Mr. Power. " Own up now I "
" I own up," said Mr. Power.
" And I own up," said Mr. M'Coy.
" So we're going to wash the pot together,"
said Mr. Cunningham.
A thought seemed to strike him. He turned
suddenly to the invalid and said :
" D'ye know what, Tom, has just occurred to
me? You might join in and we'd have a four-
" Good idea," said Mr. Power. " The four of
Mr. Kernan was silent. The proposal con-
veyed very little meaning to his mind, but, under-
standing that some spiritual agencies were about
to concern themselves on his behalf, he thought
he owed it to his dignity to show a stiff neck. He
took no part in the conversation for a long while,
but listened, with an air of calm enmity, while
his friends discussed the Jesuits.
" I haven't such a bad opinion of the Jesuits,"
he said, intervening at length. " They're an
educated order. I believe they mean well,
• " They're the grandest order in the Church,
Tom," said Mr. Cunningham, with enthusiasm.
" The General of the Jesuits stands next to the
" There's no mistake about it," said Mr. M'Coy,
" if you want a thing well done and no flies about,
you go to a Jesuit. They're the boyos havte
influence. I'll tell you a case in point. . . ."
" The Jesuits are a fine body of men," said Mr.
" It's a curious thing," said Mr. Cunningham,
" about the Jesuit Order. Every other order of
the Church had to be reformed at some time or
other but the Jesuit Order was never once re-
formed. It never fell away."
" Is that so? " asked Mr. M'Coy.
" That's a fact," said Mr. Cunningham.
" That's history."
" Look at their church, too," said Mr. Power.
" Look at the congregation they have."
" The Jesuits cater for the upper classes," said
" Of course," said Mr. Power.
" Yes," said Mr. Kernan. " That's why I have
a feeling for them. It's some of those secular
priests, ignorant, bumptious "
" They're all good men," said Mr. Cunningham,
" each in his own way. The Irish priesthood is
honoured all the world over."
" O yes," said Mr. Power.
" Not like some of the other priesthoods on the
continent," said Mr. M'Coy, "unworthy of the
" Perhaps you're right," said Mr. Kernan, re-
" Of course I'm right," said Mr. Cunningham.
" I haven't been in the world all this time and
seen most sides of it without being a judge of
The gentlemen drank again, one following an-
other's example. Mr. Kernan seemed to be
weighing something in his mind. He was im-
pressed. He had a high opinion of Mr. Cunning-
ham as a judge of character and as a reader of
faces. He asked for particulars.
" O, it's just a retreat, you know," said Mr.
Cunningham. " Father Purdon is giving it.
It's for business men, you know.
" He won't be too hard on us, Tom," said Mr.
" Father Purdon? Father Purdon? " said the
" O, you must know him, Tom," said Mr. Cun-
ningham stoutly. " Fine, jolly fellow ! He's a
man of the world like ©urselves."
" Ah, . . . yes. I think I know him. Rather
red face; tall."
" That's the man."
"And tell me, Martin. ... Is he a good
" Munno. . . . It's not exactly a sermon, you
know. It's just a kind of a friendly talk, you
know, in a common-sense way."
Mr. Kernan deliberated. Mr. M'Coy said :
" Father Tom Burke, that was the boy ! "
" O, Father Tom Burke," said Mr. Cunning-
ham, "that was a born orator. Did you ever
hear him, Tom?"
" Did I ever hear him ! '" said the invalid, net-
tled. "Rather! I heard him. . , ."
" And yet they say he wasn't much of a theo-
logian," said Mr. Cunningham.
" Is that so? " said Mr. M'Coy.
"O, of course, nothing wrong, you know.
Only sometimes, they say, he didn't preach what
was quite orthodox."
"Ah! ... he was a splendid man," said Mr.
" I heard him once," Mr. Kernan continued.
" I forget the subject of bis discourse now. Crof-
ton and I were in the back of the . . . pit, you
know . . . the "
" The body," said Mr. Cunningham.
" Yes, in the back near the door. I forget now
what. . . . O yes, it was on the Pope, the late
Pope. I remember it well. Upon my word it
was magnificent, the style of the oratory. And
his voice! God! hadn't he a voice! The Pris-
oner of the Vatican, he called him. I remember
Crof ton saying to me when we came out "
" But lie's an Orangeman, Crofton, isn't he? "
said Mr. Power.
" 'Coui'se he is,'' said Mr. Kernan, " and a
damned decent Orangeman, too. We went into
Butler's in Moore Street — faith, I was genuinely
moved, tell you the God's truth — and I remem-
ber well his very words. Kernan^ he said, ice
worship at different altars, he said, but our belief
is the same. Struck me as very well put."
" There's a good deal in that," said Mr. Power.
" There used always be crowds of Protestants in
the chapel when Father Tom was preaching.''
" There's not much difference between us," said
Mr. M'Coy. " We both believe in "
He hesitated for a moment.
"... in the Redeemer. Only they don't be-
lieve in the Pope and in the mother of God."
" But, of coui'se," said Mr. Cunningham quietly
and effectively, " our religion is the religion, the
old, original faith."
" Not a doubt of it," said Mr. Kernan warmly.
Mrs. Kernan came to the door of the bedroom
and announced :
" Here's a visitor for you ! "
"Who is it?"
" Mr. Fogarty."
" O, come in ! come in ! "
A pale, oval face came forward into the light.
The arch of its fair trailing moustache was re-
peated in the fair eyebrows looped above pleas-
antly astonished eyes. Mr. Fogarty was a mod-
est gi-ocer. He had failed in business in a li-
censed house in the city because his financial con-
dition had constrained him to tie himself to sec-
ond-class distillers and brewers. He had opened
a small shop on Glasnevin Road where, he flat-
tered himself, his manners would ingratiate him
with the housewives of the district. He bore
himself with a certain grace, complimented little
children and spoke with a neat enunciation. He
was not without culture.
Mr. Fogarty brought a gift with him, a half-
pint of special whisky. He inquired politely for
Mr. Kernan, placed his gift on the table and sat
down with the company on equal terms. Mr.
Kernan appreciated the gift all the more since he
was aware that there was a small account for gro-
ceries unsettled between him and Mr. Fogarty.
He said :
" I wouldn't doubt you, old man. Open that.
Jack, will you? "
Mr. Power again officiated. Glasses were
rinsed and five small measures of whisky were
poured out. This new influence enlivened the
conversation. Mr. Fogarty, sitting on a small
area of the chair, was specially interested.
" Pope Leo XIII.," said Mr. Cunningham,
" was one of the lights of the age. His great
idea, you know, was the union of the Latin and
Greek Churches. That was the aim of his life."
" I often heard he was one of the most intellec-
tual men in Europe," said Mr. Power. " I mean,
apart from his being I?ope."
" So he was," said Mr. Cunningham, " if not
the most so. His motto, you know, as Pope, was
Lujo upon Lux — Light upon Li(jht."
" No, no," said Mr. Fogarty eagerly. " I think
you're wrong there. It was Lux in Tenebru, I
think — Light in Darkness.^'
" O yes," said Mr. M'Coy, '' Tenehrae."
"Allow me," said Mr. Cunningham positively,
"it was Lux upon Lux. And Pius IX. his pre-
decessor's motto was Crux upon Cru<D — that is.
Cross upon Cross — to show the difference be-
tween their two pontificates."
The inference was allowed, Mr. Cunningham
" Pope Leo, you know, was a gi-eat scholar and
" He had a strong face," aaid Mr. Kernan.
" Yes,'' said Mr. Cunningham. " He wrot€
" Is that so? " said Mr. Fogarty.
Mr. M'Coy tasted his whisky contentedly and
shook his head with a double intention, saying:
" That's no joke, I can tell you."
" We didn't learn that, Tom," said Mr. Power,
following Mr. M'Coy's example, " when we went
to the penny-a-week school."
" There was many a good man went to the
penny-a-week school with a sod of turf under his
oxter,'' said Mr. Kernan sententiously. " The
old system was the best : plain honest education.
None of your modern trumpery. . . ."
" Quite right," said Mr. Power.
" No superfluities," said Mr. Fogarty.
He enunciated the word and then drank
" I remember reading,'^ said Mr. Cunningham,
" that one of Pope Leo's poems was on the inven-
tion of the photograph — in Latin, of course."
" On the photograph ! " exclaimed Mr. Keman.
" Yes," said Mr. Cunningham.
He also drank from his glass.
" Well, you know," said Mr. M'Coy, " isn't the
photograph wonderful when you come to think of
" O, of course," said Mr. Power, " great minds
can see things."
" As the poet says : Great minds are very near
to madness/^ said Mr. Fogarty.
Mr. Kernan seemed to be troubled in mind.
He made an effort to recall the Protestant theol-
ogy on some thorny points and in the end ad-
dressed Mr. Cunningham.
" Tell me, Martin," he said. " Weren't some
of the popes — of course, not our present man, or
his predecessor, but some of the old popes — not
exactly . . . you know ... up to the knocker? "
There was a silence. Mr. Cunningham said :
" O, of course, there were some bad lots. . . .
But the astonishing thing is this. Not one of
them, not the biggest drunkard, not the most
. . . out-and-out ruffian, not one of them ever
preached ex cathedra a word of false doctrine.
Now isn't that an astonishing thing? "
" That is," said Mr. Kernan.
" Yes, because when the Pope speaks ex cathe-
dra,'- Mr. Fogarty explained, "he is infallible."
" Yes," said Mr. Cunningham.
" O, I know about the infallibility of the Pope.
I remember I was younger then. ... Or was it
Mr. Fogarty interrupted. He took up the bot-
tle and helped the others to a little more. Mr-
M'Coy, seeing that there was not enough to go
round, pleaded that he had not finished his first
measure. The others accepted under protest.
The light music of whisky falling into glasses
made an agreeable interlude,
" What's that you were saying, Tom? '' asked
" Papal infallibility," said Mr. Cunningham,
" that was the greatest scene in the whole history
of the Church."
" How was that, Martin? " asked Mr. Power.
Mr. Cunningham held up two thick fingers.
" In the sacred college, you know, of cardinals
and archbishops and bishops there were two men
who held out against it while the others were all
for it. The whole conclave except these two was
unanimous. No I They wouldn't have it ! "
"Ha! "said Mr. M'Coy.
"And they were a German cardinal by the
name of Dolling ... or Dowling . . . or "
" Dowling was no German, and that's a sure
five," said Mr. Power, laughing.
"Well, this great German cardinal, whatever
his name was, was one; and the other was John
" What? " cried Mr. Kernan. " Is it John of
" Are you sure of that now? " asked Mr.
Fogarty dubiously. " I thought it was some Ital-
ian or American."
" John of Tuam," repeated Mr. Cunningham,
" was the man."
He drank and the other gentlemen followed his
lead. Then he resumed :
" There they were at it, all the cardinals and
bishops and archbishops from all the ends of the
earth and these two fighting dog and devil until
at last the Pope himself stood up and declared
infallibility a dogma of the Church ex cathedra.
On the very moment John MacHale, who had
been arguing and arguing against it, stood up
and shouted out with the voice of a lion:
' Credo'! ' "
" I believe! '' said Mr. Fogarty.
"Credo!" said Mr. Cunningham. "That
showed the faith he had. He submitted the
moment the Pope spoke."
" And what about Dowling? " asked Mr.
" The German cardinal wouldn't submit. He
left the church."
Mr. Cunningham's words had built up the vast
image of the church in the minds of his hearers.
His deep, raucous voice had thrilled them as it
uttered the word of belief and submission.
When Mrs. Kernan came into the room, drying
her hands, she came into a solemn company.
She did not disturb the silence, but leaned over
the rail at the foot of the bed.
" I once saw John MacHale," said Mr. Kernan,
" and I'll never forget it as long as I live."
He turned towards his wife to be confirmed.
" I often told you that? "
Mrs. Kernan nodded.
" It was at the unveiling of Sir John Gray's
statue. Edmund Dwyer Gray was speaking,
blathering away, and here was this old fellow,
crabbed-looking old chap, looking at him from
under his bushy eyebrows."
Mr. Kernan knitted his brows and, lowering
his head like an angry bull, glared at his wife.
'' God I " he exclaimed, resuming his natural
face, " I never saw such an eye in a man's head.
It was as much as to say: / have ijow properly
taped, my lad. He had an eye like a hawk. "
" Kone of the Grays w^as any good," said Mr.
There was a pause again. Mr. Power turned
to Mrs. Kernan and said with abrupt joviality :
" Well, Mrs. Kernan, we're going to make your
man here a good holy pious and God-fearing
He swept his arm round the company inclu-
" We're all going to make a retreat together
and confess our sins — and God knows we want
" I don't mind," said Mr. Kernan, smiling a
Mrs. Kernan thought it would be wiser to con-
ceal her satisfaction. So she said :
"I pity the poor priest that has to listen to
Mr. Keman's expression changed.
"If he doesn't like it," he said bluntly, "he
can ... do the other thing. I'll just tell him
my little tale of woe. I'm not such a bad fel-
Mr. Cunningham intervened promptly.
" We'll all renounce the devil," he said, " to-
gether, not forgetting his works and pomps."
" Get behind me, Satan ! " said Mr. Fogarty,
laughing and looking at the others.
Mr. Power said nothing. He felt completely
out-generalled. But a pleased expression flick-
ered across his face.
" All we have to do," said Mr. Cunningham, " is
to stand up with lighted candles in our hands and
renew our baptismal vows."
"O, don't forget the candle, Tom," said Mr.
M'Coy, " whatever you do."
" What? " said Mr. Kernan. " Must I have a
" O yes," said Mr. Cunningham.
" No, damn it all," said Mr. Kernan sensibly,
" I draw the line there. I'll do the job right
enough. I'll do the retreat business and confes-
sion, and ... all that business. But ... no
candles ! No, damn it all, I bar the candles ! "
He shook his head with farcical gravity,
" Listen to that ! " said his wife,
"I bar the candles,'' said Mr. Kernan, con-
scious of having created an effect on his audience
and continuing to shake his head to and fro. " I
bar the magic-lantern business."
Everyone laughed heartily.
" There's a nice Catholic for you ! " said his
" Xo candles I ' ' repeated Mr. Kernan obdur-
ately. "That's off I"
The transept of the Jesuit Church in Gardiner
Street was almost full ; and still at every moment
gentlemen entered from the side door and, di-
rected by the lay-brother, walked on tiptoe along
the aisles until they found seating accommoda-
tion. The gentlemen were all well dressed and
orderly. The light of the lamps of the church
fell upon an assembly of black clothes and white
collai's, relieved here and there by tweeds, on
dark mottled pillars of green marble and on
lugubrious canvases. The gentlemen sat in the
benches, having hitched their trousers slightly
above their knees and laid their hats in security.
They sat well back and gazed formally at the dis-
tant speck of red light which was suspended be-
fore the high altar.
In one of the benches near the pulpit sat Mr.
Cunningham and Mr. Kernan. In the bench
behind sat Mr. M'Coy alone: and in the bench
behind him sat Mr. Power and Mr. Fogarty.
Mr. M'Coy had tried unsuccessfully to find a
place in the bench with the othera, and, when the
party had settled down in the form of a quincunx,
he had tried unsuccessfully to make comic re-
marks. As these had not been well received, he
had desisted. Even he was sensible of the decor-
ous atmosphere and even he began to respond to
the religious stimulus. In a whisper, Mr.
Cunningham drew Mr. Kernan's attention to
INIr. Harford, the moneylender, who sat some
distance off, and to Mr. Fanning, the regis-
tration agent and mayor maker of the city,
who was sitting immediately under the pul-
pit beside one of the newly elected councillors
of the ward. To the right sat old Michael
Grimes, the owner of three pawnbroker's shops,
and Dan Hogan's nephew, who was up for the
job in the Town Clerk's office. Farther in front
sat Mr. Hendrick, the chief reporter of The Free-
man's Journal, and poor O'Carroll, an old friend
of Mr. Kernan's, who had been at one time a con-
siderable commercial figure. Gradually, as he
recognised familiar faces, Mr. Kernan began to
feel more at home. His hat, which had been re-
habilitated by his wife, rested upon his knees.
Once or twice he pulled down his cuffs with one
hand while he held the brim of his hat lightly, but
firmly, with the other hand.
A powerful-looking figure, the upper part of
which was draped with a white surplice, was ob-
served to be struggling up into the pulpit.
Simultaneously the congregation unsettled, pro-
duced handkerchiefs and knelt upon them with
care. Mr. Kernan followed the general example.
The priest's figure now stood upright in the pul-
pit, two-thircls of its bulk, crowned by a massive
red face, appearing above the balustrade.
Father Purdon knelt down, turned towards the
red speck of light and, covering his face with his
hands, prayed. After an interval, he uncovered
his face and rose. The congregation rose also
and settled again on its benches. Mr. Kernan
restored his hat to its original position on his
knee and presented an attentive face to the
preacher. The preacher turned back each wide
sleeve of his surplice with an elaborate large ges-
ture and slowly suiTeyed the array of faces.
Then he said :
"For the children of this world are vsiser in
their generation than the children of light.
Wherefore make unto yourselves friends out of
the mammon of iniquity so that ichen you die they
may receive you into everlasting dicellings."
Father Purdon developed the text with reson-
ant assurance. It was one of the most difficult
texts in all the Scriptures, he said, to interpret
properly. It was a text which might seem to the
casual observer at variance with the lofty mor-
ality elsewhere preached by Jesus Christ. But,
he told his hearers, the text had seemed to him
specially adapted for the guidance of those whose
lot it was to lead the life of the world and who
yet wished to lead that life not in the manner of
worldlings. It was a text for business men and
professional men. Jesus Christ, with His divine
understanding of every cranny of our human
nature, understood that all men were not called
to the religious life, that by far the vast majority
were forced to live in the world, and, to a certain
extent, for the world: and in this sentence He
designed to give them a word of counsel, setting
before them as exemplars in the religious life
those very worshippers of Mammon who were of
all men the least solicitous in matters religious.
He told his hearers that he was there that eve-
ning for no terrifying, no extravagant purpose;
but as a man of the world speaking to his fellow-
men. He came to speak to business men and he
would speak to them in a businesslike way. If
he might use the metaphor, he said, he was their
spiritual accountant; and he wished each and
every one of his hearers to open his books, the
books of his spiritual life, and see if they tallied
accurately with conscience.
Jesus Christ was not a hard taskmaster. He
understood our little failings, understood the
weakness of our poor fallen nature, understood
the temptations of this life. We might have had,
we all had from time to time, our temptations:
we might have, we all had, our failings. But one
thing only, he said, he would ask of his hearers.
And that was : to be straight and manly with God.
If their accounts tallied in every point to say :
" Well, I have verified my accounts. I find all
But if, as might happen, there were some dis-
crepancies, to admit the truth, to be frank and
say like a man :
" Well, I have looked into my accounts. I find
this wrong and this wrong. But, with God's
grace, I will rectify this and this. I \vill set right
Lily, the caretaker's daughter, was literally run
off her feet. Hardly had she brought one gentle-
man into the little pantry behind the office on the
ground floor and helped him off with his over-
coat than the wheezy hall-door bell clanged again
and she had to scamper along the bare hallway
to let in another guest. It was well for her she
had not to attend to the ladies also. But Miss
Kate and Miss Julia had thought of that and had
converted the bathroom upstairs into a ladies'
dressing-room. Miss Kate and Miss Julia were
there, gossiping and laughing and fussing, walk-
ing after each other to the head of the stairs,
peering down over the banisters and calling down
to Lily to ask her who had come.
It was always a great affair, the Misses Mor-
kan's annual dance. Everj^body who knew them
came to it, members of the family, old friends of
the family, the members of Julia's choir, any of
Kate's pupils that were grown up enough, and
even some of Mary Jane's pupils too. Never
once had it fallen flat. For years and years it
had gone off in splendid style, as long as anyone
could remember ; ever since Kate and Julia, after
the death of their brother Pat, had left the house
in Stoney Batter and taken Mary Jane, their only
THE DEAD 225
niece, to live with them in the dark, gaunt house
on Ushei'^s Island, the upper part of which they
had rented from Mr. Fulham, the corn-factor on
the ground floor. That was a good thirty years
ago if it was a day. Mary Jane, who was then
a little girl in short clothes, was now the main
prop of the household, for she had the organ in
Haddington Road. She had been through the
Academy and gave a pupils' concert every year
in the upper room of the Antient Concert Rooms.
Many of her pupils belonged to the better-class
families on the Kingstown and Dalkey line. Old
as they were, her aunts also did their share.
Julia, though she was quite grey, was still the
leading soprano in Adam and Eve's, and Kate,
being too feeble to go about much, gave music
lessons to beginners on the old square piano in
the back room. Lily, the caretaker's daughter,
did housemaid's work for them. Though their
life was modest, they believed in eating well ; the
best of everything : diamond-bone sirloins, three-
shilling tea and the best bottled stout. But Lily
seldom made a mistake in the orders, so that she
got on well with her three mistresses. They were
fussy, that was all. But the only thing they
would not stand was back answers.
Of course, they had good reason to be fussy on
such a night. And then it was long after ten
o'clock and yet there was no sign of Gabriel
and his wife. Besides they were dreadfully
afraid that Freddy Malins might turn up screwed.
They would not wish for worlds that any of Mary
Jane's pupils should see him under the influence ;
and when he was like that it was sometimes very
hard to manage him. Freddy Malins always
came late, but they wondered what could be keep-
ing Gabriel: and that was what brought them
every two minutes to the banisters to ask Lily
had Gabriel or Freddy come.
" O, Mr. Conroy," said Lily to Gabriel when she
opened the door for him, " Miss Kate and Miss
Julia thought you were never coming. Good-
night, Mrs. Conroy."
" I'll engage they did," said Gabriel, " but they
forget that my wife here takes three mortal hours
to dress herself."
He stood on the mat, scraping the snow from
his goloshes, while Lily led his wife to the foot
of the stairs and called out :
" Miss Kate, here's Mrs. Conroy."
Kate and Julia came toddling down the dark
stairs at once. Both of them kissed Gabriel's
wife, said she must be perished alive, and asked
was Gabriel with her.
" Here I am as right as the mail, Aunt Kate !
Go on up. I'll follow," called out Gabriel from
He continued scraping his feet vigorously
while the three women went upstairs, laughing, to
the ladies' dressing-room. A light fringe of snow
lay like a cape on the shoulders of his overcoat
and like toecaps on the toes of his goloshes ; and,
as the buttons of his overcoat slipped with a
squeaking noise through the snow-stiffened frieze,
THE DEAD 227
a cold, fragrant air from out-of-doors escaped
from cre\ices and folds.
" Is it snowing again, Mr. Conroy? " asked
She had preceded him into the pantry to help
him off with his overcoat. Gabriel smiled at the
three syllables she had given his surname and
glanced at her. She was a slim, growing girl,
pale in complexion and with hay-coloured hair.
The gas in the pantry made her look still paler.
Gabriel had known her when she was a child and
used to sit on the lowest step nursing a rag doll.
" Yes, Lily,'' he answered, " and I think we're
in for a night of it."
He looked up at the pantry ceiling, which was
shaking with the stamping and shuffling of feet
on the floor above, listened for a moment to the
piano and then glanced at the girl, who was fold-
ing his overcoat carefully at the end of a shelf.
" Tell me, Lily," he said in a friendly tone, " do
you still go to school?"
" O no, sir," she answered. " I'm done school-
ing this year and more."
" O, then," said Gabriel gaily, " I suppose we'll
be going to your wedding one of these fine days
with your young man, eh? "
The girl glanced back at him over her shoulder
and said with great bitterness :
" The men that is now is only all palaver and
what they can get out of you.''
Gabriel coloured, as if he felt be had made a
mistake and, without looking at her, kicked off
his goloshes and flicked actively with his muffler
at his patent-leather shoes.
He was a stout, tallish young man. The high
colour of his cheeks pushed upwards even to his
forehead, where it scattered itself in a few form-
less patches of pale red ; and on his hairless face
there scintillated restlessly the polished lenses
and the bright gilt rims of the glasses which
screened his delicate and restless eyes. His
glossy black hair was parted in the middle and
brushed in a long curve behind his ears where it
curled slightly beneath the groove left by his hat.
When he had flicked lustre into his shoes he
stood up and pulled his waistcoat down more
tightly on his plump body. Then he took a coin
rapidly from his pocket.
" O Lily," he said, thrusting it into her hands,
" it's Christmas-time, isn't it? Just . . . here's
a little. . . ."
He walked rapidly towards the door.
" O no, sir ! " cried the girl, following him.
" Really, sir, I wouldn'^t take it."
" Christmas-time ! Christmas-time ! " said Ga-
briel, almost trotting to the stairs and waving his
hand to her in deprecation.
The girl, seeing that he had gained the stairs,
called out after him :
" Well, thank you, sir."
He waited outside the drawing-room door until
the waltz should finish, listening to the skirts that
swept aiyainst it and to the shuffling of feet. He
was still discomposed by the girl's bitter and sud-
THE DEAD 229
den retort. It had cast a gloom over him which
he tried to dispel by arranging his cuffs and the
bows of his tie. He then took from his waistcoat
pocket a little paper and glanced at the headings
he had made for his speech. He was undecided
about the lines from Robert Browning, for he
feared they would be above the heads of his
heai'ers. Some quotation that they would recog-
nise from Shakespeare or from the Melodies
would be better. The indelicate clacking of the
men's heels and the shuffling of their soles re-
minded him that their grade of culture differed
from his. He would only make himself ridicu-
lous by quoting poetry to them which they could
not understand. They would think that he was
airing his superior education. He would fail
with them just as he had failed with the girl in
the pantry. He had taken up a wrong tone. His
whole speech was a mistake from first to last, an
Just then his aunts and his wife came out of
the ladies' dressing-room. His aunts were two
small, plainly dressed old women. Aunt Julia
was an inch or so the taller. Her hair, drawn
low over the tops of her ears, was grey ; and grey
also, with darker shadows, was her large flaccid
face. Though she was stout in build and stood
erect, her slow eyes and parted lips gave her the*
appearance of a woman who did not know where
she was or where she was going. Aunt Kate was
more vivacious. Her face, healthier than her sis-
ter's, was all puckers and creases, like a shrivelled
red apple, and her hair, braided in the same old-
fashioned way, had not lost its ripe nut colour.
They both kissed Gabriel frankly. He was
their favourite nephew, the son of their dead elder
sister, Ellen, who had married T. J. Conroy of
the Port and Docks.
" Gretta tells me you're not going to take a
cab back to Monkstown to-night, Gabriel," said
" No," said Gabriel, turning to his wife, " we
had quite enough of that last year, hadn't we?
Don't you remember. Aunt Kate, what a cold
Gretta got out of it? Cab windows rattling all
the way, and the east wind blowing in after we
passed Merrion. Very jolly it was. Gretta
caught a dreadful cold."
Aunt Kate frowned severely and nodded her
head at every word.
" Quite right, Gabriel, quite right," she said.
" You can't be too careful."
" But as for Gretta there," said Gabriel, " she'd
walk home in the snow if she were let."
Mrs. Conroy laughed.
" Don't mind him. Aunt Kate," she said.
" He's really an awful bother, what with green
shades for Tom's eyes at night and making him
do the dumb-bells, and forcing Eva to eat the
stirabout. The poor child! And she simply
hates the sight of it! ... O, but you'll never
guess what he makes me wear now ! "
She broke out into a peal of laughter and
THE DEAD 231
glanced at her husband, whose admiring and
happy eves had been wandering from her dress to
her face and hair. The two aunts laughed
heartily, too, for Gabriel's solicitude was a stand-
ing joke with them.
" Goloshes ! • ' said Mrs. ConroT. " Thaf s the
latest. Whenever it's wet underfoot I must put
on my goloshes. To-night even, he wanted me to
put them on, but I wouldn't. The next thing
he'll buy me will be a diving suit."
Gabriel laughed nervously and patted his tie
reassuringly, while Aunt Kate nearly doubled
herself, so heartily did she enjoy the joke. The
smile soon faded from Aunt Julia's face and
her mirthless eyes were directed towards her
nephew's face. After a pause she asked :
" And what are goloshes, Gabriel? "
" Goloshes, Julia I " exclaimed her sister.
" Goodness me, don't you know what goloshes
are? You wear them over your . . . over your
boots, Gretta, isn't it? ''
" Yes," said Mrs. Conroy. " Guttapercha
things. We both have a pair now. Gabriel says
everyone wears them on the continent.''
" O, on the continent,'' murmured Aunt Julia,
nodding her head slowly.
Gabriel knitted his brows and said, as if he
were slightly angered :
" It's nothing very wonderful, but Gretta
thinks it very funny because she says the word
reminds her of Christy Minstrels."
" But tell me, Gabriel," said Aunt Kate, with
brisk tact. " Of course, you've seen about the
room. Gretta was saying . . ."
" O, the room is all right," replied Gabriel.
" I've taken one in the Gresham."
" To be sure," said Aunt Kate, " by far the best
thing to do. And the children, Gretta, you're not
anxious about them ? "
" O, for one night," said Mrs. Conroy. " Be-
sides, Bessie will look after them."
" To be sure," said Aunt Kate again. " What
a comfort it is to have a girl like that, one you
can depend on! There's that Lily, I'm sure I
don't know what has come over her lately. She's
not the girl she was at all."
Gabriel was about to ask his aunt some ques-
tions on this point, but she broke off suddenly
to gaze after her sister, who had wandered down
the stairs and was craning her neck over the
" Now, I ask you," she said almost testily,
"where is Julia going? Julia! Julia! Where
are you going? "
Julia, who had gone half way down one flight,
came back and announced blandly :
" Here's Freddy."
At the same moment a clapping of hands and
a final flourish of the pianist told that the waltz
had ended. The drawing-room door was opened
from within and some couples came out. Aunt
Kate drew Gabriel aside hurriedly and whispered
into his ear :
THE DEAD 233
" Slip down, Gabriel, like a good fellow and see
if he's all right, and don't let him up if he's
screwed. I'm sure he's screwed. I'm sure he
Gabriel went to the stairs and listened over the
banisters. He could hear two persons talking in
the pantry. Then he recognised Freddy Malins'
laugh. He went down the stairs noisily.
" It's such a relief," said Aunt Kate to Mrs.
Conroy, " that Gabriel is here. I alwaj^s feel
easier in my mind when he's here. . . . Julia,
there's Miss Daly and Miss Power will take some
refreshment. Thanks for your beautiful waltz,
Miss Daly. It made lovely time."
A tall wizen-faced man, with a stiff grizzled
moustache and swarthy skin, who was passing
out with his partner, said :
" And may we have some refreshment, too, Miss
" Julia," said Aunt Kate summarily, " and
here's Mr. Browne and Miss Furlong. Take
them in, Julia, with Miss Daly and Miss Power."
" I'm the man for the ladies," said Mr. Browne,
pursing his lips until his moustache bristled and
smiling in all his wrinkles. " You know. Miss
Morkan, the reason they are so fond of me
He did not finish his sentence, but, seeing that
Aunt Kate was out of earshot, at once led the
three young ladies into the back room. The mid-
dle of the room was occupied by two square tables
placed end to end, and on these Aunt Julia and
the caretaker were straightening and smoothing
a large cloth. On the sideboard were arrayed
dishes and plates, and glasses and bundles of
knives and forks and spoons. The top of the
closed square piano served also as a sideboard for
viands and sweets. At a smaller sideboard in
one corner two young men were standing, drink-
Mr. Browne led his charges thither and invited
them all, in jest, to some ladies' punch, hot,
strong and sweet. As they said they never took
anything strong, he opened three bottles of
lemonade for them. Then he asked one of the
young men to move aside, and, taking hold of the
decanter, filled out for himself a goodly measure
of whisky. The young men eyed him respect-
fully while he took a trial sip.
" God help me," he said, smiling, " it's the doc-
His wizened face broke into a broader smile,
and the three young ladies laughed in musical
echo to his pleasantry, swaying their bodies to
and fro, with nervous jerks of their shoulders.
The boldest said :
" O, now, Mr. Browne, I'm sure the doctor
never ordered anything of the kind."
Mr. Browne took another sip of his whisky and
said, with sidling mimicry :
" Well, you see, I'm like the famous Mrs. Cas-
sidy, who is reported to have said : ' Now, Mary
Grimes, if I don't take it, make me take it, for
I feel I want it' "
THE DEAD 235
His hot face had leaned forward a little too
confidentially and he had assumed a very low
Dublin accent so that the young ladies, with one
instinct, received his speech in silence. Miss
Furlong, who was one of Mary Jane's pupils,
asked Miss Daly what was the name of the pretty
waltz she had played; and Mr. Browne, seeing
that he was ignored, turned promptly to the two
young men who were more appreciative.
A red-faced young woman, dressed in pansy,
came into the room, excitedly clapping her hands
and crying :
" Quadrilles ! Quadrilles ! "
Close on her heels came Aunt Kate, crying :
" Two gentlemen and three ladies, Mary
Jane I "
" O, here's Mr. Bergin and Mr. Kerrigan," said
Mary Jane. " Mr. Kerrigan, will you take Miss
Power? Miss Furlong, may I get you a partner,
Mr. Bergin. O, that'll just do now."
" Three ladies, Mary Jane," said Aunt Kate.
The two young gentlemen asked the ladies if
they might have the pleasure, and Mary Jane
turned to Miss Daly.
" O, Miss Daly, you're really awfully good,
after playing for the last two dances, but really
we're so short of ladies to-night."
" I don't mind in the least. Miss Morkan,"
" But I've a nice partner for you, Mr. Bartell
D'Arcy, the tenor. I'll get him to sing later on.
All Dublin is raving about him.''
" Lovely voice, lovely voice I " said Aunt Kate.
As the piano had twice begun the prelude to
the first figure Mary Jane led her recruits quickly
from the room. They had hardly gone when
Aunt Julia wandered slowly into the room, look-
ing behind her at something.
" What is the matter, Julia? " asked Aunt
Kate anxiously. " Who is it? "
Julia, who was carrying in a column of table-
napkins, turned to her sister and said, simply, as
if the question had surprised her :
" It's only Freddy, Kate, and Gabriel with
In fact right behind her Gabriel could be seen
piloting Freddy Malins across the landing. The
latter, a young man of about forty, was of Ga-
briel's size and build, with very round shoulders.
His face was fleshy and pallid, touched with col-
our only at the thick hanging lobes of his ears
and at the wide wings of his nose. He had
coarse features, a blunt nose, a convex and reced-
ing brow, tumid and protruded lips. His heavy-
lidded eyes and the disorder of his scanty hair
made him look sleepy. He was laughing heart-
ily in a high key at a story which he had been
telling Gabriel on the stairs and at the same time
rubbing the knuckles of his left fist backwards
and forwards into his left eye.
" Good-evening, Freddy," said Aunt Julia.
Freddy Malins bade the Misses Morkan good-
evening in what seemed an offhand fashion by
reason of the habitual catch in his voice and then,
seeing that Mr. Browne was grinning at him
THE DEAD 237
from the sideboard, crossed the room on rather
shaky legs and began to repeat in an undertone
the story he had just told to Gabriel.
" He's not so bad, is he? -' said Aunt Kate to
Gabriel's brows were dark but he raised them
quickly and answered :
" O, no, hardly noticeable."
" Now, isn't he a terrible fellow ! " she said.
" And his poor mother made him take the pledge
on New Year's Eve. But come on, Gabriel, into
Before leaving the room with Gabriel she sig-
nalled to Mr. Browne by frowning and shaking
her forefinger in warning to and fro. Mr.
Browne nodded in answer and, when she had
gone, said to Freddy Malins :
" Now, then, Teddy, I'm going to fill you out a
good glass of lemonade just to buck you up."
Freddy Malins, who was nearing the climax of
his story, waved the offer aside impatiently but
Mr. Browne, having first called Freddy Malins'
attention to a disarray in his dress, filled out and
handed him a full glass of lemonade. Freddy
Malins' left hand accepted the glass mechani-
cally, his right hand being engaged in the me-
chanical readjustment of his dress. Mr. Browne,
whose face was once more wrinkling with mirth,
poured out for himself a glass of whisky while
Freddy Malins exploded, before he had well
reached the climax of his story, in a kink of high-
pitched bronchitic laughter and, setting down his
untasted and overflowing glass, began to rub the
knuckles of his left fist backwards and forwards
into his left eye, repeating words of his last
phrase as well as his fit of laughter would allow
Gabriel could not listen while Mary Jane was
playing her Academy piece, full of runs and dif-
ficult passages, to the hushed drawing-room. He
liked music but the piece she was playing had no
melody for him and he doubted whether it had
any melody for the other listeners, though they
had begged Mary Jane to play something. Four
young men, who had come from the refreshment-
room to stand in the doorway at the sound of the
piano, had gone away quietly in couples after a
few minutes. The only persons who seemed to
follow the music were Mary Jane herself, her
hands racing along the key-board or lifted from
it at the pauses like those of a priestess in mo-
mentary imprecation, and Aunt Kate standing at
her elbow to turn the page.
Gabriel's eyes, irritated by the floor, which
glittered with beeswax under the heavy chande-
lier, wandered to the wall above the piano. A
picture of the balcony scene in Romeo and
Juliet hung there and beside it was a picture
of the two murdered princes in the Tower which
Aunt Julia had worked in red, blue and brown
wools when she was a girl. Probably in the
school they had gone to as girls that kind of work
had been taught for one year. His mother had
THE DEAD 239
worked for him as a birthday present a waistcoat
of purple tabinet, with little foxes' heads upon it,
lined with brown satin and having round mul-
berry buttons. It was strange that his mother
had had no musical talent though Aunt Kate
used to call her the brains carrier of the Morkan
family. Both she and Julia had always seemed
a little proud of their serious and matronly sis-
ter. Her photograph stood before the pierglass.
She held an open book on her knees and was
pointing out something in it to Constantine who,
dressed in a man-o'-war suit, lay at her feet. It
was she who had chosen the names of her sons
for she was very sensible of the dignity of family
life. Thanks to her, Constantine was now senior
curate in Balbriggan and, thanks to her, Gabriel
himself had taken his degree in the Royal Uni-
versity. A shadow passed over his face as he re-
membered her sullen opposition to his marriage.
Some slighting phrases she had used still rankled
in his memory ; she had once spoken of Gretta as
being country cute and that was not true of
Gretta at all. It was Gretta who had nursed her
during all her last long illness in their house at
He knew that Mary Jane must be near the end
of her piece for she was playing again the open-
ing melody \s'ith runs of scales after every bar
and while he waited for the end the resentment
died down in his heart. The piece ended with a
trill of octaves in the treble and a final deep
octave in the bass. Great applause greeted Mary
Jane as, blushing and rolling up her music nerv-
ously, she escaped from the room. The most
vigorous clapping came from the four young men
in the doorway who had gone away to the re-
freshment-room at the beginning of the piece but
had come back when the piano had stopped.
Lancers were arranged. Gabriel found him-
self partnered with Miss Ivors. She was a
frank-mannered talkative young lady, with a
freckled face and prominent brown eyes. She
did not wear a low-cut bodice and the large
brooch which was fixed in the front of her collar
bore on it an Irish device and motto.
When they had taken their places she said
" I have a crow to pluck with you."
*' With me? " said Gabriel.
She nodded her head gravely.
"What is it?" asked Gabriel, smiling at her
" Who is G. C. ? " answered Miss Ivors, turning
her eyes upon him,
Gabriel coloured and was about to knit his
brows, as if he did not understand, when she said
" O, innocent Amy ! I have found out that you
write for The Daily Express. Now, aren't you
ashamed of yourself? "
" Why should I be ashamed of myself? " asked
Gabriel, blinking his eyes and trying to smile.
" Well, I'm ashamed of you," said Miss Ivors
frankly. " To say youM write for a paper like
THE DEAD 241
that. I didn't think you were a West Briton."
A look of perplexity appeared on Gabriel's
face. It was true that he wrote a literary col-
umn every Wednesday in The Daily Express, for
which he was paid fifteen shillings. But that
did not make him a West Briton surely. The
books he received for review were almost more
welcome than the paltry cheque. He loved to
feel the covers and turn over the pages of newly
printed books. Nearly every day when his teach-
ing in the college was ended he used to wander
down the quays to the second-hand booksellers,
to Hickey's on Bachelor's Walk, to Webb's or
Massey's on Aston's Quay, or to O'Clohissey's in
the by-street. He did not know how to meet her
charge. He wanted to say that literature was
above politics. But they were friends of many
years' standing and their careers had been paral-
lel, first at the University and then as teachers :
he could not risk a grandiose phrase with her.
He continued blinking his eyes and trying to
smile and murmured lamely that he saw nothing
political in writing reviews of books.
When their turn to cross had come he was still
perplexed and inattentive. Miss Ivors promptly
took his hand in a warm grasp and said in a soft
friendly tone :
" Of course, T was only joking. Come, we
When they were together again she spoke of
the University question and Gabriel felt more at
ease. A friend of hers had shown her his review
of Browning's poems. That was how she had
found out the secret : but she liked the review im-
mensely. Then she said suddenly :
" O, Mr. Conroy, will you come for an excur-
sion to the Aran Isles this summer? We're
going to stay there a whole month. It will be
splendid out in the Atlantic. You ought to
come. Mr. Clancy is coming, and Mr. Kilkelly
and Kathleen Kearney. It would be splendid
for Gretta too if she'd come. She's from Con-
nacht, isn't she? "
" Her people are," said Gabriel shortly.
"But you will come, won't you?" said Miss
Ivors, laying her warm hand eagerly on his arm.
" The fact is," said Gabriel, " I have just ar-
ranged to go "
" Go where? " asked Miss Ivors.
"Well, you know, every year I go for a
cycling tour with some fellows and so "
" But where? " asked Miss Ivors.
" Well, we usually go to France or Belgium or
perhaps Germany," said Gabriel awkwardly.
" And why do you go to France and Belgium,"
said Miss Ivors, " instead of visiting your own
" Well," said Gabriel, " it's partly to keep in
touch with the languages and partly for a
" And haven't you your own language to keep
in touch with — Irish?" asked Miss Ivors.
" Well," said Gabriel, " if it comes to that, you
know, Irish is not my language."
THE DEAD 243
Their neighbours had turned to listen to the
cross-examination. Gabriel glanced right and
left nervously and tried to keep his good humour
under the ordeal which was making a blush in-
vade his forehead.
" And haven't you your own land to visit," con-
tinued Miss Ivors, " that you know nothing of,
your own people, and your own country? "
" O, to tell you the truth," retorted Gabriel
suddenly, " I'm sick of my own country, sick of
" Why? " asked Miss Ivors.
Gabriel did not answer for his retort had
" Why? " repeated Miss Ivors.
They had to go visiting together and, as he had
not answered her. Miss Ivors said warmly :
" Of course, you've no answer."
Gabriel tried to cover his agitation by taking
part in the dance with great energy. He avoided
her eyes for he had seen a sour expression on her
face. But when they met in the long chain he
was surprised to feel his hand firmly pressed.
She looked at him from under her brows for a
moment quizzically until he smiled. Then, just
as the chain was about to start again, she stood
on tiptoe and whispered into his ear :
" West Briton ! "
When the lancers were over Gabriel went away
to a remote corner of the room where Freddy
Malins' mother was sitting. She was a stout
feeble old woman with white hair. Her voice
had a catch in it like her son's and she stuttered
slightly. She had been told that Freddy had
come and that he was nearly all right. Gabriel
asked her whether she had had a good crossing.
She lived with her married daughter in Glasgow
and came to Dublin on a visit once a year. She
answered placidly that she had had a beautiful
crossing and that the captain had been most at-
tentive to her. She spoke also of the beautiful
house her daughter kept in Glasgow, and of all
the friends they had there. While her tongue
rambled on Gabriel tried to banish from his mind
all memory of the unpleasant incident with Miss
Ivors. Of course the girl or woman, or whatever
she was, was an enthusiast but there was a time
for all things. Perhaps he ought not to have
answered her like that. But she had no right to
call him a West Briton before people, even in
joke. She had tried to make him ridiculous be-
fore people, heckling him and staring at him with
her rabbit's eyes.
He saw his wife making her way towards him
through the waltzing couples. When she reached
him she said into his ear:
" Gabriel, Aunt Kate wants to know won't you
carve the goose as usual. Miss Daly will carve
the ham and I'll do the pudding."
" All right," said Gabriel.
" She's sending in the younger ones first as
soon as this waltz is over so that we'll have the
table to ourselves."
" Were you dancing? " asked Gabriel.
THE DEAD 245
" Of course I was. Didn't you see me? What
row had you with Molly Ivors? "
" No row. Why? Did she say so? "
" Something like that. I'm trying to get that
Mr. D'Arcy to sing. He's full of conceit, I
" There was no row,'' said Gabriel moodily,
" only she wanted me to go for a trip to the west
of Ireland and I said I wouldn't.''
His wife clasped her hands excitedly and gave
a little jump.
" O, do go, Gabriel," she cried. " I'd love to
see Galway again."
" You can go if you like," said Gabriel coldly.
She looked at him for a moment, then turned
to Mrs. Malins and said :
" There's a nice husband for you, Mrs. Malins."
While she was threading her way back across
the room Mrs. Malins, without adverting to the
interruption, went on to tell Gabriel what beau-
tiful places there were in Scotland and beautiful
scenery. Her son-in-law brought them every
year to the lakes and they used to go fishing.
Her son-in-law was a splendid fisher. One day
he caught a beautiful big fish and the man in the
hotel cooked it for their dinner.
Gabriel hardly heard what she said. Now
that supper was coming near he began to think
again about his speech and about the quotation.
When he saw Freddy Malins coming across the
room to visit his mother Gabriel left the chair
free for him and retired into the embrasure of
the window. The room had already cleared and
from the back room came the clatter of plates
and knives. Those who still remained in the
drawing-room seemed tired of dancing and were
conversing quietly in little groups. • Gabriel's
warm trembling fingers tapped the cold pane of
the window. How cool it must be outside!
How pleasant it would be to walk out alone, first
along by the river and then through the park!
The snow would be lying on the branches of the
trees and forming a bright cap on the top of the
Wellington Monument. How much more pleas-
ant it would be there than at the supper-table!
He ran over the headings of his speech : Irish
hospitality, sad memories, the Three Graces,
Paris, the quotation from Browning. He re-
peated to himself a phrase he had written in his
review : " One feels that one is listening to a
thought-tormented music." Miss Ivors had
praised the review. Was she sincere? Had she
really any life of her own behind all her propa-
gandism? There had never been any ill-feeling
between them until that night. It unnerved him
to think that she would be at the supper-table,
looking up at him while he spoke with her critical
quizzing eyes. Perhaps she would not be sorry
to see him fail in his speech. An idea came into
his mind and gave him courage. He w^ould say,
alluding to Aunt Kate and Aunt Julia : " Ladies
and Gentlemen, the generation which is now on
the wane among us may have had its faults but
for my part I think it had certain qualities of
THE DEAD 247
hospitality, of humour, of humanity, which the
new and very serious and hypereducated genera-
tion that is growing up around us seems to me to
lack." Very good : that was one for Miss Ivors.
What did he care that his aunts were only two
ignorant old women?
A murmur in the room attracted his attention.
Mr. Browne was advancing from the door, gal-
lantly escorting Aunt Julia, who leaned upon his
arm, smiling and hanging her head. An irregu-
lar musketry of applause escorted her also as far
as the piano and then, as Mary Jane seated her-
self on the stool, and Aunt Julia, no longer smil-
ing, half turned so as to pitch her voice fairly
into the room, gradually ceased. Gabriel recog-
nised the prelude. It was that of an old song of
Aunt Julia's — Arrayed for the Bridal. Her
voice, strong and clear in tone, attacked with
great spirit the runs which embellish the air and
though she sang very rapidly she did not miss
even the smallest of the grace notes. To follow
the voice, without looking at the singer's face,
was to feel and share the excitement of swift and
secure flight. Gabriel applauded loudly with all
the others at the close of the song and loud ap-
plause was borne in from the invisible supper-
table. It sounded so genuine that a little colour
struggled into Aunt Julia's face as she bent to
replace in the music-stand the old leather-bound
song-book that had her initials on the cover.
Freddy ^lalins, who had listened with his head
perched sideways to hear her better, was still
applauding when everyone else had ceased and
talking animatedly to his mother who nodded
her head gravely and slowly in acquiescence. At
last, when he could clap no more, he stood up
suddenly and hurried across the room to Aunt
Julia whose hand he seized and held in both his
hands, shaking it when words failed him or the
catch in his voice proved too much for him.
" I was just telling my mother," he said, " I
never heard you sing so well, never. No, I never
heard your voice so good as it is to-night. Now !
Would you believe that now? That's the truth.
Upon my word and honour that's the truth. I
never heard your voice sound so fresh and so . . .
so clear and fresh, never."
Aunt Julia smiled broadly and murmured
something about compliments as she released her
hand from his grasp. Mr. Browne extended his
open hand towards her and said to those who
were near him in the manner of a showman intro-
ducing a prodigy to an audience :
" Miss Julia Morkan, my latest discovery ! "
He was laughing very heartily at this himself
when Freddy Malins turned to him and said :
"Well, Browne, if you're serious you might
make a worse discovery. All I can say is I never
heard her sing half so well as long as I am com-
ing here. And that's the honest truth."
" Neither did I," said Mr. Browne. " I think
her voice has greatly improved."
Aunt Julia shrugged her shoulders and said
with meek pride :
THE DEAD 249
"Thirty years ago I hadn't a bad voice as
" I often told Jnlia," said Aunt Kate emphati-
cally, " that she was simply thrown away in that
choir. But she never would be said by me."
She turned as if to appeal to the good sense of
the others against, a refractory child while Aunt
Julia gazed in front of her, a vague smile of
reminiscence playing on her face.
" No," continued Aunt Kate, " she wouldn't be
said or led by anyone, slaving there in that choir
night and day, night and day. Six o'clock on
Christmas morning ! And all for what? "
" Well, isn't it for the honour of God, Aunt
Kate? " asked Mary Jane, twisting round on the
piano-stool and smiling.
Aunt Kate turned fiercely on her niece and
" I know all about the honour of God, Mary
Jane, but I think it's not at all honourable for the
pope to turn out the women out of the choirs that
have slaved there all their lives and put little
whipper-snappers of boys over their heads. I
suppose it is for the good of the Church if the
pope does it. But it's not just, Mary Jane, and
it's not right."
She had worked herself into a passion and
would have continued in defence of her sister for
it was a sore subject with her but Mary Jane,
seeing that all the dancers had come back, inter-
vened pacifically :
" Now, Aunt Kate, you're giving scandal to
Mr. Browne who is of the other persuasion."
Aunt Kate turned to Mr. Browne, who was
grinning at this allusion to his religion, and said
" O, I don't question the pope's being right.
I'm only a stupid old woman and I wouldn't pre-
sume to do such a thing. But there's such a
thing as common everyday politeness and grati-
tude. And if I were in Julia's place I'd tell
that Father Healey straight up to his face . . ."
"And besides, Aunt Kate," said Mary Jane,
" we really are all hungry and when we are hun-
gry we are all very quarrelsome."
" And when we are thirsty we are also quarrel-
some," added Mr. Browne.
" So that we had better go to supper," said
Mary Jane, " and finish the discussion after-
On the landing outside the drawing-room Ga-
briel found his wife and Mary Jane trying to
persuade Miss Ivors to stay for supper. But
Miss Ivors, who had put on her hat and was but-
toning her cloak, would not stay. She did not
feel in the least hungry and she had already over-
stayed her time.
" But only for ten minutes, Molly," said Mrs.
Conroy. " That won't delay you."
" To take a pick itself," said Mary Jane, " after
all your dancing."
" I really couldn't," said Miss Ivors.
" I am afraid you didn't enjoy yourself at all,"
said Mary Jane hopelessly.
THE DEAD 251
" Ever so much, I assure you," said Miss Ivors,
" but you really must let me run off now."
" But how can you get home? " asked Mrs.
" O, it's only two steps up the quay."
Gabriel hesitated a moment and said :
" If you will allow me, Miss Ivors, I'll see you
home if you are really obliged to go."
But Miss Ivors broke away from them.
" I won't hear of it," she cried. " For good-
ness' sake go in to your suppers and don't mind
me. I'm quite well able to take care of my-
" Well, you're the comical girl, Molly," said
Mrs. Conroy frankly.
" Beannacht libh" cried Miss Ivors, with a
laugh, as she ran down the staircase.
Mary Jane gazed after her, a moody puzzled
expression on her face, while Mrs. Conroy leaned
over the banisters to listen for the hall-door.
Gabriel asked himself was he the cause of her
abrupt departure. But she did not seem to be
in ill humour : she had gone away laughing. He
stared blankly down the staircase.
At the moment Aunt Kate came toddling out
of the supper-room, almost wringing her hands
"Where is Gabriel?" she cried. "Where on
earth is Gabriel? There's everyone waiting in
there, stage to let, and nobody to carve the
goose I "
" Here I am, Aunt Kate I " cried Gabriel, with
sudden animation, " ready to carve a flock of
geese, if necessary."
A fat brown goose lay at one end of the table
and at the other end, on a bed of creased paper
strewn with sprigs of parsley, lay a great ham,
stripped of its outer skin and peppered over with
crust crumbs, a neat paper frill round its shin
and beside this was a round of spiced beef. Be-
tween these rival ends ran parallel lines of side-
dishes: two little minsters of jelly, red and yel-
low; a shallow dish full of blocks of blancmange
and red jam, a large green leaf-shaped dish with
a stalk-shaped handle, on which lay bunches of
purple raisins and peeled almonds, a companion
dish on which lay a solid rectangle of Smyrna
figs, a dish of custard topped with grated nutmeg,
a small bowl full of chocolates and sweets
wrapped in gold and silver papers and a glass
vase in which stood some tall celery stalks. In
the centre of the table there stood, as sentries to
a fruit-stand which upheld a pyramid of oranges
and American apples, two squat old-fashioned
decanters of cut glass, one containing port and
the other dark sherry. On the closed square
piano a pudding in a huge yellow dish lay in
waiting and behind it were three squads of bot-
tles of stout and ale and minerals, drawn up ac-
cording to the colours of their uniforms, the first
two black, with brown and red labels, the third
and smallest squad white, with transverse green
Gabriel took his seat boldly at the head of the
THE DEAD 253
table and, having looked to the edge of the carver,
plunged his fork firmly into the goose. He felt
quite at ease now for he was an expert carver and
liked nothing better than to find himself at the
head of a well-laden table.
" Miss Furlong, what shall I send you? " he
asked. " A wing or a slice of the breast? "
" Just a small slice of the breast."
" Miss Higgins, what for you? "
" O, anything at all, Mr. Conroy."
While Gabriel and Miss Daly exchanged plates
of goose and plates of ham and spiced beef Lily
went from guest to guest with a dish of hot floury
potatoes wrapped in a white napkin. This was
Mary Jane's idea and she had also suggested
apple sauce for the goose but Aunt Kate had said
that plain roast goose without any apple sauce
had always been good enough for her and she
hoped she might never eat worse. Mary Jane
waited on her pupils and saw that they got the
best slices and Aunt Kate and Aunt Julia opened
and carried across from the piano bottles of
stout and ale for the gentlemen and bottles of
minerals for the ladies. There was a great deal
of confusion and laughter and noise, the noise of
orders and counter-orders, of knives and forks,
of corks and glass-stoppers. Gabriel began to
carve second helpings as soon as he had finished
the first round without serving himself. Every-
one protested loudly so that he compromised by
taking a long draught of stout for he had found
the carving hot work. Mary Jane settled down
quietly to her supper but Aunt Kate and Aunt
Julia were still toddling round the table, walk-
ing on each other's heels, getting in each other's
way and giving each other unheeded orders. Mr.
Browne begged of them to sit down and eat their
suppers and so did Gabriel but they said there
was time enough, so that, at last, Freddy Malins
stood up and, capturing Aunt Kate, plumped her
down on her chair amid general laughter.
When everyone had been well served Gabriel
said, smiling :
" Now, if anyone wants a little more of what
vulgar people call stuffing let him or her speak."
A chorus of voices invited him to begin his own
supper and Lily came forward with three pota-
toes which she had reserved for him.
" Very well," said Gabriel amiably, as he took
another preparatory draught, " kindly forget my
existence, ladies and gentlemen, for a few min-
He set to his supper and took no part in the
conversation with which the table covered Lily's
removal of the plates. The subject of talk was
the opera company which was then at the Theatre
Royal. Mr. Bartell D'Arcy, the tenor, a dark-
complexioned young man with a smart mous-
tache, praised very highly the leading contralto
of the company but Miss Furlong thought she
had a rather vulgar style of production. Freddy
Malins said there was a negro chieftain singing
in the second part of the Gaiety pantomime who
THE DEAD 255
had one of the finest tenor voices he had ever
" Have you heard him? " he asked Mr. Bartell
D'Arcy across the table.
" Xo/' answered Mr. Bartell D'Arcy carelessly.
" Because," Freddy Malins explained, " now
I'd be curious to hear your opinion of him. I
think he has a grand voice."
" It takes Teddy to find out the really good
things," said Mr. Browne familiarly to the ta-
" And why couldn't he have a voice too? "
asked Freddy Malins sharply. " Is it because
he's only a black? ''
Nobody answered this question and Mary Jane
led the table back to the legitimate opera. One
of her pupils had given her a pass for Mignon.
Of course it was very fine, she said, but it made
her think of poor Georgina Burns. Mr. Browne
could go back farther still, to the old Italian com-
panies that used to come to Dublin — Tietjens,
lima de Murzka, Campanini, the great Trebelli
Giuglini, Eavelli, Aramburo. Those were the
days, he said, when there was something like
singing to be heard in Dublin. He told too of
how the top gallery of the old Royal used to be
packed night after night, of how one night an
Italian tenor had sung five encores to Let me like
a Soldier fall, introducing a high C every time,
and of how the gallery boys would sometimes in
their enthusiasm unyoke the horses from the car-
riage of some great prima donna and pull her
themselves through the streets to her hotel.
Why did they never play the grand old operas
now, he asked, Duiorah, Luerezia Borgia? Be-
cause they could not get the voices to sing them :
that was why."
" O, well," said Mr. Bartell D'Arcy, « I pre-
sume there are as good singers to-day as there
" Where are they? " asked Mr. Browne defi-
" In London, Paris, Milan," said Mr. Bartell
D'Arcy warmly. " I suppose Caruso, for exam-
ple, is quite as good, if not better than any of the
men you have mentioned."
" Maybe so," said Mr. Browne. " But I may
tell you I doubt it strongly."
" O, I'd give anything to hear Caruso sing,"
said Mary Jane.
" For me," said Aunt Kate, who had been pick-
ing a bone, " there was only one tenor. To
please me, I mean. But I suppose none of you
ever heard of him."
" Who was he. Miss Morkan? " asked Mr. Bar-
tell D'Arcy politely.
" His name," said Aunt Kate, " was Parkin-
son. I heard him when he was in his prime and
I think he had then the purest tenor voice that
was ever put into a man's throat."
" Strange," said Mr. Bartell D'Arcy. " I
never even heard of him."
" Yes, yes, Miss Morkan is right," said Mr.
THE DEAD 257
Browne. " I remember hearing of old Parkin-
son but he's too far back for me.''
"A beautiful, pure, sweet, mellow English
tenor," said Aunt Kate with enthusiasm.
Gabriel having finished, the huge pudding was
transferred to the table. The clatter of forks
and spoons began again. Gabriel's wife served
out spoonfuls of the pudding and passed the
plates down the table. Midway do^Ti they were
held up by Mary Jane, who replenished them
with raspberry or orange jelly or with blanc-
mange and jam. The pudding was of Aunt
Julia's making and she received praises for it
from all quarters. She herself said that it was
not quite brown enough.
"Well, I hope. Miss Morkan," said Mr.
Browne, " that I'm brown enough for you be-
cause, you know, I'm all brown.''
All the gentlemen, except Gabriel, a.te some of
the pudding out of compliment to Aunt Julia.
As Gabriel never ate sweets the celery had been
left for him. Freddy Malins also took a stalk
of celery and ate it with his pudding. He had
been told that celery was a capital thing for the
blood and he was just then under doctor's care.
Mrs. Malins, who had been silent all through the
supper, said that her son was going down to
Mount Melleray in a week or so. The table then
spoke of Mount Melleray, how bracing the air
was down there, how hospitable the monks were
and how they never asked for a penny-piece from
" And do you mean to say," asked Mr. Browne
incredulously, " that a chap can go down there
and put up there as if it were a hotel and live on
the fat of the land and then come away without
paying anything? "
" O, most people give some donation to the
monastery when they leave," said Mary Jane.
" I wish we had an institution like that in our
Church," said Mr. Browne candidly.
He was astonished to hear that the monks
never spoke, got up at two in the morning and
slept in their coflQns. He asked what they did it
" That's the rule of the order," said Aunt Kate
" Yes, but why? " asked Mr. Browne.
Aunt Kate repeated that it was the rule, that
was all. Mr. Browne still seemed not to under-
stand. Freddy Malins explained to him, as best
he could, that the monks were trying to make up
for the sins committed by all the sinners in the
outside world. The explanation was not very
clear for Mr. BroAvne grinned and said :
" I like that idea very much but wouldn't a
comfortable spring bed do them as well as a
" The coffin," said Mary Jane, " is to remind
them of their last end."
As the subject had grown lugubrious it was
buried in a silence of the table during which Mrs.
Malins could be heard saying to her neighbour in
an indistinct undertone :
THE DEAD 259
"They are very good men, the monks, very
The raisins and almonds and figs and apples
and oranges and chocolates and sweets were now
passed about the table and Aunt Julia invited all
the guests to have either port or sherry. At first
Mr. Bartell D'Arcy refused to take either but one
of his neighbours nudged him and whispered
something to him upon which he allowed his
glass to be filled. Gradually as the last glasses
were being filled the conversation ceased- A
pause followed, broken only by the noise of the
wine and by unsettlings of chairs. The Misses
Morkan, all three, looked down at the tablecloth.
Someone coughed once or twice and then a few
gentlemen patted the table gently as a signal for
silence. The silence came and Gabriel pushed
back his chair and stood up.
The patting at once grew louder in encourage-
ment and then ceased altogether. Gabriel
leaned his ten trembling fingers on the tablecloth
and smiled nervously at the company. Meeting
a row of upturned faces he raised his eyes to the
chandelier. The piano was placing a waltz tune
and he could hear the skirts sweeping against
the drawing-room door. People, perhaps, were
standing in the snow on the quay outside, gazing
up at the lighted windows and listening to the
waltz music. The air was pure there. In the
distance lay the park where the trees were
weighted with snow. The Wellington Monu-
ment wore a gleaming cap of snow that flashed
westward over the white field of Fifteen Acres.
He began :
" Ladies and Gentlemen,
" It has fallen to my lot this evening, as in
years past, to perform a very pleasing task but a
task for which I am afraid my poor powers as a
speaker are all too inadequate."
" No, no I " said Mr. Browne.
" But, however that may be, I can only ask you
to-night to take the will for the deed and to lend
me your attention for a few moments while I
endeavour to express to you in words what my
feelings are on this occasion.
" Ladies and Gentlemen, it is not the first time
that we have gathered together under this hos-
pitable roof, around this hospitable board. It is
not the first time that we hav» been the recipients
— or perhaps, I had better say, the victims — of
the hospitality of certain good ladies."
He made a circle in the air with his arm and
paused. Everyone laughed or smiled at Aunt
Kate and Aunt Julia and Mary Jane who all
turned crimson with pleasure. Gabriel went on
more boldly :
" I feel more strongly with every recurring
year that our country has no tradition which
does it so much honour and which it should guard
so jealously as that of its hospitality. It is a
tradition that is unique as far as my experience
goes (and I have visited not a few places abroad)
among the modern nations. Some would say,
perhaps, that with us it is rather a failing than
THE DEAD 261
anything to be boasted of. But granted even
that, it is. to my mind, a princely failing, and one
that I trust ^-ill long be cultivated among ns. Of
one thing, at least, I am sure. As long as this one
roof shelters the good ladies aforesaid — and I
wish from my heart it may do so for many and
many a long year to come — the tradition of
genuine warm-hearted courteous Irish hospital-
ity, which our forefathers have handed down to
us and which we in turn must hand down to our
descendants, is still alive among us.''
A hearty murmur of assent ran round the ta-
ble. It shot through Gabriel's mind that Miss
Ivors was not there and that she had gone away
discourteously: and he said with confidence in
" Ladies and Gentlemen,
" A new generation is gi'owing up in our midst,
a generation actuated by new ideas and new prin-
ciples. It is serious and enthusiastic for these
new ideas and its enthusiasm,- even when it is
misdirected, is, I believe, in the main sincere.
But we are living in a sceptical and, if I may use
the phrase, a thought-tormented age : and some-
times I fear that this new generation, educated
or hypereducated as it is, will lack those quali-
ties of humanity, of hospitality, of kindly hu-
mour which belonged to an older day. Listening
to-night to the names of all those great singers of
the past it seemed to me, I must confess, that we
were living in a less spacious age. Those days
might, without exaggeration, be called spacious
da^^s: and if they are gone beyond recall let us
hope, at least, that in gatherings such as this we
shall still speak of them with pride and affection,
still cherish in our hearts the memory of those
dead and gone great ones whose fame the world
will not willingly let die."
" Hear, hear ! " said Mr. Browne loudly.
" But yet," continued Gabriel, his voice falling
into a softer inflection, "there are always in
gatherings such as this sadder thoughts that will
recur to our minds: thoughts of the past, of
youth, of changes, of absent faces that we miss
here to-night. Our path through life is strewn
with many such sad memories: and were we to
brood upon them always we could not find the
heart to go on bravely with our work among the
living. We have all of us living duties and liv-
ing affections which claim, and rightly claim, our
" Therefore, I will not linger on the past. I
will not let any gloomy moralising intrude upon
us here to-night. Here we are gathered together
for a brief moment from the bustle and rush of
our everyday routine. We are met here as
friends, in the spirit of good-fellowship, as col-
leagues, also to a certain extent, in the true spirit
of camaraderie, and as the guests of — what
shall I call them? — the Three Graces of the
Dublin musical world."
The table burst into applause and laughter at
this allusion. Aunt Julia vainly asked each of
THE DEAD 263
lier neighbours iu turn to tell her what Gabriel
'' He says we are the Three Graces, Aunt
Julia," said Mary Jane.
Aunt Julia did not understand but she looked
up, smiling, at Gabriel, who continued in the
same vein :
" Ladies and Gentlemen,
" I will not attempt to play to-night the part
that Paris played on another occasion. I will
not attempt to choose between them. The task
would be an invidious one and one beyond my
poor powers. For when I view them in turn,
whether it be our chief hostess herself, whose
good heart, whose too good heart, has become a
byword with all who know her, or her sister, who
seems to be gifted with perennial youth and
whose singing must have been a surprise and a
revelation to us all to-night, or, last but not least,
when I consider our youngest hostess, talented,
cheerful, hard-working and the best of nieces, I
confess, Ladies and Gentlemen, that I do not
know to which of them I should award the prize."
Gabriel glanced down at his aunts and, seeing
the large smile on Aunt Julia's face and the tears
which had risen to Aunt Kate's eyes, hastened to
his close. He raised his glass of port gallantly,
while every member of the company fingered a
glass expectantly, and said loudly:
" Let us toast them all three together. Let us
drink to their health, wealth, long life, happiness
and prosperity and may they long continue to
hold the proud and self-won position which they
hold in their profession and the position of hon-
our and affection which they hold in our hearts."
All the guests stood up, glass in hand, and
turning towards the three seated ladies, sang in
unison, with Mr. Browne as leader:
"For they are jolly gay fellows,
For they are jolly gay fellows,
For they are jolly gay fellows,
Which nobody can deny."
Aunt Kate was making frank use of her hand-
kerchief and even Aunt Julia seemed moved.
Freddy Malins beat time with his pudding-fork
and the singers turned towards one another, as if
in melodious conference, while they sang with
" Unless he tells a lie,
Unless he tells a lie,"
Then, turning once more towards their host-
esses, they sang :
" For they are jolly gay fellows,
For they are jolly gay fellows.
For they are jolly gay fellows.
Which nobody can deny."
The acclamation which followed was taken up
beyond the door of the supper-room by many
of the other guests and renewed time after time,
Freddy Malins acting as officer with his fork on
The piercing morning air came into the hall
THE DEAD 265
where they were standing so that Aunt Kate
" Close the door, somebody. Mrs. Malins will
get her death of cold."
" Bi*owne is out there, Aunt Kate," said Mary
" Browne is everywhere," said Aunt Kate, low-
ering her voice.
Mary Jane laughed at her tone.
" Really," she said archly, " he is very atten-
" He has been laid on here like the gas," said
Aunt Kate in the same tone, " all during the
She laughed herself this time good-humouredly
and then added quickly :
" But tell him to come in, Mary Jane, and close
the door. I hope to goodness he didn't hear me."
At that moment the hall-door was opened and
Mr. Browne came in from the doorstep, laughing
as if his heart would break. He was dressed in
a long green overcoat with mock astrakhan cuffs
and collar and wore on his head an oval fur cap.
He pointed down the snow-covered quay from
where the sound of shriU prolonged whistling
was borne in.
" Teddy will have all the cabs in Dublin out,"
Gabriel advanced from the little pantry behind
the office, struggling into his overcoat and, look-
ing round the hall, said :
"Gretta not down vet?"
" She's getting on her things, Gabriel," said
" Who's playing up there? " asked Gabriel.
" Nobody. They're all gone."
" O no, Aunt Kate," said Mary Jane. " Bar-
tell D'Arcy and Miss O'Callaghan aren't gone
" Someone is fooling at the piano anyhow,"
Mary Jane glanced at Gabriel and Mr. Browne
and said with a shiver :
" It makes me feel cold to look at you two gen-
tlemen muffled up like that. I wouldn't like to
face your journey home at this hour."
" I'd like nothing better this minute," said Mr.
Browne stoutly, " than a rattling fine walk in the
country or a fast drive with a good spanking goer
between the shafts."
" We used to have a very good horse and trap
at home," said Aunt Julia sadly.
" The never-to-be-forgotten Johnny," said Mary
Aunt Kate and Gabriel laughed too.
"Why, what was w^onderful about Johnny?"
asked Mr. Browne.
" The late lamented Patrick Morkan, our
gi'andfather, that is," explained Gabriel, " com-
monly known in his later years as the old gentle-
man, was a glue-boiler."
" O, now, Gabriel," said Aunt Kate, laughing,
" he had a starch mill."
" Well, glue or starch," said Gabriel, " the old
THE DEAD 267
gentleman had a horse by the name of Johnny.
And Johnny used to work in the old gentleman's
mill, walking round and round in order to drive
the mill. That was all very well ; but now comes
the tragic part alx)Ut Johnny. One fine day
the old gentleman thought he'd like to drive out
with the quality to a militai'y review in the
" The Lord have mercy on his soul," said Aunt
" Amen," said Gabriel. " So the old gentle-
man, as I said, harnessed Johnny and put on his
very best tall hat and his very best stock collar
and drove out in grand style from his ancestral
mansion somewhere near Back Lane, I think.''
Everyone laughed, even Mrs. Malins, at Ga-
briel's manner and Aunt Kate said :
" O, now, Gabriel, he didn't live in Back Lane,
really. Only the mill was there.''
" Out from the mansion of his foi-efathers,"
continued Gabriel, "he drove with Johnny.
And everything went on beautifully until Johnny
came in sight of King Billy's statue : and whether
he fell in love with the horse King Billy sits on
or whether he thought he was back again in the
mill, anyhow he began to walk round the statue.'*
Gabriel paced in a circle round the hall in his
goloshes amid the laughter of the others.
" Round and round he went,'' said Gabriel,
" and the old gentleman, who was a very pomp-
ous old gentleman, was highly indignant. ' Go
on, sir I What do you mean, sir? Johnny!
Johnny! Most extraordinary conduct! Can't
understand the horse ! ' "
The peals of laughter which followed Gabriel's
imitation of the incident was interrupted by a
resounding knock at the hall door. Mary Jane
ran to open it and let in Freddy Malins. Freddy
Malins, with his hat well back on his head and
his shoulders humped with cold, was puffing and
steaming after his exertions.
" I could only get one cab," he said.
"O, we'll find another along the quay," said
"Yes," said Aunt Kate. "Better not keep
Mrs. Malins standing in the draught."
Mrs. Malins was helped down the front steps
by her son and Mr. Browne and, after many
manoeuvres, hoisted into the cab. Freddy Malins
clambered in after her and spent a long time set-
tling her on the seat, Mr. Browne helping him
with advice. At last she was settled comfort-
ably and Freddy Malins invited Mr. Browne into
the cab. There was a good deal of confused talk,
and then Mr. Browne got into the cab. The cab-
man settled his rug over his knees, and bent
down for the address. The confusion grew
greater and the cabman was directed differently
by Freddy Malins and Mr. Browne, each of whom
had his head out through a window of the cab.
The difficulty was to know where to drop Mr.
Browne along the route, and Aunt Kate, Aunt
Julia and Mary Jane helped the discussion from
the doorstep with cross-directions and contradie-
THE DEAD 269
tions and abundance of laughter. As for Freddy
Malins he was speechless with laughter. He
popped his head in and out of the window every
moment to the great danger of his hat, and told
his mother how the discussion was progressing,
till at last Mr. Browne shouted to the bewildered
cabman above the din of everybody's laughter :
" Do you know Trinity College? "
" Yes, sir," said the cabman.
" Well, drive bang up against Trinity College
gates," said Mr. Browne, " and then we'll tell you
where to go. You understand now? "
" Yes, sir," said the cabman.
" Make like a bird for Trinity College."
" Eight, sir," said the cabman.
The horse was whipped up and the cab rattled
off along the quay amid a chorus of laughter and
Gabriel had not gone to the door with the oth-
ers. He was in a dark part of the hall gazing
up the staircase. A woman was standing near
the top of the first flight, in the shadow also. He
could not see her face but he could see the terra-
cotta and salmon-pink panels of her skirt which
the shadow made appear black and white. It
was his wife. She was leaning on the banisters,
listening to something. Gabriel was surprised
at her stillness and strained his ear to listen also.
But he could hear little save the noise of laughter
and dispute on the front steps, a few chords
struck on the piano and a few notes of a man's
He stood still in the gloom of the hall, trying
to catch the air that the voice was singing and
gazing up at his wife. There was grace and
mystery in her attitude as if she were a symbol
of something. He asked himself what is a
woman standing on the stairs in the shadow,
listening to distant music, a symbol of. If he
were a painter he would paint her in that atti-
tude. Her blue felt hat would show off the
bronze of her hair against the darkness and the
dark panels of her skirt would show off the light
ones. Distant Music he would call the picture
if he were a painter.
The hall-door was closed ; and Aunt Kate, Aunt
Julia and Mary Jane came down the hall, still
"Well, isn't Freddy terrible?" said Mary
Jane. " He's really terrible."
Gabriel said nothing but pointed up the stairs
towards where his wife was standing. Now that
the hall-door was closed the Toice and the piano
could be heard more clearly. Gabriel held up
his hand for them to be silent. The song seemed
to be in the old Irish tonality and the singer
seemed uncertain both of his words and of his
voice. The voice, made plaintive by distance
and by the singer's hoarseness, faintly illumi-
nated the cadence of the air with words express-
ing grief :
" O, the rain falls on ray heavy locks
And the dew wets my skin,
My babe lies cold . . ."
THE DEAD 271
" O/' exclaimed Marv Jane. " It's Bartell
D'Arcy singing and he wouldn't sing all the
night. O, I'll get him to sing a song before he
" O, do, Mary Jane," said Aunt Kate.
Mary Jane brushed past the others and ran to
the staircase, but before she reached it the sing-
ing stopped and the piano was closed abruptly.
" O, what a pity ! " she cried. " Is he coming
doTVTi, Gretta? "
Gabriel heard his wife answer yes and saw her
come down towards them. A few steps behind
her were Mr. Bartell D'Arcy and Miss O'Calla-
"O, Mr. D'Arcy," cried Mary Jane, "it's
downright mean of you to break off like that
when we were all in raptures listening to you."
" I have been at him all the evening," said Miss
O'Callaghan, " and Mrs. Conroy, too, and he told
us he had a dreadful cold and couldn't sing."
" O, Mr. D'Arcy," said Aunt Kate, " now that
was a great fib to tell."
" Can't you see that I'm as hoarse as a crow? "
said Mr. D'Arcy roughly.
He went into the pantry hastily and put on his
overcoat. The others, taken aback by his rude
speech, could find nothing to say. Aunt Kate
wrinkled her brows and made signs to the others
to drop the subject. Mr. D'Arcy stood swathing
his neck carefully and frowning.
" It's the weather," said Aunt Julia, after a
" Yes, everybody has colds," said Aunt Kate
readily, " everybody."
" They say," said Mary Jane, " we haven't had
snow like it for thirty years; and I read this
morning in the newspapers that the snow is gen-
eral all over Ireland."
" I love the look of snow," said Aunt Julia
" So do I," said Miss O'Callaghan. " I think
Christmas is never really Christmas unless we
have the snow on the ground."
" But poor Mr. D'Arcy doesn't like the snow,"
said Aunt Kate, smiling.
Mr. D'Arcy came from the pantry, fully
swathed and buttoned, and in a repentant tone
told them the history of his cold. Everyone gave
him advice and said it was a great pity and urged
him to be very careful of his throat in the night
air. Gabriel watched his wife, who did not join
in the conversation. She was standing right
under the dusty fanlight and the flame of the gas
lit up the rich bronze of her hair, which he had
seen her drying at the fire a few days before.
She was in the same attitude and seemed un-
aware of the talk about her. At last she turned
towards them and Gabriel saw that there was
colour on her cheeks and that her eyes were shin-
ing. A sudden tide of joy went leaping out of
" Mr. D'Arcy," she said, " what is the name of
that song you were singing? "
" It's called The Lass of Anghrim/^ said Mr.
THE DEAD 273
D'Arcy, "but I couldn't remember it properly.
Why?' Do you know it?-'
" The Lass of Aitghrim/- she repeated. " I
couldn't think of the name."
" It's a very nice air," said Mary Jane. " I'm
sorry you were not in voice to-night."
" Now, Mary Jane," said Aunt Kate, " don't
annoy Mr. D'Arcy. I won't have him annoyed."
Seeing that all were ready to start she shep-
herded them to the door, where good-night was
" "Well, good-night, Aunt Kate, and thanks for
the pleasant evening."
"Good-night, Gabriel. Good-night, Grettal"
" Good-night, Aunt Kate, and thanks ever so
much. Good-night, Aunt Julia."
" O, good-night, Gretta, I didn't see yon."
" Good-night, Mr. D'Arcy. Good-night, Miss
" Good-night, Miss Morkan."
" Good-night, again."
" Good-night, all. Safe home."
"Good-night. Good night."
The morning was still dark. A dull, yellow
light brooded over the houses and the river ; and
the sky seemed to be descending. It was slushy
underfoot ; and only streaks and patches of snow
lay on the roofs, on the parapets of the quay and
on the area railings. The lamps were still burn-
ing redly in the murky air and, across the river,
the palace of the Four Courts stood out menac-
ingly against the heavy sky.
She was walking on before him with Mr. Bar-
tell D'Arcy, her shoes in a brown parcel tucked
under one arm and her hands holding her skirt
up from the slush. She had no longer any grace
of attitude, but Gabriel's eyes were still bright
with happiness. The blood went bounding along
his veins; and the thoughts went rioting through
his brain, proud, joyful, tender, valorous.
She was walking on before him so lightly and so
erect that he longed to run after her noiselessly,
catch her by the shoulders and say something
foolish and affectionate into her ear. She seemed
to him so frail that he longed to defend her
against something and then to be alone with her.
Moments of their secret life together burst like
stars upon his memory. A heliotrope envelope
was lying beside his breakfast-cup and he was
caressing it with his hand. Birds were twitter-
ing in the ivy and the sunny web of the curtain
was shimmering along the floor : he could not eat
for happiness. They were standing on the
crowded platform and he was placing a ticket in-
side the warm palm of her glove. He was stand-
ing with her in the cold, looking in through a
grated window at a man making bottles in a
roaring furnace. It was very cold. Her face,
fragrant in the cold air, was quite close to his;
and suddenly he called out to the man at the fur-
" Is the fire hot, sir? "
But the man could not hear with the noise of
THE DEAD 275
the furnace. It was just as well. He might
have answered rudely.
A ware of yet more tender joy escaped from his
heart and went coursing in warm flood along his
arteries. Like the tender fire of stars moments
of their life together, that no one knew of or
would ever know of, broke upon and illumined
his memory. He longed to recall to her those
moments, to make her forget the years of their
dull existence together and remember only their
moments of ecstasy. For the years, he felt, had
not quenched his soul or hers. Their children,
his writing, her household cares had not
quenched all their souls' tender fire. In one let-
ter that he had written to her then he had said :
" VThy is it that words like these seem to me so
dull and cold? Is it because there is no word
tender enough to be your name? "
Like distant music these words that he had
written years before were borne towards him
from the past. He longed to be alone vrith her.
When the others had gone away, when he and she
were in the room in the hotel, then they would
be alone together. He would call her softly :
" Gretta I "
Perhaps she would not hear at once : she would
be undressing. Then something in his voice
would strike her. She would turn and look at
liim. . . .
At the comer of Winetavern Street they met a
cab. He was glad of its rattling noise as it saved
him from conversation. She was looking out of
the window and seemed tired. The others spoke
only a few words, pointing out some building or
street. The horse galloped ajong wearily under
the murky morning sky, dragging his old rattling
box after his heels, and Gabriel was again in a
cab with her, galloping to catch the boat, gallop-
ing to their honeymoon.
As the cab drove across O'Connell Bridge Miss
O'Callaghan said :
" They say you never cross O'Connell Bridge
without seeing a white horse."
" I see a white man this time," said Gabriel.
"Where?" asked Mr. Bartell D'Arcy.
Gabriel pointed to the statue, on which lay
patches of snow. Then he nodded familiarly to
it and waved his hand.
" Good-night, Dan," he said gaily.
When the cab drew up before the hotel, Gabriel
jumped out and, in spite of Mr. Bartell D'Arcy's
protest, paid the driver. He gave the man a
shilling over his fare. The man saluted and
" A prosperous New Year to you, sir."
" The same to you," said Gabriel cordially.
She leaned for a moment on his arm in getting
out of the cab and while standing at the curb-
stone, bidding the others good-night. She leaned
lightly on his arm, as lightly as when she had
danced with him a few hours before. He had
felt proud and happy then, happy that she was
his, proud of her grace and wifely carriage. But
THE DEAD 277
now, after the kindling agiain of so many mem-
ories, the first touch of her body, musical and
strange and perfumed, sent through him a keen
pang of lust. Under cover of her silence he
pressed her arm closely to his side; and, as they
stood at the hotel door, he felt that they had
escaped from their lives and duties, escaped from
home and friends and run away together with
wild and radiant hearts to a new adventure.
An old man was dozing in a great hooded chair
in the hall. He lit a candle in the office and went
before them to the stairs. They followed him in
silence, their feet falling in soft thuds on the
thickly carpeted stairs. She mounted the stairs
behind the porter, her head bowed in the ascent,
her frail shoulders curved as with a burden, her
skirt girt tightly about her. He could have flung
his arms about her hips and held her still, for his
arms were trembling with desire to seize her and
only the stress of his nails against the palms of
his hands held the wild impulse of his body in
check. The porter halted on the stairs to settle
his guttering candle. They halted, too, on the
steps below him. In the silence Gabriel could
hear the falling of the molten wax into the tray
and the thumping of his own heart against his
The porter led them along a corridor and
opened a door. Then he set his unstable candle
down on a toilet-table and asked at what hour
they were to be called in the morning.
" Eight," said Gabriel.
The porter pointed to the tap of the electric-
light and began a muttered apology, but Gabriel
cut him short.
" We don't want any light. We have light
enough from the street. And I say," he added,
pointing to the candle, "you might remove that
handsome article, like a good man."
The porter took up his candle again, but slowly,
for he was surprised by such a novel idea. Then
he mumbled good-night and went out. Gabriel
shot the lock to.
A ghastly light from the street lamp lay in a
long shaft from one window to the door. Gabriel
threw his overcoat and hat on a couch and crossed
the room towards the window. He looked down
into the street in order that his emotion might
calm a little. Then he turned and leaned against
a chest of drawers with his back to the light.
She had taken off her hat and cloak and was
standing before a large swinging mirror, un-
hooking her waist. Gabriel paused for a few
moments, watching her, and then said :
" Gretta ! "
She turned away from the mirror slowly and
walked along the shaft of light towards him.
Her face looked so serious and weary that the
words would not pass Gabriel's lips. No, it was
not the moment yet.
" You looked tired," he said.
" I am a little," she answered.
" You don't feel ill or weak? "
"No, tired: that's all."
THE DEAD 279
She went on to the window and stood there,
looking out. Gabriel waited again and then,
fearing that diffidence was about to conquer him,
he said abruptly :
" By the way, Gretta ! "
" You know that poor fellow Malins? '' he said
" Yes. What about him ? "
" Well, poor fellow, he's a decent sort of chap,
after all," continued Gabriel in a false voice.
" He gave me back that sovereign I lent him, and
I didn't expect it, really. It's a pity he wouldn't
keep away from that Browne, because he's not a
bad fellow, really.''
He was trembling now with annoyance. Why
did she seem so abstracted? He did not know
how he could begin. Was she annoyed, too,
about something? If she would only turn to him
or come to him of her own accord ! To take her
as she was would be brutal. No, he must see
some ardour in her eyes first. He longed to be
master of her strange mood.
"When did you lend him the pound?'* she
asked, after a pause.
Gabriel strove to restrain himself from break-
ing out into brutal language about the sottish
Malins and his pound. He longed to cry to her
from his soul, to crush her body against his, to
overmaster her. But he said :
" O. at Christmas, when Le opened that little
Christmas-card shop in Henry Street."
He was in such a fever of rage and desire that
he did not hear her come from the window. She
stood before him for an instant, looking at him
strangely. Then, suddenly raising herself on tip-
toe and resting her hands lightly on his shoulders,
she kissed him.
" You are a very generous person, Gabriel,"
Gabriel, trembling with delight at her sudden
kiss and at the quaintness of her phrase, put his
hands on her hair and began smoothing it back,
scarcely touching it with his fingers. The wash-
ing had made it fine and brilliant. His heart
Avas brimming over with happiness. Just when
he was wishing for it she had come to him of her
own accord. Perhaps her thoughts had been
running with his. Perhaps she had felt the im-
petuous desire that was in him, and then the
yielding mood had come upon her. Now that she
had fallen to him so easily, he wondered why he
had been so diffident.
He stood, holding her head between his hands.
Then, slipping one arm swiftly about her body
and drawing her towards him, he said softly :
" Gretta, dear, what are you thinking
She did not answer nor yield wholly to his arm.
He said again, softly :
" Tell me what it is, Gretta. I think I know^
what is the matter. Do I know? "
She did not answer at once. Then she said in
an outburst of tears :
THE DEAD 281
" O, I am thinking about that song, The Lass
She broke loose from him and ran to the bed
and, throwing her arms across the bed-rail, hid
her face. Gabriel stood stock-still for a moment
in astonishment and then followed her. As he
passed in the wav of the cheval-glass he caught
sight of himself in full length, his broad, well-
filled shirt-front, the face whose expression al-
ways puzzled him when he saw it in a mirror, and
his glimmering gilt-rimmed eyeglasses. He
halted a few paces from her and said :
" TMiat about the song? VThj does that make
She raised her head from her arms and dried
her eyes with the back of her hand like a child.
A kinder note than he had intended went into his
" Wiiy, Gretta? " he asked.
" I am thinking about a person long ago who
used to sing that song,"
"And who was the person long ago?" asked
" It was a person I used to know in Galway
when I was living with my grandmother," she
The smile passed away from Gabriel's face. A
dull anger began to gather again at the back of
his mind and the dull fires of his lust began to
glow angrily in his veins.
"Someone you were in love with?" he asked
" It was a young boy I used to know," she an-
swered, " named Michael Furey. He used to sing
that song, The Lass of Aughrim. He was very
Gabriel was silent. He did not wish her to
think that he was interested in this delicate boy.
" I can see him so plainly," she said, after a
moment. " Such eyes as he had : big, dark eyes !
And such an expression in them — an expres-
sion ! "
" O, then, you are in love with him? " said
" I used to go out walking with him," she said,
" when I was in Galway."
A thought flew across Gabriel's mind.
" Perhaps that was why you wanted to go to
Galway with that Ivors girl? " he said coldly.
She looked at him and asked in surprise :
" What for? "
Her eyes made Gabriel feel awkward. He
shrugged his shoulders and said :
" How do I know ? To see him, perhaps."
She looked away from him along the shaft of
light towards the window in silence.
" He is dead," she said at length. " He died
when he was only seventeen. Isn't it a terrible
thing to die so young as that? "
"What was he?" asked Gabriel, still iron-
" He was in the gasworks," she said.
Gabriel felt humiliated by the failure of his
irony and by the evocation of this figure from the
THE DEAD 283
dead, a boy in the gasworks. While he had been
full of memories of their secret life together, full
of tenderness and joy and desire, she had been
comparing him in her mind with another. A
shameful consciousness of his own person assailed
him. He saw himself as a ludicrous figure, act-
ing as a pennyboy for his aunts, a nervous, well-
meaning sentimentalist, orating to vulgarians
and idealising his own clownish lusts, the pitiable
fatuous fellow he had caught a glimpse of in the
mirror. Instinctively he turned his back more
to the light lest she might see the shame that
burned upon his forehead.
He tried to keep up his tone of cold interroga-
tion, but his voice when he spoke was humble and
" I suppose you were in love with this Michael
Furey, Gretta,'' he said.
'- 1 was great with him at that time," she said.
Her voice was veiled and sad. Gabriel, feeling
now how vain it would be to try to lead her
whither he had purposed, caressed one of her
hands and said, also sadly:
"And what did he die of so young, Gretta?
Consumption, was it? "
" I think he died for me," she answered.
A vague terror seized Gabriel at this answer, as
if, at that hour when he had hoped to triumph,
some impalpable and vindictive being was coming
against him, gathering forces against him in its
vague world. But he shook himself free of it
with an effort of reason and continued to caress
her hand. He did not question her again, for he
felt that she would tell him of herself. Her hand
was warm and moist : it did not respond to his
touch, but he continued to caress it just as he had
caressed her first letter to him that spring morn-
" It was in the winter," she said, " about the
beginning of the winter when I was going to leave
my grandmother's and come up here to the con-
vent. And he was ill at the time in his lodgings
in Galway and wouldn't be let out, and his people
in Oughterard were written to. He was in de-
cline, they said, or something like that. I never
She paused for a moment and sighed.
" Poor fellow," she said. " He was very fond
of me and he was such a gentle boy. We used to
go out together, walking, you know, Gabriel, like
the way they do in the country. He was going
to study singing only for his health. He had a
very good voice, poor Michael Furey."
" Well ; and then? " asked Gabriel.
" And then when it came to the time for me to
leave Galway and come up to the convent he was
much worse and I wouldn't be let see him so I
wrote him a letter saying I was going up to Dub-
lin and would be back in the summer, and hoping
he would be better then."
She paused for a moment to get her voice under
control, and then went on :
" Then the night before I left, I was in my
grandmother's house in Nuns' Island, packing
THE DEAD 285
up, and I heard gravel thrown up against the
window. The window was so wet I couldn't see,
so I ran downstairs as I was and slipped out the
back into the garden and there was the poor fel-
low at the end of the garden, shivering,"
" And did you not tell him to go back? " asked
'' I implored of him to go home at once and
told him he would get his death in the rain. But
he said he did not want to live. I can see his
eyes as well as well I He was standing at the
end of the wall where there was a tree."
" And did he go home? " asked Gabriel.
" Yes, he went home. And when I was only a
week in the convent he died and he was buried
in Oughterard, where his people came from. O,
the day I heard that, that he was dead I "
She stopped, choking with sobs, and, overcome
by emotion, flung herself face downward on the
bed, sobbing in the quilt. Gabriel held her hand
for a moment longer, irresolutely, and then, shy
of intruding on her grief, let it fall gently and
walked quietly to the window.
She was fast asleep.
Gabriel, leaning on his elbow, looked for a few
moments unresentfully on her tangled hair and
half-open mouth, listening to her deep-drawn
breath. So she had had that romance in her life :
a man had died for her sake. It hardly pained
him now to think how poor a part he, her hus-
band, had played in her life. He watched her
while she slept, as though he and she had never
lived together as man and wife. His curious
eyes rested long upon her face and on her hair:
and, as he thought of what she must have been
then, in that time of her first girlish beauty, a
strange, friendly jnty for her entered his soul.
He did not like to say even to himself that her
face was no longer beautiful, but he knew that it
was no longer the face for which Michael Furey
had braved death.
Perhaps she had not told him all the story.
His eyes moved to the chair over which she had
thrown some of her clothes. A petticoat string
dangled to the floor. One boot stood upright, its
limp upper fallen down : the fellow of it lay upon
its side. He wondered at his riot of emotions of
an hour before. From what had it proceeded?
From his aunt's supper, from his own foolish
speech, from the wine and dancing, the merry-
making when saying good-night in the hall, the
pleasure of the walk along the river in the snow.
Poor Aunt Julia! She, too, would soon be a
shade with the shade of Patrick Morkan and his
horse. He had caught that haggard look upon
her face for a moment when she was singing
Arrayed for the Bridal. Soon, perhaps, he would
be sitting in that same drawing-room, dressed in
black, his silk hat on his knees. The blinds
would be drawn down and Aunt Kate would be
sitting beside him, crying and blowing her nose
and telling him how Julia had died. He would
cast about in his mind for some words that might
THE DEAD 287
console her, and would find only lame and useless
ones. Yes, yes : that would happen very soon.
The air of the room chilled his shoulders. He
stretched himself cautiously along under the
sheets and lay down beside his wife. One by one,
they were all becoming shades. Better pass
boldly into that other world, in the full glory of
some passion, than fade and wither dismally with
age. He thought of how she who lay beside him
had locked in her heart for so many years that
image of her lover's eyes when he had told her
that he did not wish to live.
Generous tears filled Gabriel's eyes. He had
never felt like that himself towards any woman,
but he knew that such a feeling must be love.
The tears gathered more thickly in his eyes and in
the partial darkness he imagined he saw the form
of a young man standing under a dripping tree.
Other forms were near. His soul had ap-
proached that region where dwell the vast hosts
of the dead. He was con.scious of, but could not
apprehend, their wayward and flickering exist-
ence. His own identity was fading out into a
grey impalpable world: the solid world itself,
which these dead had one time reared and lived
in, was dissolving and dwindling.
A few light taps upon the pane made him turn
to the window. It had begun to snow again.
He watched sleepily the flakes, silver and dark,
falling obliquely against the lamplight. The
time had come for him to set out on his journey
westward. Yes, the newspapers were right;
snow was general all over Ireland. It was fall-
ing on every part of the dark central plain, on the
treeless hills, falling softly upon the Bog of Allen
and, farther westward, softly falling into the
dark mutinous Shannon waves. It was falling,
too, upon every part of the lonely churchyard on
the hill where Michael Furey lay buried. It lay
thickly drifted on the crooked crosses and head-
stones, on the spears of the little gate, on the
barren thorns. His soul swooned slowly as he
heard the snow falling faintly through the uni-
verse and faintly falling, like the descent of their
last end, upon all the living and the dead.