Part 3 out of 5
working for only wants to get some job or other."
"0f course, the working-classes should be represented," said the
"The working-man," said Mr. Hynes, "gets all kicks and no
halfpence. But it's labour produces everything. The workingman 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 German monarch."
"How's that?" said the old man.
"Don't you know they want to present an address 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 ticket."
"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! perhaps you're right, Joe," said Mr. O'Connor. "Anyway,
I wish he'd turn up with the spondulics."
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
"If this man was alive," he said, pointing to the leaf, "we'd have no
talk of an address of welcome."
"That's true," said Mr. O'Connor.
"Musha, God be with them times!" 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
"O, don't stir, Jack, don't stir," said Mr. Henchy
He nodded curtly to Mr. Hynes and sat down on the chair which
the old man vacated.
"Did you serve Aungier Street?" he asked Mr. O'Connor.
"Yes," said Mr. O'Connor, beginning to search his pockets for
"Did you call on Grimes?"
"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 snuffle and to rub his hands over the fire at a
terrific speed. Then he said:
"For the love of God, Jack, bring us a bit of coal. There must be
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: 'Oh, now, Mr. Henchy, when I see work
going on properly I won't forget you, you may be sure.' Mean little
tinker! 'Usha, how could he be anything else?"
"What did I tell you, Mat?" said Mr. Hynes. "Tricky Dicky
"0, he's as tricky as they make 'em," said Mr. Henchy. "He hasn't
got those little pigs' eyes for nothing. Blast his soul! Couldn't he
pay up like a man instead of: 'O, now, Mr. Henchy, I must speak to
Mr. Fanning.... I've spent a lot of money'? Mean little schoolboy of
hell! I suppose he forgets the time his little old father kept the
hand-me-down shop in Mary's Lane."
"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.
"Thats a nice how-do-you-do," said Mr. O'Connor. "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 shoulders, 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 suddenly:
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, throwing 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. O'Connor.
"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 sponging. Couldn't he have some spark of manhood about
"He doesn't get a warm welcome from me when he comes," said
the old man. "Let him work for his own side and not come spying
"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
"Some of these hillsiders and fenians are a bit too clever if 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 to?"
Mr. O'Connor nodded.
"There's a lineal descendant of Major Sirr for you if you like! 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!" 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 collar of his shabby frock-coat,
the uncovered buttons of which reflected the candlelight, was
turned up about his neck. He wore a round hat of hard black felt.
His face, shining with raindrops, had the appearance of damp
yellow cheese save where two rosy spots indicated the cheekbones.
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
"He's round at the Black Eagle," said Mr. Henchy. "But won't you
come in and sit down a minute?"
"No, no, thank you. It was just a little business matter," said Father
Keon. "Thank you, indeed."
He retreated from the doorway and Mr. Henchy, 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?"
"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
"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 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. O'Connor.
"That's another mystery."
"Is he attached to any chapel or church or institution or---"
"No," said Mr. Henchy, "I think he's travelling on his own
account.... God forgive me," he added, "I thought he was the dozen
"Is there any chance of a drink itself?" asked Mr. O'Connor.
"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. O'Connor.
"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 corner."
"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 becoming 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 standing up behind me in a powdered wig
"And make me your private secretary, John."
"Yes. And I'll make Father Keon my private chaplain. We'll have a
"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 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 all now?"
At this point there was a knock at the door, and a boy put in his
"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. Henchy.
"I was told to ask for the bottles."
"Come back tomorrow," said the old man.
"Here, boy!" said Mr. Henchy, "will you run over to O'Farrell's and
ask him to lend us a corkscrew--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
"Ah, well, he's not so bad after all. He's as good as his word,
"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. O'Connor.
"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 boy:
"Would you like a drink, boy?"
"If you please, sir," said the boy.
The old man opened another bottle grudgingly, and handed it to
"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.
"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 today," said Mr. Henchy, after a
"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 canvasser. He
hasn't a word to throw to a dog. He stands and looks at the people
while I do the talking."
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
"Where did the boose come from?" asked the young man. "Did the
"O, of course, Lyons spots the drink first thing!" said Mr.
"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. O'Connor.
"How can I?" said the old man, "when there's no corkscrew? "
"Wait now, wait now!" said Mr. Henchy, getting up quickly. "Did
you ever see this little trick?"
He took two bottles from the table and, carrying them to the fire,
put them on the hob. Then he sat dow-n 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,
sufficient in itself, was that he had nothing to say; the second
reason was that he considered his companions beneath him. He
had been a canvasser for Wilkins, the Conservative, but when the
Conservatives had withdrawn their man and, choosing the lesser of
two evils, given their support to the Nationalist candidate, he had
been engaged to work for Mr. Tiemey.
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 today."
"Who did you get?" asked Mr. Lyons.
"Well, I got Parkes for one, and I got Atkinson for two, and got
Ward of Dawson Street. Fine old chap he is, too--regular old toff,
old Conservative! '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 advantage 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 to 'em."
"And what about the address to the King?" said Mr. Lyons, after
drinking and smacking his lips.
"Listen to me," said Mr. Henchy. "What we want in thus 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 factories 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 want."
"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 himself: '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 argumentatively, "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, perhaps, 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
"In the name of God," said Mr. Henchy, "where's the analogy
between the two cases?"
"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."
"Right 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!
Come in!" he called out, catching sight of Mr. Hynes in the
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
"Sit down, Joe," said Mr. O'Connor, "we're just talking about the
"Ay, ay!" said Mr. Henchy.
Mr. Hynes sat on the side of the table near Mr. Lyons but said
"There's one of them, anyhow," said Mr. Henchy, "that didn't
renege him. By God, I'll say for you, Joe! No, by God, you stuck to
him like a man!"
"0, Joe," said Mr. O'Connor suddenly. "Give us that thing you
wrote--do you remember? Have you got it on you?"
"0, 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, Joe."
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
THE DEATH OF PARNELL
6th October, 1891
He cleared his throat once or twice and then began to recite:
He is dead. Our Uncrowned King is dead.
O, Erin, mourn with 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 spurned 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, taking 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
Crofton said that it was a very fine piece of writing.
MR HOLOHAN, assistant secretary of the Eire Abu 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 unbending 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 encouragement, 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 conversation, 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 afterward
paid her fees at the Academy. Every year in the month of July Mrs.
Kearney found occasion 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 Greystones.
When the Irish Revival began to be appreciable Mrs. Kearney
determined to take advantage of 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 man hands, and said good-bye to one another in
Irish. Soon the name of Miss Kathleen Kearney began to be heard
often on people's lips. People said that she was very clever at
music and a very nice girl and, moreover, that she was a believer
in the language movement. Mrs. Kearney was well content at this.
Therefore 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 concerts.
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, saying:
"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
Kathleen'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 forgot
nothing, and, thanks to her, everything that was to be done was
The concerts were to be on Wednesday, Thursday, 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 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 wondered 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 carelessly 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 disappointments lightly. Mr. Holohan
came into the dressingroom 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 people 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
Mrs. Kearney rewarded his very flat final syllable 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 too many.
"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 something 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 quickly.
The concert on Thursday night was better attended, but Mrs.
Kearney saw at once that the house was filled with paper. The
audience behaved indecorously, as if the concert were an informal
dress rehearsal. Mr. Fitzpatrick seemed to enjoy himself; he was
quite unconscious that Mrs. Kearney was taking angry note of his
conduct. He stood at the edge of the screen, from time to time
jutting out his head and exchanging a laugh with two friends in the
corner of the balcony. In the course of the evening, Mrs. Kearney
learned that the Friday concert was to be abandoned 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 contract," she said. "The
contract was for four concerts."
Mr. Holohan seemed to be in a hurry; he advised 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 committee. 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
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 loving
public of the treat which was in store for it on the following
evening. Mrs. Kearney was somewhat reassured, but be 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 appreciated 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, arrived at the Antient Concert Rooms
three-quarters 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. Holohan 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 explained that she wanted to see one of the
secretaries. Miss Beirne expected them any minute and asked
could she do anything. Mrs. Kearney looked searchingly at the
oldish face which was screwed into an expression of trustfulness
and enthusiasm and answered:
"No, thank you!"
The little woman hoped they would have a good house. She looked
out at the rain until the melancholy of the wet street effaced all the
trustfulness 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-room.
The artistes were arriving. The bass and the second tenor had
already come. The bass, Mr. Duggan, was a slender young man
with a scattered 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
himself 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 undertaken the part of the king in the opera of Maritana at the
Queen's Theatre. He sang his music with great feeling and volume
and was warmly welcomed by the gallery; but, unfortunately, he
marred the good impression by wiping his nose in his gloved hand
once or twice out of thoughtlessness. He was unassuming and
spoke little. He said yous so softly that it passed unnoticed and he
never drank anything stronger than milk for his voice's sake. Mr.
Bell, the second tenor, was a fair-haired little man who competed
every year for prizes at the Feis Ceoil. On his fourth trial he had
been awarded a bronze medal. He was extremely nervous and
extremely jealous of other tenors and he covered his nervous
jealousy with an ebullient friendliness. 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 auditorium. 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 Nationalist friends, Miss Healy, the
contralto. An unknown 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."
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 unknown 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. Holohan in his
limping and devious courses. As soon as she could she excused
herself and went out after him.
"Mr. Holohan, I want to speak to you for a moment," she said.
They went down to a discreet part of the corridor. 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 business.
"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
"I don't know anything about Mr. Fitzpatrick," repeated Mrs.
Kearney. "I have my contract, and I intend to see that it is carried
When she came back to the dressing-room her cheeks were slightly
suffused. The room was lively. Two men in outdoor dress had
taken possession of the fireplace and were chatting familiarly with
Miss Healy and the baritone. They were the Freeman man 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 office 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 because concerts and artistes bored
him considerably but he remained leaning against the mantelpiece.
Miss Healy stood in front of him, talking and laughing. He was old
enough to suspect one reason for her politeness but young enough
in spirit to turn the moment to account. The warmth, fragrance and
colour of her body appealed to his senses. He was pleasantly
conscious 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 wilful glances were his tribute. When he could
stay 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
"I don't mind," said Mr. Hendrick.
The two men went along some tortuous passages and up a dark
staircase and came to a secluded 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 problem of his finances. He was widely
While Mr. Holohan was entertaining the Freeman man Mrs.
Kearney was speaking so animatedly 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 subdued 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 late.
Mr. Holohan and Mr. O'Madden Burke came into the room In a
moment Mr. Holohan perceived 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
"She won't go on. She must get her eight guineas."
Mr. Holohan pointed desperately towards the hall where the
audience was clapping and stamping. He appealed to Mr Kearney
and to Kathleen. 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
somewhat painful Miss Healy said to the baritone:
"Have you seen Mrs. Pat Campbell this week?"
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
panting. The clapping and stamping in the hall were punctuated by
whistling. Mr. Fitzpatrick held a few banknotes 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 shaking like an aspen. The singer and the
accompanist went out together. The noise in 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 successful except for Madam
Glynn's item. The poor lady sang Killarney in a bodiless gasping
voice, with all the old-fashioned mannerisms of intonation 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 contralto, however, brought down the
house. Kathleen 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
stewards, 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 baritone was asked what did he
think of Mrs. Kearney's conduct. He did not like to say anything.
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'Madden Burke. "Pay her
In another corner of the room were Mrs. Kearney and he: husband,
Mr. Bell, Miss Healy and the young lady who had to recite the
patriotic piece. Mrs. Kearney said that the Committee had treated
her scandalously. She had spared neither trouble nor expense and
this was how she was repaid.
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 mistake. 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 Kearneys had often invited her to
As soon as the first part was ended Mr. Fitzpatrick 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 contract. 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. Kearney.
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 Mr. Holohan.
"Might I, indeed?... And when I ask when my daughter is going to
be paid I can't get a civil answer."
She tossed her head and assumed a haughty voice:
"You must speak to the secretary. It's not my business. I'm a great
"I thought you were a lady," said Mr. Holohan, walking away from
After that Mrs. Kearney's conduct was condemned 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 accompanist to pass up to the platform. She stood
still for an instant like an angry stone image and, 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 his skin on
"That's a nice lady!" he said. "O, she's a nice lady!"
You did the proper thing, Holohan," said Mr. O'Madden Burke,
poised upon his umbrella in approval.
TWO GENTLEMEN who were in the lavatory at the time tried to
lift him up: but he was quite helpless. 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
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 him."
"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
tessellated floor. The manager, alarmed by the grey pallor of the
man's face, sent for a policeman.
His collar was unfastened and his necktie undone. He opened eyes
for an instant, sighed and closed them again. One of 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 costable,
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 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 accent:
"Who is the man? What's his name and address?"
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 injured 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 bystanders 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 accident. It was nothing, he said:
only a little accident. 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 yellow 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, saying:
"It's all right, constable. I'll see him home."
The constable touched his helmet and answered:
"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 young man.
"I' 'ery 'uch o'liged to you, sir," said the injured man.
"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 manager 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 floor.
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
The shock and the incipient pain had partly sobered him.
"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 directions 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
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 happened.
"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 swaying 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
minute 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 calling. 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
Blackwhite, 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 office in Crowe Street, on the window blind of
which was written the name of his firm with the address--London,
E. C. On the mantelpiece of this little office a little leaden
battalion of canisters 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 mouthful, drew it up, saturated his palate with it and then
spat it forth into the grate. Then he paused to judge.
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 decline
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 inexplicable
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 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
thoughtful. After a while Mrs. Kernan entered the kitchen,
"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, remembering Mr. Power's good offices during
domestic quarrels, as well as many small, but opportune loans,
"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 family. Nice friends! Who was he with tonight, I'd like to
Mr. Power shook his head but said nothing.
"I'm so sorry," she continued, "that I've nothing in the house to
offer you. But if you wait a minute I'll send round to Fogarty's, at
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, Mrs. Kernan," said Mr. Power, "we'll make him turn over
a new leaf. I'll talk to Martin. He's the man. We'll 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 swinging his arms to warm himself.
"It's very kind of you to bring him home," she said.
"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.
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
She was an active, practical woman of middle age. Not 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 Sandymount, 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 difficulties and for twenty-five
years she had kept house shrewdly for her husband. Her two eldest
sons were launched. One was in a draper's shop in Glasgow and
the other was clerk to a tea- merchant 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 frequent 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
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, became 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 apologised 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 victim of a plot which
his friends, Mr. Cunningham, Mr. M'Coy and Mr. Power had
disclosed to Mrs. Kernan in the parlour. The idea been Mr.
Power's, but its development was entrusted to Mr. Cunningham.
Mr. Kernan came of Protestant 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 very
happy. People 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 Cunningham. 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
informed. 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. Cunningham."
After a quarter of a century of married life, she had very few
illusions left. Religion for her was a habit, and she suspected that a
man of her husband'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, would have
told the gentlemen that Mr. Kernan's tongue would not suffer by
being shortened. However, Mr. Cunningham was a capable man;
and religion was religion. The scheme might do good and, at least,
it could do no harm. Her beliefs were not extravagant. She
believed steadily in the Sacred Heart as the most generally useful
of all Catholic devotions and approved of the sacraments. 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
"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
Railway, 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 professionally interested in Mr.
"Pain? Not much," answered Mr. Kernan. "But it's so sickening. I
feel as if I wanted to retch off."
"That's the boose," said Mr. Cunningham firmly.
"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; sickening."
"Yes, yes," said Mr. M'Coy, "that's the thorax."
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 the invalid.
Mr. Power waved his hand.
"Those other two fellows I was with----"
"Who were you with?" asked Mr. Cunningham.
"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, people 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 detachment 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 themselves as bona fide travellers. But
his fellow-travellers had never consented to overlook his origin.
He had begun life as an obscure financier 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 exactions, 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 points.
"I wonder where did he go to," said Mr. Kernan.
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
"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 remember. "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.
"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 Christian 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 portmanteaus to enable
Mrs. M'Coy to fulfil imaginary engagements in the country. More
than he resented the fact that he had been victimised he resented
such low playing of the game. He answered 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 bumpkins.
"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
"How could they be anything else, Tom?" he said.
He assumed a thick, provincial accent and said in a tone of
"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. Cunningham 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 plates."
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 cabbage."
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 good ones."
"O yes, you get some good ones, I admit," said Mr. Kernan,
"It's better to have nothing to say to them," said Mr. M'Coy. "That's
Mrs. Kernan entered the room and, placing a tray on the table,
"Help yourselves, gentlemen."
Mr. Power stood up to officiate, offering her his chair. She
declined it, saying she was ironing 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 said casually:
"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
"But we mustn't be late," said Mr. Power earnestly, "because it is
sure to be crammed to the doors."
"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 for Thursday."
"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'Coy here
--we're all going to wash the pot."
He uttered the metaphor with a certain homely energy and,
encouraged by his own voice, proceeded:
"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 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
"D'ye know what, Tom, has just occurred to me? You night join in
and we'd have a four-handed reel."
"Good idea," said Mr. Power. "The four of us together."
Mr. Kernan was silent. The proposal conveyed very little meaning
to his mind, but, understanding 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, too."
"They're the grandest order in the Church, Tom," said Mr.
Cunningham, with enthusiasm. "The General of the Jesuits stands
next to the Pope."
"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
have influence. I'll tell you a case in point...."
"The Jesuits are a fine body of men," said Mr. Power.
"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 reformed. 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 Mr. M'Coy.
"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 name."
"Perhaps you're right," said Mr. Kernan, relenting.
"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
The gentlemen drank again, one following another's example. Mr.
Kernan seemed to be weighing something in his mind. He was
impressed. He had a high opinion of Mr. Cunningham 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. Power persuasively.
"Father Purdon? Father Purdon?" said the invalid.
"O, you must know him, Tom," said Mr. Cunningham stoutly.
"Fine, jolly fellow! He's a man of the world like ourselves."
"Ah,... yes. I think I know him. Rather red face; tall."
"That's the man."
"And tell me, Martin.... Is he a good preacher?"
"Munno.... It's not exactly a sermon, you know. It's just 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. Cunningham, "that was a born
orator. Did you ever hear him, Tom?"
"Did I ever hear him!" said the invalid, nettled. "Rather! I heard
"And yet they say he wasn't much of a theologian," said Mr
"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. M'Coy.
"I heard him once," Mr. Kernan continued. "I forget the subject of
his discourse now. Crofton and I were in the back of the... pit, you
"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 Prisoner of the Vatican, he called him. I
remember Crofton saying to me when we came out----"
"But he's an Orangeman, Crofton, isn't he?" said Mr. Power.
"'Course he is," said Mr. Kernan, "and a damned decent
Orangeman too. We went into Butler's in Moore Street--faith, was
genuinely moved, tell you the God's truth--and I remember well
his very words. Kernan, he said, we 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 where Father Tom was
"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 believe in the Pope and in the
mother of God."
"But, of course," 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?"
"O, come in! come in!"
A pale, oval face came forward into the light. The arch of its fair
trailing moustache was repeated in the fair eyebrows looped above
pleasantly astonished eyes. Mr. Fogarty was a modest grocer. He
had failed in business in a licensed house in the city because his
financial condition had constrained him to tie himself to
second-class distillers and brewers. He had opened a small shop on
Glasnevin Road where, he flattered 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 groceries 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 intellectual men in Europe,"
said Mr. Power. "I mean, apart from his being Pope."
"So he was," said Mr. Cunningham, "if not the most so. His motto,
you know, as Pope, was Lux upon Lux--Light upon Light."
"No, no," said Mr. Fogarty eagerly. "I think you're wrong there. It
was Lux in Tenebris, I think--Light in Darkness."
"O yes," said Mr. M'Coy, "Tenebrae."
"Allow me," said Mr. Cunningham positively, "it was Lux upon
Lux. And Pius IX his predecessor's motto was Crux upon Crux--
that is, Cross upon Cross--to show the difference between their
The inference was allowed. Mr. Cunningham continued.
"Pope Leo, you know, was a great scholar and a poet."
"He had a strong face," said Mr. Kernan.
"Yes," said Mr. Cunningham. "He wrote Latin poetry."
"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 gravely.
"I remember reading," said Mr. Cunningham, "that one of Pope
Leo's poems was on the invention of the photograph--in Latin, of
"On the photograph!" exclaimed Mr. Kernan.
"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 it?"
"O, of course," said Mr. Power, "great minds can see things."
"As the poet says: Great minds are very near to madness," said Mr.
Mr. Kernan seemed to be troubled in mind. He made an effort to
recall the Protestant theology on some thorny points and in the end
addressed 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 cathedra," 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 that----?"
Mr. Fogarty interrupted. He took up the bottle 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
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