Dubliners by James Joyce
Ivy Day in the Committee Room

Dublin The Sisters
An Encounter
Araby
Eveline
After the Race
Two Gallants
The Boarding House
A Little Cloud
Counterparts
Clay
A Painful Case
Ivy Day in the Committee Room
A Mother
Grace
The Dead

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[3808]     IVY DAY IN THE COMMITTEE ROOM
[3809]     
[3810]     OLD JACK raked the cinders together with a piece of cardboard
[3811]     and spread them judiciously over the whitening dome of coals.
[3812]     When the dome was thinly covered his face lapsed into darkness
[3813]     but, as he set himself to fan the fire again, his crouching shadow
[3814]     ascended the opposite wall and his face slowly reemerged into
[3815]     light. It was an old man's face, very bony and hairy. The moist blue
[3816]     eyes blinked at the fire and the moist mouth fell open at times,
[3817]     munching once or twice mechanically when it closed. When the
[3818]     cinders had caught he laid the piece of cardboard against the wall,
[3819]     sighed and said:
[3820]     
[3821]     "That's better now, Mr. O'Connor."
[3822]     
[3823]     Mr. O'Connor, a grey-haired young man, whose face was
[3824]     disfigured by many blotches and pimples, had just brought the
[3825]     tobacco for a cigarette into a shapely cylinder but when spoken to
[3826]     he undid his handiwork meditatively. Then he began to roll the
[3827]     tobacco again meditatively and after a moment's thought decided
[3828]     to lick the paper.
[3829]     
[3830]     "Did Mr. Tierney say when he'd be back?" he asked in a sky
[3831]     falsetto.
[3832]     
[3833]     "He didn't say."
[3834]     
[3835]     Mr. O'Connor put his cigarette into his mouth and began search his
[3836]     pockets. He took out a pack of thin pasteboard cards.
[3837]     
[3838]     "I'll get you a match," said the old man.
[3839]     
[3840]     "Never mind, this'll do," said Mr. O'Connor.
[3841]     
[3842]     He selected one of the cards and read what was printed on it:
[3843]     
[3844]     
[3845]     MUNICIPAL ELECTIONS
[3846]                
[3847]     ROYAL EXCHANGE WARD
[3848]                
[3849]     Mr. Richard J. Tierney, P.L.G., respectfully solicits the
[3850]     favour of your vote and influence at the coming election
[3851]     in the Royal Exchange Ward.
[3852]     
[3853]     
[3854]     Mr. O'Connor had been engaged by Tierney's agent to canvass one
[3855]     part of the ward but, as the weather was inclement and his boots
[3856]     let in the wet, he spent a great part of the day sitting by the fire in
[3857]     the Committee Room in Wicklow Street with Jack, the old
[3858]     caretaker. They had been sitting thus since e short day had grown
[3859]     dark. It was the sixth of October, dismal and cold out of doors.
[3860]     
[3861]     Mr. O'Connor tore a strip off the card and, lighting it, lit his
[3862]     cigarette. As he did so the flame lit up a leaf of dark glossy ivy the
[3863]     lapel of his coat. The old man watched him attentively and then,
[3864]     taking up the piece of cardboard again, began to fan the fire slowly
[3865]     while his companion smoked.
[3866]     
[3867]     "Ah, yes," he said, continuing, "it's hard to know what way to bring
[3868]     up children. Now who'd think he'd turn out like that! I sent him to
[3869]     the Christian Brothers and I done what I could him, and there he
[3870]     goes boosing about. I tried to make him someway decent."
[3871]     
[3872]     He replaced the cardboard wearily.
[3873]     
[3874]     "Only I'm an old man now I'd change his tune for him. I'd take the
[3875]     stick to his back and beat him while I could stand over him--as I
[3876]     done many a time before. The mother, you know, she cocks him
[3877]     up with this and that...."
[3878]     
[3879]     "That's what ruins children," said Mr. O'Connor.
[3880]     
[3881]     "To be sure it is," said the old man. "And little thanks you get for
[3882]     it, only impudence. He takes th'upper hand of me whenever he sees
[3883]     I've a sup taken. What's the world coming to when sons speaks that
[3884]     way to their fathers?"
[3885]     
[3886]     "What age is he?" said Mr. O'Connor.
[3887]     
[3888]     "Nineteen," said the old man.
[3889]     
[3890]     "Why don't you put him to something?"
[3891]     
[3892]     "Sure, amn't I never done at the drunken bowsy ever since he left
[3893]     school? 'I won't keep you,' I says. 'You must get a job for yourself.'
[3894]     But, sure, it's worse whenever he gets a job; he drinks it all."
[3895]     
[3896]     Mr. O'Connor shook his head in sympathy, and the old man fell
[3897]     silent, gazing into the fire. Someone opened the door of the room
[3898]     and called out:
[3899]     
[3900]     "Hello! Is this a Freemason's meeting?"
[3901]     
[3902]     "Who's that?" said the old man.
[3903]     
[3904]     "What are you doing in the dark?" asked a voice.
[3905]     
[3906]     "Is that you, Hynes?" asked Mr. O'Connor.
[3907]     
[3908]     "Yes. What are you doing in the dark?" said Mr. Hynes. advancing
[3909]     into the light of the fire.
[3910]     
[3911]     He was a tall, slender young man with a light brown moustache.
[3912]     Imminent little drops of rain hung at the brim of his hat and the
[3913]     collar of his jacket-coat was turned up.
[3914]     
[3915]     "Well, Mat," he said to Mr. O'Connor, "how goes it?"
[3916]     
[3917]     Mr. O'Connor shook his head. The old man left the hearth and
[3918]     after stumbling about the room returned with two candlesticks
[3919]     which he thrust one after the other into the fire and carried to the
[3920]     table. A denuded room came into view and the fire lost all its
[3921]     cheerful colour. The walls of the room were bare except for a copy
[3922]     of an election address. In the middle of the room was a small table
[3923]     on which papers were heaped.
[3924]     
[3925]     Mr. Hynes leaned against the mantelpiece and asked:
[3926]     
[3927]     "Has he paid you yet?"
[3928]     
[3929]     "Not yet," said Mr. O'Connor. "I hope to God he'll not leave us in
[3930]     the lurch tonight."
[3931]     
[3932]     Mr. Hynes laughed.
[3933]     
[3934]     "O, he'll pay you. Never fear," he said.
[3935]     
[3936]     "I hope he'll look smart about it if he means business," said Mr.
[3937]     O'Connor.
[3938]     
[3939]     "What do you think, Jack?" said Mr. Hynes satirically to the old
[3940]     man.
[3941]     
[3942]     The old man returned to his seat by the fire, saying:
[3943]     
[3944]     "It isn't but he has it, anyway. Not like the other tinker."
[3945]     
[3946]     "What other tinker?" said Mr. Hynes.
[3947]     
[3948]     "Colgan," said the old man scornfully.
[3949]     
[3950]     "It is because Colgan's a working--man you say that? What's the
[3951]     difference between a good honest bricklayer and a publican--eh?
[3952]     Hasn't the working-man as good a right to be in the Corporation as
[3953]     anyone else--ay, and a better right than those shoneens that are
[3954]     always hat in hand before any fellow with a handle to his name?
[3955]     Isn't that so, Mat?" said Mr. Hynes, addressing Mr. O'Connor.
[3956]     
[3957]     "I think you're right," said Mr. O'Connor.
[3958]     
[3959]     "One man is a plain honest man with no hunker-sliding about him.
[3960]     He goes in to represent the labour classes. This fellow you're
[3961]     working for only wants to get some job or other."
[3962]     
[3963]     "Of course, the working-classes should be represented," said the
[3964]     old man.
[3965]     
[3966]     "The working-man," said Mr. Hynes, "gets all kicks and no
[3967]     halfpence. But it's labour produces everything. The workingman is
[3968]     not looking for fat jobs for his sons and nephews and cousins. The
[3969]     working-man is not going to drag the honour of Dublin in the mud
[3970]     to please a German monarch."
[3971]     
[3972]     "How's that?" said the old man.
[3973]     
[3974]     "Don't you know they want to present an address of welcome to
[3975]     Edward Rex if he comes here next year? What do we want
[3976]     kowtowing to a foreign king?"
[3977]     
[3978]     "Our man won't vote for the address," said Mr. O'Connor. "He goes
[3979]     in on the Nationalist ticket."
[3980]     
[3981]     "Won't he?" said Mr. Hynes. "Wait till you see whether he will or
[3982]     not. I know him. Is it Tricky Dicky Tierney?"
[3983]     
[3984]     "By God! perhaps you're right, Joe," said Mr. O'Connor. "Anyway,
[3985]     I wish he'd turn up with the spondulics."
[3986]     
[3987]     The three men fell silent. The old man began to rake more cinders
[3988]     together. Mr. Hynes took off his hat, shook it and then turned
[3989]     down the collar of his coat, displaying, as he did so, an ivy leaf in
[3990]     the lapel.
[3991]     
[3992]     "If this man was alive," he said, pointing to the leaf, "we'd have no
[3993]     talk of an address of welcome."
[3994]     
[3995]     "That's true," said Mr. O'Connor.
[3996]     
[3997]     "Musha, God be with them times!" said the old man. "There was
[3998]     some life in it then."
[3999]     
[4000]     The room was silent again. Then a bustling little man with a
[4001]     snuffling nose and very cold ears pushed in the door. He walked
[4002]     over quickly to the fire, rubbing his hands as if he intended to
[4003]     produce a spark from them.
[4004]     
[4005]     "No money, boys," he said.
[4006]     
[4007]     "Sit down here, Mr. Henchy," said the old man, offering him his
[4008]     chair.
[4009]     
[4010]     "O, don't stir, Jack, don't stir," said Mr. Henchy
[4011]     
[4012]     He nodded curtly to Mr. Hynes and sat down on the chair which
[4013]     the old man vacated.
[4014]     
[4015]     "Did you serve Aungier Street?" he asked Mr. O'Connor.
[4016]     
[4017]     "Yes," said Mr. O'Connor, beginning to search his pockets for
[4018]     memoranda.
[4019]     
[4020]     "Did you call on Grimes?"
[4021]     
[4022]     "I did."
[4023]     
[4024]     "Well? How does he stand?"
[4025]     
[4026]     "He wouldn't promise. He said: 'I won't tell anyone what way I'm
[4027]     going to vote.' But I think he'll be all right."
[4028]     
[4029]     "Why so?"
[4030]     
[4031]     "He asked me who the nominators were; and I told him. I
[4032]     mentioned Father Burke's name. I think it'll be all right."
[4033]     
[4034]     Mr. Henchy began to snuffle and to rub his hands over the fire at a
[4035]     terrific speed. Then he said:
[4036]     
[4037]     "For the love of God, Jack, bring us a bit of coal. There must be
[4038]     some left."
[4039]     
[4040]     The old man went out of the room.
[4041]     
[4042]     "It's no go," said Mr. Henchy, shaking his head. "I asked the little
[4043]     shoeboy, but he said: 'Oh, now, Mr. Henchy, when I see work
[4044]     going on properly I won't forget you, you may be sure.' Mean little
[4045]     tinker! 'Usha, how could he be anything else?"
[4046]     
[4047]     "What did I tell you, Mat?" said Mr. Hynes. "Tricky Dicky
[4048]     Tierney."
[4049]     
[4050]     "0, he's as tricky as they make 'em," said Mr. Henchy. "He hasn't
[4051]     got those little pigs' eyes for nothing. Blast his soul! Couldn't he
[4052]     pay up like a man instead of: 'O, now, Mr. Henchy, I must speak to
[4053]     Mr. Fanning.... I've spent a lot of money'? Mean little schoolboy of
[4054]     hell! I suppose he forgets the time his little old father kept the
[4055]     hand-me-down shop in Mary's Lane."
[4056]     
[4057]     "But is that a fact?" asked Mr. O'Connor.
[4058]     
[4059]     "God, yes," said Mr. Henchy. "Did you never hear that? And the
[4060]     men used to go in on Sunday morning before the houses were open
[4061]     to buy a waistcoat or a trousers--moya! But Tricky Dicky's little
[4062]     old father always had a tricky little black bottle up in a corner. Do
[4063]     you mind now? That's that. That's where he first saw the light."
[4064]     
[4065]     The old man returned with a few lumps of coal which he placed
[4066]     here and there on the fire.
[4067]     
[4068]     "Thats a nice how-do-you-do," said Mr. O'Connor. "How does he
[4069]     expect us to work for him if he won't stump up?"
[4070]     
[4071]     "I can't help it," said Mr. Henchy. "I expect to find the bailiffs in
[4072]     the hall when I go home."
[4073]     
[4074]     Mr. Hynes laughed and, shoving himself away from the
[4075]     mantelpiece with the aid of his shoulders, made ready to leave.
[4076]     
[4077]     "It'll be all right when King Eddie comes," he said. "Well boys, I'm
[4078]     off for the present. See you later. 'Bye, 'bye."
[4079]     
[4080]     He went out of the room slowly. Neither Mr. Henchy nor the old
[4081]     man said anything, but, just as the door was closing, Mr. O'Connor,
[4082]     who had been staring moodily into the fire, called out suddenly:
[4083]     
[4084]     "'Bye, Joe."
[4085]     
[4086]     Mr. Henchy waited a few moments and then nodded in the
[4087]     direction of the door.
[4088]     
[4089]     "Tell me," he said across the fire, "what brings our friend in here?
[4090]     What does he want?"
[4091]     
[4092]     "'Usha, poor Joe!" said Mr. O'Connor, throwing the end of his
[4093]     cigarette into the fire, "he's hard up, like the rest of us."
[4094]     
[4095]     Mr. Henchy snuffled vigorously and spat so copiously that he
[4096]     nearly put out the fire, which uttered a hissing protest.
[4097]     
[4098]     "To tell you my private and candid opinion," he said, "I think he's a
[4099]     man from the other camp. He's a spy of Colgan's, if you ask me.
[4100]     Just go round and try and find out how they're getting on. They
[4101]     won't suspect you. Do you twig?"
[4102]     
[4103]     "Ah, poor Joe is a decent skin," said Mr. O'Connor.
[4104]     
[4105]     "His father was a decent, respectable man," Mr. Henchy admitted.
[4106]     "Poor old Larry Hynes! Many a good turn he did in his day! But I'm
[4107]     greatly afraid our friend is not nineteen carat. Damn it, I can
[4108]     understand a fellow being hard up, but what I can't understand is a
[4109]     fellow sponging. Couldn't he have some spark of manhood about
[4110]     him?"
[4111]     
[4112]     "He doesn't get a warm welcome from me when he comes," said
[4113]     the old man. "Let him work for his own side and not come spying
[4114]     around here."
[4115]     
[4116]     "I don't know," said Mr. O'Connor dubiously, as he took out
[4117]     cigarette-papers and tobacco. "I think Joe Hynes is a straight man.
[4118]     He's a clever chap, too, with the pen. Do you remember that thing
[4119]     he wrote...?"
[4120]     
[4121]     "Some of these hillsiders and fenians are a bit too clever if ask
[4122]     me," said Mr. Henchy. "Do you know what my private and candid
[4123]     opinion is about some of those little jokers? I believe half of them
[4124]     are in the pay of the Castle."
[4125]     
[4126]     "There's no knowing," said the old man.
[4127]     
[4128]     "O, but I know it for a fact," said Mr. Henchy. "They're Castle
[4129]     hacks.... I don't say Hynes.... No, damn it, I think he's a stroke
[4130]     above that.... But there's a certain little nobleman with a cock-eye
[4131]     --you know the patriot I'm alluding to?"
[4132]     
[4133]     Mr. O'Connor nodded.
[4134]     
[4135]     "There's a lineal descendant of Major Sirr for you if you like! O,
[4136]     the heart's blood of a patriot! That's a fellow now that'd sell his
[4137]     country for fourpence--ay--and go down on his bended knees
[4138]     and thank the Almighty Christ he had a country to sell."
[4139]     
[4140]     There was a knock at the door.
[4141]     
[4142]     "Come in!" said Mr. Henchy.
[4143]     
[4144]     A person resembling a poor clergyman or a poor actor appeared in
[4145]     the doorway. His black clothes were tightly buttoned on his short
[4146]     body and it was impossible to say whether he wore a clergyman's
[4147]     collar or a layman's, because the collar of his shabby frock-coat,
[4148]     the uncovered buttons of which reflected the candlelight, was
[4149]     turned up about his neck. He wore a round hat of hard black felt.
[4150]     His face, shining with raindrops, had the appearance of damp
[4151]     yellow cheese save where two rosy spots indicated the cheekbones.
[4152]     He opened his very long mouth suddenly to express
[4153]     disappointment and at the same time opened wide his very bright
[4154]     blue eyes to express pleasure and surprise.
[4155]     
[4156]     "O Father Keon!" said Mr. Henchy, jumping up from his chair. "Is
[4157]     that you? Come in!"
[4158]     
[4159]     "O, no, no, no!" said Father Keon quickly, pursing his lips as if he
[4160]     were addressing a child.
[4161]     
[4162]     "Won't you come in and sit down?"
[4163]     
[4164]     "No, no, no!" said Father Keon, speaking in a discreet, indulgent,
[4165]     velvety voice. "Don't let me disturb you now! I'm just looking for
[4166]     Mr. Fanning...."
[4167]     
[4168]     "He's round at the Black Eagle," said Mr. Henchy. "But won't you
[4169]     come in and sit down a minute?"
[4170]     
[4171]     "No, no, thank you. It was just a little business matter," said Father
[4172]     Keon. "Thank you, indeed."
[4173]     
[4174]     He retreated from the doorway and Mr. Henchy, seizing one of the
[4175]     candlesticks, went to the door to light him downstairs.
[4176]     
[4177]     "O, don't trouble, I beg!"
[4178]     
[4179]     "No, but the stairs is so dark."
[4180]     
[4181]     "No, no, I can see.... Thank you, indeed."
[4182]     
[4183]     "Are you right now?"
[4184]     
[4185]     "All right, thanks.... Thanks."
[4186]     
[4187]     Mr. Henchy returned with the candlestick and put it on the table.
[4188]     He sat down again at the fire. There was silence for a few
[4189]     moments.
[4190]     
[4191]     "Tell me, John," said Mr. O'Connor, lighting his cigarette with
[4192]     another pasteboard card.
[4193]     
[4194]     "Hm? "
[4195]     
[4196]     "What he is exactly?"
[4197]     
[4198]     "Ask me an easier one," said Mr. Henchy.
[4199]     
[4200]     "Fanning and himself seem to me very thick. They're often in
[4201]     Kavanagh's together. Is he a priest at all?"
[4202]     
[4203]     "Mmmyes, I believe so.... I think he's what you call black sheep.
[4204]     We haven't many of them, thank God! but we have a few.... He's an
[4205]     unfortunate man of some kind...."
[4206]     
[4207]     "And how does he knock it out?" asked Mr. O'Connor.
[4208]     
[4209]     "That's another mystery."
[4210]     
[4211]     "Is he attached to any chapel or church or institution or---"
[4212]     
[4213]     "No," said Mr. Henchy, "I think he's travelling on his own
[4214]     account.... God forgive me," he added, "I thought he was the dozen
[4215]     of stout."
[4216]     
[4217]     "Is there any chance of a drink itself?" asked Mr. O'Connor.
[4218]     
[4219]     "I'm dry too," said the old man.
[4220]     
[4221]     "I asked that little shoeboy three times," said Mr. Henchy, "would
[4222]     he send up a dozen of stout. I asked him again now, but he was
[4223]     leaning on the counter in his shirt-sleeves having a deep goster
[4224]     with Alderman Cowley."
[4225]     
[4226]     "Why didn't you remind him?" said Mr. O'Connor.
[4227]     
[4228]     "Well, I couldn't go over while he was talking to Alderman
[4229]     Cowley. I just waited till I caught his eye, and said: 'About that
[4230]     little matter I was speaking to you about....' 'That'll be all right, Mr.
[4231]     H.,' he said. Yerra, sure the little hop-o'- my-thumb has forgotten
[4232]     all about it."
[4233]     
[4234]     "There's some deal on in that quarter," said Mr. O'Connor
[4235]     thoughtfully. "I saw the three of them hard at it yesterday at
[4236]     Suffolk Street corner."
[4237]     
[4238]     "I think I know the little game they're at," said Mr. Henchy. "You
[4239]     must owe the City Fathers money nowadays if you want to be
[4240]     made Lord Mayor. Then they'll make you Lord Mayor. By God!
[4241]     I'm thinking seriously of becoming a City Father myself. What do
[4242]     you think? Would I do for the job?"
[4243]     
[4244]     Mr. O'Connor laughed.
[4245]     
[4246]     "So far as owing money goes...."
[4247]     
[4248]     "Driving out of the Mansion House," said Mr. Henchy, "in all my
[4249]     vermin, with Jack here standing up behind me in a powdered wig
[4250]     --eh?"
[4251]     
[4252]     "And make me your private secretary, John."
[4253]     
[4254]     "Yes. And I'll make Father Keon my private chaplain. We'll have a
[4255]     family party."
[4256]     
[4257]     "Faith, Mr. Henchy," said the old man, "you'd keep up better style
[4258]     than some of them. I was talking one day to old Keegan, the porter.
[4259]     'And how do you like your new master, Pat?' says I to him. 'You
[4260]     haven't much entertaining now,' says I. 'Entertaining!' says he. 'He'd
[4261]     live on the smell of an oil- rag.' And do you know what he told
[4262]     me? Now, I declare to God I didn't believe him."
[4263]     
[4264]     "What?" said Mr. Henchy and Mr. O'Connor.
[4265]     
[4266]     "He told me: 'What do you think of a Lord Mayor of Dublin
[4267]     sending out for a pound of chops for his dinner? How's that for
[4268]     high living?' says he. 'Wisha! wisha,' says I. 'A pound of chops,'
[4269]     says he, 'coming into the Mansion House.' 'Wisha!' says I, 'what
[4270]     kind of people is going at all now?"
[4271]     
[4272]     At this point there was a knock at the door, and a boy put in his
[4273]     head.
[4274]     
[4275]     "What is it?" said the old man.
[4276]     
[4277]     "From the Black Eagle," said the boy, walking in sideways and
[4278]     depositing a basket on the floor with a noise of shaken bottles.
[4279]     
[4280]     The old man helped the boy to transfer the bottles from the basket
[4281]     to the table and counted the full tally. After the transfer the boy put
[4282]     his basket on his arm and asked:
[4283]     
[4284]     "Any bottles?"
[4285]     
[4286]     "What bottles?" said the old man.
[4287]     
[4288]     "Won't you let us drink them first?" said Mr. Henchy.
[4289]     
[4290]     "I was told to ask for the bottles."
[4291]     
[4292]     "Come back tomorrow," said the old man.
[4293]     
[4294]     "Here, boy!" said Mr. Henchy, "will you run over to O'Farrell's and
[4295]     ask him to lend us a corkscrew--for Mr. Henchy, say. Tell him we
[4296]     won't keep it a minute. Leave the basket there."
[4297]     
[4298]     The boy went out and Mr. Henchy began to rub his hands
[4299]     cheerfully, saying:
[4300]     
[4301]     "Ah, well, he's not so bad after all. He's as good as his word,
[4302]     anyhow."
[4303]     
[4304]     "There's no tumblers," said the old man.
[4305]     
[4306]     "O, don't let that trouble you, Jack," said Mr. Henchy. "Many's the
[4307]     good man before now drank out of the bottle."
[4308]     
[4309]     "Anyway, it's better than nothing," said Mr. O'Connor.
[4310]     
[4311]     "He's not a bad sort," said Mr. Henchy, "only Fanning has such a
[4312]     loan of him. He means well, you know, in his own tinpot way."
[4313]     
[4314]     The boy came back with the corkscrew. The old man opened three
[4315]     bottles and was handing back the corkscrew when Mr. Henchy said
[4316]     to the boy:
[4317]     
[4318]     "Would you like a drink, boy?"
[4319]     
[4320]     "If you please, sir," said the boy.
[4321]     
[4322]     The old man opened another bottle grudgingly, and handed it to
[4323]     the boy.
[4324]     
[4325]     "What age are you?" he asked.
[4326]     
[4327]     "Seventeen," said the boy.
[4328]     
[4329]     As the old man said nothing further, the boy took the bottle. said:
[4330]     "Here's my best respects, sir, to Mr. Henchy," drank the contents,
[4331]     put the bottle back on the table and wiped his mouth with his
[4332]     sleeve. Then he took up the corkscrew and went out of the door
[4333]     sideways, muttering some form of salutation.
[4334]     
[4335]     "That's the way it begins," said the old man.
[4336]     
[4337]     "The thin edge of the wedge," said Mr. Henchy.
[4338]     
[4339]     The old man distributed the three bottles which he had opened and
[4340]     the men drank from them simultaneously. After having drank each
[4341]     placed his bottle on the mantelpiece within hand's reach and drew
[4342]     in a long breath of satisfaction.
[4343]     
[4344]     "Well, I did a good day's work today," said Mr. Henchy, after a
[4345]     pause.
[4346]     
[4347]     "That so, John?"
[4348]     
[4349]     "Yes. I got him one or two sure things in Dawson Street, Crofton
[4350]     and myself. Between ourselves, you know, Crofton (he's a decent
[4351]     chap, of course), but he's not worth a damn as a canvasser. He
[4352]     hasn't a word to throw to a dog. He stands and looks at the people
[4353]     while I do the talking."
[4354]     
[4355]     Here two men entered the room. One of them was a very fat man
[4356]     whose blue serge clothes seemed to be in danger of falling from
[4357]     his sloping figure. He had a big face which resembled a young ox's
[4358]     face in expression, staring blue eyes and a grizzled moustache. The
[4359]     other man, who was much younger and frailer, had a thin,
[4360]     clean-shaven face. He wore a very high double collar and a
[4361]     wide-brimmed bowler hat.
[4362]     
[4363]     "Hello, Crofton!" said Mr. Henchy to the fat man. "Talk of the
[4364]     devil..."
[4365]     
[4366]     "Where did the boose come from?" asked the young man. "Did the
[4367]     cow calve?"
[4368]     
[4369]     "O, of course, Lyons spots the drink first thing!" said Mr.
[4370]     O'Connor, laughing.
[4371]     
[4372]     "Is that the way you chaps canvass," said Mr. Lyons, "and Crofton
[4373]     and I out in the cold and rain looking for votes?"
[4374]     
[4375]     "Why, blast your soul," said Mr. Henchy, "I'd get more votes in
[4376]     five minutes than you two'd get in a week."
[4377]     
[4378]     "Open two bottles of stout, Jack," said Mr. O'Connor.
[4379]     
[4380]     "How can I?" said the old man, "when there's no corkscrew? "
[4381]     
[4382]     "Wait now, wait now!" said Mr. Henchy, getting up quickly. "Did
[4383]     you ever see this little trick?"
[4384]     
[4385]     He took two bottles from the table and, carrying them to the fire,
[4386]     put them on the hob. Then he sat dow-n again by the fire and took
[4387]     another drink from his bottle. Mr. Lyons sat on the edge of the
[4388]     table, pushed his hat towards the nape of his neck and began to
[4389]     swing his legs.
[4390]     
[4391]     "Which is my bottle?" he asked.
[4392]     
[4393]     "This, lad," said Mr. Henchy.
[4394]     
[4395]     Mr. Crofton sat down on a box and looked fixedly at the other
[4396]     bottle on the hob. He was silent for two reasons. The first reason,
[4397]     sufficient in itself, was that he had nothing to say; the second
[4398]     reason was that he considered his companions beneath him. He
[4399]     had been a canvasser for Wilkins, the Conservative, but when the
[4400]     Conservatives had withdrawn their man and, choosing the lesser of
[4401]     two evils, given their support to the Nationalist candidate, he had
[4402]     been engaged to work for Mr. Tiemey.
[4403]     
[4404]     In a few minutes an apologetic "Pok!" was heard as the cork flew
[4405]     out of Mr. Lyons' bottle. Mr. Lyons jumped off the table, went to
[4406]     the fire, took his bottle and carried it back to the table.
[4407]     
[4408]     "I was just telling them, Crofton," said Mr. Henchy, that we got a
[4409]     good few votes today."
[4410]     
[4411]     "Who did you get?" asked Mr. Lyons.
[4412]     
[4413]     "Well, I got Parkes for one, and I got Atkinson for two, and got
[4414]     Ward of Dawson Street. Fine old chap he is, too--regular old toff,
[4415]     old Conservative! 'But isn't your candidate a Nationalist?' said he.
[4416]     'He's a respectable man,' said I. 'He's in favour of whatever will
[4417]     benefit this country. He's a big ratepayer,' I said. 'He has extensive
[4418]     house property in the city and three places of business and isn't it
[4419]     to his own advantage to keep down the rates? He's a prominent and
[4420]     respected citizen,' said I, 'and a Poor Law Guardian, and he doesn't
[4421]     belong to any party, good, bad, or indifferent.' That's the way to
[4422]     talk to 'em."
[4423]     
[4424]     "And what about the address to the King?" said Mr. Lyons, after
[4425]     drinking and smacking his lips.
[4426]     
[4427]     "Listen to me," said Mr. Henchy. "What we want in thus country,
[4428]     as I said to old Ward, is capital. The King's coming here will mean
[4429]     an influx of money into this country. The citizens of Dublin will
[4430]     benefit by it. Look at all the factories down by the quays there,
[4431]     idle! Look at all the money there is in the country if we only
[4432]     worked the old industries, the mills, the ship-building yards and
[4433]     factories. It's capital we want."
[4434]     
[4435]     "But look here, John," said Mr. O'Connor. "Why should we
[4436]     welcome the King of England? Didn't Parnell himself..."
[4437]     
[4438]     "Parnell," said Mr. Henchy, "is dead. Now, here's the way I look at
[4439]     it. Here's this chap come to the throne after his old mother keeping
[4440]     him out of it till the man was grey. He's a man of the world, and he
[4441]     means well by us. He's a jolly fine decent fellow, if you ask me,
[4442]     and no damn nonsense about him. He just says to himself: 'The old
[4443]     one never went to see these wild Irish. By Christ, I'll go myself and
[4444]     see what they're like.' And are we going to insult the man when he
[4445]     comes over here on a friendly visit? Eh? Isn't that right, Crofton?"
[4446]     
[4447]     Mr. Crofton nodded his head.
[4448]     
[4449]     "But after all now," said Mr. Lyons argumentatively, "King
[4450]     Edward's life, you know, is not the very..."
[4451]     
[4452]     "Let bygones be bygones," said Mr. Henchy. "I admire the man
[4453]     personally. He's just an ordinary knockabout like you and me. He's
[4454]     fond of his glass of grog and he's a bit of a rake, perhaps, and he's a
[4455]     good sportsman. Damn it, can't we Irish play fair?"
[4456]     
[4457]     "That's all very fine," said Mr. Lyons. "But look at the case of
[4458]     Parnell now."
[4459]     
[4460]     "In the name of God," said Mr. Henchy, "where's the analogy
[4461]     between the two cases?"
[4462]     
[4463]     "What I mean," said Mr. Lyons, "is we have our ideals. Why, now,
[4464]     would we welcome a man like that? Do you think now after what
[4465]     he did Parnell was a fit man to lead us? And why, then, would we
[4466]     do it for Edward the Seventh?"
[4467]     
[4468]     "This is Parnell's anniversary," said Mr. O'Connor, "and don't let us
[4469]     stir up any bad blood. We all respect him now that he's dead and
[4470]     gone--even the Conservatives," he added, turning to Mr. Crofton.
[4471]     
[4472]     Pok! The tardy cork flew out of Mr. Crofton's bottle. Mr. Crofton
[4473]     got up from his box and went to the fire. As he returned with his
[4474]     capture he said in a deep voice:
[4475]     
[4476]     "Our side of the house respects him, because he was a gentleman."
[4477]     
[4478]     "Right you are, Crofton!" said Mr. Henchy fiercely. "He was the
[4479]     only man that could keep that bag of cats in order. 'Down, ye dogs!
[4480]     Lie down, ye curs!' That's the way he treated them. Come in, Joe!
[4481]     Come in!" he called out, catching sight of Mr. Hynes in the
[4482]     doorway.
[4483]     
[4484]     Mr. Hynes came in slowly.
[4485]     
[4486]     "Open another bottle of stout, Jack," said Mr. Henchy. "O, I forgot
[4487]     there's no corkscrew! Here, show me one here and I'll put it at the
[4488]     fire."
[4489]     
[4490]     The old man handed him another bottle and he placed it on the
[4491]     hob.
[4492]     
[4493]     "Sit down, Joe," said Mr. O'Connor, "we're just talking about the
[4494]     Chief."
[4495]     
[4496]     "Ay, ay!" said Mr. Henchy.
[4497]     
[4498]     Mr. Hynes sat on the side of the table near Mr. Lyons but said
[4499]     nothing.
[4500]     
[4501]     "There's one of them, anyhow," said Mr. Henchy, "that didn't
[4502]     renege him. By God, I'll say for you, Joe! No, by God, you stuck to
[4503]     him like a man!"
[4504]     
[4505]     "0, Joe," said Mr. O'Connor suddenly. "Give us that thing you
[4506]     wrote--do you remember? Have you got it on you?"
[4507]     
[4508]     "0, ay!" said Mr. Henchy. "Give us that. Did you ever hear that.
[4509]     Crofton? Listen to this now: splendid thing."
[4510]     
[4511]     "Go on," said Mr. O'Connor. "Fire away, Joe."
[4512]     
[4513]     Mr. Hynes did not seem to remember at once the piece to which
[4514]     they were alluding, but, after reflecting a while, he said:
[4515]     
[4516]     "O, that thing is it.... Sure, that's old now."
[4517]     
[4518]     "Out with it, man!" said Mr. O'Connor.
[4519]     
[4520]     "'Sh, 'sh," said Mr. Henchy. "Now, Joe!"
[4521]     
[4522]     Mr. Hynes hesitated a little longer. Then amid the silence he took
[4523]     off his hat, laid it on the table and stood up. He seemed to be
[4524]     rehearsing the piece in his mind. After a rather long pause he
[4525]     announced:
[4526]     
[4527]     
[4528]                            THE DEATH OF PARNELL
[4529]                             6th October, 1891
[4530]     
[4531]     
[4532]     He cleared his throat once or twice and then began to recite:
[4533]     
[4534]     
[4535]                 He is dead. Our Uncrowned King is dead.
[4536]                   O, Erin, mourn with grief and woe
[4537]                 For he lies dead whom the fell gang
[4538]                   Of modern hypocrites laid low.
[4539]                 He lies slain by the coward hounds
[4540]                   He raised to glory from the mire;
[4541]                 And Erin's hopes and Erin's dreams
[4542]                   Perish upon her monarch's pyre.
[4543]                 In palace, cabin or in cot
[4544]                   The Irish heart where'er it be
[4545]                 Is bowed with woe--for he is gone
[4546]                   Who would have wrought her destiny.
[4547]                 He would have had his Erin famed,
[4548]                   The green flag gloriously unfurled,
[4549]                 Her statesmen, bards and warriors raised
[4550]                   Before the nations of the World.
[4551]                 He dreamed (alas, 'twas but a dream!)
[4552]                   Of Liberty: but as he strove
[4553]                 To clutch that idol, treachery
[4554]                   Sundered him from the thing he loved.
[4555]                 Shame on the coward, caitiff hands
[4556]                   That smote their Lord or with a kiss
[4557]                 Betrayed him to the rabble-rout
[4558]                   Of fawning priests--no friends of his.
[4559]                 May everlasting shame consume
[4560]                   The memory of those who tried
[4561]                 To befoul and smear the exalted name
[4562]                   Of one who spurned them in his pride.
[4563]                 He fell as fall the mighty ones,
[4564]                   Nobly undaunted to the last,
[4565]                 And death has now united him
[4566]                   With Erin's heroes of the past.
[4567]                 No sound of strife disturb his sleep!
[4568]                   Calmly he rests: no human pain
[4569]                 Or high ambition spurs him now
[4570]                   The peaks of glory to attain.
[4571]                 They had their way: they laid him low.
[4572]                   But Erin, list, his spirit may
[4573]                 Rise, like the Phoenix from the flames,
[4574]                   When breaks the dawning of the day,
[4575]                 The day that brings us Freedom's reign.
[4576]                   And on that day may Erin well
[4577]                 Pledge in the cup she lifts to Joy
[4578]                   One grief--the memory of Parnell.
[4579]     
[4580]     
[4581]     Mr. Hynes sat down again on the table. When he had finished his
[4582]     recitation there was a silence and then a burst of clapping: even
[4583]     Mr. Lyons clapped. The applause continued for a little time. When
[4584]     it had ceased all the auditors drank from their bottles in silence.
[4585]     
[4586]     Pok! The cork flew out of Mr. Hynes' bottle, but Mr. Hynes
[4587]     remained sitting flushed and bare-headed on the table. He did not
[4588]     seem to have heard the invitation.
[4589]     
[4590]     "Good man, Joe!" said Mr. O'Connor, taking out his cigarette
[4591]     papers and pouch the better to hide his emotion.
[4592]     
[4593]     "What do you think of that, Crofton?" cried Mr. Henchy. "Isn't that
[4594]     fine? What?"
[4595]     
[4596]     Crofton said that it was a very fine piece of writing.
[4597]