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Special thanks.

This year I had the opportunity to study abroad for three months. I stayed in Dublin, a
city were one of the most important modernist writers was born: James Joyce.
Thanks to the Erasmusprogramme I could go over there to explore James Joyce City. I
found lots and lots of interesting material, and could linger in the streets were Joyce
lingered when he was only a little boy
It is logical that I have chosen Dubliners as topic for my final thesis. With this thesis I will
guide you through the works of the modernist Joyce, with special emphasis on his short
story collection (or novel?) Dubliners.
I will be your guide through James Joyces Dublin and through the different magnificent
short stories.
I hope you enjoy my thesis.
Special thanks to the librarian of the Mater Dei Institute Dublin, my promoter Miss Wendy
Van Humbeeck and my family.
I want to dedicate this final thesis to my mother, who always supported me and my
dreams, even through her illness. I am sure she looks over my shoulder and that she will
keep on guide me. Hopefully I can make her dreams come through.

For my mother.

Table of contents.
1 Biography of James Joyce

2 Introduction and motivation: short story collection or novel?


Dubliners: the novel.


analysis of major characters

key facts
general motives, themes, symbols

4 Dubliners: the short stories. Stages of life?

PART I Childhood

The Sisters
story character list
story analysis
focus on Dublin
An Encounter
story character list
story analysis
focus on Dublin
story character list
story analysis
focus on Dublin

PART II . Adolescence

story character list
story analysis
focus on Dublin


After the Race


Two Gallants


The Boarding House

PART III Maturity


A Little Cloud


story character list

story analysis
focus on Dublin






A Painful Case

PART IV Public Life

Ivy Day in the Committee Room
4.12.1 reading
4.12.2 notes
4.12.3 story character list
4.12.4 story analysis
4.12.5 focus on Dublin

A Mother




The Dead

Methodology part

James Joyces Dubliners (bijlage)


My main goal for this thesis about James Joyces Dubliners, was to answer a range of
questions. The most important question, however, was; should we consider Dubliners as
a short story collection or merely as a novel? In other words; was it James Joyce aim to
write a collection of short stories or should we look deeper and understand that Dubliners
is merely a rich novel, complete with motives, themes and symbols?
First, I had to answer this question before I could investigate any material involving
James Joyces Dubliners. The question was not easy to answer. I had to read lots of
books before I had an idea of what was Joyces aim. However, after a while, Joyce
answered the question himself. Through letters he wrote to his publishers, he stated
clearly that Dubliners was a novel, and not a short story collection!
Then, I will give you some facts about the life and works of James Joyce. I found lots of
facts, but my main goal was to give you some interesting, and sometimes even shocking

details about the mans life. Did you know, for instance, that our man Joyce hated Roman
Catholicism and that he was found of Monto, Dublins once renowned red light district?
With the introduction I will prove that James Joyce was a first class modernist. I wanted
to give you an idea of what is meant by modernism, and where we can find it in his
works and in Dubliners.
Then, I will make clear, through key facts, analysis of major characters and investigation
of motives, themes and symbols that Dubliners is a first class novel, instead of a short
story collection.
In a next phase, I will prove that Joyce in fact had a plan for Dubliners. The short stories
can be divided into four major parts: the stages of life. Each stage I will take into
account and through notes and analysis of the short stories I will make clear of what I
mean with the concept of stages of life.
I will investigate each short story thoroughly. There is no need to first read all the stories,
since I provided a short plot summary for each of the fifteen short stories.
Through notes, a story character list and a story analysis I will guide you through Joyces
world of symbolism. In the short stories, Joyce often refers to Baile Atha Cliath or the
City of Dublin. With Focus on Dublin, I will try to guide you through the streets,
monuments and other beautiful places in Irelands capital city.
In the last chapter of this final thesis, I will give you some convenient hints in order to
teach Dubliners. I wrote a complete Teachers Guide about James Joyces Dubliners.
Normally you cant teach this material to second, third and even fourth year pupils of
English, but with this guide I hope that I made the material more accessible for our
pupils so that we can teach them first class literature of one of the best modernist writers
Welcome to the world of James Joyce. Welcome to the Joycean world; a world between
scrupulous meanness and the odor of corruption!

1 Biography James Joyce1

2 3

James Joyce was born in 1882 into a middle-class family who lived in the Dublin suburb
of Rathgar. A few years later the family moved to Bray, a more fashionable location on
the sea, and, when Joyce was six years old, he was sent to a superb Jesuit school,
Clongowes Wood College, which was, and still is today, forty miles from Bray.
It is difficult for us to imagine going through that experience when one is barely past
babyhood, but we neednt try to imagine it, as Joyce has presented it in vivid scenes in

G. Lernhout, James Joyce; een introductie., Athenaeum, Polak en Van Gennep,

Amsterdam, 2002, p. 28-57.

J. Duytschaever en D. De Brouwer, James Joyce. Ontmoetingen, De Bezige Bij,

Antwerpen, 1970, p. 9-23.

T. Brown, Dubliners. James Joyce. Introduction and notes, Penguin Books, Clays Ltd.,
London, 1992, p. 1-35.

his The Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man. Although the novel highlights the ill
treatment this youngest boy received at the school, Joyce was the head of his class at
one time, and also engaged in athletics! For the rest of his life, in spite of his defection
from the Catholic Church, he was to be grateful for the strict education he received at
Clongowes Wood College and a few years later at Belvedere College.4
A few years later, in 1891, John Stanislaus Joyce, Jamess father, due to his poor business
sense, began the financial decline that was to result in almost complete poverty for the
family. The Joyce family moved to a less fashionable neighbourhood, near to Dublin, and
this was but one of the many moves they would make in future years. James was
enrolled in the Christian Brothers School, an institution run by Catholic lay brothers and
far inferior to the Jesuit education he had started at Clongowes College.
Joyces Ulysses contains many accidental meetings, including the major one in the book
been Stephen Daedalus and Leopold Bloom. It was a fortunate accident indeed when
Joyces father ran across Father John Conmee, who had been rector at Clongowes Wood
College when Joyce had been there. Remembering Joyces academic excellence, Father
Conmee arranged for Joyce to be accepted at a fine Jesuit school in Dublin, Belvedere
College, in 1893.5
The rather large Joyce family, four sons and six daughters (!), moved to a truly lower
class neighbourhood in 1894, but in spite of the living conditions, Joyce continued to be
an excellent student. The Jesuits required that the students study another foreign
language besides the required Latin and French, and so Joyce took Italian, which was
later to be the language spoken by Joyce and his family in their home life. He excelled in
the examinations, and the future of twentieth-century literature may have been decided
when Joyce chose Ulysses as the character he would write about in the assigned topic My
Favourite Hero.
This young man, who was to leave the Catholic Church once he arrived at puberty, and
had to choose between sex and religion, was deeply religious, if we can take as evidence
that he was chosen as head of the Sodality of the Blessed Virgin Mary in 1896. But it was
around this same time, when Joyce was fourteen years old, that he has his first sexual
experience, and that with a prostitute! Joyce, back then, lived near the than very
popular red-light district Monto (after Montgomery Street, one of the most important
streets of the neighbourhood). In Ulysses Joyce calls this neighbourhood Night City, and
he also would describes his sexual encounters with prostitutes in detail in his master
novel A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man. Joyces early sexual experiences was the
most important reason for his beginning neglect towards the orthodox Catholicism. From
then on, he always had been a very religious boy, but because of his experiences with
prostitutes, he found out that the Churchs moral doctrines didnt coped with the reality
of human sexuality!

J. Joyce, The Portait of the Artist as a Young Man, Penguin Popular Classics. New Edition.,
Clays Ltd., London, 1996.

J. Joyce, Ulysses, Penguin Popular Classics. New Edition., Clays Ltd., London, 1996.

G. Lernhout, James Joyce; een introductie., Athenaeum, Polak en Van Gennep,

Amsterdam, 2002, p. 33.

Joyce first readings of the naturalist Scandinavian playwright Henrik Ibsen, during his
senior year at Belvedere College, was to have a major influence on his writings as a
corrective to the sentimental and romantic style of much nineteenth-century fiction that
he had been reading. He was so impressed with Ibsen that he learned Norwegian in order
to be able to write to him, a letter which Ibsen graciously answered.
In 1898, Joyce entered University College in Dublin, a Catholic university, which had been
founded in 1853 by John Newman to provide a Catholic education for young men, as the
centuries old Trinity College was a church of England institution. It was during his
undergraduate days at University College that Joyce developed his ideas about writing
and politics. He also made friends, which until than had been rare for Joyce, since he was
not a particularly friendly person, and tended to remain not only distant from others but
to scorn close alliances. His only close friend for any length of time, other than John
Francis Byrne, was Frank Budgen, whom he met much later in Zurich, Switzerland.
One of Joyces closest friends during his time in Dublin was Francis Skeffington, an ardent
supporter of equality for woman at a time when such a stand was unpopular and even
dangerous; after his marriage he legally merged his name with that of his wife, Hanna
Sheehy, their last name becoming Sheehy Skeffington. He died not as a fighter, but in an
attempt to prevent fellow Dubliners from looting. Thomas Kettle, another friend at
University College, was killed while fighting in France with the British Army a few months
after Francis death.
Joyces friends and acquaintances became characters in his stories and novels, either as
barely disguised fictional creations or by their real names. One of the most touching is
George Clancy, who became Mayor of Limerick and was killed by the Black and Tans (this
is the British military unit). Clancy was a roughhewn athlete and ardent nationalist from a
rural area, exactly the type of person that the somewhat arch intellectual Joyce would
not usually have taken to; nevertheless they became close and trusting friends and
Clancy is immortalised as the honest but nave and trusting Mat Davin in A Portrait.
Another significant college friend was John Francis Byrne, the Cranly of A Portrait.
That Joyce had developed an artistic credo is evident from an essay he wrote, early in
1900, reviewing Ibsens new play When We Dead Awaken, and which he read in a college
classroom on January 20th; one might say that twentieth-century fiction begins in this
first month of the new century.
From 1900 to 1903 Joyce wrote a series of short prose sketches which he called
epiphanies. The word comes from the Biblical story of the journey to the Magi to visit
the Christ child and means a showing forth. Joyce strips the word of its theological
meaning, and applies it to those transient and seemingly unimportant moments of reality
where, in Joyces words, we grasp the revelation of the whatness of a thing and the soul
of the commonest objectseems to us radiant. 7 The artist, according to Joyce, discovers
these sudden spiritual manifestations in the vulgarity of speech or of gesture or in a
memorable phrase of the mind itself.8

T. Brown, Dubliners. James Joyce. Introduction and notes, Penguin Books, Clays Ltd.,
London, 1992, p.13.

T. Brown, Dubliners. James Joyce. Introduction and notes, Penguin Books, Clays Ltd.,
London, 1992, p. 12.

Epiphanies have become a frequently used device in twentieth-century fiction, and they
usually involve positive experiences, moments of illumination, of a heightened showing
forth. Although many of Joyces epiphanies concern ordinary moments, the most
memorable are those which occur at peak points in the life of a character; as, for
example, Stephen sees the bird girl on the beach in Part Four of A Portrait9, and is
reborn an artist; or, when, in the concluding sentences of that book he sets out to
embrace the world.
Joyces other artistic credo was written during his senior year. His essay was rejected by
publications, as was an essay on equal rights for women by his friend Skeffington, so the
two of them went to a stationers and had the essays privately printed in one pamphlet.
Joyces essay was called The Day of the Rabblement, and he attacked contemporary Irish
writers, even important ones as W.B. Yeats and George Moore for playing down to the
Irish masses. Joyce stood aloof from his peers, and he felt that the artist, if he is to
accomplish truth and beauty, must reject the multitude, the rabble.
After graduation, Joyce plunged himself into the literary society of Dublin, getting to
know the outstanding figures of the day; George Russell, George Moore, Padraic Colum,
and of ourse the thirty-seven year old Yeats, who read and praised the work of the
twenty-year old Joyce!
One of the more surprising elements in Joyces early life was his decision to go to medical
school. Joyce had no abilities in science whatsoever, and he never succeeded in chemistry
courses. Moreover, he foolishly decided to study at a University in Paris, where the
difficulties of medical schools would be compounded by lectures in French. He left Dublin
on December1st, 1902, and, before going on to Paris, spent a day in London with William
Butler Yeats. That evening, Yeats took him to visit Arthur Symons, one of the most
significant explicators of symbolism in literature and the intellectual bridge between Paris
and London.
Joyce was only a few weeks in Paris before he returned home for the Christmas holidays,
where he met Oliver Gogarty at the library. Gogarty was a young man without money
problems, a medical student, a would-be literary artist, who went on to become a
successful physician. The rivalry between these two young men was intense, with
Gogarty envying Joyces literary talents, and Joyce envying Gogartys worldly success.
Gogarty, of course, became the Buck Mulligan of Ulysses10!
Joyce returned to Paris in January of 1903, but he gave little time to his medical courses,
spending most of his time in libraries reading literature and aesthetics. He met other Irish
expatriates, traveled briefly in France, went to the theater and, of course, to brothels. His
writings mainly consisted of fictional sketches.
He was in Paris only a few months: in April he received a telegram informing him of his
mothers illness. He returned home to be with his dying mother, but refused her request
that he attend communion and confession. She died in August. His refusal to conform to
his mothers wishes is the source of Stephens guilt in Ulysses11; it pervades the novel,

J. Joyce, The Portait of the Artist as a Young Man, Penguin Popular Classics. New Edition.,
Clays Ltd., London, 1996.

J. Joyce, Ulysses, Penguin Popular Classics. New Edition., Clays Ltd., London, 1996.


J. Joyce, Ulysses, Penguin Popular Classics. New Edition., Clays Ltd., London, 1996.

the accusations of Buck Mulligan in the opening chapter, through the nightmarsh scene
with the ghost of his mother in Circe12, when his guilt is finally overcome!
In addition to his unusual life of drinking and seeing his friends Gogarty and Byrnes,
Joyce began a new course of study, this time in law He also attempted to resume his
medical career by once again studying the impossible: chemistry! He even made an
unsuccessful attempt to start a literary magazine. His true vocation asserted itself again
when he wrote a sketch he called A Portrait of the Artist. This was the turn into Stephen
Hero, and that was to become, in the course of the next ten years (!), A Portrait of the
Artist as a Young Man. A Portrait13 takes the stylistic infection of The Dead14 to a more
complete realm, as the style of each period of Stephens life, from infancy to graduation
from college, takes on the vocabulary and rythms of his intellectual and emotional life.
Joyce continued into 1904 his way of life: drinking, writing, and of course the brothels!
He considered a singing career, though he was not even capable to read music properly;
Joyce had a fine tenor voice and some consider that he could have been a success as a
singer He began teaching at the Clifton School in Dalkey and, on June 16th, 1904, the
day he was to immortalize in fiction, he first went out walking with Nora Barnacle, a
young girl from Galway, in the west of Ireland, who was working as a maid in a hotel in
Dublin. On that day, Joyce was to write to her later, You made me a man15
There is every indication that Joyce and Nora remained faithful to each other for life,
although they remained unmarried until the early thirties, when Joyce was becoming
increasingly ill and they feared that the two illegitimate children, Georgia and Lucia,
would have legal difficulties with inheritance had they not been married.
A few days after meeting Nora, Joyce got into a fight in St. Stephens Green, was
knocked down and lifted up and cared for by a man he had met only once or twice. This
man was Alfred H. Hunter, a Jewish Dubliner who was rumoured to have an un faithful
wife. Hunter was to become the inspiration for Leopold Bloom in Ulysses.16
Joyces destiny as a writer of fiction began also that summer when George Russell asked
him to write a short story for the newspaper, The Irish Homestead. Russell would pay him
one pound if Joyce would write a simple story that would have popular appeal. The story
he wrote, The Sisters, became the first story of the novel Dubliners. The Sisters17 inspired
the tones, attitudes, and subject matter of all the other stories. Joyces letters and
comments at the time show clearly that he had arrived at some of his major ideas about
what his fiction should do:


J. Joyce, Ulysses, Penguin Popular Classics. New Edition., Clays Ltd., London, 1996,
chapter XIV.

J. Joyce, The Portait of the Artist as a Young Man, Penguin Popular Classics. New
Edition., Clays Ltd., London, 1996.

J. Joyce, Dubliners, Penguin Classics, Clays Ltd., London, 2000, p. 275- 225.


R. Ellerman, James Joyce. Selected Letters., Viking Adult, Clays Ltd., 1975, p. 13.


J. Joyce, Ulysses, Penguin Popular Classics. New Edition., Clays Ltd., London, 1996.


J. Joyce, Dubliners, Penguin Classics, Clays Ltd., London, 2000, p. 1-11.

I am writing a series of epicletti, ten, for a paper. I have written one. I call the series
Dubliners to betray the soul of that hemoplegia or paralysis which many consider a city.
Dont you think there is is a certain resemblance between the mystery of the Mass and
what I am trying to do. I mean that I am trying to give people some kind of intellectual
pleasure or spiritual employment by converting the bread of everyday life into something
that has a permanent artistic life of its ownfor their mental, moral, and spiritual uplift. 18
The Sisters was published under the pseudonym Stephen Daedalus in the newspaper
The Irish Homestead on August 13th, 1904 and was revolutionary in its straightforward,
bare-boned realism and its freedom from excess verbiage or flowery sentimental
language. But his critical reception of the story was hardly enthusiastic. Ireland was not
ready for Joyce, as it was not to be for many decades, as late a post World War II, copies
of Ulysses were not displayed in bookstores, but were kept under the counter and sold in
plain brown paper wrappers.
Two other stories followed quickly; Eveline19 in September, and After the Race 20in
December. Joyce was on record, in fiction and non-fiction, as being opposed to the
romantic view of the Irish peasant and the shadowy mysticism of the Irish revival of
literature headed by Lady Gregory and W.B. Yeats, among others.
The remainder of the summer and fall of 1904 saw Joyces increasing love, both physical
and spiritual, for Nora, and consequently he was totally honest with her about his own
personal life, embarrassing as some of that might have been. He was fairly homeless in
August, staying a few days here and there, and on September, 9 th he moved into the
Martello Tower, a short distance from Dublin. These brilliant barricaded towers were gun
defenses ringing the coast of Ireland, built by the British beginning in 1798 when it was
feared that Napoleon, because of sympathies shown him by the Irishthey hoped he
would free them from the Englishwould invade. An area of this particular tower had
been converted to living quarters, and had been rented from the government by Oliver
Gogarty, who invited the homeless Joyce to stay there. The tower, of course, is the
setting for the famous opening episode of Ulysses. Joyce stayed at the tower for less
than a week; following a nightmare episode at which another guest having a nightmare
fired a gun, Joyce walked back to Dublin.
Joyce was promised a position as a teacher at a Berlitz school in Europe, and in October,
he and Nora Barnacle left Dublin for Italy. After arriving in Trieste, they found that he
would be teaching in Pola, a city 100 kilometers south of Triest on the Adriatic Sea.
In January of 1905, he finished the short story Clay21, but was by that time mainly
working on A Portrait. His aesthetic theory is presented in Part V of A Portrait, especially
the famous passage about the objectivity of the Artist:


R. Ellerman, James Joyce. Selected Letters., Viking Adult, Clays Ltd., 1975, p. 34.


J. Joyce, Dubliners, Penguin Classics, Clays Ltd., London, 2000, p. 29-35.


J. Joyce, Dubliners, Penguin Classics, Clays Ltd., London, 2000, p. 35-43.


J. Joyce, Dubliners, Penguin Classics, Clays Ltd., London, 2000, p. 95-103.


The artist, like the God of the creation, remains within or behind or beyond or above his
handiwork, invisible, refined out of existence, indifferent, paring his fingernails. 22
Joyces belief that the purpose of art, particularly fiction, is to present emotions, rather
than incite them in the reader, is further explored in the following passage:
The esthetic emotion (I use the general term) is therefore static. The mind is arrested
and raised above desire and loathing.23
In March of 1905, Joyce was invited back to Trieste to teach at the Berlitz school over
there. Trieste, where their Joyce and Noras first child, Georgio, was soon born, was to be
the home of the Joyces for the next ten years. 1905 was the major year for the
completion of Dubliners. Joyce had finished rewriting A Painful Case24 by May 8th, The
Boarding House25 was finished July 13th, Counterparts26 on July 16th, Ivy Day in the
Committee Room 27on September 1st, An Encounter 28on September 18th, A Mother 29in
September, and Araby30 and Grace31 in October. He wrote a letter to Grant Richards
stating that he had written in a style of scrupulous meanness 32 and also wrote of special
odour of corruption which, I hope, floats over my stories. 33 At this time he had written all
the stories with the exception of A Little Cloud34, Two Gallants35, and The Dead36.
In 1907 Joyce published a collection of poems, Chamber Music. The title was suggested
as the author later stated, by the sound of urine tinkling into a prostitutes chamber pot!
The poems have with their open vowels and repititions such musical quality that many of

J. Joyce, The Portait of the Artist as a Young Man, Penguin Popular Classics. New
Edition., Clays Ltd., London, 1996, p. 123.

J. Joyce, The Portait of the Artist as a Young Man, Penguin Popular Classics. New
Edition., Clays Ltd., London, 1996, p. 124.

J. Joyce, Dubliners, Penguin Classics, Clays Ltd., London, 2000, p.103-115.


J. Joyce, Dubliners, Penguin Classics, Clays Ltd., London, 2000, p. 56-65.


J. Joyce, Dubliners, Penguin Classics, Clays Ltd., London, 2000, p. 82-95 .


J. Joyce, Dubliners, Penguin Classics, Clays Ltd., London, 2000, p.115-134 .


J. Joyce, Dubliners, Penguin Classics, Clays Ltd., London, 2000, p.11-21 .


J. Joyce, Dubliners, Penguin Classics, Clays Ltd., London, 2000, p.134-149 .


J. Joyce, Dubliners, Penguin Classics, Clays Ltd., London, 2000, p.21-29 .


J. Joyce, Dubliners, Penguin Classics, Clays Ltd., London, 2000, p.149-175 .


R. Ellerman, James Joyce. Selected Letters., Viking Adult, Clays Ltd., 1975, p. 42.


R. Ellerman, James Joyce. Selected Letters., Viking Adult, Clays Ltd., 1975, p. 42.


J. Joyce, Dubliners, Penguin Classics, Clays Ltd., London, 2000, p. 65-82.


J. Joyce, Dubliners, Penguin Classics, Clays Ltd., London, 2000, p. 43-56.


J. Joyce, Dubliners, Penguin Classics, Clays Ltd., London, 2000, p. 175-225.


them have been made into songs. Joyce, by the way, had a fine tenor voice; he liked the
opera and belcanto.
In 1909 joyce opened a cinema complex in Dublin, but this affair failed and he was soon
back in Trieste, still broke and working as a teacher, tweed salesman, journalist and
In 1912 he was in Ireland, trying to persuade Maunsel & Co to fulfill their contract to
publish Dubliners. The work contained a series of short stories, dealing with the lives of
ordinary people, youth, adolescence, young adulthood, and maturity. The last story, The
Dead, was adapted into screen by John Huston in 1987.
It was Joyce last journey to his home country. However, he had became friends with Ezra
Pound, who began to market his works. In 1916 appeared A Portrait of the Artist as a
Young Man, an autobiographical novel. It apparently began as a quasi- biographical
memoir entitled Stephen Hero between 1904 and 1906. Only a fragment of the original
manuscripts has survived. The book follows the life of the protagonist Stephen Daedalus,
from childhood towards maturity, his education at University College, Dublin, and
rebellion to free himself from the chains of family and Irish nationalism. Stephen takes
religion seriously, and considers entering a seminary, but then also rejects Roman
At the outset of the First World War, Joyce moved with his family to Zrich, where Lenin
and the poet essayist Tristan Tzara had found their refuge. Joyces WWI years with the
legendary Russian revolutionary and Tzara, who founded the Dadaist movement at the
Cabaret Voltaire, provide the basis for Tom Stoppards play Travesties (1974).
In Zrich Joyce started to develop the early chapters of Ulysses, which was first
published in France, because of censorship troubles in Great Britain and the United
States, where the book became legally available in 1933. The theme of jealousy was
based partly on a story a former friend of Joyce told: he claimed that he had been
sexually intimate with the authors wife, Nora, even while Joyce was courting her.
The main characters are Leopold Bloom, a Jewish advertising canvasser, his wife Molly,
and Stephen Daedalus, the hero from A Portrait. They are intented to be modern
counterparts of Telemachus, Ulysses, and Penelope. Barmaids are the infamous Sirens.
One of the models for Bloom was Ettore Schmidz (Italo Svevo), a novelist and
businessman who was Joyces student at the Berlitz school in Trieste. The story, using the
stream of consciousness technique, parallel the major events in Odysseus journey home.
However, Blooms adventures are less heroic and his homecoming is less violent. Bloom
makes his trip to the underworld, for instance, by attending a funeral at Glasnevin
Cemetary. The paths of Stephen Daedalus and Leopold Bloom cross and recross through
the day. Joyces technical innovations in the art of the novel include an extensive use of
the interior monologue; he used a complex network of symbolic parallels drawn from the
mythology, history, and literature.
From 1917 to 1930 Joyce endured several eye operations, being totally blind for short
intervals. In March 1923 Joyce started in Paris his second major work, Finnegans Wake37,
suffering at the same time chronic eye troubles caused by glaucoma. The first segment of
the novel appeared in Ford Madox Fords Transatlantic Review in April 1924, as a part of

J. Joyce, Finnegans Wake, Penguin Classics, Clays Ltd., London, 1999.


what Joyce called Work in Progress. Finnegans Wake occupied Joyces time for the next
sixteen years! Its final version was only completed in the late thirties!
Joyce daughter Lucia, born in Trieste in 1907, became Carl Jungs (!!!) patient in 1934.
In her teenage years, she studied dance, and later The Paris times praised her skills as
choreocrapher, linguist, and performer. With her father she collaborated in Pomes
Penyeach, for which she did some illustrations. Lucias great love was Samuel Beckett (!),
who was not interested in her. In the nineteen thirties, she started to behave erratically.
At the Burghlz psychiatric clinic in Zrich, where Jung worked, she was diagnosed
schizophrenic. Joyce was left bitter at Jungs analysis of his daughter- Jung thought she
was too close with her fathers psychic system. In revenge, Joyce played in Finnegans
Wake with Jungs concepts of Animus and Anima. Lucia died in a mental hospital in
Northampton, England, in 1982.
After the fall of France in WWII, Joyce returned to Zrich, where he died on January 13,
1941, still disappointed with the reception of Finnegans Wake. The novel was partly
based on Freuds dream psychology, Brunos theory of complementary but conflicting
nature of opposites, and the cyclic theory of history of Giambattista Vico.

2 Introduction and motivation; short story

collection or novel?
James Joyces Dubliners is considered as one of the most important novels of twentieth
century literature. James Joyce is considered to be a modernist writer, so in this
introduction it is my intention to, first of all, explain what is meant by modernism,
second to prove that the novel Dubliners can be cobsidered as a modernist novel, and
third to figure out wether Dubliners must be read as a novel, a unit, or, merely as a
collection of different, incoherent short stories.

What is modernism and why is the novel a good example

of a modernist novel?
The modernist writer is engaged in a revolution against the nineteenth-century style and
content in fiction and Joyces Dubliners is one of the landmarks of that struggle. But it is
a subtle one, as the stories can be read on two mutually exclusive levels!
First, as straight forward realistic tales about the everyday failures and disappointments
of suffering children, humiliated women, and men who drink too muchall of them
crushed by what Joyce considers the monsters of the newborn twentieth century for a
Dubliner: the Scylla of British political domination and the Charybdis of Roman Catholic
spiritual and bodily tyranny. Second, as stories that, on a symbolic level, deal with the
universal human nature and transcend the particulars of life in Dublin at the turn of the
century. His stories, according to Joyce, convert bread into art!


The brief story Araby can serve as an example of the dual realistic and symbolic nature of
Joyces stories. On the realistic level the story is simply about the feelings a young boy
has for a neighbourhood girl, and his despair when he goes to a fair with the intention of
buying the girl a present and finds he is too late; as such, it is a tender and moving story,
the kind of childhood disappointments many of us have experienced. However, subtly
interwoven into the story, in ways that do not intrude upon the realistic level, are
recurrent religious, political, and sexual images that can be read on a symbolic level and
show the story to be a timeless one in which the boy has glorified his everyday
experience into a medieval search for the Holy Grail, transformed his sexual attraction to
the girl into a sacred (religious) one, and whose desires are frustrated by political
(British) and religious (Roman Catholic) forces beyond his recognition.
How Joyce feels about the people he writes has been the subject of much analysis. Joyce
himself wrote that he was writing with a scrupulous meanness 38and wrote of the special
odor of corruption which, I hope, floats over my stories. 39 However, an authors stated
intent is not to be taken as the final word, and certainly each reader will have to decide
whether the stories reveal an ironic dislike for these characters or a criticism that is
In these stories, Joyce exposes the sentimentality of his characters, and he employs a
bare style that sets itself off from nineteenth-century writings; indeed, T.S. Eliot observed
that Joyce destroyed the whole of the nineteenth century!

Where can we find modernism in the novel?

It is important to know that many previous writers had celebrated the developments in
civilisation that accompanied the rise of major cities. The modernist is hostile to city life,
finding that it degrades and demeans its citizens. Joyce loved his city, but he noticed that
the people who were living in it became paralysed, numb, and meaningless. Joyce was
hostile to city life because he thought that Dublin had a paralyzing effect on its
My intention was to write a chapter of the moral history of my country, and I chose
Dublin for the scene because that city seemed to me the centre of paralysis. 40
One also have to note that, among many other features, brown is the most frequently
used colour in the novel. Indeed, the modernist finds culture itself to be drab and
shallow, and this attitude prevails in Joyces stories. Examples from just the first four
stories illustrate this (see also later);

The Sisters41: religious culture dampens the young boys growth


(red), The Modern World Dubliners, internet, 2008-03-21,

http://www.themodernword.com/joyce/joyce_works_dubliners.html .

(red), James Joyce Paralysis, internet, 2008-03-22,


(red), The Modern World Dubliners, internet, 2008-03-21,

http://www.themodernword.com/joyce/joyce_works_dubliners.html .


An Encounter42: the city offers no real adventures of mind and spirit

Araby43: the boys burgeoning sexuality is threatened by religion, politics, and


Eveline44: the demands of the family take precedence over romantic involvement.

The modernist contends that we live in a world that offers no meaning or purpose to
existence, one in which we feel alienated from self and others, in which there are no clear
moral standards. Modernist novels consider that twentieth-century society makes selfrecognition and self-knowledge impossible. In the story The Dead, for instance, the main
character, Gabriel, illustrates powerfully that even an intelligent, educated, sensitive man
can deceive himself about his own nature and that of his family. Indeed, the most
devastating critique of this society is that it is one in which love is absent: in the stories
Two Gallants and The Boarding House, lust has taken the place of love; in A little Cloud
loveif it ever existedhas vanished from the family scene, and in A Painful Case there
can be no love in a world where society condemns it!
Joyces twentieth-century Dublin is a place where the true feeling and compassion for
others doesnt exist, where selfishness and cruelty are the main survival criteria.
Examples of this, run throughout the stories: from the mothers in The Boarding House, A
Little Cloud, and A Mother, to the men in the world of business in Counterparts, through
the religious life in Grace, and straight into the world of politics in Ivy Day in the
Committee Room. So many of the characters we encounter here are paralysed in both
thought and feeling; indeed, when Joyce began writing The Sisters he stated that in the
stories he planned to write he would portray the soul of thatparalysis which many
consider a city.45
The modernist is a revolutionary not only in content but in style. Although Joyces major
innovations in style come in his more mature works, Ulysses and Finnegans Wake, his
style in Dubliners is marked by two distinct elements new to English prose: the narrated
monologue and chiasmus or the patterned repetition of images.
There are a number of terms for narrated monologue: free indirect discourse, stylistic
inflection, empathetic narrative, These are all ways of indicating that the prose style
changes depending upon the nature of the character that the narration is about; another
way of putting it is to say that the fictional character begins to make authorial choices,
that the character infects the prose style of the writer. A brilliant example from
Dubliners, we find in the last story of the collection, The Dead;


J. Joyce, Dubliners. The Sisters, Penguin Classics, Clays Ltd., London, 2000, p.1-11.


J. Joyce, Dubliner. An Encounter, Penguin Classics, Clays Ltd., London, 2000, p.11-21 .


J. Joyce, Dubliners. Araby, Penguin Classics, Clays Ltd., London, 2000, p.21-29.


J. Joyce, Dubliners. Eveline, Penguin Classics, Clays Ltd., London, 2000, p.29-35 .


red), The Modern World Dubliners, internet, 2008-03-21,

http://www.themodernword.com/joyce/joyce_works_dubliners.html .


Lily, the caretakers daughter, was literally run of her feet.46

Now, a stylist would want to change the previous sentence to figuratively run off her
feet. But the use of literally in this context is one that uneducated people, such as the
housemaid Lily, frequently employ. What happened here is that Lily, the character being
written about, has, literally taken the pen from Joyce here, and begun to use
expressions that would come naturally to her; in other words, she has infected the
authors style with her own personality. To continue, the third sentence of this
opening paragraph reads:
It was well for her she had not to attend to the ladies also, 47
The expression well for her is the kind of language a Dubliner of her economic and social
caste would use; here, it becomes part of the authors style. Indeed, we can see that
the authorial voice of the nineteenth-century writer, which was that of the distinct
character of the writer, has become multilingual rather than monolingual. This
becomes evident at the opening of the second paragraph;
It was always a great affair, the Misses Morkans annual dance. Everybody who knew
them came to it, members of the family, old friends of the family, the members of Julias
choir, any of Kates pupil that were grown up enough and even some of Mary Janes
pupils too. Never once had it fallen flat.48
Of course, this is no longer Lilys voice! The topic or also maybe the point of view,
has shifted to the opinions of general middle-class Dubliners, the typical party
guests at this event, and so they have grabbed Joyces pen again and are using
their own Dublin accent in the choice of words and in the rythms of the different
sentences!! An important Joycean, Hugh Kenner, uses the phrase Uncle Charles
Principle to describe this critique, because one critic attacked Joyce for the opening
page of Part Two of his other important novel A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man,
where Joyce had written;
Every morning, therefore, Uncle Charles repaired to his outhouse49
The critic objected to the use of the archaic word repaired instead of the more
contemporary went, but Joyces point is of course that this is precisely the word
Charles would use. It is not Joyce who has the pen in his hand here, it is our beloved
Uncle Charles who has taken the pen from him!
Since stylistic infection becomes such a considerable element in Ulysses, perhaps two
examples from that work will help to understand the possibilities of the effect. The
narrative rhythms of the waiter, Pat, in the Sirens episode (chapter 11), take on the
automatic repetitive characteristics of someone who has spent his life waiting
on tables:

J. Joyce, Dubliners. The Dead, Penguin Classics, Clays Ltd., London, 2000, p.175.


J. Joyce, Dubliners. The Dead, Penguin Classics, Clays Ltd., London, 2000, p.175.


J. Joyce, Dubliners. The Dead, Penguin Classics, Clays Ltd., London, 2000, p.175.


J. Joyce, The Portait of the Artist as a Young Man, Penguin Popular Classics. New
Edition., Clays Ltd., London, 1996., p. 123.


Bald deaf Pat brought quite flat pad ink. Pat set with ink pen quite flat pad. Pat took
plate dish knife fork. Pat went.50
Also consider the following sentence from the Nausicaa episode (chapter 13):
The summer evening had begun to fold the world in its mysterious embrace.51
It can truly be said that there is no single authorial voice in Ulysses, as each episode,
even paragraph takes on the voice of the character that is the subject. Here
Joyce has adopted the style of popular pulp womens magazines of the turn of the
century, the kind that would have been read by the major character of the Nausicaa
chapter, Gerty MacDowell, and that would have formed her way of expressing herself.
The sunset is not being seen through Joyces eyes but through Gertys!
Joyces other major innovation in Dubliners is his extensive use of chiasmus. By
chiasmus I mean the repetition, and often the reversal, of images, particularly in
distinct patterns. Already in the very first story, The Sisters, the style form of chiasmus
is used in a brilliant way;
There was no hope for him this time: it was his third stroke. Night after night I had
passed the house (it was vacation time) and studied the lighted square of window: and
night after night I had found it lighted in the same way, faintly and evenly. If he was
dead, I thought, I would see the reflection of candles on the darkened blind for I knew
that two candles must be set at the head of the corpse. He had often said to me: I am
not long for this world, and I had thought his words idle. Now I knew they were true.
Every night as I gazed up at the window I said softly to myself the word paralysis.52

Now if I set out the key images in order of their appearance, the chiasmus and effect it
has on the sentences will become clear;




J. Joyce, Ulysses, Penguin Popular Classics. New Edition., Clays Ltd., London, 1996., p

J. Joyce, Ulysses, Penguin Popular Classics. New Edition., Clays Ltd., London, 1996., p.

J. Joyce, Dubliners.The Sisters, Penguin Classics, Clays Ltd., London, 2000, p.1.


Joyce achieves a number of effects through the extensive chiasmus, but primarily, since
this is a story about death and the church, he provides the incantatory effects of the
kinds of intonations of chants one would hear in a church! The effect is also
numbing, and the characters in the story are numbed by the death of the priest; the
images toll like a funeral bell through the passage. And, of course, since this
repetitive section concludes with the sentence:
Every night as I gazed up at the window I said softly to myself the word paralysis.53
Joyce has also succeeded in communicating the sense of lack of forward movement, of a
passage turning in upon itself in repetitive images, of the essence of paralysis.
In this passage, Joyce makes effective use of two variations of chiasmus known as
lengthened chiasmus and tightened chiasmus. In the passage above, one should
notice how in the first two instances of night the repeated word is separated by only one
other word, whereas many words (even sentences) separate the final instance from the
preceding ones; this is a very effective use of lengthened chiasmus. The reverse is the
case with a shortened chiasmus: two images that have been more or less widely
separated are brought closer together.
Reverse chiasmus, in which (as the term indicates) the order of images is reversed,
can create melodic effects. This is obviously the case in the final sentence of the final
paragraph of the final story The Dead. The final paragraph of this story is considered by
many literature critics and specialists to be one of the most beautiful in twentiethcentury literature. After using the word falling five times in a short paragraph, Joyce
concludes the passage by employing the image in a reverse chiasmus:
His soul swooned slowly as he heard the snow falling faintly through the universe and
faintly falling, like the descent of their last end, upon all the living and the dead. 54
Joyces major innovation, the stream of consciousness or interior monologue,
belongs to the world of Ulysses rather than to the youthful work. However this stream of
consciousness can be considered as one of the most important innovations in
twentieth century literature. By using the interior monologue a new literary
movement was born; modernism! The closes Joyce comes to it in Dubliners is in
passages such as the following from the novella The Dead:
Gabriels warm trembling fingers tapped the cold pane of the window. How cool it must
be outside! How pleasant it would be to walk out alone, first along by the river and then
through the park! The snow would be lying on the branches of the trees and forming a
bright cap on the top of the Wellington Monument. How much more pleasant it would be
there than at the supper-table! 55

J. Joyce, Dubliners. The Sisters, Penguin Classics, Clays Ltd., London, 2000, p.1.


J. Joyce, Dubliners. The Dead, Penguin Classics, Clays Ltd., London, 2000, p. 225.


J. Joyce, Dubliners. The Dead, Penguin Classics, Clays Ltd., London, 2000, p.192 .


In Dubliners Joyce used several brand new literary techniques. The most important ones
are discussed above. The use of chiasmus and stream of consciousness are the most
important innovations, so there is no doubt about it that the novel Dubliners must
be considered as a modernist novel!
Dubliners: short story collection or a novel?
However, there is another important question that still needs to be answered: how should
we read Dubliners? Should we read it as a unit, as a novel, or merely as a collection of
incoherent short stories?
The question is actually very easy to answer, since Joyce did the work for me! About
1905 Joyce wrote most of Dubliners, a whole which he conceived, with remarkable
originality, less as a sequence of stories than as a kind of multi-faceted novel.
Joyce wrote to a prospective publisher:
I do not think that any writer has yet presented Dublin to the world. It has been a capital
of Europe for thousands of years, it is supposed to be the second city of the British
Empire and it is nearly three times as big as Venice. Moreover, on account of many
circumstances which I cannot detail here, the expression Dubliner seems to me to bear
some meaning and I doubt whether the same can be said for such words as Londoner
and Parisian ()56
Dublin is not, that is, an agglomeration of residents, but a city. In its present paralysis, it
remains a ghost, not a heap of bones: the ghost of the great conception of the City which
polarises the mind of Europe from the time of Pericles to that of Dr. Johnson. Mr. Eliot
saw London as a heap of broken images; Joyces Dublin had none of the random quality
characterised by heap. It was a shell of grandeur populated by wraiths, by ghosts! The
integritas of the aesthetic image corresponds to something still at a minimal level of
organization vitally present in the object of contemplation; but it isnt the sort of
organisation that fuses in a single action or demands a single narrative . This image
Joyce fragmented along its inherent lines of cleavage, the parts he disposed to afford one
another the maximum of reinforcement:
My intention was to write a chapter of the moral history of my country, and I chose
Dublin for the scene because that city seemed to me the centre of paralysis. I have tried
to present it to the indifferent public order under four of its aspects: childhood,
adolescence, maturity and public life. The stories are arranged in this order. I have
written it for the most part in a style of scrupulous meanness and with the conviction
that he I a very bold man who dares to alter in the presentment, still more to deform,
whatever he has seen and heard57
It must be very clear now that Dubliners must be read as a unit. There is no such thing
as a collection of short stories, but a novel Dubliners! Joyce wrote short stories, but each
of these stories are interdependent! From his own commentary above, we realise that the
fifteen short stories are merely fifteen chapters! Or are it titles? This question isnt easy

Joyce C. Oates, Joycoserious Joyce, internet, 2008- 05-28,


Ed. Stuart Gilbert and Richard Ellmann The Letters of James Joyce., New York: Viking P,
1957-1966. Vol.2. p. 134.


to answer, however, it is clear that Joyce had a plan for his novel. The idea was to write a
novel that would consist of four major sections;

Section I: childhood

Section II: adolescence

Section III: maturity

Section IV: public life

These four sections are the main stages in life and the fifteen chapters can be divided
into these four sections! Section I, then,contains of the short stories: The Sisters, An
Encounter and Araby. Section II contains of four stories, namely Eveline, After the Race,
Two Gallants, and The Boarding House. Sections III and IV also both consist of four
stories, namely A Little Cloud, Counterparts, Clay, A Painful Case (section III) and Ivy
Day in the Committee Room, A Mother, Grace, and finally The Dead (section IV).
Now the plan that Joyce had in mind for his novel Dubliners becomes very clear;


Section I: childhood: The Sisters, An Encounter and Araby.

Section II: adolescence: Eveline, After the Race, Two Gallants, and The
Boarding House.

Section III: maturity: A Little Cloud, Counterparts, Clay, and A Painful Case

Section IV: public life: Ivy Day in the Committee Room, A Mother, Grace,
and The Dead.

If we consider the novel as a unit, as we should do according to Joyce, we get the

following structure of the modernist novel Dubliners;

Chapter I

The Sisters

Chapter II

An Encounter

Chapter III



Chapter IV


Chapter V

After the Race

Chapter VI

Two Gallants

Chapter VII

The Boarding House


Chapter VIII

A Little Cloud

Chapter IX


Chapter X


Chapter XI

A Painful Case


Chapter XII


Ivy Day in the Committee Room

Chapter XIII

A Mother

Chapter XIV


Chapter XV

The Dead

The above shown











But why are they interdependent? Is there any proof in the novel? Is has to be, and there
The next step in my final thesis will be proving that interdependence. In the next chapter
Dubliners: the novel, I will discuss some major characters and their role throughout the
plot, and I will prove through themes, symbols and motives that the different plot lines of
the fifteen short stories are weavered together in a magnificent way!



3.1 Analysis of major characters
In Dubliners we encounter a lot of people, each with their own lives, problems and
concerns. All these characters are important , since they have a story to tell. However,
three of the characters are striking and deserve to be investigated more
The characters Eveline in short story Eveline, Farrington in Counterparts and Gabriel
Conroy in The Dead are perfect to do an in-dept analysis, since they are very important
in the novel, and not only in the short story they appear in. On top of that they are all
round characters; in the course of the short story they undergo dramatic changes
in their lives, their personality, their work,

Eveline in Eveline, short story 4.

Eveline is a young woman. She is still a bit nave. One day she meets Frank, a young
sailor with big plans. Because Frank is the opposite of Eveline- he is strong, knows what
he wants in life and fears nothing- she falls in love with him. After a while they start a
secret relationship.
Frank wants to take Eveline to Buenos Ayres, the capital city of Argentina. The idea is to
build up a whole new live there together and eventually even marry and have kids. At
first Eveline feels something for Franks ideas, to leave everything behind However,
when the time has come to do this, she hesitates on the docks, and eventually decides to
stay in her beloved Dublin. She stays with her family and Frank has to leave without her!
A bell clanged upon her heart. She felt him seize her hand:
All the seas of the world tumbled about her heart. He was drawing her into them: he
would drawn her. She gripped with both hands at the iron railing.
No! No! No! It was impossible. Her hands clutched the iron in frenzy. Amid the seas she
sent a cry of anguish!


-Eveline! Evvy!
He rushed beyond the barrier and called to her to follow. He was shouted at to go on but
he still called to her. She set her white face to him, passive, like a helpless animal. Her
eyes gave him no sign of love or farewell or recognition. 58
We understand now that Eveline is dealing with a dilemma; she needs to choose
between unhappy domesticity and dramatic escape to Argentina for marriage and kids.
Torn between two extreme options, Eveline has no possibility whatsoever of a moderately
content life!
In my opinion her dilemma does not illustrate indecisiveness but the lack of options for
someone in her position! When standing on the docks, all of a sudden she remembers
her promise to her mother to keep the family together. It seems she had forgotten this
promise because of her feelings for Frank: She had lost herself in Franks promises and
fairytales. She has been living in that dream for a couple of months 59
However, when the moment of departure becomes reality, she suddenly awakes from this
dream. Now she can think straight again, the horn of the boat had awoken her from her
Argentina dream! Her mind had been made numb by feelings of love, but now that she
can think straight again, she realises her family needs her, and she needs her family too!
This moment of illumination is a very typical characteristic of the literary type
short story. Here we see it very clearly; Eveline suddenly becomes enlightened, the
horn wakes her up! Now, she will be capable of leaving her fairy tale-like world. She can
awake from her dream. A bell clanged upon her heart She can go back to reality now,
shes awake! Her numbness is over; she can feel him seize her hand!
We clearly sense Evelines moment of illumination in the following paragraph;
The boat blew a long mournful whistle into the mist. If she went, tomorrow she would be
on the sea with Frank, steaming towards Buenos Ayres. Their passage had been booked.
Could she still draw back after all he had done for her? Her distress awoke a nausea in
her body and she kept moving her lips in silent fervent prayer.
A bell clanged upon her heart. She felt him seize her hand. 60
Through previous passages, we can decide that Eveline is a very clear round character;
her way of life does not change, but she does undergo a storm in her life. She has
learned a lot by what she has encountered.
In lots of literary texts, essays, short stories, the ghost of Robinson Cruso lingers
through the course of the story plot. Not literally of course, but the theme of leaving
your family behind (although they disapprove) and go exploring the seven seas, seems
present in this short story as well.

J. Joyce, Dubliners. Eveline, Penguin Classics, Clays Ltd., London, 2000, p. 34 .


J. Joyce, Dubliners. Eveline, Penguin Classics, Clays Ltd., London, 2000, p.33 .


J. Joyce, Dubliners. Eveline, Penguin Classics, Clays Ltd., London, 2000, p. 33-34 .


On the docks, when she must make a choice, Eveline remembers the promise to her
mother to keep the family together. So close to escape, Eveline revises her view of her
life at home, she remembers the small kindnesses, e.g. a family picnic before her mother
These memories seem to overshadow the reality of her abusive father. Her sudden
certainty comes thus as an epiphany; she must remain with what is familiar to her
Eveline, in her dilemma, can choose between happiness and unhappiness. We clearly saw
in previous paragraphs, that she had chosen unhappiness; in the end she chooses her
family above Frank and the fairytale! The misery she has with her father, her dull and
boring life seems to frighten her less than her intense emotions for Frank.
Evelines nagging sense of family duty stems from her fear of love and an unknown life
abroad. Her decision to stay in Dublin renders her as just another figure in the
crowd of Dubliners, watching lovers and friends depart the city!
As I said before, we should not look at Dubliners as a collection of short stories, but
more as a united novel, in which the storylines of each short story meet in the bigger plot
of the novel. This means all fifteen short stories are all a part of the bigger story, so we
merely must consider each short story as being a chapter in the novel Dubliners! Each
short story being a chapter means dependency to one another and therefore storylines
meet in the bigger plot of the novel!
Eveline holds a very important place in the overall narrative of the novel Dubliners.
Her story is the first in the short story collection that uses third-person narration, the
first story to focus on a female protagonist, and the only one in the whole
collection of fifteen that takes the name of the character as the title! Above all
this, Eveline is also the first central adult character that appears in Dubliners! I found
this very striking, since in the first three stories the protagonists are all children, minors
or adolescents! ( for an explanation of this, see 4. Motives and themes.)
For all these reasons, she marks a crucial transition in the collection. Eveline in many
ways is just another Dubliner However, she also broadens the perspective of Dubliners!
Her story, rather than being limited by the first person-narration of earlier stories,
suggests something about the hardships and limitations of the early twentiethcentury Dubliner woman in general.
Also for another reason Evelines presence in the short story is important for the novel,
namely the fact that her dramatic decision about her life also sets a tone of restraint
and fear. Emotions that will resonate in many of the later stories. Other female
characters in the novel explore different harsh conditions of life in the city of Dublin.
However, Eveline, in facing and rejecting a life-altering decision, remains the most

Farrington in Counterparts, short story 9.

Farrington is a copy clerk in a busy law firm, where he is responsible for making copies of
legal documents by hand. One of the partners, Mr. Alleyne, one of a sudden angrily
orders the secretary to send Farrington to his office. It appears he ( Farrington) has failed


to produce an important document on time! Now, Farrington is in trouble. If he does not

manage to copy the material by closing time, his incompetence will be reported to the
other partner. Of course this meeting irritates him, so he mentally starts making evening
plans to drink with his friends as a respite. Farrington returns to his desk but is unable to
focus on work. He skirts past the chief clerk to sneak out to the local pub where he
quickly drinks a beer
His irritation causes even more problems and these in turn give him severe irritations.
This creates a domino-effect that results in violence when he violates his son Tom at the
end of the story, and this only because the young boy had left the house fire to burn out!
Because this means his dinner will be long in coming, he starts beating him severely with
a wooden stick!
When the lamp was lit he banged his fist on the table and shouted:
-Whats for my dinner?
-Im going to cook it , pa, said the little boy.
The man jumped up furiously and pointed to the fire.
-On that fire! You let the fire out! By God, Ill teach you to do that again!
He took a step to the door and seized the walking-stick which was standing behind it.
-Ill teach you to let the fire out! He said, rolling up his sleeve in order to
give his arm free play.
The little boy cried O, pa! and ran whimpering round the table, but the man followed him
and caught him by the coat. The little boy looked about him wildly but, seeing no way of
escape, fell upon his knees.
-Now, youll let the fire out the next time! Said the man, striking at him
viciously with his stick. Take that, you little whelp!


It is clear that Farrington is one of the darkest characters in Dubliners; he rebels

furiously against his dull life. The routine of his everyday life because too much for him.
The main motive of Dubliners is paralysis. Already in the first story paralysis occurs,
when the old priest appears to have suffered from a third and fatal stroke. The word
paralysis clearly has two meanings here; one literally, meaning the priest is paralysed
after his strokes and is now dead of the fatal third and one metaphorically, meaning day
after day, routine We clearly see this occur in the following passage; ()Every night as
I gazed up at the window I said softly to myself the word paralysis().62
The figurative meaning of paralysis becomes very clear now; the young boy isnt
paralysed after a stroke or some kind of an awful disease. He is simply uttering the word

J. Joyce, Dubliners. Counterparts, Penguin Classics, Clays Ltd., London, 2000, p. 94 .


J. Joyce, The Sisters. Eveline, Penguin Classics, Clays Ltd., London, 2000, p. 1.


he had heard early on that evening (the priest, his strokes, paralysis and finally him
dying). For him this strange, difficult word is of course unknown and sounds strange in
his ears. Therefore he is trying to figure out the meaning of the word and when doing
this, he repeats the word over and over again, like the sound of a drum (mechanical
action). Now we reach the level of metaphorical use of the word; habitual action,
routine, repetition. Also by the structure every night (see above) habitual action is
In the story Counterparts our dear Mister Farrington also experiences paralysis, in
the figurative way so to speak He undergoes paralyzing, mechanical repetition
day after day as a copy clerk. This and his mind-numbing (paralysis!!) tasks and
uncompromising boss cause rage to simmer inside him.
After the day in question, the rage becomes so explosive that Farrington unleashes his
fury on his own child. His own flesh and blood, being one of the most innocent figures in
this world!
The root of Farringtons problem is his inability to realise the maddening circularity
that defines his days; he has no bounderies between the different parts of the world
he is living in. His work life mimics his social life and his family life!

Gabriel Conroy in The Dead, short story 15.

Gabriel is the last protagonist of Dubliners, and he embodies many of the traits
introduced and explored in characters from earlier stories, including short
temper, acute class consciousness, social awkwardness, and frustrated love.
Gabriel has many faces. To his aging aunts, he is a loving family man, bringing his
cheerful presence to the party and performing typically masculine duties such as carving
the goose. With other female characters, such as Miss Ivors, Lily the housemaid, and his
wife, Gretta, he is less able to forge a connection, and his attempts often become
awkward, and even offensive. With Miss Ivors, he stumbles defensively through a
conversation about his plans to go on a cycling tour, and he offends Lily when he teases
her about having a boyfriend.
Gretta inspires fondness and tenderness in him, but he primarily feels mastery over her.
Such qualities do not make Gabriel sympathetic, but rather make him an example of a
man whose inner life struggles to keep pace with and adjust to the world around him.
The Morkans party exposes Gabriel as a social performer. He carefully reviews his
thoughts and words, and he flounders in situations where he cannot predict another
persons feelings. Gabriels unease with unbridled feeling is palpable, but he must face
his discomfort throughout the story. He illustrates the tense intersection of social
isolation and personal confrontation.
Gabriel has one moment of spontaneous, honest speech that is rare in The Dead as well
as in Dubliners as a whole. When he dances with Miss Ivors, she interrogates him about
his plans to travel in countries other than Ireland and asks him why he wont stay in
Ireland and learn more about his own country. Instead of replying with niceties, Gabriel
responds, Im sick of my own country, sick of it! 63 He is the sole character in
Dubliners to voice his unhappiness with life in Ireland. While each story implicitly

J. Joyce, Dubliners. The Dead, Penguin Classics, Clays Ltd., London, 2000, p.190 .


or explicitly connects the characters hardships to Dublin, Gabriel pronounces his

sentiment clearly and without remorse. This purgative exclamation highlights the
symbolism of Gabriels name, which he shares with the angel who informed
Mary that she would be the mother of Christ in biblical history. Gabriel delivers
his own message not only to Miss Ivors but also to himself and to the readers of The
Dead. He is the unusual character in Dubliners who dwells on his own revelation without
suppressing or rejecting it, and who can place himself in a greater perspective. In the
final scene of the story, when he intensely contemplates the meaning of his life, Gabriel
has a vision not only of his own tedious life but of his role as a human being!

The Araby narrator, short story 3.

The Araby narrators experience of love moves him from placid youth to elation to
frustrated loneliness as he explores the threshold between childhood and
Like the narrator of An Encounter, he yearns to experience new places and things, but he
is also like Eveline and other adult characters who grapple with the conflict between
everyday life and the promise of love. He wants to see himself as an adult, so he
dismisses his distracting schoolwork as Childs play and expresses his intense emotions
in dramatic, romantic gestures.
However, his inability to actively pursue what he desires traps him in a childs
world. His dilemma suggests the hope of youth stymied by the unavoidable realities of
Dublin life. The Araby narrator is the last of the first-person narrators in
Dubliners all of whom are young boys!


Key facts.
Full title: Dubliners.
Author : James Joyce
: short story collection (15 stories)
Genre : realist fiction. Urban literature
Language : English. Irish and Hiberno-English sayings
Time and place written : early 1900s. Ireland (Dublin) and Italy (Rome,

Narrator : the first three stories are narrated by the main character of each
story. In all cases this I-narrator appears to be a young, anonymous boy.
The rest of the stories are narrated by an anonymous, third person ( the
third-person narrator), who pays close attention to circumstantial detail,
though in a detached manner.
Point of view : it seems that the first three stories, told from the first
person, focus on thoughts and observations of the different I-narrators.
In the stories told from the third person, the narrators give objective
information. They present characters as when they would appear to an outsider.


They also present actions and thoughts from the protagonists point of view,
giving the reader a sense of what the characters are feeling.
Tone : Although the stories are mainly told by an anonymous narrator, the
stories of Dubliners form a self-conscious examination of Joyces native city
in Ireland. It is clear that the narrator maintains a neutral presence. By this
we can detect that the attitude of Joyce towards his characters is not always
easy However, the abundance of details about the grim realities of the city and
the focus often on misery, pain and disease, create a tragic tone. These two
facts also offer a subtle critique on the lives of the characters. The characters,
which are all Dubliners themselves of course!

Tense : past tense

Setting in time : Early 1900s
Setting in place : Dublin
Themes : the prison of routine. The desire to escape. Life and death.
Motifs : paralysis. Epiphany. Betrayal. Religion.
Symbols : windows. Dusk and nightlife. Food and drink.
Major conflict :
figures that struggle with challenges. Challenges
complimented relationships and life in Dublin in general

3.3 Motives, themes and symbols.


64 65

* Motives
A. Paralysis
In most of the stories in Dubliners, a character has a desire, faces obstacles to
it, then ultimately relents and suddenly stops all action. These moments of
paralysis show the characters inability to change their lives and reserve
the routines that hamper their wishes. Such immobility fixes the Dubliners in
cycles of experience
The young boy in Araby halts in the middle of the dark bazaar, knowing that
he will never escape the tedious delays of Dublin and attain love.
Eveline freezes like an animal, fearing the possible new experience of life away
from home.
These moments evoke the theme of death in life as they show characters in a
state of inaction and numbness. The opening story introduces this motif
through the character of Father Flynn, whose literal paralysis traps him in a
state suspended between life and death. Throughout the collection, this
stifling state appears as part of daily life in Dublin, which all Dubliners
ultimately acknowledge and accept.
B. Epiphany

B. Wilhelm, Joyces style of scrupulous meanness in his literary work

Dubliners,University of Ulster, Coleraine, 2006, p. 1-11.

Nicholas A. Fargnoli and Michael P. Gillespie, James Joyce A to Z: The Essential

Reference to his Life and Writings, Oxford University Press, New York, 1995.


Characters in Dubliners experience both great and small revelations in their

everyday lives, moments that Joyce himself referred to as epiphanies, a word
with connotations of religious revelation. These epiphanies dont bring new
experiences and the possibility of reform, as one might expect such moments to.
Rather, these epiphanies allow characters to better understand their
particular circumstances, usually rife with sadness and routine, which they
then return to with resignation and frustration. Sometimes epiphanies occur only
on the narrative level, serving as signposts to the reader that a storys
character has missed a moment of self-reflection. For example, in Clay, during
the Halloween game when Maria touches the clay, which signifies an early
death, she thinks nothing of it, overlooking a moment that could have revealed
something about herself or the people around her.
Araby, Eveline, A Little Cloud, A Painful Case, and The Dead all conclude
with epiphanies that the characters fully register, yet these epiphanies are
tinged with frustration, sadness, and regret. At the end of The Dead,
Gabriels revelation clarifies the connection between the dead and the
living, an epiphany that resonates throughout Dubliners as a whole. The
epiphany motif highlights the repeated routine of hope and passive
acceptance that marks each of these portraits, as well as the general human
C. Betrayal
Deception, deceit, and treachery scar nearly every relationship in the
stories in Dubliners, demonstrating the unease with which people attempt to
connect with each other, both platonically and romantically.
In The Boarding House, Mrs. Mooney traps Mr. Doran into marrying her daughter
Polly, and Mr. Doran dreads the union but will meet his obligation to pursue it.
In Two Gallants, Lenehan and Corley both suspect each other of cheating and
scheming, though they join forces to swindle innocent housemaids out of their
Concern about betrayal frame the conversations in Ivy Day in the Committee
Room, particularly as Parnells supporters see his demise as the result of proBritish treachery.
Until his affair was exposed, Parnell had been a popular and influential politician,
and many Irish believe the British were responsible for his downfall. All of
the men in Ivy Day display wavering beliefs that suggest betrayal looms in
Irelands political present.
In The Dead, Gabriel feels betrayed by his wifes emotional outpouring for a
former lover. This feeling evokes not only the sense of displacement and
humiliation that all of these Dubliners fear but also the tendency for people to
categorise many acts as batrayal in order to shift blame from themselves
and others.
D. Religion


References to priests, religious belief, and spiritual experience appear throughout

the stories in Dubliners and ultimately paint an unflattering portrait of
In the first story, The Sisters, Father Flynn cannot keep a strong grip on the
chalice and goes mad in a confessional box. This story marks religions first
appearance as a haunting but incompetent and dangerous component of
Dublin life.
The strange man of An Encounter wears the same clothing as Father Flynn,
connecting his lascivious behaviour, however remotely, to the Catholic Church.
In Grace, Father Purdon shares his name with Dublins red-light district, one
of many subtle ironies in that story.
In Grace, Tom Kernans fall and absent redemption highlight the pretension
and inefficacy of religion: religion is just another daily ritual of repetition that
advances no one.
In other stories, such as Araby, religion acts as a metaphor for dedication that
dwindles. The presence of so many religious references also suggests that
religion traps Dubliners into thinking about their lives and death.

A. Routine
Restrictive routines and the repetitive, mundane details of everyday life mark
the lives of Joyces Dubliners and trap them in circles of frustration,
restraint, and violence. Routine affects characters who face difficult
predicaments, but it also affects characters who have little open conflicts in their
The young boy of An Encounter yearns for a respite from the rather innocent
routine of school, only to find him sitting in a field listening to a man recycle
disturbing thoughts.
In Counterparts, Farrington, who makes a living copying documents,
demonstrates the dangerous potential of repetition. Farringtons
mirrors his social and home life, causing his anger- and abusive behaviour- to
worsen. Farrington, with his explosive physical reactions, illustrates more than
any other character the brutal ramifications of a repetitive existence.
The most consistent consequences of following mundane routines are loneliness
and unrequited love. In Araby, a young boy wants to go to the bazaar to buy a
gift for the girl he loves, but he is late because his uncle mired in the routine of
his workday.
In A Painful Case, Mr. Duffys obsession with his predictable life costs him a
golden chance at love.


Eveline, in the story that shares her name, gives up her chance at love by
choosing her familiar life over an unknown adventure, even though her
familiar routines are tinged with sadness and abuse.
The circularity of these Dubliners lives effectively traps them, preventing
them from being receptive to new experiences and happiness.
B. Life and death
Dubliners opens with The Sisters, which explores death and the process of
remembering the dead, and closes with The Dead, which invokes the quiet
calm of snow that covers both the dead and the living. These stories bookend the
collection and emphasise its consistent focus on the meeting point between life
and death.
Encounters between the newly dead and the living, such as in The Sisters and A
Painful Case, explicitly explore this meeting point, showing what kind of
aftershocks a death can have for the living.
Mr. Duffy, for example, re-evaluates his life after learning about Mrs. Sinicos
death in A Painful Case, while the narrator of The Sisters doesnt know what to
feel upon the death of the priest.
In other stories, including Eveline, Ivy Day in the Committee Room, and The
Dead, memories of the dead haunt the living and colour every action. In Ivy
Day, for example, Parnell hovers in the political talk.
The dead cast a shadow on the present, drawing attention to the mistakes
and failures that people make generation after generation. Such overlap
underscores Joyces interest in life cycles and their repetition, and also his concern
about those living dead figures like Maria in Clay, who move through life with
little excitement or emotion except in reaction to everyday snags and delays.
The monotony of Dublin life leads Dubliners to live in a suspended state
between life and death, in which each person has a pulse but is incapable
of profound, life-sustaining action.

C. Stages of life
Dubliners is roughly organised into a framework chronicling a human life: we
begin with younger protagonists, and then move forward into stories with
increasingly aged men and women.
Although this is a broad generalisation, the stories also tend to increase in
Araby, An Encounter, and Eveline, are fairly simple and rather short tales.
The Dead, the final tale of the collection, is nearly three times as long as the
average story in Dubliners. It is also the richest of the stories, weaving
together many of the previous themes of the book. Joyces portrait of Dublin life


moves not only across a small range of classes, but also across the different
periods of a human life!
D. Poverty and class differences
Poverty is one of the most persuasive themes of the novel. Joyce usually evokes
it through detail: the plum cake Maria busy in Clay, for example, is a humble
treat that costs her a good chunk of her salary. Characters rail against their
Lenehan in Two Gallants sees no future for himself, and sits down to a miserable
supper consisting only of peas and ginger beer.
Farrington in Counterparts stays in a hateful job because he has no other options.
His misery is such that he ends up spending far more than he can afford on
We catch glimpses of slums, as in An Encounter, when the two young
schoolboys see poor children without fully comprehending what their ragged
clothes imply about the small childrens home conditions and prospects in life.
Dublins poor economy is also the reason why characters must fret about keeping
even miserable jobs. Poverty is never pretty in Dubliners. For every gentle,
poor soul like Maria, there are numerous revolting characters like Corley and
Lenehan in Two Gallants. Joyce explores the negative affects poverty has on
the character.
E. Colonization and Irish politics
Dublin is a defeated city, the old capitol of a conquered nation. At the time
of the stories, she is even more so: the Irish political world is still suffering from
the loss of the nationalist movements greatest leader, Charles Stewart
Joyce does not exactly write to rally; his appraisal of the state of Irish politics and
the effects of colonisation on the Irish psyche are both quite bleak. Nor does he
agree with many of the policies and cultural initiatives embraced by some
nationalists: he was no fan of the Irish language movement, and he was
unimpressed by a good deal of the Irish art being produced in his period.
F. Isolation
Dubliners has some profoundly lonely characters in it, but the theme of isolation
does not end there. Isolation is not only a matter of living alone, it comes from
the recognition that a man or womans subjectivity is only their own, inaccessible
to all others.
Failed communication is common throughout the stories. In other stories,
conversations are striking for how little meaningful communication take place.
The supreme example of this theme in Dubliners comes in The Dead, when
Gabriel and Gretta leave the party. While Gabriel thinks about his life with Gretta


and how much he desires her, Gretta cannot stop thinking about the young boy,
her first love, who died for need of her. Husband and wife have been in the
same room, but they may as well have been on different planets!
G. Mortality
Mortality is another important theme, and a natural result of Joyces stages-of-life
structure. But the stories at the end of the collection, where the characters tend
to be older, are not the only ones to deal with mortality. Dubliners begins and
ends with the theme of mortality. The preoccupation with mortality puts a
bleak spin on the themes of stasis and paralysis: although it often feels in
Dublin like time isnt moving, Joyce reminds us that the steady crawl toward death
is one movement we can count on!
H. Defeat, powerlessness, stasis, imprisonment, and paralysis
I mention these five themes in one breath, since they are closely connected
throughout the novels plot. The colonisation of Ireland is paralleled by the
sense of defeat and powerlessness in the lives of individuals. In many
stories, characters are so trapped by their conditions that struggling appears to be
In Counterparts, for example, Farrington is allowed one moment of triumph when
he publicly humiliates his tyrannical boss. But for that one moment, Farrington is
made to grovel in private, and he knows afterward that his life at work will
become even more unpleasant.
Joyce conveys this powerlessness through stasis. In Dublin, nothing and
nobody seems to move! At times this paralysed condition is literal: Father Flynn
in The Sisters actually dies of paralysis! At other times, the stasis is a state of
life, as with the frustrated Little Chandler in A Little Cloud. This feeling of stasis is
closely connected to a feeling that Dublin is a kind of prison, a city that
paralises you!
Many characters in Dubliners feel trapped. We begin with a paralysed priest in
The Sisters, followed by frustrated schoolboys trapped by Dublins tedium in An
Encounter, followed by a boy without the means to indulge his fantasies in Araby,
followed by a young woman crushed by the stifling conditions that entrap her at
home in Eveline most of the characters are in some way imprisoned. The
entrapment is often caused by a combination of circumstances: poverty, social
pressure, family situation Sometimes, the imprisonment comes from the guile of
another character, as with the hapless Mr. Doran in The Boarding House.
The frustration caused by this stasis, impotence, and imprisonment has a horrible
effect on the human spirit. Often, the weak in Dubliners deal with their
frustration by bullying the still weaker. Mahoney in An Encounter picks on
small children and animals, Little Chandler and Farrington, in two back-to-back
stories, take out their frustrations on their children.


Desire to escape

The natural complement of the above themes, of course. Its first expression
comes from the boys of An Encounter, whose dreams of the American Wild West
provide an escape from the tedium of Dublin. Unfortunately, most of the
characters are unable to escape.
Eveline finds herself too frightened to leave Ireland, Farrington finds even alcohol
unsatisfying, Little Chandler realises hell never find the focus to be a poet
The greatest barrier to escape is sometimes psychological, as it is with Eveline.
Escape is also a central theme of another important novel Joyce wrote, namely A
Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man. As an Irish writer who lived most of his
adult life abroad, Joyce was obsessed with the liberating effects of fleeing
Ireland, and he transfers that obsession, in one form or another, onto many
of the characters in Dubliners.

A. Windows
Windows in Dubliners consistently evoke the anticipation of events or encounters
that are about to happen.
For example, the narrator in The Sisters looks into a window each night,
waiting for signs of Father Flynns death, and the narrator in Araby
watches from his parlour window for the appearance of Mangans
The suspense for these young boys center in that space separating the interior
life from the exterior life. Windows also mark the threshold between
domestic space and the outside world, and through them the characters in
Dubliners observe their own lives as well as the lives of others.
Both Eveline and Gabriel turn to windows when they reflect on their own
situations, both of which center on the relationship between the individual and
the individuals place in a larger context
B. Dusk and nightlife
Joyces Dublin is perpetually dark. No streams of sunlight or cheery landscapes
illuminate these stories. Instead, a spectrum of grey and black underscores
their somber tone.
Characters walk through Dublin at dusk, an in-between time that hovers
between the activity of day and stillness of night, and live their most
profound moments in the darkness of late hours.
These dark backdrops evoke the half-life or in-between state the characters
in Dubliners occupy, both physically and emotionally, suggesting the
intermingling of life and death that marks every story. In this state, life can
exist and proceed, but the darkness renders Dubliners experiences dire and
C. Food and drink


Nearly all of the characters in Dubliners eat or drink, and in most cases food
serves as a reminder of both the threatening dullness of routine and the
joys and difficulties of togetherness.
In A Painful Case, Mr. Duffys solitary, duplicated meals are finally
interrupted by the shocking newspaper article that reports Mrs. Sinicos
death. This interruption makes him realise that his habits isolate him from love
and happiness.
The party meal in The Dead might evoke conviviality, but the rigid order of the
rich table instead suggests military battle.
In Two Gallants, Lenehans quiet meal of peas and ginger beer allows him to
dwell on his self-absorbed life, so lacking in meaningful relationships and
security, while the constant imbibing in After the Race fuels Jimmys attempts
to convince himself he belongs with his upper-class companions.
Food in Dubliners allows Joyce to portray his characters and their
experiences through a substance that both sustains life yet also
symbolizes its restraint.

4 Dubliners: the short stories. Stages of life?

4.1 The Sisters
4.1.1 Reading: Plot summary.


The story starts with a young boy reflecting on the impending death of Father Flynn,
apparently a friend of his. The priest is in a very bad condition; he had been struck by
already the third stroke in a row. The boy know realises that the priest has only little
time left. Knowing this, the boy makes a habit of walking past Father Flynns house,
looking for the light of the traditional two candles placed on a coffin that would
indicate his death. Each time, the word paralysis comes up his mind
One night at his aunt and uncles house, the boy arrives at supper to find his uncle
and Old Cotter, apparently a family friend, sitting before the fire; after a long struggle
for life, the priest evidently past away. Knowing that everyone waits for his reaction,
he decides to remain quiet.
While the end shuffles food to and from the table, a conversation ensues between the
uncle and Old Cotter, and the uncle notes the high hopes Father Flynn had for the
boy. Apparently the priest planned to prepare the boy for the priesthood.
Old Cotter, however, thinks of Father Flynn as a peculiar case, insisting that young
boys should play with people their own age. The uncle agrees with Old Cotter. The
boys aunt, however, seems to be very annoyed with the fact that anyone could think

J. Joyce, Dubliners. The Sisters, Penguin Classics, Clays Ltd., London, 2000, p. 1-11.


critically of Father Flynn, who was a respectful man and a good priest! She asks
Cotter to clarify his point, but he trails off and the conversation ends
The following night, Old Cotters comments keep the boy awake for a long time. After
a while he falls asleep, and he starts dreaming of Father Flynn smiling and confessing
something to him.
The next morning the boy visits Father Flynns house, where a bouquet of flowers and
a card hang from the door handle. Instead of knocking, he walks away and starts
reminiscing about the time he spent there. Now we get to know that he used to bring
the priest snuffing tobacco from his aunt, and that he used to teach him things, such
as how to pronounce the Latin alphabet and the parts of the Mass.
Remembering Old Cotter critical and cryptic comments, the boy tries to recall more of
his dream from the night before, but he can only remember a Persian setting, the end
stays unknown
That evening the boy visits the priests house with his aunt, and they kneel at Father
Flynns open casket . They start praying together with Nannie, one of Flynns sisters.
Afterwards, the three retire to another room to join Eliza, another sister of Flynn.
Over sherry and crackers, they discuss Flynns death, his career as a priest, and the
helpful services of Father ORourke. All the time the boy remains quiet.
The story finally ends with Elizas recollection of Father Flynns odd behavior, which
started with dropping a chalice during Mass. When one night Father ORourke and
another priest found him shut in a confessional box, laughing to himself, they finally
realised he was sick

4.1.2 Notes


that Rosicrucian there (1)

A jocular if slightly derisive reference to the narrators interest, as a dreamer and
as a possible future ordinand, in the esoteric mysteries of religion. By associating
with Father Flynn he seems as if he is receiving an introduction, not completely
healthy for one of his tender years, to the cultic and magical aspects of the
Churchs power, already setting him apart from the rest of the mortals. 68
A Rosicrucian is a member of a fraternity of religious mysteries wich traces its
origins to ancient Egypt by way of the probably fictitious fifteenth-century German
monk Father Christian Rosenkreutz. There was a revival of interest in the cult
in the nineteenth century as conventional religion seemed increasingly
unsatisfactory to many minds hungering for mystery and occult powers.69


T. Brown, Dubliners. James Joyce. Introduction and notes, Penguin Books, Clays Ltd.,
London, 1992, p. 238-245.

T. Brown, Dubliners. James Joyce. Introduction and notes, Penguin Books, Clays Ltd.,
London, 1992, p.239.

(red.), Wikipedia. The free encyclopedia. Rosicrucianism, internet, 2008-23-01.


The Irish poet W. B. Yeats was deeply interested in such matters; he published
his essay The Body of the Father Christian Rosencrux in 1895, the year in which
this story is set!70

as to absolve the simoniac of his sin (2)

Absolution is the remission of sin by an authorised priest in the Roman
Catholic sacrament of Penance . Absolution from censures is the removal of
penalties imposed by the church; it grants reconciliation with the Church. As the
penalty for simony is excommunication, depriving one of the sacraments,
excluding one from divine services, prayers of the Church,
Christian burial,
and canonical rights, a judgement which is reserved to papal authority, it must be
assumed that it is absolution of censures to which the narrator here apparently
Absolution of censures for a sin so serious as simony could be granted, when the
sinner is a priest, only by higher ecclesiastical authority. 71

July 1st ,1895 (3)

It has been noted by several critics that Father Flynn dies on the Church Feast
of Most Precious Blood.
Another also notes that July 1st was the date of the Battle of the Boyne in
which Catholic Ireland was defeated by William Prince of Orange and the
subsequent King William the Third of England!


Frater I.D. V.A., The Dead and Resurrection of Christian Rosenkreutz. Rosicrucianism for
the Twenty-First Century, internet, 2008-30-01.


(red.), Babylon. The Sacrement of Penance, internet, 2008-02-02.


Battle of the Boyne

near the river Boyne, Drogheda

King William III of England

to pronounce Latin properly (4)

Presumably Father Flynn was an advocate of the Roman method of
pronunciation of Latin in Church services. This was a nineteenth-century attempt
to pronounce Latin as Cicero might have done in the first century BC. It differed
in pronunciation both from medieval church Latin and from the English method
in use in schools throughout the Anglo-Saxon world. The matter remained
controversial in the period when Joyce set his stories!

the different vestments worn by the priest (5)

During the course of the liturgical year the outer garments of the priest at Mass
are of different colours in a complex religious symbology.

sins were mortal or venial (6)

In Roman Catholic doctrine a mortal sin is a morally bad human act which,
undertaken with full consent of the will, is grievously offensive to God and which
makes the soul deserving of eternal punishment.
To die in mortal sin without the absolution which only a priest can give in
confession is accordingly a fate to be feared above all others.
A venial sin is an offence against God in a lighter matter or without full consent
of the will that does not destroy the right to eternal happiness. The difference is
obviously crucial!72

the secrecy of the confessional (7)

The confessional is the seat or place used by a priest in a church when hearing
the confessions of the faithful. It is traditionally a place of two compartments
separated by a screen in one of which the priest is seated and in the other the
penitent kneels.



In the Sacrament of Penance, which involves confession of sins and absolution,

an obligation of complete confidentiality is enjoined upon the confessor, the duly
ordained priest who hears the penitents confession.

the fathers of the Church (8)

The name by which Christian writers of the first seven centuries are designated.

Post Office Directory (9)

An annual Dublin publication giving city addresses and names of residents and

blessed ourselves (10)

The mourners make the sign of the cross upon their persons as an indication of
a private prayer asking for Gods favour and in recognition of Christs sacrifice.

notice for the Freemans general (11)

A death notice to be placed in a daily national newspaper published in Dublin,
the Freemans Journal and National Press. 73
This newspaper ( here referred to in a malapropism) was an organ of middleclass Catholic nationalist opinion and notable for its respectful and ample
reports on ecclesiastical matters, including funerals.74

papers for the cemetery and poor Jamess insurance (12)


(red.), A Journal to the American Revolution, internet, 2008-02-02.,


(red.), A Journal to the American Revolution, internet, 2008-02-02.,



The reference here is to the papers proving Father Flynns entitlement to a

grave plot in a cemetery and possibly to an insurance policy in respect of funeral
and burial expenses.
Such provision for his death suggests a characteristic middle-class Irish
preoccupation with dignified and impressive obsequies. A priest like Father
Flynn, whose origins were in the lower-class Dublin district of Irishtown, yet
who trained at the Irish College in Rome, might have been expected to be
particularly concerned about such matters!

Johnny Rushs (13)

Francis (Johnny) Rush, cab and car proprietor, 10 Findlaters Place!

it contained nothing (14)

The Sacrament of the Mass and the chalice employed therein are here the
objects of pious superstition. The speaker is expressing a fear that the
consecrated wine might have been spilled thereby doing profound
disrespect to the body and blood of Christ. This of course is to confuse
substance with accidence in a theologically unsophisticated fashion.

they say it was the boys fault (15)

The boy is an altar boy, server or acolyte who assists the priest in the Mass. Here
the speaker reports an effort to ascribe the blame for a possible sacrilege
to the altar boy, thereby exonerating the priest himself. But the speaker
remains unconvinced.

4.1.3 Story character list


The Sisters narrator.

The reserved and contemplative boy who deals with the death of his friend, Father Flynn.
This narrator avoids showing outward emotions to his family members, but he devotes
his thoughts to the priests memory. Others in the story see the narrators relationship
with the priest as inappropriate and exploitative, and the narrator himself seems unsure
of what the priest meant to him.
Father Flynn
The priest who dies in the story. Father Flynns ambiguous presence in the story as a
potential child molester initiates a book-long critique of religious leaders, consistently
portraying them as incompetent!
Old Cotter


T. Brown, Dubliners. James Joyce. Introduction and notes, Penguin Books, Clays Ltd.,
London, 1992, p.1-11.


The family friend in the story who informs the narrator of Father Flynns death. Old
Cotter voices concern about the priests intentions with the narrator, but he avoids
making any direct statements.

4.1.4 Story analysis


In this short story Joyce sets the tone of his further short stories; strange and
puzzling events occur that remain unexplained. It seems that Joyce is a bit playing with
us; come on, put the pieces to the puzzle, because I never tell! Joyce, apparently, offers
us links and our job is then to guess what had happened or what went on In this story,
we see that Father Flynn suffers from paralysing strokes and eventually dies, but his
deterioration also hints that he was mentally unstable Nevertheless, the reader
never learns exactly what was wrong with him.
Similarly, Father Flynn and the young boy had a relationship that Old Cotter thinks was
unhealthy, but that the narrator paints as spiritual when recounting the discussions he
and Father Flynn had about Church Rituals. However, the narrator also has strange
dreams about Father Flynn and admits feeling uncomfortable around him. Again, Joyce
presents just enough information so that we, as a reader, suspect Father Flynn is a
dark figure. However, this information is never enough so that the reader knows the full
story! In fact, Joyce himself hints at his own used technique in the first paragraph of
the story
() Every night as a gazed up the window I said softly to myself the word paralysis.
It had always
sounded strangely in my ears, like the word gnomon in the Euclid and the word
simony in the
Catechism. But now it sounded to me like the name of some maleficent and
sinful being. It filled me with fear, and yet I longed to be nearer to it and look upon its deadly


We read that the narrator thinks of the word paralysis when looking at Father Flynns
window. He thinks the word sounds strange; like the word gnomon, a geometry term
that generally refers to the remainder of a parallelogram after removal of a similar one
containing one of its corners. 78


(red.), Gradesaver. Online Study guides. Summary and Analysis of The Sisters,internet,

J. Joyce, Dubliners. The Sisters, Penguin Classics, Clays Ltd., London, 2000, p.1.


J. Joyce, Dubliners. The Sisters, Penguin Classics, Clays Ltd., London, 2000, p.1.


However, there is another more contextual meaning linked to this text passage,
namely the stylus of a sundial throwing a shadow which indicates the hours of
the day.Since the tone is dark, somebody is dying
But is this the exact meaning, or is it another one? We never can be sure of this! Joyce
exactly does this; pointing to details and suggestions, but never completing the
It is very clear that the physical presence of Father Flynn lingers throughout the story;
his approaching death makes the narrator think of the corpse, which he eventually sees.
However, when the man actually dies, the young boy still thinks of his physical presence,
particularly the lurid way his tongue rested on his upper lip He also dreams of his face.
Such bizarre physical images evoke the awkward nature of death. The presence of
death and the narrators memories give Father Flynn a haunting presence that
is fearful and mysterious, instead of beautiful and neat!
The final scene only reinforces this haunted atmosphere when the young boy, after
viewing the corpse, declines the crackers offered, because he fears that eating them
would make too much noise, as if he might disturb Father Flynn in his coffin Scary! Or;
is he only asleep, does the young boy has a flashback of a sleeping Father Flynn, or is he
only thinking he is asleep. Or maybe he is denying the fact that the priest is actually
dead, Again Joyce points to details and suggestions, but never completes the puzzle for
us! He leaves room for discussion; he wants you to complete the puzzle by yourself! In
this case these blanks between the lines of the text create a mysterious, frightful
I have already stated that the presence of the priest lingers throughout the course of the
story. I have also said that this creates a rather frightful, scary-like atmosphere. This
could be the fact, and in a way it is a fact, however, it would be a little too easy of me
giving only one possible interpretation of the matter. This, of course, would be totally
wrong in the context of the story, and even in that of the whole novel!
In the tradition, or must I say the legacy of James Joyce, I know that there must be
some kind of a message, carefully hidden in one of the paragraphs. I know I must read
the novel Dubliners as a unit, and while doing that I thought of the literary genre of the
so called bildungsroman. Therefore, we must see the different short stories NOT as
individual, independent stories, but more as chapters of a greater unit! This implies that
there must be a moral and a deeper human context in this story, or at least some
psychological annex philosophical idea.
Knowing this, it becomes clear that the physical presence of Father Flynn that lingers
throughout the story, in fact colours the young boys experience of dealing with
death in life. Death there is no concept that has its roots planted mre firmly in the
deeper human context of life. Every born creature will eventually die, there is no question
about that. There is nobody who can stop it, since death is inevitable; we must all die,
even the young boy once will die!
There can be no
life without death, and no death without life; life and death as an important theme! Isnt
that philosophy at its best!!


Joyce wants to show us how death interrupts normal human activities; the world
keeps on spinning, however, when somebody dies at least for some persons, the world
will actually stops his spinning movement. This is where psychology comes in
What is very striking with this story is that the beginning and the passage at the end where the boy and his aunt visit the sisters of the priest- seem to connect with one
another; the link between the two passages of the story is, of course, paralysis!
The inability of the narrator and his aunt to eat and speak during their visit to
the sisters recalls the sense of paralysis that the narrator connects to the dying
Father Flynn in the storys opening paragraph.
This link between paralysis or inaction to both death and religion underpins, as
shown before, all the stories in Dubliners.
As I said above, Characters in Dubliners face events that paralise them from taking
action or fulfilling their desires, as though they experience a kind of death in life. In this
short story, such paralysis is clearly connected to religion through Father Flynn.
Of course, this is where the chalice comes in; Father Flynns dropping of the chalice
during Mass, and his inability to grasp the same object in his coffin suggest that the
rituals of religion lead to paralysis. His sisters even attribute his demise to the
strains of clerical life!
Also the window of Father Flynns room is a very important symbol; the narrator
sees the reflection of the candles through the blind of the window. If he sees this
reflection, he would instantly know what had happened to the priest! Therefore, the
window could be seen as a symbol of paralysis, and the candles as a symbol of
Gnomon seems to refer to paralysis that, step-by-step, is leading to a certain and
inevitable death; since gnomon can be explained as a sundial ( the stylus of a sundial
that throws the shadow which indicates the hours of the day), the shadows of the
instrument could be indicating the darkness ( death) that sets in over the light (life) very
slowly, though very determined as the shadow slowly moves on from hour to hour, till
dusk sets in and life is over

4.1.5 Focus on Dublin.


* Great Britain street

A street in North Central Dublin, north of the river Liffey, in a part of the
city inhabited by many of the citys poor. The street still exists, but now its
name had been changed into Parnell Street!
* S. Catherines Church



A Roman Catholic church in Meath Street in central Dublin to the south of

the river Liffey, in a more socially acceptable part of the city, where
however there were many poor parishioners living in slum conditions. The
church still exists, also does Meath Street!
* Irishtown

A poor area of Dublin just south of the river Liffey. The area still exists,
but the poverty has vanished within the course of the year.

4.2 An Encounter
4.2.1 Reading Plot summary.


Imagining they are in the Wild West, a group of schoolboys stage mock cowboy and
Indian battles. The narrator, again an unnamed boy, explains that Joe Dillon, the host
and consistent winner, always ends in victory with a dance. Such games and the fictional
adventure stories on which they are based bond these boys together, both in leisurely
release and secrecy.
As the narrator explains, he and his fellow pupils surreptitiously circulate the magazines
that carry the stories at school. The narrator recalls one time when Father Butler caught
Leo Dillon, Joes younger brother, with one such publication in his pocket. Father Butler
scolded Leo for reading such material instead of his Roman history!


The narrator yearns for more concrete adventures and organises a plan with Leo and
another boy named Mahoney to skip school one day and walk through Dublin, visiting the
ships along the wharf and finally the Pigeon House, Dublins electrical power station. He
confirms the pact by collecting sixpence from Leo and Mahoney, and they all promise to
meet at ten the next morning.
However, only Mahoney arrives as agreed. While the narrator and Mahoney walk south
through North Dublin, two poor boys approach them and yell insults, thinking them
Protestant. Resisting retribution, the boys continue until they reach the river, and there
they buy some food and watch the Dublin water traffic and laborers. They cross the river
in a ferryboat, buy some more food on the other side, and wander the streets until they
reach an open field where they rest on a slope.
The boys are alone for a while until an older man appears in the distance, walking
toward them leaning on a stick. He gradually approaches and passes the boys, but then
backtracks and joins them
The old man begins to talk, reminiscing about his boyhood and talking about books, such
as the works of Lord Lytton, who wrote romances. The conversation then turns to
sweethearts as the man asks the boys if they have many girlfriends, a question that
surprises the narrator. As the story continues, the narrator notes the peculiar appearance
and behavior of the man: his yellow-toothed, gaped smile, how he twitched occasionally,
and, most of all, his monotonous repetition of phrases
When the man leaves for a moment, the narrator suggests that he and Mahoney assume
the code names of Smith and Murphy, to be safe. As the man returns, Mahoney runs off
to chase a stray cat, leaving the narrator to listen to the mans peculiar monologues
alone. The man remarks that Mahoney seems like the kind of boy that gets whipped at
school, and from there launches into a diatribe about disciplining boys who misbehave,
insisting that any boy who talks to a girl should be whipped, and that he himself would
enjoy executing the punishment. At a pause in the mans speech, the narrator rises and
announces that he must depart. He calls for Mahoney, using the name Murphy, who runs
across the field towards him in response.

4.2.2 Notes

The Union Jack, Pluck and The Halfpenny Marvel (1)

Popular boys magazines, published in England to replace sensational trash
with good clean instructive stories of adventure for boys. The title The Union
Jack refers to the national ensign of the United Kingdom of Great Britain
and Ireland. Together with the title Pluck is suggested the imperial vision of
adventurous British boyhood that played a significant part in late-Victorian
British culture, to which publications referred to in his story were published by an
Irishman may have struck Joyce as significant! A halfpenny in the title of the
third periodical mentioned, was one of the smallest units of British coinage.
The title promises great adventure at small expense!81


T. Brown, Dubliners. James Joyce. Introduction and notes, Penguin Books, Clays Ltd.,
London, 1992, p.245.


Indian battles (2)

These are mock battles as between cowboys and Indians in the Wild West. 82

His parents went to the eight-oclock mass every morning (3)

Even in the notably pious climate of late-nineteenth century Dublin such daily
attendance at Mass, at what is a significant early hour of the day, would have
signaled special dedication or at least the desire to be reckoned as a married
couple of advanced piety83

Ya! yaka, yaka, yaka! (4)

Amerindian cry used in religious ceremony84

A vocation for the priesthood (5)

The sense that God is calling one to become a priest85

The Apache Chief (6)

Title of the story in The Halfpenny Marvel, dealing, one supposes, with the
Amerindian wars. An Apache is a member of a nomadic warlike Native
American tribe who formerly ranged vast tracts of land in south-western
North America86

This college (7)


T. Brown, Dubliners. James Joyce. Introduction and notes, Penguin Books, Clays Ltd.,
London, 1992, p.245.

T. Brown, Dubliners. James Joyce. Introduction and notes, Penguin Books, Clays Ltd.,
London, 1992, p.246.

T. Brown, Dubliners. James Joyce. Introduction and notes, Penguin Books, Clays Ltd.,
London, 1992, p.246.

T. Brown, Dubliners. James Joyce. Introduction and notes, Penguin Books, Clays Ltd.,
London, 1992, p.246.


From the setting this would have been understood by Dublin readers as
Belvedere College, a Jesuit-run day school for boys, in Great Denmark
Street on the north side of the city. Joyce himself attend this school and his
experiences are re-created in fiction in A Portrait of the Artist as A Young
Man (1916). The school was renowned for its soundly based education and for
the intellectual rigour of the institution offered there!87

National School (8)

Primary School. The national school system in Ireland was established by British
legislation in 1831-1834. The national schools supplied basic education, with
something of a practical emphasis for the majority of Irish children. Reckoned
anti-national by Irish nationalists since they were blamed, as English language
institutions, for the near-extirpation of the Irish language, they also were suspect
in the eyes of the Catholic hierarchy since the English administration had sought
at their interception to device a religious curriculum which would be suitable for
Catholic and Protestant pupils alike, allowing them to be educated together. The
schools were viewed as agents of proselytism and Anglicisation by respectable
Catholic nationalist opinion and a socially unsuitable by the middle classes.88

Miching (9)
Irish slang: playing truant

Sixpence (9)
Small silver coin worth six pennies.

Pipeclayed (10)
Cleaned with pipeclay, a clay often used in the manufacture of pipes for smoking
tobacco, but in this case employed to clean white canvass shoes.

To have some gas with it (11)

Irish slang: to have fun with it

Bunsen Burner (12)

A gas burner which produces an extremely hot blue flame, often used in chemistry
experiments in the classroom. A play on Father Butlers name, but also one
supposes a disrespectful reference to his temperament.

A bob (13)


T. Brown, Dubliners. James Joyce. Introduction and notes, Penguin Books, Clays Ltd.,
London, 1992, p.246.

T. Brown, Dubliners. James Joyce. Introduction and notes, Penguin Books, Clays Ltd.,
London, 1992, p.246.

T. Brown, Dubliners. James Joyce. Introduction and notes, Penguin Books, Clays Ltd.,
London, 1992, p.246.


Irish slang: a shilling


A tanner (14)
Irish slang: a small silver coin worth six pence

Swaddlers (15)
Dublin slang: protestants. Originally applied to Methodists and may be a response
to the apparently inhibited quality of puritan life.

Right skit (16)

Irish slang: great fun

Thomas Moore (17)

Thomas Moore was an Irish poet and author of Irish Melodies. Moores
Melodies set verses to Irish airs which he acquired from the collector Edward
Bunting, were enormously popular in Victorian and Edwardian Dublin 89

Sir Thomas Moore (Thomas Morus)


Sir Walter Scott (18)

Sir Walter Scott was a Scottish poet and historical novelist. His work was
notably romantic about the past.90

Sir Walter Scott


(red.), Amazon. Thomas Moore (1779-1852), internet, 2008-02-26., internet,


(red.), The Literature Network. Detailed Study Guides. Life and Work of Sir Wanter
Scott, 2008-03-01, http://www.online-literature.com/walter_scott/.


Lord Lytton (19)

Edward Bulwer-Lytton or Baron Lytton was an English novelist and
politician. He is the author of historical novels and sensational romances.
His works and his life were considered morally dubious by the prudish91

Lord Lytton

Totties (20)
Irish slang: girlfriends. It is a derivation from Hottentot. But it is also used as a
vulgar term meaning expensive prostitutes.

Josser (21)
Irish slang: a simpleton, or simply a fellow, when used as in the case with old.

In my heart I had always despised him a little (22)

A Biblical allusion on Samuel 6:21, 6:16 and 6:23. In this Biblical incident
Sauls daughter is punished by God with childlessness because of her
unrepentantly scornful attitude to King David.92


(red.), Wikipedia. Edward Bulwer Lytton, 1st Baron Lytton, 2008-03-01, internet,

T. Brown, Dubliners. James Joyce. Introduction and notes, Penguin Books, Clays Ltd.,
London, 1992, p.250.


4.2.3 Story character list


An Encounter narrator
The narrator of this short story is a young boy who endures an awkward conversation
with a perverted old man while skipping school. Because he is bored with the drudgery of
classes, he dreams of escape. He loves to play Cowboy and Indian games with his friend
Mahoney, but when these imaginary games fail to fulfill his yearning for adventure, he
embarks on a real one together with Mahoney by skipping school and spending the day in
Dublin, only to encounter fear
The narrators best friend in the story. When Mahoney and the narrator rest in a field a
strange old man approaches them. At one point Mahoney runs away after a cat, leaving
the young boy alone with the old man.

4.2.4 Story analysis94

The title An Encounter suggests that although people yearn for escape and adventure,
routine is inevitable, and new experiences, when they do come, can be profoundly
disturbing. The narrator and his friends play games about the Wild West to
disrupt the rote activity of school, and venture into Dublin for the same reason.
However, the narrator and his friends never fully reach escape. Though the narrator
bemoans the restraint of school, his attempt to avoid it leads him to the discomforting
encounter with an old man whose fixation on erotic novels, girlfriends, and
whipping casts him as a pervert. This creepy figure serves as an embodiment of
routine and suggests that repetition exists even within strange and new
The man walks in circles, approaching and passing the boys before retracing his steps
to join them. He mimics this action in his speech by repeating points already raised
and lingering on topics uncomfortable for the narrator. Although these boys seek an
escape, they must suffer monotony, in the form of an excruciating afternoon with a
frightening man. The rather mundane title for the story suggests that this deeply
awkward and anxious meeting is not so atypical of Dublin life, nor of childhood.
The troubling presence of a strange older man recalls the ambiguous
relationship between Father Flynn and the narrator of The Sisters, but this story
clearly shows the man exploiting and abusing the innocence of youth. The mans
conversation becomes more and more inappropriate and threatening, culminating in his
fantasy about whipping Mahoney. Most dangerous, the circular manner of his speech
paralyses the narrator: the mans orbit of words both mesmerises and disturbs him, and
he can do nothing but stare at the ground and listen.

J. Joyce, Dubliners.An Encounter., Penguin Classics, Clays Ltd., London, 2000, p.11-21.


(red.), GradeSaver. Summary and Analysis of An Encounter, internet, 2008-03-22,



When the man abruptly rises to walk away, and presumably, exposes to the boys, the
narrator remains frozen like a startled victim. In this state, the narrator knows
something is wrong, since he suggests to Mahoney that they assume fake names, but he
does not run away. Even when the man returns and Mahoney runs away to chase a
cat, the narrator stays rooted to the ground. Exactly why the narrator experiences this
paralysis is not explained, but its effects are anything but neutral!!
Many references to religion hover in this short story, demonstrating that religion is a
fixture in Dublin life that even the boys imaginations cannot elude. When Father Butler
chastises Leo about the magazine, he scolds that only Protestant boys, and not Catholic
boys like Leo, would read such disgraceful stories! This insult introduces the tension
between Catholics and Protestants that Joyce alludes to throughout Dubliners,
and reveals it to be a routine fact of life in Ireland!
Religious tension appears again in the same story when two poor boys throw rocks at
the narrator and Mahoney and mistake them for Protestants, an incident that suggests
that the line between these staunchly opposed groups is blurry. The narrator,
using words like chivalry and siege, pretends that he and Mahoney are in a battle
situation, but the playfulness of such imaginary games only reinforces the authenticity
of the scene.
Imagination can mask experiences, Joyce suggests, but it cannot reverse them
or make them disappear!!

4.2.5 Focus on Dublin.

* Gardiner Street
Street in Dublins north side which contains the Jesuit church of St Francis Xavier

* Canal Bridge
Bridge on the north side of the city which crosses the Royal Canal!


* Wharf road
Road running along the top of a sea-wall which protects part of north Dublin from
submergence in the waters of the river Tolka delta and of the tides of Dublin bay.

* the ferryboat
A Liffey ferry which carried passengers across the river close to its mouth. It left
from the North Wall Quay.
* Pigeon House
At the time of the composition the Pigeon House was the electricity and power
station which served the city of Dublin. The Pigeon House no longer exist due to
building development!
The site had been sold to Dublin Corporation in 1897. So if this story is set at
roughly the same time as The Sisters, then the Pigeon House in this story must
be reckoned the military dock at the date of sale

* the mall
Street on the south side of the Royal Canal which runs through the north side of
the city.


* North Strand Road

A major thoroughfare on the north side of the city

* Vitriol Works
A chemical factory on the north side of the city
* Smoothing Iron
A well-known bathing place on the north side of Dublin Bay. It is no longer in
existence because of building development!

* Ringsend
This is a working-class district of Dublin just south of the mouth of the river Liffey.


* Liffey
The Liffey is the principal river upon which the city of Dublin is built! It divides the
city into its north and south sides, a distinction which is never lost on the native

* the Dodder
A small river which flows into the Liffey close to its mouth. You could compare this
river with the Tolka river!

4.3 Araby


4.3.1 Reading:Plot summary.95

The narrator, again an unnamed boy, describes the North Dublin street on which his
house is located. He thinks about the priest who died in the house before his family
moved in and the games that he and his friends played in the street. He recalls how they
would run through the back lanes of the houses and hide in the shadows when they
reached the street again, hoping to avoid people in the neighborhood, particularly the
boys uncle or the sister of his friend Mangan.
The sister often comes to the front of their house to call the brother, a moment that the
narrator savors. Every day begins for this narrator with such glimpses of Mangans sister.
He places himself in the front room of his house so he can see her leave her house, and
then he rushes out to walk behind her quietly until finally passing her.
The narrator and Mangans sister talk little, but she is always in his thoughts. He thinks
about her when he accompanies his aunt to do food shopping on Saturday evening in the
busy marketplace and when he sits in the back room of his house alone The narrators
infatuation is so intense that he fears he will never gather the courage to speak with the
girl and express his feelings
One morning, Mangans sister asks the narrator if he plans to go to Araby, a Dublin
bazaar. She notes that she cannot attend, as she already committed to attend a retreat
with her school. Having recovered from the shock of the conversation, the narrator offers
to bring her something from the Bazaar. This brief meeting launches the narrator into a
period of anger, restless waiting and fidgety tension in anticipation of the bazaar. He
cannot focus in school. He finds the classes tedious, and they distract him from thinking
about Mangans sister!
On the morning of the bazaar, the narrator reminds his uncle that he plans to attend the
event so that the uncle will return home early and provide train fare. Yet dinner passes
and a guest visits, but the uncle does not return. The narrator impatiently endures the
time passing, until at nine p.m. the uncle finally returns, unbothered that he has
forgotten about the narrators plans. Reciting the epigram All work and no play, makes
Jack a dull boy, the uncle gives the narrator the money and asks him if he knows the
poem The Arabs Farewell to his Steed. The narrator leaves just as his uncle begins to
recite he lines, and, thanks to eternally slow trains, arrives at the bazaar just before ten
p.m., when it is starting to close down. He approaches one stall that is still open, but
buys nothing, feeling unwanted by the woman watching over the goods. With no
purchase for Mangans sister, the narrator stands angrily in the deserted bazaar as the
lights go out

4.3.2 Notes

Araby (1)

J. Joyce, Dubliners. Araby, Penguin Popular Classics. New Edition., Clays Ltd., London,
1996., p. 21-29.


The title holds the key to the meaning of Joyces story!! Araby is a romantic
term for the Middle East, but there is no such country! The word was
popular throughout the nineteenth century, used to express the romantic
view of the east that had been popular since Napoleons triumph over
Egypt. And, of course, the story is about Romantic Irony, for the unnamed boy
has a romantic view of the world!
Joyce finished Araby in October of 1905: the eleventh in composition of the
stories that eventually would become Dubliners!
The story is about Orientation: one must notice how we derive this word from
the Orient, from the East, originally meaning that, to orient yourself means to
know in which direction the sun rises. The boy in Araby is disoriented, but
will know the true compass of the world at the end of his journey. This is a
traditional form in literature and the German word for it is Bildungsroman! 96 97

Being blind (2)

being blind describes the condition of the boys relation to reality. Note
that the story ends with an image of eyes seeing
Gazing up into the darkness I saw myself as a creature driven and derided by
and my eyes burned with anguish and anger.99

Set the boys free (3)

Joyce uses this neat phrase to suggest that religion has imprisoned the

A priest, had died (4)


(red.), GradeSaver. Summary and Analysis of Araby, internet, 2008-02-22,


T. Brown, Dubliners. James Joyce. Introduction and notes, Penguin Books, Clays Ltd.,
London, 1992, p.250-251.

W. Gray, Grays Notes for James Joyces Araby., 2008-02-22, internet,


W. Gray, Grays Notes for James Joyces Araby., 2008-02-22, internet,


W. Gray, Grays Notes for James Joyces Araby., 2008-02-22, internet,



As the opening paragraph has prepared us both for a story of particulars as well
as for an allegory, the priest carries several messages. Joyce, who hated
Roman Catholicism, implies that the Church (represented by the priest) is
dead. The Church as the former tenant of the House that is Ireland is no more!101

The Abbot by Walter Scott, The Devout Communicant, and The Memoirs of Vidocq
Joyce always has a purpose in the novel Dubliners, and the selection of these
titles is not casual and is therefore used as best advantage!
The Abbot, written in 1820, was about Mary Queen of Scots (1542-1587).
The novel presented her life in a sincerely religious and romantic fashion, in
contrast to the usual picture of her as a harlot queen! The presence of this
romantic/religious/sexual complex is central to Joyces story, as the boy confuses
and conflates Romantic Love, Religious Love and Materialist Love. As the story
proceeds, we find that he deceives himself about the sexual, spiritual,
and the financial!

Sir Walter Scott

Mary Queen of Scots

The Devout Communicant could refer to any one of three works with this title.
The one by the English Franciscan Friar Pacificus Barker (1695-1774) is
noted for its lush, pious language and could have influenced the boys
couching his sexual feelings for the girl in pious images.
William Tindall, one of the pioneers of Joyce studies in the United States, held
that the work Joyce had in mind was the one by Abednego Sellar, as the
authors name reinforces the materialistic themes of Araby. Joyces anticlerical views also support this choice, as Sellar was a Protestant clergyman- as
was James Ford- the author of a third book by this title in print at the time.
More important than specifically identifying which work Joyce had in mind here, is
the fact of the influence of the devoutly fious language of any of these
works on the young boys vocabulary and outlook!


W. Gray, Grays Notes for James Joyces Araby., 2008-02-22, internet,



The Memoirs of Vidocq, written by Franois-Jules Vidocq, was a popular 19th

century novel about a Parisian Police Commissioner who also was a thief, and was
thus able to hide his crimes! Joyces use of the book here supports the theme of
deception and dishonesty in the story. But just as the reader is
simultaneously aware of the meaning of the mention of these novels, and that the
boy does not understand these meanings, the theme of deception merely
strengthens the sense that the boy is deceived about himself. 102

Franois-Jules Vidocq

Liked the last because its leaves were yellow (6)

By Joyces use of this particular sentence, we get the first glimpses of the
boys romantic, and nave view of life. Joyce plays on our attention to
allegorical and symbolical details, for after the first paragraph we quickly realise
that the narrator is a very young boy, who isnt using figurative language
self-consciously. And yet the figurative meaning is where we find Joyces
telling of the story.103

Wild garden central apple tree (7)

This is an obvious reference to the Garden of Eden, and Araby is certainly
about a young mans fall from grace Joyces adding the rusty bicycle
pump here, shows that the reference to Eden is clearly After the Fall: Joyce
sets the confused and unhealthy mixture of religion and sex with the
priests (thoroughly Freudian!) rusty bicycle pump. This phallic pump
can be considered as one of the treasures in Joyces work!104

A very charitable priest (8)


T. Brown, Dubliners. James Joyce. Introduction and notes, Penguin Books, Clays Ltd.,
London, 1992, p.250-251.

W. Gray, Grays Notes for James Joyces Araby., 2008-02-22, internet,


W. Gray, Grays Notes for James Joyces Araby., 2008-02-22, internet,



The frequent hypocrisy of religion is a familiar theme in Dubliners. Here the

sweet, almost admiring description hides the disconcerting question: if the
priest was so charitable, why did he have such a lot of money when he
died??? All suggests a lot of money, as does the idea of amounts that might be
left to institutions. And what, after all, is so charitable about leaving furniture to
your sister: the only thing less charitable would be to have had it thrown away. Of
course, as mentioned earlier, this is the sort of recognition reserved for the
reader, rather than the narrator, at least at this point in the story!105
The unreliable or unknowing narrator is a common literary device,
invented perhaps by Edgar Allan Poe, and exploited so well by Dostojewsky in
the 19th century.

Edgar Allan Poe

F. Dostojewsky

Ford M. Ford

It appeared to be extremely common in 20th century fiction. Ford Maddox

Fords The Good Soldier is a brilliant example of a technique like that used by
Joyce in Araby: as readers quickly realise we know more about what is
going on than does the narrator!106

Mangans sister (9)

Joyce could count on readers making the connection with the popular, but
sentimental and romantic 19th
century Irish poet, James Clarence
Mangan was himself fond of writing about Araby, and even through he knew
no Arabic, he claimed that some of his poems were translations from Arabic!
Joyces use of Mangan is one of the strongest supports for the theme of


W. Gray, Grays Notes for James Joyces Araby., 2008-02-22, internet,


W. Gray, Grays Notes for James Joyces Araby., 2008-02-22, internet,



romanticism in the story, while at the same time it serves to strengthen

previous instances of hypocrisy and false sentiment!107

James C. Mangan

Brown (10)
Brown is certainly the most frequent used colour in Dubliners.
Joyce wants to set a nearly hopeless and discouraged mood.
In Stephen Hero, part of the draft of the book that became A Portrait of the
Artist as a Young Man, Joyce writes: one of those brown brick houses which
seems the very incarnation of Irish paralysis.
So for Joyce the colour brown represents paralysis or the colour that
makes you feel paralised.
In this story it represents hopelessness and discouragement as symptoms
of a disease that one calls paralysis!108

Come-all-you (11)
Come-all-you is a popular song or ballad which employed the conventional
phrase Come all you gallant Irishmen and listen to my song to gain an
audiences attention109


T. Brown, Dubliners. James Joyce. Introduction and notes, Penguin Books, Clays Ltd.,
London, 1992, p. 252.

W. Gray, Grays Notes for James Joyces Araby., 2008-02-22, internet,


T. Brown, Dubliners. James Joyce. Introduction and notes, Penguin Books, Clays Ltd.,
London, 1992, p. 252.


ODonovan Rossa (12)

Jeremiah ODonovan (1831-1915) was a Fenian (Protestant) revolutionary and
member of Parliament elected in 1869 when serving a life sentence for treasonfelony.
He came from the town Ross Carberry in County Cork and was nicknamed
Dynamite Rossa!

Jeremiah ODonovan

My chalice (13)
A chalice is a globet, especially the cup used in the Eucharist. Here the suggestion
of bearing a venerated object through a crowd of foes brings to mind the quest
romance tale of the Holy Grail (this is the cup used at the Last Supper and the
cup that Mary used to collect Jesus blood) which was popularised in Tennysons
Idylls of the King. The Holy Grail was published as part of this ongoing poetic
work in 1869!110

A retreat (14)
A retreat is a period of a few days retirement from normal life for a
prayer, reflection and religious services! 111

Some Freemason affair (15)

Some Freemason affair is a function organized by a lodge of the Society of
The Freemasons were highly influential in the professional and business life
of Victorian Protestant Dublin.


(red), Ancestry Community, Jeremiah ODonovan Rossa, 2008-03-22.,


T. Brown, Dubliners. James Joyce. Introduction and notes, Penguin Books, Clays Ltd.,
London, 1992, p. 252.


They were suspected by Roman Catholics of atheism, anti-Catholicism and

Protestant bigotry. Rumor has it that their meetings were held in complete

Freemason emblem

This night of our Lord (16)

The time is Saturday evening, and the Saturday evening church service is
dedicated to veneration of the Virgin Mary. In this story the Virgin Mary is
represented by Mangans sister!113

The Arabs Farewell to his Steed (17)

The Arabs Farewell to his Steed, a poem by Caroline Norton (18081877), was so popular that Joyce could count on the association that the reader
of Araby would (consciously or unconsciously) make with the story he is reading:
the Arab boy sells for gold coins the thing that he loves the most in the world, his
However, as the horse is being led away, the boy changes his mind and rushes
after the man to return the money and reclaim his love. Please read the final
stanza of the poem:
Who said that I had given thee up? Who said that Thou wast sold?
T is false! My Arab steed! I fling them back their gold!
Thus-thus, I leap upon thy back, and scatter the distant plains!
Away! Who overtakes us now shall claim thee for his pains.114
A further irony here, that contributes to the theme of dishonesty and
deception, concerns the author of the poem. Caroline Norton had an affair with


T. Brown, Dubliners. James Joyce. Introduction and notes, Penguin Books, Clays Ltd.,
London, 1992, p. 252.

T. Brown, Dubliners. James Joyce. Introduction and notes, Penguin Books, Clays Ltd.,
London, 1992, p. 253.

C. Norton, The Arabs Farewell to his Steed, internet, 2008-22-03.



the British Home Secretary to Ireland, Lord Melbourne, and her husband in a
sense sold her to that diplomat by his silent complicity in the
arrangement for his own profession!115

Caroline Norton

Lord Melbourne

A florin (18)
A florin is a silver coin worth two shillings. For the boy in the story it would
have been an awe-inspiring sum!!116

Caf chantant (19)

This French word literally means singing caf, that is a coffee house which also
offers entertainment.
Such a name for a caf in Dublin suggests a provincial attempt to evoke the
romance and risqu temptations of the Paris of The Gay Nineties!117

4.3.3 Story character list

The Araby narrator
This narrator, again a young boy, devotes himself to Mangans sister, who lives next door.
Images and thoughts of the girl subsume the narrators days, but when he finally speaks
to her it is brief and rather awkward

W. Gray, Grays Notes for James Joyces Araby., 2008-02-22, internet,


T. Brown, Dubliners. James Joyce. Introduction and notes, Penguin Books, Clays Ltd.,
London, 1992, p. 253.

T. Brown, Dubliners. James Joyce. Introduction and notes, Penguin Books, Clays Ltd.,
London, 1992, p. 253.


When Mangans sister tells the narrator about a bazaar called Araby, the young boy
decides to go there and buy something for his sweetheart! However, he arrives at the
bazaar too late and ends up buying nothing. The narrator illustrates the joys and
frustrations of premature love. His inability to pursue his desires angers him a lot.
Mangans sister
The subject of love in the story. Mangans sister mentions the Araby bazaar to the
narrator, prompting him to travel there. She suggests the familiarity of Dublin, as well as
the hope of love and the exotic appeal of new places.

4.3.4 Story analysis

118 119

In Araby, the allure of new love and distant places mingles with the familiarity
of everyday drudgery, with frustrating consequences. Mangans sister embodies
this mingling, since she is part of the familiar surroundings of the narrators street as well
as the exotic promise of the bazaar.
She is a brown figure who both reflects the brown facades of the buildings that
line the street and evokes the skin colour of romanticized images of Arabia that
flood the narrators head. Like the bazzar that offers experiences that differ from
everyday Dublin, Mangans sister intoxicates the narrator with new feelings of joy and
elation. His love for her, however, must compete with the dullness of schoolwork,
his uncles lateness, and the Dublin trains. Though he promises Mangans sister that
he will go to Araby and purchase a gift for her, these mundane realities undermine his
plans and ultimately thwart his desires.
The narrator arrives at the bazaar only to encounter flowered teacups and
English accents, not the freedom of the enchanting East! As the bazaar closes
down, he realises that Mangans sister will fail his expectations as well, and that his
desire for her is actually only a vain wish for change!
The narrators change of heart concludes the story on a moment of epiphany,
but not a positive one! Instead of reaffirming his love or realising that he does not
need gifts to express his feelings for Mangans sister, the narrator simply gives up He
seems to interpret his arrival at the bazaar as it fades into darkness as a sign that
his relationship with Mangans sister will also remain just a wishful idea and
that his infatuation was as misguided as his fantasies about the bazaar!
What might have been a story of happy, youthful love becomes a tragic story of defeat.
Much like the disturbing, unfulfilling adventure in An Encounter, the narrators failure
at the bazaar suggests that fulfillment and contentedness remain foreign to
Dubliners, even in the most unusual events of the city like an annual bazaar!

(red.), GradeSaver. Summary and Analysis of Araby, internet, 2008-02-22,


Florence L. Walzl, James Joyces Dubliners: Critical Essays by Clive Hart The Modern
Language Journal Vol. 54, No. 5, Blackwell Publishing andNational Federation of Modern
Language Teachers Associations, May 1970, pp. 372-373.


The tedious events that delay the narrators trip indicate that no room exists for love
in the daily lives of Dubliners, and the absence of love renders the characters in
the story almost anonymous. Though the narrator might imagine himself to be
carrying thoughts of Mangans sister through his day as a priest would carry a Eucharistic
chalice to an altar, the minutes tick away through school, dinner, and his uncles boring
poetic recitation.
Time does not adhere to the narrators visions of his relationship. The story
presents this frustration as universal: the narrator is nameless, the girl is always
Mangans sister as though she is any girl next door, and the story closes with the
narrator imagining himself as a creature.
In this story Joyce thus suggests that all people experience frustrated desire
for love and new experiences!

4.3.5 Focus on Dublin.

North Richmond Street

This is a crowdy street on the north side of the city. There are lots of shops
and boutiques there, so I would recommend this street to our female
companions! Excellent for shopping!!

Belvedere College, North Richmond Street, Dublin.

Buckingham Street
Street on the north side of the river Liffey in central Dublin.


Westland Row Station

Railway station on the south side of the river Liffey. Still in service!!

PART II . Adolescence

4.4 Eveline
4.4.1 Reading: Plot summary.


Eveline Hill sits at a window in her home and looks out onto the street while fondly
recalling her childhood, when she played with other children in a field now developed with
new homes.
Her thoughts turn to her sometimes abusive father with whom she lives, and to the
prospect of freeing herself from her hard life juggling jobs as a shop worker and a nanny
to support herself and her father. Eveline faces a difficult dilemma: remain at home like a
dutiful daughter, or leave Dublin with her lover, Frank, who is a sailor. He wants her to

J. Joyce, Dubliners. Eveline, Penguin Popular Classics. New Edition., Clays Ltd., London,
1996., p. 29-35.


marry him and live with him in Buenos Ayres, Argentina. Eveline has already agreed to
leave with him in secret.
As Eveline recalls, Franks courtship of her was pleasant until her father began to voice
his disapproval and bicker with Frank. After that the two lovers met clandestinely.
As Eveline reviews her decision to embark on a new life, she holds in her lap two letters,
one to her father and one to her brother Harry. She begins to favor the sunnier memories
of her old family life, when her mother was alive and her brother was living at home, and
notes that she did promise her mother to dedicate herself to maintaining the home. She
reasons that her life at home, cleaning and cooking, is hard but perhaps not the worst
option- her father is not always mean, after all
The sound of a street organ then reminds her of her mothers death, and her thoughts
change course. She remembers her mothers uneventful, sad life, and passionately
embraces her decision to escape the same faith by leaving with Frank.
At the docks in Dublin, Eveline waits in a crowd to board the ship with Frank. She
appears detached and worried, overwhelmed by the images around her, and prays to God
for direction. Her previous declaration of intent seems to have never happened. When
the boat whistle blows and Frank pulls on her hand to lead her with him, Eveline resists.
She clutches the barrier as Frank is swept into the throng moving toward the ship. He
continually shouts come! but Eveline remains fixed to the land, motionless and

4.4.2 Notes

Eveline (1)
Thomas Moores poem Eveleens Bower is a possible source for the name of
the principal figure in this short story. However, a Victorian pornographic
novel, in which the heroine has sexual intercourse with her father and
whose speciality is fellatio, was entitled Eveline.
When it is remembered that this story was written in an earlier form at the
suggestion of George Russell for the Irish Homestead and that Russell
advised Joyce that he should not shock his readership, the possibility arises
that the young author was playing a mischievous joke in using this name
and perhaps implying sexual abuse as a subterranean theme! 121

A man from Belfast (2)

A man from the industrial and largely Protestant city in the north of the country.
The commercial aggressiveness and philistine bumptiousness of the
stereotypical Belfastman is perhaps suggested in this reference 122

Nix (3)


T. Brown, Dubliners. James Joyce. Introduction and notes, Penguin Books, Clays Ltd.,
London, 1992, p. 253.

T. Brown, Dubliners. James Joyce. Introduction and notes, Penguin Books, Clays Ltd.,
London, 1992, p. 254.


Irish slang: to keep guard


Melbourne (4)
City in Victoria State, Australia. In the nineteenth century many Irish were
transported as criminals to Australia while many emigrants settled there. The
Catholic priesthood in Australia was significantly Irish in personnel and

Night-boat (4)
A ferry left Dublin every night for Liverpool in England. It must be assumed that
Frank intends to embark there for South America.124

Buenos Ayres (5)

This is the capital of Argentina, in the nineteenth and early twentieth century a
thriving and wealthy city which attracted many European immigrants and
adventurers. The phrase Going to Buenos Ayres was also slang for taking
up life of prostitution.125

The Bohemian Girl (6)

The Bohemian Girl was a very popular romantic light opera (1843) with
music by the Dublin musician and composer Michael W. Balfe (1808-1870).126

Michael W. Balfe

The lass that loves a sailor (7)


(red.), Wikipedia. Irish Diaspora., internet, 200-03-03,


T. Brown, Dubliners. James Joyce. Introduction and notes, Penguin Books, Clays Ltd.,
London, 1992, p. 254.

T. Brown, Dubliners. James Joyce. Introduction and notes, Penguin Books, Clays Ltd.,
London, 1992, pp. 254-255.

(red.), Wikipedia. The Bohemian Girl., internet, 200-03-03,



The lass that loves a sailor was a popular song by English songwriter
Charles Dibdin (1745-1870).127

Charles Dibdin

Allan Line (8)

Allan Line was a passenger shipping line out of Liverpool in England that
served the Pacific coast of North America by way of voyage which involved
sailing round Cape Horn, calling at Buenos Ayres en route. The Allan Line was
associated with exile ( Irish Diaspora!!) .128

Allan Line steamer


The terrible Patagonians (9)

Notoriously uncivilised, nomadic tribes-people, inhabitants of the southern part of
Argentina. Almost unknown in Europe, they were a Victorian byword for
wildness and barbarity!129


L. Nelson-Burnes, Music in the work of James Joyce. The Lass that Loves a Sailor,
internet, 2008-03-23., http://www.james-joyce-music.com/extras/lasslovesailor.html.

(red.), The Ships List. The Fleets. The Allan Line/ Montreal Ocean Steamship Company.,
internet, 2008-03-23., http://www.theshipslist.com/ships/lines/allan.html.

T. Brown, Dubliners. James Joyce. Introduction and notes, Penguin Books, Clays Ltd.,
London, 1992, p. 255.


Damned Italians! Coming over here. (10)

Italian immigration to Ireland was in fact very slight, which fact must add to the
intemperance of this xenophobic outburst. As it happens Argentina was a main
focus of Italian immigration in the period.130

Derevaun Seraun! Derevaun Seraun! (11)

A famous crux. Possibly mere nonsense It has been generally assumed that this
is corrupt gaelic. Among suggestions as to possible meanings have been that it
may mean the end of pleasure is pain or the end of the song is raving
Others have proposed that the phrase is a corruption of a phrase meaning
Worms are the only end.131

4.4.3 Story character list

The protagonist of the story that shares her name. Eveline makes a bold and exciting
decision to migrate to Buenos Ayres together with her lover Frank.
One of a sudden, Eveline shrinks away from it, excluding herself from love. Her constant
review of the pros and cons of her decision demonstrates her willingness to please
everyone but herself, and her final resolve to stay in Dublin with her family casts her as a
woman trapped in domestic and familiar duties.

4.4.5 Story analysis


Evelines story illustrates the pitfalls of holding onto the past when facing the

T. Brown, Dubliners. James Joyce. Introduction and notes, Penguin Books, Clays Ltd.,
London, 1992, p. 255.

T. Brown, Dubliners. James Joyce. Introduction and notes, Penguin Books, Clays Ltd.,
London, 1992, pp. 255-256.

(red.), GradeSaver. Summary and Analysis of Araby, internet, 2008-02-22,



Her story is the first portrait of a female in Dubliners, and it reflects the conflicting
pull towards women in early twentieth-century Dublin felt between a domestic
life rooted in the past and the possibility of a new married life abroad.
One moment, Eveline feels happy to leave her hard life, yet at the next moment she
worries about fulfilling promises to her dead mother. She grasps the letters shes written
to her father and brother, revealing her inability to let go of those family relationships,
despite her fathers cruelty and her brothers absence. She clings to the older and more
pleasant memories and imagines what other people want her to do or will do for her. She
sees Frank as a rescuer, saving her from her domestic situation. Eveline suspends
herself between the call of home and the past and the call of new experiences
and the future, unable to make a decision.
The threat of repeating her mothers life spurs Evelines epiphany that she must leave
with Frank and embark on a new phase in her life, but this realisation is short-lived. She
hears a street organ, and when she remembers the street organ that played on the night
before her mothers death, Eveline resolves not to repeat her mothers life of
commonplace sacrifices closing in final craziness, but she does exactly that!!
Just like the young boys in the short stories An Encounter and Araby, she
wants to escape, but her reliance on routine (paralysis) overrides such
impulses On the docks with her lover Frank, away from the familiarity of home,
Eveline seeks guidance in the routine habit of a prayer
Her act of praying can be seen as the first clear sign that she hasnt made a
decision, but instead remains fixed in a perpetual circle of indecision! She keeps
her lips moving in the safe practice of repetitive prayer rather than joining her feelings
of love on a new and different path.
Eveline fears that Frank will drown her in their new life, and therefore she hesitates...
However, the main reason is her reliance on everyday rituals. These habitual actions
are what causes Eveline to freeze and not follow Frank onto the ship!
Evelines paralysis within a circle of repetition leaves her a helpless animal,
stripped of human will and emotion!
The story doesnt suggest that Eveline rapidly returns home and continues her dull
domestic life, but merely shows her transformation into an artificial being, a person that
lacks expression. The story suggests that Eveline will hover in mindless
repetition, on her own, in Dublin, the city that paralysis you! On the docks with
Frank, the possibility of living her life to the fullest, left her forever

4.4.5 Focus on Dublin.


Hill of Howth
The Hill of Howth is headland nine miles to the north-east of Dublin on Dublin
Bay with pleasant cliff walks and areas suitable for picknicking. A very nice place
to be because you feel surrounded by nature. However, it can be freezing there!

T. Brown, Dubliners. James Joyce. Introduction and notes, Penguin Books, Clays Ltd.,
London, 1992, pp. 255-256.


The North wall

The North wall is a dock on the river Liffey from where the ferry boat to Liverpool
left each evening. No longer in use

4.5 After the Race

4.5.1 Reading: Plot summary.


Many flashy cars drive towards Dublin and crowds gather and cheer. A race has just
finished, and though the French drivers placed second and third after the GermanBelgian driving team, the local spectators loudly support them! Jimmy Doyle rides in one
of the cars with his wealthy French friend, Charles, whom he met while studying at
Cambridge University. Two other men ride with them as well: Charles Canadian cousin,
Andr Rivire, and an Hungarian pianist, Villona.
Driving back into Dublin, the four young men rejoice about the magnificent victory, and
Jimmy enjoys the prestige of the ride. He fondly thinks about his recent investment in
Charles motor-company business venture, a financial backing that his father approves
and supports. Jimmy loves the notoriety of being surrounded by and seen with such
glamorous company, and in such a luxurious car!
Charles drops Jimmy and Villona off in Dublin so they can return to Jimmys home, where
Villona is staying, to change into formal dress for dinner at Charles hotel. At the dinner,
the reunited party joins an Englishman, Routh, and conversation energetically moves
music to cars to politics, under the direction of host Charles. Jimmy, turning to IrishEnglish relations, rouses an angry response from Routh, but Charles expertly snuffs any
potential for argument with a toast.
After the meal, the young men stroll through Dublin and run into another acquaintance,
an American named Farley, who invites them to his yacht. The party grows merrier, and
they sing a French marching song as they make their way to Dublin port. Once on board,
the men proceed to dance and drink as Villona plays the piano. Jimmy makes a speech
that his companions loudly applaud, and then the men settle down to play cards. Drunk


J. Joyce, Dubliners. After the Race, Penguin Classics, Clays Ltd., London, 2000, p.35-43.

and giddy, Jimmy plays game after game, losing more and more money. He yearns for
the playing to stop, but goes along nevertheless. A final game leaves Routh the
champion. Even as the biggest loser alongside Farley, Jimmys spirits never dwindle. He
knows he will feel remorse the next day, but assures himself of his happiness just as
Villona opens the cabin door and announces that daybreak has come

4.5.2 Notes

After the race (1)

Joyces readers would readily have recognised that the motor race described in
this story was the widely reported annual Gordon-Bennett automobile race,
which was held in Ireland on 2 July in 1903, when this story is set!!135

Gallicism (2)
Gallicism, in this context, meaningmembers of the Gallic or French

Advanced Nationalist (3)

Here, Joyce means a fervent supporter or member of the Irish Parliamentary
Party at Westminster which, under the leadership of Charles Stewart Parnell
(1846-1891), sought legislative independence for Ireland!136


T. Brown, Dubliners. James Joyce. Introduction and notes, Penguin Books, Clays Ltd.,
London, 1992, p. 256.


T. Brown, Dubliners. James Joyce. Introduction and notes, Penguin Books, Clays Ltd.,
London, 1992, p. 256.


Charles Stewart Parnell


Police contrasts (4)

There were two police forces that Jimmys father might have supplied with meat
products: the Dublin Metropolitan Police and the Royal Irish Constabulary.
Apparently his modified nationalism did not advance as far as refusing to
provision one or other or both of these two staunch bodies of men, upholders of
British law and order in Ireland.137

Electric candle lamps (5)

Electric candle lamps were electric bulbs shaped to look like lit candles. In 1903
only the most pretentious of hotels would have boasted such amenities.138

The English madrigal (6)

The early twentieth century saw a revival of interest in the music of the
English Elizabethan era, when the madrigal, a five-or six-part polyphonic song,
was popular139

Old instruments (7)

In the Renaissance madrigal the vocal parts were often doubled by
instruments, many of which had fallen into disuse by the nineteenth century.
The revival of interest in the Renaissance music was accompanied by an
enthusiasm for replicas of the old instruments!140


T. Brown, Dubliners. James Joyce. Introduction and notes, Penguin Books, Clays Ltd.,
London, 1992, p. 257.


T. Brown, Dubliners. James Joyce. Introduction and notes, Penguin Books, Clays Ltd.,
London, 1992, p. 258.

T. Brown, Dubliners. James Joyce. Introduction and notes, Penguin Books, Clays Ltd.,
London, 1992, p. 258.

T. Brown, Dubliners. James Joyce. Introduction and notes, Penguin Books, Clays Ltd.,
London, 1992, p. 258.


The mask of a capital (8)

Dublin, although the capital of Ireland, did not exercise legislative authority
over the country in 1903. The Act of Union in 1801 had established that
power in London!! Therefore, Joyce uses the metaphor the mask of a capital: it
is a capital, but not really.141

Cadet Roussel (9)

Cadet Roussel was a French marching song associated with the
revolutionary 1790s, about a volunteer in the republican army named

Ho! Ho! Hoh, vraiment. (10)

Part of the refrain of the song.143

The Belle of Newport (11)

The name of Farleys yacht. The yacht is named for the opulent yachting centre of
the American plutocratic rich in Newport, Rhode Island.144

4.5.3 Story character list

Jimmy Doyle
The protagonist of this story is infatuated with the prestige of his friends and giddy about
his inclusion in such high-society circles, Jimmy conducts a life of facile whims and
excessive expenditure.

4.5.4 Story analysis


After the race explores the potentially destructive desire for money, fame and
status. Although the monetary standing and social connections of most of the characters
are explored, the story merely focuses on the efforts of young Jimmy, and to some
extent Jimmys father, to fit into an affluent class.


T. Brown, Dubliners. James Joyce. Introduction and notes, Penguin Books, Clays Ltd.,
London, 1992, p. 258.

(red.), Wikipedia. Cadet Rousselle (chanson)., internet, 2008-03-03,


red.), Wikipedia. Cadet Rousselle (chanson)., internet, 2008-03-03,


. Brown, Dubliners. James Joyce. Introduction and notes, Penguin Books, Clays Ltd.,
London, 1992, p. 259.


(red.), GradeSaver. Summary and Analysis of After the Race., internet, 2008-03-04.,


Jimmy is unburdened and childishly whimsical about life and money, as his father fosters
Jimmys lush lifestyle. Having earned a large income from wise contracts and retail
developments in his butchery business, the father provides Jimmy with a prestigious
education at Cambridge, where he gains Charles coveted friendship. However, this
potentially sunny portrait of carefree wealth and prestige is dulled by the less
impressive excesses of success.
Jimmys studies focus mainly on social outings and spending, and at the end of the story
Jimmy emerges not as a dashing, popular bachelor, but as a clueless fool, his
pockets empty after a series of card games in which he was barely sober enough to
participate. It appears that Jimmy isnt bothered of himself being a responsible adult, but
highly aware of where and with whom he is seen!
For Jimmy, seeking









Very important is that one realises that Jimmy, like many of the characters in Dubliners,
has a moment of revelation or illumination: at some point in the story plot he
recognises the truth of his situation, but he does nothing to change it!
In other words: he seems to have an epiphany, but because of this paralysis
(he is numb because of the alcohol and the mindless repetition of playing game
after game) he simply isnt able to come to terms!
After he loses game after game at cards, Jimmy hangs his head in his hands, knowing
that regret will set in the next day. The irony of this conclusion, is that the next day
is already there, that daybreak has come!
Jimmy is portrayed as a fool, an idiot: he always faces the reality of his feigned wealth
and his follies, but he also always avoids it! Therefore, regret constantly lurks
beneath the surface of his actions, yet he continuously puts off fully acknowledging
it. Jimmy instead submerses himself in his infatuation with signs of wealth. He relishes
the experience of riding in the French car, exclaiming to himself how stylish the group
must look
Such statements reveal Jimmy as intoxicated with presentation and committed to
convincing himself of his rightful place in the group. When Jimmy delivers his
speech on the yacht, he cannot remember what he says only moments after finishing,
but assures himself that it must have been decent if such excellent people applauded
him. The story casts Jimmy as simple and passive, placing trust in money that
constantly eludes him in a way
After the race highlights the political interests that underpin the Doyle familys
clamoring for money. The fathers profitable business that gives leisure to Jimmy
flourished at the cost of his political views. Though once a fervent supporter of Irish
independence, the father makes his money on contracts with the same police who
uphold British law. He also acts against the national interests of promoting all things Irish
by sending his son to England and encouraging his investments in French business
ventures. When Jimmy attempts to talk about such debated issues at the dinner table,
his voice is silenced. The Englishmen leaves this story the winner. Like the luxury
cars that speed away from the countryside to return to the continent in the opening of
the story, al money seems to flee from Jimmys pockets into those of others by the end of


the story. The Irish, this story applies, always finish in second- or even in lastplace!

4.5.5 Focus on Dublin.

A rather lower-middle-class suburb to the west of the city.

Dublin University
Trinity College, Dublin was (and remains!) the only constituent college of
the University of Dublin. In nationalist Ireland in the late nineteenth
century it was associated with Anglicisation, Unionist politics and
Protestantism. Since about 1875, Catholics had been permitted to attend
the college only with special permission from a bishop of their church.
Ironically, it was in 1873 that all discriminatory religious tests in relation to
membership of the college were abolished.

University of Dublin (DCU)


Trinity College

Dame Street
Dame Street is a main thoroughfare in Central Dublin on the south side of
the river Liffey.

The Bank

The Bank of Ireland in College Green, which served as the Irish Parliament
building until the Act of Union in 1801.


Grafton Street
Grafton Street is a very fashionable street in south central Dublin! This
street is always packed!

Stephens Green
This is a very large public park in a square of elegant and fashionable
Georgian houses south of the river Liffey in central Dublin. There is even a
zoo located in this park!!

Westland Row

This is a street in central Dublin south of the river Liffey. It contained a

railway station which served Kingstown harbor and the town. The Station is
no longer in service.

4.6 Two Gallants

4.6.1 Reading: Plot summary.146
Lenehan and Corley, two young men whose occupations are rather vague, walk through
the streets of central Dublin after a drinking session in a pub. Corley dominates the
conversation, chatting about his latest romantic interest, a housemaid who works at a
wealthy home. Apparently he has a date with her later on that evening. He brags about
cigarettes and cigars the maid pilfers for him from the house and how he has expertly
managed to avoid giving her his name.
Lenehan listens patiently, occasionally offering a question or a clichd response. As the
men talk, they reveal a plan theyve hatched to convince the maid to procure money
from her employers house. Lenehan repeatedly asks Corley if he thinks she is right for
their business, which launches Corley into a short lecture on the utility of a good maid.
Unlike other women who insist on being compensated, Corley explains, maids pitch in.
He pauses wistfully to recall one of his former lovers who now works as a prostitute.
Lenehan teases that Corley, who seems to excel in pimping, must have encouraged her
to do such a job!
The men resume discussing their plan, and Corley confirms that the maid will turn up as
promised. They pass a harpist playing a mournful song about Irish legends, then
approach the corner where the maid is waiting.
The maid is a young, ruddy-cheeked woman, dressed oddly with a sailor hat and
tattered boa. Lenehan, impressed with Corleys taste of women, leers at her Corley
appears disgruntled, suspecting Lenehan of trying to squeeze him out of the plan. But as
he leaves Lenehan to greet his date, he promises to walk past so that Lenehan can look
at her once again!



J. Joyce, Dubliners. Two Gallants, Penguin Classics, Clays Ltd., London, 2000, p.43-56.

The two men agree to meet later that night at a corner by the maids house. Lenehan
watches as Corley and the maid walk off, and he takes another intense look before
positioning himself so he watch the couple pass once more.
Finally alone, Lenehan wanders through the streets of Dublin to pass the time. Not
wishing to speak with anyone, Lenehan continues to walk until he stops into a bar for a
quick meal of peas and ginger beer. Over his food, he sadly contemplates his life: instead
of just scraping by, he wishes instead a steady job and stable home life. Lenehan
suddenly leaves the bar and, after running into some friends in the street, makes his way
to meet his friend Corley. Lenehan nervously smokes a cigarette, worrying that Corley
has cut him out of the plan, before he spots Corley and the maid. He quietly walks
behind the couple until they stop at a posh residence, where the maid runs inside
through the servants entrance. In a moment, she emerges from the front door, meets
Corley, and then runs back inside. Corley leaves. Lenehan runs after him, but Corley
ignores his calls
Eventually, Corley stops and shows Lenehan a gold coin, a sign that the plan was suc

4.6.2 Notes

racing tissues (1)

racing tissues are cheap publications about horse racing. In the Aeolus
episode in Ulysses, Lenehan is reported as coming out of the inner office
of a newspaper with Sports tissues 147

The real cheese (2)

Irish slang: the real thing, the authentic experience

Up to the dodge (3)

Means able to avoid pregnancy. Or, in this context, capable of criminal activity.

Pims (4)
Pim Brothers limited was a well-known Dublin commercial concern, manufacturing
and dealing in household goods such as furniture, carpets and cloth. They had a
retail outlet in Great Georges Street, where they also dealt in clothing and
leather goods.
Among their employees at one time, as well as Joyces Eveline, was the Irish
poet, prophet and agricultural organiser George Russell. The Pims were a
Quaker family and a Dublin byword for Protestant probity and high ethical
standards. It is unlikely that a dissolute like Corley would have lasted long in their

Hairy (5)


T. Brown, Dubliners. James Joyce. Introduction and notes, Penguin Books, Clays Ltd.,
London, 1992, p. 259.

T. Brown, Dubliners. James Joyce. Introduction and notes, Penguin Books, Clays Ltd.,
London, 1992, p. 260.


Irish slang: cute or cunning


An inspector of police (6)

Presumably Corleys father was a senior officer in the Dublin Metropolitan
Police, which was responsible for the policing of the capital, while the Royal
Irish Constabulary was responsible for law and order in the rest of the
country. It seems likely that Corleys father is now dead since a senior officer
would probably have been able to arrange some kind of sinecure for his son. In
the Eumaeus episode of Ulysses he is described as lately deceased and
as formerly a member of G. Division, the plain-clothes branch of the

About town (7)

About town means making the social round It is a euphemism for out of
work and surviving on the edge of law.

To give him the hard word (8)

That is pass on the disagreeable information that a job was available which might
have meant some real work for the work-shy Corley.

He aspirated the first letter of his name after the manner of the Florentines (9)
The Florentines are the citizens of the Italian city of Florence. Florence was
the city of Dante and his reference can bring to mind the truly gallant
relationship of Dante and Beatrice.150

Dante Alighieri

Dantes Beatrice (in the middle of the picture)

Lothario (10)


T. Brown, Dubliners. James Joyce. Introduction and notes, Penguin Books, Clays Ltd.,
London, 1992, p. 260.


T. Brown, Dubliners. James Joyce. Introduction and notes, Penguin Books, Clays Ltd.,
London, 1992, p. 261.


A Lothario is a Libertine. In The Fair Penitent by the English dramatist

Nicholas Rowe, for instance, Lothario is a gay (meaning merry and
carefree but also with the implication of sexual licence) unscrupulous
rake and seducer.151

Slavey (11)
A skivvy or maid-of-all-work

Girls off the South Circular (12)

Joyce means the girls who promenaded in the evenings along the South Circular
road, a ring road on the south side of the city. In Ascendency Dublin this road
had been a place of elegant upper-class promenade. By the early twentieth
century its reputation was altogether less exalted. 152

On the turf (13)

Irish slang: engaged in prostitution.

On a car (14)
That is on an outrider, the Irish horse-drawn jaunting car.

Harp (15)
The harp is one of the symbols of Ireland! The harp as symbol of Ireland and
her legendary past was popularised by the Irish poet Thomas Moore in his
Irish Melodies!

Heedless that her coverings had fallen about her knees (16)
Ireland in tradition, poetry and ballad is often portrayed as a wronged or
abused woman! Therefore Joyce uses this metaphor: he constantly refers to
Dublin or Ireland, in this specific case!153

Strangers (17)
By strangers Joyce means English invaders.154

Silent O Moyle (18)


T. Brown, Dubliners. James Joyce. Introduction and notes, Penguin Books, Clays Ltd.,
London, 1992, p. 261.

T. Brown, Dubliners. James Joyce. Introduction and notes, Penguin Books, Clays Ltd.,
London, 1992, p. 261.

T. Brown, Dubliners. James Joyce. Introduction and notes, Penguin Books, Clays Ltd.,
London, 1992, p. 262.

T. Brown, Dubliners. James Joyce. Introduction and notes, Penguin Books, Clays Ltd.,
London, 1992, p. 262.


One of the Irish Melodies by Thomas Moore. Entitled The Song of

Fionnuala, it alludes to the enchantment of the children of Lir in the Irish
To this poem Moore appended the following footnote:
Fionnuala, the daughter of Lir, was by some supernatural power transformed into
a swan, and condemned to wander, for many hundred years, over certain lakes
and rivers in Ireland, till the coming of Christianity; when the sound of the mass
bell was to be the signal of her release.
Joyce was very fond of the songand he sang it often!!155

A blue dress and a sailor hat (19)

Blue and white are the colours associated with the Virgin Mary in Catholic

Are you trying to get inside me? (20)

Irish slang: trying to shove me aside or take my place. The phrase derives from
the game of bowls in which the players seek to score by casting a bowl as close to
a target ball or jack.

Stems upwards (21)

According to etiquette the stems of a corsage should be pointed downwards. This
is of a piece with the vulgar ostentation of her Sunday finery, all cheap scent and
ragged black fur scarf or boa.156

He followed them (22)

Twice in the tale Lenehan is described as following Corley and the slavey. In
contemporary newspaper advertisements for domestic labour in Dublin it
was common to include the phrase No followers, meaning that young
women seeking such employment should not allow young men to court
them or to become romantically involved with them.
The slavey is obviously ignoring this oppressive prohibition! I also refer here
the Calypso part in Ulysses where Bloom, lusting after his
neighbours servant girl, recalls the phrase no followers allowed! 157

Ginger beer (23)

A ginger-flavoured non-alcoholic gaseous beverage. Lenahans repast must
be one of the most dismal in all of literature!!


T. Brown, Dubliners. James Joyce. Introduction and notes, Penguin Books, Clays Ltd.,
London, 1992, p. 262.

T. Brown, Dubliners. James Joyce. Introduction and notes, Penguin Books, Clays Ltd.,
London, 1992, p. 263.

T. Brown, Dubliners. James Joyce. Introduction and notes, Penguin Books, Clays Ltd.,
London, 1992, p. 263.


Pulling the devil by the tail (24)

Slang: living on the brink of financial catastrophe.

A small gold coin (25)

This would have been a sovereign, the only gold coin in use. It was worth twenty
shillings or 1 pound sterling, a very considerable sum for a slavey and more
than even the likes of Corley and Lenehan could reasonably have hoped for.
General servants at this date in a Dublin household could have expected to earn
between four pounds and eight pounds per annum, though young girls from the
country ( as the slavey would seem to be in her rude good health) might have
been paid even less. However wages for domestic service compared favourably
with wages in the industrial and labouring sectors especially when room and
board included in the equation, which accounts for the fact that the slavey in this
story can afford her Sunday finery.158

4.6.3 Story character list

One half of the part of swindlers in the story. Lenehan exudes energy and exhaustion at
once. He excitedly partakes in the exploits of his friend Corley but also laments the
aimlessness of his hard living and lack of stability. Though he yearns to settle down, he
remains fixed to Corleys side as some kind of a sidekick.
The other half of the part of swindlers He appears to be the scheming friend of
Lenehan. Corlys assertive physical presence matches his grandiose bragging and
incessant self-promotion. A police informant and skilled in taking adventage of women,
he provides one of the most critical and unsympathetic portraits of betrayal in Dubliners
when he dupes the housemaid into giving him a gold coin.

4.6.4 Story analysis


Joyce often uses irony in his novels, and in this short story the irony becomes very
clear The title Two Gallants is ironic because the two best mates, Corley and
Lenehan, are anything but fine, chivalrous men. On the contrary, they make an
unpleasant practice of duping housemaids into stealing from their rich employers!
Of the two men, Lenehan is the more self-reflective, and he provides a quiet,
contemplative balance for the burly actions of Corley, who has crafted and executed their
current plan.


T. Brown, Dubliners. James Joyce. Introduction and notes, Penguin Books, Clays Ltd.,
London, 1992, p. 266.

(red.), GradeSaver. Summary and Analysis of Two Gallants, internet, 2008-03-04.,



Lenehan is a Dublin man quite on the edge: he has one foot on the path and one
on the road as he walks with Corley, he must bide time while Corley woos the girl, he
constantly lives on the verge of bankruptcy, and many consider him to be a leech. At
the age of thirty-one, Lenehan yearns for a comfortable life, but he is no less guilty of
deceit than Corley is! Both men lead dissolute lives and have few prospects, and
nothing but easy money seems to give them hope The meanderings of the story
ultimately leads to the gold coin, suggesting that for both of these men, the coin is
their ultimate reward and desire.
Even though Lenehan and Corley use betrayal to make money, both men are anxious
about trachery. In other terms there is a double-ness in the characters as they seem
to suffer from duality. One could say Corly and Lenehan are both Machiavellian
characters. Maybe Lenehan even more than Corley.
However there is more then just duality Corley orchestrates his encounter with the
maid defensively, allowing Lenehan only distant glimpses of the maid for the fear of
competition. Similarly, Lenehan pesters Corley about his choice of victim, worried that
the plan will fall flat and leave him penniless again. When Corley and the maid reappear
later than Lenehan expected, Lenehan momentarily convinces himself that Corley has
cheated him out of the profits, and not until the final sentence of the story can we be
certain that the mens collaboration is intact. This constant worry about betrayal
reappears throughout Dubliners(!) and always recalls Irelands political scandal
in which the politician Parnell (see later) , according to his followers, was
abandoned by the Irish government and many voters when news of the affair
leaked into the press. Lenehan and Corley are part of a generation disappointed
after the downfall of the great Parnell, who now feel they have no one to trust. This
state of mind leads only to further betrayal.
Traditional images connect Lenehans and Corleys desperate and superficial
lives with Ireland itself! For example, the harp, a traditional symbol of Ireland,
appears several times in this story.
Outside a wealthy Anglo-Protestant gentlemans club, the men pass a harpist who is
playing on a bare, and weary instrument The harpists melodies later follow
Lenehan and pace his steps
When Corley gallivants with his maid, Lenehan acts as a harpist, tapping his
hands to the notes as he walks through Dublin.
This parallel suggests that Lenehan is in some ways guilty of the same swindling as
Corley, of taking advantage of a young woman in the form of his country!
This ambiguous connection between Lenehan and the harp is typical of Joyces
national references. Joyce both leaves the inferences open to his readers and
continually complicates them.
When Lenehan later enjoys his feast meal of peas and ginger beer and reflects on his
dull and meaningless life, his meal reflects the colours of the Irish flag (the green
peas and the orange ginger beer)! Such associations link the maligned life to an
image of the country, but with no conclusive sense of cause and effect, and no
potential for solution


4.6.5 Focus on Dublin.

Rutland Square
This Square is now called Parnell Square. Its a square on the north side
of the river Liffey at the head of Sackville Street (that is now called
OConnell Street)!

Monument of Parnell at Parnell Square


Dorset Street
A main thoroughfare in north central Dublin.

Parnell Square


Dame Street
A thoroughfare in central Dublin just south of the river Liffey. In 1904 it
was a business street...

The canal
Reference to The Grand Canal on the south side of the city. They have in
fact walked some considerable distance: to walk from the north to the
south side of the city, from Dame Street to The Canal, it would take you
approximately 55 minutes! The gallants must have been in good shape, to
say the least!

Baggot Street
A street of fashionable Georgian houses and very (!!) expensive shops in
the south-east of Dublin.


A suburb of Dublin about two miles (3 kilometers) to the south-south-east
of the city centre.

Down Earl Street

Earl Street is part of a principal east-west thoroughfare in central Dublin. It
led to the notorious red light district just north of the river Liffey. The
implication may be that Corley is in the company of one of the ladies of
the night who conducted her business in the area

The railings of Trinity College

The main buildings of the university which front on College Green are set
back from the street behind a wall topped with high railings

Nassau Street
Corley and Lenehan are walking along the railings of the street which runs
east on the southern side of Trinity. The of this street is perhaps the most
obvious allusion in this story, which began close to the headquarters of the
Orange Order, to that protestant Ascendancy Ireland which owned its
contemporary status and political power to the Williamite victories of the
seventeenth century; for Henry Nassau Count and Lord of Auverqueque
fought at the Battle of the Boyne on the victorious side with William of
Orange in 1690 and subsequently occupied Dublin with nine troops of


Kildare Street
Street of fine houses and buildings which runs from Nassau Street to
Stephens Green, the National Park in Dublin.

The club
The Kildare Street Club, on the corner of Nassau Street and Kildare Street
was an exclusive gentlemens club whose membership was almost
completely protestant and Anglo-Irish. It was byword for caste superiority
and reactionary attitudes and a key element in the nexus of individuals,
families and institutions which constituted Anglo-Ireland.

Hume Street
Street of the eastern side of Stephens Green.

Corner of Marrion Street

Where Marrion Row intersects with Marrion Street Upper and gives on to
Bagger Street.

The road
Lenehan and Corley are know on Stephens Green East


Hume Street Corner

This is where Hume Street gives on to Stephens Green

Shelbourne Hotel
The Shelbourne Hotel is still an elegant and expensive hotel on the north
side of Stephens Green.

Merrion Square
One of Dublins principal squares of fine Georgian houses. Now almost
entirely occupied by commercial and professional offices it was, at the time
of this story, one of the most desirable residential areas in the city,
inhabited by professional people.

The Donnybrook tram

The tram for Donnybrook still stops at the halt in Merrion Square!


Round Stephens Green and then down Grafton Street

Lenehan is turning now in the direction of the river in a lengthy stroll which
will take him back to the northside to Rutland Square where the story
began! Where back to where James Joyces sides seeing tour started!

Capel Street
Lenehan now begins to wander southwards again in a journey which will
bring him across the Liffey by way of Grattan Bridge into Parliament Street.

Dame Street
Lenehan is walking down this principal thoroughfare towards College Green
and Trinity College.

At the corner of Georges Street

Great Georges Street South gives on to Dame Street from the south

Westmoreland Street
Street that runs from College Green to OConnell Bridge!


The City Markets

A section of the city which contained many retails stalls. Lenehan is
heading for Grafton Street

The corner of Merrion Street

Lenehans peregrination becomes repetitive!

Ely Place
A small street of fashionable houses off Baggott Street. It is appropriately
enough, at the dismal close of this grim tale, a dead-end!!

4.7 The Boarding House

4.7.1 Reading: plot summary.


After a difficult marriage with a drunken husband that ends in separation, Mrs. Mooney
opens a boarding house to make a living. Her son, Jack, and daughter, Polly, live with her
in the house, which is filled with clerks from the city, as well as the occasional tourists
and musicians.
Mrs. Mooney runs a strict and tight business and is known by the lodgers as the
respectful Madam. Polly, who used to work in an office, now stays at home at her
mothers request, to amuse the lodgers and help with the cleaning. Surrounded by so
many young men, Polly inevitably develops a relationship with one of them, Mr. Doran.
Mrs. Mooney knows about her daughters relationship, but instead of sending Polly back
to work in the city, she monitors its developments. Polly becomes increasingly
uncomfortable with her mothers lack of intervention, but Mrs. Mooney waits until the
right moment to intercede
First she speaks with Polly, then arranges to speak with Mr. Doran on a Sunday morning.
Mrs. Mooney looks forward to her confrontation, which she intends to win by defending
her daughters honor and convincing Mr. Doran to offer his hand in marriage. Waiting for
the time to pass, Mrs. Mooney figures the odds are in her favor, considering that Mr.
Doran, who has worked for a wine merchant for thirteen years and garnered much
respect, will choose the option that least harms her career!
Meanwhile, Mr. Doran anguishes over the impending meeting with Mrs. Mooney. As he
grooms himself for the appointment, he reviews the difficult confession to his priest that
he made on Saturday evening, in which he was harshly reproved for his romantic affair.
He knows he can either marry Polly or run away, the latter an option that would ruin his
sound reputation. Convincing himself that he has been duped, Mr. Doran bemoans Pollys
unimpressive family, her ill manners, and her poor grammar, and wonders how he can
remain free and unmarried. In this vexed moment Polly enters the room and threatens to
end her life out of unhappiness. In her presence, Mr. Doran begins to remember how he
was bewitched by Pollys beauty and kindness, but he still wavers about the decision.


J. Joyce, Dubliners. The Boarding House, Penguin Classics, Clays Ltd., London, 2000,


Uneasy, Mr. Doran comforts Polly and departs for the meeting, leaving her to wait in the
bedroom. She rests on the bed crying for a while, neatens her appearance, and then
nestles back in the bed, dreaming of her possible future with Mr. Doran
Finally, Mrs. Mooney interrupts the reverie by calling to her daughter. Mr. Doran,
according to Mrs. Mooney wants to speak to Polly

4.7.2 Notes


Foreman (1)
In other words Mrs. Mooney had married one of her fathers employees, a man
appointed to oversee his other employees. Mrs. Mooney probably married
beneath her.

Take the pledge (2)

Forswear drinking alcohol by taking an oath not to do so.

A separation (3)
Even the limited opportunities for divorce afforded by British law in England and
Wales in the early twentieth century were unavailable to the Irish since the
provisions of the Divorce Act of 1857 were not extended to Ireland.
This left only divorce by Private Act of Parliament which was very
expensive and not open to wives except in cases of aggravated
enormity. In situations of marital breakdown it was possible to enter into a
legal agreement of separation, in which case a church court could grant a
judicial separation. Separated individuals were unable to remarry since in the
eyes of the Church and State they remained married to the separated partner.

The Madam (4)

The nickname of Mrs. Mooney: a term of respect, but also slang for the female
overseer of a whorehouse, brothel.

The chances of favourites and outsiders (5)

The characters are discussing form and bookies odds in forthcoming horse races.

A commission agent (6)

One who does business on anothers behalf for commission or a percentage of the
takings or profits.


Handy with the mits (7)

T. Brown, Dubliners. James Joyce. Introduction and notes, Penguin Books, Clays Ltd.,
London, 1992, p. 266-268.


Irish slang: good with the fists and inclined to use them.

Corn-factors (8)
A corn-factor is a trader in corn

The little volumes in their gloved hands (9)

Bibles and prayer books. The wearing of gloves en route to worship was a
mark of decent respectability among protestant folk.

Mr. Doran (10)

It has been noted by several critics, commentators on this story that Doran
means exile or stranger in the Irish language! 162

Sit (12)
Irish slang: abbreviation for situation: respectable post in employment.

Screw (13)
Irish slang: salary

A bit of stuff put by (14)

Irish slang: savings

Pier-glass (15)
A large high mirror usually narrow enough to occupy the pier or wall space
between windows.

To get a certain fame

A dubious reputation, suggestive of sexual irregularity.

Reparation (16)
In church teaching: making amends for material or spiritual wrong committed
against another. Also restitution. In the rite of confession the penitent is invited
to perform acts in reparation of sin.163

Reynolds Newspaper (17)

A radical London Sunday newspaper which reported on scandalous events.164


T. Brown, Dubliners. James Joyce. Introduction and notes, Penguin Books, Clays Ltd.,
London, 1992, p. 268.


T. Brown, Dubliners. James Joyce. Introduction and notes, Penguin Books, Clays Ltd.,
London, 1992, p. 268.


Combing-jacket (18)
A bathrobe or dressing-gown

Bass (19)
A strong, English-brewed brown ale.

The return-room (20)

A room added to the wall of a house. Usually small. In Dublin a return-room
is often found on the first landing of the stairs which seems to be the case in
Mrs. Mooneys House.

4.7.3 Story character list

Mrs. Mooney
The proprietor of The Boarding House and mother of Polly. Separated from her husbandan owner of a successful wine business- Mrs. Mooney firmly governs her own life, as well
as her daughter pollys. Her apparently successful plan to secure her daughter in a
comfortable marriage makes her a somewhat morally ambiguous character. She demands
equal treatment for men and women but also manipulates relationships to rid herself of
her daughter. Therefore, her tenants call her The Madam: she acts like the owner of a
whorehouse, instead of the proprietor of a boarding house.
Mr. Doran
This character is the lover of The Madams daughter Polly. Being a successful clerk, he
fears his affair with the unpolished daughter will ruin his reputation. He also bemoans the
restraint of marriage, but he resolves to marry her out of social necessity and fear!

4.7.4 Story analysis

165 166 167

In this short story, marriage seems to offer promise and profit on the one hand,
and entrapment and loss on the other. What begins as a simple affair becomes a
tactical game of obligation and reparation


T. Brown, Dubliners. James Joyce. Introduction and notes, Penguin Books, Clays Ltd.,
London, 1992, p. 268.


C. MacCabe, James Joyce and the Revelation of the Word, Barnes&Noble, 1979.


R. Brown, James Joyce and Sexuality, Cambridge University Press, London, 1985.


W.J. McCormack and E. Stead, James Joyce and Modern Literature, Routledge
Kegan&Paul, London, 1982.


Mrs. Mooneys and Mr. Dorans propositions and hesitations suggest that marriage is
more about social standards, public perception, and formal sanctions than about
mere feelings.
The character of Mrs. Mooney illustrates the challenges that a single mother of a
daughter faces, but her scheme to marry Polly into a higher class mitigates any
sympathetic response from the reader.
Mrs. Mooney may heave endured a difficult marriage and separation, but she now
carries the dubious title of The Madam, a term suggestive of her scrupulous
managing of the house, but also of the head of some kind of whorehouse!
Mrs. Mooney does, more or less, prostitute her daughter to some degree. She
insists that Polly leaves her office job and stay at home at the boarding house, in part so
she might entertain, however innocently, the male lodgers. When a relationship
blossoms, Mrs. Mooney tracks it until the most profitable moment, until she is sure that
the man must propose to Polly out of social propriety. Mrs. Mooney justly insists that
men should carry the same responsibility as women in these casual love affairs,
but at the same time prides herself on her ability to rid herself of a dependent
daughter so easily!
Mr. Doran agonises about the limitations and loss of respect that marrying beneath him
will bring, but he ultimately gives in out of fear of social critique from his priest,
Mrs. Mooney, his employer, and last but not least of Pollys violent brother!
When Polly visits him in distress, he feels as helpless as she does, even though he tells
her not to worry. He goes through the motions of what society expects of him, not
according to what he intuitively feels.
When he descends the stairs to meet with Mrs. Mooney, he thinks about fleeing but
knows that nobody is on his side! The force that pushes him down the stairs is a
force of fear, anxiety about what others will think of him.
While Mr. Dorans victimisation by The Madam evokes pity, his self-concern
and harsh complaints about Pollys background and manner of speech, make
him an equal counterpart to Mrs. Mooney
He worries little about Pollys integrity or feelings, and instead considers his years of hard
work and good reputation now verging on destruction

4.7.5 Focus on Dublin.


Spring Gardens
A street on the north side of the city between the Royal Canal and the river

Hardwicke Street
Street of respectable terraced houses on the north side of the city.


Fleet Street
Street in central Dublin, off Westmoreland Street just south of the river
Liffey. It was an office area in which many law firms and business agents

Georges Church
St Georges Church is a Protestant church in Hardwicke Place off Temple
Street on the north side of the city.

PART III. adulthood

4.8 A Little Cloud

4.8.1 Reading: plot summary.168
Little Chandler awaits a reunion with his old friend Ignatius Gallagher, who moved to
London eight years ago. A married man and father who earned his nickname from his
small and delicate deportment, Little Chandler whittles away the afternoon hours at his
clerical job, constantly thinking about his approaching evening drink. Little Chandler
wonders in amazement at Gallahers impressive career writing for English newspapers,
though he never doubted that Gallaher would do well for himself. As Little Chandler
leaves work and walks to the bar where the men agreed to meet, he contemplates
Gallahers homecoming and success, then thinks of his own stunted writing aspirations
and the possibilities of life abroad that remain out of his reach. Little Chandler used to
love poetry, but he gave up when he got married. As he walks he considers the farfetched possibility of writing his own book of poems.
In the bar, Little Chandler and Gallaher talk about foreign cities, marriage, and the
future. Little Chandler is surprised to see Gallahers unhealthy pallor and thinning hair,
which Gallaher blames on the stress of press life. Throughout the conversation, during
which the men consume three glasses of whiskey and smoke two cigars, Chandler
simultaneously recoils from and admires Gallahers gruff manners and tales of foreign
cities. He is displeased with Gallahers presumptuous way of addressing others and
wonders about the immorality of a place like Paris with its infamous dance halls. At the
same time, he envies Gallahers worldliness and experience. Little Chandler has settled
down with a wife and has a son. When he himself becomes the subject of conversation,
he is uneasy and blushes. He manages to invite Gallaher to visit his home and meet his
family that evening, but Gallaher explains that he has another appointment and must
leave the bar soon. The men have their final drink together, and the conversation returns
to and ends with Gallaher and his bachelorhood. When Little Chandler insists that
Gallaher will one day marry, the journalist scoffs at the prospect, claiming that if he does
he will marry rich, but as he stands he is content to please himself with many women
rather than become bored with one!
Later that night in his house, Chandler waits for his wife to come home from the local
store-Chandler has forgotten to bring home coffee in his flurry of excitement abut
Gallaher. While he holds his baby son in his arms, as directed by his wife, he gazes at a
picture of her and recounts his conversation with Gallaher. Unlike Gallahers exotic ,
passionate mistresses, his wife appears cold and unfeeling, though pretty. Chandler
begins to question his marriage and its trappings: a little house, a crying child Reading
a passage of Byron stirs his longings to write, but soon his wife returns home to snatch
the screaming child from his arms and scold her husband. Little Chandler feels remorse
for his rebellious thoughts.

4.8.2 Notes

J. Joyce, Dubliners. A Little Cloud, Penguin Classics, Clays Ltd., London, 2000, p.65-82.


a little cloud (1)

A little cloud is a possible allusion to the Biblical tale of Elijah and the
prophets of Baal and more particularly to I Kings 18:44.169

on the London Press (2)

as a journalist writing for the English national newpapers.

when his hour had struck (3)

when his working day had ended.

in which the old nobility of Dublin had roistered (4)

the tenements of Dublin where many of the poor dwelt in slum conditions,
were often the Georgian mansions, which, in the popular mythology about
eighteenth-century life, had seen the riotous excesses of a brilliantly selfindulgent aristocracy, whose young bucks were a byword for
Bacchanalian exploit!170

memory of the past (5)

possible allusion to sentimental song from the opera Maritana, there is a
flower which bloometh with its repeated phrase the memory of the

Atalanta (6)
In Greek mythology Atalanta would marry no one who could not beat her in a
foot-race. She followed any suitor and speared him in the back if she could not
catch him. She eventually married Hippomenes, who delayed her by throwing
three golden apples, which he had received from Aphrodite, in her path.
Hippomenes failed to thank Aphrodite and the couple, when they impiously lay
together in a holy place, were turned into lions by the angered goddess. In
archaic art Atalanta is often shown as a huntress and as an athlete in
short tunic.172


T. Brown, Dubliners. James Joyce. Introduction and notes, Penguin Books, Clays Ltd.,
London, 1992, p. 269.

T. Brown, Dubliners. James Joyce. Introduction and notes, Penguin Books, Clays Ltd.,
London, 1992, p. 269.

T. Brown, Dubliners. James Joyce. Introduction and notes, Penguin Books, Clays Ltd.,
London, 1992, p. 269.




Half time (7)

In this context half time means hold on a minute

Considering cap (8)

A wily character, Silas Wegg, in Charles Dickenss Our Mutual Friend,
employs this phrase when about to gull his intended victim. The phrase
suggests the unabashed cunning of Ignatius Gallaher when confronted by
financial embarrassment. 173

Charles Dickens

That was Ignatius Gallagher all out (9)

Hiberno-English, expressing grudging admiration, despite manifest faults.



T. Brown, Dubliners. James Joyce. Introduction and notes, Penguin Books, Clays Ltd.,
London, 1992, p. 270

T. Brown, Dubliners. James Joyce. Introduction and notes, Penguin Books, Clays Ltd.,
London, 1992, p. 270.


Nearer to London (10)

Both figuratively ( for he is to meet Gallaher who bears news of the
English metropolis) and actually, since he walks south and then east,
which would take him a very short distance of a journey to London. East
is the direction associated with escape from Dublins oppressive life in many
of the stories in the book.175

It was a pity that his name was not more Irish looking (11)
It was common for poets who intended to strike the Celtic note to adopt
names which suggested an Irish spiritual authenticity, which Chandler
(English term for a candlemaker and also a general dealer in groceries,
provisions and small wares) could never do with its all-too material and
Anglo-Saxon associations. And most unfortunately for the aspirant poet,
Chandler in Hiberno-English also means meat-maggot.176

Malone (12)
Little Chandler chooses a name which indubitably Irish, for the Malones in
the seventeenth century were distinguished Catholic Irish landowners.177

Lithia (13)
A mineral water characterized by the presence of lithium salts. Gallaher is offering
Little Chandler the choice of common mixers which were often drunk with whisky.
Gallaher of course prefers whisky neat, which suggests the hard-drinking
journalist. The next gives whisky rather than the more usual Irish form Whiskey
(though some Irish whiskeys were spelt whisky). But Gallahers remarks imply
that it is Irish he has ordered!178

Dear dirty Dublin (14)

Common affectionate reference to the city, first popularised by the Irish
novelist Lady Sydney Morgan.179


T. Brown, Dubliners. James Joyce. Introduction and notes, Penguin Books, Clays Ltd.,
London, 1992, p. 270.

T. Brown, Dubliners. James Joyce. Introduction and notes, Penguin Books, Clays Ltd.,
London, 1992, p. 271.

T. Brown, Dubliners. James Joyce. Introduction and notes, Penguin Books, Clays Ltd.,
London, 1992, p. 271.

T. Brown, Dubliners. James Joyce. Introduction and notes, Penguin Books, Clays Ltd.,
London, 1992, p. 271.

T. Brown, Dubliners. James Joyce. Introduction and notes, Penguin Books, Clays Ltd.,
London, 1992, p. 272.


Lady Sidney Morgan


Gone to the dogs (15)

Irish slang: deteriorated markedly, or secure paid employment.

A good sit (16)

Diminutive for good situation, or secure paid employment.

Land Commission (17)

The Irish Land Commission Court, the British Government agency which gave
effect to land reform whereby tenant purchase of farmland (aided by substantial
government credits) transferred ownership from landlord to tenant. This policy
had resulted from the land agitation of the 1880s and made the commission a
disburser of considerable sums of money.180

Very flush (18)

Irish slang: with lots of spending money.

Boose (19)
Slang: alcohol.

The Moulin Rouge (20)

The Moulin Rouge was a famous Paris music hall and the very embodiment
of gay Paree for the Anglo-Saxon puritan mind.181


T. Brown, Dubliners. James Joyce. Introduction and notes, Penguin Books, Clays Ltd.,
London, 1992, p. 272

T. Brown, Dubliners. James Joyce. Introduction and notes, Penguin Books, Clays Ltd.,
London, 1992, p. 272.


Moulin Rouge, Paris


Gay (21)
A reference to the Paris reputation as a centre of uninhibited pleasureseeking and joie-de-vivre in the gay nineties. The word also had
connotations of sexual license and prostitution.182

Bohemian cafs (22)

Cafs, many of them in Montmartre, patronised by writers, artists and
denizens of the demi-monde. They enjoyed a dubious reputation in
respectable society183

A catholic gesture (23)

That is a gesture which in its breadth implied a comprehensive knowledge of a
subject. Joyce may intend us also to imagine a more specifically Catholic
gesture whereby a pious believer might make the sign of the cross in
contemplation of such widespread sin.184

The students balls (24)

Dances in Parisian restaurants and cafs, which enjoyed a reputation as
hot-beds of sexual vice. Some were genuine Left-bank student haunts, but
others were more populously frequented by ladies who had already
embarked upon the oldest of professions. 185


T. Brown, Dubliners. James Joyce. Introduction and notes, Penguin Books, Clays Ltd.,
London, 1992, p. 272.

T. Brown, Dubliners. James Joyce. Introduction and notes, Penguin Books, Clays Ltd.,
London, 1992, p. 272.

T. Brown, Dubliners. James Joyce. Introduction and notes, Penguin Books, Clays Ltd.,
London, 1992, p. 272.

T. Brown, Dubliners. James Joyce. Introduction and notes, Penguin Books, Clays Ltd.,
London, 1992, p. 272.


Cocottes (25)
French for hens. Slang: flirtatious young women, prostitutes.

Many of the secrets of religious houses on the continent (26)

Sexual orgies in European Catholic convents and monasteries were a
frequent sensationalist motif in Victorian English pornography and in the
gutter press. These combined salaciousness with anti-Catholic bigotry! 186

Parole dhonneur (27)

French for word of honor. Gallaher is affecting cosmopolitan sophistication
in his use of the French phrase.

An a.p. (28)
Possible slang meaning an appointment. Also possible diminutive for authors
proof, a printers final version of a text which is sent to an author for checking
before the work is published

Deoc an dorius (29)

Irish. Meaning: a door-drink, hence a final round or one for the road.

Byrons poems (30)

The English romantic poet George Gordon Byron (1788-1824) was a
byword for romantic excess in a life touched by Satanic grandeur, and for
the heroism of his poetic personae.187

The young George G. Byron


T. Brown, Dubliners. James Joyce. Introduction and notes, Penguin Books, Clays Ltd.,
London, 1992, p. 273.

(red.), The Life of Lord Byron, internet, 2008-03-30.,



Hushed are the winds dust I love (31)

First stanza of Byrons poem On the Death of a Young Lady, Cousin of the
author, and Very dear to Him.
Written in 1802, this was published as the first poem in the poets volume of
1807, Hours of Idleness. The poem is Byron at his most affectingly
sentimental and scarcely represents him as the romantic he was. Rather it
is a piece of emotional trifling, in a wearisomely conventional mode.188

Lambabaun (32)
Irish term of affection: lamb-child.

Lamb of the world (33)

Jesus in the gospel of St John is described by John the Baptist as the
lamb of God. (John I:29).

4.8.3 Story character list

Little Chandler
The unhappy clerk clerk who reunites with his friend Gallaher. Little Chandlers physical
attributes match his name: he is small, fragile, and delicately groomed. His tendency to
suppress his poetic desires suggests that he also earns his title by living without any
passion. He fleetingly rebels against his domestic life after hearing about Gallahers
exciting life, then shamefully re-ambraces it.
Little Chandlers old friend who visits Dublin. For Little Chandler, Gallaher represents
everything that is enticing and desirable: success in England, foreign travel, a writing
career, and laid-back ease with women. His gruff manners and forthright behavior
contrast with his friends delicacy.

4.8.4 Story analysis


This short story clearly maps the frustrated aspirations Little Chandler has to
change his life and pursue his dream of being a poet. The story contrasts
Chandlers dissatisfaction and temerity with Gallahers bold writing career


(red.), The Life of Lord Byron, internet, 2008-03-30.,


(red.), GradeSaver. Summary and Analysis of A Little Cloud, internet, 2008-04-03.,



Chandler believes that to succeed in life, one must leave Dublin like Gallaher did.
(This story has autobiographical aspirations since Joyce also thought this, and
actually left Dublin for Italy and Switzerland!)
However, Gallahers success is not altogether confirmed in this story, unless one
measures his success by his straightforward, unrestrained take on life. Little Chandler
compares himself to Gallaher, and in doing so blames his shortcomings on the
restraints around him, such as Dublin, his wife, and his little boy.
He hides from the truth that his aspirations to write are fanciful and shallow.
Not once in the story does Little Chandler write, but he spends plenty of time imagining
fame and indulging in poetic sentiments. He has a collection of poetry books but cannot
muster the courage to read them aloud to his wife, instead remaining introverted
and repeating lines to himself. He constantly thinks about his possible career as a
poet of the Celtic school and envisions himself lauded by English critics, often to the
extent that he mythologises himself. Chandler uses his country to dream of
success, but at the same time blames it for limiting that success.
While dreaming of a poetic career may provide escape for Little Chandler, the demands
of work and home that serve as obstacles to his dreams ultimately overwhelm
Like other characters in Dubliners, Little Chandler experiences an epiphany that
makes him realise he will never change his life.
Looking at a picture of his wife after returning home from the pub, Chandler sees the
mundane life he leads and briefly questions it. The screams of the child that pierce his
concentration as he tries to read poetry bring him to a tragic revelation! He knows he
is a prisoner in his own house!
Little Chandlers fleeting resistance is like a little cloud that passes in the sky. By
the end of the story he feels ashamed of his disloyal behaviour, completing the circle of
emotions, from doubt to assurance to doubt again, that he probably will repeat for the
rest of his life!
The story finishes where it began: with Chandler sighing about his unrealised
aspirations, but submitting to the melancholy thought that it was useless to struggle
against fortune.
Circular routine (paralysis!) plagues Chandler as it does for most of the
characters in Dubliners. Chandlers inability to act on his desires and his independence
on Gallaher to provide experiences he can participate in vicariously, make him similar to
Lenehan in Two Gallants.
Just as Lenahan stands in Corleys shadow, Chandler admires and envies
Gallaher! Even when he realises that Gallaher refuses his invitation to see his home and
family out of disinterest, he keeps such sentiments to himself. In Gallaher, an old friend
who has done well for himself, Chandler sees the hope of escape and success.
This friendship sustains Chandlers fantasies, allowing to dream that Gallaher might
submit one of his poems to, a London paper, and allowing him to feel superior because he
has foreign connections. At the same time, as the meeting in the pub progresses,
Chandler feels cheated by the world since Gallaher can succeed and he can not, and so


once again the friend provides a barometer to measure and judge himself
Left on his own with his books, Chandler must face his own shortcomings!

4.8.5 Focus on Dublin.


North Wall
The quay on the docks on the north side of the Liffey from which a packet
steamer to England departed.

The Kings Inns

The buildings in a small park on the north side of the river Liffey in central
Dublin that were occupied by the societies which called individuals to the
bar, thereby allowing them to practise as barristers or advocates in the
Irish courts. The Kings Inns also included the Law Library, the Deeds
Registry Office, and Local Registry of Title Office, in any of which Little
Chandler might have worked as a scrivener or clerk.

Henrietta Street
Street in central Dublin leading to the rear of the Kings Inns, which, at the
time this story is set, was lined by tenement dwellings, inhabited by the

This is a very famous restaurant in central Dublin, but very expensive!

Capel Street
Street in central Dublin north of the river which gives on to Grattan Bridge
over the Liffey.

Grattan Bridge
This a bridge over the Liffey which spans the river from Capel Street on the
north side to Parliament Street on the south

4.9 Counterparts


Reading: plot summary.


J. Joyce, Dubliners.Counterparts, Penguin Classics, Clays Ltd., London, 2000, p.82-95.


In a busy law firm, one of the partners, Mr. Alleyne, angrily orders the secretary to send
Farrington to his office. Farrington is a copy clerk in the firm, responsible for making
copies of legal documents by hand, and he has failed to produce an important document
on time.
Mr. Alleyne taunts Farrington and says harshly that if he doesnt copy the material by
closing time his incompetence will be reported to the other partner. This meeting angers
Farrington, who mentally makes evening plans to drink with his friends as a respite.
Farrington returns to his desk but is unable to focus on his job. He skirts past the chief
clerk to sneak out to the local pub where he quickly drinks a beer.
Two clients are speaking with the chief clerk when Farrington returns to the office,
making his absence apparent. The clerk asks him to take a file to Mr. Alleyne, who is also
with a client. Faarington realises that the needed file is incomplete because he has failed
to copy two letters as requested. Hoping that Mr. Alleyne will not notice, Farrington
delivers the incomplete file and returns to his desk to work on his project. Again unable
to concentrate, Farrington dreams of hot drinks and crowded pubs, only to realise, with
increasing rage, that completing the task is impossible and that he has no hope of getting
an advance on his paycheck to fund his thirst.
Meanwhile, Mr. Alleyne, having noticed the missing letters, has come to Farringtons desk
with his client, the jovial Miss Delacour, and started another abusive critique of
Farringtons work. Farrington claims ignorance and wittily insults Mr. Alleyne to the
amusement of Miss Delacour and his fellow clerks.
Forced to apologise to Mr. Alleyne, Farrington leaves work without completing his project
and dreading the sure backlash at the office. More determined then ever to go to the
pub, Farrington pawns his pocket watch for drinking money. At the first stop he meets his
friends Nosey Flynn, OHalloran and Paddy Leonard, and tells them of his shining moment
insulting his boss. Another clerk from the office arrives and joins them, repeating the
story. Soon the men leave the pub, and OHalloran, Leonard, and Farrington move on to
another place. There Leonard introduces the men to an acrobat named Weathers, who
happily accepts the drinks the other men buy for him. Farrington becomes irritated at the
amount of money he spends, but the men keep drinking and move to yet another pub.
Weathers meets the men there and Farrington begrudgingly buys him another drink out
of courtesy. Farringtons frustrations build as he flirts with an elegant woman sitting
nearby who ultimately ignores his advances. Leonard and OHalloran then convince
Farrington to arm wrestle with Weathers, who has been boasting about his strength to
the men. After two attempts, Farrington loses.
Filled with rage and humiliation, Farrington travels home to Shelbourne Road, a lowermiddle-class area southeast of the city centre. Entering his dark house, he calls to his
wife Ada, but is met by one of his five children, his son Tom
When Tom informs him that Ada is at church, Farrington orders Tom to light up the
house and prepare dinner for him. He then realises that the house fire has been left to
burn out, which means his dinner will be long in coming. With his anger at boiling point,
Farrington begins to beat Tom, who plaintively promises to say a Hail Mary for Farrington
if he stops beating him.

4.9.2 Notes

Miss Parker (1)

Unidentified person, probably fictional, but the name is obviously of English

The tube (2)

a tube is a device for communicating between offices.

Mr Alleyne (3)
Maybe a reference to the non-fictional solicitor C.W. Alleyne who had
offices at 24 Dame Street in central Dublin just south of the river Liffey.192

Mr Shelley (4)
Apparently a fictional character. But perhaps it is worth reminding oneself that
the chief clerk in this depressing working environment bears an English
name, that of no less figure than the romantic poet Percy Bysshe Shelley
(1792-1822) whose short life and works were the antithesis of the
grinding tedium of Farringtons exercise! 193

An order on the cashier (5)

A note of authorisation for an advice on his wages.

The objective of his journey (6)

Presumably Farrington makes some gesture to indicate (perhaps suggesting a
natural necessity) that he is not leaving the building which would be suspicious
behaviour in an employee with obviously less than satisfactory in the performance
of his duties.194

G.p. (7)
A glass of porter, with suggestions of drink consumed for medical purposes since
G.P. is also short for a general medical practitioner. In Dublin a half pint of beer on
porter is referred to as a glass.

Caraway seed (9)


T. Brown, Dubliners. James Joyce. Introduction and notes, Penguin Books, Clays Ltd.,
London, 1992, p. 274.

T. Brown, Dubliners. James Joyce. Introduction and notes, Penguin Books, Clays Ltd.,
London, 1992, p. 274.

T. Brown, Dubliners. James Joyce. Introduction and notes, Penguin Books, Clays Ltd.,
London, 1992, p. 274.

T. Brown, Dubliners. James Joyce. Introduction and notes, Penguin Books, Clays Ltd.,
London, 1992, p. 274.


caraway seed is a particularly pungent seed of a herbal plant of the

carrot family. Useful in disguising the smell of alcohol on the breath, so
available in the pub!

Hot punches (10)

A beverage usually made of whisky mixed with hot water, sugar and lemon juice,
and, often, spice or mint or cloves.

Manikin (11)
a manikin is a synonym for little man or dwarf.

A bob (12)
Irish slang: shilling.

The dart (13)

the dart meaning the way it could be arranged.

Evening editions (14)

Evening editions of the daily national newspapers.

A half-one (15)
A half-measure of whiskey.

Tailors of malt (16)

Measures of malt, that is of unblended, whiskey

Poisons (17)
Irish slang: alcoholic drinks.

My nabs (18)
Dublin dialect: jocularly pejorative term of reference for a person.

Too Irish
Meaning all to generous

Some nice girls (19)

Euphemistic and ironic reference to girls of less than respectable
reputation, likely to prove sexually accommodating.

Tincture (20)
Literally a slight trace. Euphemism for a drink which is hardly a drink at all
and scarcely counts.


When the Scotch House closed they went round to Mulligans (21)

Drinking in the citys public houses was governed by the licensing laws. The
Scotch House operated, it seems, under a license which required it to close

Small hot specials (22)

Small hot specials are small measures of whiskey mixed with water and

A glass of bitter (23)

a glass of bitter is a half pint of beer.

A sponge (24)
Irish slang: one who cadges favours.

Gab (25)
Scots dialect: mouth.

Pony up (26)
Irish slang: pay up.

Smahan (27)
Irish for a taste, used with some of the same self-deluding implications as a

4.9.3 Story character list

Farrington is a burly and aggressive copy clerk and the protagonist in the story. With his
wine-red face and fuming temper, Farrington moves through the streets of Dublin as a
time bomb of rage!
Farringtons job dooms him to unthinkingly repeat his actions, and he transfers his
frustrations from one experience to the next without reasoning. His outlets in life are
drinking and fighting, a metaphor for the world that typifies his lack of care and

T. Brown, Dubliners. James Joyce. Introduction and notes, Penguin Books, Clays Ltd.,
London, 1992, p. 277.


thought. The biggest victim in this story appears to be his own son! The young lad is
the victim of Farringtons rage
Mr. Alleyne
Mr. Alleyne is the boss of Farrington in the story. Enraged by Farringtons poor work, Mr.
Alleyne yells at and insults Farrington until the latter embarrasses him in front of the
office staff. Alleyne serves to exacerbate Farringtons frustrations. These frustrations fuel
his anger!

4.9.4 Story analysis


While many characters in Dubliners desire something, face obstacles that frustrate
them, and ultimately forfeit their desires in paralysis, Farrington sees everything in
the world as an obstacle to his comfort and never relents in his vitriol!
The tedium of work irritates him first, but so does everything and everybody he
encounters in the story! The root of Farringtons violent and explosive behaviour is
the circular experience of routine and repetition (paralysis!) that defines his life!
Farringtons job is based on duplication- he copies documents for a rather demanding
boss. His job, in other words, is to produce replications of other things! The
monotony of his job enrages him more and more.
Farrington envisions release from such deadening activity in the warmth and
drink of public houses, but his experiences there only beget further routine. He
repeats the story of the confrontation with Mr. Alleyne to his friends, who then also
repeat it. Following the round tradition in which each person in a group takes turns
buying drinks for all companions present, he continually spends money and consumes
more alcohol. The preserve of Weathers, who takes advantage of this system, makes
Farrington realise how such tradition and repetition literally rob him. His anger
mounts throughout the story!
Farrington hurtles forward in the story without pausing to think about his actions or
why he feels such discontent. As a result, his circular activities become more and
more brutal. When he loses two arm wrestling matches to Weathers, a mere boy, he
goes home only to beat his own boy
What begins as mundane copying, the story hints, spins out of control into a cycle of
brutal abuse. While other characters in the collection acknowledge their routine
lives, struggle, then accept their fate passively, Farrington is unaware and
The title, Counterparts, refers to a copy or duplicate of a legal paper, the stuff of
Farringtons career, but also to things that are similar or equal to each other.
Farrington lives a life of counterparts, to dangerous ends. His pawning of his
watch symbolically release him from the shackles of schedules and time
demands, but the frustrations of work only take on new and more extreme forms at the
pub and at home. For Farrington, life repeats itself: work is like the pub home.

(red.), SparkNotes. Summary and Analysis of Counterparts., internet, 2008-04-09.,



As Counterparts illustrates, this bleeding between different areas of life inevitably

exists. When maddening routine and repetition form the backbone of experience,
passivity may result, but so too might volatile frustration.
The abuse that other stories in Dubliners allude to becomes explicit in
Counterparts, and the consistent emotional theme of anger underpins every event in
the story. Joyce uses adjectives like heavy, dark, and dirty to describe Farrington- he is
quite literally worn out by frustration and anger. Not even the desperate servitude and
piety of his son touch him, signaling that spirituality fails to save and protect.
Farrington is unable to realise that his own actions are far worse than the mocking
cruelty of his boss. Joyce refers to Farrington both by his name and as the man
throughout the story.
In one sentence he is the familiar character of Farrington that the reader
follows throughout the story, yet in another he is the man on the street, on the
train, in an office. Farrington, in a sense, acts as an exchangeable or general type, both
a specific man and everyman. Joyces fluid way of addressing him thus serves to
weave Farrington into the Dublin streetscape and suggest that his brutality is
nothing unusual.

4.9.5 Focus on Dublin.


ONeills shop
This is a pub in Essex Street in central Dublin on the south side of the river
Liffey. Many Dublin pubs in the early twentieth century had a small
enclosed space or a parlour (known as a snug) beside or behind the bar
where customers could drink and talk in intimate privacy.

Temple Bar

Street in south central Dublin which leads into Fleet Street. Nowadays this
is the place to be for partying and drinking. Most of the tourists go there to
pubs and discos, the Irish go out elsewhere!


Scotch House
Public house on Burgh Quay on the side side of the river Liffey

The Tivoli
Theatre on Burgh Quay where music hall entertainments were presented.

Mulligans of Poolbeg Street

Pub in a nearby street just south of the river Liffey. This pub is still in

OConnell Bridge
Liffey Bridge which gives on to the citys principal street, Sackville Street!
(Sackville Street is now named OConnell Street).

Sandymount tram
The tram which carried passengers to Sandymount, a suburb about three
miles east-south-east of the city centre!

Shelbourne Road
Street about two miles east-south-east of the city centre. In the early
twentieth century it was a street of mixed lower-middle-class houses and
slum tenements!

The barracks
British Military barracks on Shelbourne Road.

4.10 Clay
4.10.1 Reading: plot summary.


Maria, a maid at a Protestant charity that houses troubled women, proudly reviews her
preparation for Halloween festivities at her workplace. Running through the evenings
schedule, she also looks forward to her celebrations for later in the night with the family
of a friend, Joe Donnelly. Maria nursed Joe and his brother, Alphy, when they were young,
and both of them helped Maria get her present job.
Though Maria was at first uncomfortable with the Protestant association of the charity,
she has grown to accept it and is warmly loved with the staff and residents. The time for
festivities arrives, and Maria distributes the seasonal spiced bread, called barmbrack, and
tea. One of the women raises a toast to Maria.
Afterwards, Maria prepares for her journey to Joes home, admiring her appearance in
the mirror before leaving her room. On her way to Joes, Maria does some shopping.
Moving through the crowded streets, she visits two shops to buy cakes for the children

J. Joyce, Dubliners.Clay, Penguin Classics, Clays Ltd., London, 2000, p. 95-103.


and a special plum cake for Joe and his wife. She boards a crowded tram and sits next to
a colonel-looking gentleman who kindly makes room for her. They chat casually during
the ride, and at Marias stop they cordially say goodbye to each other.
At Joes home, the Donnellys happily greet Maria. She distributes the sweets to the
children, but when she goes to present the plum cake to Joe and his wife, she cannot find
the package. Maria desperately looks everywhere, with no success. The Donnellys
suggest that that she probably left it on the tram, which makes Maria think about the
man, and she scolds herself for getting destracted by his presence and for running her
own surprise gift. Joe consoles Maria by telling her stories about his office and offering
nuts and wine.
The conversation turns to the past, and Maria tries to say good things about Alphy. The
brothers have had a falling out, though Joe has named his eldest son after Alphy. Joe
grows defensive, and his wife attempts to divert the matter by starting a round of
traditional Halloween games. Two girls from the house next door help the children to
arrange a table of saucers filled with different objects and lead a blindfolded Maria over
to them. Maria touches the saucer with a mound of wet clay on it, which in games of this
sort represents early death. Joes wife reproves the visiting girls, as though clay should
not be an option given its bad omen. Maria reaches again and touches a prayer book,
forecasting a pious life in a convent.
The festivities continue happily until Joe asks Maria to sing for the family. With Mrs.
Donnelly at the piano, Maria timidly sings I Dreamt that I Dwelt, a popular opera aria
written by an Irish nineteenth-century composer. Maria sings the first stanza twice, but
no one points out her mistake. Joe is visibly moves to tears and, to cover up his reaction,
asks his wife where the corkscrew is.

4.10.2 Notes

Barmbracks (1)
Derived from the Irish Gaelic Bairin breac meaning speckled cake. Fruit
breads or cakes used in Halloween games of divination. In such games a coin or a
ring (or a nut) are bakes with the bread. Whoever gets a particular item could
be assured of a specific future, marriage for example!

The Board ladies (2)

The Dublin By Lamplight laundry at which, we learn through the story, Maria
works, was a Protestant charitable institution which sought to rescue fallen
woman and drunkards. It was run by a board of governers (two of whom are
referred to here) with its Chaplain and Scretary, one Rev. J.S. Fletcher D.D. and it
set the women in its charge (who otherwise might have been in prison) to useful
work in the laundry. It is clear that Maria is not such a one, since she is granted
permission to go out for the evening. She would in fact seem to have a job as a
scullery maid in this less than genteel environment! 198


Whit-Monday (3)

T. Brown, Dubliners. James Joyce. Introduction and notes, Penguin Books, Clays Ltd.,
London, 1992, p. 278


Whit-Monday is a day of public holiday, following the seventh Sunday

after Easter which in the liturgical year marks the descent of the Holy Spirit on
the Apostles.

Coppers (4)
Irish slang: penny coins.

Tracts on the walls (5)

Religious and Biblical texts hung on the walls for the purposes of
proselytism and the moral improvement of the inmates. Among these may
well have been the institutions Biblical motto That they may recover
themselves out of the snare of the devil, who are taken captive by him at his

Get the ring (6)

In the game of divination referred to here the person who got the ring
could hope to marry within the year!!200

Hallow Eves (7)

The story takes place on All Hollows Eve, or Halloween, the night before the
Church feast of All Saints (celebrated on the first of November in
commemoration of all the Saints of the Church, whether canonised or not). All
Hollows Eve falls at the same of the year as the old Celtic festival of
summers end, Samhain. Samhain was a three-day feast of the dead when
the fairy folk were said to walk and divination was attempted. (please also
see portfolio Erasmus, Celtic spirituality!!)

A mass morning (8)

All Saints Day for the faithful is a Holy Day of Obligation with attendance at the
liturgical feast of the Mass, a duty which must be discharged.

Changed the alarm from seven to six (9)

It seems that Maria is permitted by her Protestant employers to practise her
religion only if it does not interfere with her other duties; so she is forced


T. Brown, Dubliners. James Joyce. Introduction and notes, Penguin Books, Clays Ltd.,
London, 1992, p. 279 .


T. Brown, Dubliners. James Joyce. Introduction and notes, Penguin Books, Clays Ltd.,
London, 1992, p. 279.


to rise at an earlier hour than usual on a Mass morning and sets her
alarm-clock accordingly.201

Apples and nuts (10)

Traditionally served at Halloween parties and used in various games, such as
ducking for apples.

A drop taken (11)

Euphemism which in Dublin can cover a multitude of alcoholic sins, from
mild inebriation to outright intoxication!

Hallow Eve games (12)

The games of divination which follow blindfold participants selecting by touch from
items proffered to them in a saucer. These can include a prayer book which
presages entry to a convent or monastery, the ring which promises marriage,
water which assures continued life and clay which indicates death before too

Miss McClouds reel (13)

Miss McClouds reel is a famous Irish fiddle tune!


I Dreamt that I Dwelt (14)

A favourite aria from Balfes opera The Bohemian Girl. In the opera the
nobly born heroine who has been kidnapped by gypsies, dreams of a
scarcely remembered life of luxury to which in the opera she is (at first
not so happily) restored.204

Poor old Balfe (15)

Balfe during his lifetime had enjoyed an almost universal reputation as a
composer, but since his death his name had suffered an eclipse!205


T. Brown, Dubliners. James Joyce. Introduction and notes, Penguin Books, Clays Ltd.,
London, 1992, p. 279.

T. Brown, Dubliners. James Joyce. Introduction and notes, Penguin Books, Clays Ltd.,
London, 1992, p. 280.


T. Brown, Dubliners. James Joyce. Introduction and notes, Penguin Books, Clays Ltd.,
London, 1992, p. 280.

T. Brown, Dubliners. James Joyce. Introduction and notes, Penguin Books, Clays Ltd.,
London, 1992, p. 280.

T. Brown, Dubliners. James Joyce. Introduction and notes, Penguin Books, Clays Ltd.,
London, 1992, p. 281.


4.10.2 Story character list

Maria is the quiet maid and protagonist of the story. One day she goes to visit Joe
Donolly, the man she nursed when he was a boy. Maria is precise and dedicated to detail.
She moves through most of the narrative with content satisfaction and laughter. Her
happiness, however, faces challenges in the smallest of events, and her disproportionate
reactions to small troubles suggest a remote detachment from life.
Joe Donolly
The man that Maria visits in the story. Joes brief appearance in the story provides a
backdrop for Marias own concerns. Like her, he worries about mundane details, but he
also hides a deeper wound that the story does not articulate. He therefore serves as a
sad figure of unhappiness.

4.10.3 Focus on Dublin.


The laundry was in Ballsbridge, a prosperous and significantly Protestant
suburb about two miles south-east of the city centre

The Pillar
Nelsons pillar in Sackville street (now OConnell Street!). This memorial to
Admiral Horatio Lord Nelson (1758-1805) was a principal focal point in the
city until it was destroyed by an IRA bomb in 1966!

Nelsons pillar, now The Spire

Suburb about one-and-a-half miles north of the city centre. It was and
remains an area with many ecclesiastical and Catholic Associations. This is
the area where Im living now! Clonliffe Road is a street in the Drumcondra

I stayed in the semi on the left.


Henry Street
Street in central Dublin running west from Sackville Street. Always very
crowdy, as you can see

The Canal Bridge

Bridge over the Royal Canal on the north side of the city where Maria
descends from the tram in Drumcondra!

PART IV. maturity and death

4.11 A Painful Case

4.11.1 Reading: plot summary.


J. Joyce, Dubliners.A Painful Case, Penguin Classics, Clays Ltd., London, 2000, p. 103115.


A predictable, unadventurous bank cashier, Mr. Duffy lives an existence of prudence and
organisation. He keeps a tidy house, eats at the same restaurants, and makes the same
daily commute. Occasionally, Mr. Duffy allows himself an evening out at the opera or a
concert, and one of these evenings he engages in a conversation with another audience
member, Mrs. Sinico, a striking woman who sits with her young daughter. Subsequent
encounters ensue at other concerts, and, on the third occasion Mr. Duffy sets up a time
and day to meet purposely with her. Because Mrs. Sinico is married and her husband, a
captain of a merchant ship, is constantly away from home, Mr. Duffy feels slightly
uncomfortable with the clandestine nature of the relationship. Nevertheless, they
continue to meet, always at her home
Their discussions revolve around their similar intellectual interests, including books,,
political theories, and music, and with each meeting they draw more closely together.
Such sharing gradually softens Mr. Duffys hard character. However, during one of their
meetings, Mrs. Sinico takes Mr. Duffys hand and places it on her cheek, which deeply
bothers Mr. Duffy. He feels Mr. Sinico has misinterpreted his acts of companionship as
sexual advances. In response, he cuts of the relationship^, first by stopping his visits and
then by arranging a final meeting at a cake shop in Dublin, deliberately not at Mrs.
Sinicos home. They agree to end the relationship, but Mrs. Sinicos emotional presence
at this meetings suggests she is less willing to say goodbye than is Mr. Duffy.
Four years pass. One evening, during his usual dinner in town, Mr. Duffy reads a
newspaper article that surprises him enough to halt his eating and hurry home. There, he
reads the article, entitled A Painful Case, once more. The article recounts the death of
Mrs. Sinico, who was hit by a train at a station in Dublin the previous evening. Witness
accounts and the coroners inquest deem that the death was caused by shock or heart
failure, and not injuries from the train itself. The article also explains that Mrs. Sinico was
a drinker and had become increasingly detached from her husband over the past two
years. The article concludes with the statement that no one is responsible for her death.
The news of Mrs. Sinicos death at first angers, but later saddens Mr. Duffy. Perhaps
suspecting suicide or weakness in character, he feels disgusted by her death and by his
connection to her life. Disturbed, he leaves his home to visit a local pub, where he drinks
and remembers his relationship with her. His anger begins to subside, and by the time he
leaves to walk home, he feels deep remorse, mainly for ending the relationship and
losing the potential for companionship it offered.
Upon seeing a pair of lovers in the park by his home; Mr. Duffy realises that he gave up
the only love hed experienced in life. He feels utterly alone

4.11.2 Notes

Duffy (1)
Duffy is a very interesting name, since it is derived from the Irish Dubh,
meaning black or dark!207


A complete Wordsworth (2)

T. Brown, Dubliners. James Joyce. Introduction and notes, Penguin Books, Clays Ltd.,
London, 1992, p. 281.


A complete edition of the poems of the English romantic poet William

Wordsworth (1770-1850) whose works once thought to be revolutionary
and radical had by the late Victorian times achieved canonical
respectability and were often published in deluxe editions.208

Maynooth catechism (3)

The cathechetical instrument if religious instruction used by the Catholic Church in
Ireland. The Royal College of St Patrick is the principal Irish seminary.
Situated in Maynooth about fifteen miles west of Dublin, it hosted a National
Synod which issued this catechism in 1883. It is sixty-four pages in its long
version and thirty-three in the shorter version!209

Bile Beans (4)

A popular patent cure for various bilious afflictions.

Saturnine (5)
Medieval medicine attributed psychological states to the influence of the
bodily fluids of humours, the balance of which was believed to be
affected by the influence of the planets.
The Saturnine man, born under the influence of the watery planet Saturn,
is afflicted by any excess of bile and is gloomy heavy-spirited sort of
fellow whose constitutional melancholia can only be lifted by music! 210

A stout hazel (6)

A stick cut from the hazel tree, which was associated in Celtic mythology and
tradition with the magical powers of the poet!

Leghorn (7)
Italian city of Livorno in Tuscany.

An Irish Socialist Party (8)

At the time this story is set there was no fully fledged Irish left-wing political
party. Individuals interested in socialism and left-wing political thought gathered
in what were essentially discussion groups rather than anything akin to the


T. Brown, Dubliners. James Joyce. Introduction and notes, Penguin Books, Clays Ltd.,
London, 1992, p. 282.

T. Brown, Dubliners. James Joyce. Introduction and notes, Penguin Books, Clays Ltd.,
London, 1992, p. 282.

T. Brown, Dubliners. James Joyce. Introduction and notes, Penguin Books, Clays Ltd.,
London, 1992, p. 282.


seriously active revolutionary cells of other European countries. Nevertheless it

was in Thomas Street in the west of the city not very far from where Mr. Duffy
lives that the Irish Socialist Republican Party was founded with James
Connolly as secretary on 29 May, 1896.211

The buff Mail (9)

The Dublin Evening Mail. A unionist daily newspaper printed on light brown

Reefer over-coat (10)

A tight-fitting, usually double-breasted, jacket of thick cloth.

The prayers Secreto (11)

Secreto is Latin for secret. The prayer or prayers in the liturgy of the Mass
corresponding in form and number to the Collects (these are prayers said aloud),
which the priest reads silently and quietly between the Offertory and the Preface.
They vary according to the feast213

The Deputy Coroner (12)

An official charged with determining cause of death in cases due to other than
natural cases.

Sydney Parade Station (13)

Sydney Parade Station is the railway station in Sydney Parade Avenue, a street in
the comfortably middle-class village of Merrion (the village where Mrs. Marrion
apparently lived), three miles roughly south-east of the city centre.

A league (14)
A temperance league or association which would have inquired members
to forswear alcohol!214

The Herald (15)


T. Brown, Dubliners. James Joyce. Introduction and notes, Penguin Books, Clays Ltd.,
London, 1992, p. 283.

T. Brown, Dubliners. James Joyce. Introduction and notes, Penguin Books, Clays Ltd.,
London, 1992, p. 284.

T. Brown, Dubliners. James Joyce. Introduction and notes, Penguin Books, Clays Ltd.,
London, 1992, p. 284.

T. Brown, Dubliners. James Joyce. Introduction and notes, Penguin Books, Clays Ltd.,
London, 1992, p. 285.


The Evening Herald was a Dublin daily paper of nationalist sympathies!

4.11.2 Story analysis



Because Mr. Duffy simply cannot tolerate unpredictability, his relationship with Mrs.
Sinico is a disruption to his orderly life that he knows he must eliminate, but which he
ultimately fails to control. Mrs. Sinico awakens welcome new emotions in Mr.
Duffy, but when she makes an intimate gesture he reacts with surprise and
Though all along he spoke of the impossibility of sharing ones self and the inevitability
of loneliness, Mrs. Sinicos gesture suggests that another truth exists, and this truth
frightens Mr. Duffy. Accepting Mrs. Sinicos offered truth, which opens the possibility for
love and deep feeling, would mean changing his life entirely, which Mr. Duffy cannot
do. He resumes his solitary life with some relief.
When Mr. Duffy reads of Mrs. Sinicos death four years later, he reacts with shock
and disgust, as he did when Mrs. Sinico touched his hand. Mrs. Sinicos dramatic
demise points to a depth of feeling she possessed that Mr. Duffy will never understand or
share, and it provides Mr. Duffy with an epiphany as he walks home. He realises that
this concern with order and rectitude shut her out of his life, and that this concern
excludes him from living fully. Like other characters in Dubliners who experience
epiphanies, Mr. Duffy is not inspired to begin a new phase in his life, but instead
he bitterly accepts his loneliness.
A Painful Case concludes where it begins, with Mr. Duffty alone. This narrative
circle mimics the many routines (paralysis!) that comprise Mr. Duffys life and
deny him true companionship. The story opens with a detailed depiction of Mr.
Duffys unadorned home in a neighbourhood he chose for its distance from the hustle and
bustle of Dublin.
Colours are limited and walls are bare in Mr. Duffys house, and disorder,
spontaneity, and passion are unwelcome.
As such, Mr. Duffys house serves as a microcosm of his own soul. His regulatory
impulses make each day the same as the next one. Such deadening repetitiveness
ultimately brings Mr. Duffy death in life (Joyce here already prepares the reader for
his masterpiece; The Dead); the death of someone who once stirred his longings to be
with others. In life, Mrs. Sinico invigorated Mr. Duffys routine and, though her intimacy,
came close to warming his cold heart. Only in death, however, does she succeed in
revealing his cycle of solitude to him (cfr. The Dead, last story of the
The tragedy of this story is threefold!

T. Brown, Dubliners. James Joyce. Introduction and notes, Penguin Books, Clays Ltd.,
London, 1992, p. 285.

(red.), GradeSaver. Summary and Analysis of A Painful Case, internet, 2008-04-13.,



First, Mr. Duffy must face a dramatic death before he can rethink his lifestyle and
Second, acknowledging the problems in his lifestyle makes him realise his culpability:
Mrs. Sinico died of a broken heart that he caused!
Third, and perhaps more tragic, Mr. Duffy will not change the life he has created for
himself. He is paralysed, despite his revelations (series of moments of
illumination, actual epiphanies) and his guilt!
Joyce choice of symbolic names in this short story articulates the storys somber
subject of thwarted love and loneliness.
Duffy derives from the Irish word for dark, suggesting the grim, solemn mood in
which the story unfolds and Mr. Duffy lives.
The suburb in which Mr. Duffy resides, named Chapelizod, takes its name from the
French, Chapel dIseult. Iseult is half of the framed set of lovers, Tristan and Iseult,
whose doomed affair ranks as one of the most iconic love stories in literature and
This names appearance in the story as Mr. Duffys home neighbourhood, which he
purposely chose in order to distance himself from Dublins hustle and bustle and which is
the starting point for his daily routine, connects the unrequited love and death of
Mrs. Sinico with Mr. Duffys restrained existence.

4.11.3 Story character list

Mr. Duffy
Mr. Duffy is a rather obsessive man who eschews intimacy with Mrs. Sinico. He seems to
be very lonely. Disdainful of excess and tightly self-regulated, Mr. Duffy lives according to
mundane routine, and when a relationship evolves beyond his comfort level, he stops it
immediately. His remorse over Mrs. Sinicos death makes him realise that his pursuit of
order and control has les only to loneliness. It is clear that he is one of the most tragic
protagonists in Dubliners.
Mrs. Sinico
Mrs Sinico used to be Mr. Duffys girlfriend. However, after being dumped by him, Mrs.
Sinico becomes an alcoholic and dies when she is hit by a train. And how did their
relationship end?
She once grasped Mr. Duffys hand and held it to her cheek, and this small, affectionate
gesture led to the end of their relationship

4.11.4 Focus on Dublin.


The disused distillery

This is the Dublin Distillery Company in which, in fact, Joyces father John
Joyce had once held shares. The company had gone bankrupt during John
Joyces involvement with it, butby the time this story the building on the
bank of the river Liffey was back in service as the Phoenix Park Distillery.

Dan Burkes
Dan Burkes is a public house in Baggot Street.


Georges Street
One means Great Georges Street South here, which is a thoroughfare on
the south side of the river Liffey in central Dublin. It is on Mr. Duffys route
home from Baggot Street to Chapelizod ( this is a rather smaal village that
spans the Liffey about three miles down river to the west of the city
centre) and runs through a largely commercial district where Mr. Duffy can
feel himself safe, as he dines, from the fashionable young who might
disturb the even tenor of days!

The Rotunda
The rotunda are a series of buildings on the south-east corner of Rutland
Square which included a concert hall. The complex includes the famous
maternity hospital on the same site, which is also known as The Rotunda.

Earlsfort terrace
The Dublin International Exhibition Building was used for concerts and
public meetings at the time this story is set. It is situated on the west side
of a street of that name in central Dublin, which runs south from St
Stephens Green.

Parkgate is the main entrance to Phoenix Park, the large park north of
the river on the western side of the city.


The City of Dublin Hospital

Joyce refers to The Royal City of Dublin Hospital in Baggot Street on the
south side of the city near the Grand Canal. Even back then, it had a
round-the-clock casualty department to which all accident victims in the
city were taken!

Town and harbour about six miles south-east of central Dublin. Formerly
Dun Laoghaire, by which name it is known now!

The name of the house in which the Sinicos resided. The name means city
of the lion.
The Joyce family had in fact lived in a house of that name in 1892, but that
was located at 23, Carysfort Avenue in Blackrock some miles south of the
Sinicos home!

The Lucan Road

The road which runs along the south bank of the river Liffey from
Chapolizod to the village of Lucan, which is about six miles west of the city

Kingsbridge Station
Kingsbridge Station is a railway station close to the southern bank of the
river Liffey near the park, which served the south and south-west of the
It is now named Heuston Station!

4.12 Ivy Day in the Committee Room

4.12.1 Reading: plot summary.



J. Joyce, Dubliners.Ivy Day in the Committee Room, Penguin Classics, Clays Ltd.,
London, 2000, p. 115-134..


On Ivy Day, a group of political canvassers working for a mayoral candidate in the city
council elections gather in the National Party committee room to warm up from the cold,
drink together, talk politics, and await their wage payment. Ivy Day, October 6,
commemorates the politician Charles Stuart Parnells death in 1891, and Parnells
presence pervades this story. Matt OConnor, one of the canvassers, sits and smokes as
Old Jack, the porter of the building, tends to a dwindling fire and tells OConnor about his
son. Both men are employed by Richard Tierney, a pub owner who is running for the
office of Lord Mayor in the upcoming elections. Another man, Joe Hynes, joins the two
men , but he does not work for Tierney. He is deeply critical of the candidate, suspecting
him of being sympathetic to the British even though he runs as a Nationalist, the party
that supports an independent Ireland.
Another canvasser, John Henchy, also joins the group. He coolly acknowledges the
presence of Hynes and reviews the days campaigning efforts with OConnor before he
too launches into a critique of the candidate, though for his tardiness in paying
employees like himself rather than the candidates political leanings.
Hynes leaves, and following his exit Henchy expresses his suspicions that Hynes is an
informer for Colgan, the working-class candidate running against Tierney. OConnor
gently deflects the comment, but, encouraged by Old Jack, Henchy continues with his
conspiracy theory that such informers probably work for the British. He makes a
connection between Hynes and the infamous Henry Charles Sirr, an Irishman who, as an
officer in the British Army, helped to suppress Irish uprisings against the British in the
late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries.
Another man, Father Keon, soon appears in the doorway looking for someone who is not
in the room, and scurries off to Tierneys pub to find the man. Henchy and OConnor chat
about the priest, who has a reputation for being a black sheep, unattached to any
church or institution. The men then turn the talk to drink, and Henchy complains that
Tierney had promised to send some stout to the room that has yet to arrive. Soon
thereafter, though, a boy appears bearing bottles from the pub, and Henchy exclaims
that Tierney keeps to his word. Two more canvassers named Crofton and Lyons arrive.
Henchy turns the discussion back to politics, making clear his support of Tierneys catchall approach of supporting whatever will benefit his country, even the welcome of the
English king, which, he argues, would boost the local economy. OConnor counterargues,
nothing that the National Party under Parnell would never place capital over political
theory, a point that Henchy meets with a simple Parnell is dead. Lyons backs OConnor,
as does Crofton, spurring Henchy to laud Parnell as well. At this moment, Hynes returns,
and OConnor asks him to read a poem he wrote, entitled On the Death of Parnell. The
poem celebrates Parnell and paints him as a man betrayed by treachery. All of the men
applaud the recitat

4.12.2 Notes

Ivy Day (1)

Ivy Day is actually a very important Bank Holiday in Ireland, especially in
The death of Charles Stewart Parnell on 6 October 1891 is remembered
each year on Ivy Day. The Holiday is so called because at his funeral to


Glasnevin Cemetery, the mourners who awaited the cortge (that was
actually delayed because of the huge crowd which followed it through the streets
of Dublin) wore ivy leaves in their lapels picked from the ivy plants in the

The Committee Room (2)

In December 1890, the Irish Parliamentary failed to support Parnell as
leader because of his role in the divorce action taken by Captain OShea
against his wife, Katherine OShea, who appeared to be Parnells
mistress! This controversy split the party and basically destroyed Parnells
political career The meeting took place in Committee Room 15 in the
Palace of Westminster in London, the seat of the parliament of Great
Britain and Ireland!219


The election, which is the main business of the characters in the story, is for the
Municipal or city council which had charge over the activities of the City
of Dublin Corporation.
The Corporation was responsible for the daily life in the city: the upkeep of
services, parks, etc. The election in this story is in fact a by-election,
probably as a result of a death or a resignation. 220

P.L.G. (4)
P.L.G. stands for Poor Law Guardian. Its an official charged with the
operation of the extremely severe laws on the disbursement of niggardly
public relief funds to the poor.221

Christian Brothers (5)

Christian Brothers is the teaching order of Catholic male religious
founded by Ignatius Rice in 1802, renowned both for its dedication in
providing primary education for the disadvantaged and for the
robustness of its pedagogic methods!222

Cocks him up (6)


T. Brown, Dubliners. James Joyce. Introduction and notes, Penguin Books, Clays Ltd.,
London, 1992, p. 286.

T. Brown, Dubliners. James Joyce. Introduction and notes, Penguin Books, Clays Ltd.,
London, 1992, p. 286.

T. Brown, Dubliners. James Joyce. Introduction and notes, Penguin Books, Clays Ltd.,
London, 1992, p. 286.

T. Brown, Dubliners. James Joyce. Introduction and notes, Penguin Books, Clays Ltd.,
London, 1992, p. 286

T. Brown, Dubliners. James Joyce. Introduction and notes, Penguin Books, Clays Ltd.,
London, 1992, p. 286.


Irish slang: gives him exaggerated ideas about himself.


A sup taken (7)

A sup taken is a Euphemism meaning alcoholic drink obviously taken. A
sup is mere mouthful!

Bowsy (8)
Irish slang: a ruffian or low fellow.

A Freemasons meeting (9)

A meeting of the secret society of Freemasons , whose activities are always
shrouded in mystery and some of which are presumed to take place in
total darkness.
In Ireland Freemasonry is still associated in the popular mind with
Protestantism and anti-Catholicism!223

Tinker (10)
Term of vulgar abuse. The tinkers in Ireland are travelling people,
gypsies, who are regarded by the settled community as vicious, villainous and

Shoneens (11)
Shoneens is a pejorative reference to Irish people who attempt to
improve their status by rejecting their own heritage and aping English

With a handle to his name (12)

Irish slang: a title.

Hunker-sliding (13)
Irish slang: shirking, performing a task in a half-hearted or dishonest fashion.

Spondulics (14)
Irish slang: money.

Musha (15)
Musha is a Hiberno-English interjection from Irish muise, meaning well,


T. Brown, Dubliners. James Joyce. Introduction and notes, Penguin Books, Clays Ltd.,
London, 1992, p. 287.


Usha (16)
Usha is a contraction of Musha.

Shoeboy (17)
Shoeboy is a pejorative and means flatterer.

Hand-me-down shop (18)

A hand-me-down shop is a shop that deals in second-hand clothing.

Moya. As it were! (19)

This is an ironic interjection. From the Irish mar bheadh.224

Tricky little black bottle up in a corner (20)

He sells drink illegally when the pubs are closed.225

A decent skin (21)

A decent skin is a frequently used Dublin phrase which suggests that an
individual is essentially decent whatever his manifest faults.

Hillsiders and fenians (22)

Hillsiders and fenians are rebels.
The term Fenian derives from the Fenian rebellion in the 1860s, in which the
revolutionaries identified with the warriors of the Fenian cycle.
These revolutionaries where termed hillsiders because the British
pilloried them as hillside men, dangerous and barbarian outsiders in the
body politic.
Malcolm Brown writes in The Politics of Irish Literature that an exciting
auru surrounded their raids, their escapes, their deaths, their colossal funerals,
their colourful minor mechanisms of conspiracy-their disguises, codes, and secret
movements on the hillside or in their own keeping. 226

Castle hacks (23)

Informers in the pay of the British authorities who governed from Dublin
Castle. The informer has played a dismal role in the long history of Irish


T. Brown, Dubliners. James Joyce. Introduction and notes, Penguin Books, Clays Ltd.,
London, 1992, p. 288.

T. Brown, Dubliners. James Joyce. Introduction and notes, Penguin Books, Clays Ltd.,
London, 1992, p. 288.

T. Brown, Dubliners. James Joyce. Introduction and notes, Penguin Books, Clays Ltd.,
London, 1992, p. 288-289.


rebellion. In Ireland to be reckoned a spy or informer is a very grave


Goster (24)
Goster is Hiberno-English, meaning talk, conversation or gossip. It is possibly
derived from the Irish Gaelic word gasran.

Knock it out (25)

Irish slang: to survive financially.

Travelling on his own account (26)

The speaker indicates that father Keon has no particular priestly duties or
ecclesiastical attachments. The implication is that he has been deprived of
these because of some fairly serious breach of discipline. 228

Hop-o-my-thumb (27)
Pejorative reference to person of diminutive stature or to a young man.

Vermin (28)
Vermin is a malapropism, or satiric reference to the ermine with which
the Lords Mayors official robe is trimmed!

Wisha (29)
Variant of Musha.

Any bottles? (30)

Meaning: do you have any empties which can be reused?

A loan of him (31)

A loan on him, meaning influence on him

Tinpot way (32)

Tinpot way, meaning ineffective fashion

The thin end of the wedge (33)


T. Brown, Dubliners. James Joyce. Introduction and notes, Penguin Books, Clays Ltd.,
London, 1992, p. 289.

T. Brown, Dubliners. James Joyce. Introduction and notes, Penguin Books, Clays Ltd.,
London, 1992, p. 290.


In logging the thin end of the wedge opens the wood to prepare for the thicker
and which finishes the job. The implication of this proverbial phrase is that,
the first step taken, there is no going back!229

Did the cow calve? (34)

Did the cow calve, meaning is there a cause for celebration?

The Conservatives (35)

The Irish Conservative group which with the Tory party in England upheld
the Union of Great Britain and Ireland which The Home Party sought to
bring to an end! 230

ParkesAtkinsonWard (36)
These three names are all names of English origin and therefore likely to be
Protestants with Unionist political sympathies. To get their support is there
something of a coup.231

A big rate-payer (37)

A big rate-prayer is a propertied man and therefore to be trusted.

Didnt Parnell himself (38)

Mr. OConnor is remembering that when Edwards had visited Ireland in 1885
as Prince of Wales, Parnell had advised his supporters to ignore the royal

Till the man was grey (39)

Queen Victorias longevity kept Edward from the throne until an
advanced age Therefore Joyce ironically writes Till the man was grey 233

The old one never went to see these wild Irish (40)
This is in fact not true!! The old one, meaning Queen Victoria, visited
Ireland on four occasions, the last being in 1900!234

King Edwards life is not very. (41)


T. Brown, Dubliners. James Joyce. Introduction and notes, Penguin Books, Clays Ltd.,
London, 1992, p. 291.

T. Brown, Dubliners. James Joyce. Introduction and notes, Penguin Books, Clays Ltd.,
London, 1992, p. 291.

T. Brown, Dubliners. James Joyce. Introduction and notes, Penguin Books, Clays Ltd.,
London, 1992, p. 291.

T. Brown, Dubliners. James Joyce. Introduction and notes, Penguin Books, Clays Ltd.,
London, 1992, p. 291.

T. Brown, Dubliners. James Joyce. Introduction and notes, Penguin Books, Clays Ltd.,
London, 1992, p. 291.


King Edward was a notorious Casanova, a renowned womanizer!


The Chief (42)

The Chief was a common appellation for Parnell among his devout

4.12.3 Story character list

Matt OConnor
One of the political workers in the story. OConnor is a quiet and reserved man. However
OConnor paces the mens conversation by tempering conflict and praise about the dead
politician Parnell, he himself shows little interest in his own political work.
Joe Hynes
The one who reads the poem On The Death of Parnell. Some of the men are hesitant
about his presence in the room because Hynes is critical of the candidate for whom they
work, but Hynes never wavers in his statements or views.
John Henchy
Henchy is the political promoter in the story. Henchy suspects everyone of betrayal. He
suspects his boss of shirking the men out of beer and paychecks, and he suspects Hynes
of informing the opposing candidate. However, he is the most equivocal figure in the
story and constantly changes his own views to suit the context.

4.12.4 Focus on Dublin.

Royal Exchange Ward

The Royal Exchange Ward is a municipal electoral area in central Dublin
south of the river Liffey.

Wicklow Street


T. Brown, Dubliners. James Joyce. Introduction and notes, Penguin Books, Clays Ltd.,
London, 1992, p. 291

T. Brown, Dubliners. James Joyce. Introduction and notes, Penguin Books, Clays Ltd.,
London, 1992, p. 291.


Street just south of the river Liffey in central Dublin. It is from here that
the Nationalist Party organises its campaign. Avondale, Parnells home, was
in county Wicklow!


Kavanaghs pub was located just north of the City Hall and the Castle and
was a gathering place for Dublin politicians and for those in search of
political favours!

Suffolk Street corner

Suffolk Street Corner is a corner about two minutes walk from the
committee room in Wicklow Street.

The Mansion House

The Mansion House is the official residence of the citys Lords Mayor of
Dublin who in 1902 was Timothy Charles Harrington, a man of lowly origins
well known for his simple tastes and for his unswerving loyalty to Parnell!

Dawson Street
Street of offices and shops in central Dublin just south of the river Liffey!

4.13 A Mother
4.13.1 Reading: plot summary.


J. Joyce, Dubliners.A Mother, Penguin Classics, Clays Ltd., London, 2000, p. 134-149


As the assistant secretary to the Eire Abu, or Ireland to Victory, Society, Mr. Holohan
tries to organise a series of concerts showcasing local musicians. He finally visits Mrs.
Kearney, whose eldest daughter Kathleen has a reputation in Dublin as a talented pianist
and exemplary speaker of Irish. Kathleen studies the piano and French in a convent
school like Mrs. Kearney did, and she receives tutoring in Irish at the insistence of her
mother as well. Mrs. Kearney is not surprised when Mr. Holohan proposes that Kathleen
perform as an accompanist in the series, and she advises Mr. Holohan in drawing up a
contract to secure a payment of eight guineas for Kathleens performance in the four
concerts. Given Mr. Holohans inexperience in organizing such an event, she also helps
him to lay out the program and complete other duties.
After her efforts, Mrs. Kearney is disturbed when the concert turns out to be sub-par for
her high standards. The first two concerts are poorly attended, the audience members
behave indecorously, and many of the artists are mediocre. Mrs. Kearney complains to
Mr. Holohan, but neither he nor the head secretary, Mr. Fitzpatrick, appear bothered by
the turnout.
Nevertheless, the Societys committee cancels the third concert in hopes that doing so
will boost attendance for the final one. This change in plans infuriates Mrs. Kearney, who
already has become aggravated by the mens lax attitudes and what she sees as loose
manners. She approaches Mr. Holohan and insists that such a change should not alter the
contracted payment, but Mr. Holohan only refers her to Mr. Fitzpatrick, who also dodges
her inquiries.
On the night of the final concert, Mrs. Kearney, accompanied by her husband and
Kathleen, arrives early at the performance hall to meet the men, but neither Mr. Holohan
nor Mr. Fitzpatrick has arrived. As the musicians gather and await curtain call, Mrs.
Kearney paces in the dressing room until finally she finds Mr. Holohan and, following him
to a quiet hallway, pursues the issue of the contract. Again he insists that such matters
are not his business and that she must consult Mr. Fitzpatrick. Enraged, she returns to
the dressing room, where the musicians wait for Kathleen to join them so they can start
the performance, for which the audience loudly clamors. Mrs. Kearney detains her
daughter, and when Mr. Holohan arrives to query the delay in performance, she
announces that Kathleen will not perform unless paid in full. Mr. Holohan departs in haste
and returns with Mr. Fitzpatrick, who gives Mrs. Kearney half of the amount, explaining
that the remainder will come at the intermission, after Kathleens performance.
Kathleen plays, during which time the artists and committee members criticise Mrs.
Kearneys aggressive conduct. At the intermission, Mr. Fitzpatrick and Mr. Holohan inform
Mrs. Kearney that they will pay her daughter the balance after the committee meeting
next week. But Mrs. Kearney angrily bickers with Mr. Holohan and finally whisks away her
daughter, leaving the concert hall.

4.13.2 Notes


Eire abu (1)

Eire Abu is a well-known Irish nationalist slogan, meaning Ireland to


Every first Friday (2)

The Pious Catholic was encouraged to receive communion in honour of
the Sacred Heart of Jesus on the first Friday of every month.
Christ was believed to have assured Margaret Mary Alacoque that an
individual who maintained such devotion for nine consecutive Fridays
could be assured that he or she would not die without the blessing of the

A society (3)
A society here meaning an assurance scheme

The Irish Revival (4)

The Irish literary and cultural renaissance, a movement which since the
1880s had sought to raise Irish national awareness through cultivation of
aspects of Celtic and Gaelic civilisation.
Some supporters of the movement sought to revive the Irish language as a
vernacular for the entire island!238

Her daughters name (5)

Kathleen ni Houlihan is a traditional figure for Ireland.
W.B. Yeatss famous nationalistic play Kathleen ni Houlihan was first
performed to acclaim in Dublin in 1902.
Kathleen Kearney is referred to in the last short story, the extraordinary
The Dead 239

Pro-cathedral (6)
The Catholic pro-Cathedral in Marlborough Street in Central Dublin on the
north side of the river. It is on a corner where Cathedral Street gives on to
Marlborough Street.240


T. Brown, Dubliners. James Joyce. Introduction and notes, Penguin Books, Clays Ltd.,
London, 1992, p. 292.

(red.), Wikipedia. Irish Revival., internet, 2008-04-04.,


(red.),Wikipedia. Kathleen ni Houlihan, internet, 2008-04-04.,


T. Brown, Dubliners. James Joyce. Introduction and notes, Penguin Books, Clays Ltd.,
London, 1992, p. 292.


Nationalist (7)
A Nationalist was a supporter of Home Rule for Ireland and in this context
an enthousiast for Irish cultural independence from English influence!

Said good-bye to one another in Irish

It was a common practice for those who supported the revival of the Irish
language to employ a few phrases in Irish whenever possible, even if
their command of the language was minimal.241

Antient Concert Rooms (8)

Antient Concert Rooms was a public meeting hall in central Dublin in
what was then Brunswick Street Great and is now Pearse Street. It was
frequently used for musical concerts and recitals.242

The dear knows (9)

The dear knows is a common Irish expression. So mild as to scarcely
constitute an oath, it usually expresses sad resignation to the inevitable
disappointments of life. A corrupt derivation from the Irish for God knows.

Maritana (10)
Maritana was a popular light opera by the Irish composer William V.
Wallace ( 1812-1865) with libretto by Edward Fitzball. It has its first Dublin
performance in 1846.243

Yous (11)
Yous is a rather ungrammatical form of the plural address which
suggests a poor education 244

Feis Ceoil (12)

Feis Ceoil was an annual festival of music which, inaugurated in 1897,
sought to popularise the Irish musical tradition.245


T. Brown, Dubliners. James Joyce. Introduction and notes, Penguin Books, Clays Ltd.,
London, 1992, p. 292.

T. Brown, Dubliners. James Joyce. Introduction and notes, Penguin Books, Clays Ltd.,
London, 1992, p. 292.

(red.), the Music Encyclopedia, internet, 2008-05-23,


T. Brown, Dubliners. James Joyce. Introduction and notes, Penguin Books, Clays Ltd.,
London, 1992, p. 293.

(red.), History of the Feis Ceoil Association, internet, 2008-05-23,



The Freeman man (13)

The Freeman man or a reporter from the Freemans Journal, which as a
nationalist daily newspaper might have been expected to notice such a concert
as this is. He appears and is named in the short story Grace. (See later!)246

Killarney (14)
Killarney is a popular song of great sentimentality by the Irish composer
Michael W. Balfe (1808-1870). It comes from his opera Inisfallen 247

Fol-the-diddle-I-do (15)
This is obviously a nonsense phrase which implies truculence and devilmay-care contempt. Mrs. Kearney imputes arrogant self-satisfaction to
Mr. Holohan in this exchange !248

4.13.3 Story character list

Mrs. Kearney
Mrs. Kearney is the commanding protagonist of the story. Being one of the four female
protagonists in Dubliners, Mrs. Kearney is ambitious but also haughty. She orchestrates
her daughters upbringing as an exemplary proponent of Irish culture an poise, but she
has trouble dealing with Dubliners of different backgrounds and any challenges to her

4.13.4 Story analysis



T. Brown, Dubliners. James Joyce. Introduction and notes, Penguin Books, Clays Ltd.,
London, 1992, p. 294.

T. Brown, Dubliners. James Joyce. Introduction and notes, Penguin Books, Clays Ltd.,
London, 1992, p. 294.

T. Brown, Dubliners. James Joyce. Introduction and notes, Penguin Books, Clays Ltd.,
London, 1992, p. 294.


This short story is yet another biting portrait, not only of Mrs. Kearney but also of
the artistic scene in Dublin, such as it is. Joyce was often critical of some of the
beneficiaries of the Irish Revival, and he did not support the movement to
restore the Gaelic tongue (called Irish by its supporters, to emphasise its supposed
rightful place as the national tongue) in place of English.
When Mrs. Kearney hopes to take advantage of Kathleens very Irish name, Joyce
is mocking the provinciality and faddishness of the Revival, and pointing out that
the mix of nationalism and art does not always have good aesthetic results.
The artistes at the show are a nervous, provincial lot. Mr. Bells nervous jealousy of other
tenors sets the tone for all the artistes: each one of them has a list of unimpressive
accomplishments, and a quite a few of them are rather petty.
The listeners dont demand much, either: the surest way to please the crowd is to
sing something patriotic. The small size of the audience also says something
about the supposed revival of Irish arts!
As for Mrs. Kearney herself, she is a petty, grating, and inconsiderate woman. Her
stubbornness and pride over the supposed slight to her daughter eventually turn
everyone against her. She insists on the matter without any consideration of the fact
that the Society is being squeezed financially as it is, due to the pitiful turnout for their
musical performance.
Poverty is a theme here, and one sees in this case how poverty and a certain stubborn
pride make for an unfortunate combination.
Mrs. Kearney helps with the planning, and buys expensive clothes for her daughter: it is
disappointed expectation that drives her to demand stubbornly the promised
eight guineas. Yet in her jealousness to ensure that her daughters rights are respected,
she destroys her daughters chances at future employment in Dublin. Mr.
OMadden Burke says confidently that Kathleen will never play in Dublin again.

4.13.5 Focus on Dublin.


( a bootmaker on) Ormond Quay

Ormond Quay is a quay on the northern bank of the river Liffey in central
Dublin, where Mr. Kearney is in business as a manufacturer of boots. In
marrying him Miss Devlin has opted for petit-bourgeois security!

J. Quatterly, James Joyce Quarterly, internet, 2008-05-23.,



The Academy
The Royal Irish Academy of Music in Westland Row in central Dublin on the
south side of the river.

Skerries Howth Greystones

These three popular seaside resorts near Dublin. Skerries is about eighteen
miles to the north, Howth about nine miles to the north-east of the city,
and Greystones is about fourteen miles to the south.

Brown Thomass
Brown Thomass is a very fashionable and (very, very) expensive lace and
linen and general drapery shop in Grafton Street. Grafton Street is the
principal shopping street in Dublin just south of the river Liffey.

The General Post Office

This is very large building with an impressive classical faade in the heart
of Dublin on Sackville (now OConnell Street!!), the principal thoroughfare
of the city, just north of the river!

The Queens Theatre

The Queens Theatre is still one of the citys main theatres, located in
Pearse Street.

The Mansion House

The Mansion House is the official residence on Dawson Street of Dublins
Lord Mayor!

4.14 Grace
4.14.1 Reading: plot summary.



J. Joyce, Dubliners.A Mother, Penguin Classics, Clays Ltd., London, 2000, p. 149-175.


A man has fallen down a flight a stairs in a central Dublin pub and is briefly unconscious.
Two men and a pub employee carry the man upstairs, and they, along with the manager
and the crowd already assembled in the bar, try to figure out what happened. The
manager calls a policeman to the scene, but when the officer arrives he offers little help.
A bystander succeeds in resuscitating the injured man, who says his name is Tom
Kernan. Barely able to answer any questions, Mr. Kernan prepares to leave when a friend
of his, Jack Power, emerges from the crowd and escorts him to a carriage. During the ride
home, Mr. Kernan shows Mr. Power that he injured his tongue in the fall, and as such is
unable to speak and explain the accident. This event reflects Mr. Kernans recent
fortunes: he used to be an esteemed businessman but has recently hit a rough patch.
After the carriage arrives at the house and Mr. Kernan goes to bed, Mr. Power chats with
the children and Mrs. Kernan. He mentally notes to himself the lower-class accents of the
children, just as Mrs. Kernan begins to lament her husbands neglectful behaviour. Mr.
Power assures her that he will help Mr. Kernan to reform.
The final and third section of Grace occurs at the Jesuit Church service and focuses on
the words of the officiating priest, Faqther Purdon. Mr. Cunningham, Mr. Kernan, Mr.
MCoy, Mr. Power, and Mr. Fogarty sit near each other in the pews, which are filled with
men from all walks of Dublin life, including pawnbrokers and newspaper reporters. From
the red-lit pulpit, Father Purdon preaches to them, he claims, as businessman to
businessman, as the spiritual accountant to the congregation before him. The service, in
turn, is a chance for reckoning, and he asks the men to tally up their sins and compare
them to their clean or guilty consciences. Both those who accounts balance and those
whose show discrepancies will be saved by Gods grace, as long as they strive to rectify
their faults.
After two nights, a group of Mr. Kernans friends visit the house in order to convince Mr.
Kernan to join them in a Catholic retreat, or cleansing service. The challenge lies in the
fact that Mr. Kernan is a former Protestant who converted to Catholicism for his wife and
has never warmly accepted his new church. Mr. Power, Mr. Cunningham, and Mr. MCoy
spend their visit at first talking about Mr. Kernans accident and his health, taking time to
complain about the ineffective policeman at the bar.
Then they gradually reveal their plans for the retreat and turn the discussion to religion.
Mr. Fogarty, who runs a neighboring grocery, joins the group, and they all praise the Irish
priesthood and nineteenth-century popes. Mr. Kernan follows along, contributes, and
eventually agrees to join the retreat, with on exception: he refuses to light any candles
as part of the service, explaining that he does not believe in magic.

4.14.2 Notes

Grace (1)
In Roman Catholic theology, grace is a supernatural gift freely given by
God to rational creatures to enable them to obtain eternal life.
Grace in less specific English usage can refer to personal style and
graciousness of manner.


It can also mean the period of grace granted to a debtor by a person who
is owned money.251

Curates (2)
Irish slang, meaning under-barmen.

An outsider (3)
An outsider is a two-wheeled horse-drawn car. The Irish jaunting-car!

His Napoleon, the great Blackwhite (4)

Mr. Kernan is apparently inspired in his commercial life by a salesman of
Napoleonic fame and success. The original of Blackwhite, if there was one, is
unknown to scholarship!252

A character (5)
In Dublin the last expedient of the defeated is to aspire an eccentricity or excess
of personality which endows the individual with a degree of social acceptability
and some small measure of not-entirely-spurious dignity. 253

What book they were in (6)

That is to what year of class they had advanced in school, since the
curriculum involved specific books for specific years! 254

Their accents (7)

Mr. Kernans social decline is accentuated by the obviously low-class
accents of his offspring.255

The holy alls of it (8)

Irish slang: the truth of the matter, all thats to be said about it

The pale (9)


T. Brown, Dubliners. James Joyce. Introduction and notes, Penguin Books, Clays Ltd.,
London, 1992, p. 294.

T. Brown, Dubliners. James Joyce. Introduction and notes, Penguin Books, Clays Ltd.,
London, 1992, p. 295.

T. Brown, Dubliners. James Joyce. Introduction and notes, Penguin Books, Clays Ltd.,
London, 1992, p. 295.

T. Brown, Dubliners. James Joyce. Introduction and notes, Penguin Books, Clays Ltd.,
London, 1992, p. 295.

T. Brown, Dubliners. James Joyce. Introduction and notes, Penguin Books, Clays Ltd.,
London, 1992, p. 295.


The pale is an enclosure. In Ireland the pale was the area around Dublin
within with the English legal writ ran before the final conquest of Ireland
in the seventeenth century.
Employed in this context, where a Protestant has converted to the faith
of the native majority, it is deeply ironic! 256

The banshee (10)

From the Irish Gaelic, meaning woman of the fairy folk or Sidhe In folkloric
tradition she appears, wailing, when death is about to visit a household.
(Celtic spirituality!!)

The Irish Times (11)

The Irish Times is a daily Dublin newspaper.
predominantly Protestant and Unionist in politics.




Bona-fide travellers (12)

According to the licensing laws, inns and public houses were able to sell
alcoholic drinks to genuine travellers (travellers in good faith: Latin bona
fide) outside the regulated hours.
It was assumed that as travellers ( that is individuals who had journeyed five
miles from the place where they had spent the previous night) they would have
been unable to dine and refresh themselves during the normal hours of
A tradition inevitably developed whereby journeys to suburban public
houses were undertaken with the sole intent of drinking outside hours,
genuine thirst being, one supposes, a form of good faith.257

Peloothered (13)
Irish slang: comprehensively drunk.
More usually the term is phloothered, so perhaps this is a comic
mispronunciation of polluted which in Dublin also denotes a state of
thorough-going inebriation! 258

True bill (14)

This is a legal term, meaning sufficient evidence to require a trial before


T. Brown, Dubliners. James Joyce. Introduction and notes, Penguin Books, Clays Ltd.,
London, 1992, p. 296.

T. Brown, Dubliners. James Joyce. Introduction and notes, Penguin Books, Clays Ltd.,
London, 1992, p. 298.

T. Brown, Dubliners. James Joyce. Introduction and notes, Penguin Books, Clays Ltd.,
London, 1992, p. 298.


A crusade in search of valises and portmanteaus (15)

MCoy borrows luggage, ostensibly for his wifes imaginary singing engagements
outside Dublin. Presumably he sells or pawns the borrowed good.260

Bostoons (16)
Bostoons is derived from the Irish Gaelic basturn, meaning a switch of

Omadhauns is derived from the Irish Gaelic amadan, meaning a fool, an

Yahoos (17)
The simian creatures in the fourth book of Jonathan Swifts Gullivers
Travels (1726) whose repulsive and recognisably human forms and
habits contrast shockingly with the gracious rationality of the horses or
In Dublin the term is employed quite frequently, often without consciousness
of its Swiftian source, to mean a graceless and ill-mannered fellow, usually,
but not invariably, from rural Ireland.261

Coming up here (18)

From the country to the city. Many members of the Dublin Metropolitan
Police were countrymen.
The presence of so many countrymen in the city was resented by native
Dubliners, although the force itself was not uniformly unpopular, unlike the
Royal Irish Constabulary, which was much disliked in many parts of the

To make a retreat (19)

To make a retreat meaning to retire for a few days of prayer, reflection and
special instruction, usually in the company of others.

To wash the pot (20)

Irish slang: to cleanse the soul in Confession.


T. Brown, Dubliners. James Joyce. Introduction and notes, Penguin Books, Clays Ltd.,
London, 1992, p. 298.

T. Brown, Dubliners. James Joyce. Introduction and notes, Penguin Books, Clays Ltd.,
London, 1992, p. 298.

(red.), Wikipedia. Yahoo (Gullivers Travels), internet, 2008-05-13,


T. Brown, Dubliners. James Joyce. Introduction and notes, Penguin Books, Clays Ltd.,
London, 1992, p. 298.


Secular priests (21)

The priesthood of the Roman Catholic Church is divided into the secular clergy
( that is priests who live in the world with appointments in parishes) and regular
clergy who belong to an order and live together in a monastery or

Purdon (22)
Joyce may well mischievously intend his readers to associate Father
Purdons name with Purdon Street in central Dublin just north of the river
Liffey, which was at the heart of the red-light district ( Montoafter
Montgomery Street) at the time this story is set!264

Pit (23)
The less than churchy Mr. Kernan does not know the ecclesiastical term for the
body of the church, the nave, comically drawing on the theatrical pit. The Pit
is also Hell in popular Evangelical and Catholic retreat homiletics. 265

The prisoner of the Vatican (24)

The temporal powers of the Vatican were seized by the Italian state led
by King Victor Emmanuel II in 1870.
The Popes Pius IX (reigned from 1846 until 1878) and Leo XIII (reigned
from 1878 until 1903) regarded themselves as prisoners in Vatican City in
Rome. Hence the term, used to them both!266

Orangeman (25)
Strictly a member of a lodge of the Orange Order, a militant Protestant
organisation founded in the north of Ireland in 1795 and dedicated to the
protection of the Protestant faith in Ireland and to the maintenance of
the political, social and economic privileges associated with that
It is named for William of Orange, King William III of England whose defeat
of James II at the Battle of the Boyne in 1690 consolidated Protestant rule
in Ireland.


T. Brown, Dubliners. James Joyce. Introduction and notes, Penguin Books, Clays Ltd.,
London, 1992, p. 299.

T. Brown, Dubliners. James Joyce. Introduction and notes, Penguin Books, Clays Ltd.,
London, 1992, p. 299.

T. Brown, Dubliners. James Joyce. Introduction and notes, Penguin Books, Clays Ltd.,
London, 1992, p. 299.

David I. kertzer, Prisoner of the Vatican. The Popes Sectret Plot to Capture Rome from
the New Italian State., Houghton Mifflin Books, London, 2004.


But the term was also sometimes used in Dublin to refer simply to a
Protestant with Unionist sympathies who may have no links with an
Orange lodge whatsoever.
The fact that Mr. Kernan allows that Crofton is a decent Orangeman implies
the latter, for no full-blooded Orangeman could quite be demmed decent
in such a Catholic circle.
Decent in this context suggests acceptable, not inclined to make too much
of his Protestantism, or to press sectarian points.
The fact that Crofton was willing to attend a sermon delivered by the
Catholic Father Tom Burke further suggests that he is not an Orangeman
by membership, since attendance at such an event ( and indeed his support
of the Nationalist candidate in the story Ivy Day at the Committee Room) would
have made a true-blue Orangeman liable to expulsion from his lodge.267

Tie himself to second-class distillers and brewers (26)

In other words he was restricted to purchasing less expensive but inferior
products since he lacked the capital to start and service his business with firstrate stock. Public houses had contracts with specific producers and were therefore
tied to these.268

Lux upon Lux (27)

Clearly absurd as a motto combining as it does Latin and English. What is
more the popes do not in fact take mottoes for themselves, as this
conversation suggests.
What the speakers may have in mind here is a half-remembered version of the
spurious The prophecy of Popes supposedly by St Malachy, the twelfthcentury Archbishop of Armagh, which listed mottoes for popes as yet
unborn. It is also possible that the titles of individual papal encyclicals issued by
nineteenth-century popes and confusing these with mottoes.269

Leo XIII (28)

Leo XIII was one of the renowned popes of the nineteenth century. Famed
for learning, his papacy was marked by reactionary defence of
conservative forces in the European social order. 270


(red.), Wikipedia. Orangemen., internet, 2008-05-02.,


T. Brown, Dubliners. James Joyce. Introduction and notes, Penguin Books, Clays Ltd.,
London, 1992, p. 301.

T. Brown, Dubliners. James Joyce. Introduction and notes, Penguin Books, Clays Ltd.,
London, 1992, p. 301.

Pope Leo XVIII, The Great Encyclical Letters., Oxford University Press, London, 1999., p.


Lumen in Coelo (29)

Light in the sky or in Heaven was associated with Pope Leo and Crux de
cruce with Pius IX.271

Tenebrae (30)
Here MCoy is confusing the motto with the liturgical Tenebrae, a
ceremony in Holy Week in which all lights in the church were
extinguished to symbolise both Christs passion and death and the
disciples desertion, the world left dark.272

Great scholar and a pope (31)

Pope Leo, although he enjoyed this reputation, was not a particularly
impressive scholar. He did write Latin verse however and produced in
1867, before he had in fact been elevated to the papacy, a poem in that
language on the invention of the photograph. 273

Sod of turf under his oxter (32)

The pupils were expected to contribute to the heating of the establishment.
Oxter is dialect for armpit

Great minds are very near to madness (33)

Inevitably a misquotation of Drydens lines in Absalom and Achitophel:
Great wits are sure to madness near allied/And thin partitions do their bounds
divide 274

Up to the knocker (34)

Irish slang, meaning up to standard.
Mr. Kernan here is referring, in a manner not uncommon among Irish
Protestants, to the disreputable, morally standard, lives of some of the
medieval and Renaissance popes.

Penny-a-week school (35)


Pope Leo XVIII, The Great Encyclical Letters., Oxford University Press, London, 1999., p.

T. Brown, Dubliners. James Joyce. Introduction and notes, Penguin Books, Clays Ltd.,
London, 1992, p. 302.

Pope Leo XVIII, The Great Encyclical Letters., Oxford University Press, London, 1999., p.

T. Brown, Dubliners. James Joyce. Introduction and notes, Penguin Books, Clays Ltd.,
London, 1992, p. 302.


Schools for the Irish poor run on the same lines as the hedge-schools of
eighteenth-century and early-nineteenth-century Ireland, where pupils
paid the teacher on a weekly basis!275

Credo (36)
Credo is Latin for I believe.

Sir John Gray (37)

Sir John Gray (1816-1875) was a famous Irish journalist and public
As owner of the Freemans Journal he supported the repeal movement led
by Daniel OConnell.
As a member of Dublin City Council he was. instrumental in bringing clean
drinking water to the citizenry in the Vartry water supply scheme
As a member of Parliament ( from 1865 until1875) he advocated
disestablishment of the Protestant Church of Ireland and supported land
reform. A Protestant patriot, his statue still stands on OConnell Street!276

Edmund Dwyer Gray (38)

Edmund Dwyer Gray (1845-1888) was the second son of Sir John Gray
whom he succeeded as proprietor of the Freemans Journal.
He was also an advocate of repeal of the Union between Ireland and Great
Britain and a supporter of Charles Stewart Parnell. 277

None of the Grays were any good (39)

In view of the Gray family record and their notable contributions to civic and
national life this is an especially ungracious remark, crudely sectarian in its
implications and sadly ignorant. However, Mr. Power is probably recalling the fact
that in 1891 Edmund Grays son deserted the Parnellite cause.278

Baptismal vows (40)


T. Brown, Dubliners. James Joyce. Introduction and notes, Penguin Books, Clays Ltd.,
London, 1992, p. 302.

(red.), Wikipedia. Sir John Gray., internet, 2008-05-13.,


red.), Wikipedia. Edmund Dwyer Gray., internet, 2008-05-13.,


T. Brown, Dubliners. James Joyce. Introduction and notes, Penguin Books, Clays Ltd.,
London, 1992, p. 303.


Baptismal vows are promises made by a childs godparents on his or her behalf
at baptism which is performed in infancy. Adults must accordingly renew these
promises from time to time.279

I bar the candles (41)

The Church of Ireland in which Mr. Kernan has undoubtedly been raised is
markedly low church in its liturgical practices, eschewing candles for
their suggestion of papist superstition and sacerdotalism.280

The lay-brother (42)

A lay-brother is a member of a religious order who is not a priest. They
often perform menial tasks in the churchs affairs.
Here a lay-brother is probably a church usher.


Speck of red light (43)

The sanctuary lamp which burns to indicate the presence of the Blessed
Sacrament, in the wafer blessed at the Sacrament of the Eucharist, contained
within the chalice in the locked tabernacle on the altar.
The red light district of a city is of course the brothel area, like Purdon
Street in Dublin.282

Mammon (44)
In the New Testament Mammon represents wealth and cupidity. He is
considered to be some kind of demon!


T. Brown, Dubliners. James Joyce. Introduction and notes, Penguin Books, Clays Ltd.,
London, 1992, p. 304.

T. Brown, Dubliners. James Joyce. Introduction and notes, Penguin Books, Clays Ltd.,
London, 1992, p. 304.

T. Brown, Dubliners. James Joyce. Introduction and notes, Penguin Books, Clays Ltd.,
London, 1992, p. 304.

T. Brown, Dubliners. James Joyce. Introduction and notes, Penguin Books, Clays Ltd.,
London, 1992, p. 304.


4.14.3 Story character list

Tom Kernan
Mr. Kernan is the out-of-luck businessman of Grace. After a nasty, drunken
fall, Kernan joins his friends in an attempt to reform his life. He remains silent
about his accident, never questioning the men who were his companions that
night. His accepting attitude leads him to go along with his friends plan to
attend a Catholic retreat, but never makes an active decision.
Jack Power
Mr. Power is Kernans friend in Grace. Power rescues Kernan after his
accident and suggest the Catholic retreat. Mr. Powers dedication to Kernan
appears shallow despite his efforts to reform the man, as he is acutely aware
of Kernans dwindling social status in comparison to his own burgeoning

4.14.3 Story analysis


Grace is another tale that deals with alcoholism, but the real focus of the story is
religion. By making Mr. Kernan a convert, and a rather unzealous one at that, Joyce
can use this additional perspective to deal with religious life in Dublin. We see
that Mr. Kernan is most definitely in need of some kind of help.
The title of the story refers to the supernatural gift conferred by God on rational
beings so that they might be able to attain salvation.
But the title is a play on words: it also refers to physical dexterity and elegance,
here with a bit of a sneer, seeing as the first time we meet Mr. Kernan he has
fallen down the stairs, and is passed out with a head wound and lying in the muck of a
filthy lavatory floor.
Mr. Kernan needs help. His alcoholism has come on him after a long period of
social decline. Mr. Powers, when seeing the children, is surprised at their manners
and at their accents (p. 153). Apparently, Mr. Kernans children speak with the
accent of less educated, poorer classes, showing how Mr. Kernans fortunes

(red.), GradeSaver. Summary and Analysis of Grace, internet, 2008-04-13.,



have taken a turn for the worse. He has comfort in booze, and can no longer
drink safely!
And his friends Mr. Power, Mr. Cunningham, and Mr. MCoy react in a typically Irish
Catholic way: religion, they promise Mrs. Kernan, will help Mr. Kernan with his
problems. Religion in this case is something everyone seems to respect but no
one seems to understand very well.
The characters of this story are not particularly religious, and they certainly arent
thoughtful when it comes to spiritual matters. In a memorable sentence, Joyce tells us
that Mrs. Kernan, if put to it,
could believe also in the banshee and in the Holy Ghost (p.157). The banshee is a fairy
spirit from Irish folklore, whose wailing is a premonition of death. Mrs. Kernan
apparently puts faith in the banshee at the same level as faith in the Holy
Ghost; Catholicism and superstition are jumbled together hopelessly. Later, that
theme of superstition intertwining with Catholic belief comes up again, when Mr. Kernan
refuses to light a candle. To his formerly Protestant mind, such a ritual smacks of
silly superstitious practices.
The men are no better than Mrs. Kernan. Although Mrs. Kernan puts banshees and the
Holy Ghost on a similar plane, the men have a somewhat pretentious conversation on
Catholic doctrines and history, and in the process they get every important fact wrong.
Their religious life, as we see in their humorous conversation, is not life of study
or reflection. Though they speak snobbishly of the lower classes, and Mr. Kernan
expresses a liking for Jesuits because they preach to the educated, these men know next
to nothing about their own Churchs theology and history.
When we reach the Church itself, it becomes clear that perhaps a correct grasp of
doctrine and history would not make them any more aware spiritually. Joyces tone is
very ironic, even biting
For one thing, he names the priest Father Purdon. Purdon Street in central
Dublin was the heart of the red-light district. And Father Purdons speech seems
antithetical to the spirit of Christianity. Nothing difficult is proposed, and he does not
make the men listen to any of any of Christs more difficult or revolutionary teachings.
He goes so far as to compare Christ to an accountant.
After having spent a good deal of the story blasting Catholicism and religious life in
Dublin, Joyce shifts rather abruptly in tone at the end of the story. The priest
addresses the businessmen in this simple, moving passage: speaking as if he were
one of them, he says; Well, I have looked into my accounts. I find this wrong and this
wrong. But, with Gods grace, I will rectify this and this. I will set right my accounts (p.
Though he is continuing with his ludicrous metaphor of Christ as an accountant of
the soul, this final passage still manages to end the story with a softer tone.
The effect is not to pardon the Catholic Church, but rather to refocus our
attention on Mr. Kernan. We have by this point nearly forgotten why Mr. Kernan has
come here; our energy, like Joyces, has been spent enjoying the thorough ribbing the
story gives to the Catholic Church. But at the end of the story, we are reminded
that Kernan has come as a man with real problems.


He has been forced into this retreat by social pressure, and will probably get nothing
from it. But by shifting the focus at the last minute from the Church to a single,
troubled man, Joyce keeps Grace from turning into a diatribe. His critique of
Dublins spiritual life exists alongside a solid portrait of an individual man.

4.14.5 Focus on Dublin.


Grafton Street
Grafton Street is the principal shopping street in central Dublin just south
of the river Liffey.

Westmoreland Street
Westmoreland Street is located in central Dublin just south of the river
Liffey which gives on to OConnell Bridge across the river. Mr. Kernan is
being taken to his home on the northside.

The Ballast Office

The Ballast Office is a building on the corner of Westmoreland Street and
Aston Quay beside the river.

Crowe Street
Street in central Dublin, just south of the river. It gives on to Dame Street.

Royal Irish Constabulary in Dublin Castle

The R.I.C. is an armed military-like police force that was responsible for
the security of the state in the country at large. Its headquarters were in
central Dublin just south of the river Liffey in Dublin Castle, the seat of
British power in Ireland.

Fogartys is a local shop off North Circular Road on the then northern
outskirts of metropolitan Dublin

The Star of the Sea Church in Sandymount

Catholic Church dedicated to the Blessed Virgin Mary in the suburban
village of Sandymount about two miles south-east of central Dublin.

Thomas Street
Thomas Street is located in west-central Dublin just south of the river
where Guinnesss famous brewery is situated!!

The Midland Railway

The Great Western and Midland Railway served Galway in the west from

The Liffey Loan Bank

In a city inhabited by as many poor as Dublin, there were and are many
unscrupulous individuals prepared to lend money at usurious rates. Mr.
Harford, in partnership with the Jewish Mr. Goldberg in the impressively
named (but apparently fictional) Liffey Loan Bank, as a Catholic and a
Gentile has apparently nothing to learn from his partner who, as a Jew,
would have been associated in Dublin as elsewhere with stereotypical
images of usurious exactions on the poor. Joyces own attitude to antiSemitism may be adjudged when we note that he has Stephen Dedalus
aver in Ulysses A merchant Is one who buys cheap and sells dear, Jew
or gentile, is he not?

Butlers in Moore Street

Butlers is a pub in central Dublin, just north of the river Liffey.
Moore Street runs through north and south parallel to Sackville Street

4.15 The Dead

4.15.1 Reading: plot summary.


J. Joyce, Dubliners. The Dead, Penguin Classics, Clays Ltd., London, 2000, p.175-225.


At the annual dance and dinner party held by Kate and Julia Morkan and their young
niece, Mary Jane Morkan, the housemaid Lily frantically greets guests. Set at or just
before the feast of the Epiphany on January 6, which celebrates the manifestation of
Christs divinity to the Magi, the party draws together a variety of relatives and friends.
Kate and Julia particularly await the arrival of their favourite nephew, Gabriel Conroy, and
his wife Gretta.
When they arrive, Gabriel attempts to chat with Lily as she takes his coat, but she snaps
in reply to his question about her love life. Gabriel ends the uncomfortable exchange by
giving Lily a generous tip, but the experience makes him anxious. He relaxes when he
joins his aunts and Gretta, though Grettas good-natured teasing about his dedication to
galoshes irritates him.
They discuss their decision to stay at the hotel that evening rather than make the long
trip home. The arrival of another guest, the always-drunk Freddy Malins, disrupts the
conversation. Gabriel makes sure that Freddy is fit to join the party while the guests chat
over drinks in between taking breaks from the dancing.
An other gentlemen, Mr. Browne, flirts with some young girls, who dodge his advances.
Gabriel steers a drunken Freddy toward the drawing room to get help from Mr. Browne,
who attempts to sober Freddy up.
The party continues with a piano performance by Mary Jane. More dancing follows, which
finds Gabriel paired up with Mss. Ivors, a fellow university instructor. A fervent supporter
of Irish culture, Mss. Ivors embarrasses Gabriel by labeling him a West Briton for writing
literary reviews for a conservative newspaper. Gabriel dismisses the accusation, but Mss
Ivors pushes the point by inviting Gabriel to visit the Aran Isles, where only Irish Gaelic is
spoken, during the summer. When Gabriel declines, explaining that he has arranged a
cycling trip on the continent, Miss Ivors corners him about his lack of interest in his own
country. Gabriel exclaims that he is sick of Ireland. After the dance he flees to a corner
and engages in a few more conversations, but he cannot forget the interlude with Miss
Just before dinner, Julia sings a song for the guests. Miss Ivors makes her exit to the
surprise of Mary Jane and Gretta, and to the relief of Gabriel. Finally, dinner is ready, and
Gabriel assumes his place at the head of the table to carve the goose. After much
fussing, everyone eats, and finally Gabriel delivers his speech, in which he praises Kate,
Julia, and Mary Jane for their hospitality. Farming this quality as an Irish strength, Gabriel
laments the present age in which such hospitality is undervalued. Nevertheless, he
insists, people must not linger on the past and the dead, but live and rejoice in the
present with the living. The table breaks into a loud applause for Gabriels speech, and
the entire party toasts their three hostesses.
Later, guests begin to leave, and Gabriel recounts a story about his grandfather and his
horse, which forever walked in circles even when taken out of the mill where it worked.
After finishing the anecdote, Gabriel realises that Gretta stands transfixed by the song
that Mr. Bartell DArcy sings in the drawing room. When the music stops and the rest of
the party guests assemble before the door to leave, Gretta remains detached and
thoughtful. Gabriel is enamored with and preoccupied by his wifes mysterious mood and
recalls their courtship as they walk from the house and catch a cab into Dublin.


At the hotel, Gabriel grows irritated by Grettas behaviour. She does not seem to share
his romantic inclinations, and in fact bursts into tears. Gretta confesses that she has been
thinking of the song from the party because a former lover had song it to her in her
youth in Galway. Gretta recounts the sad story of this boy, Michael Furey, who died after
waiting outside of her window in the cold. Gretta later falls asleep, but Gabriel remains
awake, disturbed by Grettas new information. He curls up on the bed, contemplating his
own mortality. Seeing the snow at the window, he envisions it blanketing the graveyard
where Michael Furey rests, as well as all of Ireland.

4.15.2 Notes

285 286

The Dead
Joyce completed this story in Rome in 1907. It was the last story to be
written. Because of the content of some of the dialogues in the story, we can
assume it took place in the first week of January in 1904, probably
between January 2nd (Saturday) and January 6th (Wednesday).
The characters speak of the party as taking place after New Years Eve but still
during Christmas time, which would last until January 6th , the feast of the
Epiphany (Twelfth Night)! 287
One of the most popular and well known books of poetry at the time was Thomas
Moores Irish Melodies, written during the period 1807-1834. It is generally
conceded that the title of this short story comes from a poem in that

Oh, ye Dead! oh, ye Dead! whom we know by the light you give
From your cold gleaming eyes, though you move like men who live.
Why leave you thus your graves,
In far of fields and waves,
Where the worm and the sea-bird only know your bed,
To haunt this spot where all
Those eyes that wept your fall,

W. Gray, William Grays Notes for James Joyces The Dead, internet, 2008-05-23.,

T. Brown, Dubliners. James Joyce. Introduction and notes, Penguin Books, Clays Ltd.,
London, 1992, p. 305-305-317.

W. Gray, William Grays Notes for James Joyces The Dead, internet, 2008-05-23.,


And the hearts that waild you, like your own, lie Dead?

It is true, it is true, we are shadows cold and wan;

And the fair and the brave whom we lovd on earth are gone,
But still thus even in death
So sweet the living breath
Of the fields and the flowrs in our youth we wandered over.
That ere, condemd, we go
To freeze mid Heclas snow,
We would taste it awhile, and think we live once more!288

The flower of that name is symbolically associated with the Archangel
Gabriel who, in the gospel account, informs Mary at the Annunciation of her
role in the Incarnation.
In church tradition the Virgin is associated with Lily of the Valley or
Madonna lily and in Renaissance art the Virgins chaste purity at the
Annunciation is often represented by a lily growing in a pot or vase.289

Literally run off her feet

This is a fine example of stylistic infection, in the personality of the
character being written about, begins to influence the authors choice of
words and rhythms which.
The correct word would be figuratively, but to say literally is common
among many people, particularly those with Lilys minimal education!290

She had the organ in Haddington Road

She was employed as organist in the Catholic Saint Marys Church in
Haddington Road on the fashionable south side of the river to the west of
central Dublin.291


T. Moore, Irish Melodies; O ye Dead!, internet, 2008-05-22.,


T. Brown, Dubliners. James Joyce. Introduction and notes, Penguin Books, Clays Ltd.,
London, 1992, p. 305-306.

W. Gray, William Grays Notes for James Joyces The Dead, internet, 2008-05-23.,

T. Brown, Dubliners. James Joyce. Introduction and notes, Penguin Books, Clays Ltd.,
London, 1992, p. 305-306.


Well for her

Well for her is a common Irish Gaelic phrase meaning fortunate for her.292

Miss Kate and Miss Julia

The characters of Miss Kate and Miss Julia are based on two actual
Dubliners(!), namely the Misses Flynn, sisters who presided over a
musical academy.
Joyce also gives Miss Kate characteristics of his own Aunt Callahan!!293

Always a great affair

The voice that tells us this is no longer Lilys, but rather the voice of the
people of a certain Dublin class who knew about and attended parties
where their fellow guests would be, as they are at this party, writers,
educators, musicians, lovers of the finer things Dublin has to offer294

Mary Jane
Joyce wrote this story when he was twenty-four years old. His mother had
died three years before and he pays homage to her memory by giving her
name to a character who plays the piano, just like his mother did!!295

Gabriel and Joyce actually share some characteristics, and Joyce may well
be presenting us with a picture of what he and his life would have been
like had he remained in Dublin
The name Gabriel, in Hebrew, means man of God, in tradition an angel of
death but also, as in John Miltons Paradise Lost one of the guards of
heaven. 296 297


W. Gray, William Grays Notes for James Joyces The Dead, internet, 2008-05-23.,

W. Gray, William Grays Notes for James Joyces The Dead, internet, 2008-05-23.,

W. Gray, William Grays Notes for James Joyces The Dead, internet, 2008-05-23.,

W. Gray, William Grays Notes for James Joyces The Dead, internet, 2008-05-23.,


P. Jovanovic, Biographie de lArchange Gabriel., Le Jardin des livres, Paris, 2003, p. 123.


J. Milton, Paradise Lost, Harvard College Library, Oxford University Press, London,


Gabriel is considered to be a comfort to man, whereas his counterpart, Michael

(whose namesake appears at the end of the story) is the church militant, since
the name Michael in Hebrew means who is like God. 298
The Archangel Gabriel announces the coming of John the Baptist to
Zacharias and the birth of the Christ child to the Virgin Mary.299
Joyce takes Gabriels name from a novel by the nineteenth-century
American writer Bret Harte (1836-1902): Gabriel Conroy. 300
This has been a puzzle for Joyceans, since the character, as well as the
sometimes sentimental and always adventurous aspects of the novel, seem to
have no connection to Joyces story ; the title character of Hartes novel is a
robust outdoorsman, a California Sierras gold miner who becomes rich and who is
embroiled in all manner of complications with women. In one of the episodes he
pretends to be guilty of a crime he thinks his wife committed in order to save her.
But Joyce seems to have been strongly influenced by the images in the
opening paragraph of the novel;
()The highest white peak- filling ravines and gulches, and dropping from the
walls of canyons in white shroud-like drifts, fashioning the dividing ridge into the
likeness of a monstrous grave, hiding the bases a giant pines, and completely
covering young trees and larches, rimming with porcelain the bowl-like edges of
still, cold lakes, and undulating in motionless white billows to the edge of the
distant horizon. Snow lying everywhere over the California Sierras on the
fifteenth of March 1848, and still falling.
It had been snowing for ten days: snowing in finely granulated powder, in
damp spongy flakes, in thin, feathery plumes, snowing from a leaden sky steadily,
snowing fiercely, shaken out of purple-black clouds in white flocculent masses,
or dropping in long level lines, like white lances from the tumbled and broken
heavens. But always silently!()301

Turn up screwed
Slang, meaning to turn up drunk

Smiled at the three syllables she had given his surname

Gabriel is patronising her because of her flat Dublin accent in which his
name would be pronounced Con-er-roy

Ill engage they did


Lori J. Flory and Brad Steiger, The Wisdom Teachings of Archangel Michael, Signet,
Manchester, 1997.

P. Jovanovic, Biographie de lArchange Gabriel., Le Jardin des livres, Paris, 2003, p. 123.


R. Bonnie, James Joyces The Dead and Bret Hartes Gabriel Conroy: The Nature of the
Feast, The Yale Journal of Critcism, Vol. 15, Number 1, Spring 2002, pp. 99-126.

Harte, B., Gabriel Conroy, Frederick Warne&co., London, 1955., p. 2.


Gabriel frequently uses pretentious and pseudo-elegant words in an attempt

to distance himself from Irish culture and take on what he considers to
be continental European air.302

Three mortal hours

Joyce does not have strain for symbols and allusions, but finds them in
natural phrases and objects. Here, a common expression carries with it
overtones of life and death appropriate to his story. 303

His galoshes
goloshes are India rubber or gutta-percha over-shoes which became
popular at the end of the nineteenth century.304

Toddling down
A nice touch on Joyces part to suggest the childlike, even infantile,
character of the two women. And for those who know some German, this is a
nice echo association with Toth (death).305

Must be perished alive

A common expression furnishes associative effects!306

Right as the mail

Astonishing to us nowadays, but the turn-of-the-century Dublin equivalent of
e-mail: five pickups of mail and five deliveries each day! 307

called out Gabriel from the dark

In his later works, Ulysses in particular, Joyce is never quite as obvious in his
subliminal suggestions as he is here- the implication being that Gabriels life
is in the dark! We learn that this is indeed the case with the revelations in the
concluding scene of the story.308


W. Gray, William Grays Notes for James Joyces The Dead, internet, 2008-05-23.,

W. Gray, William Grays Notes for James Joyces The Dead, internet, 2008-05-23.,

W. Gray, William Grays Notes for James Joyces The Dead, internet, 2008-05-23.,

W. Gray, William Grays Notes for James Joyces The Dead, internet, 2008-05-23.,

W. Gray, William Grays Notes for James Joyces The Dead, internet, 2008-05-23.,

T. Brown, Dubliners. James Joyce. Introduction and notes, Penguin Books, Clays Ltd.,
London, 1992, p. 305-306.

J. Joyce, Ulysses, Penguin Popular Classics. New Edition., Clays Ltd., London, 1996.


the men that is now is only all palaver

Lilys reply is an ungrammatical-plural noun and singular verb-but common
usage among those of Lilys educational background. Palaver means idle
chatter, particularly when the aim is to charm, flatter, or beguile, and it is
unclear whether this, or the sexual suggestion that follows, is what makes the
remark so upsetting to Gabriels ears.309

Gabriel colored
Gabriel is wounded, perhaps because of the harshness of Lilys reply,
perhaps because he recognises that the words could apply to him.
Throughout the story Gabriel comes under accusations of being all words
and no action, especially from Miss Ivors.
The reader may come to feel this way while reading Gabriels speech at
the dinner table, and, of course, as the ending of the story reveals that
Gabriel, as compared to the dead Michael Furey, appears to be all words
and no action.310

High colour

In the following g sentences, through the phrase flicked lustre in the next
paragraph, note the many words suggesting that Gabriel is the Archangel:
among them, scintillated, bright, and glossy. 311

Robert Browning
Robert Browning (1812-1889) was an English Victorian poet. Although his
passionate wooing of his wife, the poet Elizabeth Barrett Browning, was a
famous love story, his poetry was often reckoned by Victorian and
Edwardian readers to be obscure and difficult.312

The Melodies


W. Gray, William Grays Notes for James Joyces The Dead, internet, 2008-05-23.,

W. Gray, William Grays Notes for James Joyces The Dead, internet, 2008-05-23.,

W. Gray, William Grays Notes for James Joyces The Dead, internet, 2008-05-23.,

(red.), Wikipedia. Robert Browning, internet, 2008-05-22.,



The altogether more readily comprehensible Irish Melodies of Thomas Moore313


Toms eyes
With the mention of Eva, the second child, later in the sentence, we find another
suggestion that Joyce could have turned into Gabriel; like Jim and Nora
Joyce, the Conroys have a boy and a girl!
More important, perhaps, is the figure of Gabriels covering the eyes of his
own child. This is the third appearance of the word eyes in the story, the
first description of Gabriels delicate and restless eyes and the second
Aunt Julias slow eyes. The word appears 29 times in The Dead, and
figures prominently in the Thomas Moore poem the Melodies.
Joyce clearly wants to draw attention to the meaning of the eyes, for the
characters and for us, in a story about what it means to be alive and

Nowadays galoshes (overshoes) are usually plastic, but they were first made out
of rubber, and thus the word derives from the Malaysian for gum tree; getah

The word reminds her of Christy Minstrels

Minstrel shows, which featured whites in black face, were enormously popular
in the nineteenth and early twentieth century. These shows consisted of
sketches, songs, and dances; one of the numbers being the Golliwog Cake
Walk. The origin of golliwog is unknown, perhaps a variation of polliwog, but in
Frances K. Uptons illustrations (1895) of the Golliwog Book, it was a
grotesque black doll, hence a grotesque person. Does Gretta pronounce
galoshes in such a way it sounds close to golliwog? This might be indeed
what Joyce had in mind here!316

Brisk tact
Aunt Kate obviously wants to change the subject. Why? Is she far ahead of her
time and offended, as we would be, by the Christy Minstrels and especially by the
word Golliwog.317


T. Moore, Irish Melodies; O ye Dead!, internet, 2008-05-22.,


W. Gray, William Grays Notes for James Joyces The Dead, internet, 2008-05-23.,

T. Brown, Dubliners. James Joyce. Introduction and notes, Penguin Books, Clays Ltd.,
London, 1992, p. 305-306.


T. Brown, Dubliners. James Joyce. Introduction and notes, Penguin Books, Clays Ltd.,
London, 1992, p. 308.


The Conroys can obviously afford one of the best hotels in Dublin: some of
the rooms today in the original part of the hotel retain their fireplaces. An
obligatory visit, even if just for afternoon tea in the lobby, for any Joycean visiting
Dublin!! In the center of town, on OConnell Street (originally Sackville Street). I
was there for the Mater Dei Ball night!318

Mr. Browne
Joyce frequently used real people
with their actual names, a true
innovation in fiction! It was for this reason that publishers were worried
about publishing his work. The library scene in Ulysses (Scylla and
Charybdis) is noteworthy in that the major participants, among George Russell
(the poet) and Mr. Best ( a librarian) are actual people.
In other cases, Joyce barely disguised the living person, even using the same last
or first name. In Dublin, Browne is a distinctly protestant name-the first
Protestant Archbishop of Dublin was George Brown- and Dubliners, then
as now, are careful to distinguish between Catholics and Protestants.
Mr. Browne gets his name from an actual Protestant professor of music
named Mervyn Archdall Browne. He was married to a first cousin of
Joyces mother.
Joyce may also be having another private smile, in that he would have
known that Clongowes Wood College, the first (elementary) schools he
attended, was originally named Castele Brown, and that it had a ghost
whose name was Ulysses- an Austrian Jacobin count!
p.s.; as a young schoolboy Joyce had written an essay on Ulysses in
response to an assignment to write about your favorite hero!


Apparently Lilys father, who is described only as the caretaker throughout

the story. This facts lends support, perhaps, to the interpretation of the
story which views all the characters are already dead, performing a sort
of funeral ritual as the caretaker looks on!!319

Joyces use of the dramatic, uncommon term for food raises interesting
questions Unlike food it derives from the Latin vivere (to live), but if it is an
example of stylistic inflection it is not clear which character would use such a


W. Gray, William Grays Notes for James Joyces The Dead, internet, 2008-05-23.,

T. Brown, Dubliners. James Joyce. Introduction and notes, Penguin Books, Clays Ltd.,
London, 1992, p. 308.

W. Gray, William Grays Notes for James Joyces The Dead, internet, 2008-05-23.,


word-perhaps Mr. Browne or the caretaker?? The repetition of the equally

formal term sideboard may suggest a banquet (or funeral) setting of an
earlier time.320

Hop-bitters is what we would call today a soft drink.

Probably a combination of purple, yellow and white after the flower Viola
Tricolor (also called heartsease!), this red-faced woman-do we ever find out
her name?-dressed in pansy seems the antidote to Mr. Browne, and perhaps
to the funeral tempo of the evening as well.321

This was a square dance that used to be very popular in Victorian and
Edwardian times!322

So short of ladies tonight

One can speculate about the number of people at the party-up to forty according
to some estimates (although that seems high for a house that size and nowhere
near that number are named).323

Mr. Bartell Darcy

Offstage throughout, a tenor whose singing later on reads to the significant
events at the conclusion of the story. He is the subject of some ribald gossip
and remarks in Joyces Ulysses. This is again a case of Joyce barely
disguising a contemporary figure, in this case a young singer named P.J.
Darcy whose stage name was Bartholomew DArcy.324

First figure
The first figure of the quadrille (there are five in all), and Mary Janes leading
her recruits from the room seems to casts (or refocus) a laborious light on the


W. Gray, William Grays Notes for James Joyces The Dead, internet, 2008-05-23.,

W. Gray, William Grays Notes for James Joyces The Dead, internet, 2008-05-23.,

T. Brown, Dubliners. James Joyce. Introduction and notes, Penguin Books, Clays Ltd.,
London, 1992, p. 308.

W. Gray, William Grays Notes for James Joyces The Dead, internet, 2008-05-23.,

W. Gray, William Grays Notes for James Joyces The Dead, internet, 2008-05-23.,


proceedings. The lively, colourful call for the quadrille is further displaced
by the colourles trance-like entrance of Aunt Julia. 325

O no, hardly noticeable

Gabriel is being polite here, but its indicative of his general desire to avoid
conflict that he tries to downplay what is clearly rude and even
confrontational behavior. 326

The pledge
Signed documents provided by temperance organisations in which one
gave a religious oath to stop drinking.327

Accepted the glass mechanically

Joyce continuous to call our attention to the metaphorical meanings of
deadness. In his portrayal of the grotesque Freddy Malins, we find someone
clearly intoxicated to the point of unconsciousness, his pale bloated
appearance accompanied by automatic actions and reactions that even
fail mechanically.328

Academy piece
As the next phrase suggests, the piece had to demonstrate the pianists skills as a
music teacher. In reporting Gabriels dislike for the piece, and his finding the
normal runs without true melody, Joyce gives a hint that Gabriel is more
complex than most of the characters that inhabit The Dead329

the balcony scene in Romeo and Juliet

Act 2, scene 2 of Shakespeares play of star-crossed lovers, where Romeo
declares his love from a garden as Juliet takes the night air on the
balcony of her fathers house.
The fated love of Michael Furey for Gretta, recounted later in the story,
involved a not dissimilar scene.330


W. Gray, William Grays Notes for James Joyces The Dead, internet, 2008-05-23.,

W. Gray, William Grays Notes for James Joyces The Dead, internet, 2008-05-23.,

T. Brown, Dubliners. James Joyce. Introduction and notes, Penguin Books, Clays Ltd.,
London, 1992, p. 308.

W. Gray, William Grays Notes for James Joyces The Dead, internet, 2008-05-23.,

W. Shakespeare, Romeo and Juliet, Act 2, scene 2. Capulets Orchard, internet, 200803-03., http://shakespeare.mit.edu/romeo_juliet/romeo_juliet.2.2.html.

W. Shakespeare, Richard III, Act 5, scene 3: Bosworth Field, internet, 2008-03-03.,



The two murdered princes in the tower

The two young sons of the English King Edward IV were murdered in the
Tower of London probably on the instructions of their uncle Richard who
became Richard III in 1483.
Portrayal of the unsuspecting innocents asleep or dead in the Tower,
where they were suffocated, was a common Victorian genre piece.331

Brains carrier
Brains carrier was one of Joyces father favourite expressions.332

A peer-glass is a small mirror usually placed on a wall between

The fact that Mrs. Conroy has named her other son after the Roman Emperor
Constantine the Great (AD c. 285-337), who effectively brought Christianity
to supremacy in the religious life of the Roman empire, bespeaks both
piety and ambition for her offspring of the brothers mother.

Man-o-wear suit
This is another homage to Joyces childhood, as one of the memorable photos
of the six and half year- old Joyce before he left for boarding school
(Clongowes Wood College) shows him dressed in a sailor suit! 334

Sullen opposition to his marriage

Joyce may be alluding here to the disapproval by his mothers family of her
marriage to his father. He is certainly drawing our attention to the
relationship between Gabriel and Gretta.335

Country cute


G. Lernhout, James Joyce; een introductie., Athenaeum, Polak en Van Gennep,

Amsterdam, 2002.

T. Brown, Dubliners. James Joyce. Introduction and notes, Penguin Books, Clays Ltd.,
London, 1992, p. 308.

T. Brown, Dubliners. James Joyce. Introduction and notes, Penguin Books, Clays Ltd.,
London, 1992, p. 308-309.


W. Gray, William Grays Notes for James Joyces The Dead, internet, 2008-05-23.,

W. Gray, William Grays Notes for James Joyces The Dead, internet, 2008-05-23.,


The full expression is country cute and city clever. Cute is of course used
in derogatory sense.336

Nursed her
Joyce wrote this story in Rome, and was homesick for Dublin and Irish
hospitality in particular.
Consequently, The Dead is the only story in the collection that contains any
complimentary pictures of Dublin.
This accounts for the numerous Joyce family associations that are being made
with the characters in the story. Here Joyce may be referring to his sister
Poppie, who took care of their mother in her final illness, as well as to
his mother, who had taken care of her husbands mother.337

This a quadrille for more than four couples. Even more than quadrille, the
term evokes military associations that cast a primitive if not predatory
light on the four young men in the doorway.338

Miss Ivors
As a college student, Joyce had known many Irish nationalists, at one time
even participating in a group that was studying Gaelic.
In Stephen Hero we meet Emma Clery with whom Stephen is in love: Miss Ivors
combines characteristics of Emma Clery and those of the Sheehy sisters,
Kathleen and Hanna, who were ardent nationalists as well as
protagonists for womens rights.
Hanna wrote a noteworthy essay for the New Ireland Review entitled
Woman and the University Question, and Kathleen was to become the
mother of Conor Cruise OBrien, a prolific Irish writer. Hanna later married
Joyces friend and classmate, Francis Skeffington, who combined with hers as
they became Sheehy-Skeffington.339

She did not wear a low-cut bodice


W. Gray, William Grays Notes for James Joyces The Dead, internet, 2008-05-23.,

W. Gray, William Grays Notes for James Joyces The Dead, internet, 2008-05-23.,

T. Brown, Dubliners. James Joyce. Introduction and notes, Penguin Books, Clays Ltd.,
London, 1992, p. 308-309.

T. Brown, Dubliners. James Joyce. Introduction and notes, Penguin Books, Clays Ltd.,
London, 1992, p. 308-309.


Her severe dress matches her serious and severe personality.

On the other hand, it also sets her apart, to her advantage, from the woman
weve met so far!340

Irish device and motto

A Nationalist enthusiasm for Celtic language, history, and literature which
began in the 1890s and is reflected here by the wearing of reproductions of
Celtic jewelry; one of these brooches carried the inscription Tir agus Teanga,
meaning country and language. 341

A crow to pluck
A crow to pluck is the Irish equivalent of A bone to pick

Innocent Amy
This is yet







Literature was above politics

This may be Gabriels (nave) view, but it was not Joyces. The stories in
Dubliners reflect and take seriously the contemporary political situation
in Ireland. Please, also see the notes about short story Ivy Day in the
Committee Room.

Turn to cross
A reference to a particular point in the dance, but of course Gabriels turn to
cross. Miss Ivors has already come and he has missed, or decided to forego it.
Gabriel is described here as unresponsive, which describes him too well
in the scenes that follow.
When Miss Ivors prompts him to cross now in the next sentence, we
cant help find irony in the phrase; Gabriel seems unable to decide both
whether and when to engage himself.

Kathleen Karney
See notes short story A Mother in order to learn the kind of company Miss Ivors
suggests they should keep.342



T. Brown, Dubliners. James Joyce. Introduction and notes, Penguin Books, Clays Ltd.,
London, 1992, p. 309.

W. Gray, William Grays Notes for James Joyces The Dead, internet, 2008-05-23.,


T. Brown, Dubliners. James Joyce. Introduction and notes, Penguin Books, Clays Ltd.,
London, 1992, p. 310.


Connacht is one of the four provinces of Ireland. It is almost entirely a

western province and is bounded on its western shores by the Atlantic

Aran Isles
This groups of islands off the west coast of County Galway were, and still
are, predominantly Irish-speaking. As such they were the focus of much
nationalist mythologizing.
It was considered to be the Meccha for the real Gael!344

She cried
Originally, Joyce had written she said.


Splendid fisher
That she says fisher rather than fisherman may be a biblical influence?

A beautiful big fish

Originally, Joyce had written a beautiful big fish and the man in the hotel
cooked it. The change gives us a sense of the rhythm of Mrs. Malins
speech, even as she isnt directly quoted.346

Embrasure of the window

Although this is the appropriate name for the narrow part of the window recess on
the side, Joyce uses it here to draw our attention to Gabriels discomfort
with the people around him!347

Tapped the cold pane

Changed from tipped. Joyce wants this to be proleptic for both the sound
of the gravel Michael Furey throws against Grettas bedroom window and
the way Gabriel hears the snow coming against the hotel window; a few
lights taps upon the pane made him turn to the window. 348


T. Brown, Dubliners. James Joyce. Introduction and notes, Penguin Books, Clays Ltd.,
London, 1992, p. 310.

T. Brown, Dubliners. James Joyce. Introduction and notes, Penguin Books, Clays Ltd.,
London, 1992, p. 309.

G. Lernhout, James Joyce; een introductie., Athenaeum, Polak en Van Gennep,

Amsterdam, 2002.

G. Lernhout, James Joyce; een introductie., Athenaeum, Polak en Van Gennep,

Amsterdam, 2002.

W. Gray, William Grays Notes for James Joyces The Dead, internet, 2008-05-23.,

W. Gray, William Grays Notes for James Joyces The Dead, internet, 2008-05-23.,


Alone along by the river

Joyce will use this cluster again years later in Finnegans Wake, which
concludes with the words a way a lone a last loved a long the. In order to
complete the sentence-and the circle that is that novel-one must return
to the first word of the novel: riverrun 349

Irish hospitality, sad memories

At the time of the writing of this short story, Joyce and Nora were down and
out in Rome, and Gabriels speech might well reflect Joyces own
homesickness for Irish hospitality, as well as sad memories about his
family and the death of his mother.350

The Three Graces

In Greek mythology the daughters of Zeus and Eurynome as Aglaia
(Brilliance), Euphrosyne (Joy) and Thalia (Bloom) are reckoned the
patrons of pleasant, gracious social intercourse.351

Thought-tormented music
The depiction of Gabriel rehearsing and fondly recalling his own words, lends
support to an interpretation of Gabriel as a rather pretentious, selfabsorbed and alienated young man.
But Joyce may be using Gabriel pretentious words against him, as a prolepsis
for the torment that a specific song (Lass of Aughrim) will struck Gabriel
later on that evening!352

Arrayed for the bridal

From an English language version of a song from Vincenzos Bellinis I
Puritani (1835) 353

To follow the voice


W. Gray, William Grays Notes for James Joyces The Dead, internet, 2008-05-23.,

W. Gray, William Grays Notes for James Joyces The Dead, internet, 2008-05-23.,

(red.), Wikipedia. Three Graces, internet, 2008-04-06.,


W. Gray, William Grays Notes for James Joyces The Dead, internet, 2008-05-23.,

T. Brown, Dubliners. James Joyce. Introduction and notes, Penguin Books, Clays Ltd.,
London, 1992, p. 311.


Joyce calls attention to the striking contrast between the youthful voice and
the aged face of the singer.
But then, one of the meaningful elements of the story is this contrast between
youth and age as represented by Gabriel (old before his time), and the
perpetually youthful (though dead) Michael Furey!354

To take a pick itself

Meaning having a little of something. Having a little of food in this
specific case.355

Ill see you home

Gabriel is certainly polite, and apparently has no hard feelings about the
earlier disagreement with Miss Ivors.
On the other hand, Joyces portrayal of the discussion here might suggest that
politeness of this sort is evidence of a lack of engagement. It seems that
Gabriels ability to respond to the people around him is tested throughout
the night!356

Youre the comical girl, Molly

A friendly, colloquial expression, meaning unusual, in this case, independent

Beannacht Libh
Irish Gaelic, meaning goodbye. This exchange establishes a connection
between Miss Ivors and Gretta that points to questions about the
relationship between Gretta and Gabriel
If one thinks of Miss Ivors as having been of one of the few actually alive
persons at a generally dead party, then perhaps this liveliness is now
passed to Gretta, in the form of an Irish blessed said with a laugh and a

Only a black


T. Brown, Dubliners. James Joyce. Introduction and notes, Penguin Books, Clays Ltd.,
London, 1992, p. 312.

W. Gray, William Grays Notes for James Joyces The Dead, internet, 2008-05-23.,

W. Gray, William Grays Notes for James Joyces The Dead, internet, 2008-05-23.,

W. Gray, William Grays Notes for James Joyces The Dead, internet, 2008-05-23.,

T. Brown, Dubliners. James Joyce. Introduction and notes, Penguin Books, Clays Ltd.,
London, 1992, p. 309.


This term here is used much the same as it is today in the U.S.A.- as an
accepted descriptive term rather than a term of derision. Dublin has a
long history of support for minority groups, particularly Blacks and

The source of this opera (1866) by Ambroise Thomas is Goethes Wilhelm

Georgina Burns
Georgina Burns was a very famous soprano in the late nineteenth

Let me like a soldier fall

Taken from the opera Maritana, in which the hero manages to switch his
death from hanging to the more honorable one of death by firing squad.
Joyce, with this ironic sense of humor, insisted that the caricature of him
show the music sheet for his aria visible in his pocket sheet!362

Pull her themselves through the streets to her hotel

After a famous Dublin incident in 1868. The popular German soprano
Therese Tietjens had so wowed the audience with her rendition of The Last
Rose of Summer that after the performance students tied ropes to her
carriage and drew it through the streets to the accompaniment of other
students shooting off fireworks from rooftops.
There was something of a minor melee because of confusion about which hotel
she was staying in, but they eventually took her to the right one, the
Shelbourne, which is still the most elegant traditional hotel in Dublin.
After laying down their coats for her to enter the hotel the students
remained outside, and only dispersed after the police spoke to Mrs.
Tietjens and she agreed to sing once more The Last Rose of Summer!! 363

Where on Earth is Gabriel?


W. Gray, William Grays Notes for James Joyces The Dead, internet, 2008-05-23.,

(red.), The Opera: Mignon, by Ambroise Thomas, The New York Times Online, internet,
2009-06-08, http://query.nytimes.com/gst/fullpage.html?

W. Gray, William Grays Notes for James Joyces The Dead, internet, 2008-05-23.,

W. Gray, William Grays Notes for James Joyces The Dead, internet, 2008-05-23.,


Here Joyce appears to have a little joke about the whereabouts of the
Archangel Gabriel.

Dinorah was the popular name for a French opera called Le Pardon de
Poermel (1859), notable for the heroines almost constant fervent and
flush singing. She is insane for much of the plot

Lucrezia Borgia
The opera by Donizetti (1797-1848) from Victor Hugos play, also popular
with sopranos because of the opportunities for flamboyant acting and singing.
The high point of the opera is a banquet scene featuring mass poisoning
in which Lucrezia proudly proclaims that she will furnish coffins for the

Enrico Caruso (1874-1921), was the most noted tenor of the first quarter
of this century.365

Im brown enough for you

A puzzle, perhaps involving the punch line of a joke, or a play on his
name, or perhaps another reference to the minstrel performers of the

Slept in their coffins

A popular exaggeration, perhaps stimulated by the strict rules of the
Trappist order (among them, vows of perpetual silence) and the fact that
they actually slept in coffins!366

Gazing up at the lighted windows

This is perhaps an intentional echo of a phrase in the opening sentences of
the first story of Dubliners, namely The Sisters, another story about


W. Gray, William Grays Notes for James Joyces The Dead, internet, 2008-05-23.,

(red.), Wikipedia Gaetano Donizetti, internet, 2008-06-03.,


(red.), Wikipedia. Enrico Caruso, internet, 2008-06-03.,


(red.); Wikipedia. The trappists, internet, 2008-06-03,



Night after night I had passed the house (it was vacation time) and studied the
lighted square of window. 367
Here, however, we notice the intense use of spatial relations (e.g. upturned
faces, and upward gazes) to present images of darkness and light, as well
as to suggest Gabriels unspoken thoughts and anxieties.

Snow that flashed westward

Proleptic use of the final paragraphs ambiguous image of journeying to
the west. 368

With the use of this term, Joyce brilliantly communicates both his own
tender feelings for Irish hospitality and Gabriels impotence in expressing
emotion. Joyce wrote this final story in Rome, where he and Nora and their
infant son are much in need of hospitality and finding it wanting. Following
the other Dublin stories with their critical views of Dublin, Joyces homesickness
is here expressed with sincerity and generosity.
But I also have to note that Gabriel begins describing objects rather than
people as hospitable, and describes the people (his relatives!) in an
oddly formal manner (certain good ladies).
In the context of the conversations that have occurred in the story so far, the term
hospitality is rather unfortunate, it turns out, providing associations not only
hospital, but the late 19th century expression her Majestys hospitality,
to refer to prison!
Finally Gabriel seems to undermine his own attempts by calling her for
hospitality to be guarded jealously.

Even when it is misdirected

Gabriel probably refers to Miss Ivors here

Gone beyond recall

An intentional echo (on both Joyce and Gabriels part) of the opening of
Loves Old Sweet Song (Just a Song at Twilight)-Molly Blooms
favourite song, as well as Joyce liked to sing:
Once in the dear dead days beyond recall,
When on the world the mists began to fall,
Out of the dreams that rose in happy throng,


J. Joyce, Dubliners. The Sisters, Penguin Classics, Clays Ltd., London, 2000, p. 1.


W. Gray, William Grays Notes for James Joyces The Dead, internet, 2008-05-23.,


Low to our hearts, Love sang an old sweet song.369


Chief Hostess
Joyce means Aunt Julia here

For they are jolly gay fellows

As appropriate to the occasion, the words are changed from jolly good fellow.
Still, the overwhelming male-ness of the story is clear to anyone following
the military metaphors.370

The piercing morning air

The story falls neatly into three acts: the arrivals; the dinner; the

Get her death of cold

An echo of the earlier colloquial expression at Gabriels and Grettas
entrance: perished alive and she must be perished alive; a further use of
death themes that enfold the story.372

Browne is everywherelaid on like the gas

Aunt Kate is indulging in some low Dublin humor at Mr. Brownes expense;
they have put up with this difficult guests with graciousness. Gas is new to
Dublin, it is everywhere and it is unavoidable Like Mr. Browne!373

Fooling at the pianon

A change from strumming in an earlier version.374

Glue was made from dead horses!!375

Drive out with the quality


James L. Molloy and J. Clifton Bingham, Loves Old Sweet Song, internet, 2008-05-23

W. Gray, William Grays Notes for James Joyces The Dead, internet, 2008-05-23.,

W. Gray, William Grays Notes for James Joyces The Dead, internet, 2008-05-23.,

W. Gray, William Grays Notes for James Joyces The Dead, internet, 2008-05-23.,

W. Gray, William Grays Notes for James Joyces The Dead, internet, 2008-05-23.,

W. Gray, William Grays Notes for James Joyces The Dead, internet, 2008-05-23.,


Drive out with the quality means With the upper class

Mansion of his forefathers

This is another Biblical allusion. In John 14:2 Jesus is speaking: In my
fathers house are many mansion. In this mansion there were many
forefathers. 376

The horse King Billy sits on

The Protestant King William III of England, William of Orange, was
nicknamed King Billy! His total subjugation of Ireland began when he
defeated the Irish at the Battle of the Boyne in 1690.
The statue, set up in 1701, was on College Green, opposite both Trinity and
the Parliament. Ardent Nationalists loved the horse that threw King Billy
to his death, and even the Irish in favour of union with England disliked
having to continually face the horses bottom!
The statue suffered much abuse throughout his history, since there had always
been tensions between Catholics and Protestants in Ireland.

Paced in a circle
Here we see Joyces purpose in having Gabriel tell and then act out the story and
the movement: as with the horse and rider who cannot break the vicious
circle of subjugation to English rule, Gabriel himself is bound upon this
Gabriel thinks he has an independent spirit: he does not! The tragic
conclusion of this story stems from Gabriels incomplete knowledge of
himself, his wife, and his country.
John Huston, is his film version of The Dead, does a magnificent job with the
dinner party itself, but either he or his son (who actually wrote the screenplay)
failed to grasp the combination of symbolism and realism in Joyces
For example, in the upcoming scene where Gabriel sees only the bottom
part of his wifes body on the staircase, indicating that he has never
really known the complete Gretta, the camera shows the full length of
Gretta (Anjelica Houston)!! 377

He was in the dark part of the hall gazing up the staircase

This sentence is the beginning of a striking scene that reveals very much
about Gabriel!


W. Gray, William Grays Notes for James Joyces The Dead, internet, 2008-05-23.,

W. Gray, William Grays Notes for James Joyces The Dead, internet, 2008-05-23.,

J. Huston, The dead., USA, 17 December 1987.


First of all, he cannot see

really known Gretta.

Grettas face, suggesting that he has never

Second, he sees only her lower body, the site of the sexual organs, and
we see in the final scene of this story that Gabriels lust takes precedence
over his desire for honestly sharing Grettas mind.
Moreover, she hears in this scene a music of love that he can never
hear, or, as the text says, strained his ear to listen to. He only hears
the everyday, the quotidian, as evidenced by the texts calling
attention to the fact that he only hears noise, not music.378

A symbol of something
As the scene continues, we see that Gabriel thinks of Gretta as a thing, an
object, a symbol, instead of as a woman, a human being: he sees the
grace and mystery in her attitude but he cannot share it.
He goes so far in his (unconscious) desire to turn her into an object that
he wants to paint a picture of her.
Joyce might also have gotten it from Charles Dickens David Copperfield (1850)
where, in chapter 60, Copperfield thinks about his first wife;
With the unerring instinct of her noble heart, she touched the chords of my
memory so softly and harmoniously, that not one jarred within me. I could listen
to the sorrowful, distant music, and desire to shrink from nothing it awoke. How
could I, when, blended with it all, was her dear self, the better angel of my life? 379

Distant music
An awkwardly worded sentence and a trite expression. The phrase was
frequently used as a title for paintings.380

The old Irish tonality

Not until the seventeenth century were sixth and seventh tones added to
the five-tone scale of early Irish music.


W. Gray, William Grays Notes for James Joyces The Dead, internet, 2008-05-23.,

C. Dickens, David Copperfield, Oxford University Press, London, 2000, Chapter 60, p.

W. Gray, William Grays Notes for James Joyces The Dead, internet, 2008-05-23.,


European music is based upon an eight-tone octave, and when early Irish
music is adapted to this scale it produces strange effects to the
twentieth-century ears.381

O, the rain falls on baby lies cold

Gretta is singing The Lass of Aughrim, a version from western Ireland which
Nora (Aughrim is near Galway, Noras origin), Joyces wife, sang to him.
The lyrics tell the story of a young peasant girl who has a child by a Lord Gregory,
who seduced and then left her. She comes to his castle to beg for his help, but is
turned away by his mother who, behind the closed front door, imitates her sons
voice. She puts out to sea in a small boat to drown herself and the child, but is
not saved, even though the lord discovers his mothers ruse and races to find her.
The ballad ends with the Lord mourning for his lost love and bringing down a
curse on his mother
There are many versions of the song, which perhaps explains Bartell DArcys
confusion. The version that Nora sang to Joyce can be found in Richard
Ellmanns James Joyce.
The quoted lines are from the section below where the girl talks with Lord
Gregory, who is behind the closed door;
If youll be the lass of Aughrim
As I am talking you mean to be
Tell me the first token
That passed between you and me.

O dont you remember

That night on Yon Lean Hill
When we both met together
Which I am sorry now to tell.

The rain falls on my yellow locks

And the dew it wets my skin;
My babe lies cold within my arms;


W. Gray, William Grays Notes for James Joyces The Dead, internet, 2008-05-23.,


Lord Gregory, let me in.



Snow like it for the thirty years General all over Ireland
Proleptic for the final paragraph, where Joyce does something unusual,
strange, and very new for fiction; he takes a line from dialogue here
(snow is general all over Ireland) and transfers it- with a verb to change- to
the narration in the final paragraph (snow was general all over Ireland.)
This is a method that will be used in Ulysses, where there is frequently no
dividing line between narration and dialogue, where it is possible for the narration
in one part of the book to remember a dialogue in another section where the
narrator was not present!383

The flame of the gas

The gaslight over the door cast light both outside and inside the house.

The same attitude

As she stood on the stair earlier, listening to the music.

Colour on her cheeks and that here eyes were shining

Gabriel apparently does not realise that her eyes are still wet from her
emotional response to the song.

The morning was still dark

It is at least 3 a.m. by this time. So of course the morning is still dark!

She was walking on before him

This passage has all the earmarks of Joyces own memory of an occasion
with Nora, particularly since on of the first letters to him was on a kind of
purplish stationary (heliotrope envelope) and Joyces own fascination
with womens clothing.
Please, consider the letter from Joyce to Nora, 12 July, 1904 (they had only
recently met):
I hope you put my letter to bed properly. You glove lay beside me all nightunbuttoned-but otherwise conducted itself properly-like Nora. (Ellmann,
Selected Letters, p.22). 384


(red.), The Lass of Aughrim, internet, 2008-04-04.,


W. Gray, William Grays Notes for James Joyces The Dead, internet, 2008-05-23.,

R. Ellerman, James Joyce. Selected Letters., Viking Adult, Clays Ltd., 1975, p. 22.


This is an indication of Joyces rampant fetish for womens personal

garments- an obsession he transfers to Leopold Bloom in Ulysses, as
Bloom asks Molly for a piece of her clothing on one of their first

Is the fire hot, Sir?

This question is puzzling, because Gretta is not unintelligent and the answer is
obvious. Since, from the beginning of western literature with the Greeks and
especially with Virgil-whose Dido suffers not only the fires of love, but also
the fire of death- fire has always been emblematic of passion and love.
Joyce may be telling us that Gretta, however passionate she appears
beside Gabriel, has in fact never known true love. Later, we see that Gretta
has indeed not escaped the sentimentality (and the lack of selfawareness that accompanies it) that has charactersed Gabriel and a
great number of the Dubliners.385

Fires of stars
Joyce probably refers to Shakespeares play Hamlet, and the letter Hamlet
writes to his lover Ophelia in Act II, scene II of the play;
Doubt that the stars are fire;
Doubt that the sun doth move;
Doubt truth to be a liar;
But never doubt I love!386

There is no word tender enough to be your name

In a letter to Nora (September 19, 1904), only months after their first
Joyce wrote:
And yet why should I be ashamed of words? Why should I not call you what in
my heart I continually call you? What is it that prevents me unless it be that no
word is tender enough to be your name? (Ellmanns selected letters, p.

Like distant music

Another repetition-this one some distance from the scene on the stairs

Seeing a white horse


W. Gray, William Grays Notes for James Joyces The Dead, internet, 2008-05-23.,

W. Shakespeare, Hamlet, Act 2, scene 2, internet, 2008-04-05,


R. Ellerman, James Joyce. Selected Letters., Viking Adult, Clays Ltd., 1975, p. 22.


The white horse has been a striking symbol, even before its appearance in
revelation 19:11:
And I saw heaven opened, and behold a white horse; and he that sat upon him
was called Faithful and True.
Film directors frequently used shots of a single unmanned white horse
galloping through a city, particularly after some devastation has taken
Joyce probably uses it here because of the ancient tale that the Archangel
Gabriel went into battle against the prophet Mohammed riding a white
horse, although one is still hard put to assign meaning to the horse in this

She was looking out of the window and seemed tired.

Please see the opening paragraph of the short story Eveline:
she sat at the window watching the evening invade the avenue. Her head was
leaned against the window curtains and in her nostrils was the odour of dusty
cretonne. She was tired.388
Windows are one of the ubiquitous archetypal symbols of twentiethcentury literature, particularly useful in indicating that individuals are
trapped to the alienated inhabitant of the twentieth century.
Also note in this story how Gabriel earlier had been looking out a window,
and later that Michael Furey, who represents a life that is brief but fully
lived, is outside throwing gravel at Grettas window, and, strikingly, that
in the final scene in the hotel room Gabriel is separated from life and love
not only by Gretta on the next bed but by the symbolism of the window!

Run away together to a new adventure

Joyce is perhaps recalling his and Noras flight together from Dublin to
continental Europe a few months after they had met.

He lit a candle
The beginning of what is going to turn out a ghost story for Gretta and
Gabriel, and Joyce has loaded the scene with features of nineteenthcentury tales of horror!
Note for example, the end of the paragraph:
In the silence Gabriel could hear the falling molten wax into the tray and the
thumping of his own heart against his ribs 389

Stress of her nails against the palms of his hands


J. Joyce, Dubliners. Eveline, Penguin Popular Classics. New Edition., Clays Ltd., London,
1996., p. 29.

J. Joyce, Dubliners. The Dead, Penguin Classics, Clays Ltd., London, 2000, p.185.


Proleptic for the image of the crucifixion in the final paragraph of the

Tap of the electric light

Term for the light switch, but also a reminder of the tip-tapping against the
window pane that Gabriel noticed earlier and will notice again later on in the

Began to muttered apology

For the fact that the electricity is out The electricity comes from the
electricity power station which is located on the Pigeon House, which is itself
at the end of a pier in Sandymount Strand in Dublin. It is called the
Pigeon House because an eighteenth-century caretaker was named John
This is one of Joyces earliest and most pervasive symbols, as he connected
the word pigeon to the dove of the Holy Ghost, and thus an electric
power station becomes for him the Holy Ghost!
It is also noteworthy that no one in Joyces works ever succeeds in
getting out to the Pigeon House, as Joyce considers Dubliners to be lost
In the Proteus episode in Ulysses, when Stephen Hero is walking along
Sandymount Strand and comes close to the area of the pier, he stops abruptly:
He stood suddenly, his feet beginning to sink slowly in the quaking soil. Turn
back. (p. 3.268-9).
In short story An Encounter the boys originally planned to walk out to see
the Pigeon House, but they do not get there.
A few lines further Joyce manages to strike one of his anti-clerical notes
when he has one of the boys fearfully say that they might run into on of
the teachers from their school, and another boy replies what would
Father Butler be doing out at the Pigeon House? This is Joyce suggesting
that there is little connection between a cleric and the Holy Ghost, of

Remove that handsome article

Joyce is continuing the ghost story atmosphere, by having the scene take
place only in the subdued light from the window!

Sottish is slang, meaning being drunk (with implications that there is a
frequent condition!).


Perhaps her thoughts had been running with his

This is the crux of the matter in this scene: Gabriel mistakes his wifes deep
feelings about a romantic past, thinking only that she is feeling the lust
for him that he feels for her.
They are worlds apart in their sensibilities, they always have been, and this is
what Gabriel comes to realise in this climactic scene in their life together.
(Gabriels moment of illumination; he is having an epiphany, after years
of being paralysed, not realising he and his wife had always been miles
apart from each other).

Michael Furey
As noted earlier, Michael (Hebrew for Who is like God?) is the warrior
angel, the Church Militant
See the ninth verse of Jude:
Yet Michael the Archangel, when contending with the devil he disputed about the
body of Moses, durst not bring against him a railing accusation, but said, The Lord
rebuke thee.
And also Revelation 12:7-9, where Gabriel fights with a dragon (Satan).
Michael is also the heavenly recorder of mens deeds. In the creation of
Michael, Joyce is combining two young men who had courted Nora:
Michael Feeny, dead at sixteen, and Michael Sonny Bodkin, who- even
though- did actually come to sing outside Noras window on a rainy night.
Bodkin died when he was only twenty years old.
Joyce was jealous of all men Nora had known before him, and he
attempts to work out these feelings in his only play exiles!

A word in use to indicate not weakness but rather susceptibility to illness.

Go out walking with

The phrase used for dating, with the suggestion that they were in full
view of the community and thus were engaged in acceptable behaviour.

An unhealthy place to work, for this is a plant where burning coal was
turned into gas to be used for light and heat in Dublin. Probably the cause of
Michaels tuberculosis.

Gasworkswhile he had been

Joyce had already developed the modernist technique of working by
suggestion rather than spelling out every detail. He has cut a sentence he


originally wrote between two sentences: The irony of his mood soured
into sarcasm 390

Pennyboy for his aunts

Made himself ridiculous in his behaviour at the party

Whither he has purposed

Another example of Joyces early use of stylistic infection, of the words
or phrases of a character inserting themselves into the narration.391

I think he died for me

We have seen numerous instances earlier in the story (see Grettas complaint
about the galoshes and Gabriels overprotective behavior) of Grettas strength
of character, independence, and rejection of many of the demeaning
(especially for women) currents of her Dublin.
This statement is crucial, as we now see that Gretta herself had been
unable to escape the sentimentality, the nostalgia for the past, and-most
of all-the romanticism that has, in Joyces view, damaged the Irish soul
and spirit.
Michael did not die for her, or even because he stood out in the rain beneath
her window: he died of tuberculosis, of a physical, not an emotional
Joyce of course paid homage here to William Butler Yeats, being one of his
earliest supporters: in Yeats play, Cathleen ni Houlihan (1902), an old
woman who represents Ireland says about an Irish martyr-patriot who had
been hanged He died for love of me. Many a man had died for love of


The final paragraph is generally conceded to be one of the finest, most
moving, and beautiful in twentieth-century fiction. It is also one of the
most ambiguous.
It opens with the sound of the snow tapping against the pane, uniting
and contrasting the scene with the earlier occasion of Gabriel at the


W. Gray, William Grays Notes for James Joyces The Dead, internet, 2008-05-23.,

W. Gray, William Grays Notes for James Joyces The Dead, internet, 2008-05-23.,



window during the party, and, of course, of Michael Fureys tapping on

Grettas window with the pebbles.
Gabriel is described as watching sleepily, and in western literature there is
traditionally a close connection between sleep and death. We have seen in
the preceding paragraphs that Gabriel is being visited by the shades of the
dead, and the implication is that, because of the events of this night, he has
come to realise than she has for him.
The crux of the problem of interpretation is the meaning of The time had
come for him to set out on his journey westward. Certainly to go west is
a time-honoured trope in literature for death, for the setting of the sun.
However, in this story the west (Galway, the Aran Isles) has symbolised
the life force (the Gaelic, the true roots of Ireland, the sturdy peasantry, the life
force of Michael Furey).
Consequently, there has been considerable disagreement over whether
Gabriel is now irretrievably dead spiritually or that he is realising here
that his true regeneration lies in the renewal of life that can come from
seeking out his roots, of no longer being a West Briton.
The reader will have to make a choice or, in the spirit of contemporary
literary theory, decide that there is no choice, that the contradiction
renders the sentence meaningless. On the other hand, one can accept both
meanings, revel in the ambiguity, attempt to hold two contradictory
interpretations in the mind at the same time without trying to resolve them. A
final possibility is that Joyce himself had not settled on a meaning, that
he himself is leaving Gabriels spiritual state torn between two
The major problem of interpretation is presented by the image of the snow,
which is falling all over Ireland. Does it represent death, is all Ireland
covered by the spirit of the dead, is there no physical or spiritual fire in
Ireland? (Joyce certainly knew his Homer, and may be alluding to a passage
in The Iliad where the stones thrown by warriors on both sides are compared to
snow falling, a snow that covers the grey sea, the harbours and beaches, and the
surf that breaks against it is stilled, all things elsewhere, it shrouds from above.
In the Homeric comparison snow = arrows and arrow s= death, and this
may be Joyce intent in this final paragraph.
Attempts to determine an unassailable interpretation are further
confounded by the final images of death (the graveyard) and yet a death
with promise of resurrection, as we are given allusions to the crucifixion
of Christ will the crosses on the headstones, and the spears and the
So, is Gabriel incontrovertibly spiritually dead or is there a suggestion
that he will be renewed?


All we know is that his soul is fainting (has swooned) and that the
snow- whether death or rebirth is falling faintly not only upon all the
living and the death, but on all the readers of this timeless story!!!393

4.15.2 Story character list

Gabriel Conroy
The protagonist from The Dead. A university-educated teacher and writer,
Gabriel struggles with simple social situations and conversations, and
straightforward questions catch him off guard. He feels out of place due to his
highbrow literary endeavors. His aunts, Julia and Kate Morkan, turn to him to
perform the traditionally male activities of carving the goose and delivering a
speech at their annual celebration. Gabriel represents a force of control in the
story, but his wife Grettas fond and sad recollections of a former devoted
lover make him realise he has little grasp on his life and that his marriage
lacks true love.
Gretta Conroy
Gabriel Conroys wife. Gretta Conroy plays a relatively minor role for most of
the story, until the conclusion where she is the focus of Gabriels thoughts and
actions. She appears mournful and distant when a special song is sung at the
party, and she later plunges into despair when she tells Gabriel the story of
her childhood love, Michael Furey. Her pure intentions and loyalty to this boy
unnerve Gabriel and generate his despairing thoughts about life and death.
This is the housemaid to the Morkan sisters who rebukes Gabriel.
Molly Ivors
Miss Ivors is the traditionalist woman who teases Gabriel during a dance.
Julia Morkan
Aunt Julia is one of the aging sisters who throw an annual dance party. Julia
has a grey and sullen appearance that combines with her remote, wandering
behaviour to make her a figure sapped of life.
Kate Morkan
Aunt Kate is the other aging sister in the story. Kate is vivacious, but
constantly worries about her sister, Julia, and the happiness of the guests.

T. Klein, An Analysis of the Short Story The Dead by James Joyce, Flensburg University,
2000, p. 1-26.


Michael Furey
Michael Furey is Grettas childhood love who apparently loved her that much
that he was willing to die for her, and eventually did.

4.15.4 Story analysis


The Dead is the most famous story in Dubliners, and is widely recognised as one of
the finest short stories in the English language. Joyce conferred on in the honour
of the final position, and made it three times as long as the average Dubliners
tale. His range, acute psychological insights, and perfect control of his art are
all on display here.
Many of the main themes are touched on. We see glimpses of poverty, in the
character of Lily, whose family is achingly poor. We see the political divisions in Ireland
in the conversation between Miss Ivors and Gabriel. We also have criticism of the
church, as Aunt Kate speaks bitterly of the decision of Pope Pius X to exclude women
from all church choirs; Aunt Julia had dedicated a great deal of her life to working in the
choir, and her thanks for it is the Popes appallingly sexist decision. Aunt Kate says
repeatedly that of course the Pope must be right about everything, but she cannot help
but think it was ungrateful. We see in her the inability to reconcile what she knows to be
wrong with the indoctrinated Catholic conviction that the Pope cannot be wrong.
Central themes are mortality and isolation. But The Dead is a story with much joy
in it. The scene here is far from bleak; poverty has little place in this story, and many
financially comfortable characters are celebrating in the midst of the holiday
season. As is appropriate for this time of year, we see loving interaction between
friends and family, and people of different generations.
Mortality is a key part of the story, beginning with its title. The tale is set in
winter, which is both holiday season and the season of death. The two old aunts
in their old house become symbols for the onslaught of time; Aunt Kate cant even
hear Gabriels speech. Gabriel knows that one day, in the not- too- distant future, he will
return to the house for his aunts funerals. And of course, there is the dead boy Gretta
remembers because of a song. Much has been made of the fact that Dubliners is
framed by two stories dealing with death. The two stories, The Sisters and The
Dead, in fact, could easily switch their titles. But while The Sisters maintains one
note and holds it well, The dead is a far richer tale, mixing the joy of the occasion
with somber reflection and several small but significant incidents, the importance of
which is recognised gradually by the reader.
Joyces ability to write a party scene is at full strength in this tale. Most of the
conversation in the story is small talk, or short moments of family drama (Aunt Kate
and Julia worried about Freddy making a scene in his drunkenness,). There are also key
moments of heartfelt emotion and connection between loved ones, such as
Gabriels moving speech, which brings his dear old aunties to tears.

J. Joyce, Dubliners, Penguin Classics, Clays Ltd., London, 2000, p. 1-225.


But the evening is punctuated by small disturbances that linger in the readers
mind. The first is Gabriels talk with Lily. Without meaning to, he condescends to the
young girl, saying with sweetness that shell be having her own wedding soon. Lilys
The men that is only all palaver and what they can get out of you. 395
Her words are scathing, all the more so because we know that Gabriel did, in fact, notice
the girls physical beauty. The incident disturbs Gabriel deeply, and it is the first failure
of communication in the story. What should have been pleasant became quickly
unpleasant, and Gabriel begins to worry that his speech will sound too lofty to
his audiences ears:
They would think that he was airing his superior education. He would fail with them just
as he had failed with the girl in the pantry.(179).396
The miscommunication continues. When he chats with Miss Ivors, he takes her light
chiding very personally. Irish politics come up yet again: she accuses him lightly of
being less than loyal to Ireland. Although such sentiments often come from
unsavory characters in Joyces works, Miss Ivors is actually quite appealing,
apparently intelligent, well-educated, and without malice.
Their conversation emphasises that
reference to Irish politics: note that
should hear his opinions. At the end of
made a fool of him, but her lightness
her intentions were innocent.

an Irish party would not be Irish without

Gabriel looks around with concern, lest anyone
the conversation, he feels that Miss Ivors has
and good spirit would seem to suggest that

But the theme of isolation and miscommunication really comes out in full force
after the party. Gabriel spends the journey home thinking of his wife and their many
happy moments together. But he soon learns that she has been thinking of a love
she had in her girlhood. Though married, they spent the ride home in completely
different worlds. Gabriels thoughts were only his own, and he and his wife could not
have been further apart.
He had hoped for a tender night, but their evening ends with Gretta sleeping
and Gabriel admitting that he has never felt so strongly for a woman that he
would die for her, as Michael Furey did.
The separation of death becomes a metaphor for the separation between the
living. Joyce joins the themes of isolation and mortality. Gabriel feels himself
becoming one of the deceased:
His soul had approached that region where dwell the vast hosts of the dead. (p. 224). 397

T. Klein, An Analysis of the Short Story The Dead by James Joyce, Flensburg University,
2000, p. 1-26.

J. Joyce, Dubliners. The Dead, Penguin Classics, Clays Ltd., London, 2000, p.179.


J. Joyce, Dubliners. The Dead, Penguin Classics, Clays Ltd., London, 2000, p.224.


The snow , falling upon all the living and the dead becomes a metaphor for
isolation, the inability to know others, even those with whom we are intimate.
Ironically, the snow also functions as a symbol for the death that comes
Opaque where it lies thickly drifted over objects in cities and distant
graveyards, it masks all behind a shield of white, isolating each thing, while
also reminding Gabriel that the same mortality awaits all beings!

4.15.5 Focus on Dublin.


Stoney Batter
Stoney Batter is a single street which gives its name to a district on a
north-west thoroughfare, on the north side of the river Liffey.

Ushers Island
The Misses Morkan live in a house which fronted on a quay named Ushers
Island, on the south bankof the river Liffey to the west of central Dublin.

The Academy
The Royal Irish Academy of Music in West-land Row on the south side of
the river in Central Dublin.

Monkstown is a comfortable suburban village about five miles south-east
of central Dublin on the shore of Dublin bay. That Gabriel and Gretta are
able to live in this pleasant fairly fashionable place to the south of the city,

suggests a certain social achievement which sets them apart from the
other guests at the party.


Merrion is a suburban village about three miles roughly south-east of
central Dublin on the shore of Dublin bay.

The Gresham
This is a fashionable and expensive hotel in OConnell Street, Dublins
principal thoroughfare on the north side of the river Liffey, in the centre of
the city.

the Royal University

the examining and degree granting body which awarded degrees to
students of University College, Dublin, at which no doubt Gabriel attended.
As the name implies it was established by the British Government, as an
effort to meet the educational needs of the Catholic Ireland.

Bachelors Walk, Astons Quay

These are quays on both sides of the river Liffey, immediately west of
OConnell Bridge where there were a number of booksellers.


Wellington Monument
This is a large monument in Phoenix Park in memory of Arthur Wellesley,
duke of Wellington (1769-1852), the hero of Waterloo. Wellington was born
in Dublin but refused to consider himself as Irish, famously declaring that
to be born in a stable does not make on e a horse. Possibly his distinctive
contribution to Irish debates on identity is in Gabriels mind after his
encounter with Miss Ivors.

Fifteen Acres
Fifteen Acres is an open grass space in Phoenix Park.

Back Lane
Black Lane is a street in central Dublin just south of the river Liffey. The
district in which Gabriel imagines Grandfather Morkan to have lived was a
distinctly shabby one and we can take it that he was not possessed of an
ancestral mansion as Gabriel sarcastically suggests.

King Billys statue

At the time of this story an equestrian statue of William, Prince of Orange
and King William III of England, the Protestant victor of the Battle of the
Boyne (1690) stood in College Green in the centre of Dublin.

Winetavern Street
Winetavern Street is a street close to Ushers Island which gives on to the
south bank of the river Liffey.

OConnell Bridge
OConnell Bridge is a bridge over the Liffey which gave on to Sackville
( now OConnell Street), the citys principal thoroughfare

5.Methodology Part
5.1 Introduction.
For the methodology part Im going to try to set up a teachers guide in relation to James
Joyces work Dubliners. The style of Joyce is far from easy, since his language is full of
symbolism. As his first published work of fiction, Dubliners stands by itself both as an
important piece of writing and as a forerunner of the experimental style that Joyce would
use so effectively in his later works A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man and Ulysses.
However, the novel Dubliners is a good reading choice for advanced learners of English,
who are in their fourth or fifth year of English education. The fact that in Dubliners
Joyce uses a more traditionally structured style makes the novel more accessible than his
other works too, of course, more advanced secondary school readers. The central
theme of paralysis due to the effects of outside forces and individual moral decay will be


attractive to older adolescents who are struggling to find their places in a world where
they are continually buffeted by outside forces and their own uncertainties!
Students who not long ago were playing childhood games and undergoing childhood
crushes will identify easily with the characters in the three stories in section one. In
section two, these students, who are on the verge of graduating from secondary school
and experiencing the changes coming from this important event, will be able to connect
strongly with the fear of change faced by Eveline while embracing the excitement of
dreams for the future held by Jimmy. The future is probably the most important thing for
adolescents, and Joyce glimpses of life in the third section will sound a warning that
decisions made early in life carry far-reaching consequences. Students searching for their
place in the world relentlessly question the spoken and unspoken rules governing our
existence. They will be able to relate to the characters in section four who are bound by
conventions and noms of which they are barely aware. Students will enjoy joining Joyces
unwavering examination of the most powerful institutions in his and our lives!
In addition to the personal connections students will be able to make with Joyces stories,
the book also lends itself to a historical study of Irish history, politics, and religion.
Dubliners can be studied in an interdisciplinary unit in English and world history! By
studying Joyces world, students can better understand many of the forces that have
shaped their own.
The organisation of this teachers guide begins with teaching ideas to use before the
actual reading starts. From here, the teaching ideas follow the structure that Joyce gave
the novel in a letter to his publisher:

Section I, Childhood, contains the short stories The Sisters, An Encounter,

and Araby.
Section II, Adolescence, is made up of four short stories, namely Eveline,
After the Race, Two Gallants, and The Boarding House.
Section III, Maturity, is also made up of four short stories, A Little Cloud,
Counterparts, Clay, and A Painful Case.
Section IV, Public Life, is made up of Ivy Day in the Committee Room, A
Mother, Grace, and the structurally very different The Dead.398

Each of these sections contains a synopsis and activities for before, while, and after
reading. The idea is to help students elucidate the stories and tie them together. This is
very important since Dubliners has to be considered more as a novel, than as a collection
of short stories!

5.2 Before reading.


J. Joyce, Dubliners, Penguin Classics, Clays Ltd., London, 2000, p. 1-225.


5.2.1 Historical context.

Because so much of the book consists snapshots of Dublin life in Joyces lifetime (18821941), it is important to help students to understand its historical context. To make
reading more fruitful, I would let the students use the internet as a starting point for
completing the following assignments:
Divide students into groups and assign each group one of the
following topics to present orally to the class:

Research Dublins size, economic structure, and place in Europe ?

How did/does Dublin compare to other European capitals?

What is the basis for the differences.
How have these differences affected the Irish people?

How is Irelands current relationship with England related to the political climate of
Joyces Dublin?

Research the role religion played in life in Joyces Dublin?

What effects has Catholicism had on the Irish today and in Joyces time?

Research Joyces life and explain how growing up in Dublin affected him. Also,
explain why he felt he had to leave Ireland to become a successful artist.

Research the life and death of Charles Stewart Parnell.

What were the planks in his political platform?

How did he plan to accomplish his plans for Ireland?
What effect did his political fall and ensuing death have on Irish politics?

5.2.2 Structure and style of the novel

Dubliners is not merely a group of short stories structured according to stages of human
development. Joyce meant Dubliners to be read as a novel of a citys
development, with its inhabitants growing from innocence to experience.
Joyces role as a recorder of the city develops the style in which Dubliners is written.
He adopts an attitude of scrupulous meanness toward his characters, in which Joyce
balances sympathy and objectivity. This balance exhibits both factual information
and sympathetic understanding of characters. Evidence of this style lies in Joyces
tongue-in-cheek objectivity, subtle comment, and demonstration of conflict in
characters intentions and actions.
To help students develop understanding and appreciation of Joyces structure and style,
the teacher must help them complete the following assignments;


To immerse students in Joyces stylistic theory, have students develop

scrupulously mean characters portraits of people from their own lives.
Students should take care in selecting people for their character portraits in

order to maintain the balance between realistic objectivity and sympathetic

understanding. Even more challenging would be a character portrait of

As an extension of the previous activity, have students draw or paint a portrait

that accomplishes the same objective as their written piece.

Students may create a dramatic monologue which develops a realistic

character using the concept of scrupulous meanness. In preparing this
monologue, students should consider elements such as costume, voice quality,
and physical presence which will contribute to character development as well
as to the presentations dramatic quality.

To examine Joyces writing choices more thoroughly, students can compare

their scrupulous meanness in any of these projects to Joyces style during their
reading of the novel!
Epiphany in Joyces Dubliners.
Joyce often ironically exposes his characters to moments of self-awareness or awareness
of the true nature of their environment. Joyce calls these moments of illumination
epiphanies, adapting the religious term referring to the revelation of the infant
Jesus to the Magi.
In his novel Stephen Hero he writes;
by an epiphany he (Stephen Daedalus) meant a sudden spiritual manifestation, whether
in the vulgarity of speech or of gesture or in a memorable phase of the mind itself (p.
It is the flash in which the essential nature of a person, an object, or a moment is
perceived, all at once. Joyce says;
its soul, its whatness leaps to us from the vestment of its appearance.(p.190)400
Joyce often recorded his own epiphanies, then later used the idea of epiphany in
Dubliners as a symbolic literary technique to reveal the paralysis of the city as well as
the faults and shortcomings of its inhabitants. Joyce also used the epiphany as a
structural device, rather than employing a traditional resolution, Joyce ends his stories
with the epiphany in the form of a speech (as he does in The Sisters and Grace), a
gesture (Two Gallants), or a memorable place of the mind itself (Araby and The Dead),
because the readers revelation about the characters condition satisfies Joyces purpose
in writing the story.
To make the concept of epiphany easier for students, have them select from those

Gather a collection of at least five popular songs whose lyrics deal with
realisations of the artist or a character the artist has created, and play the
songs for the class. Make sure to highlight the moments of realisation in


J Joyce, Stephen Hero, Oxford University Press, London, 2000, p. 188.


J Joyce, Stephen Hero, Oxford University Press, London, 2000, p. 190.


you presentation and show similarities and differences between the way
the narrator of each song handles his or her epiphany.

Complete an artistic rendering (in sculpture, painting, drawing, fabric arts,

) of a moment that you realized something important about yourself,
your life, or those around you.

Demonstrate a machine in which a certain part or motion of a part changes

the motion or adds a new dimension to the original motion of a part. Be
sure to explain how the epiphanic part changes the purpose of the basic

5.3 Section I: CHILDHOOD.

5.3.1 Before reading

The Sisters (p. 1-11)
A young boy must deal with the death of Father Flynn, his mentor,
exposing him to others opinions of the noble priest. These force him to
examine their relationship and cause him to see himself as an individual for
the first time.401
An Encounter (p. 12-22)
Faced with boredom at school and spurred by excitement found in pulp
magazines stories about the American Wild West, two young boys skip
school to take a trip to The Pigeon-house. Their schoolboy lark and
youthful egocentrism are destroyed by an encounter with an aging
Araby (p. 23-30)
A young boy experiences first love, a crush on a friends older sister.
Because she is unable to go to the splendid Araby bazaar, he promises her
to buy her a gift. This promise becomes the basis of a romantic quest.
When he finally arrives at Araby, his romantic allusions are shattered as he
becomes aware of the pain and the unfulfilled dreams of the adult world.403


J. Joyce, Dubliners. The Sisters, Penguin Classics, Clays Ltd., London, 2000, p. 1-11.


J. Joyce, Dubliners. An Encounter, Penguin Classics, Clays Ltd., London, 2000, p. 12-22.


J. Joyce, Dubliners. Araby, Penguin Classics, Clays Ltd., London, 2000, p. 23-30.


How can we connect these stories to the pupils world?

A central theme in Section I is childrens sudden awareness that the adult
world is not the place childhood dreams have made it. To help pupils
explore this epiphany and connect it to their own lives, help them
consider the following questions in journal writing or oral discussion:

How is secondary school different from what you thought it would be when you
were in primary school?

How did you react the first time you discovered that someone you admired
and looked up to had feet of clay? How did this realisation affect your view of
the world?

Did you ever had a crush on someone older? What did you do in order to see
them or be near them? At what point did you realise that your dream person
was unobtainable? How did you react to this knowledge?

5.3.2 While reading

Joyces diction is extremely important to his writing style in Dubliners. Not
only does his word choice reflect the delicate balance of scrupulous
meanness Joyce is truing to obtain, but his careful selection of words also
underlines the images and themes Joyce threads throughout the novel.
To develop a keener awareness of Joyces subtle commentary , imagery,
and diction, have pupils keep a stylistic journal during their reading in
which they note word choices, quotes, use of dialect, images, figurative
language, and unfamiliar phrases. Students should keep notes of their
impressions of and reactions to Joyces style in addition to page numbers
of the information, definitions, and, most importantly, the effect Joyces
style has on the development of the novel.
A weekly discussion of students findings, with special emphasis on
vocabulary, will develop their vocabulary skills and increase their
understanding of each story as well as the effect Joyces style has on the
novel as a whole. This procedure can be followed throughout all four
sections of the book. Also, the after reading sections contain quotations to
highlight during weekly discussions on style.
In this section, pupils should focus on religious vocabulary, especially the
religious and secular connotations of the words. Some of this vocabulary is
as follows, with pages numbers in parentheses:
The Sisters; Catechism (1), simoniac (4), scrupulous (10)404
An Encounter; penitent (22), Swaddlers (15)405


J. Joyce, Dubliners. The Sisters, Penguin Classics, Clays Ltd., London, 2000, p. 1-11.


J. Joyce, Dubliners. An Encounter, Penguin Classics, Clays Ltd., London, 2000, p. 12-22.


Araby; litanies (25), chalice (25)406

5.3.3 Detailed study questions

Because of the unfamiliar language and complex writing style used by
Joyce, even advanced pupils may need assistance following the plot. To
give pupils the assistance they need, provide them with detailed questions.
These questions can be used as class or group discussion starters,
individual writing prompts, detailed study guides, a test review, or test
Short story I. The Sisters (p. 1-11)407
1. What is Old Cotters opinion of Father Flynn? (1-2)
2. What was the boys relationship to Father Flynn? (2)
3. What is the boys reaction to the news of the priests death and Old
Cotters scrutiny? (2-3)
4. What are Old Cotters and the uncles views on the benefits of the boys
relationship with the priest? (2-3)
5. What is the boys opinion of Old Cotter? How has it changed? (2-3)
6. When he realises that Father Flynn is dead, what is the boys reaction?
7. What lessons did the priest teach the boy? (5-6)
8. Who took care of the details of Father Flynns lying in state? (8)
9. What was the beginning of Father Flynns ill health?
10. What happened to let everyone know that Father Flynn had become
mentally unbalanced? (10-11)
Short story II. An Encounter (p. 12-22)408
1. Why does Joe Dillon always prove victorious in the mock Indian
battles? Why is this ironic in light of his chosen future? (12)
2. Why do the pulp magazines appeal to the narrator? (13)
3. What does the narrator plan to break up the weariness of school-life.
What is ironic about Leo not showing up? (14-15)
4. What does the ragged troop calling them Swaddlers tell you about
the religious make up of Dublin? (15-16)
5. What is the lure of the docks to the boys? (16)
6. What does the narrators ideas about sailors with green eyes tell us
about his education? (17)
7. How does the man try to ingratiate himself to the boys? How do their
answers demonstrate differences in their personalities? (18-19)


J. Joyce, Dubliners. Araby, Penguin Classics, Clays Ltd., London, 2000, p. 23-30.


J. Joyce, Dubliners. The Sisters, Penguin Classics, Clays Ltd., London, 2000, p. 1-11.


J. Joyce, Dubliners. An Encounter, Penguin Classics, Clays Ltd., London, 2000, p. 12-22.


8. The man talks in circles around a few subjects. What do his speech
patterns and the subjects he dwells on tell you about him? (19-21)
9. Do you think the narrators fear of him is justified? Why or why not?
Short story III. Araby (p. 23-30)409
1. Judging from the games the boys play, how old do you think the
narrator is? (24)
2. Would you describe the narrators feelings toward Mangans sister
realistic or romantic? Explain. (24-25)
3. Why does the word Araby contain so much meaning for the narrator?
Discuss the possibilities the word represents to him. (26-27)
4. How are the results of the trip to Araby foreshadowed? (27-28)
5. Why is the uncle la
te coming home Saturday night? (28)
6. Why does he not buy anything at the young ladys booth? (29-30)

5.3.4 After reading

The following activities focus on the themes, style, and issues in
childhood. We should have our pupils select one or more of the following
activities to present in class;

Create a collage of the issues and responsibilities that adults must face in daily
living. How do these issues differ from the ones presented in Childhood? How
are they similar?

Create an artistic rendering of the bazaar in Araby which shows the view the
narrator creates through his infatuation with Mangans sister as well as the
actual bazaar he attends.

Write a personal narrative in which you realised that adults were fallible. Try to
employ as much Joyces style as you can in your writing.

Using Joyces scrupulously mean style, create a written portrait of your first
love. For inspiration, reread Joyces narrators description of Mangans sister
from Araby. (p 24-26)

4.3.5 Questions for deeper understanding


J. Joyce, Dubliners. Araby, Penguin Classics, Clays Ltd., London, 2000, p. 23-30.


The following questions can be used as class discussion starters,

essay topics, the basis for oral reports,
1 Joyce entitled this section Childhood. Its central theme is the young
protagonists dawning awareness of the paralysis of adulthood. Compare
and contrast the epiphanies undergone by the narrators of the three
stories. What enables each narrator to experience his epiphany?
2 These stories are the only ones in the book written in the first person.
Why did Joyce do this? How would the stories be different if written in the
third person?
3 Compare and contrast the dreams of the narrator in An Encounter to
those of the narrator of Araby. What purpose do the dreams serve in
illuminating Joyces opinion of Dublin and Ireland? How do the dreams lead
to the boys understandings of the paralysis of adult life?
4 In each of the three stories, religion in the form of a priest(s) plays an
important part in the narrators lives. Compare and contrast the roles
priests play in the boys lives, and discuss the role religion plays in the
spiritual paralysis awaiting the boys in Joyces Dublin.
Why did Joyce make the narrators in The Sisters and Araby
parentless? Why is it important that the boys live with an aunt and uncle
rather than a father and mother?

5.4 Section II: ADOLESCENCE.

5.4.1 Before reading


Eveline (p. 31-36)410

Eveline chooses the familiarity of a life in which she is mistreated by her
abusive father and takes the place of her dead mother in raising her
younger siblings over the fear of change presented by starting a new life in
a new country with the man who loves her.
After the Race (p. 36-44)411
A young gentleman (Jimmy) learns that he doesnt have what it takes to
succeed in his circle of sophisticated and glamorous international friends.
Two Gallants (p. 45-57)412
A not-so-young man (Lenehan) examines the shallowness and
hopelessness of his life while killing time waiting for his gigolo friend Corley
to bilk money from a poor working girl.
The Boarding House (p. 58-66)413
The owner of a boarding house (Mrs. Mooney) wordlessly conspires with
her daughter Polly to force Mr. Doran (Pollys lover and a boarder in the
house) to marry Polly.

5.4.2 Connecting the short stories to the pupils world.

A central theme in this section is clearly paralysis! characters are
trapped in lives they abhor by events and forces they could control as well
as those beyond their control. In these stories adolescents and young
adults become aware they are or will be trapped, creating in them moral or
spiritual paralysis that prevents them from escaping or avoiding the trap.
To connect these stories to their lives, have your pupils:


List future aims and outline steps to achieve these goals. Write about selfcreated obstacles as well as those created by outside forces.

Interview a successful person. Develop interview questions in advance to

discover how the individual achieved aims and explore obstacles that had to be

Write about leaving a familiar place for a new place. Discuss the power of
familiarity and the frightening aspects of change!

J. Joyce, Dubliners. Eveline, Penguin Classics, Clays Ltd., London, 2000, p. 31-36.


J. Joyce, Dubliners. After the Race, Penguin Classics, Clays Ltd., London, 2000, p. 3644.

J. Joyce, Dubliners. Two Gallants, Penguin Classics, Clays Ltd., London, 2000, p. 45-57.


J. Joyce, Dubliners. The Boarding House, Penguin Classics, Clays Ltd., London, 2000, p.


Class discussion. Have you or someone you know tried to join a group that
was too old? Has anyone tried to join your group who was too young or not as
sophisticated as the group? What were the results of these efforts??

5.4.3 While reading

In section II pupils should focus on the development of setting and
characters in their journals. In discussion pupils should note the detail with
which Joyce develops setting and characters as well as the overall picture
of Dublin created through both.
In discussing Joyces characters and his setting, pupils should attribute
each of their notes on language and style to the character or setting Joyce
creates. Relate characters to settings; Which characters in Adolescence
are most alike in the vocabulary used to describe them? Which settings
relate to each other? What is Joyces purpose in placing these specific
characters in these specific settings?
Eveline; cretonne (31), quay (36)414
After the Race; remonstrative (38), deft (39), trepidation (40), deploring
(41), torpid (42)
Two Gallants; jauntily (46), rotundity (46), adroitness (46), eloquence
(46), nimbly (46), vagrant (46), sauntered (51), pensively (52), obliquely
(52); slatternly (54)415
The Boarding House; rakish (62), agitation (64), delirium (65), implacable
(65), discomfiture (65)416

5.4.4 Detailed study questions

Short story I. Eveline (31-36)417
1. What was the childrens biggest worry while playing in the field? (31)
2. Now that Eveline has decided to leave, what sort of things has she
begun to notice? Why? (32)
3. What are the advantages and disadvantages of her going away? (3334)
4. What does her father mean by ; I know these sailor chaps? (34)
5. How does the memory of her mother both hold her and drive her to
escape? (35)
6. Why does she not go with Frank? What holds her back? (36)

J. Joyce, Dubliners. Eveline, Penguin Classics, Clays Ltd., London, 2000, p. 31-36.


J. Joyce, Dubliners. After the Race, Penguin Classics, Clays Ltd., London, 2000, p. 3644.


J. Joyce, Dubliners. Two Gallants, Penguin Classics, Clays Ltd., London, 2000, p. 45-57.
J. Joyce, Dubliners. Eveline, Penguin Classics, Clays Ltd., London, 2000, p. 31-36.


Short story II. After the Race (37-44)418

1. Describe Jimmys education. Why is his father secretly proud of his
excesses? (38)
2. Why is Jimmy taken with Sgouin? (38-39)
3. Why has Jimmy kept his excuses within limits? What does this say
about him? (39-40)
4. In what is Jimmy about to invest? Does this seem to be a good
investment? Why or why not? (40)
5. How does Sgouin diffuse the heated discussion of politics? What does
this say about him? (41-42)
6. What meaning do you take from the following line; he would lose, of
course? (44)
Short story III. Two Gallants (45-57)419
1. From Joyces initial descriptions, what are your impressions of Corley
and Lenehan? (45-48)
2. What information does Lenehan want from Corley? What does his
desire for his information and Corleys giving him the information say
about each of them? (48-49)
3. How has Corley changed his approach to attracting and then getting
what he wants from women? (48-49)
4. What does Joyces description of the girl tell you about her? (51-52)
5. When he stops to eat, what does Lenehan do to fit in with the other
customers? What does this information add to your understanding of
Lenehans life? (54)
6. What does Lenehan want out of life? (54)
7. What does it say about Corley that he talks the girl into giving him the
money? What does it say about her that she gives it to him? What does
it say about Lenehan that this is what he has so anxiously waited for all
Short story IV. The Boarding House (58-66)420
1. Why have the boarders bestowed the title of The Madam on Mrs.
Mooney? What qualities have earned her this title? (59)
2. Describe Mrs. Mooneys son and daughter. What kind of people are the
Mooney family? (59-60)

J. Joyce, Dubliners. After the Race, Penguin Classics, Clays Ltd., London, 2000, p. 3644.

J. Joyce, Dubliners. Two Gallants, Penguin Classics, Clays Ltd., London, 2000, p. 45-57.


J. Joyce, Dubliners. The Boarding House, Penguin Classics, Clays Ltd., London, 2000, p.


3. Why does Mrs. Mooney not object to Pollys affair with one of the
boarders? What does this say about Mrs. Mooney? (60)
4. Why is Mrs. Mooney sure he will win her confrontation with Mr. Doran?
What will she win? Why does she want to win? (61-62)
5. Why is Mr. Doran reluctant to marry Polly? What does this say about
his social status? About him personally? (63-64)
6. Who is most responsible for the affair? What evidence can you give to
support your opinion? (64-65)

5.4.5 After reading


Find popular songs which deal with the problems of each of the characters in
Adolescence (at least one song for each short story). Provide a lyric sheet for
each song,, and explain how each song relates to its story. In your
presentation discuss the issues of Joyces Dublin and show their relationship to
the issues of Belgium today.

Perform a dramatic monologue in which you assume the role of a main

character. Make sure you allow your audience to know that characters
emotions regarding his/her environment, station in life, prospects for the
future, as well as his/her motivation for behaviours shown in the story.
Consider costume, physical movement, and voice patterns when planning your

Plan Pollys wedding as if you were Mrs. Mooney (The Boarding House).
Research traditional Irish weddings for details and consider how much tradition
Pollys family can afford, given their social status and Pollys condition.

5.4.6 Questions for deeper understanding.

1 Compare and contrast the personalities and temperaments of Eveline
and Polly from The Boarding House. Look at the outside forces shaping
their lives and the choices they made. Make some predictions about their
2 compare and contrast the actions of Jimmy from After the Race to
those of Eveline. To what is each attracted and for what reasons are they
attracted? How will each be served by the choices theyve made?
3 Compare and contrast the influence their parents had on Eveline, Polly,
and Jimmy.
4 How would each of the following characters react if they were in Mr.
Dorans position in The Boarding House: Jimmy Doyle, Lenehan, Corley?
5 Compare and contrast the ways in which women are depicted in each
of the four stories.


5.5 Section III: MATURITY

5.5.1 Before reading
A Little Cloud (p. 67-83)421
Little Chandler goes to a fancy bar to meet his old friend Gallaher whom
hasnt seen in eight years. In these years Gallaher has become a
successful writer for a newspaper in London and Chandler has settled into
a mediocre job, marriage, and fatherhood. His reunion with Gallaher forces
him to compare their two lives, and this comparison makes him see himself
as hopelessly trapped in a dull, depressing existence.
Counterparts (p. 84-97)422
Farrington is a lazy, incompetent copier and an abusive husband and
father. He tries to escape the depression, rage, and hopelessness caused
by the mess he has made of his job and homelife through liquid lunches
and drunken evenings out with the boys.
Clay (p. 98-106)423
Maria works in the kitchen of an industrial laundry. Because of the gentle
nature and peace-making skills, she is liked by everyone in the laundry.
The high points of Marias life are her visits to Joe Donnelly and his family.
She was Joes nanny, and his family is her own family. The story centers
around her visit on Hallows Eve and illustrates the emptiness in her life.


J. Joyce, Dubliners. A Little Cloud, Penguin Classics, Clays Ltd., London, 2000, p. 67-83.


J. Joyce, Dubliners. Counterparts, Penguin Classics, Clays Ltd., London, 2000, p. 84-97.


J. Joyce, Dubliners. Clay, Penguin Classics, Clays Ltd., London, 2000, p. 98-106.


A Painful Case (p. 107-118)424

Mr. Duffy was a man who abhorred anything which betokened physical or
mental disorder. This abhorrence extended to any show of emotion or
romantic love. He ended his only human relationship when he realised that
Mrs. Sinico was in love with him and not just their intellectual discussions.
Two years later he reads a newspaper article about Mrs. Sinicos alcoholrelated, accidental death. From the newspapers interview with her
husband and daughter, he realised the break up had destroyed her life.
This realisation leads to the epiphany that he had missed out on his chance
to love and be loved.

5.5.2 Connecting the short stories to the pupils world.

In this section the theme of paralysis explores the world of mature adults
who are aware of the traps into which they have fallen and the spiritual
and personal paralysis that led them there and keeps them there. We must
have pupils explore this themes connection to their world by engaging in
some of the following activities.

Write about a recent argument or disagreement with a friend, parent, teacher,

or other adult. Now write about it from the other persons point of view and
then from the point of view of an objective observer.

Brainstorm a list of individuals who have dedicated their lives to the service of
others. Discuss advantages and disadvantages of living such a life.

Class discussion. Respond to the following statement: Love between man and
man is impossible because there must not be sexual intercourse and friendship
between man and woman is impossible because there must be sexual
intercourse. In writing describe the type of individual who would espouse such
a philosophy.

5.5.3 While reading

In section III pupils should pay close attention to the richness of foreign
expressions, especially Latin and French, that Joyce uses. Pupils should list
and note how foreign idiom reflects the Maturity theme, yet creates an
ironic tone for the stories which comprise it. How is the idea of maturity
reinforced through Joyces other word choices?


J. Joyce, Dubliners. A Painful Case, Penguin Classics, Clays Ltd., London, 2000, p. 107118.


A Little Cloud; necessitous (67), horde (68), punctiliously (68), melancholy

(68), revery (71), ardently (71), agitation (71), parole dhonneur (77),
deoc an dorius (78), equipoise (78), paroxysm (83)425
Counterparts; shirking (85), slake (86), furtively (87), execrate (88),
impertinent (90), eclogues (92), tincture (93), chaffed (98)426
Clay; barmbracks (98)427
A Painful Case; betokened (108), saturnine (108), dissipations (109),
timorous (111), fervent (112), exonerated (115), squalid (116),
malodorous (116), obsequiously (117), venal (118)428

5.5.4 Detailed study questions

Short story I. A Little Cloud (67-83)429
1. How did Little Chandler receive his name? (67)
2. Why does Little Chandler admire Ignatius Gallaher? How did he know
that Gallaher was destined for success? (69-70)
3. What does Little Chandler believe one must do to succeed? What does
this commentary say about Joyces opinion of his birth place? (70)
4. How would the English critics recognize Little Chandler as one of the
Celtic poets? What does this say about life in Ireland (71)
5. How do Chandlers and Gallahers perceptions of Paris differ? What
does this say about their personalities? Their lives? (73-75)
6. How does Dublin compare to the other European capitals? (75-76)
7. What does Little Chandler find adjust about the differences in his and
Gabriels lives? How accurate in his assessment? ( 78)
8. What are Gallahers views on marriage? What are his plans for getting
married? (79-80)
9. How does the last scene with his crying son and his wife neatly sum up
Little Chandlers life? (82-83)
Short story II. Counterparts (84-97)430
1. What do Mr. Alleynes complaints about Farrington tell us about
Farrington? What is his private reaction to these complaints and how

J. Joyce, Dubliners. A Little Cloud, Penguin Classics, Clays Ltd., London, 2000, p. 67-83.


J. Joyce, Dubliners. Counterparts, Penguin Classics, Clays Ltd., London, 2000, p. 84-97.


J. Joyce, Dubliners. Clay, Penguin Classics, Clays Ltd., London, 2000, p. 98-106.


J. Joyce, Dubliners. A Painful Case, Penguin Classics, Clays Ltd., London, 2000, p. 107118.

J. Joyce, Dubliners. A Little Cloud, Penguin Classics, Clays Ltd., London, 2000, p. 67-83.


J. Joyce, Dubliners. Counterparts, Penguin Classics, Clays Ltd., London, 2000, p. 84-97.


does this reaction support or weaken Mr. Alleynes accusations? (8586)

2. Why is Farrington unable to concentrate on his work? (88-89)
3. What got Farrington off to a bad start with Mr. Alleyne? What does this
say about Farrington? (90)
4. What is the basis for conversation between Farrington and his friends?
What do these stories say about them and about their lives? (91-92)
5. How does Weathers anger Farrington? What breach of etiquette has he
made? (93)
6. Compare Farringtons treatment by his bosses to his treatment of his
son? What is the irony in this comparison? (96-97)
Short story III. Clay (98-106)431
1. Why are the women so fond of Maria? (98)
2. Why is Maria working at the Dublin by Lamplight laundry? What has
she learned in her time there? (99)
3. Why is Maria so upset about the loss of the plumcake? What does this
reveal about her? (103)
4. What event are they celebrating? How is this celebration similar to and
different from our celebration of this holiday? (104)
5. What does Maria represent to Joe and his family? What commentary
does this make on Marias life? (105-106)
Short story IV. A Painful Case (107-118)432
1. Mr. Duffy abhorred anything which betokened physical or mental
disorder. How does the physical description of his room, his
occupation, and his daily routine reinforce this? (107-108)
2. Why does Mr. Duffy insist on being invited to Mrs. Sinicos house? Why
doesnt her husband protest his visits? (110)
3. In their growing relationship, what does Mr. Duffy provide for Mrs.
Sinico. What does she provide for him? (110-111)
4. What is Mr. Duffys ultimate realisation about his role in Mrs. Sinicos
death? How do you think this will effect the rest of his life? (117-118)

5.5.5 After reading



Write a new dramatic scene in which Farringtons and Alleynes from

Counterparts worst and best characteristics are highlighted. In this scene
show whether you think they are true counterparts by bouncing lines off each
other. For instance, if they are indeed equals, the effect will be like a pingpong match.

Create a new game for the Maturity stories in which the goals of the main
characters is to achieve their objectives without being stalled by internal or

J. Joyce, Dubliners. Clay, Penguin Classics, Clays Ltd., London, 2000, p. 98-106.


J. Joyce, Dubliners. A Painful Case, Penguin Classics, Clays Ltd., London, 2000, p. 107118.


external forces. Consider the weight of these forces in conflict with the
strength of the characters resolve.

Retell one of the stories from Maturity from the first person point of view of a
minor character. Consider these questions while constructing your version.
What is the characters opinion of the main characters plight. Does that minor
character perceive the main characters emotional upheaval?

Write a script for a talk show focusing on the main characters from A Little
Cloud, Counterparts, and A Painful Case. Allow your characters to tell their
stories and audience members to comment on those characters plights. Panel
members (characters, psychologists, and the host of the talk show) should
also take part in giving advice to each other.

5.5.6 Questions for deeper understanding.

1 Explain the meaning of the titles Clay and A Little Cloud. Who are the
counterparts in the story Counterparts? Cite the text to support your
2 In the story A Little Cloud compare and contrast Dublin to the other
capitals discussed. What do the characters say about Dublin in comparison
to Paris, London, and Berlin? From their comparisons, how would you judge
Dublin in comparison to the other three major capitals?
3 In the story Counterparts, why does Joyce make Farrington a large
man? How would the story would have been different if he had been similar
in physique to e.g. Little Chandler?
4 In the story A Little Cloud, Little Chandler emphatically insists that
Gallaher will get married some day. Why does he defend the institution of
marriage so strongly? Is he arguing out of loyality to his own marriage?
5 What was Mrs Sinicos cause of death in the story A Painful Case? How
is the cause of death significant? What effect does it have on Mr. Duffy?
6 Why is Maria the constant brunt of bride jokes in Clay? How do these
jibes define her existence?
7 Compare and contrast the male-female relationships in the four stories.
Consider that Joyce apparently had a happy marriage himself, why does he
paints such a bleak view of marriage in these stories? How does his view of
marriage here reflect his view of Dublin?


5.6 Section IV: PUBLIC LIFE

5.6.1 Before reading
Ivy Day in the Committee Room (p. 119-138)433
This story takes place in a political committee room where several political
canvassers have gathered at the end of a long, wet day of vote getting.
They warm themselves by the small coal fire and bottles of stout. As the
evening progresses, they discuss politics, each other, and the death of the
great nationalist politician, Parnell.
A Mother (139-154)434
This story is a ware of wills between Mrs. Kearney and Mr. Holohan and the
committee members of the Eire Abu Society. The conflict revolves around
the payment of eight guineas to her daughter Kathleen for her services as
an accompanist for a concert the society is planning. Mrs. Kearney throws
herself into the promotion and organisation of the concert. When the
concerts success is in doubt, Mrs. Kearney refuses to let Kathleen play for
the second half of the concert because she has only been paid half of her
Grace (155-182)435
Concerned over the drunken and dangerous behaviour, Mr. Kernans friends
conspire to reform him by taking him to a mens weekend-long religious
retreat. After all their cajoling and his wifes urging, he agrees to go. The
men he sees at the retreat and the priests businesslike message provide
an ironic ending that illustrates the moral paralysis of Joyces Dublin.
The Dead (183-236)436
The last and most significant of the stories take place at the annual holiday
dance held by Kate and Julia Morkan and their niece Mary Jane. The story
focuses on the perceptions of Gabriel Conroy, Kate and Julias nephew.
Over the course of the evening, Gabriel has jarring encounters with the
party guests, his aunts, and his wife Gretta, forcing him to view the world
from a point of view other than his own egocentrism.
The story crystallises Joyces intent for the entire novel. It was written after
the book was contracted for publishing, as an afterthought. Gabriels
epiphany illustrates Joyces scrupulous meanness; Gabriel realises that an

J. Joyce, Dubliners. Ivy Day in the Committee Room, Penguin Classics, Clays Ltd.,
London, 2000, p. 119-138.

J. Joyce, Dubliners. A Mother, Penguin Classics, Clays Ltd., London, 2000, p. 139-154.


J. Joyce, Dubliners. Grace, Penguin Classics, Clays Ltd., London, 2000, p. 155-182.


J. Joyce, Dubliners. The Dead, Penguin Classics, Clays Ltd., London, 2000, p. 183-236.


objective viewpoint leads to true sympathy, created by the bond of human

This final story is masterful in its structure; the apcing of events and the
use of symbolic detail (such as the snow) draw the reader in like a vortex,
growing narrower towards its universal close.

5.6.2 Connecting the stories to the pupils world.

Section IV explores the paralysis of an entire community by examining the
ways that individuals are held down by the failure of political, religious, and
social systems. Have pupils consider the following as mini research
projects, journal entries, or discussion starters:

Contact the office of one of your state or national representatives or senators

and find out what paid and volunteer positions they employ for their
campaigns; and or research the major campaign figures of each party in the
last presidential campaign.

Discuss instances in which parents you know have unintentionally hurt their
children by interfering in attempts to protect them; and/or check magazines
and newspapers for articles about overprotective, interfering parents of child
and adolescent sports and entertainment celebrities.

Tell about the first time you looked at your parents, grandparents, aunts,
uncles, or other adults as individuals. Extend this discussion to looking at your
best friend, boyfriend, or girlfriend as the centre of his/her own world instead
of as an important part of your world.

Tell about a time you made an uninformed judgement about someone close to
you. When you discovered the rest of the story, how did you react. How did
the new information change your perceptions about that person? About

5.6.3 While reading

Short story I. Ivy Day in the Committee Room. (119-138)437
1. What is Mr. OConnors job, and why is he not doing it? (120)


J. Joyce, Dubliners. Ivy Day in the Committee Room, Penguin Classics, Clays Ltd.,
London, 2000, p. 119-138.


2. What news does Mr. Henchy bring? What does this say about their
current occupation? (123-124)
3. Of what does Henchy accuse Hynes? To what extent is this a current
practice in politics? (125-126)
4. What is ironic about the men giving the tavern delivery boy a drink?
5. Why did Mr. Crofton quit canvassing for Wilkins and begin working on
behalf of Tierney? What does this say for the canvassers allegiance to
political positions? (133)
6. Why does Mr. Henchy believe the impending visit by Englands King
Edward is a good thing? What are the arguments against his visit?
7. Why are the men so moved by Mr. Hyness poem On the Death of
Parnell? (138)
Short story II. A Mother (137-154)438
1. Why did Miss Devlin get married? Why did she marry Mr. Kearney?
2. What does the Kearneys interest in learning Irish say about their
politics? (140-141)
3. What role did Mrs. Kearney take in her daughters performance? (141142)
4. How does the concert go the first two nights? What is Mr. Kearneys
reaction? What does the committee decide to do to salvage the last
nights performance? (143-144)
5. Why does Mrs. Kearney want Mr. Kearney to go to the concert with her
on Saturday night? (144)
6. Why does Mrs. Kearney delay the concerts start? Is she justified in
keeping her daughter from performing? (149-150)
7. Why does Mrs. Kearney think she is justified in delaying the concerts
start? Is she justified? (152-153)
8. How is the disagreement resolved? Why did Mrs. Kearney act the way
she did? (153-154)

Short story III. Grace (155-182)439


How is the man revived? What is his response once revived? (156-157)
Why cant Mr. Kernan explain what happened to him? (159)
What was Mr Kernans occupation? Mr. Powers? (159)
How does Mr. Kernan, who is unhappy in married life, occupy herself?
What are the symbols of her success? (161-162)
Why does Mrs. Kernan accept Mr. Kernans drinking? (162)
Why was Mr. Cunningham chosen to carry out the plot? (162-163)
Why is Mrs. Kernan skeptical of the plans possibility for success? Why
does she go along with it anyway? (163)
To which aspect of the retreat does Mr. Kernan object? Why? (163)


J. Joyce, Dubliners. A Mother, Penguin Classics, Clays Ltd., London, 2000, p. 139-154.


J. Joyce, Dubliners. Grace, Penguin Classics, Clays Ltd., London, 2000, p. 155-182.


9. Why do the men look down on Mr. Harford? (165)

10. What reassures Mr. Kernan once he is at the retreat? (180)
11. How is the priests message ironic in regard to the plan to reform Mr.
Kernan? (182)
Short story IV. The Dead (183-236)440
1. Why did Mary Jane and her aunts worry about Freddy Malins
tardiness? (184)
2. What stops Gabriels flirting with Lily? How does he pay penance for his
inproper thoughts? (185-186)
3. What does Gabriel think is wrong with his speech? (187)
4. What causes the ladies to suddenly ignore Mr. Browne? What does this
say about them? (192)
5. What was the cause of Gabriels quarrel with his mother? Who was
proven right? (196)
6. Why does Miss Ivors call Gabriel West Briton? What does she mean by
this? (198-199)
7. Why did Aunt Julia not pursue her solo singing? How was she rewarded
for her years of dedication? (203-204)
8. As they are leaving his aunts house, what does Gabriel long to tell his
wife? Why does he want to do this? (223-225)
9. How does Gabriel feel when he finds that his wife has been thinking of
a boy from the past? (231-232)
10. What does his wifes story cause Gabriel to realise about his marriage
and his own life? (234-236)

5.6.4 After reading


Write poems reflecting the jarring nature of each encounter Gabriel has with
guests at the party. Concentrate on the tone of each meeting as well as the
effect each has on Gabriel. Include some of Joyces images, and try to achieve
the feeling of universality at the end of your series of poems with your
concluding poem.

Create an elegy for Grettas singer who died young and unknown.

Write a love song that Gabriel might write for his wife Gretta.

Look for songs and lyrics that express best the feelings and emotions Gabriel
has for his wife Gretta, and Gretta for her dead lover.

5.6.5 Questions for deeper understanding


J. Joyce, Dubliners. The Dead, Penguin Classics, Clays Ltd., London, 2000, p. 183-236.


In the story Ivy Day in the Committee Room, examine how the different
characters wear their sprigs of ivy in honor of Parnell. What is revealed by the
way they wear ivy?

Compare and contrast the way political committees are illustrated in Ivy Day
in the Committee Room to the way Joyce describes the concert committee in A
Mother. What might Joyce be saying about public organisation in Ireland?

What is the significance of the titles for the stories Grace and The Dead?

Consider the literal meaning of the word grace, which of the characters in this
story truly understand the meaning of Grace?

In Grace look at the mens discussion of religion and the priests sermon to the
men at the workshop. What is Joyce saying about spiritual paralysis in Ireland.

Gabriels desire for his wife Gretta is rekindled when he sees her leaning
against the banister, listening to the tenors song (221). Why does he wish to
paint her inthat attitude? How does it reflect his own perpective.

When Gretta confides in Gabriel about the man who died for her love, how
does that cause him to look at her in a new way? How does this new way of
looking at his wife extend to his view of the world?

The snow at the end of The Dead takes the story as well as the entire novel to
a new level. Discuss the significance and interpretations of the image of snow
and the effect it has on the reader, the story, and the novel. Why doesnt Joyce
take the story further? How does the snow provide a fitting endi

The novel Dubliners- tying the different short
stories and sections.
The following questions will help pupils to tie the different stories and sections
together. Of course, the teacher must help them reason. Tying the different stories
and parts together is very important since one should read Dubliners merely as a
unit, as a novel instead of reading it as a collection of short stories! Therefore
noticing the internal symbols and plot lines is of the utmost importance!!
1. Explain how The Dead is both structurally and thematically different from the
other stories. Why does Joyce choose to end his book with this story? How
would Joyces view of Dublin differ without The Dead? How does this story
bring the rest of Dubliners into focus?
2. How do the section titles reflect the themes of each section? How do they
reflect the progression of life?
3. How does Joyce unify the different stories into a coherent whole? Look at
themes, order of presentation,
4. Which characters have stunted artistic impulses? In which characters could
this sense of unobtained beauty be realised?


5. Trace the musical imagery throughout all sections of Dubliners. How does the
music relate to both romance and religion? How does the musical imagery
communicate what the characters cannot?
6. Cast the movie of one of the stories from Dubliners. Consider both the physical
aspects of the characters as well as the actors recent work, and defend your
casting choices through examples from the story. Selec t a director for your
film and give resons for this selection as well.
7. Create a movie/video tape of one of Joyces stories. This can be a seruous
rendering of Joyces story or a parody of that story. Be sure to remain true to
Joyces intent and characters.
8. Write a review of each story using the style of a well-known movie critic such
as Leonard Maltin to pan or praise Joyce work.

James Joyces Dubliners (bijlagen)

PART I Childhood dreams


The Sisters441

THERE was no hope for him this time: it was the third stroke. Night after night I had
passed the house (it was vacation time) and studied the lighted square of window: and
night after night I had found it lighted in the same way, faintly and evenly. If he was
dead, I thought, I would see the reflection of candles on the darkened blind for I knew
that two candles must be set at the head of a corpse. He had often said to me: I am not
long for this world, and I had thought his words idle. Now I knew they were true. Every
night as I gazed up at the window I said softly to myself the word paralysis. It had
always sounded strangely in my ears, like the word gnomon in the Euclid and the word
simony in the Catechism. But now it sounded to me like the name of some maleficent
and sinful being. It filled me with fear, and yet I longed to be nearer to it and to look
upon its deadly work.
Old Cotter was sitting at the fire, smoking, when I came downstairs to supper. While my
aunt was ladling out my stirabout he said, as if returning to some former remark of his:

J. Joyce, Dubliners. The Sisters, Penguin Classics, Clays Ltd., London, 2000, p. 1-11.


No, I wouldnt say he was exactly... but there was something queer... there was
something uncanny about him. Ill tell you my opinion....
He began to puff at his pipe, no doubt arranging his opinion in his mind. Tiresome old
fool! When we knew him first he used to be rather interesting, talking of faints and
worms; but I soon grew tired of him and his endless stories about the distillery.
I have my own theory about it, he said. I think it was one of those ... peculiar
cases .... But its hard to say....
He began to puff again at his pipe without giving us his theory. My uncle saw me staring
and said to me:
Well, so your old friend is gone, youll be sorry to hear.
Who? said I.
Father Flynn.
Is he dead?
Mr. Cotter here has just told us. He was passing by the house.
I knew that I was under observation so I continued eating as if the news had not
interested me. My uncle explained to old Cotter.
The youngster and he were great friends. The old chap taught him a great deal, mind
you; and they say he had a great wish for him.
God have mercy on his soul, said my aunt piously.
Old Cotter looked at me for a while. I felt that his little beady black eyes were examining
me but I would not satisfy him by looking up from my plate. He returned to his pipe and
finally spat rudely into the grate.
I wouldnt like children of mine, he said, to have too much to say to a man like that.
How do you mean, Mr. Cotter? asked my aunt.
What I mean is, said old Cotter, its bad for children. My idea is: let a young lad run
about and play with young lads of his own age and not be... Am I right, Jack?
Thats my principle, too, said my uncle. Let him learn to box his corner. Thats what Im
always saying to that Rosicrucian there(1): take exercise. Why, when I was a nipper


every morning of my life I had a cold bath, winter and summer. And thats what stands to
me now. Education is all very fine and large.... Mr. Cotter might take a pick of that leg
mutton, he added to my aunt.
No, no, not for me, said old Cotter.
My aunt brought the dish from the safe and put it on the table.
But why do you think its not good for children, Mr. Cotter? she asked.
Its bad for children, said old Cotter, because their mind are so impressionable. When
children see things like that, you know, it has an effect....
I crammed my mouth with stirabout for fear I might give utterance to my anger.
Tiresome old red-nosed imbecile!
It was late when I fell asleep. Though I was angry with old Cotter for alluding to me as a
child, I puzzled my head to extract meaning from his unfinished sentences. In the dark of
my room I imagined that I saw again the heavy grey face of the paralytic. I drew the
blankets over my head and tried to think of Christmas. But the grey face still followed
me. It murmured, and I understood that it desired to confess something. I felt my soul
receding into some pleasant and vicious region; and there again I found it waiting for
me. It began to confess to me in a murmuring voice and I wondered why it smiled
continually and why the lips were so moist with spittle. But then I remembered that it
had died of paralysis and I felt that I too was smiling feebly as if to absolve the simoniac
of his sin(2).
The next morning after breakfast I went down to look at the little house in Great Britain
Street. It was an unassuming shop, registered under the vague name of Drapery . The
drapery consisted mainly of childrens bootees and umbrellas; and on ordinary days a
notice used to hang in the window, saying: Umbrellas Re-covered . No notice was visible
now for the shutters were up. A crape bouquet was tied to the doorknocker with ribbon.
Two poor women and a telegram boy were reading the card pinned on the crape. I also
approached and read:
July 1st, 1895(3)
The Rev. James Flynn (formerly of S. Catherines Church,
Meath Street), aged sixty-five years.
R. I. P.
The reading of the card persuaded me that he was dead and I was disturbed to find
myself at check. Had he not been dead I would have gone into the little dark room
behind the shop to find him sitting in his arm-chair by the fire, nearly smothered in his


great-coat. Perhaps my aunt would have given me a packet of High Toast for him and this
present would have roused him from his stupefied doze. It was always I who emptied the
packet into his black snuff-box for his hands trembled too much to allow him to do this
without spilling half the snuff about the floor. Even as he raised his large trembling hand
to his nose little clouds of smoke dribbled through his fingers over the front of his coat. It
may have been these constant showers of snuff which gave his ancient priestly garments
their green faded look for the red handkerchief, blackened, as it always was, with the
snuff-stains of a week, with which he tried to brush away the fallen grains, was quite
I wished to go in and look at him but I had not the courage to knock. I walked away
slowly along the sunny side of the street, reading all the theatrical advertisements in the
shop-windows as I went. I found it strange that neither I nor the day seemed in a
mourning mood and I felt even annoyed at discovering in myself a sensation of freedom
as if I had been freed from something by his death. I wondered at this for, as my uncle
had said the night before, he had taught me a great deal. He had studied in the Irish
college in Rome and he had taught me to pronounce Latin properly(4). He had told me
stories about the catacombs and about Napoleon Bonaparte, and he had explained to me
the meaning of the different ceremonies of the Mass and of the different vestments worn
by the priest(5). Sometimes he had amused himself by putting difficult questions to me,
asking me what one should do in certain circumstances or whether such and such sins
were mortal or venial(6) or only imperfections. His questions showed me how complex
and mysterious were certain institutions of the Church which I had always regarded as
the simplest acts. The duties of the priest towards the Eucharist and towards the secrecy
of the confessional(7) seemed so grave to me that I wondered how anybody had ever
found in himself the courage to undertake them; and I was not surprised when he told
me that the fathers of the Church(8) had written books as thick as the Post Office
Directory(9) and as closely printed as the law notices in the newspaper, elucidating all
these intricate questions. Often when I thought of this I could make no answer or only a
very foolish and halting one upon which he used to smile and nod his head twice or
thrice. Sometimes he used to put me through the responses of the Mass which he had
made me learn by heart; and, as I pattered, he used to smile pensively and nod his
head, now and then pushing huge pinches of snuff up each nostril alternately. When he
smiled he used to uncover his big discoloured teeth and let his tongue lie upon his lower
lipa habit which had made me feel uneasy in the beginning of our acquaintance before I
knew him well.
As I walked along in the sun I remembered old Cotters words and tried to remember
what had happened afterwards in the dream. I remembered that I had noticed long
velvet curtains and a swinging lamp of antique fashion. I felt that I had been very far


away, in some land where the customs were strangein Persia, I thought.... But I could
not remember the end of the dream.
In the evening my aunt took me with her to visit the house of mourning. It was after
sunset; but the window-panes of the houses that looked to the west reflected the tawny
gold of a great bank of clouds. Nannie received us in the hall; and, as it would have been
unseemly to have shouted at her, my aunt shook hands with her for all. The old woman
pointed upwards interrogatively and, on my aunts nodding, proceeded to toil up the
narrow staircase before us, her bowed head being scarcely above the level of the
banister-rail. At the first landing she stopped and beckoned us forward encouragingly
towards the open door of the dead-room. My aunt went in and the old woman, seeing
that I hesitated to enter, began to beckon to me again repeatedly with her hand.
I went in on tiptoe. The room through the lace end of the blind was suffused with dusky
golden light amid which the candles looked like pale thin flames. He had been coffined.
Nannie gave the lead and we three knelt down at the foot of thebed. I pretended to pray
but I could not gather my thoughts because the old womans mutterings distracted me. I
noticed how clumsily her skirt was hooked at the back and how the heels of her cloth
boots were trodden down all to one side. The fancy came to me that the old priest was
smiling as he lay there in his coffin.
But no. When we rose and went up to the head of the bed I saw that he was not smiling.
There he lay, solemn and copious, vested as for the altar, his large hands loosely
retaining a chalice. His face was very truculent, grey and massive, with black cavernous
nostrils and circled by a scanty white fur. There was a heavy odour in the roomthe
We blessed ourselves(10) and came away. In the little room downstairs we found Eliza
seated in his arm-chair in state. I groped my way towards my usual chair in the corner
while Nannie went to the sideboard and brought out a decanter of sherry and some wineglasses. She set these on the table and invited us to take a little glass of wine. Then, at
her sisters bidding, she filled out the sherry into the glasses and passed them to us. She
pressed me to take some cream crackers also but I declined because I thought I would
make too much noise eating them. She seemed to be somewhat disappointed at my
refusal and went over quietly to the sofa where she sat down behind her sister. No one
spoke: we all gazed at the empty fireplace.
My aunt waited until Eliza sighed and then said:
Ah, well, hes gone to a better world.


Eliza sighed again and bowed her head in assent. My aunt fingered the stem of her wineglass before sipping a little.
Did he... peacefully? she asked.
Oh, quite peacefully, maam, said Eliza. You couldnt tell when the breath went out of
him. He had a beautiful death, God be praised.
And everything...?
Father ORourke was in with him a Tuesday and anointed him and prepared him and all.
He knew then?
He was quite resigned.
He looks quite resigned, said my aunt.
Thats what the woman we had in to wash him said. She said he just looked as if he was
asleep, he looked that peaceful and resigned. No one would think hed make such a
beautiful corpse.
Yes, indeed, said my aunt.
She sipped a little more from her glass and said:
Well, Miss Flynn, at any rate it must be a great comfort for you to know that you did all
you could for him. You were both very kind to him, I must say.
Eliza smoothed her dress over her knees.
Ah, poor James! she said. God knows we done all we could, as poor as we arewe
wouldnt see him want anything while he was in it.
Nannie had leaned her head against the sofa-pillow and seemed about to fall asleep.
Theres poor Nannie, said Eliza, looking at her, shes wore out. All the work we had,
she and me, getting in the woman to wash him and then laying him out and then the
coffin and then arranging about the Mass in the chapel. Only for Father ORourke I dont
know what wed done at all. It was him brought us all them flowers and them two
candlesticks out of the chapel and wrote out the notice for the Freemans General(11)
and took charge of all the papers for the cemetery and poor Jamess insurance.(12)
Wasnt that good of him? said my aunt


Eliza closed her eyes and shook her head slowly.

Ah, theres no friends like the old friends, she said, when all is said and done, no
friends that a body can trust.
Indeed, thats true, said my aunt. And Im sure now that hes gone to his eternal
reward he wont forget you and all your kindness to him.
Ah, poor James! said Eliza. He was no great trouble to us. You wouldnt hear him in
the house any more than now. Still, I know hes gone and all to that....
Its when its all over that youll miss him, said my aunt.
I know that, said Eliza. I wont be bringing him in his cup of beef-tea any me, nor you,
maam, sending him his snuff. Ah, poor James!
She stopped, as if she were communing with the past and then said shrewdly:
Mind you, I noticed there was something queer coming over him latterly. Whenever Id
bring in his soup to him there Id find him with his breviary fallen to the floor, lying back
in the chair and his mouth open.
She laid a finger against her nose and frowned: then she continued:
But still and all he kept on saying that before the summer was over hed go out for a
drive one fine day just to see the old house again where we were all born down in
Irishtown and take me and Nannie with him. If we could only get one of them newfangled carriages that makes no noise that Father ORourke told him about, them with
the rheumatic wheels, for the day cheaphe said, at Johnny Rushs(13) over the way
there and drive out the three of us together of a Sunday evening. He had his mind set on
that.... Poor James!
The Lord have mercy on his soul! said my aunt.
Eliza took out her handkerchief and wiped her eyes with it. Then she put it back again in
her pocket and gazed into the empty grate for some time without speaking.
He was too scrupulous always, she said. The duties of the priesthood was too much for
him. And then his life was, you might say, crossed.
Yes, said my aunt. He was a disappointed man. You could see that.


A silence took possession of the little room and, under cover of it, I approached the table
and tasted my sherry and then returned quietly to my chair in the comer. Eliza seemed to
have fallen into a deep revery. We waited respectfully for her to break the silence: and
after a long pause she said slowly:
It was that chalice he broke.... That was the beginning of it. Of course, they say it was
all right, that it contained nothing(14), I mean. But still.... They say it was the boys
fault.(15) But poor James was so nervous, God be merciful to him!
And was that it? said my aunt. I heard something....
Eliza nodded.
That affected his mind, she said. After that he began to mope by himself, talking to no
one and wandering about by himself. So one night he was wanted for to go on a call and
they couldnt find him anywhere. They looked high up and low down; and still they
couldnt see a sight of him anywhere. So then the clerk suggested to try the chapel. So
then they got the keys and opened the chapel and the clerk and Father ORourke and
another priest that was there brought in a light for to look for him.... And what do you
think but there he was, sitting up by himself in the dark in his confession-box, wideawake and laughing-like softly to himself?
She stopped suddenly as if to listen. I too listened; but there was no sound in the house:
and I knew that the old priest was lying still in his coffin as we had seen him, solemn and
truculent in death, an idle chalice on his breast.
Eliza resumed:
Wide-awake and laughing-like to himself.... So then, of course, when they saw that, that
made them think that there was something gone wrong with him....


An Encounter442

IT WAS Joe Dillon who introduced the Wild West to us. He had a little library made up of
old numbers of The Union Jack , Pluck and The Halfpenny Marvel.(1) Every evening after
school we met in his back garden and arranged Indian battles(2). He and his fat young
brother Leo, the idler, held the loft of the stable while we tried to carry it by storm; or we
fought a pitched battle on the grass. But, however well we fought, we never won siege or
battle and all our bouts ended with Joe Dillons war dance of victory. His parents went to
eight-oclock mass every morning(2) in Gardiner Street and the peaceful odour of Mrs.

J. Joyce, Dubliners. An Encounter, Penguin Classics, Clays Ltd., London, 2000, p. 12-22.


Dillon was prevalent in the hall of the house. But he played too fiercely for us who were
younger and more timid. He looked like some kind of an Indian when he capered round
the garden, an old tea-cosy on his head, beating a tin with his fist and yelling:
Ya! yaka, yaka, yaka! (3)
Everyone was incredulous when it was reported that he had a vocation for the
priesthood.(4) Nevertheless it was true.
A spirit of unruliness diffused itself among us and, under its influence, differences of
culture and constitution were waived. We banded ourselves together, some boldly, some
in jest and some almost in fear: and of the number of these latter, the reluctant Indians
who were afraid to seem studious or lacking in robustness, I was one. The adventures
related in the literature of the Wild West were remote from my nature but, at least, they
opened doors of escape. I liked better some American detective stories which were
traversed from time to time by unkempt fierce and beautiful girls. Though there was
nothing wrong in these stories and though their intention was sometimes literary they
were circulated secretly at school. One day when Father Butler was hearing the four
pages of Roman History clumsy Leo Dillon was discovered with a copy of The Halfpenny
Marvel .
This page or this page? This page Now, Dillon, up! Hardly had the day ... Go on! What
day? Hardly had the day dawned ... Have you studied it? What have you there in your
Everyones heart palpitated as Leo Dillon handed up the paper and everyone assumed an
innocent face. Father Butler turned over the pages, frowning.
What is this rubbish? he said. The Apache Chief!(5) Is this what you read instead of
studying your Roman History? Let me not find any more of this wretched stuff in this
college.(6) The man who wrote it, I suppose, was some wretched fellow who writes these
things for a drink. Im surprised at boys like you, educated, reading such stuff. I could
understand it if you were ... National School(7) boys. Now, Dillon, I advise you strongly,
get at your work or...
This rebuke during the sober hours of school paled much of the glory of the Wild West for
me and the confused puffy face of Leo Dillon awakened one of my consciences. But when
the restraining influence of the school was at a distance I began to hunger again for wild
sensations, for the escape which those chronicles of disorder alone seemed to offer me.
The mimic warfare of the evening became at last as wearisome to me as the routine of
school in the morning because I wanted real adventures to happen to myself. But real


adventures, I reflected, do not happen to people who remain at home: they must be
sought abroad.
The summer holidays were near at hand when I made up my mind to break out of the
weariness of schoollife for one day at least. With Leo Dillon and a boy named Mahony I
planned a days miching.(8) Each of us saved up sixpence.(9) We were to meet at ten in
the morning on the Canal Bridge. Mahonys big sister was to write an excuse for him and
Leo Dillon was to tell his brother to say he was sick. We arranged to go along the Wharf
Road until we came to the ships, then to cross in the ferryboat and walk out to see the
Pigeon House. Leo Dillon was afraid we might meet Father Butler or someone out of the
college; but Mahony asked, very sensibly, what would Father Butler be doing out at the
Pigeon House. We were reassured: and I brought the first stage of the plot to an end by
collecting sixpence from the other two, at the same time showing them my own sixpence.
When we were making the last arrangements on the eve we were all vaguely excited. We
shook hands, laughing, and Mahony said:
Till tomorrow, mates!
That night I slept badly. In the morning I was firstcomer to the bridge as I lived nearest.
I hid my books in the long grass near the ashpit at the end of the garden where nobody
ever came and hurried along the canal bank. It was a mild sunny morning in the first
week of June. I sat up on the coping of the bridge admiring my frail canvas shoes which I
had diligently pipeclayed(10) overnight and watching the docile horses pulling a tramload
of business people up the hill. All the branches of the tall trees which lined the mall were
gay with little light green leaves and the sunlight slanted through them on to the water.
The granite stone of the bridge was beginning to be warm and I began to pat it with my
hands in time to an air in my head. I was very happy.
When I had been sitting there for five or ten minutes I saw Mahonys grey suit
approaching. He came up the hill, smiling, and clambered up beside me on the bridge.
While we were waiting he brought out the catapult which bulged from his inner pocket
and explained some improvements which he had made in it. I asked him why he had
brought it and he told me he had brought it to have some gas with the birds.(11) Mahony
used slang freely, and spoke of Father Butler as Old Bunser Burner.(12) We waited on for
a quarter of an hour more but still there was no sign of Leo Dillon. Mahony, at last,
jumped down and said:
Come along. I knew Fattyd funk it.
And his sixpence...? I said.


Thats forfeit, said Mahony. And so much the better for usa bob(13) and a tanner(14)
instead of a bob.
We walked along the North Strand Road till we came to the Vitriol Works and then turned
to the right along the Wharf Road. Mahony began to play the Indian as soon as we were
out of public sight. He chased a crowd of ragged girls, brandishing his unloaded catapult
and, when two ragged boys began, out of chivalry, to fling stones at us, he proposed that
we should charge them. I objected that the boys were too small and so we walked on,
the ragged troop screaming after us: Swaddlers! Swaddlers!(15) thinking that we were
Protestants because Mahony, who was dark-complexioned, wore the silver badge of a
cricket club in his cap. When we came to the Smoothing Iron we arranged a siege; but it
was a failure because you must have at least three. We revenged ourselves on Leo Dillon
by saying what a funk he was and guessing how many he would get at three oclock from
Mr. Ryan.
We came then near the river. We spent a long time walking about the noisy streets
flanked by high stone walls, watching the working of cranes and engines and often being
shouted at for our immobility by the drivers of groaning carts. It was noon when we
reached the quays and as all the labourers seemed to be eating their lunches, we bought
two big currant buns and sat down to eat them on some metal piping beside the river. We
pleased ourselves with the spectacle of Dublins commercethe barges signalled from far
away by their curls of woolly smoke, the brown fishing fleet beyond Ringsend, the big
white sailingvessel which was being discharged on the opposite quay. Mahony said it
would be right skit(16) to run away to sea on one of those big ships and even I, looking
at the high masts, saw, or imagined, the geography which had been scantily dosed to me
at school gradually taking substance under my eyes. School and home seemed to recede
from us and their influences upon us seemed to wane.
We crossed the Liffey in the ferryboat, paying our toll to be transported in the company
of two labourers and a little Jew with a bag. We were serious to the point of solemnity,
but once during the short voyage our eyes met and we laughed. When we landed we
watched the discharging of the graceful threemaster which we had observed from the
other quay. Some bystander said that she was a Norwegian vessel. I went to the stern
and tried to decipher the legend upon it but, failing to do so, I came back and examined
the foreign sailors to see had any of them green eyes for I had some confused notion....
The sailors eyes were blue and grey and even black. The only sailor whose eyes could
have been called green was a tall man who amused the crowd on the quay by calling out
cheerfully every time the planks fell:
All right! All right!


When we were tired of this sight we wandered slowly into Ringsend. The day had grown
sultry, and in the windows of the grocers shops musty biscuits lay bleaching. We bought
some biscuits and chocolate which we ate sedulously as we wandered through the squalid
streets where the families of the fishermen live. We could find no dairy and so we went
into a hucksters shop and bought a bottle of raspberry lemonade each. Refreshed by
this, Mahony chased a cat down a lane, but the cat escaped into a wide field. We both felt
rather tired and when we reached the field we made at once for a sloping bank over the
ridge of which we could see the Dodder.
It was too late and we were too tired to carry out our project of visiting the Pigeon
House. We had to be home before four oclock lest our adventure should be discovered.
Mahony looked regretfully at his catapult and I had to suggest going home by train
before he regained any cheerfulness. The sun went in behind some clouds and left us to
our jaded thoughts and the crumbs of our provisions.
There was nobody but ourselves in the field. When we had lain on the bank for some
time without speaking I saw a man approaching from the far end of the field. I watched
him lazily as I chewed one of those green stems on which girls tell fortunes. He came
along by the bank slowly. He walked with one hand upon his hip and in the other hand he
held a stick with which he tapped the turf lightly. He was shabbily dressed in a suit of
greenish-black and wore what we used to call a jerry hat with a high crown. He seemed
to be fairly old for his moustache was ashen-grey. When he passed at our feet he glanced
up at us quickly and then continued his way. We followed him with our eyes and saw that
when he had gone on for perhaps fifty paces he turned about and began to retrace his
steps. He walked towards us very slowly, always tapping the ground with his stick, so
slowly that I thought he was looking for something in the grass.
He stopped when he came level with us and bade us goodday. We answered him and he
sat down beside us on the slope slowly and with great care. He began to talk of the
weather, saying that it would be a very hot summer and adding that the seasons had
changed gready since he was a boya long time ago. He said that the happiest time of
ones life was undoubtedly ones schoolboy days and that he would give anything to be
young again. While he expressed these sentiments which bored us a little we kept silent.
Then he began to talk of school and of books. He asked us whether we had read the
poetry of Thomas Moore(17) or the works of Sir Walter Scott(18) and Lord Lytton.(19) I
pretended that I had read every book he mentioned so that in the end he said:
Ah, I can see you are a bookworm like myself. Now, he added, pointing to Mahony who
was regarding us with open eyes, he is different; he goes in for games.
He said he had all Sir Walter Scotts works and all Lord Lyttons works at home and never
tired of reading them. Of course, he said, there were some of Lord Lyttons works


which boys couldnt read. Mahony asked why couldnt boys read thema question which
agitated and pained me because I was afraid the man would think I was as stupid as
Mahony. The man, however, only smiled. I saw that he had great gaps in his mouth
between his yellow teeth. Then he asked us which of us had the most sweethearts.
Mahony mentioned lightly that he had three totties.(20) The man asked me how many I
had. I answered that I had none. He did not believe me and said he was sure I must
have one. I was silent.
Tell us, said Mahony pertly to the man, how many have you yourself?
The man smiled as before and said that when he was our age he had lots of sweethearts.
Every boy, he said, has a little sweetheart.
His attitude on this point struck me as strangely liberal in a man of his age. In my heart I
thought that what he said about boys and sweethearts was reasonable. But I disliked the
words in his mouth and I wondered why he shivered once or twice as if he feared
something or felt a sudden chill. As he proceeded I noticed that his accent was good. He
began to speak to us about girls, saying what nice soft hair they had and how soft their
hands were and how all girls were not so good as they seemed to be if one only knew.
There was nothing he liked, he said, so much as looking at a nice young girl, at her nice
white hands and her beautiful soft hair. He gave me the impression that he was repeating
something which he had learned by heart or that, magnetised by some words of his own
speech, his mind was slowly circling round and round in the same orbit. At times he
spoke as if he were simply alluding to some fact that everybody knew, and at times he
lowered his voice and spoke mysteriously as if he were telling us something secret which
he did not wish others to overhear. He repeated his phrases over and over again, varying
them and surrounding them with his monotonous voice. I continued to gaze towards the
foot of the slope, listening to him.
After a long while his monologue paused. He stood up slowly, saying that he had to leave
us for a minute or so, a few minutes, and, without changing the direction of my gaze, I
saw him walking slowly away from us towards the near end of the field. We remained
silent when he had gone. After a silence of a few minutes I heard Mahony exclaim:
I say! Look what hes doing!
As I neither answered nor raised my eyes Mahony exclaimed again:
I say... Hes a queer old josser!(21)
In case he asks us for our names, I said let you be Murphy and Ill be Smith.


We said nothing further to each other. I was still considering whether I would go away or
not when the man came back and sat down beside us again. Hardly had he sat down
when Mahony, catching sight of the cat which had escaped him, sprang up and pursued
her across the field. The man and I watched the chase. The cat escaped once more and
Mahony began to throw stones at the wall she had escaladed. Desisting from this, he
began to wander about the far end of the field, aimlessly.
After an interval the man spoke to me. He said that my friend was a very rough boy and
asked did he get whipped often at school. I was going to reply indignantly that we were
not National School boys to be whipped, as he called it; but I remained silent. He began
to speak on the subject of chastising boys. His mind, as if magnetised again by his
speech, seemed to circle slowly round and round its new centre. He said that when boys
were that kind they ought to be whipped and well whipped. When a boy was rough and
unruly there was nothing would do him any good but a good sound whipping. A slap on
the hand or a box on the ear was no good: what he wanted was to get a nice warm
whipping. I was surprised at this sentiment and involuntarily glanced up at his face. As I
did so I met the gaze of a pair of bottle-green eyes peering at me from under a twitching
forehead. I turned my eyes away again.
The man continued his monologue. He seemed to have forgotten his recent liberalism. He
said that if ever he found a boy talking to girls or having a girl for a sweetheart he would
whip him and whip him; and that would teach him not to be talking to girls. And if a boy
had a girl for a sweetheart and told lies about it then he would give him such a whipping
as no boy ever got in this world. He said that there was nothing in this world he would
like so well as that. He described to me how he would whip such a boy as if he were
unfolding some elaborate mystery. He would love that, he said, better than anything in
this world; and his voice, as he led me monotonously through the mystery, grew almost
affectionate and seemed to plead with me that I should understand him.
I waited till his monologue paused again. Then I stood up abruptly. Lest I should betray
my agitation I delayed a few moments pretending to fix my shoe properly and then,
saying that I was obliged to go, I bade him good-day. I went up the slope calmly but my
heart was beating quickly with fear that he would seize me by the ankles. When I
reached the top of the slope I turned round and, without looking at him, called loudly
across the field:
My voice had an accent of forced bravery in it and I was ashamed of my paltry
stratagem. I had to call the name again before Mahony saw me and hallooed in answer.
How my heart beat as he came running across the field to me! He ran as if to bring me
aid. And I was penitent; for in my heart I had always despised him a little.(22)


4.3 Araby.443
NORTH RICHMOND STREET being blind(2), was a quiet street except at the hour when
the Christian Brothers School set the boys free.(3) An uninhabited house of two storeys
stood at the blind end, detached from its neighbours in a square ground The other
houses of the street, conscious of decent lives within them, gazed at one another with
brown imperturbable faces.
The former tenant of our house, a priest, had died(4) in the back drawing-room. Air,
musty from having been long enclosed, hung in all the rooms, and the waste room
behind the kitchen was littered with old useless papers. Among these I found a few
paper-covered books, the pages of which were curled and damp: The Abbot, by Walter
Scott, The Devout Communnicant and The Memoirs of Vidocq.(5) I liked the last best
because its leaves were yellow.(6) The wild garden(7) behind the house contained a
central apple-tree(7) and a few straggling bushes under one of which I found the late
tenants rusty bicycle-pump. He had been a very charitable priest(8); in his will he had
left all his money to institutions and the furniture of his house to his sister.
When the short days of winter came dusk fell before we had well eaten our dinners.
When we met in the street the houses had grown sombre. The space of sky above us was
the colour of ever-changing violet and towards it the lamps of the street lifted their feeble
lanterns. The cold air stung us and we played till our bodies glowed. Our shouts echoed
in the silent street. The career of our play brought us through the dark muddy lanes
behind the houses where we ran the gauntlet of the rough tribes from the cottages, to
the back doors of the dark dripping gardens where odours arose from the ashpits, to the
dark odorous stables where a coachman smoothed and combed the horse or shook music
from the buckled harness. When we returned to the street light from the kitchen windows
had filled the areas. If my uncle was seen turning the corner we hid in the shadow until
we had seen him safely housed. Or if Mangans sister(9) came out on the doorstep to call
her brother in to his tea we watched her from our shadow peer up and down the street.
We waited to see whether she would remain or go in and, if she remained, we left our

J. Joyce, Dubliners. Araby, Penguin Classics, Clays Ltd., London, 2000, p. 23-30.


shadow and walked up to Mangans steps resignedly. She was waiting for us, her figure
defined by the light from the half-opened door. Her brother always teased her before he
obeyed and I stood by the railings looking at her. Her dress swung as she moved her
body and the soft rope of her hair tossed from side to side.
Every morning I lay on the floor in the front parlour watching her door. The blind was
pulled down to within an inch of the sash so that I could not be seen. When she came out
on the doorstep my heart leaped. I ran to the hall, seized my books and followed her. I
kept her brown(10) figure always in my eye and, when we came near the point at which
our ways diverged, I quickened my pace and passed her. This happened morning after
morning. I had never spoken to her, except for a few casual words, and yet her name
was like a summons to all my foolish blood.
Her image accompanied me even in places the most hostile to romance. On Saturday
evenings when my aunt went marketing I had to go to carry some of the parcels. We
walked through the flaring streets, jostled by drunken men and bargaining women, amid
the curses of labourers, the shrill litanies of shop-boys who stood on guard by the barrels
of pigs cheeks, the nasal chanting of street-singers, who sang a come-all-you(11) about
ODonovan Rossa(12), or a ballad about the troubles in our native land. These noises
converged in a single sensation of life for me: I imagined that I bore my chalice(13)
safely through a throng of foes. Her name sprang to my lips at moments in strange
prayers and praises which I myself did not understand. My eyes were often full of tears (I
could not tell why) and at times a flood from my heart seemed to pour itself out into my
bosom. I thought little of the future. I did not know whether I would ever speak to her or
not or, if I spoke to her, how I could tell her of my confused adoration. But my body was
like a harp and her words and gestures were like fingers running upon the wires.
One evening I went into the back drawing-room in which the priest had died. It was a
dark rainy evening and there was no sound in the house. Through one of the broken
panes I heard the rain impinge upon the earth, the fine incessant needles of water
playing in the sodden beds. Some distant lamp or lighted window gleamed below me. I
was thankful that I could see so little. All my senses seemed to desire to veil themselves
and, feeling that I was about to slip from them, I pressed the palms of my hands
together until they trembled, murmuring: O love! O love! many times.
At last she spoke to me. When she addressed the first words to me I was so confused
that I did not know what to answer. She asked me was I going to Araby. I forgot whether
I answered yes or no. It would be a splendid bazaar, she said she would love to go.
And why cant you? I asked.


While she spoke she turned a silver bracelet round and round her wrist. She could not go,
she said, because there would be a retreat(14) that week in her convent. Her brother
and two other boys were fighting for their caps and I was alone at the railings. She held
one of the spikes, bowing her head towards me. The light from the lamp opposite our
door caught the white curve of her neck, lit up her hair that rested there and, falling, lit
up the hand upon the railing. It fell over one side of her dress and caught the white
border of a petticoat, just visible as she stood at ease.
Its well for you, she said.
If I go, I said, I will bring you something.
What innumerable follies laid waste my waking and sleeping thoughts after that evening!
I wished to annihilate the tedious intervening days. I chafed against the work of school.
At night in my bedroom and by day in the classroom her image came between me and
the page I strove to read. The syllables of the word Araby were called to me through the
silence in which my soul luxuriated and cast an Eastern enchantment over me. I asked
for leave to go to the bazaar on Saturday night. My aunt was surprised and hoped it was
not some Freemason affair.(15) I answered few questions in class. I watched my
masters face pass from amiability to sternness; he hoped I was not beginning to idle. I
could not call my wandering thoughts together. I had hardly any patience with the
serious work of life which, now that it stood between me and my desire, seemed to me
childs play, ugly monotonous childs play.
On Saturday morning I reminded my uncle that I wished to go to the bazaar in the
evening. He was fussing at the hallstand, looking for the hat-brush, and answered me
Yes, boy, I know.
As he was in the hall I could not go into the front parlour and lie at the window. I left the
house in bad humour and walked slowly towards the school. The air was pitilessly raw
and already my heart misgave me.
When I came home to dinner my uncle had not yet been home. Still it was early. I sat
staring at the clock for some time and. when its ticking began to irritate me, I left the
room. I mounted the staircase and gained the upper part of the house. The high cold
empty gloomy rooms liberated me and I went from room to room singing. From the front
window I saw my companions playing below in the street. Their cries reached me
weakened and indistinct and, leaning my forehead against the cool glass, I looked over at
the dark house where she lived. I may have stood there for an hour, seeing nothing but


the brown-clad figure cast by my imagination, touched discreetly by the lamplight at the
curved neck, at the hand upon the railings and at the border below the dress.
When I came downstairs again I found Mrs. Mercer sitting at the fire. She was an old
garrulous woman, a pawnbrokers widow, who collected used stamps for some pious
purpose. I had to endure the gossip of the tea-table. The meal was prolonged beyond an
hour and still my uncle did not come. Mrs. Mercer stood up to go: she was sorry she
couldnt wait any longer, but it was after eight oclock and she did not like to be out late
as the night air was bad for her. When she had gone I began to walk up and down the
room, clenching my fists. My aunt said:
Im afraid you may put off your bazaar for this night of Our Lord.(16)
At nine oclock I heard my uncles latchkey in the halldoor. I heard him talking to himself
and heard the hallstand rocking when it had received the weight of his overcoat. I could
interpret these signs. When he was midway through his dinner I asked him to give me
the money to go to the bazaar. He had forgotten.
The people are in bed and after their first sleep now, he said.
I did not smile. My aunt said to him energetically:
Cant you give him the money and let him go? Youve kept him late enough as it is.
My uncle said he was very sorry he had forgotten. He said he believed in the old saying:
All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy. He asked me where I was going and, when
I had told him a second time he asked me did I know The Arabs Farewell to his Steed.
(17) When I left the kitchen he was about to recite the opening lines of the piece to my
I held a florin(18) tightly in my hand as I strode down Buckingham Street towards the
station. The sight of the streets thronged with buyers and glaring with gas recalled to me
the purpose of my journey. I took my seat in a third-class carriage of a deserted train.
After an intolerable delay the train moved out of the station slowly. It crept onward
among ruinous house and over the twinkling river. At Westland Row Station a crowd of
people pressed to the carriage doors; but the porters moved them back, saying that it
was a special train for the bazaar. I remained alone in the bare carriage. In a few minutes
the train drew up beside an improvised wooden platform. I passed out on to the road and
saw by the lighted dial of a clock that it was ten minutes to ten. In front of me was a
large building which displayed the magical name.


I could not find any sixpenny entrance and, fearing that the bazaar would be closed, I
passed in quickly through a turnstile, handing a shilling to a weary-looking man. I found
myself in a big hall girdled at half its height by a gallery. Nearly all the stalls were closed
and the greater part of the hall was in darkness. I recognised a silence like that which
pervades a church after a service. I walked into the centre of the bazaar timidly. A few
people were gathered about the stalls which were still open. Before a curtain, over which
the words Cafe Chantant(19) were written in coloured lamps, two men were counting
money on a salver. I listened to the fall of the coins.
Remembering with difficulty why I had come I went over to one of the stalls and
examined porcelain vases and flowered tea sets. At the door of the stall a young lady
was talking and laughing with two young gentlemen. I remarked their English accents
and listened vaguely to their conversation.
O, I never said such a thing!
O, but you did!
O, but I didnt!
Didnt she say that?
Yes. I heard her.
0, theres a ... fib!
Observing me the young lady came over and asked me did I wish to buy anything. The
tone of her voice was not encouraging; she seemed to have spoken to me out of a sense
of duty. I looked humbly at the great jars that stood like eastern guards at either side of
the dark entrance to the stall and murmured:
No, thank you.
The young lady changed the position of one of the vases and went back to the two young
men. They began to talk of the same subject. Once or twice the young lady glanced at
me over her shoulder.
I lingered before her stall, though I knew my stay was useless, to make my interest in
her wares seem the more real. Then I turned away slowly and walked down the middle of
the bazaar. I allowed the two pennies to fall against the sixpence in my pocket. I heard a
voice call from one end of the gallery that the light was out. The upper part of the hall
was now completely dark.


Gazing up into the darkness I saw myself as a creature driven and derided by vanity; and
my eyes burned with anguish and anger.

PART II. Adolescence.

4.4 Eveline444
SHE sat at the window watching the evening invade the avenue. Her head was leaned
against the window curtains and in her nostrils was the odour of dusty cretonne. She was
Few people passed. The man out of the last house passed on his way home; she heard
his footsteps clacking along the concrete pavement and afterwards crunching on the
cinder path before the new red houses. One time there used to be a field there in which
they used to play every evening with other peoples children. Then a man from Belfast(2)
bought the field and built houses in itnot like their little brown houses but bright brick
houses with shining roofs. The children of the avenue used to play together in that field
the Devines, the Waters, the Dunns, little Keogh the cripple, she and her brothers and
sisters. Ernest, however, never played: he was too grown up. Her father used often to
hunt them in out of the field with his blackthorn stick; but usually little Keogh used to
keep nix(3) and call out when he saw her father coming. Still they seemed to have been
rather happy then. Her father was not so bad then; and besides, her mother was alive.
That was a long time ago; she and her brothers and sisters were all grown up her mother
was dead. Tizzie Dunn was dead, too, and the Waters had gone back to England.
Everything changes. Now she was going to go away like the others, to leave her home.
Home! She looked round the room, reviewing all its familiar objects which she had
dusted once a week for so many years, wondering where on earth all the dust came
from. Perhaps she would never see again those familiar objects from which she had
never dreamed of being divided. And yet during all those years she had never found out
the name of the priest whose yellowing photograph hung on the wall above the broken
harmonium beside the coloured print of the promises made to Blessed Margaret Mary


J. Joyce, Dubliners. Eveline, Penguin Classics, Clays Ltd., London, 2000, p. 31-36.


Alacoque. He had been a school friend of her father. Whenever he showed the
photograph to a visitor her father used to pass it with a casual word:
He is in Melbourne(4) now.
She had consented to go away, to leave her home. Was that wise? She tried to weigh
each side of the question. In her home anyway she had shelter and food; she had those
whom she had known all her life about her. O course she had to work hard, both in the
house and at business. What would they say of her in the Stores when they found out
that she had run away with a fellow? Say she was a fool, perhaps; and her place would
be filled up by advertisement. Miss Gavan would be glad. She had always had an edge on
her, especially whenever there were people listening.
Miss Hill, dont you see these ladies are waiting?
Look lively, Miss Hill, please.
She would not cry many tears at leaving the Stores.
But in her new home, in a distant unknown country, it would not be like that. Then she
would be marriedshe, Eveline. People would treat her with respect then. She would not
be treated as her mother had been. Even now, though she was over nineteen, she
sometimes felt herself in danger of her fathers violence. She knew it was that that had
given her the palpitations. When they were growing up he had never gone for her like he
used to go for Harry and Ernest, because she was a girl but latterly he had begun to
threaten her and say what he would do to her only for her dead mothers sake. And no
she had nobody to protect her. Ernest was dead and Harry, who was in the church
decorating business, was nearly always down somewhere in the country. Besides, the
invariable squabble for money on Saturday nights had begun to weary her unspeakably.
She always gave her entire wagesseven shillingsand Harry always sent up what he
could but the trouble was to get any money from her father. He said she used to
squander the money, that she had no head, that he wasnt going to give her his hardearned money to throw about the streets, and much more, for he was usually fairly bad
on Saturday night. In the end he would give her the money and ask her had she any
intention of buying Sundays dinner. Then she had to rush out as quickly as she could and
do her marketing, holding her black leather purse tightly in her hand as she elbowed her
way through the crowds and returning home late under her load of provisions. She had
hard work to keep the house together and to see that the two young children who had
been left to hr charge went to school regularly and got their meals regularly. It was hard
worka hard lifebut now that she was about to leave it she did not find it a wholly
undesirable life.


She was about to explore another life with Frank. Frank was very kind, manly, openhearted. She was to go away with him by the night-boat(5) to be his wife and to live with
him in Buenos Ayres(6) where he had a home waiting for her. How well she remembered
the first time she had seen him; he was lodging in a house on the main road where she
used to visit. It seemed a few weeks ago. He was standing at the gate, his peaked cap
pushed back on his head and his hair tumbled forward over a face of bronze. Then they
had come to know each other. He used to meet her outside the Stores every evening and
see her home. He took her to see The Bohemian Girl and she felt elated as she sat in an
unaccustomed part of the theatre with him. He was awfully fond of music and sang a
little. People knew that they were courting and, when he sang about the lass that loves a
sailor(7), she always felt pleasantly confused. He used to call her Poppens out of fun.
First of all it had been an excitement for her to have a fellow and then she had begun to
like him. He had tales of distant countries. He had started as a deck boy at a pound a
month on a ship of the Allan Line(8) going out to Canada. He told her the names of the
ships he had been on and the names of the different services. He had sailed through the
Straits of Magellan and he told her stories of the terrible Patagonians.(9) He had fallen on
his feet in Buenos Ayres, he said, and had come over to the old country just for a holiday.
Of course, her father had found out the affair and had forbidden her to have anything to
say to him.
I know these sailor chaps, he said.
One day he had quarrelled with Frank and after that she had to meet her lover secretly.
The evening deepened in the avenue. The white of two letters in her lap grew indistinct.
One was to Harry; the other was to her father. Ernest had been her favourite but she
liked Harry too. Her father was becoming old lately, she noticed; he would miss her.
Sometimes he could be very nice. Not long before, when she had been laid up for a day,
he had read her out a ghost story and made toast for her at the fire. Another day, when
their mother was alive, they had all gone for a picnic to the Hill of Howth. She
remembered her father putting on her mothers bonnet to make the children laugh.
Her time was running out but she continued to sit by the window, leaning her head
against the window curtain, inhaling the odour of dusty cretonne. Down far in the avenue
she could hear a street organ playing. She knew the air Strange that it should come that
very night to remind her of the promise to her mother, her promise to keep the home
together as long as she could. She remembered the last night of her mothers illness; she
was again in the close dark room at the other side of the hall and outside she heard a
melancholy air of Italy. The organ-player had been ordered to go away and given
sixpence. She remembered her father strutting back into the sickroom saying:
Damned Italians! coming over here! (10)


As she mused the pitiful vision of her mothers life laid its spell on the very quick of her
beingthat life of commonplace sacrifices closing in final craziness. She trembled as she
heard again her mothers voice saying constantly with foolish insistence:
Derevaun Seraun! Derevaun Seraun! (11)
She stood up in a sudden impulse of terror. Escape! She must escape! Frank would save
her. He would give her life, perhaps love, too. But she wanted to live. Why should she be
unhappy? She had a right to happiness. Frank would take her in his arms, fold her in his
arms. He would save her.
She stood among the swaying crowd in the station at the North Wall. He held her hand
and she knew that he was speaking to her, saying something about the passage over and
over again. The station was full of soldiers with brown baggages. Through the wide doors
of the sheds she caught a glimpse of the black mass of the boat, lying in beside the quay
wall, with illumined portholes. She answered nothing. She felt her cheek pale and cold
and, out of a maze of distress, she prayed to God to direct her, to show her what was her
duty. The boat blew a long mournful whistle into the mist. If she went, tomorrow she
would be on the sea with Frank, steaming towards Buenos Ayres. Their passage had been
booked. Could she still draw back after all he had done for her? Her distress awoke a
nausea in her body and she kept moving her lips in silent fervent prayer.
A bell clanged upon her heart. She felt him seize her hand:
All the seas of the world tumbled about her heart. He was drawing her into them: he
would drown her. She gripped with both hands at the iron railing.
No! No! No! It was impossible. Her hands clutched the iron in frenzy. Amid the seas she
sent a cry of anguish.
Eveline! Evvy!
He rushed beyond the barrier and called to her to follow. He was shouted at to go on but
he still called to her. She set her white face to him, passive, like a helpless animal. Her
eyes gave him no sign of love or farewell or recognition.

4.5 After the Race445


J. Joyce, Dubliners. After the Race, Penguin Classics, Clays Ltd., London, 2000, p. 3644.



THE cars came scudding in towards Dublin, running evenly like pellets in the groove of
the Naas Road. At the crest of the hill at Inchicore sightseers had gathered in clumps to
watch the cars careering homeward and through this channel of poverty and inaction the
Continent sped its wealth and industry. Now and again the clumps of people raised the
cheer of the gratefully oppressed. Their sympathy, however, was for the blue carsthe
cars of their friends, the French.
The French, moreover, were virtual victors. Their team had finished solidly; they had
been placed second and third and the driver of the winning German car was reported a
Belgian. Each blue car, therefore, received a double measure of welcome as it topped the
crest of the hill and each cheer of welcome was acknowledged with smiles and nods by
those in the car. In one of these trimly built cars was a party of four young men whose
spirits seemed to be at present well above the level of successful Gallicism(2): in fact,
these four young men were almost hilarious. They were Charles Segouin, the owner of
the car; Andre Riviere, a young electrician of Canadian birth; a huge Hungarian named
Villona and a neatly groomed young man named Doyle. Segouin was in good humour
because he had unexpectedly received some orders in advance (he was about to start a
motor establishment in Paris) and Riviere was in good humour because he was to be
appointed manager of the establishment; these two young men (who were cousins) were
also in good humour because of the success of the French cars. Villona was in good
humour because he had had a very satisfactory luncheon; and besides he was an
optimist by nature. The fourth member of the party, however, was too excited to be
genuinely happy.
He was about twenty-six years of age, with a soft, light brown moustache and rather
innocent-looking grey eyes. His father, who had begun life as an advanced Nationalist(3),
had modified his views early. He had made his money as a butcher in Kingstown and by
opening shops in Dublin and in the suburbs he had made his money many times over. He
had also been fortunate enough to secure some of the police contracts(4) and in the end
he had become rich enough to be alluded to in the Dublin newspapers as a merchant
prince. He had sent his son to England to be educated in a big Catholic college and had
afterwards sent him to Dublin University to study law. Jimmy did not study very earnestly
and took to bad courses for a while. He had money and he was popular; and he divided
his time curiously between musical and motoring circles. Then he had been sent for a
term to Cambridge to see a little life. His father, remonstrative, but covertly proud of the
excess, had paid his bills and brought him home. It was at Cambridge that he had met
Segouin. They were not much more than acquaintances as yet but Jimmy found great
pleasure in the society of one who had seen so much of the world and was reputed to


own some of the biggest hotels in France. Such a person (as his father agreed) was well
worth knowing, even if he had not been the charming companion he was. Villona was
entertaining alsoa brilliant pianistbut, unfortunately, very poor.
The car ran on merrily with its cargo of hilarious youth. The two cousins sat on the front
seat; Jimmy and his Hungarian friend sat behind. Decidedly Villona was in excellent
spirits; he kept up a deep bass hum of melody for miles of the road The Frenchmen flung
their laughter and light words over their shoulders and often Jimmy had to strain forward
to catch the quick phrase. This was not altogether pleasant for him, as he had nearly
always to make a deft guess at the meaning and shout back a suitable answer in the face
of a high wind. Besides Villonas humming would confuse anybody; the noise of the car,
Rapid motion through space elates one; so does notoriety; so does the possession of
money. These were three good reasons for Jimmys excitement. He had been seen by
many of his friends that day in the company of these Continentals. At the control Segouin
had presented him to one of the French competitors and, in answer to his confused
murmur of compliment, the swarthy face of the driver had disclosed a line of shining
white teeth. It was pleasant after that honour to return to the profane world of spectators
amid nudges and significant looks. Then as to moneyhe really had a great sum under
his control. Segouin, perhaps, would not think it a great sum but Jimmy who, in spite of
temporary errors, was at heart the inheritor of solid instincts knew well with what
difficulty it had been got together. This knowledge had previously kept his bills within the
limits of reasonable recklessness, and if he had been so conscious of the labour latent in
money when there had been question merely of some freak of the higher intelligence,
how much more so now when he was about to stake the greater part of his substance! It
was a serious thing for him.
Of course, the investment was a good one and Segouin had managed to give the
impression that it was by a favour of friendship the mite of Irish money was to be
included in the capital of the concern. Jimmy had a respect for his fathers shrewdness in
business matters and in this case it had been his father who had first suggested the
investment; money to be made in the motor business, pots of money. Moreover Segouin
had the unmistakable air of wealth. Jimmy set out to translate into days work that lordly
car in which he sat. How smoothly it ran. In what style they had come careering along
the country roads! The journey laid a magical finger on the genuine pulse of life and
gallantly the machinery of human nerves strove to answer the bounding courses of the
swift blue animal.
They drove down Dame Street. The street was busy with unusual traffic, loud with the
horns of motorists and the gongs of impatient tram-drivers. Near the Bank Segouin drew
up and Jimmy and his friend alighted. A little knot of people collected on the footpath to


pay homage to the snorting motor. The party was to dine together that evening in
Segouins hotel and, meanwhile, Jimmy and his friend, who was staying with him, were
to go home to dress. The car steered out slowly for Grafton Street while the two young
men pushed their way through the knot of gazers. They walked northward with a curious
feeling of disappointment in the exercise, while the city hung its pale globes of light
above them in a haze of summer evening.
In Jimmys house this dinner had been pronounced an occasion. A certain pride mingled
with his parents trepidation, a certain eagerness, also, to play fast and loose for the
names of great foreign cities have at least this virtue. Jimmy, too, looked very well when
he was dressed and, as he stood in the hall giving a last equation to the bows of his
dress tie, his father may have felt even commercially satisfied at having secured for his
son qualities often unpurchaseable. His father, therefore, was unusually friendly with
Villona and his manner expressed a real respect for foreign accomplishments; but this
subtlety of his host was probably lost upon the Hungarian, who was beginning to have a
sharp desire for his dinner.
The dinner was excellent, exquisite. Segouin, Jimmy decided, had a very refined taste.
The party was increased by a young Englishman named Routh whom Jimmy had seen
with Segouin at Cambridge. The young men supped in a snug room lit by electric candle
lamps.(5) They talked volubly and with little reserve. Jimmy, whose imagination was
kindling, conceived the lively youth of the Frenchmen twined elegantly upon the firm
framework of the Englishmans manner. A graceful image of his, he thought, and a just
one. He admired the dexterity with which their host directed the conversation. The five
young men had various tastes and their tongues had been loosened. Villona, with
immense respect, began to discover to the mildly surprised Englishman the beauties of
the English madrigal(6), deploring the loss of old instruments.(7) Riviere, not wholly
ingenuously, undertook to explain to Jimmy the triumph of the French mechanicians. The
resonant voice of the Hungarian was about to prevail in ridicule of the spurious lutes of
the romantic painters when Segouin shepherded his party into politics. Here was
congenial ground for all. Jimmy, under generous influences, felt the buried zeal of his
father wake to life within him: he aroused the torpid Routh at last. The room grew doubly
hot and Segouins task grew harder each moment: there was even danger of personal
spite. The alert host at an opportunity lifted his glass to Humanity and, when the toast
had been drunk, he threw open a window significantly.
That night the city wore the mask of a capital.(8) The five young men strolled along
Stephens Green in a faint cloud of aromatic smoke. They talked loudly and gaily and
their cloaks dangled from their shoulders. The people made way for them. At the corner
of Grafton Street a short fat man was putting two handsome ladies on a car in charge of
another fat man. The car drove off and the short fat man caught sight of the party.


Its Farley!
A torrent of talk followed. Farley was an American. No one knew very well what the talk
was about. Villona and Riviere were the noisiest, but all the men were excited. They got
up on a car, squeezing themselves together amid much laughter. They drove by the
crowd, blended now into soft colours, to a music of merry bells. They took the train at
Westland Row and in a few seconds, as it seemed to Jimmy, they were walking out of
Kingstown Station. The ticket-collector saluted Jimmy; he was an old man:
Fine night, sir!
It was a serene summer night; the harbour lay like a darkened mirror at their feet. They
proceeded towards it with linked arms, singing Cadet Roussel(9) in chorus, stamping
their feet at every:
Ho! Ho! Hohe, vraiment!(10)
They got into a rowboat at the slip and made out for the Americans yacht. There was to
be supper, music, cards. Villona said with conviction:
It is delightful!
There was a yacht piano in the cabin. Villona played a waltz for Farley and Riviere, Farley
acting as cavalier and Riviere as lady. Then an impromptu square dance, the men
devising original figures. What merriment! Jimmy took his part with a will; this was
seeing life, at least. Then Farley got out of breath and cried Stop! A man brought in a
light supper, and the young men sat down to it for forms sake. They drank, however: it
was Bohemian. They drank Ireland, England, France, Hungary, the United States of
America. Jimmy made a speech, a long speech, Villona saying: Hear! hear! whenever
there was a pause. There was a great clapping of hands when he sat down. It must have
been a good speech. Farley clapped him on the back and laughed loudly. What jovial
fellows! What good company they were!
Cards! cards! The table was cleared. Villona returned quietly to his piano and played
voluntaries for them. The other men played game after game, flinging themselves boldly
into the adventure. They drank the health of the Queen of Hearts and of the Queen of
Diamonds. Jimmy felt obscurely the lack of an audience: the wit was flashing. Play ran
very high and paper began to pass. Jimmy did not know exactly who was winning but he
knew that he was losing. But it was his own fault for he frequently mistook his cards and
the other men had to calculate his I.O.U.s for him. They were devils of fellows but he


wished they would stop: it was getting late. Someone gave the toast of the yacht The
Belle of Newport(11) and then someone proposed one great game for a finish.
The piano had stopped; Villona must have gone up on deck. It was a terrible game. They
stopped just before the end of it to drink for luck. Jimmy understood that the game lay
between Routh and Segouin. What excitement! Jimmy was excited too; he would lose, of
course. How much had he written away? The men rose to their feet to play the last
tricks. talking and gesticulating. Routh won. The cabin shook with the young mens
cheering and the cards were bundled together. They began then to gather in what they
had won. Farley and Jimmy were the heaviest losers.
He knew that he would regret in the morning but at present he was glad of the rest, glad
of the dark stupor that would cover up his folly. He leaned his elbows on the table and
rested his head between his hands, counting the beats of his temples. The cabin door
opened and he saw the Hungarian standing in a shaft of grey light:
Daybreak, gentlemen!

4.6 Two Gallants446

THE grey warm evening of August had descended upon the city and a mild warm air, a
memory of summer, circulated in the streets. The streets, shuttered for the repose of
Sunday, swarmed with a gaily coloured crowd. Like illumined pearls the lamps shone
from the summits of their tall poles upon the living texture below which, changing shape


J. Joyce, Dubliners. Two Gallants, Penguin Classics, Clays Ltd., London, 2000, p. 45-57.


and hue unceasingly, sent up into the warm grey evening air an unchanging unceasing
Two young men came down the hill of Rutland Square. On of them was just bringing a
long monologue to a close. The other, who walked on the verge of the path and was at
times obliged to step on to the road, owing to his companions rudeness, wore an
amused listening face. He was squat and ruddy. A yachting cap was shoved far back from
his forehead and the narrative to which he listened made constant waves of expression
break forth over his face from the corners of his nose and eyes and mouth. Little jets of
wheezing laughter followed one another out of his convulsed body. His eyes, twinkling
with cunning enjoyment, glanced at every moment towards his companions face. Once
or twice he rearranged the light waterproof which he had slung over one shoulder in
toreador fashion. His breeches, his white rubber shoes and his jauntily slung waterproof
expressed youth. But his figure fell into rotundity at the waist, his hair was scant and
grey and his face, when the waves of expression had passed over it, had a ravaged look.
When he was quite sure that the narrative had ended he laughed noiselessly for fully half
a minute. Then he said:
Well!... That takes the biscuit!
His voice seemed winnowed of vigour; and to enforce his words he added with humour:
That takes the solitary, unique, and, if I may so call it, recherche biscuit!
He became serious and silent when he had said this. His tongue was tired for he had
been talking all the afternoon in a public-house in Dorset Street. Most people considered
Lenehan a leech but, in spite of this reputation, his adroitness and eloquence had always
prevented his friends from forming any general policy against him. He had a brave
manner of coming up to a party of them in a bar and of holding himself nimbly at the
borders of the company until he was included in a round. He was a sporting vagrant
armed with a vast stock of stories, limericks and riddles. He was insensitive to all kinds of
discourtesy. No one knew how he achieved the stern task of living, but his name was
vaguely associated with racing tissues.(1)
And where did you pick her up, Corley? he asked.
Corley ran his tongue swiftly along his upper lip.
One night, man, he said, I was going along Dame Street and I spotted a fine tart
under Waterhouses clock and said good-night, you know. So we went for a walk round
by the canal and she told me she was a slavey in a house in Baggot Street. I put my arm


round her and squeezed her a bit that night. Then next Sunday, man, I met her by
appointment. We vent out to Donnybrook and I brought her into a field there. She told
me she used to go with a dairyman.... It was fine, man. Cigarettes every night shed
bring me and paying the tram out and back. And one night she brought me two bloody
fine cigarsO, the real cheese(2), you know, that the old fellow used to smoke.... I was
afraid, man, shed get in the family way. But shes up to the dodge.(3)
Maybe she thinks youll marry her, said Lenehan.
I told her I was out of a job, said Corley. I told her I was in Pims.(4) She doesnt know
my name. I was too hairy(5) to tell her that. But she thinks Im a bit of class, you know.
Lenehan laughed again, noiselessly.
Of all the good ones ever I heard, he said, that emphatically takes the biscuit.
Corleys stride acknowledged the compliment. The swing of his burly body made his
friend execute a few light skips from the path to the roadway and back again. Corley was
the son of an inspector of police(6) and he had inherited his fathers frame and gut. He
walked with his hands by his sides, holding himself erect and swaying his head from side
to side. His head was large, globular and oily; it sweated in all weathers; and his large
round hat, set upon it sideways, looked like a bulb which had grown out of another. He
always stared straight before him as if he were on parade and, when he wished to gaze
after someone in the street, it was necessary for him to move his body from the hips. At
present he was about town.(7) Whenever any job was vacant a friend was always ready
to give him the hard word.(8) He was often to be seen walking with policemen in plain
clothes, talking earnestly. He knew the inner side of all affairs and was fond of delivering
final judgments. He spoke without listening to the speech of his companions. His
conversation was mainly about himself what he had said to such a person and what such
a person had said to him and what he had said to settle the matter. When he reported
these dialogues he aspirated the first letter of his name after the manner of Florentines.
Lenehan offered his friend a cigarette. As the two young men walked on through the
crowd Corley occasionally turned to smile at some of the passing girls but Lenehans gaze
was fixed on the large faint moon circled with a double halo. He watched earnestly the
passing of the grey web of twilight across its face. At length he said:
Well... tell me, Corley, I suppose youll be able to pull it off all right, eh?
Corley closed one eye expressively as an answer.


Is she game for that? asked Lenehan dubiously. You can never know women.
Shes all right, said Corley. I know the way to get around her, man. Shes a bit gone on
Youre what I call a gay Lothario(10), said Lenehan. And the proper kind of a Lothario,
A shade of mockery relieved the servility of his manner. To save himself he had the habit
of leaving his flattery open to the interpretation of raillery. But Corley had not a subtle
Theres nothing to touch a good slavey(11), he affirmed. Take my tip for it.
By one who has tried them all, said Lenehan.
First I used to go with girls, you know, said Corley, unbosoming; girls off the South
Circular.(12) I used to take them out, man, on the tram somewhere and pay the tram or
take them to a band or a play at the theatre or buy them chocolate and sweets or
something that way. I used to spend money on them right enough, he added, in a
convincing tone, as if he was conscious of being disbelieved.
But Lenehan could well believe it; he nodded gravely.
I know that game, he said, and its a mugs game.
And damn the thing I ever got out of it, said Corley.
Ditto here, said Lenehan.
Only off of one of them, said Corley.
He moistened his upper lip by running his tongue along it. The recollection brightened his
eyes. He too gazed at the pale disc of the moon, now nearly veiled, and seemed to
She was... a bit of all right, he said regretfully.
He was silent again. Then he added:
Shes on the turf now.(13) I saw her driving down Earl Street one night with two fellows
with her on a car.(14)
I suppose thats your doing, said Lenehan.


There was others at her before me, said Corley philosophically.

This time Lenehan was inclined to disbelieve. He shook his head to and fro and smiled.
You know you cant kid me, Corley, he said.
Honest to God! said Corley. Didnt she tell me herself?
Lenehan made a tragic gesture.
Base betrayer! he said.
As they passed along the railings of Trinity College, Lenehan skipped out into the road
and peered up at the clock.
Twenty after, he said.
Time enough, said Corley. Shell be there all right. I always let her wait a bit.
Lenehan laughed quietly.
Ecod! Corley, you know how to take them, he said.
Im up to all their little tricks, Corley confessed.
But tell me, said Lenehan again, are you sure you can bring it off all right? You know
its a ticklish job. Theyre damn close on that point. Eh? ... What?
His bright, small eyes searched his companions face for reassurance. Corley swung his
head to and fro as if to toss aside an insistent insect, and his brows gathered.
Ill pull it off, he said. Leave it to me, cant you?
Lenehan said no more. He did not wish to ruffle his friends temper, to be sent to the
devil and told that his advice was not wanted. A little tact was necessary. But Corleys
brow was soon smooth again. His thoughts were running another way.
Shes a fine decent tart, he said, with appreciation; thats what she is.
They walked along Nassau Street and then turned into Kildare Street. Not far from the
porch of the club a harpist stood in the roadway, playing to a little ring of listeners. He
plucked at the wires heedlessly, glancing quickly from time to time at the face of each
new-comer and from time to time, wearily also, at the sky. His harp(15), too, heedless
that her coverings had fallen about her knees(16), seemed weary alike of the eyes of


strangers(17) and of her masters hands. One hand played in the bass the melody of
Silent, O Moyle(18), while the other hand careered in the treble after each group of
notes. The notes of the air sounded deep and full.
The two young men walked up the street without speaking, the mournful music following
them. When they reached Stephens Green they crossed the road. Here the noise of
trams, the lights and the crowd released them from their silence.
There she is! said Corley.
At the corner of Hume Street a young woman was standing. She wore a blue dress and a
white sailor hat.(19) She stood on the curbstone, swinging a sunshade in one hand.
Lenehan grew lively.
Lets have a look at her, Corley, he said.
Corley glanced sideways at his friend and an unpleasant grin appeared on his face.
Are you trying to get inside me?(20) he asked.
Damn it! said Lenehan boldly, I dont want an introduction. All I want is to have a look
at her. Im not going to eat her.
O ... A look at her? said Corley, more amiably. Well... Ill tell you what. Ill go over and
talk to her and you can pass by.
Right! said Lenehan.
Corley had already thrown one leg over the chains when Lenehan called out:
And after? Where will we meet?
Half ten, answered Corley, bringing over his other leg.
Corner of Merrion Street. Well be coming back.
Work it all right now, said Lenehan in farewell.
Corley did not answer. He sauntered across the road swaying his head from side to side.
His bulk, his easy pace, and the solid sound of his boots had something of the conqueror
in them. He approached the young woman and, without saluting, began at once to
converse with her. She swung her umbrella more quickly and executed half turns on her


heels. Once or twice when he spoke to her at close quarters she laughed and bent her
Lenehan observed them for a few minutes. Then he walked rapidly along beside the
chains at some distance and crossed the road obliquely. As he approached Hume Street
corner he found the air heavily scented and his eyes made a swift anxious scrutiny of the
young womans appearance. She had her Sunday finery on. Her blue serge skirt was held
at the waist by a belt of black leather. The great silver buckle of her belt seemed to
depress the centre of her body, catching the light stuff of her white blouse like a clip. She
wore a short black jacket with mother-of-pearl buttons and a ragged black boa. The ends
of her tulle collarette had been carefully disordered and a big bunch of red flowers was
pinned in her bosom stems upwards.(21) Lenehans eyes noted approvingly her stout
short muscular body. rank rude health glowed in her face, on her fat red cheeks and in
her unabashed blue eyes. Her features were blunt. She had broad nostrils, a straggling
mouth which lay open in a contented leer, and two projecting front teeth. As he passed
Lenehan took off his cap and, after about ten seconds, Corley returned a salute to the air.
This he did by raising his hand vaguely and pensively changing the angle of position of
his hat.
Lenehan walked as far as the Shelbourne Hotel where he halted and waited. After waiting
for a little time he saw them coming towards him and, when they turned to the right, he
followed them(22), stepping lightly in his white shoes, down one side of Merrion Square.
As he walked on slowly, timing his pace to theirs, he watched Corleys head which turned
at every moment towards the young womans face like a big ball revolving on a pivot. He
kept the pair in view until he had seen them climbing the stairs of the Donnybrook tram;
then he turned about and went back the way he had come.
Now that he was alone his face looked older. His gaiety seemed to forsake him and, as he
came by the railings of the Dukes Lawn, he allowed his hand to run along them. The air
which the harpist had played began to control his movements His softly padded feet
played the melody while his fingers swept a scale of variations idly along the railings after
each group of notes.
He walked listlessly round Stephens Green and then down Grafton Street. Though his
eyes took note of many elements of the crowd through which he passed they did so
morosely. He found trivial all that was meant to charm him and did not answer the
glances which invited him to be bold. He knew that he would have to speak a great deal,
to invent and to amuse and his brain and throat were too dry for such a task. The
problem of how he could pass the hours till he met Corley again troubled him a little. He
could think of no way of passing them but to keep on walking. He turned to the left when
he came to the corner of Rutland Square and felt more at ease in the dark quiet street,
the sombre look of which suited his mood. He paused at last before the window of a


poor-looking shop over which the words Refreshment Bar were printed in white letters.
On the glass of the window were two flying inscriptions: Ginger Beer(23) and Ginger Ale.
A cut ham was exposed on a great blue dish while near it on a plate lay a segment of
very light plum-pudding. He eyed this food earnestly for some time and then, after
glancing warily up and down the street, went into the shop quickly.
He was hungry for, except some biscuits which he had asked two grudging curates to
bring him, he had eaten nothing since breakfast-time. He sat down at an uncovered
wooden table opposite two work-girls and a mechanic. A slatternly girl waited on him.
How much is a plate of peas? he asked.
Three halfpence, sir, said the girl.
Bring me a plate of peas, he said, and a bottle of ginger beer.
He spoke roughly in order to belie his air of gentility for his entry had been followed by a
pause of talk. His face was heated. To appear natural he pushed his cap back on his head
and planted his elbows on the table. The mechanic and the two work-girls examined him
point by point before resuming their conversation in a subdued voice. The girl brought
him a plate of grocers hot peas, seasoned with pepper and vinegar, a fork and his ginger
beer. He ate his food greedily and found it so good that he made a note of the shop
mentally. When he had eaten all the peas he sipped his ginger beer and sat for some
time thinking of Corleys adventure. In his imagination he beheld the pair of lovers
walking along some dark road; he heard Corleys voice in deep energetic gallantries and
saw again the leer of the young womans mouth. This vision made him feel keenly his
own poverty of purse and spirit. He was tired of knocking about, of pulling the devil by
the tail(24), of shifts and intrigues. He would be thirty-one in November. Would he never
get a good job? Would he never have a home of his own? He thought how pleasant it
would be to have a warm fire to sit by and a good dinner to sit down to. He had walked
the streets long enough with friends and with girls. He knew what those friends were
worth: he knew the girls too. Experience had embittered his heart against the world. But
all hope had not left him. He felt better after having eaten than he had felt before, less
weary of his life, less vanquished in spirit. He might yet be able to settle down in some
snug corner and live happily if he could only come across some good simple-minded girl
with a little of the ready.
He paid twopence halfpenny to the slatternly girl and went out of the shop to begin his
wandering again. He went into Capel Street and walked along towards the City Hall. Then
he turned into Dame Street. At the corner of Georges Street he met two friends of his
and stopped to converse with them. He was glad that he could rest from all his walking.
His friends asked him had he seen Corley and what was the latest. He replied that he had


spent the day with Corley. His friends talked very little. They looked vacantly after some
figures in the crowd and sometimes made a critical remark. One said that he had seen
Mac an hour before in Westmoreland Street. At this Lenehan said that he had been with
Mac the night before in Egans. The young man who had seen Mac in Westmoreland
Street asked was it true that Mac had won a bit over a billiard match. Lenehan did not
know: he said that Holohan had stood them drinks in Egans.
He left his friends at a quarter to ten and went up Georges Street. He turned to the left
at the City Markets and walked on into Grafton Street. The crowd of girls and young men
had thinned and on his way up the street he heard many groups and couples bidding one
another good-night. He went as far as the clock of the College of Surgeons: it was on the
stroke of ten. He set off briskly along the northern side of the Green hurrying for fear
Corley should return too soon. When he reached the corner of Merrion Street he took his
stand in the shadow of a lamp and brought out one of the cigarettes which he had
reserved and lit it. He leaned against the lamp-post and kept his gaze fixed on the part
from which he expected to see Corley and the young woman return.
His mind became active again. He wondered had Corley managed it successfully. He
wondered if he had asked her yet or if he would leave it to the last. He suffered all the
pangs and thrills of his friends situation as well as those of his own. But the memory of
Corleys slowly revolving head calmed him somewhat: he was sure Corley would pull it off
all right. All at once the idea struck him that perhaps Corley had seen her home by
another way and given him the slip. His eyes searched the street: there was no sign of
them. Yet it was surely half-an-hour since he had seen the clock of the College of
Surgeons. Would Corley do a thing like that? He lit his last cigarette and began to smoke
it nervously. He strained his eyes as each tram stopped at the far corner of the square.
They must have gone home by another way. The paper of his cigarette broke and he
flung it into the road with a curse.
Suddenly he saw them coming towards him. He started with delight and keeping close to
his lamp-post tried to read the result in their walk. They were walking quickly, the young
woman taking quick short steps, while Corley kept beside her with his long stride. They
did not seem to be speaking. An intimation of the result pricked him like the point of a
sharp instrument. He knew Corley would fail; he knew it was no go.
They turned down Baggot Street and he followed them at once, taking the other
footpath. When they stopped he stopped too. They talked for a few moments and then
the young woman went down the steps into the area of a house. Corley remained
standing at the edge of the path, a little distance from the front steps. Some minutes
passed. Then the hall-door was opened slowly and cautiously. A woman came running
down the front steps and coughed. Corley turned and went towards her. His broad figure


hid hers from view for a few seconds and then she reappeared running up the steps. The
door closed on her and Corley began to walk swiftly towards Stephens Green.
Lenehan hurried on in the same direction. Some drops of light rain fell. He took them as
a warning and, glancing back towards the house which the young woman had entered to
see that he was not observed, he ran eagerly across the road. Anxiety and his swift run
made him pant. He called out:
Hallo, Corley!
Corley turned his head to see who had called him, and then continued walking as before.
Lenehan ran after him, settling the waterproof on his shoulders with one hand.
Hallo, Corley! he cried again.
He came level with his friend and looked keenly in his face. He could see nothing there.
Well? he said. Did it come off?
They had reached the corner of Ely Place. Still without answering, Corley swerved to the
left and went up the side street. His features were composed in stern calm. Lenehan kept
up with his friend, breathing uneasily. He was baffled and a note of menace pierced
through his voice.
Cant you tell us? he said. Did you try her?
Corley halted at the first lamp and stared grimly before him. Then with a grave gesture
he extended a hand towards the light and, smiling, opened it slowly to the gaze of his
disciple. A small gold coin(25) shone in the palm.


4.7 The Boarding House447

MRS. MOONEY was a butchers daughter. She was a woman who was quite able to keep
things to herself: a determined woman. She had married her fathers foreman(1) and
opened a butchers shop near Spring Gardens. But as soon as his father-in-law was dead
Mr. Mooney began to go to the devil. He drank, plundered the till, ran headlong into debt.
It was no use making him take the pledge(2): he was sure to break out again a few days
after. By fighting his wife in the presence of customers and by buying bad meat he ruined
his business. One night he went for his wife with the cleaver and she had to sleep a
neighbours house.
After that they lived apart. She went to the priest and got a separation(3) from him with
care of the children. She would give him neither money nor food nor house-room; and so
he was obliged to enlist himself as a sheriffs man. He was a shabby stooped little
drunkard with a white face and a white moustache white eyebrows, pencilled above his
little eyes, which were veined and raw; and all day long he sat in the bailiffs room,

J. Joyce, Dubliners. The Boarding House, Penguin Classics, Clays Ltd., London, 2000, p.


waiting to be put on a job. Mrs. Mooney, who had taken what remained of her money out
of the butcher business and set up a boarding house in Hardwicke Street, was a big
imposing woman. Her house had a floating population made up of tourists from Liverpool
and the Isle of Man and, occasionally, artistes from the music halls. Its resident
population was made up of clerks from the city. She governed the house cunningly and
firmly, knew when to give credit, when to be stern and when to let things pass. All the
resident young men spoke of her as The Madam.(4)
Mrs. Mooneys young men paid fifteen shillings a week for board and lodgings (beer or
stout at dinner excluded). They shared in common tastes and occupations and for this
reason they were very chummy with one another. They discussed with one another the
chances of favourites and outsiders.(5) Jack Mooney, the Madams son, who was clerk to
a commission agent(6) in Fleet Street, had the reputation of being a hard case. He was
fond of using soldiers obscenities: usually he came home in the small hours. When he
met his friends he had always a good one to tell them and he was always sure to be on
to a good thing-that is to say, a likely horse or a likely artiste. He was also handy with
the mits(7) and sang comic songs. On Sunday nights there would often be a reunion in
Mrs. Mooneys front drawing-room. The music-hall artistes would oblige; and Sheridan
played waltzes and polkas and vamped accompaniments. Polly Mooney, the Madams
daughter, would also sing. She sang:
Im a ... naughty girl.
You neednt sham:
You know I am.
Polly was a slim girl of nineteen; she had light soft hair and a small full mouth. Her eyes,
which were grey with a shade of green through them, had a habit of glancing upwards
when she spoke with anyone, which made her look like a little perverse madonna. Mrs.
Mooney had first sent her daughter to be a typist in a corn-factors(8) office but, as a
disreputable sheriffs man used to come every other day to the office, asking to be
allowed to say a word to his daughter, she had taken her daughter home again and set
her to do housework. As Polly was very lively the intention was to give her the run of the
young men. Besides young men like to feel that there is a young woman not very far
away. Polly, of course, flirted with the young men but Mrs. Mooney, who was a shrewd
judge, knew that the young men were only passing the time away: none of them meant
business. Things went on so for a long time and Mrs. Mooney began to think of sending
Polly back to typewriting when she noticed that something was going on between Polly
and one of the young men. She watched the pair and kept her own counsel.
Polly knew that she was being watched, but still her mothers persistent silence could not
be misunderstood. There had been no open complicity between mother and daughter, no
open understanding but, though people in the house began to talk of the affair, still Mrs.


Mooney did not intervene. Polly began to grow a little strange in her manner and the
young man was evidently perturbed. At last, when she judged it to be the right moment,
Mrs. Mooney intervened. She dealt with moral problems as a cleaver deals with meat:
and in this case she had made up her mind.
It was a bright Sunday morning of early summer, promising heat, but with a fresh breeze
blowing. All the windows of the boarding house were open and the lace curtains
ballooned gently towards the street beneath the raised sashes. The belfry of Georges
Church sent out constant peals and worshippers, singly or in groups, traversed the little
circus before the church, revealing their purpose by their self-contained demeanour no
less than by the little volumes in their gloved hands.(9) Breakfast was over in the
boarding house and the table of the breakfast-room was covered with plates on which lay
yellow streaks of eggs with morsels of bacon-fat and bacon-rind. Mrs. Mooney sat in the
straw arm-chair and watched the servant Mary remove the breakfast things. She mad
Mary collect the crusts and pieces of broken bread to help to make Tuesdays breadpudding. When the table was cleared, the broken bread collected, the sugar and butter
safe under lock and key, she began to reconstruct the interview which she had had the
night before with Polly. Things were as she had suspected: she had been frank in her
questions and Polly had been frank in her answers. Both had been somewhat awkward,
of course. She had been made awkward by her not wishing to receive the news in too
cavalier a fashion or to seem to have connived and Polly had been made awkward not
merely because allusions of that kind always made her awkward but also because she did
not wish it to be thought that in her wise innocence she had divined the intention behind
her mothers tolerance.
Mrs. Mooney glanced instinctively at the little gilt clock on the mantelpiece as soon as she
had become aware through her revery that the bells of Georges Church had stopped
ringing. It was seventeen minutes past eleven: she would have lots of time to have the
matter out with Mr. Doran(10) and then catch short twelve at Marlborough Street. She
was sure she would win. To begin with she had all the weight of social opinion on her
side: she was an outraged mother. She had allowed him to live beneath her roof,
assuming that he was a man of honour and he had simply abused her hospitality. He was
thirty-four or thirty-five years of age, so that youth could not be pleaded as his excuse;
nor could ignorance be his excuse since he was a man who had seen something of the
world. He had simply taken advantage of Pollys youth and inexperience: that was
evident. The question was: What reparation would he make?
There must be reparation made in such case. It is all very well for the man: he can go his
ways as if nothing had happened, having had his moment of pleasure, but the girl has to
bear the brunt. Some mothers would be content to patch up such an affair for a sum of


money; she had known cases of it. But she would not do so. For her only one reparation
could make up for the loss of her daughters honour: marriage.
She counted all her cards again before sending Mary up to Dorans room to say that she
wished to speak with him. She felt sure she would win. He was a serious young man, not
rakish or loud-voiced like the others. If it had been Mr. Sheridan or Mr. Meade or Bantam
Lyons her task would have been much harder. She did not think he would face publicity.
All the lodgers in the house knew something of the affair; details had been invented by
some. Besides, he had been employed for thirteen years in a great Catholic winemerchants office and publicity would mean for him, perhaps, the loss of his sit(11).
Whereas if he agreed all might be well. She knew he had a good screw(12) for one thing
and she suspected he had a bit of stuff put by.(13)
Nearly the half-hour! She stood up and surveyed herself in the pier-glass.(14) The
decisive expression of her great florid face satisfied her and she thought of some mothers
she knew who could not get their daughters off their hands.
Mr. Doran was very anxious indeed this Sunday morning. He had made two attempts to
shave but his hand had been so unsteady that he had been obliged to desist. Three days
reddish beard fringed his jaws and every two or three minutes a mist gathered on his
glasses so that he had to take them off and polish them with his pocket-handkerchief.
The recollection of his confession of the night before was a cause of acute pain to him;
the priest had drawn out every ridiculous detail of the affair and in the end had so
magnified his sin that he was almost thankful at being afforded a loophole of reparation.
(15) The harm was done. What could he do now but marry her or run away? He could not
brazen it out. The affair would be sure to be talked of and his employer would be certain
to hear of it. Dublin is such a small city: everyone knows everyone elses business. He
felt his heart leap warmly in his throat as he heard in his excited imagination old Mr.
Leonard calling out in his rasping voice: Send Mr. Doran here, please.
All his long years of service gone for nothing! All his industry and diligence thrown away!
As a young man he had sown his wild oats, of course; he had boasted of his free-thinking
and denied the existence of God to his companions in public-houses. But that was all
passed and done with... nearly. He still bought a copy of Reynoldss Newspaper(16) every
week but he attended to his religious duties and for nine-tenths of the year lived a
regular life. He had money enough to settle down on; it was not that. But the family
would look down on her. First of all there was her disreputable father and then her
mothers boarding house was beginning to get a certain fame. He had a notion that he
was being had. He could imagine his friends talking of the affair and laughing. She was a
little vulgar; some times she said I seen and If I hadve known. But what would
grammar matter if he really loved her? He could not make up his mind whether to like


her or despise her for what she had done. Of course he had done it too. His instinct
urged him to remain free, not to marry. Once you are married you are done for, it said.
While he was sitting helplessly on the side of the bed in shirt and trousers she tapped
lightly at his door and entered. She told him all, that she had made a clean breast of it to
her mother and that her mother would speak with him that morning. She cried and threw
her arms round his neck, saying:
O Bob! Bob! What am I to do? What am I to do at all?
She would put an end to herself, she said.
He comforted her feebly, telling her not to cry, that it would be all right, never fear. He
felt against his shirt the agitation of her bosom.
It was not altogether his fault that it had happened. He remembered well, with the
curious patient memory of the celibate, the first casual caresses her dress, her breath,
her fingers had given him. Then late one night as he was undressing for she had tapped
at his door, timidly. She wanted to relight her candle at his for hers had been blown out
by a gust. It was her bath night. She wore a loose open combing-jacket(17) of printed
flannel. Her white instep shone in the opening of her furry slippers and the blood glowed
warmly behind her perfumed skin. From her hands and wrists too as she lit and steadied
her candle a faint perfume arose.
On nights when he came in very late it was she who warmed up his dinner. He scarcely
knew what he was eating feeling her beside him alone, at night, in the sleeping house.
And her thoughtfulness! If the night was anyway cold or wet or windy there was sure to
be a little tumbler of punch ready for him. Perhaps they could be happy together....
They used to go upstairs together on tiptoe, each with a candle, and on the third landing
exchange reluctant goodnights. They used to kiss. He remembered well her eyes, the
touch of her hand and his delirium....
But delirium passes. He echoed her phrase, applying it to himself: What am I to do?
The instinct of the celibate warned him to hold back. But the sin was there; even his
sense of honour told him that reparation must be made for such a sin.
While he was sitting with her on the side of the bed Mary came to the door and said that
the missus wanted to see him in the parlour. He stood up to put on his coat and
waistcoat, more helpless than ever. When he was dressed he went over to her to comfort
her. It would be all right, never fear. He left her crying on the bed and moaning softly: O
my God!


Going down the stairs his glasses became so dimmed with moisture that he had to take
them off and polish them. He longed to ascend through the roof and fly away to another
country where he would never hear again of his trouble, and yet a force pushed him
downstairs step by step. The implacable faces of his employer and of the Madam stared
upon his discomfiture. On the last flight of stairs he passed Jack Mooney who was coming
up from the pantry nursing two bottles of Bass. They saluted coldly; and the lovers eyes
rested for a second or two on a thick bulldog face and a pair of thick short arms. When
he reached the foot of the staircase he glanced up and saw Jack regarding him from the
door of the return-room.(18)
Suddenly he remembered the night when one of the musichall artistes, a little blond
Londoner, had made a rather free allusion to Polly. The reunion had been almost broken
up on account of Jacks violence. Everyone tried to quiet him. The music-hall artiste, a
little paler than usual, kept smiling and saying that there was no harm meant: but Jack
kept shouting at him that if any fellow tried that sort of a game on with his sister hed
bloody well put his teeth down his throat, so he would.
Polly sat for a little time on the side of the bed, crying. Then she dried her eyes and went
over to the looking-glass. She dipped the end of the towel in the water-jug and refreshed
her eyes with the cool water. She looked at herself in profile and readjusted a hairpin
above her ear. Then she went back to the bed again and sat at the foot. She regarded
the pillows for a long time and the sight of them awakened in her mind secret, amiable
memories. She rested the nape of her neck against the cool iron bed-rail and fell into a
reverie. There was no longer any perturbation visible on her face.
She waited on patiently, almost cheerfully, without alarm. her memories gradually giving
place to hopes and visions of the future. Her hopes and visions were so intricate that she
no longer saw the white pillows on which her gaze was fixed or remembered that she was
waiting for anything.
At last she heard her mother calling. She started to her feet and ran to the banisters.
Polly! Polly!
Yes, mamma?
Come down, dear. Mr. Doran wants to speak to you.
Then she remembered what she had been waiting for.


PART III. Maturity.

4.8 A Little Cloud448
EIGHT years before he had seen his friend off at the North Wall and wished him
godspeed. Gallaher had got on. You could tell that at once by his travelled air, his well-cut
tweed suit, and fearless accent. Few fellows had talents like his and fewer still could
remain unspoiled by such success. Gallahers heart was in the right place and he had
deserved to win. It was something to have a friend like that.
Little Chandlers thoughts ever since lunch-time had been of his meeting with Gallaher, of
Gallahers invitation and of the great city London where Gallaher lived. He was called
Little Chandler because, though he was but slightly under the average stature, he gave
one the idea of being a little man. His hands were white and small, his frame was fragile,
his voice was quiet and his manners were refined. He took the greatest care of his fair
silken hair and moustache and used perfume discreetly on his handkerchief. The halfmoons of his nails were perfect and when he smiled you caught a glimpse of a row of
childish white teeth.


J. Joyce, Dubliners. A Little Cloud, Penguin Classics, Clays Ltd., London, 2000, p. 67-83.


As he sat at his desk in the Kings Inns he thought what changes those eight years had
brought. The friend whom he had known under a shabby and necessitous guise had
become a brilliant figure on the London Press.(2) He turned often from his tiresome
writing to gaze out of the office window. The glow of a late autumn sunset covered the
grass plots and walks. It cast a shower of kindly golden dust on the untidy nurses and
decrepit old men who drowsed on the benches; it flickered upon all the moving figures
on the children who ran screaming along the gravel paths and on everyone who passed
through the gardens. He watched the scene and thought of life; and (as always happened
when he thought of life) he became sad. A gentle melancholy took possession of him. He
felt how useless it was to struggle against fortune, this being the burden of wisdom which
the ages had bequeathed to him.
He remembered the books of poetry upon his shelves at home. He had bought them in
his bachelor days and many an evening, as he sat in the little room off the hall, he had
been tempted to take one down from the bookshelf and read out something to his wife.
But shyness had always held him back; and so the books had remained on their shelves.
At times he repeated lines to himself and this consoled him.
When his hour had struck(3) he stood up and took leave of his desk and of his fellowclerks punctiliously. He emerged from under the feudal arch of the Kings Inns, a neat
modest figure, and walked swiftly down Henrietta Street. The golden sunset was waning
and the air had grown sharp. A horde of grimy children populated the street. They stood
or ran in the roadway or crawled up the steps before the gaping doors or squatted like
mice upon the thresholds. Little Chandler gave them no thought. He picked his way deftly
through all that minute vermin-like life and under the shadow of the gaunt spectral
mansions in which the old nobility of Dublin had roystered.(4) No memory of the past(5)
touched him, for his mind was full of a present joy.
He had never been in Corlesss but he knew the value of the name. He knew that people
went there after the theatre to eat oysters and drink liqueurs; and he had heard that the
waiters there spoke French and German. Walking swiftly by at night he had seen cabs
drawn up before the door and richly dressed ladies, escorted by cavaliers, alight and
enter quickly. They wore noisy dresses and many wraps. Their faces were powdered and
they caught up their dresses, when they touched earth, like alarmed Atalantas.(6) He
had always passed without turning his head to look. It was his habit to walk swiftly in the
street even by day and whenever he found himself in the city late at night he hurried on
his way apprehensively and excitedly. Sometimes, however, he courted the causes of his
fear. He chose the darkest and narrowest streets and, as he walked boldly forward, the
silence that was spread about his footsteps troubled him, the wandering, silent figures
troubled him; and at times a sound of low fugitive laughter made him tremble like a leaf.


He turned to the right towards Capel Street. Ignatius Gallaher on the London Press! Who
would have thought it possible eight years before? Still, now that he reviewed the past,
Little Chandler could remember many signs of future greatness in his friend. People used
to say that Ignatius Gallaher was wild Of course, he did mix with a rakish set of fellows at
that time. drank freely and borrowed money on all sides. In the end he had got mixed up
in some shady affair, some money transaction: at least, that was one version of his flight.
But nobody denied him talent. There was always a certain... something in Ignatius
Gallaher that impressed you in spite of yourself. Even when he was out at elbows and at
his wits end for money he kept up a bold face. Little Chandler remembered (and the
remembrance brought a slight flush of pride to his cheek) one of Ignatius Gallahers
sayings when he was in a tight corner:
Half time(7) now, boys, he used to say light-heartedly. Wheres my considering
That was Ignatius Gallaher all out(9); and, damn it, you couldnt but admire him for it.
Little Chandler quickened his pace. For the first time in his life he felt himself superior to
the people he passed. For the first time his soul revolted against the dull inelegance of
Capel Street. There was no doubt about it: if you wanted to succeed you had to go away.
You could do nothing in Dublin. As he crossed Grattan Bridge he looked down the river
towards the lower quays and pitied the poor stunted houses. They seemed to him a band
of tramps, huddled together along the riverbanks, their old coats covered with dust and
soot, stupefied by the panorama of sunset and waiting for the first chill of night bid them
arise, shake themselves and begone. He wondered whether he could write a poem to
express his idea. Perhaps Gallaher might be able to get it into some London paper for
him. Could he write something original? He was not sure what idea he wished to express
but the thought that a poetic moment had touched him took life within him like an infant
hope. He stepped onward bravely.
Every step brought him nearer to London(10), farther from his own sober inartistic life. A
light began to tremble on the horizon of his mind. He was not so oldthirty-two. His
temperament might be said to be just at the point of maturity. There were so many
different moods and impressions that he wished to express in verse. He felt them within
him. He tried weigh his soul to see if it was a poets soul. Melancholy was the dominant
note of his temperament, he thought, but it was a melancholy tempered by recurrences
of faith and resignation and simple joy. If he could give expression to it in a book of
poems perhaps men would listen. He would never be popular: he saw that. He could not
sway the crowd but he might appeal to a little circle of kindred minds. The English critics,
perhaps, would recognise him as one of the Celtic school by reason of the melancholy
tone of his poems; besides that, he would put in allusions. He began to invent sentences
and phrases from the notice which his book would get. Mr. Chandler has the gift of easy


and graceful verse. ... wistful sadness pervades these poems. ... The Celtic note. It
was a pity his name was not more Irish-looking.(11) Perhaps it would be better to insert
his mothers name before the surname: Thomas Malone(12) Chandler, or better still: T.
Malone Chandler. He would speak to Gallaher about it.
He pursued his revery so ardently that he passed his street and had to turn back. As he
came near Corlesss his former agitation began to overmaster him and he halted before
the door in indecision. Finally he opened the door and entered.
The light and noise of the bar held him at the doorways for a few moments. He looked
about him, but his sight was confused by the shining of many red and green wine-glasses
The bar seemed to him to be full of people and he felt that the people were observing
him curiously. He glanced quickly to right and left (frowning slightly to make his errand
appear serious), but when his sight cleared a little he saw that nobody had turned to look
at him: and there, sure enough, was Ignatius Gallaher leaning with his back against the
counter and his feet planted far apart.
Hallo, Tommy, old hero, here you are! What is it to be? What will you have? Im taking
whisky: better stuff than we get across the water. Soda? Lithia?(13) No mineral? Im the
same Spoils the flavour.... Here, garcon, bring us two halves of malt whisky, like a good
fellow.... Well, and how have you been pulling along since I saw you last? Dear God, how
old were getting! Do you see any signs of aging in meeh, what? A little grey and thin
on the top what?
Ignatius Gallaher took off his hat and displayed a large closely cropped head. His face
was heavy, pale and cleanshaven. His eyes, which were of bluish slate-colour, relieved his
unhealthy pallor and shone out plainly above the vivid orange tie he wore. Between these
rival features the lips appeared very long and shapeless and colourless. He bent his head
and felt with two sympathetic fingers the thin hair at the crown. Little Chandler shook his
head as a denial. Ignatius Galaher put on his hat again.
It pulls you down, be said, Press life. Always hurry and scurry, looking for copy and
sometimes not finding it: and then, always to have something new in your stuff. Damn
proofs and printers, I say, for a few days. Im deuced glad, I can tell you, to get back to
the old country. Does a fellow good, a bit of a holiday. I feel a ton better since I landed
again in dear dirty Dublin....(14) Here you are, Tommy. Water? Say when.
Little Chandler allowed his whisky to be very much diluted.
You dont know whats good for you, my boy, said Ignatius Gallaher. I drink mine neat.


I drink very little as a rule, said Little Chandler modestly. An odd half-one or so when I
meet any of the old crowd: thats all.
Ah well, said Ignatius Gallaher, cheerfully, heres to us and to old times and old
They clinked glasses and drank the toast.
I met some of the old gang today, said Ignatius Gallaher. OHara seems to be in a bad
way. Whats he doing?
Nothing, said Little Chandler. Hes gone to the dogs.(15)
But Hogan has a good sit(16), hasnt he?
Yes; hes in the Land Commission.(17)
I met him one night in London and he seemed to be very flush....(18) Poor OHara!
Boose(19), I suppose?
Other things, too, said Little Chandler shortly.
Ignatius Gallaher laughed.
Tommy, he said, I see you havent changed an atom. Youre the very same serious
person that used to lecture me on Sunday mornings when I had a sore head and a fur on
my tongue. Youd want to knock about a bit in the world. Have you never been anywhere
even for a trip?
Ive been to the Isle of Man, said Little Chandler.
Ignatius Gallaher laughed.
The Isle of Man! he said. Go to London or Paris: Paris, for choice. Thatd do you good.
Have you seen Paris?
I should think I have! Ive knocked about there a little.
And is it really so beautiful as they say? asked Little Chandler.
He sipped a little of his drink while Ignatius Gallaher finished his boldly.


Beautiful? said Ignatius Gallaher, pausing on the word and on the flavour of his drink.
Its not so beautiful, you know. Of course, it is beautiful.... But its the life of Paris; thats
the thing. Ah, theres no city like Paris for gaiety, movement, excitement....
Little Chandler finished his whisky and, after some trouble, succeeded in catching the
barmans eye. He ordered the same again.
Ive been to the Moulin Rouge(20), Ignatius Gallaher continued when the barman had
removed their glasses, and Ive been to all the Bohemian cafes(21). Hot stuff! Not for a
pious chap like you, Tommy.
Little Chandler said nothing until the barman returned with two glasses: then he touched
his friends glass lightly and reciprocated the former toast. He was beginning to feel
somewhat disillusioned. Gallahers accent and way of expressing himself did not please
him. There was something vulgar in his friend which he had not observed before. But
perhaps it was only the result of living in London amid the bustle and competition of the
Press. The old personal charm was still there under this new gaudy manner. And, after
all, Gallaher had lived, he had seen the world. Little Chandler looked at his friend
Everything in Paris is gay(22), said Ignatius Gallaher. They believe in enjoying lifeand
dont you think theyre right? If you want to enjoy yourself properly you must go to Paris.
And, mind you, theyve a great feeling for the Irish there. When they heard I was from
Ireland they were ready to eat me, man.
Little Chandler took four or five sips from his glass.
Tell me, he said, is it true that Paris is so... immoral as they say?
Ignatius Gallaher made a catholic gesture(23) with his right arm.
Every place is immoral, he said. Of course you do find spicy bits in Paris. Go to one of
the students balls(24), for instance. Thats lively, if you like, when the cocottes(25) begin
to let themselves loose. You know what they are, I suppose?
Ive heard of them, said Little Chandler.
Ignatius Gallaher drank off his whisky and shook his had.
Ah, he said, you may say what you like. Theres no woman like the Parisiennefor
style, for go.


Then it is an immoral city, said Little Chandler, with timid insistenceI mean,
compared with London or Dublin?
London! said Ignatius Gallaher. Its six of one and half-a-dozen of the other. You ask
Hogan, my boy. I showed him a bit about London when he was over there. Hed open
your eye.... I say, Tommy, dont make punch of that whisky: liquor up.
No, really....
O, come on, another one wont do you any harm. What is it? The same again, I
Well... all right.
Francois, the same again.... Will you smoke, Tommy?
Ignatius Gallaher produced his cigar-case. The two friends lit their cigars and puffed at
them in silence until their drinks were served.
Ill tell you my opinion, said Ignatius Gallaher, emerging after some time from the
clouds of smoke in which he had taken refuge, its a rum world. Talk of immorality! Ive
heard of caseswhat am I saying?Ive known them: cases of... immorality....
Ignatius Gallaher puffed thoughtfully at his cigar and then, in a calm historians tone, he
proceeded to sketch for his friend some pictures of the corruption which was rife abroad.
He summarised the vices of many capitals and seemed inclined to award the palm to
Berlin. Some things he could not vouch for (his friends had told him), but of others he
had had personal experience. He spared neither rank nor caste. He revealed many of the
secrets of religious houses on the Continent(26) and described some of the practices
which were fashionable in high society and ended by telling, with details, a story about
an English duchessa story which he knew to be true. Little Chandler as astonished.
Ah, well, said Ignatius Gallaher, here we are in old jog-along Dublin where nothing is
known of such things.
How dull you must find it, said Little Chandler, after all the other places youve seen!
Well, said Ignatius Gallaher, its a relaxation to come over here, you know. And, after
all, its the old country, as they say, isnt it? You cant help having a certain feeling for it.
Thats human nature.... But tell me something about yourself. Hogan told me you had...
tasted the joys of connubial bliss. Two years ago, wasnt it?
Little Chandler blushed and smiled.


Yes, he said. I was married last May twelve months.

I hope its not too late in the day to offer my best wishes, said Ignatius Gallaher. I
didnt know your address or Id have done so at the time.
He extended his hand, which Little Chandler took.
Well, Tommy, he said, I wish you and yours every joy in life, old chap, and tons of
money, and may you never die till I shoot you. And thats the wish of a sincere friend, an
old friend. You know that?
I know that, said Little Chandler.
Any youngsters? said Ignatius Gallaher.
Little Chandler blushed again.
We have one child, he said.
Son or daughter?
A little boy.
Ignatius Gallaher slapped his friend sonorously on the back.
Bravo, he said, I wouldnt doubt you, Tommy.
Little Chandler smiled, looked confusedly at his glass and bit his lower lip with three
childishly white front teeth.
I hope youll spend an evening with us, he said, before you go back. My wife will be
delighted to meet you. We can have a little music and
Thanks awfully, old chap, said Ignatius Gallaher, Im sorry we didnt meet earlier. But I
must leave tomorrow night.
Tonight, perhaps...?
Im awfully sorry, old man. You see Im over here with another fellow, clever young chap
he is too, and we arranged to go to a little card-party. Only for that...
O, in that case...


But who knows? said Ignatius Gallaher considerately. Next year I may take a little skip
over here now that Ive broken the ice. Its only a pleasure deferred.
Very well, said Little Chandler, the next time you come we must have an evening
together. Thats agreed now, isnt it?
Yes, thats agreed, said Ignatius Gallaher. Next year if I come, parole dhonneur.(27)
And to clinch the bargain, said Little Chandler, well just have one more now.
Ignatius Gallaher took out a large gold watch and looked a it.
Is it to be the last? he said. Because you know, I have an a.p.(28)
O, yes, positively, said Little Chandler.
Very well, then, said Ignatius Gallaher, let us have another one as a deoc an doruis(29)
thats good vernacular for a small whisky, I believe.
Little Chandler ordered the drinks. The blush which had risen to his face a few moments
before was establishing itself. A trifle made him blush at any time: and now he felt warm
and excited. Three small whiskies had gone to his head and Gallahers strong cigar had
confused his mind, for he was a delicate and abstinent person. The adventure of meeting
Gallaher after eight years, of finding himself with Gallaher in Corlesss surrounded by
lights and noise, of listening to Gallahers stories and of sharing for a brief space
Gallahers vagrant and triumphant life, upset the equipoise of his sensitive nature. He felt
acutely the contrast between his own life and his friends and it seemed to him unjust.
Gallaher was his inferior in birth and education. He was sure that he could do something
better than his friend had ever done, or could ever do, something higher than mere
tawdry journalism if he only got the chance. What was it that stood in his way? His
unfortunate timidity He wished to vindicate himself in some way, to assert his manhood.
He saw behind Gallahers refusal of his invitation. Gallaher was only patronising him by
his friendliness just as he was patronising Ireland by his visit.
The barman brought their drinks. Little Chandler pushed one glass towards his friend and
took up the other boldly.
Who knows? he said, as they lifted their glasses. When you come next year I may
have the pleasure of wishing long life and happiness to Mr. and Mrs. Ignatius Gallaher.
Ignatius Gallaher in the act of drinking closed one eye expressively over the rim of his
glass. When he had drunk he smacked his lips decisively, set down his glass and said:


No blooming fear of that, my boy. Im going to have my fling first and see a bit of life
and the world before I put my head in the sack if I ever do.
Some day you will, said Little Chandler calmly.
Ignatius Gallaher turned his orange tie and slate-blue eyes full upon his friend.
You think so? he said.
Youll put your head in the sack, repeated Little Chandler stoutly, like everyone else if
you can find the girl.
He had slightly emphasised his tone and he was aware that he had betrayed himself; but,
though the colour had heightened in his cheek, he did not flinch from his friends gaze.
Ignatius Gallaher watched him for a few moments and then said:
If ever it occurs, you may bet your bottom dollar therell be no mooning and spooning
about it. I mean to marry money. Shell have a good fat account at the bank or she wont
do for me.
Little Chandler shook his head.
Why, man alive, said Ignatius Gallaher, vehemently, do you know what it is? Ive only
to say the word and tomorrow I can have the woman and the cash. You dont believe it?
Well, I know it. There are hundredswhat am I saying?thousands of rich Germans and
Jews, rotten with money, thatd only be too glad.... You wait a while my boy. See if I
dont play my cards properly. When I go about a thing I mean business, I tell you. You
just wait.
He tossed his glass to his mouth, finished his drink and laughed loudly. Then he looked
thoughtfully before him and said in a calmer tone:
But Im in no hurry. They can wait. I dont fancy tying myself up to one woman, you
He imitated with his mouth the act of tasting and made a wry face.
Must get a bit stale, I should think, he said.
Little Chandler sat in the room off the hall, holding a child in his arms. To save money
they kept no servant but Annies young sister Monica came for an hour or so in the
morning and an hour or so in the evening to help. But Monica had gone home long ago.
It was a quarter to nine. Little Chandler had come home late for tea and, moreover, he


had forgotten to bring Annie home the parcel of coffee from Bewleys. Of course she was
in a bad humour and gave him short answers. She said she would do without any tea but
when it came near the time at which the shop at the corner closed she decided to go out
herself for a quarter of a pound of tea and two pounds of sugar. She put the sleeping
child deftly in his arms and said:
Here. Dont waken him.
A little lamp with a white china shade stood upon the table and its light fell over a
photograph which was enclosed in a frame of crumpled horn. It was Annies photograph.
Little Chandler looked at it, pausing at the thin tight lips. She wore the pale blue summer
blouse which he had brought her home as a present one Saturday. It had cost him ten
and elevenpence; but what an agony of nervousness it had cost him! How he had
suffered that day, waiting at the shop door until the shop was empty, standing at the
counter and trying to appear at his ease while the girl piled ladies blouses before him,
paying at the desk and forgetting to take up the odd penny of his change, being called
back by the cashier, and finally, striving to hide his blushes as he left the shop by
examining the parcel to see if it was securely tied. When he brought the blouse home
Annie kissed him and said it was very pretty and stylish; but when she heard the price
she threw the blouse on the table and said it was a regular swindle to charge ten and
elevenpence for it. At first she wanted to take it back but when she tried it on she was
delighted with it, especially with the make of the sleeves, and kissed him and said he was
very good to think of her.
He looked coldly into the eyes of the photograph and they answered coldly. Certainly they
were pretty and the face itself was pretty. But he found something mean in it. Why was it
so unconscious and ladylike? The composure of the eyes irritated him. They repelled him
and defied him: there was no passion in them, no rapture. He thought of what Gallaher
had said about rich Jewesses. Those dark Oriental eyes, he thought, how full they are of
passion, of voluptuous longing!... Why had he married the eyes in the photograph?
He caught himself up at the question and glanced nervously round the room. He found
something mean in the pretty furniture which he had bought for his house on the hire
system. Annie had chosen it herself and it reminded hi of her. It too was prim and pretty.
A dull resentment against his life awoke within him. Could he not escape from his little
house? Was it too late for him to try to live bravely like Gallaher? Could he go to London?
There was the furniture still to be paid for. If he could only write a book and get it
published, that might open the way for him.


A volume of Byrons poems(30) lay before him on the table. He opened it cautiously with
his left hand lest he should waken the child and began to read the first poem in the book:
Hushed are the winds(31) and still the evening gloom,
Not een a Zephyr wanders through the grove,
Whilst I return to view my Margarets tomb
And scatter flowers on tbe dust I love.(31)
He paused. He felt the rhythm of the verse about him in the room. How melancholy it
was! Could he, too, write like that, express the melancholy of his soul in verse? There
were so many things he wanted to describe: his sensation of a few hours before on
Grattan Bridge, for example. If he could get back again into that mood....
The child awoke and began to cry. He turned from the page and tried to hush it: but it
would not be hushed. He began to rock it to and fro in his arms but its wailing cry grew
keener. He rocked it faster while his eyes began to read the second stanza:
Within this narrow cell reclines her clay,
That clay where once...
It was useless. He couldnt read. He couldnt do anything. The wailing of the child pierced
the drum of his ear. It was useless, useless! He was a prisoner for life. His arms trembled
with anger and suddenly bending to the childs face he shouted:
The child stopped for an instant, had a spasm of fright and began to scream. He jumped
up from his chair and walked hastily up and down the room with the child in his arms. It
began to sob piteously, losing its breath for four or five seconds, and then bursting out
anew. The thin walls of the room echoed the sound. He tried to soothe it but it sobbed
more convulsively. He looked at the contracted and quivering face of the child and began
to be alarmed. He counted seven sobs without a break between them and caught the
child to his breast in fright. If it died!...
The door was burst open and a young woman ran in, panting.
What is it? What is it? she cried.
The child, hearing its mothers voice, broke out into a paroxysm of sobbing.


Its nothing, Annie ... its nothing.... He began to cry...

She flung her parcels on the floor and snatched the child from him.
What have you done to him? she cried, glaring into his face.
Little Chandler sustained for one moment the gaze of her eyes and his heart closed
together as he met the hatred in them. He began to stammer:
Its nothing.... He ... he began to cry.... I couldnt ... I didnt do anything.... What?
Giving no heed to him she began to walk up and down the room, clasping the child
tightly in her arms and murmuring:
My little man! My little mannie! Was ou frightened, love?... There now, love! There
now!... Lambabaun!(32)Mammas little lamb of the world!(33)... There now!
Little Chandler felt his cheeks suffused with shame and he stood back out of the
lamplight. He listened while the paroxysm of the childs sobbing grew less and less; and
tears of remorse started to his eyes.


4.9 Counterparts449
THE bell rang furiously and, when Miss Parker(1) went to the tube(2), a furious voice
called out in a piercing North of Ireland accent:
Send Farrington here!
Miss Parker returned to her machine, saying to a man who was writing at a desk:
Mr. Alleyne(3) wants you upstairs.
The man muttered Blast him! under his breath and pushed back his chair to stand up.
When he stood up he was tall and of great bulk. He had a hanging face, dark winecoloured, with fair eyebrows and moustache: his eyes bulged forward slightly and the
whites of them were dirty. He lifted up the counter and, passing by the clients, went out
of the office with a heavy step.
He went heavily upstairs until he came to the second landing, where a door bore a brass
plate with the inscription Mr. Alleyne. Here he halted, puffing with labour and vexation,
and knocked. The shrill voice cried:
Come in!
The man entered Mr. Alleynes room. Simultaneously Mr. Alleyne, a little man wearing
gold-rimmed glasses on a cleanshaven face, shot his head up over a pile of documents.
The head itself was so pink and hairless it seemed like a large egg reposing on the
papers. Mr. Alleyne did not lose a moment:


J. Joyce, Dubliners. Counterparts, Penguin Classics, Clays Ltd., London, 2000, p. 84-97.


Farrington? What is the meaning of this? Why have I always to complain of you? May I
ask you why you havent made a copy of that contract between Bodley and Kirwan? I told
you it must be ready by four oclock.
But Mr. Shelley(4) said, sir
Mr. Shelley said, sir .... Kindly attend to what I say and not to what Mr. Shelley says, sir.
You have always some excuse or another for shirking work. Let me tell you that if the
contract is not copied before this evening Ill lay the matter before Mr. Crosbie.... Do you
hear me now?
Yes, sir.
Do you hear me now?... Ay and another little matter! I might as well be talking to the
wall as talking to you. Understand once for all that you get a half an hour for your lunch
and not an hour and a half. How many courses do you want, Id like to know.... Do you
mind me now?
Yes, sir.
Mr. Alleyne bent his head again upon his pile of papers. The man stared fixedly at the
polished skull which directed the affairs of Crosbie & Alleyne, gauging its fragility. A
spasm of rage gripped his throat for a few moments and then passed, leaving after it a
sharp sensation of thirst. The man recognised the sensation and felt that he must have a
good nights drinking. The middle of the month was passed and, if he could get the copy
done in time, Mr. Alleyne might give him an order on the cashier.(5) He stood still, gazing
fixedly at the head upon the pile of papers. Suddenly Mr. Alleyne began to upset all the
papers, searching for something. Then, as if he had been unaware of the mans presence
till that moment, he shot up his head again, saying:
Eh? Are you going to stand there all day? Upon my word, Farrington, you take things
I was waiting to see...
Very good, you neednt wait to see. Go downstairs and do your work.
The man walked heavily towards the door and, as he went out of the room, he heard Mr.
Alleyne cry after him that if the contract was not copied by evening Mr. Crosbie would
hear of the matter.
He returned to his desk in the lower office and counted the sheets which remained to be
copied. He took up his pen and dipped it in the ink but he continued to stare stupidly at


the last words he had written: In no case shall the said Bernard Bodley be... The evening
was falling and in a few minutes they would be lighting the gas: then he could write. He
felt that he must slake the thirst in his throat. He stood up from his desk and, lifting the
counter as before, passed out of the office. As he was passing out the chief clerk looked
at him inquiringly.
Its all right, Mr. Shelley, said the man, pointing with his finger to indicate the objective
of his journey.(6)
The chief clerk glanced at the hat-rack, but, seeing the row complete, offered no remark.
As soon as he was on the landing the man pulled a shepherds plaid cap out of his
pocket, put it on his head and ran quickly down the rickety stairs. From the street door
he walked on furtively on the inner side of the path towards the corner and all at once
dived into a doorway. He was now safe in the dark snug of ONeills shop, and filling up
the little window that looked into the bar with his inflamed face, the colour of dark wine
or dark meat, he called out:
Here, Pat, give us a g.p.(7) like a good fellow.
The curate(8) brought him a glass of plain porter. The man drank it at a gulp and asked
for a caraway seed.(9) He put his penny on the counter and, leaving the curate to grope
for it in the gloom, retreated out of the snug as furtively as he had entered it.
Darkness, accompanied by a thick fog, was gaining upon the dusk of February and the
lamps in Eustace Street had been lit. The man went up by the houses until he reached
the door of the office, wondering whether he could finish his copy in time. On the stairs a
moist pungent odour of perfumes saluted his nose: evidently Miss Delacour had come
while he was out in ONeills. He crammed his cap back again into his pocket and reentered the office, assuming an air of absentmindedness.
Mr. Alleyne has been calling for you, said the chief clerk severely. Where were you?
The man glanced at the two clients who were standing at the counter as if to intimate
that their presence prevented him from answering. As the clients were both male the
chief clerk allowed himself a laugh.
I know that game, he said. Five times in one day is a little bit... Well, you better look
sharp and get a copy of our correspondence in the Delacour case for Mr. Alleyne.
This address in the presence of the public, his run upstairs and the porter he had gulped
down so hastily confused the man and, as he sat down at his desk to get what was
required, he realised how hopeless was the task of finishing his copy of the contract


before half past five. The dark damp night was coming and he longed to spend it in the
bars, drinking with his friends amid the glare of gas and the clatter of glasses. He got out
the Delacour correspondence and passed out of the office. He hoped Mr. Alleyne would
not discover that the last two letters were missing.
The moist pungent perfume lay all the way up to Mr. Alleynes room. Miss Delacour was a
middle-aged woman of Jewish appearance. Mr. Alleyne was said to be sweet on her or on
her money. She came to the office often and stayed a long time when she came. She was
sitting beside his desk now in an aroma of perfumes, smoothing the handle of her
umbrella and nodding the great black feather in her hat. Mr. Alleyne had swivelled his
chair round to face her and thrown his right foot jauntily upon his left knee. The man put
the correspondence on the desk and bowed respectfully but neither Mr. Alleyne nor Miss
Delacour took any notice of his bow. Mr. Alleyne tapped a finger on the correspondence
and then flicked it towards him as if to say: Thats all right: you can go.
The man returned to the lower office and sat down again at his desk. He stared intently
at the incomplete phrase: In no case shall the said Bernard Bodley be... and thought how
strange it was that the last three words began with the same letter. The chief clerk began
to hurry Miss Parker, saying she would never have the letters typed in time for post. The
man listened to the clicking of the machine for a few minutes and then set to work to
finish his copy. But his head was not clear and his mind wandered away to the glare and
rattle of the public-house. It was a night for hot punches.(10) He struggled on with his
copy, but when the clock struck five he had still fourteen pages to write. Blast it! He
couldnt finish it in time. He longed to execrate aloud, to bring his fist down on something
violently. He was so enraged that he wrote Bernard Bernard instead of Bernard Bodley
and had to begin again on a clean sheet.
He felt strong enough to clear out the whole office singlehanded. His body ached to do
something, to rush out and revel in violence. All the indignities of his life enraged him....
Could he ask the cashier privately for an advance? No, the cashier was no good, no damn
good: he wouldnt give an advance.... He knew where he would meet the boys: Leonard
and OHalloran and Nosey Flynn. The barometer of his emotional nature was set for a
spell of riot.
His imagination had so abstracted him that his name was called twice before he
answered. Mr. Alleyne and Miss Delacour were standing outside the counter and all the
clerks had turn round in anticipation of something. The man got up from his desk. Mr.
Alleyne began a tirade of abuse, saying that two letters were missing. The man answered
that he knew nothing about them, that he had made a faithful copy. The tirade
continued: it was so bitter and violent that the man could hardly restrain his fist from
descending upon the head of the manikin(11) before him:


I know nothing about any other two letters, he said stupidly.

Youknownothing. Of course you know nothing, said Mr. Alleyne. Tell me, he added,
glancing first for approval to the lady beside him, do you take me for a fool? Do you
think me an utter fool?
The man glanced from the ladys face to the little egg-shaped head and back again; and,
almost before he was aware of it, his tongue had found a felicitous moment:
I dont think, sir, he said, that thats a fair question to put to me.
There was a pause in the very breathing of the clerks. Everyone was astounded (the
author of the witticism no less than his neighbours) and Miss Delacour, who was a stout
amiable person, began to smile broadly. Mr. Alleyne flushed to the hue of a wild rose and
his mouth twitched with a dwarf s passion. He shook his fist in the mans face till it
seemed to vibrate like the knob of some electric machine:
You impertinent ruffian! You impertinent ruffian! Ill make short work of you! Wait till you
see! Youll apologise to me for your impertinence or youll quit the office instanter! Youll
quit this, Im telling you, or youll apologise to me!
He stood in a doorway opposite the office watching to see if the cashier would come out
alone. All the clerks passed out and finally the cashier came out with the chief clerk. It
was no use trying to say a word to him when he was with the chief clerk. The man felt
that his position was bad enough. He had been obliged to offer an abject apology to Mr.
Alleyne for his impertinence but he knew what a hornets nest the office would be for
him. He could remember the way in which Mr. Alleyne had hounded little Peake out of the
office in order to make room for his own nephew. He felt savage and thirsty and
revengeful, annoyed with himself and with everyone else. Mr. Alleyne would never give
him an hours rest; his life would be a hell to him. He had made a proper fool of himself
this time. Could he not keep his tongue in his cheek? But they had never pulled together
from the first, he and Mr. Alleyne, ever since the day Mr. Alleyne had overheard him
mimicking his North of Ireland accent to amuse Higgins and Miss Parker: that had been
the beginning of it. He might have tried Higgins for the money, but sure Higgins never
had anything for himself. A man with two establishments to keep up, of course he
He felt his great body again aching for the comfort of the public-house. The fog had
begun to chill him and he wondered could he touch Pat in ONeills. He could not touch
him for more than a bob(12)and a bob was no use. Yet he must get money somewhere
or other: he had spent his last penny for the g.p. and soon it would be too late for
getting money anywhere. Suddenly, as he was fingering his watch-chain, he thought of


Terry Kellys pawn-office in Fleet Street. That was the dart!(13) Why didnt he think of it
He went through the narrow alley of Temple Bar quickly, muttering to himself that they
could all go to hell because he was going to have a good night of it. The clerk in Terry
Kellys said A crown! but the consignor held out for six shillings; and in the end the six
shillings was allowed him literally. He came out of the pawn-office joyfully, making a little
cylinder, of the coins between his thumb and fingers. In Westmoreland Street the
footpaths were crowded with young men and women returning from business and ragged
urchins ran here and there yelling out the names of the evening editions.(14) The man
passed through the crowd, looking on the spectacle generally with proud satisfaction and
staring masterfully at the office-girls. His head was full of the noises of tram gongs and
swishing trolleys and his nose already sniffed the curling fumes punch. As he walked on
he preconsidered the terms in which he would narrate the incident to the boys:
So, I just looked at himcoolly, you know, and looked at her. Then I looked back at him
againtaking my time, you know. I dont think that thats a fair question to put to me,
says I.
Nosey Flynn was sitting up in his usual corner of Davy Byrnes and, when he heard the
story, he stood Farrington a half-one(15), saying it was as smart a thing as ever he
heard. Farrington stood a drink in his turn. After a while OHalloran and Paddy Leonard
came in and the story was repeated to them. OHalloran stood tailors of malt(16), hot, all
round and told the story of the retort he had made to the chief clerk when he was in
Callans of Fowness Street; but, as the retort was after the manner of the liberal
shepherds in the eclogues, he had to admit that it was not as clever as Farringtons
retort. At this Farrington told the boys to polish off that and have another.
Just as they were naming their poisons(17) who should come in but Higgins! Of course
he had to join in with the others. The men asked him to give his version of it, and he did
so with great vivacity for the sight of five small hot whiskies was very exhilarating.
Everyone roared laughing when he showed the way in which Mr. Alleyne shook his fist in
Farringtons face. Then he imitated Farrington, saying, And here was my nabs(18), as
cool as you please, while Farrington looked at the company out of his heavy dirty eyes,
smiling and at times drawing forth stray drops of liquor from his moustache with the aid
of his lower lip.
When that round was over there was a pause. OHalloran had money but neither of the
other two seemed to have any; so the whole party left the shop somewhat regretfully. At
the corner of Duke Street Higgins and Nosey Flynn bevelled off to the left while the other
three turned back towards the city. Rain was drizzling down on the cold streets and,
when they reached the Ballast Office, Farrington suggested the Scotch House. The bar


was full of men and loud with the noise of tongues and glasses. The three men pushed
past the whining matchsellers at the door and formed a little party at the corner of the
counter. They began to exchange stories. Leonard introduced them to a young fellow
named Weathers who was performing at the Tivoli as an acrobat and knockabout artiste.
Farrington stood a drink all round. Weathers said he would take a small Irish and
Apollinaris. Farrington, who had definite notions of what was what, asked the boys would
they have an Apollinaris too; but the boys told Tim to make theirs hot. The talk became
theatrical. OHalloran stood a round and then Farrington stood another round, Weathers
protesting that the hospitality was too Irish. He promised to get them in behind the
scenes and introduce them to some nice girls.(19) OHalloran said that he and Leonard
would go, but that Farrington wouldnt go because he was a married man; and
Farringtons heavy dirty eyes leered at the company in token that he understood he was
being chaffed. Weathers made them all have just one little tincture(20) at his expense
and promised to meet them later on at Mulligans in Poolbeg Street.
When the Scotch House closed they went round to Mulligans.(21) They went into the
parlour at the back and OHalloran ordered small hot specials(22) all round. They were all
beginning to feel mellow. Farrington was just standing another round when Weathers
came back. Much to Farringtons relief he drank a glass of bitter(23) this time. Funds
were getting low but they had enough to keep them going. Presently two young women
with big hats and a young man in a check suit came in and sat at a table close by.
Weathers saluted them and told the company that they were out of the Tivoli.
Farringtons eyes wandered at every moment in the direction of one of the young women.
There was something striking in her appearance. An immense scarf of peacock-blue
muslin was wound round her hat and knotted in a great bow under her chin; and she
wore bright yellow gloves, reaching to the elbow. Farrington gazed admiringly at the
plump arm which she moved very often and with much grace; and when, after a little
time, she answered his gaze he admired still more her large dark brown eyes. The
oblique staring expression in them fascinated him. She glanced at him once or twice and,
when the party was leaving the room, she brushed against his chair and said O,
pardon! in a London accent. He watched her leave the room in the hope that she would
look back at him, but he was disappointed. He cursed his want of money and cursed all
the rounds he had stood, particularly all the whiskies and Apolinaris which he had stood
to Weathers. If there was one thing that he hated it was a sponge.(24) He was so angry
that he lost count of the conversation of his friends.
When Paddy Leonard called him he found that they were talking about feats of strength.
Weathers was showing his biceps muscle to the company and boasting so much that the
other two had called on Farrington to uphold the national honour. Farrington pulled up his
sleeve accordingly and showed his biceps muscle to the company. The two arms were
examined and compared and finally it was agreed to have a trial of strength. The table


was cleared and the two men rested their elbows on it, clasping hands. When Paddy
Leonard said Go! each was to try to bring down the others hand on to the table.
Farrington looked very serious and determined.
The trial began. After about thirty seconds Weathers brought his opponents hand slowly
down on to the table. Farringtons dark wine-coloured face flushed darker still with anger
and humiliation at having been defeated by such a stripling.
Youre not to put the weight of your body behind it. Play fair, he said.
Whos not playing fair? said the other.
Come on again. The two best out of three.
The trial began again. The veins stood out on Farringtons forehead, and the pallor of
Weathers complexion changed to peony. Their hands and arms trembled under the
stress. After a long struggle Weathers again brought his opponents hand slowly on to the
table. There was a murmur of applause from the spectators. The curate, who was
standing beside the table, nodded his red head towards the victor and said with stupid
Ah! thats the knack!
What the hell do you know about it? said Farrington fiercely, turning on the man. What
do you put in your gab(25) for?
Sh, sh! said OHalloran, observing the violent expression of Farringtons face. Pony
up(26), boys. Well have just one little smahan(27) more and then well be off.
A very sullen-faced man stood at the corner of OConnell Bridge waiting for the little
Sandymount tram to take him home. He was full of smouldering anger and
revengefulness. He felt humiliated and discontented; he did not even feel drunk; and he
had only twopence in his pocket. He cursed everything. He had done for himself in the
office, pawned his watch, spent all his money; and he had not even got drunk. He began
to feel thirsty again and he longed to be back again in the hot reeking public-house. He
had lost his reputation as a strong man, having been defeated twice by a mere boy. His
heart swelled with fury and, when he thought of the woman in the big hat who had
brushed against him and said Pardon! his fury nearly choked him.
His tram let him down at Shelbourne Road and he steered his great body along in the
shadow of the wall of the barracks. He loathed returning to his home. When he went in
by the side door he found the kitchen empty and the kitchen fire nearly out. He bawled


Ada! Ada!
His wife was a little sharp-faced woman who bullied her husband when he was sober and
was bullied by him when he was drunk. They had five children. A little boy came running
down the stairs.
Who is that? said the man, peering through the darkness.
Me, pa.
Who are you? Charlie?
No, pa. Tom.
Wheres your mother?
Shes out at the chapel.
Thats right.... Did she think of leaving any dinner for me?
Yes, pa. I
Light the lamp. What do you mean by having the place in darkness? Are the other
children in bed?
The man sat down heavily on one of the chairs while the little boy lit the lamp. He began
to mimic his sons flat accent, saying half to himself: At the chapel. At the chapel, if you
please! When the lamp was lit he banged his fist on the table and shouted:
Whats for my dinner?
Im going... to cook it, pa, said the little boy.
The man jumped up furiously and pointed to the fire.
On that fire! You let the fire out! By God, Ill teach you to do that again!
He took a step to the door and seized the walking-stick which was standing behind it.
Ill teach you to let the fire out! he said, rolling up his sleeve in order to give his arm
free play.


The little boy cried O, pa! and ran whimpering round the table, but the man followed
him and caught him by the coat. The little boy looked about him wildly but, seeing no
way of escape, fell upon his knees.
Now, youll let the fire out the next time! said the man striking at him vigorously with
the stick. Take that, you little whelp!
The boy uttered a squeal of pain as the stick cut his thigh. He clasped his hands together
in the air and his voice shook with fright.
O, pa! he cried. Dont beat me, pa! And Ill... Ill say a Hail Mary for you.... Ill say a
Hail Mary for you, pa, if you dont beat me.... Ill say a Hail Mary....


4.10 Clay450
THE matron had given her leave to go out as soon as the womens tea was over and
Maria looked forward to her evening out. The kitchen was spick and span: the cook said
you could see yourself in the big copper boilers. The fire was nice and bright and on one
of the side-tables were four very big barmbracks.(1) These barmbracks seemed uncut;
but if you went closer you would see that they had been cut into long thick even slices
and were ready to be handed round at tea. Maria had cut them herself.
Maria was a very, very small person indeed but she had a very long nose and a very long
chin. She talked a little through her nose, always soothingly: Yes, my dear, and No, my
dear. She was always sent for when the women quarrelled Over their tubs and always
succeeded in making peace. One day the matron had said to her:
Maria, you are a veritable peace-maker!
And the sub-matron and two of the Board ladies(2) had heard the compliment. And
Ginger Mooney was always saying what she wouldnt do to the dummy who had charge
of the irons if it wasnt for Maria. Everyone was so fond of Maria.
The women would have their tea at six oclock and she would be able to get away before
seven. From Ballsbridge to the Pillar, twenty minutes; from the Pillar to Drumcondra,
twenty minutes; and twenty minutes to buy the things. She would be there before eight.
She took out her purse with the silver clasps and read again the words A Present from
Belfast. She was very fond of that purse because Joe had brought it to her five years
before when he and Alphy had gone to Belfast on a Whit-Monday(3) trip. In the purse
were two half-crowns and some coppers.(4) She would have five shillings clear after
paying tram fare. What a nice evening they would have, all the children singing! Only she
hoped that Joe wouldnt come in drunk. He was so different when he took any drink.
Often he had wanted her to go and live with them;-but she would have felt herself in the
way (though Joes wife was ever so nice with her) and she had become accustomed to
the life of the laundry. Joe was a good fellow. She had nursed him and Alphy too; and Joe
used often say:
Mamma is mamma but Maria is my proper mother.

J. Joyce, Dubliners. Clay, Penguin Classics, Clays Ltd., London, 2000, p. 98-106.


After the break-up at home the boys had got her that position in the Dublin by Lamplight
laundry, and she liked it. She used to have such a bad opinion of Protestants but now she
thought they were very nice people, a little quiet and serious, but still very nice people to
live with. Then she had her plants in the conservatory and she liked looking after them.
She had lovely ferns and wax-plants and, whenever anyone came to visit her, she always
gave the visitor one or two slips from her conservatory. There was one thing she didnt
like and that was the tracts on the walks(5); but the matron was such a nice person to
deal with, so genteel.
When the cook told her everything was ready she went into the womens room and
began to pull the big bell. In a few minutes the women began to come in by twos and
threes, wiping their steaming hands in their petticoats and pulling down the sleeves of
their blouses over their red steaming arms. They settled down before their huge mugs
which the cook and the dummy filled up with hot tea, already mixed with milk and sugar
in huge tin cans. Maria superintended the distribution of the barmbrack and saw that
every woman got her four slices. There was a great deal of laughing and joking during
the meal. Lizzie Fleming said Maria was sure to get the ring(6) and, though Fleming had
said that for so many Hallow Eves(7), Maria had to laugh and say she didnt want any
ring or man either; and when she laughed her grey-green eyes sparkled with
disappointed shyness and the tip of her nose nearly met the tip of her chin. Then Ginger
Mooney lifted her mug of tea and proposed Marias health while all the other women
clattered with their mugs on the table, and said she was sorry she hadnt a sup of porter
to drink it in. And Maria laughed again till the tip of her nose nearly met the tip of her
chin and till her minute body nearly shook itself asunder because she knew that Mooney
meant well though, of course, she had the notions of a common woman.
But wasnt Maria glad when the women had finished their tea and the cook and the
dummy had begun to clear away the tea-things! She went into her little bedroom and,
remembering that the next morning was a mass morning(8), changed the hand of the
alarm(9) from seven to six.(10) Then she took off her working skirt and her house-boots
and laid her best skirt out on the bed and her tiny dress-boots beside the foot of the bed.
She changed her blouse too and, as she stood before the mirror, she thought of how she
used to dress for mass on Sunday morning when she was a young girl; and she looked
with quaint affection at the diminutive body which she had so often adorned, In spite of
its years she found it a nice tidy little body.
When she got outside the streets were shining with rain and she was glad of her old
brown waterproof. The tram was full and she had to sit on the little stool at the end of
the car, facing all the people, with her toes barely touching the floor. She arranged in her
mind all she was going to do and thought how much better it was to be independent and
to have your own money in your pocket. She hoped they would have a nice evening. She


was sure they would but she could not help thinking what a pity it was Alphy and Joe
were not speaking. They were always falling out now but when they were boys together
they used to be the best of friends: but such was life.
She got out of her tram at the Pillar and ferreted her way quickly among the crowds. She
went into Downess cake-shop but the shop was so full of people that it was a long time
before she could get herself attended to. She bought a dozen of mixed penny cakes, and
at last came out of the shop laden with a big bag. Then she thought what else would she
buy: she wanted to buy something really nice. They would be sure to have plenty of
apples and nuts(11). It was hard to know what to buy and all she could think of was
cake. She decided to buy some plumcake but Downess plumcake had not enough
almond icing on top of it so she went over to a shop in Henry Street. Here she was a long
time in suiting herself and the stylish young lady behind the counter, who was evidently a
little annoyed by her, asked her was it wedding-cake she wanted to buy. That made Maria
blush and smile at the young lady; but the young lady took it all very seriously and finally
cut a thick slice of plumcake, parcelled it up and said:
Two-and-four, please.
She thought she would have to stand in the Drumcondra tram because none of the young
men seemed to notice her but an elderly gentleman made room for her. He was a stout
gentleman and he wore a brown hard hat; he had a square red face and a greyish
moustache. Maria thought he was a colonel-looking gentleman and she reflected how
much more polite he was than the young men who simply stared straight before them.
The gentleman began to chat with her about Hallow Eve and the rainy weather. He
supposed the bag was full of good things for the little ones and said it was only right that
the youngsters should enjoy themselves while they were young. Maria agreed with him
and favoured him with demure nods and hems. He was very nice with her, and when she
was getting out at the Canal Bridge she thanked him and bowed, and he bowed to her
and raised his hat and smiled agreeably, and while she was going up along the terrace,
bending her tiny head under the rain, she thought how easy it was to know a gentleman
even when he has a drop taken.(12)
Everybody said: 0, heres Maria! when she came to Joes house. Joe was there, having
come home from business, and all the children had their Sunday dresses on. There were
two big girls in from next door and games were going on. Maria gave the bag of cakes to
the eldest boy, Alphy, to divide and Mrs. Donnelly said it was too good of her to bring
such a big bag of cakes and made all the children say:
Thanks, Maria.


But Maria said she had brought something special for papa and mamma, something they
would be sure to like, and she began to look for her plumcake. She tried in Downess bag
and then in the pockets of her waterproof and then on the hallstand but nowhere could
she find it. Then she asked all the children had any of them eaten itby mistake, of
coursebut the children all said no and looked as if they did not like to eat cakes if they
were to be accused of stealing. Everybody had a solution for the mystery and Mrs.
Donnelly said it was plain that Maria had left it behind her in the tram. Maria,
remembering how confused the gentleman with the greyish moustache had made her,
coloured with shame and vexation and disappointment. At the thought of the failure of
her little surprise and of the two and fourpence she had thrown away for nothing she
nearly cried outright.
But Joe said it didnt matter and made her sit down by the fire. He was very nice with
her. He told her all that went on in his office, repeating for her a smart answer which he
had made to the manager. Maria did not understand why Joe laughed so much over the
answer he had made but she said that the manager must have been a very overbearing
person to deal with. Joe said he wasnt so bad when you knew how to take him, that he
was a decent sort so long as you didnt rub him the wrong way. Mrs. Donnelly played the
piano for the children and they danced and sang. Then the two next-door girls handed
round the nuts. Nobody could find the nutcrackers and Joe was nearly getting cross over
it and asked how did they expect Maria to crack nuts without a nutcracker. But Maria said
she didnt like nuts and that they werent to bother about her. Then Joe asked would she
take a bottle of stout and Mrs. Donnelly said there was port wine too in the house if she
would prefer that. Maria said she would rather they didnt ask her to take anything: but
Joe insisted.
So Maria let him have his way and they sat by the fire talking over old times and Maria
thought she would put in a good word for Alphy. But Joe cried that God might strike him
stone dead if ever he spoke a word to his brother again and Maria said she was sorry she
had mentioned the matter. Mrs. Donnelly told her husband it was a great shame for him
to speak that way of his own flesh and blood but Joe said that Alphy was no brother of
his and there was nearly being a row on the head of it. But Joe said he would not lose his
temper on account of the night it was and asked his wife to open some more stout. The
two next-door girls had arranged some Hallow Eve games(13) and soon everything was
merry again. Maria was delighted to see the children so merry and Joe and his wife in
such good spirits. The next-door girls put some saucers on the table and then led the
children up to the table, blindfold. One got the prayer-book and the other three got the
water; and when one of the next-door girls got the ring Mrs. Donnelly shook her finger at
the blushing girl as much as to say: 0, I know all about it! They insisted then on
blindfolding Maria and leading her up to the table to see what she would get; and, while


they were putting on the bandage, Maria laughed and laughed again till the tip of her
nose nearly met the tip of her chin.
They led her up to the table amid laughing and joking and she put her hand out in the air
as she was told to do. She moved her hand about here and there in the air and
descended on one of the saucers. She felt a soft wet substance with her fingers and was
surprised that nobody spoke or took off her bandage. There was a pause for a few
seconds; and then a great deal of scuffling and whispering. Somebody said something
about the garden, and at last Mrs. Donnelly said something very cross to one of the nextdoor girls and told her to throw it out at once: that was no play. Maria understood that it
was wrong that time and so she had to do it over again: and this time she got the
After that Mrs. Donnelly played Miss McClouds Reel(14) for the children and Joe made
Maria take a glass of wine. Soon they were all quite merry again and Mrs. Donnelly said
Maria would enter a convent before the year was out because she had got the prayerbook. Maria had never seen Joe so nice to her as he was that night, so full of pleasant
talk and reminiscences. She said they were all very good to her.
At last the children grew tired and sleepy and Joe asked Maria would she not sing some
little song before she went, one of the old songs. Mrs. Donnelly said Do, please, Maria!
and so Maria had to get up and stand beside the piano. Mrs. Donnelly bade the children
be quiet and listen to Marias song. Then she played the prelude and said Now, Maria!
and Maria, blushing very much began to sing in a tiny quavering voice. She sang I
Dreamt that I Dwelt(15), and when she came to the second verse she sang again:
I dreamt that I dwelt in marble halls
With vassals and serfs at my side,
And of all who assembled within those walls
That I was the hope and the pride.
I had riches too great to count; could boast
Of a high ancestral name,
But I also dreamt, which pleased me most,
That you loved me still the same.
But no one tried to show her her mistake; and when she had ended her song Joe was
very much moved. He said that there was no time like the long ago and no music for him
like poor old Balfe(16), whatever other people might say; and his eyes filled up so much
with tears that he could not find what he was looking for and in the end he had to ask his
wife to tell him where the corkscrew was.

4.11 A Painful Case451


J. Joyce, Dubliners. A Painful Case, Penguin Classics, Clays Ltd., London, 2000, p. 107118.


MR. JAMES DUFFY(1) lived in Chapelizod because he wished to live as far as possible
from the city of which he was a citizen and because he found all the other suburbs of
Dublin mean, modern and pretentious. He lived in an old sombre house and from his
windows he could look into the disused distillery or upwards along the shallow river on
which Dublin is built. The lofty walls of his uncarpeted room were free from pictures. He
had himself bought every article of furniture in the room: a black iron bedstead, an iron
washstand, four cane chairs, a clothes-rack, a coal-scuttle, a fender and irons and a
square table on which lay a double desk. A bookcase had been made in an alcove by
means of shelves of white wood. The bed was clothed with white bedclothes and a black
and scarlet rug covered the foot. A little hand-mirror hung above the washstand and
during the day a white-shaded lamp stood as the sole ornament of the mantelpiece. The
books on the white wooden shelves were arranged from below upwards according to
bulk. A complete Wordsworth(2) stood at one end of the lowest shelf and a copy of the
Maynooth Catechism(3), sewn into the cloth cover of a notebook, stood at one end of the
top shelf. Writing materials were always on the desk. In the desk lay a manuscript
translation of Hauptmanns Michael Kramer, the stage directions of which were written in
purple ink, and a little sheaf of papers held together by a brass pin. In these sheets a
sentence was inscribed from time to time and, in an ironical moment, the headline of an
advertisement for Bile Beans(4) had been pasted on to the first sheet. On lifting the lid of
the desk a faint fragrance escapedthe fragrance of new cedarwood pencils or of a bottle
of gum or of an overripe apple which might have been left there and forgotten.
Mr. Duffy abhorred anything which betokened physical or mental disorder. A medival
doctor would have called him saturnine(5). His face, which carried the entire tale of his
years, was of the brown tint of Dublin streets. On his long and rather large head grew dry
black hair and a tawny moustache did not quite cover an unamiable mouth. His
cheekbones also gave his face a harsh character; but there was no harshness in the eyes
which, looking at the world from under their tawny eyebrows, gave the impression of a
man ever alert to greet a redeeming instinct in others but often disappointed. He lived at
a little distance from his body, regarding his own acts with doubtful side-glasses. He had
an odd autobiographical habit which led him to compose in his mind from time to time a
short sentence about himself containing a subject in the third person and a predicate in
the past tense. He never gave alms to beggars and walked firmly, carrying a stout
He had been for many years cashier of a private bank in Baggot Street. Every morning he
came in from Chapelizod by tram. At midday he went to Dan Burkes and took his lunch
a bottle of lager beer and a small trayful of arrowroot biscuits. At four oclock he was set
free. He dined in an eating-house in Georges Street where he felt himself safe from the
society o Dublins gilded youth and where there was a certain plain honesty in the bill of


fare. His evenings were spent either before his landladys piano or roaming about the
outskirts of the city. His liking for Mozarts music brought him sometimes to an opera or a
concert: these were the only dissipations of his life.
He had neither companions nor friends, church nor creed. He lived his spiritual life
without any communion with others, visiting his relatives at Christmas and escorting
them to the cemetery when they died. He performed these two social duties for old
dignitys sake but conceded nothing further to the conventions which regulate the civic
life. He allowed himself to think that in certain circumstances he would rob his hank but,
as these circumstances never arose, his life rolled out evenlyan adventureless tale.
One evening he found himself sitting beside two ladies in the Rotunda. The house, thinly
peopled and silent, gave distressing prophecy of failure. The lady who sat next him
looked round at the deserted house once or twice and then said:
What a pity there is such a poor house tonight! Its so hard on people to have to sing to
empty benches.
He took the remark as an invitation to talk. He was surprised that she seemed so little
awkward. While they talked he tried to fix her permanently in his memory. When he
learned that the young girl beside her was her daughter he judged her to be a year or so
younger than himself. Her face, which must have been handsome, had remained
intelligent. It was an oval face with strongly marked features. The eyes were very dark
blue and steady. Their gaze began with a defiant note but was confused by what seemed
a deliberate swoon of the pupil into the iris, revealing for an instant a temperament of
great sensibility. The pupil reasserted itself quickly, this half-disclosed nature fell again
under the reign of prudence, and her astrakhan jacket, moulding a bosom of a certain
fullness, struck the note of defiance more definitely.
He met her again a few weeks afterwards at a concert in Earlsfort Terrace and seized the
moments when her daughters attention was diverted to become intimate. She alluded
once or twice to her husband but her tone was not such as to make the allusion a
warning. Her name was Mrs. Sinico. Her husbands great-great-grandfather had come
from Leghorn(7). Her husband was captain of a mercantile boat plying between Dublin
and Holland; and they had one child.
Meeting her a third time by accident he found courage to make an appointment. She
came. This was the first of many meetings; they met always in the evening and chose
the most quiet quarters for their walks together. Mr. Duffy, however, had a distaste for
underhand ways and, finding that they were compelled to meet stealthily, he forced her
to ask him to her house. Captain Sinico encouraged his visits, thinking that his daughters
hand was in question. He had dismissed his wife so sincerely from his gallery of pleasures


that he did not suspect that anyone else would take an interest in her. As the husband
was often away and the daughter out giving music lessons Mr. Duffy had many
opportunities of enjoying the ladys society. Neither he nor she had had any such
adventure before and neither was conscious of any incongruity. Little by little he
entangled his thoughts with hers. He lent her books, provided her with ideas, shared his
intellectual life with her. She listened to all.
Sometimes in return for his theories she gave out some fact of her own life. With almost
maternal solicitude she urged him to let his nature open to the full: she became his
confessor. He told her that for some time he had assisted at the meetings of an Irish
Socialist Party(8) where he had felt himself a unique figure amidst a score of sober
workmen in a garret lit by an inefficient oil-lamp. When the party had divided into three
sections, each under its own leader and in its own garret, he had discontinued his
attendances. The workmens discussions, he said, were too timorous; the interest they
took in the question of wages was inordinate. He felt that they were hard-featured
realists and that they resented an exactitude which was the produce of a leisure not
within their reach. No social revolution, he told her, would be likely to strike Dublin for
some centuries.
She asked him why did he not write out his thoughts. For what, he asked her, with
careful scorn. To compete with phrasemongers, incapable of thinking consecutively for
sixty seconds? To submit himself to the criticisms of an obtuse middle class which
entrusted its morality to policemen and its fine arts to impresarios?
He went often to her little cottage outside Dublin; often they spent their evenings alone.
Little by little, as their thoughts entangled, they spoke of subjects less remote. Her
companionship was like a warm soil about an exotic. Many times she allowed the dark to
fall upon them, refraining from lighting the lamp. The dark discreet room, their isolation,
the music that still vibrated in their ears united them. This union exalted him, wore away
the rough edges of his character, emotionalised his mental life. Sometimes he caught
himself listening to the sound of his own voice. He thought that in her eyes he would
ascend to an angelical stature; and, as he attached the fervent nature of his companion
more and more closely to him, he heard the strange impersonal voice which he
recognised as his own, insisting on the souls incurable loneliness. We cannot give
ourselves, it said: we are our own. The end of these discourses was that one night during
which she had shown every sign of unusual excitement, Mrs. Sinico caught up his hand
passionately and pressed it to her cheek.
Mr. Duffy was very much surprised. Her interpretation of his words disillusioned him. He
did not visit her for a week, then he wrote to her asking her to meet him. As he did not
wish their last interview to be troubled by the influence of their ruined confessional they
meet in a little cakeshop near the Parkgate. It was cold autumn weather but in spite of


the cold they wandered up and down the roads of the Park for nearly three hours. They
agreed to break off their intercourse: every bond, he said, is a bond to sorrow. When
they came out of the Park they walked in silence towards the tram; but here she began
to tremble so violently that, fearing another collapse on her part, he bade her good-bye
quickly and left her. A few days later he received a parcel containing his books and music.
Four years passed. Mr. Duffy returned to his even way of life. His room still bore witness
of the orderliness of his mind. Some new pieces of music encumbered the music-stand in
the lower room and on his shelves stood two volumes by Nietzsche: Thus Spake
Zarathustra and The Gay Science. He wrote seldom in the sheaf of papers which lay in his
desk. One of his sentences, written two months after his last interview with Mrs. Sinico,
read: Love between man and man is impossible because there must not be sexual
intercourse and friendship between man and woman is impossible because there must be
sexual intercourse. He kept away from concerts lest he should meet her. His father died;
the junior partner of the bank retired. And still every morning he went into the city by
tram and every evening walked home from the city after having dined moderately in
Georges Street and read the evening paper for dessert.
One evening as he was about to put a morsel of corned beef and cabbage into his mouth
his hand stopped. His eyes fixed themselves on a paragraph in the evening paper which
he had propped against the water-carafe. He replaced the morsel of food on his plate and
read the paragraph attentively. Then he drank a glass of water, pushed his plate to one
side, doubled the paper down before him between his elbows and read the paragraph
over and over again. The cabbage began to deposit a cold white grease on his plate. The
girl came over to him to ask was his dinner not properly cooked. He said it was very good
and ate a few mouthfuls of it with difficulty. Then he paid his bill and went out.
He walked along quickly through the November twilight, his stout hazel stick striking the
ground regularly, the fringe of the buff Mail(9) peeping out of a side-pocket of his tight
reefer overcoat(10). On the lonely road which leads from the Parkgate to Chapelizod he
slackened his pace. His stick struck the ground less emphatically and his breath, issuing
irregularly, almost with a sighing sound, condensed in the wintry air. When he reached
his house he went up at once to his bedroom and, taking the paper from his pocket, read
the paragraph again by the failing light of the window. He read it not aloud, but moving
his lips as a priest does when he reads the prayers Secreto(11). This was the paragraph:
Today at the City of Dublin Hospital the Deputy Coroner(12) (in the absence of Mr.
Leverett) held an inquest on the body of Mrs. Emily Sinico, aged forty-three years, who
was killed at Sydney Parade Station(13) yesterday evening. The evidence showed that


the deceased lady, while attempting to cross the line, was knocked down by the engine of
the ten oclock slow train from Kingstown, thereby sustaining injuries of the head and
right side which led to her death.
James Lennon, driver of the engine, stated that he had been in the employment of the
railway company for fifteen years. On hearing the guards whistle he set the train in
motion and a second or two afterwards brought it to rest in response to loud cries. The
train was going slowly.
P. Dunne, railway porter, stated that as the train was about to start he observed a woman
attempting to cross the lines. He ran towards her and shouted, but, before he could
reach her, she was caught by the buffer of the engine and fell to the ground.
A juror. You saw the lady fall?
Witness. Yes.
Police Sergeant Croly deposed that when he arrived he found the deceased lying on the
platform apparently dead. He had the body taken to the waiting-room pending the arrival
of the ambulance.
Constable 57 corroborated.
Dr. Halpin, assistant house surgeon of the City of Dublin Hospital, stated that the
deceased had two lower ribs fractured and had sustained severe contusions of the right
shoulder. The right side of the head had been injured in the fall. The injuries were not
sufficient to have caused death in a normal person. Death, in his opinion, had been
probably due to shock and sudden failure of the hearts action.
Mr. H. B. Patterson Finlay, on behalf of the railway company, expressed his deep regret at
the accident. The company had always taken every precaution to prevent people crossing
the lines except by the bridges, both by placing notices in every station and by the use of
patent spring gates at level crossings. The deceased had been in the habit of crossing the
lines late at night from platform to platform and, in view of certain other circumstances
of the case, he did not think the railway officials were to blame.
Captain Sinico, of Leoville, Sydney Parade, husband of the deceased, also gave evidence.
He stated that the deceased was his wife. He was not in Dublin at the time of the
accident as he had arrived only that morning from Rotterdam. They had been married for
twenty-two years and had lived happily until about two years ago when his wife began to
be rather intemperate in her habits.


Miss Mary Sinico said that of late her mother had been in the habit of going out at night
to buy spirits. She, witness, had often tried to reason with her mother and had induced
her to join a League(14). She was not at home until an hour after the accident. The jury
returned a verdict in accordance with the medical evidence and exonerated Lennon from
all blame.
The Deputy Coroner said it was a most painful case, and expressed great sympathy with
Captain Sinico and his daughter. He urged on the railway company to take strong
measures to prevent the possibility of similar accidents in the future. No blame attached
to anyone.
Mr. Duffy raised his eyes from the paper and gazed out of his window on the cheerless
evening landscape. The river lay quiet beside the empty distillery and from time to time a
light appeared in some house on the Lucan road. What an end! The whole narrative of
her death revolted him and it revolted him to think that he had ever spoken to her of
what he held sacred. The threadbare phrases, the inane expressions of sympathy, the
cautious words of a reporter won over to conceal the details of a commonplace vulgar
death attacked his stomach. Not merely had she degraded herself; she had degraded
him. He saw the squalid tract of her vice, miserable and malodorous. His souls
companion! He thought of the hobbling wretches whom he had seen carrying cans and
bottles to be filled by the barman. Just God, what an end! Evidently she had been unfit to
live, without any strength of purpose, an easy prey to habits, one of the wrecks on which
civilisation has been reared. But that she could have sunk so low! Was it possible he had
deceived himself so utterly about her? He remembered her outburst of that night and
interpreted it in a harsher sense than he had ever done. He had no difficulty now in
approving of the course he had taken.
As the light failed and his memory began to wander he thought her hand touched his.
The shock which had first attacked his stomach was now attacking his nerves. He put on
his overcoat and hat quickly and went out. The cold air met him on the threshold; it crept
into the sleeves of his coat. When he came to the public-house at Chapelizod Bridge he
went in and ordered a hot punch.
The proprietor served him obsequiously but did not venture to talk. There were five or six
workingmen in the shop discussing the value of a gentlemans estate in County Kildare
They drank at intervals from their huge pint tumblers and smoked, spitting often on the
floor and sometimes dragging the sawdust over their spits with their heavy boots. Mr.
Duffy sat on his stool and gazed at them, without seeing or hearing them. After a while
they went out and he called for another punch. He sat a long time over it. The shop was
very quiet. The proprietor sprawled on the counter reading the Herald(15) and yawning.
Now and again a tram was heard swishing along the lonely road outside.


As he sat there, living over his life with her and evoking alternately the two images in
which he now conceived her, he realised that she was dead, that she had ceased to exist,
that she had become a memory. He began to feel ill at ease. He asked himself what else
could he have done. He could not have carried on a comedy of deception with her; he
could not have lived with her openly. He had done what seemed to him best. How was he
to blame? Now that she was gone he understood how lonely her life must have been,
sitting night after night alone in that room. His life would be lonely too until he, too, died,
ceased to exist, became a memoryif anyone remembered him.
It was after nine oclock when he left the shop. The night was cold and gloomy. He
entered the Park by the first gate and walked along under the gaunt trees. He walked
through the bleak alleys where they had walked four years before. She seemed to be
near him in the darkness. At moments he seemed to feel her voice touch his ear, her
hand touch his. He stood still to listen. Why had he withheld life from her? Why had he
sentenced her to death? He felt his moral nature falling to pieces.
When he gained the crest of the Magazine Hill he halted and looked along the river
towards Dublin, the lights of which burned redly and hospitably in the cold night. He
looked down the slope and, at the base, in the shadow of the wall of the Park, he saw
some human figures lying. Those venal and furtive loves filled him with despair. He
gnawed the rectitude of his life; he felt that he had been outcast from lifes feast. One
human being had seemed to love him and he had denied her life and happiness: he had
sentenced her to ignominy, a death of shame. He knew that the prostrate creatures down
by the wall were watching him and wished him gone. No one wanted him; he was outcast
from lifes feast. He turned his eyes to the grey gleaming river, winding along towards
Dublin. Beyond the river he saw a goods train winding out of Kingsbridge Station, like a
worm with a fiery head winding through the darkness, obstinately and laboriously. It
passed slowly out of sight; but still he heard in his ears the laborious drone of the engine
reiterating the syllables of her name.
He turned back the way he had come, the rhythm of the engine pounding in his ears. He
began to doubt the reality of what memory told him. He halted under a tree and allowed
the rhythm to die away. He could not feel her near him in the darkness nor her voice
touch his ear. He waited for some minutes listening. He could hear nothing: the night was
perfectly silent. He listened again: perfectly silent. He felt that he was alone.


PART IV. Public life.

4.12 Ivy Day in the Committee Room452


J. Joyce, Dubliners. Ivy Day in the Committee Room, Penguin Classics, Clays Ltd.,
London, 2000, p. 119-138.


OLD JACK raked the cinders together with a piece of cardboard and spread them
judiciously over the whitening dome of coals. When the dome was thinly covered his face
lapsed into darkness but, as he set himself to fan the fire again, his crouching shadow
ascended the opposite wall and his face slowly reemerged into light. It was an old mans
face, very bony and hairy. The moist blue eyes blinked at the fire and the moist mouth
fell open at times, munching once or twice mechanically when it closed. When the cinders
had caught he laid the piece of cardboard against the wall, sighed and said:
Thats better now, Mr. OConnor.
Mr. OConnor, a grey-haired young man, whose face was disfigured by many blotches and
pimples, had just brought the tobacco for a cigarette into a shapely cylinder but when
spoken to he undid his handiwork meditatively. Then he began to roll the tobacco again
meditatively and after a moments thought decided to lick the paper.
Did Mr. Tierney say when hed be back? he asked in a sky falsetto.
He didnt say.
Mr. OConnor put his cigarette into his mouth and began search his pockets. He took out
a pack of thin pasteboard cards.
Ill get you a match, said the old man.
Never mind, thisll do, said Mr. OConnor.
He selected one of the cards and read what was printed on it:
Mr. Richard J. Tierney, P.L.G.(4), respectfully solicits the
favour of your vote and influence at the coming election
in the Royal Exchange Ward.
Mr. OConnor had been engaged by Tierneys agent to canvass one part of the ward but,
as the weather was inclement and his boots let in the wet, he spent a great part of the
day sitting by the fire in the Committee Room in Wicklow Street with Jack, the old
caretaker. They had been sitting thus since e short day had grown dark. It was the sixth
of October, dismal and cold out of doors.
Mr. OConnor tore a strip off the card and, lighting it, lit his cigarette. As he did so the
flame lit up a leaf of dark glossy ivy the lapel of his coat. The old man watched him


attentively and then, taking up the piece of cardboard again, began to fan the fire slowly
while his companion smoked.
Ah, yes, he said, continuing, its hard to know what way to bring up children. Now
whod think hed turn out like that! I sent him to the Christian Brothers(5) and I done
what I could him, and there he goes boosing about. I tried to make him someway
He replaced the cardboard wearily.
Only Im an old man now Id change his tune for him. Id take the stick to his back and
beat him while I could stand over himas I done many a time before. The mother, you
know, she cocks him up(6) with this and that....
Thats what ruins children, said Mr. OConnor.
To be sure it is, said the old man. And little thanks you get for it, only impudence. He
takes thupper hand of me whenever he sees Ive a sup taken(7). Whats the world
coming to when sons speaks that way to their fathers?
What age is he? said Mr. OConnor.
Nineteen, said the old man.
Why dont you put him to something?
Sure, amnt I never done at the drunken bowsy(8) ever since he left school? I wont
keep you, I says. You must get a job for yourself. But, sure, its worse whenever he gets
a job; he drinks it all.
Mr. OConnor shook his head in sympathy, and the old man fell silent, gazing into the fire.
Someone opened the door of the room and called out:
Hello! Is this a Freemasons meeting?(9)
Whos that? said the old man.
What are you doing in the dark? asked a voice.
Is that you, Hynes? asked Mr. OConnor.
Yes. What are you doing in the dark? said Mr. Hynes. advancing into the light of the


He was a tall, slender young man with a light brown moustache. Imminent little drops of
rain hung at the brim of his hat and the collar of his jacket-coat was turned up.
Well, Mat, he said to Mr. OConnor, how goes it?
Mr. OConnor shook his head. The old man left the hearth and after stumbling about the
room returned with two candlesticks which he thrust one after the other into the fire and
carried to the table. A denuded room came into view and the fire lost all its cheerful
colour. The walls of the room were bare except for a copy of an election address. In the
middle of the room was a small table on which papers were heaped.
Mr. Hynes leaned against the mantelpiece and asked:
Has he paid you yet?
Not yet, said Mr. OConnor. I hope to God hell not leave us in the lurch tonight.
Mr. Hynes laughed.
O, hell pay you. Never fear, he said.
I hope hell look smart about it if he means business, said Mr. OConnor.
What do you think, Jack? said Mr. Hynes satirically to the old man.
The old man returned to his seat by the fire, saying:
It isnt but he has it, anyway. Not like the other tinker.(10)
What other tinker? said Mr. Hynes.
Colgan, said the old man scornfully.
It is because Colgans a workingman you say that? Whats the difference between a
good honest bricklayer and a publicaneh? Hasnt the working-man as good a right to be
in the Corporation as anyone elseay, and a better right than those shoneens(11) that
are always hat in hand before any fellow with a handle to his name?(12) Isnt that so,
Mat? said Mr. Hynes, addressing Mr. OConnor.
I think youre right, said Mr. OConnor.
One man is a plain honest man with no hunker-sliding(13) about him. He goes in to
represent the labour classes. This fellow youre working for only wants to get some job or


0f course, the working-classes should be represented, said the old man.

The working-man, said Mr. Hynes, gets all kicks and no halfpence. But its 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.
Hows that? said the old man.
Dont 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 wont vote for the address, said Mr. OConnor. He goes in on the Nationalist
Wont he? said Mr. Hynes. Wait till you see whether he will or not. I know him. Is it
Tricky Dicky Tierney?
By God! perhaps youre right, Joe, said Mr. OConnor. Anyway, I wish hed turn up with
the spondulics.(14)
The three men fell silent. The old man began to rake more cinders together. Mr. Hynes
took off his hat, shook it and then turned down the collar of his coat, displaying, as he
did so, an ivy leaf in the lapel.
If this man was alive, he said, pointing to the leaf, wed have no talk of an address of
Thats true, said Mr. OConnor.
Musha(15), 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 chair.
O, dont stir, Jack, dont 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. OConnor.

Yes, said Mr. OConnor, beginning to search his pockets for memoranda.
Did you call on Grimes?
I did.
Well? How does he stand?
He wouldnt promise. He said: I wont tell anyone what way Im going to vote. But I
think hell be all right.
Why so?
He asked me who the nominators were; and I told him. I mentioned Father Burkes
name. I think itll be all right.
Mr. Henchy began to snuffle and to rub his hands over the fire at a terrific speed. Then he
For the love of God, Jack, bring us a bit of coal. There must be some left.
The old man went out of the room.
Its 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 wont forget you, you may be
sure. Mean little tinker! Usha(16), how could he be anything else?
What did I tell you, Mat? said Mr. Hynes. Tricky Dicky Tierney.
0, hes as tricky as they make em, said Mr. Henchy. He hasnt got those little pigs
eyes for nothing. Blast his soul! Couldnt he pay up like a man instead of: O, now, Mr.
Henchy, I must speak to Mr. Fanning.... Ive spent a lot of money? Mean little
schoeboy(17) of hell! I suppose he forgets the time his little old father kept the hand-medown shop(18) in Marys Lane.
But is that a fact? asked Mr. OConnor.
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 trousersmoya!
(19) But Tricky Dickys little old father always had a tricky little black bottle up in a
corner.(20) Do you mind now? Thats that. Thats where he first saw the light.


The old man returned with a few lumps of coal which he placed here and there on the
Thats a nice how-do-you-do, said Mr. OConnor. How does he expect us to work for him
if he wont stump up?
I cant 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.
Itll be all right when King Eddie comes, he said. Well boys, Im 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. OConnor, who had been staring moodily into the fire,
called out suddenly:
Bye, Joe.
Mr. Henchy waited a few moments and then nodded in the direction of the door.
Tell me, he said across the fire, what brings our friend in here? What does he want?
Usha, poor Joe! said Mr. OConnor, throwing the end of his cigarette into the fire, hes
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 hes a man from the other
camp. Hes a spy of Colgans, if you ask me. Just go round and try and find out how
theyre getting on. They wont suspect you. Do you twig?
Ah, poor Joe is a decent skin(21), said Mr. OConnor.
His father was a decent, respectable man, Mr. Henchy admitted. Poor old Larry Hynes!
Many a good turn he did in his day! But Im greatly afraid our friend is not nineteen
carat. Damn it, I can understand a fellow being hard up, but what I cant understand is a
fellow sponging. Couldnt he have some spark of manhood about him?
He doesnt get a warm welcome from me when he comes, said the old man. Let him
work for his own side and not come spying around here.


I dont know, said Mr. OConnor dubiously, as he took out cigarette-papers and tobacco.
I think Joe Hynes is a straight man. Hes a clever chap, too, with the pen. Do you
remember that thing he wrote...?
Some of these hillsiders and fenians(22) 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.
Theres no knowing, said the old man.
O, but I know it for a fact, said Mr. Henchy. Theyre Castle hacks(23).... I dont say
Hynes.... No, damn it, I think hes a stroke above that.... But theres a certain little
nobleman with a cock-eye you know the patriot Im alluding to?
Mr. OConnor nodded.
Theres a lineal descendant of Major Sirr for you if you like! O, the hearts blood of a
patriot! Thats a fellow now thatd sell his country for fourpenceayand 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 clergymans collar or a laymans, 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.
Wont you come in and sit down?
No, no, no! said Father Keon, speaking in a discreet, indulgent, velvety voice. Dont let
me disturb you now! Im just looking for Mr. Fanning....


Hes round at the Black Eagle, said Mr. Henchy. But wont you come in and sit down a
No, no, thank you. It was just a little business matter, said Father Keon. Thank you,
He retreated from the doorway and Mr. Henchy, seizing one of the candlesticks, went to
the door to light him downstairs.
O, dont 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 moments.
Tell me, John, said Mr. OConnor, 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. Theyre often in Kavanaghs together. Is he
a priest at all?
Mmmyes, I believe so.... I think hes what you call black sheep. We havent many of
them, thank God! but we have a few.... Hes an unfortunate man of some kind....
And how does he knock it out?(24) asked Mr. OConnor.
Thats another mystery.
Is he attached to any chapel or church or institution or-
No, said Mr. Henchy, I think hes travelling on his own account...(25). God forgive me,
he added, I thought he was the dozen of stout.


Is there any chance of a drink itself? asked Mr. OConnor.

Im 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(26) with Alderman Cowley.
Why didnt you remind him? said Mr. OConnor.
Well, I couldnt 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.... Thatll
be all right, Mr. H., he said. Yerra, sure the little hop-o-my-thumb(27) has forgotten all
about it.
Theres some deal on in that quarter, said Mr. OConnor thoughtfully. I saw the three of
them hard at it yesterday at Suffolk Street corner.
I think I know the little game theyre at, said Mr. Henchy. You must owe the City
Fathers money nowadays if you want to be made Lord Mayor. Then theyll make you Lord
Mayor. By God! Im thinking seriously of becoming a City Father myself. What do you
think? Would I do for the job?
Mr. OConnor laughed.
So far as owing money goes....
Driving out of the Mansion House, said Mr. Henchy, in all my vermin(28), with Jack
here standing up behind me in a powdered wig eh?
And make me your private secretary, John.
Yes. And Ill make Father Keon my private chaplain. Well have a family party.
Faith, Mr. Henchy, said the old man, youd 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 havent much entertaining now, says I. Entertaining! says he.
Hed live on the smell of an oil-rag. And do you know what he told me? Now, I declare to
God I didnt believe him.
What? said Mr. Henchy and Mr. OConnor.


He told me: What do you think of a Lord Mayor of Dublin sending out for a pound of
chops for his dinner? Hows that for high living? says he. Wisha!(29) 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 head.
What is it? said the old man.
From the Black Eagle, said the boy, walking in sideways and depositing a basket on the
floor with a noise of shaken bottles.
The old man helped the boy to transfer the bottles from the basket to the table and
counted the full tally. After the transfer the boy put his basket on his arm and asked:
Any bottles?(30)
What bottles? said the old man.
Wont 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 OFarrells and ask him to lend us a
corkscrewfor Mr. Henchy, say. Tell him we wont keep it a minute. Leave the basket
The boy went out and Mr. Henchy began to rub his hands cheerfully, saying:
Ah, well, hes not so bad after all. Hes as good as his word, anyhow.
Theres no tumblers, said the old man.
O, dont let that trouble you, Jack, said Mr. Henchy. Manys the good man before now
drank out of the bottle.
Anyway, its better than nothing, said Mr. OConnor.
Hes not a bad sort, said Mr. Henchy, only Fanning has such a loan of him.(31) He
means well, you know, in his own tinpot way.(32)


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 the boy.
What age are you? he asked.
Seventeen, said the boy.
As the old man said nothing further, the boy took the bottle. said: Heres 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.
Thats the way it begins, said the old man.
The thin edge of the wedge,(33) 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
hands reach and drew in a long breath of satisfaction.
Well, I did a good days work today, said Mr. Henchy, after a pause.
That so, John?
Yes. I got him one or two sure things in Dawson Street, Crofton and myself. Between
ourselves, you know, Crofton (hes a decent chap, of course), but hes not worth a damn
as a canvasser. He hasnt 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 oxs face in expression, staring blue eyes and a grizzled moustache.
The other man, who was much younger and frailer, had a thin, clean-shaven face. He
wore a very high double collar and a wide-brimmed bowler hat.
Hello, Crofton! said Mr. Henchy to the fat man. Talk of the devil...
Where did the boose come from? asked the young man. Did the cow calve?(34)


O, of course, Lyons spots the drink first thing! said Mr. OConnor, laughing.
Is that the way you chaps canvass, said Mr. Lyons, and Crofton and I out in the cold
and rain looking for votes?
Why, blast your soul, said Mr. Henchy, Id get more votes in five minutes than you
twod get in a week.
Open two bottles of stout, Jack, said Mr. OConnor.
How can I? said the old man, when theres no corkscrew?
Wait now, wait now! said Mr. Henchy, getting up quickly. Did you ever see this little
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(35) 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
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(36) for one, and I got Atkinson(36) for two, and got Ward(36) of
Dawson Street. Fine old chap he is, tooregular old toff, old Conservative! But isnt your
candidate a Nationalist? said he. Hes a respectable man, said I. Hes in favour of
whatever will benefit this country. Hes a big ratepayer(37), I said. He has extensive


house property in the city and three places of business and isnt it to his own advantage
to keep down the rates? Hes a prominent and respected citizen, said I, and a Poor Law
Guardian, and he doesnt belong to any party, good, bad, or indifferent. Thats 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 Kings 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. Its capital we want.
But look here, John, said Mr. OConnor. Why should we welcome the King of England?
Didnt Parnell himself...(38)
Parnell, said Mr. Henchy, is dead. Now, heres the way I look at it. Heres this chap
come to the throne after his old mother keeping him out of it till the man was grey.(39)
Hes a man of the world, and he means well by us. Hes 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.(40) By Christ, Ill go myself and see what theyre like. And
are we going to insult the man when he comes over here on a friendly visit? Eh? Isnt
that right, Crofton?
Mr. Crofton nodded his head.
But after all now, said Mr. Lyons argumentatively, King Edwards life(41), you know, is
not the very...
Let bygones be bygones, said Mr. Henchy. I admire the man personally. Hes just an
ordinary knockabout like you and me. Hes fond of his glass of grog and hes a bit of a
rake, perhaps, and hes a good sportsman. Damn it, cant we Irish play fair?
Thats all very fine, said Mr. Lyons. But look at the case of Parnell now.
In the name of God, said Mr. Henchy, wheres 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 Parnells anniversary, said Mr. OConnor, and dont let us stir up any bad blood.
We all respect him now that hes dead and goneeven the Conservatives, he added,
turning to Mr. Crofton.
Pok! The tardy cork flew out of Mr. Croftons 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! Thats the way he treated
them. Come in, Joe! Come in! he called out, catching sight of Mr. Hynes in the doorway.
Mr. Hynes came in slowly.
Open another bottle of stout, Jack, said Mr. Henchy. O, I forgot theres no corkscrew!
Here, show me one here and Ill put it at the fire.
The old man handed him another bottle and he placed it on the hob.
Sit down, Joe, said Mr. OConnor, were just talking about the Chief.(42)
Ay, ay! said Mr. Henchy.
Mr. Hynes sat on the side of the table near Mr. Lyons but said nothing.
Theres one of them, anyhow, said Mr. Henchy, that didnt renege him. By God, Ill say
for you, Joe! No, by God, you stuck to him like a man!
0, Joe, said Mr. OConnor suddenly. Give us that thing you wrotedo 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. OConnor. 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, thats old now.
Out with it, man! said Mr. OConnor.


Sh, sh, said Mr. Henchy. Now, Joe!

Mr. Hynes hesitated a little longer. Then amid the silence he took off his hat, laid it on the
table and stood up. He seemed to be rehearsing the piece in his mind. After a rather long
pause he announced:
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 Erins hopes and Erins dreams
Perish upon her monarchs pyre.
In palace, cabin or in cot
The Irish heart whereer it be
Is bowed with woefor 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 priestsno 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 Erins 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 Freedoms reign.
And on that day may Erin well


Pledge in the cup she lifts to Joy

One griefthe 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. OConnor, taking out his cigarette papers and pouch the better
to hide his emotion.
What do you think of that, Crofton? cried Mr. Henchy. Isnt that fine? What?
Crofton said that it was a very fine piece of writing.

4.13 A Mother453
MR HOLOHAN, assistant secretary of the Eire Abu Society(1), 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


J. Joyce, Dubliners. A Mother, Penguin Classics, Clays Ltd., London, 2000, p. 139-154.


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(2), 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(3), 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(4) began to be appreciable Mrs. Kearney determined to take
advantage of her daughters name(5) 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(6), a little crowd of people would assemble after mass at the
corner of Cathedral Street. They were all friends of the Kearneysmusical friends or
Nationalist(7) 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 peoples 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(8).
She brought him into the drawing-room, made him sit down and brought out the
decanter and the silver biscuit-barrel. She entered heart and soul into the details of the
enterprise, advised and dissuaded: and finally a contract was drawn up by which
Kathleen was to receive eight guineas for her services as accompanist at the four grand


As Mr. Holohan was a novice in such delicate matters as the wording of bills and the
disposing of items for a programme, Mrs. Kearney helped him. She had tact. She knew
what artistes should go into capitals and what artistes should go into small type. She
knew that the first tenor would not like to come on after Mr. Meades 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 advisinghomely, in fact. She pushed the decanter
towards him, saying:
Now, help yourself, Mr. Holohan!
And while he was helping himself she said:
Dont be afraid! Don t be afraid of it!
Everything went on smoothly. Mrs. Kearney bought some lovely blush-pink charmeuse in
Brown Thomass to let into the front of Kathleens 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 wed better open the ball.


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 didnt like in the look of things and Mr. Fitzpatricks 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 doesnt alter the contract, she said. The contract was for four
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. Kearneys anger began to flutter in
her cheek and she had all she could do to keep from asking:
And who is the Cometty pray?
But she knew that it would not be ladylike to do that: so she was silent.
Little boys were sent out into the principal streets of Dublin early on Friday morning with
bundles of handbills. Special puffs appeared in all the evening papers, reminding the
music 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
daughters 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.(8)
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(9) at the
Queens 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(10) so softly that it passed unnoticed and he never drank
anything stronger than milk for his voices sake. Mr. Bell, the second tenor, was a fairhaired little man who competed every year for prizes at the Feis Ceoil(11). 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. Im 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 didnt 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 wasnt his business.
Why isnt it your business? asked Mrs. Kearney. Didnt you yourself bring her the
contract? Anyway, if its not your business its my business and I mean to see to it.
Youd better speak to Mr. Fitzpatrick, said Mr. Holohan distantly.
I dont know anything about Mr. Fitzpatrick, repeated Mrs. Kearney. I have my
contract, and I intend to see that it is carried out.
When she came back to the dressing-room her cheeks were slightly suffused. The room
was lively. Two men in outdoor dress had taken possession of the fireplace and were
chatting familiarly with Miss Healy and the baritone. They were the Freeman man and Mr.
OMadden Burke. The Freeman man(12) 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.
OMadden Burke will write the notice, he explained to Mr. Holohan, and Ill see it in.
Thank you very much, Mr. Hendrick, said Mr. Holohan. youll see it in, I know. Now,
wont you have a little something before you go?


I dont 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. OMadden 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 respected.
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
Kathleens 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. Bells nerves were greatly agitated because he was
afraid the audience would think that he had come late.
Mr. Holohan and Mr. OMadden 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 intervals:
She wont 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 wont 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
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. Kearneys 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 Glynns item. The poor
lady sang Killarney(13) 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.
OMadden Burke. Mr. OMadden Burke said it was the most scandalous exhibition he had
ever witnessed. Miss Kathleen Kearneys musical career was ended in Dublin after that,
he said. The baritone was asked what did he think of Mrs. Kearneys 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
I agree with Miss Beirne, said Mr. OMadden Burke. Pay her nothing.
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 wouldnt 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 wouldnt be fooled. If they didnt 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 Kathleens and the
Kearneys had often invited her to their house.
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 havent 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 wont put on that
Im 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.
Im 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 cant get a
civil answer.
She tossed her head and assumed a haughty voice:
You must speak to the secretary. Its not my business. Im a great fellow fol-the-diddleI-do.(14)
I thought you were a lady, said Mr. Holohan, walking away from her abruptly.
After that Mrs. Kearneys 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 daughters 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. Holohans face.
Im not done with you yet, she said.
But Im 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 fire.
Thats a nice lady! he said. O, shes a nice lady!
You did the proper thing, Holohan, said Mr. OMadden Burke, poised upon his umbrella in


4.14 Grace454
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 his mouth.
These two gentlemen and one of the curates (2) 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:

J. Joyce, Dubliners. Grace, Penguin Classics, Clays Ltd., London, 2000, p. 155-182.


Give him air. Hes fainted.

The ring of onlookers distended and closed again elastically. A dark medal of blood had
formed itself near the mans head on the tessellated floor. The manager, alarmed by the
grey pallor of the mans 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? Whats 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 mans 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 mans 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.
Youre 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 mans 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! Whats the trouble?
Sha,s nothing, said the man.
The new-comer surveyed the deplorable figure before him and then turned to the
constable, saying:
Its all right, constable. Ill 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 oliged 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 oliged to you, sir. I hope well eet again. y nae is Kernan.


The shock and the incipient pain had partly sobered him.
Dont 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.
Iant an, he answered, y ongue is hurt.
The other leaned over the well of the car and peered into Mr. Kernans 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.
Thats 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 (3), 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 addressLondon, 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


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 friends decline, but Mr.
Kernans 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 (5). 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 (6) in. The
children two girls and a boy, conscious of their father helplessness and of their mothers
absence, began some horseplay with him. He was surprised at their manners and at their
accents (7), and his brow grew thoughtful. After a while Mrs. Kernan entered the kitchen,
Such a sight! O, hell do for himself one day and thats the holy alls of it (8). Hes 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. Powers good offices
during domestic quarrels, as well as many small, but opportune loans, said:
O, you neednt tell me that, Mr. Power. I know youre a friend of his, not like some of the
others he does be with. Theyre 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, Id like to
Mr. Power shook his head but said nothing.
Im so sorry, she continued, that Ive nothing in the house to offer you. But if you wait
a minute Ill send round to Fogartys, at the corner.
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, well make him turn over a new leaf. Ill talk to
Martin. Hes the man. Well come here one of these nights and talk it over.
She saw him to the door. The carman was stamping up and down the footpath, and
swinging his arms to warm himself.


Its 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.
Well make a new man of him, he said. Good-night, Mrs. Kernan.
Mrs. Kernans puzzled eyes watched the car till it was out of sight. Then she withdrew
them, went into the house and emptied her husbands pockets.
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. Powers 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 wifes 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 twentyfive years she had kept house shrewdly for her husband. Her two eldest sons were
launched. One was in a drapers shop in Glasgow and the other was clerk to a teamerchant 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 order.
Two nights after, his friends came to see him. She brought them up to his bedroom, the
air of which was impregnated with a personal odour, and gave them chairs at the fire. Mr.
Kernans 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 veterans pride.


He was quite unconscious that he was the victim of a plot which his friends, Mr.
Cunningham, Mr. MCoy and Mr. Power had disclosed to Mrs. Kernan in the parlour. The
idea been Mr. Powers, 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 Shakespeares.
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 husbands 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. Kernans 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 (10) 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, Im not seventy, said the invalid.
God forbid, said Mr. Cunningham.


It doesnt pain you now? asked Mr. MCoy.

Mr. MCoy 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 (11) and for The Freemans Journal, a town traveller
for a coal firm on commission, a private inquiry agent, a clerk in the office of the SubSheriff, and he had recently become secretary to the City Coroner. His new office made
him professionally interested in Mr. Kernans case.
Pain? Not much, answered Mr. Kernan. But its so sickening. I feel as if I wanted to
retch off.
Thats the boose, said Mr. Cunningham firmly.
No, said Mr. Kernan. I think I caught cold on the car. Theres something keeps coming
into my throat, phlegm or
Mucus. said Mr. MCoy.
It keeps coming like from down in my throat; sickening.
Yes, yes, said Mr. MCoy, thats 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, alls well that ends well.
Im 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 dont know his name. Damn it now, whats his name? Little chap with sandy
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 travelers (12). 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. Harfords manners in drinking were silent. Mr. Power said
Alls 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 (13), Tom, said Mr. Cunningham gravely.
True bill (14), said Mr. Kernan, equally gravely.
I suppose you squared the constable, Jack, said Mr. MCoy.
Mr. Power did not relish the use of his Christian name. He was not straight-laced, but he
could not forget that Mr. MCoy had recently made a crusade in search of valises and


portmanteaus (15) to enable Mrs. MCoy 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
(16)... and theyre nothing else.
Mr. Cunningham laughed. He was a Castle official only during office hours.
How could they be anything else, Tom? he said.
He assumed a thick, provincial accent and said in a tone of command:
65, catch your cabbage!
Everyone laughed. Mr. MCoy, who wanted to enter the conversation by any door,
pretended that he had never heard the story. Mr. Cunningham said:
It is supposedthey say, you knowto take place in the depot where they get these
thundering big country fellows, omadhauns (17), 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 (18) coming up here (19), he said, think they can boss the people. I
neednt tell you, Martin, what kind of men they are.
Mr. Cunningham gave a qualified assent.
Its 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, satisfied.
Its better to have nothing to say to them, said Mr. MCoy. Thats my opinion!
Mrs. Kernan entered the room and, placing a tray on the table, said:
Help yourselves, gentlemen.
Mr. Power stood up to officiate, offering her his chair. She declined it, saying she was
ironing downstairs, and, after having exchanged a nod with Mr. Cunningham behind Mr.
Powers 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 MAuleys, said Mr. MCoy. Thatll be the most convenient place.
But we mustnt be late, said Mr. Power earnestly, because it is sure to be crammed to
the doors.
We can meet at half-seven, said Mr. MCoy.
Righto! said Mr. Cunningham.
Half-seven at MAuleys be it!


There was a short silence. Mr. Kernan waited to see whether he would be taken into his
friends confidence. Then he asked:
Whats in the wind?
O, its nothing, said Mr. Cunningham. Its only a little matter that were arranging
about for Thursday.
The opera, is it? said Mr. Kernan.
No, no, said Mr. Cunningham in an evasive tone, its 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, were going to make a retreat.(20)
Yes, thats it, said Mr. Cunningham, Jack and I and MCoy here were all going to
wash the pot.(21)
He uttered the metaphor with a certain homely energy and, encouraged by his own
voice, proceeded:
You see, we may as well all admit were 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. MCoy.
So were going to wash the pot together, said Mr. Cunningham.
A thought seemed to strike him. He turned suddenly to the invalid and said:
Dye know what, Tom, has just occurred to me? You night join in and wed have a fourhanded 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 havent such a bad opinion of the Jesuits, he said, intervening at length. Theyre an
educated order. I believe they mean well, too.
Theyre the grandest order in the Church, Tom, said Mr. Cunningham, with enthusiasm.
The General of the Jesuits stands next to the Pope.
Theres no mistake about it, said Mr. MCoy, if you want a thing well done and no flies
about, you go to a Jesuit. Theyre the boyos have influence. Ill tell you a case in point....
The Jesuits are a fine body of men, said Mr. Power.
Its 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. MCoy.
Thats a fact, said Mr. Cunningham. Thats history.
Look at their church, too, said Mr. Power. Look at the congregation they have.
The Jesuits cater for the upper classes, said Mr. MCoy.
Of course, said Mr. Power.
Yes, said Mr. Kernan. Thats why I have a feeling for them. Its some of those secular
priests, ignorant, bumptious
Theyre 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. MCoy, unworthy of
the name.
Perhaps youre right, said Mr. Kernan, relenting.
Of course Im right, said Mr. Cunningham. I havent been in the world all this time and
seen most sides of it without being a judge of character.


The gentlemen drank again, one following anothers 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, its just a retreat, you know, said Mr. Cunningham. Father Purdon is giving it. Its for
business men, you know.
He wont 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! Hes a
man of the world like ourselves.
Ah,... yes. I think I know him. Rather red face; tall.
Thats the man.
And tell me, Martin.... Is he a good preacher?
Munno.... Its not exactly a sermon, you know. Its just kind of a friendly talk, you know,
in a common-sense way.
Mr. Kernan deliberated. Mr. MCoy 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 him....
And yet they say he wasnt much of a theologian, said Mr Cunningham.
Is that so? said Mr. MCoy.
O, of course, nothing wrong, you know. Only sometimes, they say, he didnt preach
what was quite orthodox.
Ah!... he was a splendid man, said Mr. MCoy.
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 know... the


The body, said Mr. Cunningham.

Yes, in the back near the door. I forget now what.... O yes, it was on the Pope, the late
Pope. I remember it well. Upon my word it was magnificent, the style of the oratory. And
his voice! God! hadnt he a voice! The Prisoner of the Vatican (25), he called him. I
remember Crofton saying to me when we came out
But hes an Orangeman, Crofton, isnt he? said Mr. Power.
Course he is, said Mr. Kernan, and a damned decent Orangeman (26) too. We went
into Butlers in Moore Streetfaith, was genuinely moved, tell you the Gods truthand 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.
Theres a good deal in that, said Mr. Power. There used always be crowds of
Protestants in the chapel where Father Tom was preaching.
Theres not much difference between us, said Mr. MCoy.
We both believe in
He hesitated for a moment.
... in the Redeemer. Only they dont 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:
Heres a visitor for you!
Who is it?
Mr. Fogarty.
O, come in! come in!
A pale, oval face came forward into the light. The arch of its fair trailing moustache was
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 (27). 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 wouldnt 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 (28)Light upon Light.
No, no, said Mr. Fogarty eagerly. I think youre wrong there. It was Lux in Tenebris, I
thinkLight in Darkness.
O yes, said Mr. MCoy, Tenebrae.
Allow me, said Mr. Cunningham positively, it was Lux upon Lux. And Pius IX his
predecessors motto was Crux upon Crux that is, Cross upon Crossto show the
difference between their two pontificates.
The inference was allowed. Mr. Cunningham continued.
Pope Leo (29), you know, was a great scholar and a poet.(30)
He had a strong face, said Mr. Kernan.
Yes, said Mr. Cunningham. He wrote Latin poetry.
Is that so? said Mr. Fogarty.


Mr. MCoy tasted his whisky contentedly and shook his head with a double intention,
Thats no joke, I can tell you.
We didnt learn that, Tom, said Mr. Power, following Mr. MCoys 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,(31) 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 Leos poems was on the
invention of the photographin Latin, of course.
On the photograph! exclaimed Mr. Kernan.
Yes, said Mr. Cunningham.
He also drank from his glass.
Well, you know, said Mr. MCoy, isnt 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 (32), said Mr. Fogarty.
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. Werent some of the popesof course, not our present man,
or his predecessor, but some of the old popesnot exactly ... you know... up to the
knocker? (33)
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 isnt that an astonishing thing?
That is, said Mr. Kernan.
Yes, because when the Pope speaks ex cathedra, Mr. Fogarty explained, he is
Yes, said Mr. Cunningham.
O, I know about the infallibility of the Pope. I remember I was younger then.... Or was it
Mr. Fogarty interrupted. He took up the bottle and helped the others to a little more. Mr.
MCoy, seeing that there was not enough to go round, pleaded that he had not finished
his first measure. The others accepted under protest. The light music of whisky falling
into glasses made an agreeable interlude.
Whats that you were saying, Tom? asked Mr. MCoy.
Papal infallibility, said Mr. Cunningham, that was the greatest scene in the whole
history of the Church.
How was that, Martin? asked Mr. Power.
Mr. Cunningham held up two thick fingers.
In the sacred college, you know, of cardinals and archbishops and bishops there were
two men who held out against it while the others were all for it. The whole conclave
except these two was unanimous. No! They wouldnt have it!
Ha! said Mr. MCoy.
And they were a German cardinal by the name of Dolling... or Dowling... or
Dowling was no German, and thats a sure five, said Mr. Power, laughing.
Well, this great German cardinal, whatever his name was, was one; and the other was
John MacHale.
What? cried Mr. Kernan. Is it John of Tuam?


Are you sure of that now? asked Mr. Fogarty dubiously. I thought it was some Italian
or American.
John of Tuam, repeated Mr. Cunningham, was the man.
He drank and the other gentlemen followed his lead. Then he resumed:
There they were at it, all the cardinals and bishops and archbishops from all the ends of
the earth and these two fighting dog and devil until at last the Pope himself stood up and
declared infallibility a dogma of the Church ex cathedra. On the very moment John
MacHale, who had been arguing and arguing against it, stood up and shouted out with
the voice of a lion: Credo!(35)
I believe! said Mr. Fogarty.
Credo! said Mr. Cunningham That showed the faith he had. He submitted the moment
the Pope spoke.
And what about Dowling? asked Mr. MCoy.
The German cardinal wouldnt submit. He left the church.
Mr. Cunninghams words had built up the vast image of the church in the minds of his
hearers. His deep, raucous voice had thrilled them as it uttered the word of belief and
submission. When Mrs. Kernan came into the room, drying her hands she came into a
solemn company. She did not disturb the silence, but leaned over the rail at the foot of
the bed.
I once saw John MacHale, said Mr. Kernan, and Ill never forget it as long as I live.
He turned towards his wife to be confirmed.
I often told you that?
Mrs. Kernan nodded.
It was at the unveiling of Sir John Grays (36) statue. Edmund Dwyer Gray (37) was
speaking, blathering away, and here was this old fellow, crabbed-looking old chap,
looking at him from under his bushy eyebrows.
Mr. Kernan knitted his brows and, lowering his head like an angry bull, glared at his wife.


God! he exclaimed, resuming his natural face, I never saw such an eye in a mans
head. It was as much as to say: I have you properly taped, my lad. He had an eye like a
None of the Grays was any good,(38) said Mr. Power.
There was a pause again. Mr. Power turned to Mrs. Kernan and said with abrupt joviality:
Well, Mrs. Kernan, were going to make your man here a good holy pious and Godfearing Roman Catholic.
He swept his arm round the company inclusively.
Were all going to make a retreat together and confess our sins and God knows we
want it badly.
I dont mind, said Mr. Kernan, smiling a little nervously.
Mrs. Kernan thought it would be wiser to conceal her satisfaction. So she said:
I pity the poor priest that has to listen to your tale.
Mr. Kernans expression changed.
If he doesnt like it, he said bluntly, he can... do the other thing. Ill just tell him my
little tale of woe. Im not such a bad fellow
Mr. Cunningham intervened promptly.
Well all renounce the devil, he said, together, not forgetting his works and pomps.
Get behind me, Satan! said Mr. Fogarty, laughing and looking at the others.
Mr. Power said nothing. He felt completely out-generalled. But a pleased expression
flickered across his face.
All we have to do, said Mr. Cunningham, is to stand up with lighted candles in our
hands and renew our baptismal vows.(39)
O, dont forget the candle, Tom, said Mr. MCoy, whatever you do.
What? said Mr. Kernan. Must I have a candle?
O yes, said Mr. Cunningham.


No, damn it all, said Mr. Kernan sensibly, I draw the line there. Ill do the job right
enough. Ill do the retreat business and confession, and... all that business. But... no
candles! No, damn it all, I bar the candles!(40)
He shook his head with farcical gravity.
Listen to that! said his wife.
I bar the candles, said Mr. Kernan, conscious of having created an effect on his
audience and continuing to shake his head to and fro. I bar the magic-lantern business.
Everyone laughed heartily.
Theres a nice Catholic for you! said his wife.
No candles! repeated Mr. Kernan obdurately. Thats off!
The transept of the Jesuit Church in Gardiner Street was almost full; and still at every
moment gentlemen entered from the side door and, directed by the lay-brother (41),
walked on tiptoe along the aisles until they found seating accommodation. The gentlemen
were all well dressed and orderly. The light of the lamps of the church fell upon an
assembly of black clothes and white collars, relieved here and there by tweeds, on dark
mottled pillars of green marble and on lugubrious canvases. The gentlemen sat in the
benches, having hitched their trousers slightly above their knees and laid their hats in
security. They sat well back and gazed formally at the distant speck of red light (42)
which was suspended before the high altar.
In one of the benches near the pulpit sat Mr. Cunningham and Mr. Kernan. In the bench
behind sat Mr. MCoy alone: and in the bench behind him sat Mr. Power and Mr. Fogarty.
Mr. MCoy had tried unsuccessfully to find a place in the bench with the others, and, when
the party had settled down in the form of a quincunx, he had tried unsuccessfully to
make comic remarks. As these had not been well received, he had desisted. Even he was
sensible of the decorous atmosphere and even he began to respond to the religious
stimulus. In a whisper, Mr. Cunningham drew Mr. Kernans attention to Mr. Harford, the
moneylender, who sat some distance off, and to Mr. Fanning, the registration agent (43)
and mayor maker of the city, who was sitting immediately under the pulpit beside one of
the newly elected councillors of the ward. To the right sat old Michael Grimes, the owner
of three pawnbrokers shops, and Dan Hogans nephew, who was up for the job in the
Town Clerks office. Farther in front sat Mr. Hendrick, the chief reporter of The Freemans
Journal, and poor OCarroll, an old friend of Mr. Kernans, who had been at one time a
considerable commercial figure. Gradually, as he recognised familiar faces, Mr. Kernan
began to feel more at home. His hat, which had been rehabilitated by his wife, rested


upon his knees. Once or twice he pulled down his cuffs with one hand while he held the
brim of his hat lightly, but firmly, with the other hand.
A powerful-looking figure, the upper part of which was draped with a white surplice, was
observed to be struggling into the pulpit. Simultaneously the congregation unsettled,
produced handkerchiefs and knelt upon them with care. Mr. Kernan followed the general
example. The priests figure now stood upright in the pulpit, two-thirds of its bulk,
crowned by a massive red face, appearing above the balustrade.
Father Purdon knelt down, turned towards the red speck of light and, covering his face
with his hands, prayed. After an interval, he uncovered his face and rose. The
congregation rose also and settled again on its benches. Mr. Kernan restored his hat to its
original position on his knee and presented an attentive face to the preacher. The
preacher turned back each wide sleeve of his surplice with an elaborate large gesture and
slowly surveyed the array of faces. Then he said:
For the children of this world are wiser in their generation than the children of light.
Wherefore make unto yourselves friends out of the mammon of iniquity so that when you
die they may receive you into everlasting dwellings.
Father Purdon developed the text with resonant assurance. It was one of the most
difficult texts in all the Scriptures, he said, to interpret properly. It was a text which
might seem to the casual observer at variance with the lofty morality elsewhere preached
by Jesus Christ. But, he told his hearers, the text had seemed to him specially adapted
for the guidance of those whose lot it was to lead the life of the world and who yet
wished to lead that life not in the manner of worldlings. It was a text for business men
and professional men. Jesus Christ with His divine understanding of every cranny of our
human nature, understood that all men were not called to the religious life, that by far
the vast majority were forced to live in the world, and, to a certain extent, for the world:
and in this sentence He designed to give them a word of counsel, setting before them as
exemplars in the religious life those very worshippers of Mammon (44) who were of all
men the least solicitous in matters religious.
He told his hearers that he was there that evening for no terrifying, no extravagant
purpose; but as a man of the world speaking to his fellow-men. He came to speak to
business men and he would speak to them in a businesslike way. If he might use the
metaphor, he said, he was their spiritual accountant; and he wished each and every one
of his hearers to open his books, the books of his spiritual life, and see if they tallied
accurately with conscience.
Jesus Christ was not a hard taskmaster. He understood our little failings, understood the
weakness of our poor fallen nature, understood the temptations of this life. We might


have had, we all had from time to time, our temptations: we might have, we all had, our
failings. But one thing only, he said, he would ask of his hearers. And that was: to be
straight and manly with God. If their accounts tallied in every point to say:
Well, I have verified my accounts. I find all well.
But if, as might happen, there were some discrepancies, to admit the truth, to be frank
and say like a man:
Well, I have looked into my accounts. I find this wrong and this wrong. But, with Gods
grace, I will rectify this and this. I will set right my accounts.

4.15 The Dead.455


J. Joyce, Dubliners. The Dead, Penguin Classics, Clays Ltd., London, 2000, p. 183-236.


LILY, the caretakers daughter, was literally run off her feet. Hardly had she brought one
gentleman into the little pantry behind the office on the ground floor and helped him off
with his overcoat than the wheezy hall-door bell clanged again and she had to scamper
along the bare hallway to let in another guest. It was well for her she had not to attend
to the ladies also. But Miss Kate and Miss Julia had thought of that and had converted the
bathroom upstairs into a ladies dressing-room. Miss Kate and Miss Julia were there,
gossiping and laughing and fussing, walking after each other to the head of the stairs,
peering down over the banisters and calling down to Lily to ask her who had come.
It was always a great affair, the Misses Morkans annual dance. Everybody who knew
them came to it, members of the family, old friends of the family, the members of Julias
choir, any of Kates pupils that were grown up enough, and even some of Mary Janes
pupils too. Never once had it fallen flat. For years and years it had gone off in splendid
style, as long as anyone could remember; ever since Kate and Julia, after the death of
their brother Pat, had left the house in Stoney Batter and taken Mary Jane, their only
niece, to live with them in the dark, gaunt house on Ushers Island, the upper part of
which they had rented from Mr. Fulham, the corn-factor on the ground floor. That was a
good thirty years ago if it was a day. Mary Jane, who was then a little girl in short
clothes, was now the main prop of the household, for she had the organ in Haddington
Road. She had been through the Academy and gave a pupils concert every year in the
upper room of the Antient Concert Rooms. Many of her pupils belonged to the betterclass families on the Kingstown and Dalkey line. Old as they were, her aunts also did
their share. Julia, though she was quite grey, was still the leading soprano in Adam and
Eves, and Kate, being too feeble to go about much, gave music lessons to beginners on
the old square piano in the back room. Lily, the caretakers daughter, did housemaids
work for them. Though their life was modest, they believed in eating well; the best of
everything: diamond-bone sirloins, three-shilling tea and the best bottled stout. But Lily
seldom made a mistake in the orders, so that she got on well with her three mistresses.
They were fussy, that was all. But the only thing they would not stand was back answers.
Of course, they had good reason to be fussy on such a night. And then it was long after
ten oclock and yet there was no sign of Gabriel and his wife. Besides they were
dreadfully afraid that Freddy Malins might turn up screwed. They would not wish for
worlds that any of Mary Janes pupils should see him under the influence; and when he
was like that it was sometimes very hard to manage him. Freddy Malins always came
late, but they wondered what could be keeping Gabriel: and that was what brought them
every two minutes to the banisters to ask Lily had Gabriel or Freddy come.
O, Mr. Conroy, said Lily to Gabriel when she opened the door for him, Miss Kate and
Miss Julia thought you were never coming. Good-night, Mrs. Conroy.


Ill engage they did, said Gabriel, but they forget that my wife here takes three mortal
hours to dress herself.
He stood on the mat, scraping the snow from his goloshes, while Lily led his wife to the
foot of the stairs and called out:
Miss Kate, heres Mrs. Conroy.
Kate and Julia came toddling down the dark stairs at once. Both of them kissed Gabriels
wife, said she must be perished alive, and asked was Gabriel with her.
Here I am as right as the mail, Aunt Kate! Go on up. Ill follow, called out Gabriel from
the dark.
He continued scraping his feet vigorously while the three women went upstairs, laughing,
to the ladies dressing-room. A light fringe of snow lay like a cape on the shoulders of his
overcoat and like toecaps on the toes of his galoshes; and, as the buttons of his overcoat
slipped with a squeaking noise through the snow-stiffened frieze, a cold, fragrant air from
out-of-doors escaped from crevices and folds.
Is it snowing again, Mr. Conroy? asked Lily.
She had preceded him into the pantry to help him off with his overcoat. Gabriel smiled at
the three syllables she had given his surname and glanced at her. She was a slim;
growing girl, pale in complexion and with hay-coloured hair. The gas in the pantry made
her look still paler. Gabriel had known her when she was a child and used to sit on the
lowest step nursing a rag doll.
Yes, Lily, he answered, and I think were in for a night of it.
He looked up at the pantry ceiling, which was shaking with the stamping and shuffling of
feet on the floor above, listened for a moment to the piano and then glanced at the girl,
who was folding his overcoat carefully at the end of a shelf.
Tell me. Lily, he said in a friendly tone, do you still go to school?
O no, sir, she answered. Im done schooling this year and more.
O, then, said Gabriel gaily, I suppose well be going to your wedding one of these fine
days with your young man, eh?
The girl glanced back at him over her shoulder and said with great bitterness:


The men that is now is only all palaver and what they can get out of you.
Gabriel coloured, as if he felt he had made a mistake and, without looking at her, kicked
off his goloshes and flicked actively with his muffler at his patent-leather shoes.
He was a stout, tallish young man. The high colour of his cheeks pushed upwards even to
his forehead, where it scattered itself in a few formless patches of pale red; and on his
hairless face there scintillated restlessly the polished lenses and the bright gilt rims of the
glasses which screened his delicate and restless eyes. His glossy black hair was parted in
the middle and brushed in a long curve behind his ears where it curled slightly beneath
the groove left by his hat.
When he had flicked lustre into his shoes he stood up and pulled his waistcoat down
more tightly on his plump body. Then he took a coin rapidly from his pocket.
O Lily, he said, thrusting it into her hands, its Christmastime, isnt it? Just... heres a
He walked rapidly towards the door.
O no, sir! cried the girl, following him. Really, sir, I wouldnt take it.
Christmas-time! Christmas-time! said Gabriel, almost trotting to the stairs and waving
his hand to her in deprecation.
The girl, seeing that he had gained the stairs, called out after him:
Well, thank you, sir.
He waited outside the drawing-room door until the waltz should finish, listening to the
skirts that swept against it and to the shuffling of feet. He was still discomposed by the
girls bitter and sudden retort. It had cast a gloom over him which he tried to dispel by
arranging his cuffs and the bows of his tie. He then took from his waistcoat pocket a little
paper and glanced at the headings he had made for his speech. He was undecided about
the lines from Robert Browning, for he feared they would be above the heads of his
hearers. Some quotation that they would recognise from Shakespeare or from the
Melodies would be better. The indelicate clacking of the mens heels and the shuffling of
their soles reminded him that their grade of culture differed from his. He would only
make himself ridiculous by quoting poetry to them which they could not understand.
They would think that he was airing his superior education. He would fail with them just
as he had failed with the girl in the pantry. He had taken up a wrong tone. His whole
speech was a mistake from first to last, an utter failure.


Just then his aunts and his wife came out of the ladies dressing-room. His aunts were
two small, plainly dressed old women. Aunt Julia was an inch or so the taller. Her hair,
drawn low over the tops of her ears, was grey; and grey also, with darker shadows, was
her large flaccid face. Though she was stout in build and stood erect, her slow eyes and
parted lips gave her the appearance of a woman who did not know where she was or
where she was going. Aunt Kate was more vivacious. Her face, healthier than her sisters,
was all puckers and creases, like a shrivelled red apple, and her hair, braided in the same
old-fashioned way, had not lost its ripe nut colour.
They both kissed Gabriel frankly. He was their favourite nephew the son of their dead
elder sister, Ellen, who had married T. J. Conroy of the Port and Docks.
Gretta tells me youre not going to take a cab back to Monkstown tonight, Gabriel, said
Aunt Kate.
No, said Gabriel, turning to his wife, we had quite enough of that last year, hadnt we?
Dont you remember, Aunt Kate, what a cold Gretta got out of it? Cab windows rattling all
the way, and the east wind blowing in after we passed Merrion. Very jolly it was. Gretta
caught a dreadful cold.
Aunt Kate frowned severely and nodded her head at every word.
Quite right, Gabriel, quite right, she said. You cant be too careful.
But as for Gretta there, said Gabriel, shed walk home in the snow if she were let.
Mrs. Conroy laughed.
Dont mind him, Aunt Kate, she said. Hes really an awful bother, what with green
shades for Toms eyes at night and making him do the dumb-bells, and forcing Eva to eat
the stirabout. The poor child! And she simply hates the sight of it!... O, but youll never
guess what he makes me wear now!
She broke out into a peal of laughter and glanced at her husband, whose admiring and
happy eyes had been wandering from her dress to her face and hair. The two aunts
laughed heartily, too, for Gabriels solicitude was a standing joke with them.
Goloshes! said Mrs. Conroy. Thats the latest. Whenever its wet underfoot I must put
on my galoshes. Tonight even, he wanted me to put them on, but I wouldnt. The next
thing hell buy me will be a diving suit.
Gabriel laughed nervously and patted his tie reassuringly, while Aunt Kate nearly doubled
herself, so heartily did she enjoy the joke. The smile soon faded from Aunt Julias face


and her mirthless eyes were directed towards her nephews face. After a pause she
And what are goloshes, Gabriel?
Goloshes, Julia! exclaimed her sister Goodness me, dont you know what goloshes are?
You wear them over your... over your boots, Gretta, isnt it?
Yes, said Mrs. Conroy. Guttapercha things. We both have a pair now. Gabriel says
everyone wears them on the Continent.
O, on the Continent, murmured Aunt Julia, nodding her head slowly.
Gabriel knitted his brows and said, as if he were slightly angered:
Its nothing very wonderful, but Gretta thinks it very funny because she says the word
reminds her of Christy Minstrels.
But tell me, Gabriel, said Aunt Kate, with brisk tact. Of course, youve seen about the
room. Gretta was saying...
0, the room is all right, replied Gabriel. Ive taken one in the Gresham.
To be sure, said Aunt Kate, by far the best thing to do. And the children, Gretta, youre
not anxious about them?
0, for one night, said Mrs. Conroy. Besides, Bessie will look after them.
To be sure, said Aunt Kate again. What a comfort it is to have a girl like that, one you
can depend on! Theres that Lily, Im sure I dont know what has come over her lately.
Shes not the girl she was at all.
Gabriel was about to ask his aunt some questions on this point, but she broke off
suddenly to gaze after her sister, who had wandered down the stairs and was craning her
neck over the banisters.
Now, I ask you, she said almost testily, where is Julia going? Julia! Julia! Where are
you going?
Julia, who had gone half way down one flight, came back and announced blandly:
Heres Freddy.


At the same moment a clapping of hands and a final flourish of the pianist told that the
waltz had ended. The drawing-room door was opened from within and some couples
came out. Aunt Kate drew Gabriel aside hurriedly and whispered into his ear:
Slip down, Gabriel, like a good fellow and see if hes all right, and dont let him up if hes
screwed. Im sure hes screwed. Im sure he is.
Gabriel went to the stairs and listened over the banisters. He could hear two persons
talking in the pantry. Then he recognised Freddy Malins laugh. He went down the stairs
Its such a relief, said Aunt Kate to Mrs. Conroy, that Gabriel is here. I always feel
easier in my mind when hes here.... Julia, theres Miss Daly and Miss Power will take
some refreshment. Thanks for your beautiful waltz, Miss Daly. It made lovely time.
A tall wizen-faced man, with a stiff grizzled moustache and swarthy skin, who was
passing out with his partner, said:
And may we have some refreshment, too, Miss Morkan?
Julia, said Aunt Kate summarily, and heres Mr. Browne and Miss Furlong. Take them in,
Julia, with Miss Daly and Miss Power.
Im the man for the ladies, said Mr. Browne, pursing his lips until his moustache bristled
and smiling in all his wrinkles. You know, Miss Morkan, the reason they are so fond of
me is
He did not finish his sentence, but, seeing that Aunt Kate was out of earshot, at once led
the three young ladies into the back room. The middle of the room was occupied by two
square tables placed end to end, and on these Aunt Julia and the caretaker were
straightening and smoothing a large cloth. On the sideboard were arrayed dishes and
plates, and glasses and bundles of knives and forks and spoons. The top of the closed
square piano served also as a sideboard for viands and sweets. At a smaller sideboard in
one corner two young men were standing, drinking hop-bitters.
Mr. Browne led his charges thither and invited them all, in jest, to some ladies punch,
hot, strong and sweet. As they said they never took anything strong, he opened three
bottles of lemonade for them. Then he asked one of the young men to move aside, and,
taking hold of the decanter, filled out for himself a goodly measure of whisky. The young
men eyed him respectfully while he took a trial sip.
God help me, he said, smiling, its the doctors orders.


His wizened face broke into a broader smile, and the three young ladies laughed in
musical echo to his pleasantry, swaying their bodies to and fro, with nervous jerks of
their shoulders. The boldest said:
O, now, Mr. Browne, Im sure the doctor never ordered anything of the kind.
Mr. Browne took another sip of his whisky and said, with sidling mimicry:
Well, you see, Im like the famous Mrs. Cassidy, who is reported to have said: Now,
Mary Grimes, if I dont take it, make me take it, for I feel I want it.
His hot face had leaned forward a little too confidentially and he had assumed a very low
Dublin accent so that the young ladies, with one instinct, received his speech in silence.
Miss Furlong, who was one of Mary Janes pupils, asked Miss Daly what was the name of
the pretty waltz she had played; and Mr. Browne, seeing that he was ignored, turned
promptly to the two young men who were more appreciative.
A red-faced young woman, dressed in pansy, came into the room, excitedly clapping her
hands and crying:
Quadrilles! Quadrilles!
Close on her heels came Aunt Kate, crying:
Two gentlemen and three ladies, Mary Jane!
O, heres Mr. Bergin and Mr. Kerrigan, said Mary Jane. Mr. Kerrigan, will you take Miss
Power? Miss Furlong, may I get you a partner, Mr. Bergin. O, thatll just do now.
Three ladies, Mary Jane, said Aunt Kate.
The two young gentlemen asked the ladies if they might have the pleasure, and Mary
Jane turned to Miss Daly.
O, Miss Daly, youre really awfully good, after playing for the last two dances, but really
were so short of ladies tonight.
I dont mind in the least, Miss Morkan.
But Ive a nice partner for you, Mr. Bartell DArcy, the tenor. Ill get him to sing later on.
All Dublin is raving about him.
Lovely voice, lovely voice! said Aunt Kate.


As the piano had twice begun the prelude to the first figure Mary Jane led her recruits
quickly from the room. They had hardly gone when Aunt Julia wandered slowly into the
room, looking behind her at something.
What is the matter, Julia? asked Aunt Kate anxiously. Who is it?
Julia, who was carrying in a column of table-napkins, turned to her sister and said,
simply, as if the question had surprised her:
Its only Freddy, Kate, and Gabriel with him.
In fact right behind her Gabriel could be seen piloting Freddy Malins across the landing.
The latter, a young man of about forty, was of Gabriels size and build, with very round
shoulders. His face was fleshy and pallid, touched with colour only at the thick hanging
lobes of his ears and at the wide wings of his nose. He had coarse features, a blunt nose,
a convex and receding brow, tumid and protruded lips. His heavy-lidded eyes and the
disorder of his scanty hair made him look sleepy. He was laughing heartily in a high key
at a story which he had been telling Gabriel on the stairs and at the same time rubbing
the knuckles of his left fist backwards and forwards into his left eye.
Good-evening, Freddy, said Aunt Julia.
Freddy Malins bade the Misses Morkan good-evening in what seemed an offhand fashion
by reason of the habitual catch in his voice and then, seeing that Mr. Browne was
grinning at him from the sideboard, crossed the room on rather shaky legs and began to
repeat in an undertone the story he had just told to Gabriel.
Hes not so bad, is he? said Aunt Kate to Gabriel.
Gabriels brows were dark but he raised them quickly and answered:
O, no, hardly noticeable.
Now, isnt he a terrible fellow! she said. And his poor mother made him take the
pledge on New Years Eve. But come on, Gabriel, into the drawing-room.
Before leaving the room with Gabriel she signalled to Mr. Browne by frowning and
shaking her forefinger in warning to and fro. Mr. Browne nodded in answer and, when she
had gone, said to Freddy Malins:
Now, then, Teddy, Im going to fill you out a good glass of lemonade just to buck you


Freddy Malins, who was nearing the climax of his story, waved the offer aside impatiently
but Mr. Browne, having first called Freddy Malins attention to a disarray in his dress,
filled out and handed him a full glass of lemonade. Freddy Malins left hand accepted the
glass mechanically, his right hand being engaged in the mechanical readjustment of his
dress. Mr. Browne, whose face was once more wrinkling with mirth, poured out for
himself a glass of whisky while Freddy Malins exploded, before he had well reached the
climax of his story, in a kink of high-pitched bronchitic laughter and, setting down his
untasted and overflowing glass, began to rub the knuckles of his left fist backwards and
forwards into his left eye, repeating words of his last phrase as well as his fit of laughter
would allow him.
Gabriel could not listen while Mary Jane was playing her Academy piece, full of runs and
difficult passages, to the hushed drawing-room. He liked music but the piece she was
playing had no melody for him and he doubted whether it had any melody for the other
listeners, though they had begged Mary Jane to play something. Four young men, who
had come from the refreshment-room to stand in the doorway at the sound of the piano,
had gone away quietly in couples after a few minutes. The only persons who seemed to
follow the music were Mary Jane herself, her hands racing along the key-board or lifted
from it at the pauses like those of a priestess in momentary imprecation, and Aunt Kate
standing at her elbow to turn the page.
Gabriels eyes, irritated by the floor, which glittered with beeswax under the heavy
chandelier, wandered to the wall above the piano. A picture of the balcony scene in
Romeo and Juliet hung there and beside it was a picture of the two murdered princes in
the Tower which Aunt Julia had worked in red, blue and brown wools when she was a girl.
Probably in the school they had gone to as girls that kind of work had been taught for
one year. His mother had worked for him as a birthday present a waistcoat of purple
tabinet, with little foxes heads upon it, lined with brown satin and having round mulberry
buttons. It was strange that his mother had had no musical talent though Aunt Kate used
to call her the brains carrier of the Morkan family. Both she and Julia had always seemed
a little proud of their serious and matronly sister. Her photograph stood before the
pierglass. She held an open book on her knees and was pointing out something in it to
Constantine who, dressed in a man-o-war suit, lay at her feet. It was she who had
chosen the name of her sons for she was very sensible of the dignity of family life.
Thanks to her, Constantine was now senior curate in Balbrigan and, thanks to her, Gabriel
himself had taken his degree in the Royal University. A shadow passed over his face as he
remembered her sullen opposition to his marriage. Some slighting phrases she had used
still rankled in his memory; she had once spoken of Gretta as being country cute and
that was not true of Gretta at all. It was Gretta who had nursed her during all her last
long illness in their house at Monkstown.


He knew that Mary Jane must be near the end of her piece for she was playing again the
opening melody with runs of scales after every bar and while he waited for the end the
resentment died down in his heart. The piece ended with a trill of octaves in the treble
and a final deep octave in the bass. Great applause greeted Mary Jane as, blushing and
rolling up her music nervously, she escaped from the room. The most vigorous clapping
came from the four young men in the doorway who had gone away to the refreshmentroom at the beginning of the piece but had come back when the piano had stopped.
Lancers were arranged. Gabriel found himself partnered with Miss Ivors. She was a frankmannered talkative young lady, with a freckled face and prominent brown eyes. She did
not wear a low-cut bodice and the large brooch which was fixed in the front of her collar
bore on it an Irish device and motto.
When they had taken their places she said abruptly:
I have a crow to pluck with you.
With me? said Gabriel.
She nodded her head gravely.
What is it? asked Gabriel, smiling at her solemn manner.
Who is G. C.? answered Miss Ivors, turning her eyes upon him.
Gabriel coloured and was about to knit his brows, as if he did not understand, when she
said bluntly:
O, innocent Amy! I have found out that you write for The Daily Express. Now, arent you
ashamed of yourself?
Why should I be ashamed of myself? asked Gabriel, blinking his eyes and trying to
Well, Im ashamed of you, said Miss Ivors frankly. To say youd write for a paper like
that. I didnt think you were a West Briton.
A look of perplexity appeared on Gabriels face. It was true that he wrote a literary
column every Wednesday in The Daily Express, for which he was paid fifteen shillings.
But that did not make him a West Briton surely. The books he received for review were
almost more welcome than the paltry cheque. He loved to feel the covers and turn over
the pages of newly printed books. Nearly every day when his teaching in the college was
ended he used to wander down the quays to the second-hand booksellers, to Hickeys on


Bachelors Walk, to Webs or Masseys on Astons Quay, or to OClohisseys in the

bystreet. He did not know how to meet her charge. He wanted to say that literature was
above politics. But they were friends of many years standing and their careers had been
parallel, first at the University and then as teachers: he could not risk a grandiose phrase
with her. He continued blinking his eyes and trying to smile and murmured lamely that he
saw nothing political in writing reviews of books.
When their turn to cross had come he was still perplexed and inattentive. Miss Ivors
promptly took his hand in a warm grasp and said in a soft friendly tone:
Of course, I was only joking. Come, we cross now.
When they were together again she spoke of the University question and Gabriel felt
more at ease. A friend of hers had shown her his review of Brownings poems. That was
how she had found out the secret: but she liked the review immensely. Then she said
O, Mr. Conroy, will you come for an excursion to the Aran Isles this summer? Were
going to stay there a whole month. It will be splendid out in the Atlantic. You ought to
come. Mr. Clancy is coming, and Mr. Kilkelly and Kathleen Kearney. It would be splendid
for Gretta too if shed come. Shes from Connacht, isnt she?
Her people are, said Gabriel shortly.
But you will come, wont you? said Miss Ivors, laying her arm hand eagerly on his arm.
The fact is, said Gabriel, I have just arranged to go
Go where? asked Miss Ivors.
Well, you know, every year I go for a cycling tour with some fellows and so
But where? asked Miss Ivors.
Well, we usually go to France or Belgium or perhaps Germany, said Gabriel awkwardly.
And why do you go to France and Belgium, said Miss Ivors, instead of visiting your own
Well, said Gabriel, its partly to keep in touch with the languages and partly for a
And havent you your own language to keep in touch with Irish? asked Miss Ivors.


Well, said Gabriel, if it comes to that, you know, Irish is not my language.
Their neighbours had turned to listen to the cross examination. Gabriel glanced right
and left nervously and tried to keep his good humour under the ordeal which was making
a blush invade his forehead.
And havent you your own land to visit, continued Miss Ivors, that you know nothing
of, your own people, and your own country?
0, to tell you the truth, retorted Gabriel suddenly, Im sick of my own country, sick of
Why? asked Miss Ivors.
Gabriel did not answer for his retort had heated him.
Why? repeated Miss Ivors.
They had to go visiting together and, as he had not answered her, Miss Ivors said
Of course, youve no answer.
Gabriel tried to cover his agitation by taking part in the dance with great energy. He
avoided her eyes for he had seen a sour expression on her face. But when they met in
the long chain he was surprised to feel his hand firmly pressed. She looked at him from
under her brows for a moment quizzically until he smiled. Then, just as the chain was
about to start again, she stood on tiptoe and whispered into his ear:
West Briton!
When the lancers were over Gabriel went away to a remote corner of the room where
Freddy Malins mother was sitting. She was a stout feeble old woman with white hair. Her
voice had a catch in it like her sons and she stuttered slightly. She had been told that
Freddy had come and that he was nearly all right. Gabriel asked her whether she had had
a good crossing. She lived with her married daughter in Glasgow and came to Dublin on a
visit once a year. She answered placidly that she had had a beautiful crossing and that
the captain had been most attentive to her. She spoke also of the beautiful house her
daughter kept in Glasgow, and of all the friends they had there. While her tongue
rambled on Gabriel tried to banish from his mind all memory of the unpleasant incident
with Miss Ivors. Of course the girl or woman, or whatever she was, was an enthusiast but
there was a time for all things. Perhaps he ought not to have answered her like that. But
she had no right to call him a West Briton before people, even in joke. She had tried to


make him ridiculous before people, heckling him and staring at him with her rabbits
He saw his wife making her way towards him through the waltzing couples. When she
reached him she said into his ear:
Gabriel. Aunt Kate wants to know wont you carve the goose as usual. Miss Daly will
carve the ham and Ill do the pudding.
All right, said Gabriel.
Shes sending in the younger ones first as soon as this waltz is over so that well have
the table to ourselves.
Were you dancing? asked Gabriel.
Of course I was. Didnt you see me? What row had you with Molly Ivors?
No row. Why? Did she say so?
Something like that. Im trying to get that Mr. DArcy to sing. Hes full of conceit, I
There was no row, said Gabriel moodily, only she wanted me to go for a trip to the
west of Ireland and I said I wouldnt.
His wife clasped her hands excitedly and gave a little jump.
O, do go, Gabriel, she cried. Id love to see Galway again.
You can go if you like, said Gabriel coldly.
She looked at him for a moment, then turned to Mrs. Malins and said:
Theres a nice husband for you, Mrs. Malins.
While she was threading her way back across the room Mrs. Malins, without adverting to
the interruption, went on to tell Gabriel what beautiful places there were in Scotland and
beautiful scenery. Her son-in-law brought them every year to the lakes and they used to
go fishing. Her son-in-law was a splendid fisher. One day he caught a beautiful big fish
and the man in the hotel cooked it for their dinner.
Gabriel hardly heard what she said. Now that supper was coming near he began to think
again about his speech and about the quotation. When he saw Freddy Malins coming


across the room to visit his mother Gabriel left the chair free for him and retired into the
embrasure of the window. The room had already cleared and from the back room came
the clatter of plates and knives. Those who still remained in the drawing room seemed
tired of dancing and were conversing quietly in little groups. Gabriels warm trembling
fingers tapped the cold pane of the window. How cool it must be outside! How pleasant it
would be to walk out alone, first along by the river and then through the park! The snow
would be lying on the branches of the trees and forming a bright cap on the top of the
Wellington Monument. How much more pleasant it would be there than at the suppertable!
He ran over the headings of his speech: Irish hospitality, sad memories, the Three
Graces, Paris, the quotation from Browning. He repeated to himself a phrase he had
written in his review: One feels that one is listening to a thought tormented music.
Miss Ivors had praised the review. Was she sincere? Had she really any life of her own
behind all her propagandism? There had never been any ill-feeling between them until
that night. It unnerved him to think that she would be at the supper-table, looking up at
him while he spoke with her critical quizzing eyes. Perhaps she would not be sorry to see
him fail in his speech. An idea came into his mind and gave him courage. He would say,
alluding to Aunt Kate and Aunt Julia: Ladies and Gentlemen, the generation which is now
on the wane among us may have had its faults but for my part I think it had certain
qualities of hospitality, of humour, of humanity, which the new and very serious and
hypereducated generation that is growing up around us seems to me to lack. Very good:
that was one for Miss Ivors. What did he care that his aunts were only two ignorant old
A murmur in the room attracted his attention. Mr. Browne was advancing from the door,
gallantly escorting Aunt Julia, who leaned upon his arm, smiling and hanging her head.
An irregular musketry of applause escorted her also as far as the piano and then, as Mary
Jane seated herself on the stool, and Aunt Julia, no longer smiling, half turned so as to
pitch her voice fairly into the room, gradually ceased. Gabriel recognised the prelude. It
was that of an old song of Aunt JuliasArrayed for the Bridal. Her voice, strong and clear
in tone, attacked with great spirit the runs which embellish the air and though she sang
very rapidly she did not miss even the smallest of the grace notes. To follow the voice,
without looking at the singers face, was to feel and share the excitement of swift and
secure flight. Gabriel applauded loudly with all the others at the close of the song and
loud applause was borne in from the invisible supper-table. It sounded so genuine that a
little colour struggled into Aunt Julias face as she bent to replace in the music-stand the
old leather-bound songbook that had her initials on the cover. Freddy Malins, who had
listened with his head perched sideways to hear her better, was still applauding when
everyone else had ceased and talking animatedly to his mother who nodded her head
gravely and slowly in acquiescence. At last, when he could clap no more, he stood up


suddenly and hurried across the room to Aunt Julia whose hand he seized and held in
both his hands, shaking it when words failed him or the catch in his voice proved too
much for him.
I was just telling my mother, he said, I never heard you sing so well, never. No, I
never heard your voice so good as it is tonight. Now! Would you believe that now? Thats
the truth. Upon my word and honour thats the truth. I never heard your voice sound so
fresh and so... so clear and fresh, never.
Aunt Julia smiled broadly and murmured something about compliments as she released
her hand from his grasp. Mr. Browne extended his open hand towards her and said to
those who were near him in the manner of a showman introducing a prodigy to an
Miss Julia Morkan, my latest discovery!
He was laughing very heartily at this himself when Freddy Malins turned to him and said:
Well, Browne, if youre serious you might make a worse discovery. All I can say is I
never heard her sing half so well as long as I am coming here. And thats the honest
Neither did I, said Mr. Browne. I think her voice has greatly improved.
Aunt Julia shrugged her shoulders and said with meek pride:
Thirty years ago I hadnt a bad voice as voices go.
I often told Julia, said Aunt Kate emphatically, that she was simply thrown away in that
choir. But she never would be said by me.
She turned as if to appeal to the good sense of the others against a refractory child while
Aunt Julia gazed in front of her, a vague smile of reminiscence playing on her face.
No, continued Aunt Kate, she wouldnt be said or led by anyone, slaving there in that
choir night and day, night and day. Six oclock on Christmas morning! And all for what?
Well, isnt it for the honour of God, Aunt Kate? asked Mary Jane, twisting round on the
piano-stool and smiling.
Aunt Kate turned fiercely on her niece and said:


I know all about the honour of God, Mary Jane, but I think its not at all honourable for
the pope to turn out the women out of the choirs that have slaved there all their lives
and put little whipper-snappers of boys over their heads. I suppose it is for the good of
the Church if the pope does it. But its not just, Mary Jane, and its not right.
She had worked herself into a passion and would have continued in defence of her sister
for it was a sore subject with her but Mary Jane, seeing that all the dancers had come
back, intervened pacifically:
Now, Aunt Kate, youre giving scandal to Mr. Browne who is of the other persuasion.
Aunt Kate turned to Mr. Browne, who was grinning at this allusion to his religion, and said
O, I dont question the popes being right. Im only a stupid old woman and I wouldnt
presume to do such a thing. But theres such a thing as common everyday politeness and
gratitude. And if I were in Julias place Id tell that Father Healey straight up to his face...
And besides, Aunt Kate, said Mary Jane, we really are all hungry and when we are
hungry we are all very quarrelsome.
And when we are thirsty we are also quarrelsome, added Mr. Browne.
So that we had better go to supper, said Mary Jane, and finish the discussion
On the landing outside the drawing-room Gabriel found his wife and Mary Jane trying to
persuade Miss Ivors to stay for supper. But Miss Ivors, who had put on her hat and was
buttoning her cloak, would not stay. She did not feel in the least hungry and she had
already overstayed her time.
But only for ten minutes, Molly, said Mrs. Conroy. That wont delay you.
To take a pick itself, said Mary Jane, after all your dancing.
I really couldnt, said Miss Ivors.
I am afraid you didnt enjoy yourself at all, said Mary Jane hopelessly.
Ever so much, I assure you, said Miss Ivors, but you really must let me run off now.
But how can you get home? asked Mrs. Conroy.
O, its only two steps up the quay.


Gabriel hesitated a moment and said:

If you will allow me, Miss Ivors, Ill see you home if you are really obliged to go.
But Miss Ivors broke away from them.
I wont hear of it, she cried. For goodness sake go in to your suppers and dont mind
me. Im quite well able to take care of myself.
Well, youre the comical girl, Molly, said Mrs. Conroy frankly.
Beannacht libh, cried Miss Ivors, with a laugh, as she ran down the staircase.
Mary Jane gazed after her, a moody puzzled expression on her face, while Mrs. Conroy
leaned over the banisters to listen for the hall-door. Gabriel asked himself was he the
cause of her abrupt departure. But she did not seem to be in ill humour: she had gone
away laughing. He stared blankly down the staircase.
At the moment Aunt Kate came toddling out of the supper-room, almost wringing her
hands in despair.
Where is Gabriel? she cried. Where on earth is Gabriel? Theres everyone waiting in
there, stage to let, and nobody to carve the goose!
Here I am, Aunt Kate! cried Gabriel, with sudden animation, ready to carve a flock of
geese, if necessary.
A fat brown goose lay at one end of the table and at the other end, on a bed of creased
paper strewn with sprigs of parsley, lay a great ham, stripped of its outer skin and
peppered over with crust crumbs, a neat paper frill round its shin and beside this was a
round of spiced beef. Between these rival ends ran parallel lines of side-dishes: two little
minsters of jelly, red and yellow; a shallow dish full of blocks of blancmange and red jam,
a large green leaf-shaped dish with a stalk-shaped handle, on which lay bunches of
purple raisins and peeled almonds, a companion dish on which lay a solid rectangle of
Smyrna figs, a dish of custard topped with grated nutmeg, a small bowl full of chocolates
and sweets wrapped in gold and silver papers and a glass vase in which stood some tall
celery stalks. In the centre of the table there stood, as sentries to a fruit-stand which
upheld a pyramid of oranges and American apples, two squat old-fashioned decanters of
cut glass, one containing port and the other dark sherry. On the closed square piano a
pudding in a huge yellow dish lay in waiting and behind it were three squads of bottles of
stout and ale and minerals, drawn up according to the colours of their uniforms, the first
two black, with brown and red labels, the third and smallest squad white, with transverse
green sashes.


Gabriel took his seat boldly at the head of the table and, having looked to the edge of the
carver, plunged his fork firmly into the goose. He felt quite at ease now for he was an
expert carver and liked nothing better than to find himself at the head of a well-laden
Miss Furlong, what shall I send you? he asked. A wing or a slice of the breast?
Just a small slice of the breast.
Miss Higgins, what for you?
O, anything at all, Mr. Conroy.
While Gabriel and Miss Daly exchanged plates of goose and plates of ham and spiced
beef Lily went from guest to guest with a dish of hot floury potatoes wrapped in a white
napkin. This was Mary Janes idea and she had also suggested apple sauce for the goose
but Aunt Kate had said that plain roast goose without any apple sauce had always been
good enough for her and she hoped she might never eat worse. Mary Jane waited on her
pupils and saw that they got the best slices and Aunt Kate and Aunt Julia opened and
carried across from the piano bottles of stout and ale for the gentlemen and bottles of
minerals for the ladies. There was a great deal of confusion and laughter and noise, the
noise of orders and counter-orders, of knives and forks, of corks and glass-stoppers.
Gabriel began to carve second helpings as soon as he had finished the first round without
serving himself. Everyone protested loudly so that he compromised by taking a long
draught of stout for he had found the carving hot work. Mary Jane settled down quietly to
her supper but Aunt Kate and Aunt Julia were still toddling round the table, walking on
each others heels, getting in each others way and giving each other unheeded orders.
Mr. Browne begged of them to sit down and eat their suppers and so did Gabriel but they
said there was time enough, so that, at last, Freddy Malins stood up and, capturing Aunt
Kate, plumped her down on her chair amid general laughter.
When everyone had been well served Gabriel said, smiling:
Now, if anyone wants a little more of what vulgar people call stuffing let him or her
A chorus of voices invited him to begin his own supper and Lily came forward with three
potatoes which she had reserved for him.
Very well, said Gabriel amiably, as he took another preparatory draught, kindly forget
my existence, ladies and gentlemen, for a few minutes.


He set to his supper and took no part in the conversation with which the table covered
Lilys removal of the plates. The subject of talk was the opera company which was then at
the Theatre Royal. Mr. Bartell DArcy, the tenor, a dark complexioned young man with a
smart moustache, praised very highly the leading contralto of the company but Miss
Furlong thought she had a rather vulgar style of production. Freddy Malins said there was
a Negro chieftain singing in the second part of the Gaiety pantomime who had one of the
finest tenor voices he had ever heard.
Have you heard him? he asked Mr. Bartell DArcy across the table.
No, answered Mr. Bartell DArcy carelessly.
Because, Freddy Malins explained, now Id be curious to hear your opinion of him. I
think he has a grand voice.
It takes Teddy to find out the really good things, said Mr. Browne familiarly to the table.
And why couldnt he have a voice too? asked Freddy Malins sharply. Is it because hes
only a black?
Nobody answered this question and Mary Jane led the table back to the legitimate opera.
One of her pupils had given her a pass for Mignon. Of course it was very fine, she said,
but it made her think of poor Georgina Burns . Mr. Browne could go back farther still, to
the old Italian companies that used to come to DublinTietjens, Ilma de Murzka,
Campanini, the great Trebelli, Giuglini, Ravelli, Aramburo. Those were the days, he said,
when there was something like singing to be heard in Dublin. He told too of how the top
gallery of the old Royal used to be packed night after night, of how one night an Italian
tenor had sung five encores to Let me like a Soldier fall , introducing a high C every time,
and of how the gallery boys would sometimes in their enthusiasm unyoke the horses
from the carriage of some great prima donna and pull her themselves through the streets
to her hotel. Why did they never play the grand old operas now, he asked, Dinorah ,
Lucrezia Borgia? Because they could not get the voices to sing them: that was why.
Oh, well, said Mr. Bartell DArcy, I presume there are as good singers today as there
were then.
Where are they? asked Mr. Browne defiantly.
In London, Paris, Milan, said Mr. Bartell DArcy warmly. I suppose Caruso , for example,
is quite as good, if not better than any of the men you have mentioned.
Maybe so, said Mr. Browne. But I may tell you I doubt it strongly.


O, Id give anything to hear Caruso sing, said Mary Jane.

For me, said Aunt Kate, who had been picking a bone, there was only one tenor. To
please me, I mean. But I suppose none of you ever heard of him.
Who was he, Miss Morkan? asked Mr. Bartell DArcy politely.
His name, said Aunt Kate, was Parkinson. I heard him when he was in his prime and I
think he had then the purest tenor voice that was ever put into a mans throat.
Strange, said Mr. Bartell DArcy . I never even heard of him.
Yes, yes, Miss Morkan is right, said Mr. Browne. I remember hearing of old Parkinson
but hes too far back for me.
A beautiful, pure, sweet, mellow English tenor, said Aunt Kate with enthusiasm.
Gabriel having finished, the huge pudding was transferred to the table. The clatter of
forks and spoons began again. Gabriels wife served out spoonfuls of the pudding and
passed the plates down the table. Midway down they were held up by Mary Jane, who
replenished them with raspberry or orange jelly or with blancmange and jam. The
pudding was of Aunt Julias making and she received praises for it from all quarters She
herself said that it was not quite brown enough.
Well, I hope, Miss Morkan, said Mr. Browne, that Im brown enough for you because,
you know, Im all brown.
All the gentlemen, except Gabriel, ate some of the pudding out of compliment to Aunt
Julia. As Gabriel never ate sweets the celery had been left for him. Freddy Malins also
took a stalk of celery and ate it with his pudding. He had been told that celery was a
capital thing for the blood and he was just then under doctors care. Mrs. Malins, who had
been silent all through the supper, said that her son was going down to Mount Melleray in
a week or so. The table then spoke of Mount Melleray, how bracing the air was down
there, how hospitable the monks were and how they never asked for a penny-piece from
their guests.
And do you mean to say, asked Mr. Browne incredulously, that a chap can go down
there and put up there as if it were a hotel and live on the fat of the land and then come
away without paying anything?
O, most people give some donation to the monastery when they leave. said Mary Jane.
I wish we had an institution like that in our Church, said Mr. Browne candidly.


He was astonished to hear that the monks never spoke, got up at two in the morning and
slept in their coffins . He asked what they did it for.
Thats the rule of the order, said Aunt Kate firmly.
Yes, but why? asked Mr. Browne.
Aunt Kate repeated that it was the rule, that was all. Mr. Browne still seemed not to
understand. Freddy Malins explained to him, as best he could, that the monks were
trying to make up for the sins committed by all the sinners in the outside world. The
explanation was not very clear for Mr. Browne grinned and said:
I like that idea very much but wouldnt a comfortable spring bed do them as well as a
The coffin, said Mary Jane, is to remind them of their last end.
As the subject had grown lugubrious it was buried in a silence of the table during which
Mrs. Malins could be heard saying to her neighbour in an indistinct undertone:
They are very good men, the monks, very pious men.
The raisins and almonds and figs and apples and oranges and chocolates and sweets
were now passed about the table and Aunt Julia invited all the guests to have either port
or sherry. At first Mr. Bartell DArcy refused to take either but one of his neighbours
nudged him and whispered something to him upon which he allowed his glass to be filled.
Gradually as the last glasses were being filled the conversation ceased. A pause followed,
broken only by the noise of the wine and by unsettlings of chairs. The Misses Morkan, all
three, looked down at the tablecloth. Someone coughed once or twice and then a few
gentlemen patted the table gently as a signal for silence. The silence came and Gabriel
pushed back his chair.
The patting at once grew louder in encouragement and then ceased altogether. Gabriel
leaned his ten trembling fingers on the tablecloth and smiled nervously at the company.
Meeting a row of upturned faces he raised his eyes to the chandelier. The piano was
playing a waltz tune and he could hear the skirts sweeping against the drawing-room
door. People, perhaps, were standing in the snow on the quay outside, gazing up at the
lighted windows and listening to the waltz music. The air was pure there. In the distance
lay the park where the trees were weighted with snow. The Wellington Monument wore a
gleaming cap of snow that flashed westward over the white field of Fifteen Acres.
He began:


Ladies and Gentlemen,

It has fallen to my lot this evening, as in years past, to perform a very pleasing task but
a task for which I am afraid my poor powers as a speaker are all too inadequate.
No, no! said Mr. Browne.
But, however that may be, I can only ask you tonight to take the will for the deed and to
lend me your attention for a few moments while I endeavour to express to you in words
what my feelings are on this occasion.
Ladies and Gentlemen, it is not the first time that we have gathered together under this
hospitable roof, around this hospitable board. It is not the first time that we have been
the recipientsor perhaps, I had better say, the victimsof the hospitality of certain
good ladies.
He made a circle in the air with his arm and paused. Everyone laughed or smiled at Aunt
Kate and Aunt Julia and Mary Jane who all turned crimson with pleasure. Gabriel went on
more boldly:
I feel more strongly with every recurring year that our country has no tradition which
does it so much honour and which it should guard so jealously as that of its hospitality. It
is a tradition that is unique as far as my experience goes (and I have visited not a few
places abroad) among the modern nations. Some would say, perhaps, that with us it is
rather a failing than anything to be boasted of. But granted even that, it is, to my mind, a
princely failing, and one that I trust will long be cultivated among us. Of one thing, at
least, I am sure. As long as this one roof shelters the good ladies aforesaidand I wish
from my heart it may do so for many and many a long year to comethe tradition of
genuine warm-hearted courteous Irish hospitality, which our forefathers have handed
down to us and which we in turn must hand down to our descendants, is still alive among
A hearty murmur of assent ran round the table. It shot through Gabriels mind that Miss
Ivors was not there and that she had gone away discourteously: and he said with
confidence in himself:
Ladies and Gentlemen,
A new generation is growing up in our midst, a generation actuated by new ideas and
new principles. It is serious and enthusiastic for these new ideas and its enthusiasm,
even when it is misdirected, is, I believe, in the main sincere. But we are living in a
sceptical and, if I may use the phrase, a thought-tormented age: and sometimes I fear


that this new generation, educated or hypereducated as it is, will lack those qualities of
humanity, of hospitality, of kindly humour which belonged to an older day. Listening
tonight to the names of all those great singers of the past it seemed to me, I must
confess, that we were living in a less spacious age. Those days might, without
exaggeration, be called spacious days: and if they are gone beyond recall let us hope, at
least, that in gatherings such as this we shall still speak of them with pride and affection,
still cherish in our hearts the memory of those dead and gone great ones whose fame the
world will not willingly let die.
Hear, hear! said Mr. Browne loudly.
But yet, continued Gabriel, his voice falling into a softer inflection, there are always in
gatherings such as this sadder thoughts that will recur to our minds: thoughts of the
past, of youth, of changes, of absent faces that we miss here tonight. Our path through
life is strewn with many such sad memories: and were we to brood upon them always we
could not find the heart to go on bravely with our work among the living. We have all of
us living duties and living affections which claim, and rightly claim, our strenuous
Therefore, I will not linger on the past. I will not let any gloomy moralising intrude upon
us here tonight. Here we are gathered together for a brief moment from the bustle and
rush of our everyday routine. We are met here as friends, in the spirit of good-fellowship,
as colleagues, also to a certain extent, in the true spirit of camaraderie, and as the
guests ofwhat shall I call them? the Three Graces of the Dublin musical world.
The table burst into applause and laughter at this allusion. Aunt Julia vainly asked each of
her neighbours in turn to tell her what Gabriel had said.
He says we are the Three Graces, Aunt Julia, said Mary Jane.
Aunt Julia did not understand but she looked up, smiling, at Gabriel, who continued in the
same vein:
Ladies and Gentlemen,
I will not attempt to play tonight the part that Paris played on another occasion. I will
not attempt to choose between them. The task would be an invidious one and one
beyond my poor powers. For when I view them in turn, whether it be our chief hostess
herself, whose good heart, whose too good heart, has become a byword with all who
know her, or her sister, who seems to be gifted with perennial youth and whose singing
must have been a surprise and a revelation to us all tonight, or, last but not least, when I
consider our youngest hostess, talented, cheerful, hard-working and the best of nieces, I


confess, Ladies and Gentlemen, that I do not know to which of them I should award the
Gabriel glanced down at his aunts and, seeing the large smile on Aunt Julias face and the
tears which had risen to Aunt Kates eyes, hastened to his close. He raised his glass of
port gallantly, while every member of the company fingered a glass expectantly, and said
Let us toast them all three together. Let us drink to their health, wealth, long life,
happiness and prosperity and may they long continue to hold the proud and self-won
position which they hold in their profession and the position of honour and affection
which they hold in our hearts.
All the guests stood up, glass in hand, and turning towards the three seated ladies, sang
in unison, with Mr. Browne as leader:
For they are jolly gay fellows, For they are jolly gay fellows, For they are jolly gay fellows,
Which nobody can deny.
Aunt Kate was making frank use of her handkerchief and even Aunt Julia seemed moved.
Freddy Malins beat time with his pudding-fork and the singers turned towards one
another, as if in melodious conference, while they sang with emphasis:
Unless he tells a lie, Unless he tells a lie,
Then, turning once more towards their hostesses, they sang:
For they are jolly gay fellows, For they are jolly gay fellows, For they are jolly gay fellows,
Which nobody can deny.
The acclamation which followed was taken up beyond the door of the supper-room by
many of the other guests and renewed time after time, Freddy Malins acting as officer
with his fork on high.
The piercing morning air came into the hall where they were standing so that Aunt Kate
Close the door, somebody. Mrs. Malins will get her death of cold.
Browne is out there, Aunt Kate, said Mary Jane.
Browne is everywhere, said Aunt Kate, lowering her voice.


Mary Jane laughed at her tone.

Really, she said archly, he is very attentive.
He has been laid on here like the gas, said Aunt Kate in the same tone, all during the
She laughed herself this time good-humouredly and then added quickly:
But tell him to come in, Mary Jane, and close the door. I hope to goodness he didnt
hear me.
At that moment the hall-door was opened and Mr. Browne came in from the doorstep,
laughing as if his heart would break. He was dressed in a long green overcoat with mock
astrakhan cuffs and collar and wore on his head an oval fur cap. He pointed down the
snow-covered quay from where the sound of shrill prolonged whistling was borne in.
Teddy will have all the cabs in Dublin out, he said.
Gabriel advanced from the little pantry behind the office, struggling into his overcoat and,
looking round the hall, said:
Gretta not down yet?
Shes getting on her things, Gabriel, said Aunt Kate.
Whos playing up there? asked Gabriel.
Nobody. Theyre all gone.
O no, Aunt Kate, said Mary Jane. Bartell DArcy and Miss OCallaghan arent gone yet.
Someone is fooling at the piano anyhow, said Gabriel.
Mary Jane glanced at Gabriel and Mr. Browne and said with a shiver:
It makes me feel cold to look at you two gentlemen muffled up like that. I wouldnt like
to face your journey home at this hour.
Id like nothing better this minute, said Mr. Browne stoutly, than a rattling fine walk in
the country or a fast drive with a good spanking goer between the shafts.
We used to have a very good horse and trap at home, said Aunt Julia sadly.


The never-to-be-forgotten Johnny, said Mary Jane, laughing.

Aunt Kate and Gabriel laughed too.
Why, what was wonderful about Johnny? asked Mr. Browne.
The late lamented Patrick Morkan, our grandfather, that is, explained Gabriel,
commonly known in his later years as the old gentleman, was a glue-boiler.
O, now, Gabriel, said Aunt Kate, laughing, he had a starch mill.
Well, glue or starch, said Gabriel, the old gentleman had a horse by the name of
Johnny. And Johnny used to work in the old gentlemans mill, walking round and round in
order to drive the mill. That was all very well; but now comes the tragic part about
Johnny. One fine day the old gentleman thought hed like to drive out with the quality to
a military review in the park.
The Lord have mercy on his soul, said Aunt Kate compassionately.
Amen, said Gabriel. So the old gentleman, as I said, harnessed Johnny and put on his
very best tall hat and his very best stock collar and drove out in grand style from his
ancestral mansion somewhere near Back Lane, I think.
Everyone laughed, even Mrs. Malins, at Gabriels manner and Aunt Kate said:
O, now, Gabriel, he didnt live in Back Lane, really. Only the mill was there.
Out from the mansion of his forefathers, continued Gabriel, he drove with Johnny. And
everything went on beautifully until Johnny came in sight of King Billys statue: and
whether he fell in love with the horse King Billy sits on or whether he thought he was
back again in the mill, anyhow he began to walk round the statue.
Gabriel paced in a circle round the hall in his goloshes amid the laughter of the others.
Round and round he went, said Gabriel, and the old gentleman, who was a very
pompous old gentleman, was highly indignant. Go on, sir! What do you mean, sir?
Johnny! Johnny! Most extraordinary conduct! Cant understand the horse!
The peal of laughter which followed Gabriels imitation of the incident was interrupted by
a resounding knock at the hall door. Mary Jane ran to open it and let in Freddy Malins.
Freddy Malins, with his hat well back on his head and his shoulders humped with cold,
was puffing and steaming after his exertions.


I could only get one cab, he said.

O, well find another along the quay, said Gabriel.
Yes, said Aunt Kate. Better not keep Mrs. Malins standing in the draught.
Mrs. Malins was helped down the front steps by her son and Mr. Browne and, after many
manoeuvres, hoisted into the cab. Freddy Malins clambered in after her and spent a long
time settling her on the seat, Mr. Browne helping him with advice. At last she was settled
comfortably and Freddy Malins invited Mr. Browne into the cab. There was a good deal of
confused talk, and then Mr. Browne got into the cab. The cabman settled his rug over his
knees, and bent down for the address. The confusion grew greater and the cabman was
directed differently by Freddy Malins and Mr. Browne, each of whom had his head out
through a window of the cab. The difficulty was to know where to drop Mr. Browne along
the route, and Aunt Kate, Aunt Julia and Mary Jane helped the discussion from the
doorstep with cross-directions and contradictions and abundance of laughter. As for
Freddy Malins he was speechless with laughter. He popped his head in and out of the
window every moment to the great danger of his hat, and told his mother how the
discussion was progressing, till at last Mr. Browne shouted to the bewildered cabman
above the din of everybodys laughter:
Do you know Trinity College?
Yes, sir, said the cabman.
Well, drive bang up against Trinity College gates, said Mr. Browne, and then well tell
you where to go. You understand now?
Yes, sir, said the cabman.
Make like a bird for Trinity College.
Right, sir, said the cabman.
The horse was whipped up and the cab rattled off along the quay amid a chorus of
laughter and adieus.
Gabriel had not gone to the door with the others. He was in a dark part of the hall gazing
up the staircase. A woman was standing near the top of the first flight, in the shadow
also. He could not see her face but he could see the terra-cotta and salmon-pink panels
of her skirt which the shadow made appear black and white. It was his wife. She was
leaning on the banisters, listening to something. Gabriel was surprised at her stillness
and strained his ear to listen also. But he could hear little save the noise of laughter and


dispute on the front steps, a few chords struck on the piano and a few notes of a mans
voice singing.
He stood still in the gloom of the hall, trying to catch the air that the voice was singing
and gazing up at his wife. There was grace and mystery in her attitude as if she were a
symbol of something. He asked himself what is a woman standing on the stairs in the
shadow, listening to distant music, a symbol of. If he were a painter he would paint her in
that attitude. Her blue felt hat would show off the bronze of her hair against the darkness
and the dark panels of her skirt would show off the light ones. Distant Music he would call
the picture if he were a painter.
The hall-door was closed; and Aunt Kate, Aunt Julia and Mary Jane came down the hall,
still laughing.
Well, isnt Freddy terrible? said Mary Jane. Hes really terrible.
Gabriel said nothing but pointed up the stairs towards where his wife was standing. Now
that the hall-door was closed the voice and the piano could be heard more clearly.
Gabriel held up his hand for them to be silent. The song seemed to be in the old Irish
tonality and the singer seemed uncertain both of his words and of his voice. The voice,
made plaintive by distance and by the singers hoarseness, faintly illuminated the
cadence of the air with words expressing grief:
O, the rain falls on my heavy locks And the dew wets my skin, My babe lies cold...
O, exclaimed Mary Jane. Its Bartell DArcy singing and he wouldnt sing all the night.
O, Ill get him to sing a song before he goes.
O, do, Mary Jane, said Aunt Kate.
Mary Jane brushed past the others and ran to the staircase, but before she reached it the
singing stopped and the piano was closed abruptly.
O, what a pity! she cried. Is he coming down, Gretta?
Gabriel heard his wife answer yes and saw her come down towards them. A few steps
behind her were Mr. Bartell DArcy and Miss OCallaghan.
O, Mr. DArcy, cried Mary Jane, its downright mean of you to break off like that when
we were all in raptures listening to you.
I have been at him all the evening, said Miss OCallaghan, and Mrs. Conroy, too, and
he told us he had a dreadful cold and couldnt sing.


O, Mr. DArcy, said Aunt Kate, now that was a great fib to tell.
Cant you see that Im as hoarse as a crow? said Mr. DArcy roughly.
He went into the pantry hastily and put on his overcoat. The others, taken aback by his
rude speech, could find nothing to say. Aunt Kate wrinkled her brows and made signs to
the others to drop the subject. Mr. DArcy stood swathing his neck carefully and frowning.
Its the weather, said Aunt Julia, after a pause.
Yes, everybody has colds, said Aunt Kate readily, everybody.
They say, said Mary Jane, we havent had snow like it for thirty years; and I read this
morning in the newspapers that the snow is general all over Ireland.
I love the look of snow, said Aunt Julia sadly.
So do I, said Miss OCallaghan. I think Christmas is never really Christmas unless we
have the snow on the ground.
But poor Mr. DArcy doesnt like the snow, said Aunt Kate, smiling.
Mr. DArcy came from the pantry, fully swathed and buttoned, and in a repentant tone
told them the history of his cold. Everyone gave him advice and said it was a great pity
and urged him to be very careful of his throat in the night air. Gabriel watched his wife,
who did not join in the conversation. She was standing right under the dusty fanlight and
the flame of the gas lit up the rich bronze of her hair, which he had seen her drying at
the fire a few days before. She was in the same attitude and seemed unaware of the talk
about her. At last she turned towards them and Gabriel saw that there was colour on her
cheeks and that her eyes were shining. A sudden tide of joy went leaping out of his
Mr. DArcy, she said, what is the name of that song you were singing?
Its called The Lass of Aughrim, said Mr. DArcy, but I couldnt remember it properly.
Why? Do you know it?
The Lass of Aughrim, she repeated. I couldnt think of the name.
Its a very nice air, said Mary Jane. Im sorry you were not in voice tonight.
Now, Mary Jane, said Aunt Kate, dont annoy Mr. DArcy. I wont have him annoyed.


Seeing that all were ready to start she shepherded them to the door, where good-night
was said:
Well, good-night, Aunt Kate, and thanks for the pleasant evening.
Good-night, Gabriel. Good-night, Gretta!
Good-night, Aunt Kate, and thanks ever so much. Goodnight, Aunt Julia.
O, good-night, Gretta, I didnt see you.
Good-night, Mr. DArcy. Good-night, Miss OCallaghan.
Good-night, Miss Morkan.
Good-night, again.
Good-night, all. Safe home.
Good-night. Good night.
The morning was still dark. A dull, yellow light brooded over the houses and the river;
and the sky seemed to be descending. It was slushy underfoot; and only streaks and
patches of snow lay on the roofs, on the parapets of the quay and on the area railings.
The lamps were still burning redly in the murky air and, across the river, the palace of the
Four Courts stood out menacingly against the heavy sky.
She was walking on before him with Mr. Bartell DArcy, her shoes in a brown parcel
tucked under one arm and her hands holding her skirt up from the slush. She had no
longer any grace of attitude, but Gabriels eyes were still bright with happiness. The blood
went bounding along his veins; and the thoughts went rioting through his brain, proud,
joyful, tender, valorous.
She was walking on before him so lightly and so erect that he longed to run after her
noiselessly, catch her by the shoulders and say something foolish and affectionate into
her ear. She seemed to him so frail that he longed to defend her against something and
then to be alone with her. Moments of their secret life together burst like stars upon his
memory. A heliotrope envelope was lying beside his breakfast-cup and he was caressing
it with his hand. Birds were twittering in the ivy and the sunny web of the curtain was
shimmering along the floor: he could not eat for happiness. They were standing on the
crowded platform and he was placing a ticket inside the warm palm of her glove. He was
standing with her in the cold, looking in through a grated w