girl?" Paddy asked. He was standing at the end of the kitchen.
"She's in the
front room. You're not goin' to...?"
Paddy was already
at the door of the other room.
like a cat," Timothy warned urgently. "If she tells the mother about
me, the fat'll be in the fire!"
Paddy opened the
door of the front room. Breathing heavily, he began fumbling with the matchbox
again. Across the window moved the scudding night light of the sky. The match
light came up and showed a quilt patterned with candlewick. Then, abruptly,
where the bedclothes had been a taut ball there was no longer a ball. As if
playing a merry game, the little girl, like Jill-in-the-box, flax-curled and
blue-eyed, sprang up.
it?" she asked fearlessly. The match light was high above her.
Paddy did not
The girl laughed
ringingly. "You're in the kitchen, Timothy Hannigan," she called out.
"I know your snuffle."
God!" Timothy breathed.
"I heard you
talking too, boyo," she said gleefully as the ember died in Paddy's