There was no
my ould fellah back from England?" she said suddenly.
The girl's voice
was shaken with delight. "I knew you'd be back! They all said no, but I
said yes?that you'd be back for sure." She paused, and took a step nearer.
"What did you bring me?"
Dourly he put his
hand into his pocket. His fingers encountered a pipe, a half-quarter of
tobacco, a six-inch nail, a clotted handkerchief and the crumpled letter from
"I left it
after me in the carriage," he said limply.
Her recovery from
disappointment was swift. "Can't you get it in town a Saturday?" she
said, drawing still closer.
right," he agreed. There was a short pause. Then he said, "Come hether
to the fire."
She came and
stood between his knees. The several hoops of her curls were between him and
the firelight. She smelled of soap. His fingers touched her arms. The mother
was in her surely. He knew it by the manner in which her flesh was sure and
there without speaking until the light step on the road sent her prickling
alive. "Mom'll kill me for bein' out of bed," she said. Paddy's body
stiffened. As the girl struggled to be free, he held her fast. Of a sudden she
went limp, and laughed. "I forgot," she whispered; "she'll not
touch me on account of you comin' home." She rippled with secret laughter.
"Wasn't I the fooleen to forget?"