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"A drink, Paddy."
The pub glittered in the old-fashioned way. The embossed wallpaper between the shelving had been painted lime green. As they entered the bar, the publican was turning with a full pint-glass in his hand. His eyes hardened when he saw Paddy: he delayed the fraction of a second before placing the glass on the high counter.
Wiping his hands on a blue apron, the publican asked, "Back again, eh, Paddy?" with false cheer. "Will you be fighting now in Ireland?" A limp handshake followed.
Paddy grunted, then lurched toward the far corner of the bar. There, sitting on a high stool, he crouched against the counter. Timothy took his seat beside him, seating himself sideways, as if protecting the big man from the gaze of the other customers. Paddy called for two pints of porter; he paid for his call from an old-fashioned purse bulky with English treasury notes. Timothy raised his full glass and ventured: "Good health!" Paddy growled a reply. Both men tilted the glasses and gulped three quarters of the porter. Paddy set down his glass and stared moodily in front of him. Timothy carefully replaced his glass on the counter, then placed his face closer to Paddy's ear.
"Yeh got my letter, Paddy?"
"You're not mad with me?"
"Mad with you?" The big man's laugh startled the bar.
There was a long silence.
"I got yer letter," Paddy said abruptly. He turned and, for the first time, looked his small companion squarely in the face. Deliberately, he set the big, battered index finger of his strong, boxer's hand inside Timothy's collar-stud. As, slowly, he began to twist his finger, the collar-band tightened. When it was taut, Paddy drew Timothy's face close to his own. So intimately were the two men seated that the others in the bar did not know what was going on. Timothy's face changed color, yet he did not try to release himself.