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
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
mad with me?"
you?" The big man's laugh startled the bar.
There was a long
"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.