Make your own free website on Tripod.com

List Of Contents | Contents of Dubliners, by James Joyce
< < Previous Page     Next Page > >

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 mother's voice, broke out into a paroxysm of
sobbing. 

"It's nothing, Annie ... it's 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: 

"It's nothing.... He ... he began to cry.... I couldn't ... I didn't 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! Mamma's little lamb
of the world!... 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
child's sobbing grew less and less; and tears of remorse started to
his eyes. 

COUNTERPARTS 

THE bell rang furiously and, when Miss Parker went to the tube, 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 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 wine-coloured, 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. Alleyne's 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: 

"Farrington? What is the meaning of this? Why have I always to
complain of you? May I ask you why you haven't made a copy of
that contract between Bodley and Kirwan? I told you it must be
ready by four o'clock." 

"But Mr. Shelley 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 I'll 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, I'd 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 night's 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. 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 man's 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 easy!" 

"I was waiting to see..." 

"Very good, you needn't 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. 

"It's all right, Mr. Shelley," said the man, pointing with his finger
to indicate the objective of his journey. 

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 shepherd's 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 O'Neill's 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.. like a good fellow." 

The curate brought him a glass of plain porter. The man drank it at
a gulp and asked for a caraway seed. 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 O'Neill's. He crammed his
cap back again into his pocket and re-entered 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. Alleyne's
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: "That's
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. He struggled on with his copy, but when the clock struck
five he had still fourteen pages to write. Blast it! He couldn't 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 wouldn't give an advance.... He knew where he
would meet the boys: Leonard and O'Halloran and Nosey Flynn.
The barometer of his emotional nature was set for a spell of riot. 

< < Previous Page     Next Page > >



Other sites:

db3nf.com screen-capture.net floresca.net simonova.net flora-source.com flora-source.com sourcecentral.com sourcecentral.com geocities.com