List Of Contents | Contents of Dubliners, by James Joyce
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employment of the railway company for fifteen years. On hearing
the guard's whistle he set the train in motion and a second or two
afterwards brought it to rest in response to loud cries. The train
was going slowly. 

P. Dunne, railway porter, stated that as the train was about to start
he observed a woman attempting to cross the lines. He ran towards
her and shouted, but, before he could reach her, she was caught by
the buffer of the engine and fell to the ground. 

A juror. "You saw the lady fall?" 

Witness. "Yes." 

Police Sergeant Croly deposed that when he arrived he found the
deceased lying on the platform apparently dead. He had the body
taken to the waiting-room pending the arrival of the ambulance. 

Constable 57 corroborated. 

Dr. Halpin, assistant house surgeon of the City of Dublin Hospital,
stated that the deceased had two lower ribs fractured and had
sustained severe contusions of the right shoulder. The right side of
the head had been injured in the fall. The injuries were not
sufficient to have caused death in a normal person. Death, in his
opinion, had been probably due to shock and sudden failure of the
heart's action. 

Mr. H. B. Patterson Finlay, on behalf of the railway company,
expressed his deep regret at the accident. The company had always
taken every precaution to prevent people crossing the lines except
by the bridges, both by placing notices in every station and by the
use of patent spring gates at level crossings. The deceased had
been in the habit of crossing the lines late at night from platform to
platform and, in view of certain other circumstances of the case,
he did not think the railway officials were to blame. 

Captain Sinico, of Leoville, Sydney Parade, husband of the
deceased, also gave evidence. He stated that the deceased was his
wife. He was not in Dublin at the time of the accident as he had
arrived only that morning from Rotterdam. They had been married
for twenty-two years and had lived happily until about two years
ago when his wife began to be rather intemperate in her habits. 

Miss Mary Sinico said that of late her mother had been in the habit
of going out at night to buy spirits. She, witness, had often tried to
reason with her mother and had induced her to join a League. She
was not at home until an hour after the accident. The jury returned
a verdict in accordance with the medical evidence and exonerated
Lennon from all blame. 

The Deputy Coroner said it was a most painful case, and expressed
great sympathy with Captain Sinico and his daughter. He urged on
the railway company to take strong measures to prevent the
possibility of similar accidents in the future. No blame attached to

Mr. Duffy raised his eyes from the paper and gazed out of his
window on the cheerless evening landscape. The river lay quiet
beside the empty distillery and from time to time a light appeared
in some house on the Lucan road. What an end! The whole
narrative of her death revolted him and it revolted him to think that
he had ever spoken to her of what he held sacred. The threadbare
phrases, the inane expressions of sympathy, the cautious words of
a reporter won over to conceal the details of a commonplace
vulgar death attacked his stomach. Not merely had she degraded
herself; she had degraded him. He saw the squalid tract of her vice,
miserable and malodorous. His soul's companion! He thought of
the hobbling wretches whom he had seen carrying cans and bottles
to be filled by the barman. Just God, what an end! Evidently she
had been unfit to live, without any strength of purpose, an easy
prey to habits, one of the wrecks on which civilisation has been
reared. But that she could have sunk so low! Was it possible he
had deceived himself so utterly about her? He remembered her
outburst of that night and interpreted it in a harsher sense than he
had ever done. He had no difficulty now in approving of the course
he had taken. 

As the light failed and his memory began to wander he thought her
hand touched his. The shock which had first attacked his stomach
was now attacking his nerves. He put on his overcoat and hat
quickly and went out. The cold air met him on the threshold; it
crept into the sleeves of his coat. When he came to the
public-house at Chapelizod Bridge he went in and ordered a hot

The proprietor served him obsequiously but did not venture to talk.
There were five or six workingmen in the shop discussing the
value of a gentleman's estate in County Kildare They drank at
intervals from their huge pint tumblers and smoked, spitting often
on the floor and sometimes dragging the sawdust over their spits
with their heavy boots. Mr. Duffy sat on his stool and gazed at
them, without seeing or hearing them. After a while they went out
and he called for another punch. He sat a long time over it. The
shop was very quiet. The proprietor sprawled on the counter
reading the Herald and yawning. Now and again a tram was heard
swishing along the lonely road outside. 

As he sat there, living over his life with her and evoking
alternately the two images in which he now conceived her, he
realised that she was dead, that she had ceased to exist, that she
had become a memory. He began to feel ill at ease. He asked
himself what else could he have done. He could not have carried
on a comedy of deception with her; he could not have lived with
her openly. He had done what seemed to him best. How was he to
blame? Now that she was gone he understood how lonely her life
must have been, sitting night after night alone in that room. His
life would be lonely too until he, too, died, ceased to exist, became
a memory -- if anyone remembered him. 

It was after nine o'clock when he left the shop. The night was cold
and gloomy. He entered the Park by the first gate and walked along
under the gaunt trees. He walked through the bleak alleys where
they had walked four years before. She seemed to be near him in
the darkness. At moments he seemed to feel her voice touch his
ear, her hand touch his. He stood still to listen. Why had he
withheld life from her? Why had he sentenced her to death? He
felt his moral nature falling to pieces. 

When he gained the crest of the Magazine Hill he halted and
looked along the river towards Dublin, the lights of which burned
redly and hospitably in the cold night. He looked down the slope
and, at the base, in the shadow of the wall of the Park, he saw
some human figures lying. Those venal and furtive loves filled him
with despair. He gnawed the rectitude of his life; he felt that he
had been outcast from life's feast. One human being had seemed to
love him and he had denied her life and happiness: he had
sentenced her to ignominy, a death of shame. He knew that the
prostrate creatures down by the wall were watching him and
wished him gone. No one wanted him; he was outcast from life's
feast. He turned his eyes to the grey gleaming river, winding along
towards Dublin. Beyond the river he saw a goods train winding out
of Kingsbridge Station, like a worm with a fiery head winding
through the darkness, obstinately and laboriously. It passed slowly
out of sight; but still he heard in his ears the laborious drone of the
engine reiterating the syllables of her name. 

He turned back the way he had come, the rhythm of the engine
pounding in his ears. He began to doubt the reality of what
memory told him. He halted under a tree and allowed the rhythm
to die away. He could not feel her near him in the darkness nor her
voice touch his ear. He waited for some minutes listening. He
could hear nothing: the night was perfectly silent. He listened
again: perfectly silent. He felt that he was alone. 


OLD JACK raked the cinders together with a piece of cardboard
and spread them judiciously over the whitening dome of coals.
When the dome was thinly covered his face lapsed into darkness
but, as he set himself to fan the fire again, his crouching shadow
ascended the opposite wall and his face slowly reemerged into
light. It was an old man's face, very bony and hairy. The moist blue
eyes blinked at the fire and the moist mouth fell open at times,
munching once or twice mechanically when it closed. When the
cinders had caught he laid the piece of cardboard against the wall,
sighed and said: 

"That's better now, Mr. O'Connor." 

Mr. O'Connor, a grey-haired young man, whose face was
disfigured by many blotches and pimples, had just brought the
tobacco for a cigarette into a shapely cylinder but when spoken to
he undid his handiwork meditatively. Then he began to roll the
tobacco again meditatively and after a moment's thought decided
to lick the paper. 

"Did Mr. Tierney say when he'd be back?" he asked in a sky

"He didn't say." 

Mr. O'Connor put his cigarette into his mouth and began search his
pockets. He took out a pack of thin pasteboard cards. 

"I'll get you a match," said the old man. 

"Never mind, this'll do," said Mr. O'Connor. 

He selected one of the cards and read what was printed on it: 

Mr. Richard J. Tierney, P.L.G., respectfully solicits the
favour of your vote and influence at the coming election 
in the Royal Exchange Ward.

Mr. O'Connor had been engaged by Tierney's agent to canvass one
part of the ward but, as the weather was inclement and his boots
let in the wet, he spent a great part of the day sitting by the fire in
the Committee Room in Wicklow Street with Jack, the old
caretaker. They had been sitting thus since e short day had grown
dark. It was the sixth of October, dismal and cold out of doors. 

Mr. O'Connor tore a strip off the card and, lighting it, lit his
cigarette. As he did so the flame lit up a leaf of dark glossy ivy the
lapel of his coat. The old man watched him attentively and then,
taking up the piece of cardboard again, began to fan the fire slowly
while his companion smoked. 

"Ah, yes," he said, continuing, "it's hard to know what way to bring

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