List Of Contents | Contents of Dubliners, by James Joyce
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up children. Now who'd think he'd turn out like that! I sent him to
the Christian Brothers and I done what I could him, and there he
goes boosing about. I tried to make him someway decent." 

He replaced the cardboard wearily. 

"Only I'm an old man now I'd change his tune for him. I'd take the
stick to his back and beat him while I could stand over him -- as I
done many a time before. The mother, you know, she cocks him
up with this and that...." 

"That's what ruins children," said Mr. O'Connor. 

"To be sure it is," said the old man. "And little thanks you get for
it, only impudence. He takes th'upper hand of me whenever he sees
I've a sup taken. What's the world coming to when sons speaks that
way to their fathers?" 

"What age is he?" said Mr. O'Connor. 

"Nineteen," said the old man. 

"Why don't you put him to something?" 

"Sure, amn't I never done at the drunken bowsy ever since he left
school? 'I won't keep you,' I says. 'You must get a job for yourself.'
But, sure, it's worse whenever he gets a job; he drinks it all." 

Mr. O'Connor shook his head in sympathy, and the old man fell
silent, gazing into the fire. Someone opened the door of the room
and called out: 

"Hello! Is this a Freemason's meeting?" 

"Who's that?" said the old man. 

"What are you doing in the dark?" asked a voice. 

"Is that you, Hynes?" asked Mr. O'Connor. 

"Yes. What are you doing in the dark?" said Mr. Hynes. advancing
into the light of the fire. 

He was a tall, slender young man with a light brown moustache.
Imminent little drops of rain hung at the brim of his hat and the
collar of his jacket-coat was turned up. 

"Well, Mat," he said to Mr. O'Connor, "how goes it?" 

Mr. O'Connor shook his head. The old man left the hearth and
after stumbling about the room returned with two candlesticks
which he thrust one after the other into the fire and carried to the
table. A denuded room came into view and the fire lost all its
cheerful colour. The walls of the room were bare except for a copy
of an election address. In the middle of the room was a small table
on which papers were heaped. 

Mr. Hynes leaned against the mantelpiece and asked: 

"Has he paid you yet?" 

"Not yet," said Mr. O'Connor. "I hope to God he'll not leave us in
the lurch tonight." 

Mr. Hynes laughed. 

"O, he'll pay you. Never fear," he said. 

"I hope he'll look smart about it if he means business," said Mr.

"What do you think, Jack?" said Mr. Hynes satirically to the old

The old man returned to his seat by the fire, saying: 

"It isn't but he has it, anyway. Not like the other tinker." 

"What other tinker?" said Mr. Hynes. 

"Colgan," said the old man scornfully. 

"It is because Colgan's a working -- man you say that? What's the
difference between a good honest bricklayer and a publican -- eh?
Hasn't the working-man as good a right to be in the Corporation as
anyone else -- ay, and a better right than those shoneens that are
always hat in hand before any fellow with a handle to his name?
Isn't that so, Mat?" said Mr. Hynes, addressing Mr. O'Connor. 

"I think you're right," said Mr. O'Connor. 

"One man is a plain honest man with no hunker-sliding about him.
He goes in to represent the labour classes. This fellow you're
working for only wants to get some job or other." 

"0f course, the working-classes should be represented," said the
old man. 

"The working-man," said Mr. Hynes, "gets all kicks and no
halfpence. But it's labour produces everything. The workingman is
not looking for fat jobs for his sons and nephews and cousins. The
working-man is not going to drag the honour of Dublin in the mud
to please a German monarch." 

"How's that?" said the old man. 

"Don't you know they want to present an address of welcome to
Edward Rex if he comes here next year? What do we want
kowtowing to a foreign king?" 

"Our man won't vote for the address," said Mr. O'Connor. "He goes
in on the Nationalist ticket." 

"Won't he?" said Mr. Hynes. "Wait till you see whether he will or
not. I know him. Is it Tricky Dicky Tierney?" 

"By God! perhaps you're right, Joe," said Mr. O'Connor. "Anyway,
I wish he'd turn up with the spondulics." 

The three men fell silent. The old man began to rake more cinders
together. Mr. Hynes took off his hat, shook it and then turned
down the collar of his coat, displaying, as he did so, an ivy leaf in
the lapel. 

"If this man was alive," he said, pointing to the leaf, "we'd have no
talk of an address of welcome." 

"That's true," said Mr. O'Connor. 

"Musha, God be with them times!" said the old man. "There was
some life in it then." 

The room was silent again. Then a bustling little man with a
snuffling nose and very cold ears pushed in the door. He walked
over quickly to the fire, rubbing his hands as if he intended to
produce a spark from them. 

"No money, boys," he said. 

"Sit down here, Mr. Henchy," said the old man, offering him his

"O, don't stir, Jack, don't stir," said Mr. Henchy 

He nodded curtly to Mr. Hynes and sat down on the chair which
the old man vacated. 

"Did you serve Aungier Street?" he asked Mr. O'Connor. 

"Yes," said Mr. O'Connor, beginning to search his pockets for

"Did you call on Grimes?" 

"I did." 

"Well? How does he stand?" 

"He wouldn't promise. He said: 'I won't tell anyone what way I'm
going to vote.' But I think he'll be all right." 

"Why so?" 

"He asked me who the nominators were; and I told him. I
mentioned Father Burke's name. I think it'll be all right." 

Mr. Henchy began to snuffle and to rub his hands over the fire at a
terrific speed. Then he said: 

"For the love of God, Jack, bring us a bit of coal. There must be
some left." 

The old man went out of the room. 

"It's no go," said Mr. Henchy, shaking his head. "I asked the little
shoeboy, but he said: 'Oh, now, Mr. Henchy, when I see work
going on properly I won't forget you, you may be sure.' Mean little
tinker! 'Usha, how could he be anything else?" 

"What did I tell you, Mat?" said Mr. Hynes. "Tricky Dicky

"0, he's as tricky as they make 'em," said Mr. Henchy. "He hasn't
got those little pigs' eyes for nothing. Blast his soul! Couldn't he
pay up like a man instead of: 'O, now, Mr. Henchy, I must speak to
Mr. Fanning.... I've spent a lot of money'? Mean little schoolboy of
hell! I suppose he forgets the time his little old father kept the
hand-me-down shop in Mary's Lane." 

"But is that a fact?" asked Mr. O'Connor. 

"God, yes," said Mr. Henchy. "Did you never hear that? And the
men used to go in on Sunday morning before the houses were open
to buy a waistcoat or a trousers -- moya! But Tricky Dicky's little
old father always had a tricky little black bottle up in a corner. Do
you mind now? That's that. That's where he first saw the light." 

The old man returned with a few lumps of coal which he placed
here and there on the fire. 

"Thats a nice how-do-you-do," said Mr. O'Connor. "How does he
expect us to work for him if he won't stump up?" 

"I can't help it," said Mr. Henchy. "I expect to find the bailiffs in
the hall when I go home." 

Mr. Hynes laughed and, shoving himself away from the
mantelpiece with the aid of his shoulders, made ready to leave. 

"It'll be all right when King Eddie comes," he said. "Well boys, I'm
off for the present. See you later. 'Bye, 'bye." 

He went out of the room slowly. Neither Mr. Henchy nor the old
man said anything, but, just as the door was closing, Mr. O'Connor,
who had been staring moodily into the fire, called out suddenly: 

"'Bye, Joe." 

Mr. Henchy waited a few moments and then nodded in the
direction of the door. 

"Tell me," he said across the fire, "what brings our friend in here?
What does he want?" 

"'Usha, poor Joe!" said Mr. O'Connor, throwing the end of his
cigarette into the fire, "he's hard up, like the rest of us." 

Mr. Henchy snuffled vigorously and spat so copiously that he
nearly put out the fire, which uttered a hissing protest. 

"To tell you my private and candid opinion," he said, "I think he's a
man from the other camp. He's a spy of Colgan's, if you ask me.
Just go round and try and find out how they're getting on. They
won't suspect you. Do you twig?" 

"Ah, poor Joe is a decent skin," said Mr. O'Connor. 

"His father was a decent, respectable man," Mr. Henchy admitted.
"Poor old Larry Hynes! Many a good turn he did in his day! But I'm
greatly afraid our friend is not nineteen carat. Damn it, I can
understand a fellow being hard up, but what I can't understand is a
fellow sponging. Couldn't he have some spark of manhood about

"He doesn't get a warm welcome from me when he comes," said
the old man. "Let him work for his own side and not come spying
around here." 

"I don't know," said Mr. O'Connor dubiously, as he took out
cigarette-papers and tobacco. "I think Joe Hynes is a straight man.
He's a clever chap, too, with the pen. Do you remember that thing
he wrote...?" 

"Some of these hillsiders and fenians are a bit too clever if ask
me," said Mr. Henchy. "Do you know what my private and candid
opinion is about some of those little jokers? I believe half of them
are in the pay of the Castle." 

"There's no knowing," said the old man. 

"O, but I know it for a fact," said Mr. Henchy. "They're Castle
hacks.... I don't say Hynes.... No, damn it, I think he's a stroke
above that.... But there's a certain little nobleman with a cock-eye
-- you know the patriot I'm alluding to?" 

Mr. O'Connor nodded. 

"There's a lineal descendant of Major Sirr for you if you like! O,
the heart's blood of a patriot! That's a fellow now that'd sell his
country for fourpence -- ay -- and go down on his bended knees
and thank the Almighty Christ he had a country to sell." 

There was a knock at the door. 

"Come in!" said Mr. Henchy. 

A person resembling a poor clergyman or a poor actor appeared in
the doorway. His black clothes were tightly buttoned on his short
body and it was impossible to say whether he wore a clergyman's

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