List Of Contents | Contents of Dubliners, by James Joyce
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collar or a layman's, because the collar of his shabby frock-coat,
the uncovered buttons of which reflected the candlelight, was
turned up about his neck. He wore a round hat of hard black felt.
His face, shining with raindrops, had the appearance of damp
yellow cheese save where two rosy spots indicated the cheekbones.
He opened his very long mouth suddenly to express
disappointment and at the same time opened wide his very bright
blue eyes to express pleasure and surprise. 

"O Father Keon!" said Mr. Henchy, jumping up from his chair. "Is
that you? Come in!" 

"O, no, no, no!" said Father Keon quickly, pursing his lips as if he
were addressing a child. 

"Won't you come in and sit down?" 

"No, no, no!" said Father Keon, speaking in a discreet, indulgent,
velvety voice. "Don't let me disturb you now! I'm just looking for
Mr. Fanning...." 

"He's round at the Black Eagle," said Mr. Henchy. "But won't you
come in and sit down a minute?" 

"No, no, thank you. It was just a little business matter," said Father
Keon. "Thank you, indeed." 

He retreated from the doorway and Mr. Henchy, seizing one of the
candlesticks, went to the door to light him downstairs. 

"O, don't trouble, I beg!" 

"No, but the stairs is so dark." 

"No, no, I can see.... Thank you, indeed." 

"Are you right now?" 

"All right, thanks.... Thanks." 

Mr. Henchy returned with the candlestick and put it on the table.
He sat down again at the fire. There was silence for a few

"Tell me, John," said Mr. O'Connor, lighting his cigarette with
another pasteboard card. 

"Hm? " 

"What he is exactly?" 

"Ask me an easier one," said Mr. Henchy. 

"Fanning and himself seem to me very thick. They're often in
Kavanagh's together. Is he a priest at all?" 

"Mmmyes, I believe so.... I think he's what you call black sheep.
We haven't many of them, thank God! but we have a few.... He's an
unfortunate man of some kind...." 

"And how does he knock it out?" asked Mr. O'Connor. 

"That's another mystery." 

"Is he attached to any chapel or church or institution or---" 

"No," said Mr. Henchy, "I think he's travelling on his own
account.... God forgive me," he added, "I thought he was the dozen
of stout." 

"Is there any chance of a drink itself?" asked Mr. O'Connor. 

"I'm dry too," said the old man. 

"I asked that little shoeboy three times," said Mr. Henchy, "would
he send up a dozen of stout. I asked him again now, but he was
leaning on the counter in his shirt-sleeves having a deep goster
with Alderman Cowley." 

"Why didn't you remind him?" said Mr. O'Connor. 

"Well, I couldn't go over while he was talking to Alderman
Cowley. I just waited till I caught his eye, and said: 'About that
little matter I was speaking to you about....' 'That'll be all right, Mr.
H.,' he said. Yerra, sure the little hop-o'- my-thumb has forgotten
all about it." 

"There's some deal on in that quarter," said Mr. O'Connor
thoughtfully. "I saw the three of them hard at it yesterday at
Suffolk Street corner." 

"I think I know the little game they're at," said Mr. Henchy. "You
must owe the City Fathers money nowadays if you want to be
made Lord Mayor. Then they'll make you Lord Mayor. By God!
I'm thinking seriously of becoming a City Father myself. What do
you think? Would I do for the job?" 

Mr. O'Connor laughed. 

"So far as owing money goes...." 

"Driving out of the Mansion House," said Mr. Henchy, "in all my
vermin, with Jack here standing up behind me in a powdered wig
-- eh?" 

"And make me your private secretary, John." 

"Yes. And I'll make Father Keon my private chaplain. We'll have a
family party." 

"Faith, Mr. Henchy," said the old man, "you'd keep up better style
than some of them. I was talking one day to old Keegan, the porter.
'And how do you like your new master, Pat?' says I to him. 'You
haven't much entertaining now,' says I. 'Entertaining!' says he. 'He'd
live on the smell of an oil- rag.' And do you know what he told
me? Now, I declare to God I didn't believe him." 

"What?" said Mr. Henchy and Mr. O'Connor. 

"He told me: 'What do you think of a Lord Mayor of Dublin
sending out for a pound of chops for his dinner? How's that for
high living?' says he. 'Wisha! wisha,' says I. 'A pound of chops,'
says he, 'coming into the Mansion House.' 'Wisha!' says I, 'what
kind of people is going at all now?" 

At this point there was a knock at the door, and a boy put in his

"What is it?" said the old man. 

"From the Black Eagle," said the boy, walking in sideways and
depositing a basket on the floor with a noise of shaken bottles. 

The old man helped the boy to transfer the bottles from the basket
to the table and counted the full tally. After the transfer the boy put
his basket on his arm and asked: 

"Any bottles?" 

"What bottles?" said the old man. 

"Won't you let us drink them first?" said Mr. Henchy. 

"I was told to ask for the bottles." 

"Come back tomorrow," said the old man. 

"Here, boy!" said Mr. Henchy, "will you run over to O'Farrell's and
ask him to lend us a corkscrew -- for Mr. Henchy, say. Tell him we
won't keep it a minute. Leave the basket there." 

The boy went out and Mr. Henchy began to rub his hands
cheerfully, saying: 

"Ah, well, he's not so bad after all. He's as good as his word,

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

"O, don't let that trouble you, Jack," said Mr. Henchy. "Many's the
good man before now drank out of the bottle." 

"Anyway, it's better than nothing," said Mr. O'Connor. 

"He's not a bad sort," said Mr. Henchy, "only Fanning has such a
loan of him. He means well, you know, in his own tinpot way." 

The boy came back with the corkscrew. The old man opened three
bottles and was handing back the corkscrew when Mr. Henchy said
to the boy: 

"Would you like a drink, boy?" 

"If you please, sir," said the boy. 

The old man opened another bottle grudgingly, and handed it to
the boy. 

"What age are you?" he asked. 

"Seventeen," said the boy. 

As the old man said nothing further, the boy took the bottle. said:
"Here's my best respects, sir, to Mr. Henchy," drank the contents,
put the bottle back on the table and wiped his mouth with his
sleeve. Then he took up the corkscrew and went out of the door
sideways, muttering some form of salutation. 

"That's the way it begins," said the old man. 

"The thin edge of the wedge," said Mr. Henchy. 

The old man distributed the three bottles which he had opened and
the men drank from them simultaneously. After having drank each
placed his bottle on the mantelpiece within hand's reach and drew
in a long breath of satisfaction. 

"Well, I did a good day's work today," said Mr. Henchy, after a

"That so, John?" 

"Yes. I got him one or two sure things in Dawson Street, Crofton
and myself. Between ourselves, you know, Crofton (he's a decent
chap, of course), but he's not worth a damn as a canvasser. He
hasn't a word to throw to a dog. He stands and looks at the people
while I do the talking." 

Here two men entered the room. One of them was a very fat man
whose blue serge clothes seemed to be in danger of falling from
his sloping figure. He had a big face which resembled a young ox's
face in expression, staring blue eyes and a grizzled moustache. The
other man, who was much younger and frailer, had a thin,
clean-shaven face. He wore a very high double collar and a
wide-brimmed bowler hat. 

"Hello, Crofton!" said Mr. Henchy to the fat man. "Talk of the

"Where did the boose come from?" asked the young man. "Did the
cow calve?" 

"O, of course, Lyons spots the drink first thing!" said Mr.
O'Connor, laughing. 

"Is that the way you chaps canvass," said Mr. Lyons, "and Crofton
and I out in the cold and rain looking for votes?" 

"Why, blast your soul," said Mr. Henchy, "I'd get more votes in
five minutes than you two'd get in a week." 

"Open two bottles of stout, Jack," said Mr. O'Connor. 

"How can I?" said the old man, "when there's no corkscrew? " 

"Wait now, wait now!" said Mr. Henchy, getting up quickly. "Did
you ever see this little trick?" 

He took two bottles from the table and, carrying them to the fire,
put them on the hob. Then he sat dow-n again by the fire and took
another drink from his bottle. Mr. Lyons sat on the edge of the
table, pushed his hat towards the nape of his neck and began to
swing his legs. 

"Which is my bottle?" he asked. 

"This, lad," said Mr. Henchy. 

Mr. Crofton sat down on a box and looked fixedly at the other
bottle on the hob. He was silent for two reasons. The first reason,
sufficient in itself, was that he had nothing to say; the second
reason was that he considered his companions beneath him. He
had been a canvasser for Wilkins, the Conservative, but when the
Conservatives had withdrawn their man and, choosing the lesser of
two evils, given their support to the Nationalist candidate, he had
been engaged to work for Mr. Tiemey. 

In a few minutes an apologetic "Pok!" was heard as the cork flew
out of Mr. Lyons' bottle. Mr. Lyons jumped off the table, went to
the fire, took his bottle and carried it back to the table. 

"I was just telling them, Crofton," said Mr. Henchy, that we got a
good few votes today." 

"Who did you get?" asked Mr. Lyons. 

"Well, I got Parkes for one, and I got Atkinson for two, and got
Ward of Dawson Street. Fine old chap he is, too -- regular old toff,
old Conservative! 'But isn't your candidate a Nationalist?' said he.
'He's a respectable man,' said I. 'He's in favour of whatever will
benefit this country. He's a big ratepayer,' I said. 'He has extensive
house property in the city and three places of business and isn't it
to his own advantage to keep down the rates? He's a prominent and
respected citizen,' said I, 'and a Poor Law Guardian, and he doesn't
belong to any party, good, bad, or indifferent.' That's the way to
talk to 'em." 

"And what about the address to the King?" said Mr. Lyons, after
drinking and smacking his lips. 

"Listen to me," said Mr. Henchy. "What we want in thus country,

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