List Of Contents | Contents of Dubliners, by James Joyce
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"And besides, Aunt Kate," said Mary Jane, "we really are all
hungry and when we are hungry we are all very quarrelsome." 

"And when we are thirsty we are also quarrelsome," added Mr.

"So that we had better go to supper," said Mary Jane, "and finish
the discussion afterwards." 

On the landing outside the drawing-room Gabriel found his wife
and Mary Jane trying to persuade Miss Ivors to stay for supper. But
Miss Ivors, who had put on her hat and was buttoning her cloak,
would not stay. She did not feel in the least hungry and she had
already overstayed her time. 

"But only for ten minutes, Molly," said Mrs. Conroy. "That won't
delay you." 

"To take a pick itself," said Mary Jane, "after all your dancing." 

"I really couldn't," said Miss Ivors. 

"I am afraid you didn't enjoy yourself at all," said Mary Jane

"Ever so much, I assure you," said Miss Ivors, "but you really must
let me run off now." 

"But how can you get home?" asked Mrs. Conroy. 

"O, it's only two steps up the quay." 

Gabriel hesitated a moment and said: 

"If you will allow me, Miss Ivors, I'll see you home if you are
really obliged to go." 

But Miss Ivors broke away from them. 

"I won't hear of it," she cried. "For goodness' sake go in to your
suppers and don't mind me. I'm quite well able to take care of

"Well, you're the comical girl, Molly," said Mrs. Conroy frankly. 

"Beannacht libh," cried Miss Ivors, with a laugh, as she ran down
the staircase. 

Mary Jane gazed after her, a moody puzzled expression on her
face, while Mrs. Conroy leaned over the banisters to listen for the
hall-door. Gabriel asked himself was he the cause of her abrupt
departure. But she did not seem to be in ill humour: she had gone
away laughing. He stared blankly down the staircase. 

At the moment Aunt Kate came toddling out of the supper-room,
almost wringing her hands in despair. 

"Where is Gabriel?" she cried. "Where on earth is Gabriel? There's
everyone waiting in there, stage to let, and nobody to carve the

"Here I am, Aunt Kate!" cried Gabriel, with sudden animation,
"ready to carve a flock of geese, if necessary." 

A fat brown goose lay at one end of the table and at the other end,
on a bed of creased paper strewn with sprigs of parsley, lay a great
ham, stripped of its outer skin and peppered over with crust
crumbs, a neat paper frill round its shin and beside this was a
round of spiced beef. Between these rival ends ran parallel lines of
side-dishes: two little minsters of jelly, red and yellow; a shallow
dish full of blocks of blancmange and red jam, a large green
leaf-shaped dish with a stalk-shaped handle, on which lay bunches
of purple raisins and peeled almonds, a companion dish on which
lay a solid rectangle of Smyrna figs, a dish of custard topped with
grated nutmeg, a small bowl full of chocolates and sweets wrapped
in gold and silver papers and a glass vase in which stood some tall
celery stalks. In the centre of the table there stood, as sentries to a
fruit-stand which upheld a pyramid of oranges and American
apples, two squat old-fashioned decanters of cut glass, one
containing port and the other dark sherry. On the closed square
piano a pudding in a huge yellow dish lay in waiting and behind it
were three squads of bottles of stout and ale and minerals, drawn
up according to the colours of their uniforms, the first two black,
with brown and red labels, the third and smallest squad white, with
transverse green sashes. 

Gabriel took his seat boldly at the head of the table and, having
looked to the edge of the carver, plunged his fork firmly into the
goose. He felt quite at ease now for he was an expert carver and
liked nothing better than to find himself at the head of a well-laden

"Miss Furlong, what shall I send you?" he asked. "A wing or a slice
of the breast?" 

"Just a small slice of the breast." 

"Miss Higgins, what for you?" 

"O, anything at all, Mr. Conroy." 

While Gabriel and Miss Daly exchanged plates of goose and plates
of ham and spiced beef Lily went from guest to guest with a dish
of hot floury potatoes wrapped in a white napkin. This was Mary
Jane's idea and she had also suggested apple sauce for the goose
but Aunt Kate had said that plain roast goose without any apple
sauce had always been good enough for her and she hoped she
might never eat worse. Mary Jane waited on her pupils and saw
that they got the best slices and Aunt Kate and Aunt Julia opened
and carried across from the piano bottles of stout and ale for the
gentlemen and bottles of minerals for the ladies. There was a great
deal of confusion and laughter and noise, the noise of orders and
counter-orders, of knives and forks, of corks and glass-stoppers.
Gabriel began to carve second helpings as soon as he had finished
the first round without serving himself. Everyone protested loudly
so that he compromised by taking a long draught of stout for he
had found the carving hot work. Mary Jane settled down quietly to
her supper but Aunt Kate and Aunt Julia were still toddling round
the table, walking on each other's heels, getting in each other's way
and giving each other unheeded orders. Mr. Browne begged of
them to sit down and eat their suppers and so did Gabriel but they
said there was time enough, so that, at last, Freddy Malins stood up
and, capturing Aunt Kate, plumped her down on her chair amid
general laughter. 

When everyone had been well served Gabriel said, smiling: 

"Now, if anyone wants a little more of what vulgar people call
stuffing let him or her speak." 

A chorus of voices invited him to begin his own supper and Lily
came forward with three potatoes which she had reserved for him. 

"Very well," said Gabriel amiably, as he took another preparatory
draught, "kindly forget my existence, ladies and gentlemen, for a
few minutes." 

He set to his supper and took no part in the conversation with
which the table covered Lily's removal of the plates. The subject of
talk was the opera company which was then at the Theatre Royal.
Mr. Bartell D'Arcy, the tenor, a dark- complexioned young man
with a smart moustache, praised very highly the leading contralto
of the company but Miss Furlong thought she had a rather vulgar
style of production. Freddy Malins said there was a Negro
chieftain singing in the second part of the Gaiety pantomime who
had one of the finest tenor voices he had ever heard. 

"Have you heard him?" he asked Mr. Bartell D'Arcy across the

"No," answered Mr. Bartell D'Arcy carelessly. 

"Because," Freddy Malins explained, "now I'd be curious to hear
your opinion of him. I think he has a grand voice." 

"It takes Teddy to find out the really good things," said Mr.
Browne familiarly to the table. 

"And why couldn't he have a voice too?" asked Freddy Malins
sharply. "Is it because he's only a black?" 

Nobody answered this question and Mary Jane led the table back
to the legitimate opera. One of her pupils had given her a pass for
Mignon. Of course it was very fine, she said, but it made her think
of poor Georgina Burns. Mr. Browne could go back farther still, to
the old Italian companies that used to come to Dublin -- Tietjens,
Ilma de Murzka, Campanini, the great Trebelli, Giuglini, Ravelli,
Aramburo. Those were the days, he said, when there was
something like singing to be heard in Dublin. He told too of how
the top gallery of the old Royal used to be packed night after night,
of how one night an Italian tenor had sung five encores to Let me
like a Soldier fall, introducing a high C every time, and of how the
gallery boys would sometimes in their enthusiasm unyoke the
horses from the carriage of some great prima donna and pull her
themselves through the streets to her hotel. Why did they never
play the grand old operas now, he asked, Dinorah, Lucrezia
Borgia? Because they could not get the voices to sing them: that
was why. 

"Oh, well," said Mr. Bartell D'Arcy, "I presume there are as good
singers today as there were then." 

"Where are they?" asked Mr. Browne defiantly. 

"In London, Paris, Milan," said Mr. Bartell D'Arcy warmly. "I
suppose Caruso, for example, is quite as good, if not better than
any of the men you have mentioned." 

"Maybe so," said Mr. Browne. "But I may tell you I doubt it

"O, I'd give anything to hear Caruso sing," said Mary Jane. 

"For me," said Aunt Kate, who had been picking a bone, "there
was only one tenor. To please me, I mean. But I suppose none of
you ever heard of him." 

"Who was he, Miss Morkan?" asked Mr. Bartell D'Arcy politely. 

"His name," said Aunt Kate, "was Parkinson. I heard him when he
was in his prime and I think he had then the purest tenor voice that
was ever put into a man's throat." 

"Strange," said Mr. Bartell D'Arcy. "I never even heard of him." 

"Yes, yes, Miss Morkan is right," said Mr. Browne. "I remember
hearing of old Parkinson but he's too far back for me." 

"A beautiful, pure, sweet, mellow English tenor," said Aunt Kate
with enthusiasm. 

Gabriel having finished, the huge pudding was transferred to the
table. The clatter of forks and spoons began again. Gabriel's wife
served out spoonfuls of the pudding and passed the plates down
the table. Midway down they were held up by Mary Jane, who
replenished them with raspberry or orange jelly or with
blancmange and jam. The pudding was of Aunt Julia's making and
she received praises for it from all quarters She herself said that it
was not quite brown enough. 

"Well, I hope, Miss Morkan," said Mr. Browne, "that I'm brown
enough for you because, you know, I'm all brown." 

All the gentlemen, except Gabriel, ate some of the pudding out of
compliment to Aunt Julia. As Gabriel never ate sweets the celery
had been left for him. Freddy Malins also took a stalk of celery and
ate it with his pudding. He had been told that celery was a capital
thing for the blood and he was just then under doctor's care. Mrs.
Malins, who had been silent all through the supper, said that her

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