List Of Contents | Contents of Dubliners, by James Joyce
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much more, for he was usually fairly bad on Saturday night. In the
end he would give her the money and ask her had she any intention
of buying Sunday's dinner. Then she had to rush out as quickly as
she could and do her marketing, holding her black leather purse
tightly in her hand as she elbowed her way through the crowds and
returning home late under her load of provisions. She had hard
work to keep the house together and to see that the two young
children who had been left to hr charge went to school regularly
and got their meals regularly. It was hard work -- a hard life -- but
now that she was about to leave it she did not find it a wholly
undesirable life. 

She was about to explore another life with Frank. Frank was very
kind, manly, open-hearted. She was to go away with him by the
night-boat to be his wife and to live with him in Buenos Ayres
where he had a home waiting for her. How well she remembered
the first time she had seen him; he was lodging in a house on the
main road where she used to visit. It seemed a few weeks ago. He
was standing at the gate, his peaked cap pushed back on his head
and his hair tumbled forward over a face of bronze. Then they had
come to know each other. He used to meet her outside the Stores
every evening and see her home. He took her to see The Bohemian
Girl and she felt elated as she sat in an unaccustomed part of the
theatre with him. He was awfully fond of music and sang a little.
People knew that they were courting and, when he sang about the
lass that loves a sailor, she always felt pleasantly confused. He
used to call her Poppens out of fun. First of all it had been an
excitement for her to have a fellow and then she had begun to like
him. He had tales of distant countries. He had started as a deck boy
at a pound a month on a ship of the Allan Line going out to
Canada. He told her the names of the ships he had been on and the
names of the different services. He had sailed through the Straits
of Magellan and he told her stories of the terrible Patagonians. He
had fallen on his feet in Buenos Ayres, he said, and had come over
to the old country just for a holiday. Of course, her father had
found out the affair and had forbidden her to have anything to say
to him. 

"I know these sailor chaps," he said. 

One day he had quarrelled with Frank and after that she had to
meet her lover secretly. 

The evening deepened in the avenue. The white of two letters in
her lap grew indistinct. One was to Harry; the other was to her
father. Ernest had been her favourite but she liked Harry too. Her
father was becoming old lately, she noticed; he would miss her.
Sometimes he could be very nice. Not long before, when she had
been laid up for a day, he had read her out a ghost story and made
toast for her at the fire. Another day, when their mother was alive,
they had all gone for a picnic to the Hill of Howth. She
remembered her father putting on her mothers bonnet to make the
children laugh. 

Her time was running out but she continued to sit by the window,
leaning her head against the window curtain, inhaling the odour of
dusty cretonne. Down far in the avenue she could hear a street
organ playing. She knew the air Strange that it should come that
very night to remind her of the promise to her mother, her promise
to keep the home together as long as she could. She remembered
the last night of her mother's illness; she was again in the close
dark room at the other side of the hall and outside she heard a
melancholy air of Italy. The organ-player had been ordered to go
away and given sixpence. She remembered her father strutting
back into the sickroom saying: 

"Damned Italians! coming over here!" 

As she mused the pitiful vision of her mother's life laid its spell on
the very quick of her being -- that life of commonplace sacrifices
closing in final craziness. She trembled as she heard again her
mother's voice saying constantly with foolish insistence: 

"Derevaun Seraun! Derevaun Seraun!" 

She stood up in a sudden impulse of terror. Escape! She must
escape! Frank would save her. He would give her life, perhaps
love, too. But she wanted to live. Why should she be unhappy? She
had a right to happiness. Frank would take her in his arms, fold her
in his arms. He would save her. 

She stood among the swaying crowd in the station at the North
Wall. He held her hand and she knew that he was speaking to her,
saying something about the passage over and over again. The
station was full of soldiers with brown baggages. Through the wide
doors of the sheds she caught a glimpse of the black mass of the
boat, lying in beside the quay wall, with illumined portholes. She
answered nothing. She felt her cheek pale and cold and, out of a
maze of distress, she prayed to God to direct her, to show her what
was her duty. The boat blew a long mournful whistle into the mist.
If she went, tomorrow she would be on the sea with Frank,
steaming towards Buenos Ayres. Their passage had been booked.
Could she still draw back after all he had done for her? Her
distress awoke a nausea in her body and she kept moving her lips
in silent fervent prayer. 

A bell clanged upon her heart. She felt him seize her hand: 


All the seas of the world tumbled about her heart. He was drawing
her into them: he would drown her. She gripped with both hands at
the iron railing. 


No! No! No! It was impossible. Her hands clutched the iron in
frenzy. Amid the seas she sent a cry of anguish. 

"Eveline! Evvy!" 

He rushed beyond the barrier and called to her to follow. He was
shouted at to go on but he still called to her. She set her white face
to him, passive, like a helpless animal. Her eyes gave him no sign
of love or farewell or recognition. 


THE cars came scudding in towards Dublin, running evenly like
pellets in the groove of the Naas Road. At the crest of the hill at
Inchicore sightseers had gathered in clumps to watch the cars
careering homeward and through this channel of poverty and
inaction the Continent sped its wealth and industry. Now and again
the clumps of people raised the cheer of the gratefully oppressed.
Their sympathy, however, was for the blue cars -- the cars of their
friends, the French. 

The French, moreover, were virtual victors. Their team had
finished solidly; they had been placed second and third and the
driver of the winning German car was reported a Belgian. Each
blue car, therefore, received a double measure of welcome as it
topped the crest of the hill and each cheer of welcome was
acknowledged with smiles and nods by those in the car. In one of
these trimly built cars was a party of four young men whose spirits
seemed to be at present well above the level of successful
Gallicism: in fact, these four young men were almost hilarious.
They were Charles Segouin, the owner of the car; Andre Riviere, a
young electrician of Canadian birth; a huge Hungarian named
Villona and a neatly groomed young man named Doyle. Segouin
was in good humour because he had unexpectedly received some
orders in advance (he was about to start a motor establishment in
Paris) and Riviere was in good humour because he was to be
appointed manager of the establishment; these two young men
(who were cousins) were also in good humour because of the
success of the French cars. Villona was in good humour because
he had had a very satisfactory luncheon; and besides he was an
optimist by nature. The fourth member of the party, however, was
too excited to be genuinely happy. 

He was about twenty-six years of age, with a soft, light brown
moustache and rather innocent-looking grey eyes. His father, who
had begun life as an advanced Nationalist, had modified his views
early. He had made his money as a butcher in Kingstown and by
opening shops in Dublin and in the suburbs he had made his
money many times over. He had also been fortunate enough to
secure some of the police contracts and in the end he had become
rich enough to be alluded to in the Dublin newspapers as a
merchant prince. He had sent his son to England to be educated in
a big Catholic college and had afterwards sent him to Dublin
University to study law. Jimmy did not study very earnestly and
took to bad courses for a while. He had money and he was popular;
and he divided his time curiously between musical and motoring
circles. Then he had been sent for a term to Cambridge to see a
little life. His father, remonstrative, but covertly proud of the
excess, had paid his bills and brought him home. It was at
Cambridge that he had met Segouin. They were not much more
than acquaintances as yet but Jimmy found great pleasure in the
society of one who had seen so much of the world and was reputed
to own some of the biggest hotels in France. Such a person (as his
father agreed) was well worth knowing, even if he had not been
the charming companion he was. Villona was entertaining also -- a
brilliant pianist -- but, unfortunately, very poor. 

The car ran on merrily with its cargo of hilarious youth. The two
cousins sat on the front seat; Jimmy and his Hungarian friend sat
behind. Decidedly Villona was in excellent spirits; he kept up a
deep bass hum of melody for miles of the road The Frenchmen
flung their laughter and light words over their shoulders and often
Jimmy had to strain forward to catch the quick phrase. This was
not altogether pleasant for him, as he had nearly always to make a
deft guess at the meaning and shout back a suitable answer in the
face of a high wind. Besides Villona's humming would confuse
anybody; the noise of the car, too. 

Rapid motion through space elates one; so does notoriety; so does
the possession of money. These were three good reasons for
Jimmy's excitement. He had been seen by many of his friends that
day in the company of these Continentals. At the control Segouin
had presented him to one of the French competitors and, in answer
to his confused murmur of compliment, the swarthy face of the
driver had disclosed a line of shining white teeth. It was pleasant
after that honour to return to the profane world of spectators amid

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