Eight years before he had seen his friend off at the North Wall and

wished him godspeed. Gallaher had got on. You could tell that at once

by his travelled air, his well-cut tweed suit, and fearless accent. Few

fellows had talents like his and fewer still could remain unspoiled by

such success. Gallaher’s heart was in the right place and he had

deserved to win. It was something to have a friend like that.

Little Chandler’s thoughts ever since lunch-time had been of his

meeting with Gallaher, of Gallaher’s invitation and of the great city

London where Gallaher lived. He was called Little Chandler because,

though he was but slightly under the average stature, he gave one the

idea of being a little man. His hands were white and small, his frame

was fragile, his voice was quiet and his manners were refined. He took

the greatest care of his fair silken hair and moustache and used

perfume discreetly on his handkerchief. The half-moons of his nails

were perfect and when he smiled you caught a glimpse of a row of

childish white teeth.

As he sat at his desk in the King’s Inns he thought what changes those

eight years had brought. The friend whom he had known under a shabby

and necessitous guise had become a brilliant figure on the London

Press. He turned often from his tiresome writing to gaze out of the

office window. The glow of a late autumn sunset covered the grass plots

and walks. It cast a shower of kindly golden dust on the untidy nurses

and decrepit old men who drowsed on the benches; it flickered upon all

the moving figures—on the children who ran screaming along the gravel

paths and on everyone who passed through the gardens. He watched the

scene and thought of life; and (as always happened when he thought of

life) he became sad. A gentle melancholy took possession of him. He

felt how useless it was to struggle against fortune, this being the

burden of wisdom which the ages had bequeathed to him.

He remembered the books of poetry upon his shelves at home. He had

bought them in his bachelor days and many an evening, as he sat in the

little room off the hall, he had been tempted to take one down from the

bookshelf and read out something to his wife. But shyness had always

held him back; and so the books had remained on their shelves. At times

he repeated lines to himself and this consoled him.

When his hour had struck he stood up and took leave of his desk and of

his fellow-clerks punctiliously. He emerged from under the feudal arch

of the King’s Inns, a neat modest figure, and walked swiftly down

Henrietta Street. The golden sunset was waning and the air had grown

sharp. A horde of grimy children populated the street. They stood or

ran in the roadway or crawled up the steps before the gaping doors or

squatted like mice upon the thresholds. Little Chandler gave them no

thought. He picked his way deftly through all that minute vermin-like

life and under the shadow of the gaunt spectral mansions in which the

old nobility of Dublin had roystered. No memory of the past touched

him, for his mind was full of a present joy.

He had never been in Corless’s but he knew the value of the name. He

knew that people went there after the theatre to eat oysters and drink

liqueurs; and he had heard that the waiters there spoke French and

German. Walking swiftly by at night he had seen cabs drawn up before

the door and richly dressed ladies, escorted by cavaliers, alight and

enter quickly. They wore noisy dresses and many wraps. Their faces were

powdered and they caught up their dresses, when they touched earth,

like alarmed Atalantas. He had always passed without turning his head

to look. It was his habit to walk swiftly in the street even by day and

whenever he found himself in the city late at night he hurried on his

way apprehensively and excitedly. Sometimes, however, he courted the

causes of his fear. He chose the darkest and narrowest streets and, as

he walked boldly forward, the silence that was spread about his

footsteps troubled him, the wandering silent figures troubled him; and

at times a sound of low fugitive laughter made him tremble like a leaf.

He turned to the right towards Capel Street. Ignatius Gallaher on the

London Press! Who would have thought it possible eight years before?

Still, now that he reviewed the past, Little Chandler could remember

many signs of future greatness in his friend. People used to say that

Ignatius Gallaher was wild. Of course, he did mix with a rakish set of

fellows at that time, drank freely and borrowed money on all sides. In

the end he had got mixed up in some shady affair, some money

transaction: at least, that was one version of his flight. But nobody

denied him talent. There was always a certain … something in Ignatius

Gallaher that impressed you in spite of yourself. Even when he was out

at elbows and at his wits’ end for money he kept up a bold face. Little

Chandler remembered (and the remembrance brought a slight flush of

pride to his cheek) one of Ignatius Gallaher’s sayings when he was in a

tight corner:

“Half time now, boys,” he used to say light-heartedly. “Where’s my

considering cap?”

That was Ignatius Gallaher all out; and, damn it, you couldn’t but

admire him for it.

Little Chandler quickened his pace. For the first time in his life he

felt himself superior to the people he passed. For the first time his

soul revolted against the dull inelegance of Capel Street. There was no

doubt about it: if you wanted to succeed you had to go away. You could

do nothing in Dublin. As he crossed Grattan Bridge he looked down the

river towards the lower quays and pitied the poor stunted houses. They

seemed to him a band of tramps, huddled together along the riverbanks,

their old coats covered with dust and soot, stupefied by the panorama

of sunset and waiting for the first chill of night bid them arise,

shake themselves and begone. He wondered whether he could write a poem

to express his idea. Perhaps Gallaher might be able to get it into some

London paper for him. Could he write something original? He was not

sure what idea he wished to express but the thought that a poetic

moment had touched him took life within him like an infant hope. He

stepped onward bravely.

Every step brought him nearer to London, farther from his own sober

inartistic life. A light began to tremble on the horizon of his mind.

He was not so old—thirty-two. His temperament might be said to be just

at the point of maturity. There were so many different moods and

impressions that he wished to express in verse. He felt them within

him. He tried to weigh his soul to see if it was a poet’s soul.

Melancholy was the dominant note of his temperament, he thought, but it

was a melancholy tempered by recurrences of faith and resignation and

simple joy. If he could give expression to it in a book of poems

perhaps men would listen. He would never be popular: he saw that. He

could not sway the crowd but he might appeal to a little circle of

kindred minds. The English critics, perhaps, would recognise him as one

of the Celtic school by reason of the melancholy tone of his poems;

besides that, he would put in allusions. He began to invent sentences

and phrases from the notice which his book would get. _“Mr Chandler has

the gift of easy and graceful verse.” … “A wistful sadness pervades

these poems.” … “The Celtic note.”_ It was a pity his name was not

more Irish-looking. Perhaps it would be better to insert his mother’s

name before the surname: Thomas Malone Chandler, or better still: T.

Malone Chandler. He would speak to Gallaher about it.

He pursued his revery so ardently that he passed his street and had to

turn back. As he came near Corless’s his former agitation began to

overmaster him and he halted before the door in indecision. Finally he

opened the door and entered.

The light and noise of the bar held him at the doorways for a few

moments. He looked about him, but his sight was confused by the shining

of many red and green wine-glasses. The bar seemed to him to be full of

people and he felt that the people were observing him curiously. He

glanced quickly to right and left (frowning slightly to make his errand

appear serious), but when his sight cleared a little he saw that nobody

had turned to look at him: and there, sure enough, was Ignatius

Gallaher leaning with his back against the counter and his feet planted

far apart.

“Hallo, Tommy, old hero, here you are! What is it to be? What will you

have? I’m taking whisky: better stuff than we get across the water.

Soda? Lithia? No mineral? I’m the same. Spoils the flavour…. Here,

_garçon_, bring us two halves of malt whisky, like a good fellow….

Well, and how have you been pulling along since I saw you last? Dear

God, how old we’re getting! Do you see any signs of aging in me—eh,

what? A little grey and thin on the top—what?”

Ignatius Gallaher took off his hat and displayed a large closely

cropped head. His face was heavy, pale and clean-shaven. His eyes,

which were of bluish slate-colour, relieved his unhealthy pallor and

shone out plainly above the vivid orange tie he wore. Between these

rival features the lips appeared very long and shapeless and

colourless. He bent his head and felt with two sympathetic fingers the

thin hair at the crown. Little Chandler shook his head as a denial.

Ignatius Galaher put on his hat again.

“It pulls you down,” he said. “Press life. Always hurry and scurry,

looking for copy and sometimes not finding it: and then, always to have

something new in your stuff. Damn proofs and printers, I say, for a few

days. I’m deuced glad, I can tell you, to get back to the old country.

Does a fellow good, a bit of a holiday. I feel a ton better since I

landed again in dear dirty Dublin…. Here you are, Tommy. Water? Say


Little Chandler allowed his whisky to be very much diluted.

“You don’t know what’s good for you, my boy,” said Ignatius Gallaher.

“I drink mine neat.”

“I drink very little as a rule,” said Little Chandler modestly. “An odd

half-one or so when I meet any of the old crowd: that’s all.”

“Ah, well,” said Ignatius Gallaher, cheerfully, “here’s to us and to

old times and old acquaintance.”

They clinked glasses and drank the toast.

“I met some of the old gang today,” said Ignatius Gallaher. “O’Hara

seems to be in a bad way. What’s he doing?”

“Nothing,” said Little Chandler. “He’s gone to the dogs.”

“But Hogan has a good sit, hasn’t he?”

“Yes; he’s in the Land Commission.”

“I met him one night in London and he seemed to be very flush…. Poor

O’Hara! Boose, I suppose?”

“Other things, too,” said Little Chandler shortly.

Ignatius Gallaher laughed.

“Tommy,” he said, “I see you haven’t changed an atom. You’re the very

same serious person that used to lecture me on Sunday mornings when I

had a sore head and a fur on my tongue. You’d want to knock about a bit

in the world. Have you never been anywhere even for a trip?”

“I’ve been to the Isle of Man,” said Little Chandler.

Ignatius Gallaher laughed.

“The Isle of Man!” he said. “Go to London or Paris: Paris, for choice.

That’d do you good.”

“Have you seen Paris?”

“I should think I have! I’ve knocked about there a little.”

“And is it really so beautiful as they say?” asked Little Chandler.

He sipped a little of his drink while Ignatius Gallaher finished his


“Beautiful?” said Ignatius Gallaher, pausing on the word and on the

flavour of his drink. “It’s not so beautiful, you know. Of course, it

is beautiful…. But it’s the life of Paris; that’s the thing. Ah,

there’s no city like Paris for gaiety, movement, excitement….”

Little Chandler finished his whisky and, after some trouble, succeeded

in catching the barman’s eye. He ordered the same again.

“I’ve been to the Moulin Rouge,” Ignatius Gallaher continued when the

barman had removed their glasses, “and I’ve been to all the Bohemian

cafés. Hot stuff! Not for a pious chap like you, Tommy.”

Little Chandler said nothing until the barman returned with two

glasses: then he touched his friend’s glass lightly and reciprocated

the former toast. He was beginning to feel somewhat disillusioned.

Gallaher’s accent and way of expressing himself did not please him.

There was something vulgar in his friend which he had not observed

before. But perhaps it was only the result of living in London amid the

bustle and competition of the Press. The old personal charm was still

there under this new gaudy manner. And, after all, Gallaher had lived,

he had seen the world. Little Chandler looked at his friend enviously.

“Everything in Paris is gay,” said Ignatius Gallaher. “They believe in

enjoying life—and don’t you think they’re right? If you want to enjoy

yourself properly you must go to Paris. And, mind you, they’ve a great

feeling for the Irish there. When they heard I was from Ireland they

were ready to eat me, man.”

Little Chandler took four or five sips from his glass.

“Tell me,” he said, “is it true that Paris is so … immoral as they


Ignatius Gallaher made a catholic gesture with his right arm.

“Every place is immoral,” he said. “Of course you do find spicy bits in

Paris. Go to one of the students’ balls, for instance. That’s lively,

if you like, when the _cocottes_ begin to let themselves loose. You

know what they are, I suppose?”

“I’ve heard of them,” said Little Chandler.

Ignatius Gallaher drank off his whisky and shook his head.

“Ah,” he said, “you may say what you like. There’s no woman like the

Parisienne—for style, for go.”

“Then it is an immoral city,” said Little Chandler, with timid

insistence—“I mean, compared with London or Dublin?”

“London!” said Ignatius Gallaher. “It’s six of one and half-a-dozen of

the other. You ask Hogan, my boy. I showed him a bit about London when

he was over there. He’d open your eye…. I say, Tommy, don’t make

punch of that whisky: liquor up.”

“No, really….”

“O, come on, another one won’t do you any harm. What is it? The same

again, I suppose?”

“Well … all right.”

“_François_, the same again…. Will you smoke, Tommy?”

Ignatius Gallaher produced his cigar-case. The two friends lit their

cigars and puffed at them in silence until their drinks were served.

“I’ll tell you my opinion,” said Ignatius Gallaher, emerging after some

time from the clouds of smoke in which he had taken refuge, “it’s a rum

world. Talk of immorality! I’ve heard of cases—what am I saying?—I’ve

known them: cases of … immorality….”

Ignatius Gallaher puffed thoughtfully at his cigar and then, in a calm

historian’s tone, he proceeded to sketch for his friend some pictures

of the corruption which was rife abroad. He summarised the vices of

many capitals and seemed inclined to award the palm to Berlin. Some

things he could not vouch for (his friends had told him), but of others

he had had personal experience. He spared neither rank nor caste. He

revealed many of the secrets of religious houses on the Continent and

described some of the practices which were fashionable in high society

and ended by telling, with details, a story about an English duchess—a

story which he knew to be true. Little Chandler was astonished.

“Ah, well,” said Ignatius Gallaher, “here we are in old jog-along

Dublin where nothing is known of such things.”

“How dull you must find it,” said Little Chandler, “after all the other

places you’ve seen!”

“Well,” said Ignatius Gallaher, “it’s a relaxation to come over here,

you know. And, after all, it’s the old country, as they say, isn’t it?

You can’t help having a certain feeling for it. That’s human nature….

But tell me something about yourself. Hogan told me you had … tasted

the joys of connubial bliss. Two years ago, wasn’t it?”

Little Chandler blushed and smiled.

“Yes,” he said. “I was married last May twelve months.”

“I hope it’s not too late in the day to offer my best wishes,” said

Ignatius Gallaher. “I didn’t know your address or I’d have done so at

the time.”

He extended his hand, which Little Chandler took.

“Well, Tommy,” he said, “I wish you and yours every joy in life, old

chap, and tons of money, and may you never die till I shoot you. And

that’s the wish of a sincere friend, an old friend. You know that?”

“I know that,” said Little Chandler.

“Any youngsters?” said Ignatius Gallaher.

Little Chandler blushed again.

“We have one child,” he said.

“Son or daughter?”

“A little boy.”

Ignatius Gallaher slapped his friend sonorously on the back.

“Bravo,” he said, “I wouldn’t doubt you, Tommy.”

Little Chandler smiled, looked confusedly at his glass and bit his

lower lip with three childishly white front teeth.

“I hope you’ll spend an evening with us,” he said, “before you go back.

My wife will be delighted to meet you. We can have a little music


“Thanks awfully, old chap,” said Ignatius Gallaher, “I’m sorry we

didn’t meet earlier. But I must leave tomorrow night.”

“Tonight, perhaps…?”

“I’m awfully sorry, old man. You see I’m over here with another fellow,

clever young chap he is too, and we arranged to go to a little

card-party. Only for that….”

“O, in that case….”

“But who knows?” said Ignatius Gallaher considerately. “Next year I may

take a little skip over here now that I’ve broken the ice. It’s only a

pleasure deferred.”

“Very well,” said Little Chandler, “the next time you come we must have

an evening together. That’s agreed now, isn’t it?”

“Yes, that’s agreed,” said Ignatius Gallaher. “Next year if I come,

_parole d’honneur_.”

“And to clinch the bargain,” said Little Chandler, “we’ll just have one

more now.”

Ignatius Gallaher took out a large gold watch and looked at it.

“Is it to be the last?” he said. “Because you know, I have an a.p.”

“O, yes, positively,” said Little Chandler.

“Very well, then,” said Ignatius Gallaher, “let us have another one as

a _deoc an doruis_—that’s good vernacular for a small whisky, I


Little Chandler ordered the drinks. The blush which had risen to his

face a few moments before was establishing itself. A trifle made him

blush at any time: and now he felt warm and excited. Three small

whiskies had gone to his head and Gallaher’s strong cigar had confused

his mind, for he was a delicate and abstinent person. The adventure of

meeting Gallaher after eight years, of finding himself with Gallaher in

Corless’s surrounded by lights and noise, of listening to Gallaher’s

stories and of sharing for a brief space Gallaher’s vagrant and

triumphant life, upset the equipoise of his sensitive nature. He felt

acutely the contrast between his own life and his friend’s and it

seemed to him unjust. Gallaher was his inferior in birth and education.

He was sure that he could do something better than his friend had ever

done, or could ever do, something higher than mere tawdry journalism if

he only got the chance. What was it that stood in his way? His

unfortunate timidity! He wished to vindicate himself in some way, to

assert his manhood. He saw behind Gallaher’s refusal of his invitation.

Gallaher was only patronising him by his friendliness just as he was

patronising Ireland by his visit.

The barman brought their drinks. Little Chandler pushed one glass

towards his friend and took up the other boldly.

“Who knows?” he said, as they lifted their glasses. “When you come next

year I may have the pleasure of wishing long life and happiness to Mr

and Mrs Ignatius Gallaher.”

Ignatius Gallaher in the act of drinking closed one eye expressively

over the rim of his glass. When he had drunk he smacked his lips

decisively, set down his glass and said:

“No blooming fear of that, my boy. I’m going to have my fling first and

see a bit of life and the world before I put my head in the sack—if I

ever do.”

“Some day you will,” said Little Chandler calmly.

Ignatius Gallaher turned his orange tie and slate-blue eyes full upon

his friend.

“You think so?” he said.

“You’ll put your head in the sack,” repeated Little Chandler stoutly,

“like everyone else if you can find the girl.”

He had slightly emphasised his tone and he was aware that he had

betrayed himself; but, though the colour had heightened in his cheek,

he did not flinch from his friend’s gaze. Ignatius Gallaher watched him

for a few moments and then said:

“If ever it occurs, you may bet your bottom dollar there’ll be no

mooning and spooning about it. I mean to marry money. She’ll have a

good fat account at the bank or she won’t do for me.”

Little Chandler shook his head.

“Why, man alive,” said Ignatius Gallaher, vehemently, “do you know what

it is? I’ve only to say the word and tomorrow I can have the woman and

the cash. You don’t believe it? Well, I know it. There are

hundreds—what am I saying?—thousands of rich Germans and Jews, rotten

with money, that’d only be too glad…. You wait a while my boy. See if

I don’t play my cards properly. When I go about a thing I mean

business, I tell you. You just wait.”

He tossed his glass to his mouth, finished his drink and laughed

loudly. Then he looked thoughtfully before him and said in a calmer


“But I’m in no hurry. They can wait. I don’t fancy tying myself up to

one woman, you know.”

He imitated with his mouth the act of tasting and made a wry face.

“Must get a bit stale, I should think,” he said.

Little Chandler sat in the room off the hall, holding a child in his

arms. To save money they kept no servant but Annie’s young sister

Monica came for an hour or so in the morning and an hour or so in the

evening to help. But Monica had gone home long ago. It was a quarter to

nine. Little Chandler had come home late for tea and, moreover, he had

forgotten to bring Annie home the parcel of coffee from Bewley’s. Of

course she was in a bad humour and gave him short answers. She said she

would do without any tea but when it came near the time at which the

shop at the corner closed she decided to go out herself for a quarter

of a pound of tea and two pounds of sugar. She put the sleeping child

deftly in his arms and said:

“Here. Don’t waken him.”

A little lamp with a white china shade stood upon the table and its

light fell over a photograph which was enclosed in a frame of crumpled

horn. It was Annie’s photograph. Little Chandler looked at it, pausing

at the thin tight lips. She wore the pale blue summer blouse which he

had brought her home as a present one Saturday. It had cost him ten and

elevenpence; but what an agony of nervousness it had cost him! How he

had suffered that day, waiting at the shop door until the shop was

empty, standing at the counter and trying to appear at his ease while

the girl piled ladies’ blouses before him, paying at the desk and

forgetting to take up the odd penny of his change, being called back by

the cashier, and finally, striving to hide his blushes as he left the

shop by examining the parcel to see if it was securely tied. When he

brought the blouse home Annie kissed him and said it was very pretty

and stylish; but when she heard the price she threw the blouse on the

table and said it was a regular swindle to charge ten and elevenpence

for it. At first she wanted to take it back but when she tried it on

she was delighted with it, especially with the make of the sleeves, and

kissed him and said he was very good to think of her.


He looked coldly into the eyes of the photograph and they answered

coldly. Certainly they were pretty and the face itself was pretty. But

he found something mean in it. Why was it so unconscious and ladylike?

The composure of the eyes irritated him. They repelled him and defied

him: there was no passion in them, no rapture. He thought of what

Gallaher had said about rich Jewesses. Those dark Oriental eyes, he

thought, how full they are of passion, of voluptuous longing!… Why

had he married the eyes in the photograph?

He caught himself up at the question and glanced nervously round the

room. He found something mean in the pretty furniture which he had

bought for his house on the hire system. Annie had chosen it herself

and it reminded him of her. It too was prim and pretty. A dull

resentment against his life awoke within him. Could he not escape from

his little house? Was it too late for him to try to live bravely like

Gallaher? Could he go to London? There was the furniture still to be

paid for. If he could only write a book and get it published, that

might open the way for him.

A volume of Byron’s poems lay before him on the table. He opened it

cautiously with his left hand lest he should waken the child and began

to read the first poem in the book:

     _Hushed are the winds and still the evening gloom,

         Not e’en a Zephyr wanders through the grove,

     Whilst I return to view my Margaret’s tomb

         And scatter flowers on the dust I love._

He paused. He felt the rhythm of the verse about him in the room. How

melancholy it was! Could he, too, write like that, express the

melancholy of his soul in verse? There were so many things he wanted to

describe: his sensation of a few hours before on Grattan Bridge, for

example. If he could get back again into that mood….

The child awoke and began to cry. He turned from the page and tried to

hush it: but it would not be hushed. He began to rock it to and fro in

his arms but its wailing cry grew keener. He rocked it faster while his

eyes began to read the second stanza:

     _Within this narrow cell reclines her clay,

         That clay where once…._

It was useless. He couldn’t read. He couldn’t do anything. The wailing

of the child pierced the drum of his ear. It was useless, useless! He

was a prisoner for life. His arms trembled with anger and suddenly

bending to the child’s face he shouted:


The child stopped for an instant, had a spasm of fright and began to

scream. He jumped up from his chair and walked hastily up and down the

room with the child in his arms. It began to sob piteously, losing its

breath for four or five seconds, and then bursting out anew. The thin

walls of the room echoed the sound. He tried to soothe it but it sobbed

more convulsively. He looked at the contracted and quivering face of

the child and began to be alarmed. He counted seven sobs without a

break between them and caught the child to his breast in fright. If it


The door was burst open and a young woman ran in, panting.

“What is it? What is it?” she cried.

The child, hearing its mother’s voice, broke out into a paroxysm of


“It’s nothing, Annie … it’s nothing…. He began to cry….”

She flung her parcels on the floor and snatched the child from him.

“What have you done to him?” she cried, glaring into his face.

Little Chandler sustained for one moment the gaze of her eyes and his

heart closed together as he met the hatred in them. He began to


“It’s nothing…. He … he began to cry…. I couldn’t … I didn’t do

anything…. What?”

Giving no heed to him she began to walk up and down the room, clasping

the child tightly in her arms and murmuring:

“My little man! My little mannie! Was ’ou frightened, love?… There

now, love! There now!… Lambabaun! Mamma’s little lamb of the

world!… There now!”

Little Chandler felt his cheeks suffused with shame and he stood back

out of the lamplight. He listened while the paroxysm of the child’s

sobbing grew less and less; and tears of remorse started to his eyes.

Shaws and Goolees

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