`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 Freemasons' 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 O'Connor.

`What do you think, Jack?' said Mr Hynes satirically to the old man.

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.

  By PanEris using Melati.

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