Act II

Scene, as before. Brilliant morning light. Christy, looking bright and cheerful, is cleaning a girl’s boots.

Christy (to himself, counting jugs on dresser). Half a hundred beyond. Ten there. A score that’s above. Eighty jugs. Six cups and a broken one. Two plates. A power of glasses. Bottles, a school-master’d be hard set to count, and enough in them, I’m thinking, to drunken all the wealth and wisdom of the County Clare. (He puts down the boot carefully.) There’s her boots now, nice and decent for her evening use, and isn’t it grand brushes she has? (He puts them down and goes by degrees to the looking-glass.) Well, this’d be a fine place to be my whole life talking out with swearing Christians, in place of my old dogs and cat, and I stalking around, smoking my pipe and drinking my fill, and never a day’s work but drawing a cork an odd time, or wiping a glass, or rinsing out a shiny tumbler for a decent man. (He takes the looking-glass from the wall and puts it on the back of a chair; then sits down in front of it and begins washing his face.) Didn’t I know rightly I was handsome, though it was the divil’s own mirror we had beyond, would twist a squint across an angel’s brow; and I’ll be growing fine from this day, the way I’ll have a soft lovely skin on me and won’t be the like of the clumsy young fellows do be ploughing all times in the earth and dung. (He starts.) Is she coming again? (He looks out.) Stranger girls. God help me, where’ll I hide myself away and my long neck naked to the world? (He looks out.) I’d best go to the room maybe till I’m dressed again.

He gathers up his coat and the looking-glass, and runs into the inner room. The door is pushed open, and Susan Brady looks in, and knocks on door.

Susan There’s nobody in it. (Knocks again.)

Nelly (pushing her in and following her, with Honor Blake and Sara Tansey). It’d be early for them both to be out walking the hill.

Susan I’m thinking Shawn Keogh was making game of us and there’s no such man in it at all.

Honor (pointing to straw and quilt). Look at that. He’s been sleeping there in the night. Well, it’ll be a hard case if he’s gone off now, the way we’ll never set our eyes on a man killed his father, and we after rising early and destroying ourselves running fast on the hill.

Nelly Are you thinking them’s his boots?

Sara (taking them up). If they are, there should be his father’s track on them. Did you never read in the papers the way murdered men do bleed and drip?

Susan Is that blood there, Sara Tansey?

Sara (smelling it.) That’s bog water, I’m thinking, but it’s his own they are surely, for I never seen the like of them for whitey mud, and red mud, and turf on them, and the fine sands of the sea. That man’s been walking, I’m telling you.

She goes down right, putting on one of his boots.

Susan (going to window. Maybe he’s stolen off to Belmullet with the boots of Michael James, and you’d have a right so to follow after him, Sara Tansey, and you the one yoked the ass cart and drove ten miles to set your eyes on the man bit the yellow lady’s nostril on the northern shore.

(She looks out.)

Sara (running to window with one boot on). Don’t be talking, and we fooled to-day. (Putting on other boot.) There’s a pair do fit me well, and I’ll be keeping them for walking to the priest, when you’d be ashamed this place, going up winter and summer with nothing worth while to confess at all.

  By PanEris using Melati.

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