Widow Quin comes in and stands aghast behind him. He is facing Jimmy and Philly, who are on the left.

Jimmy Ask herself beyond. She’s the stuff hidden in her shawl.

Widow Quin (coming to Mahon quickly). you here, is it? You didn’t go far at all?

Mahon I seen the coasting steamer passing, and I got a drought upon me and a cramping leg, so I said, “The divil go along with him,” and turned again. (Looking under her shawl.) And let you give me a supeen, for I’m destroyed travelling since Tuesday was a week.

Widow Quin (getting a glass, in a cajoling tone). Sit down then by the fire and take your ease for a space. You’ve a right to be destroyed indeed, with your walking, and fighting, and facing the sun (giving him poteen from a stone jar she has brought in). There now is a drink for you, and may it be to your happiness and length of life.

Mahon (taking glass greedily and sitting down by fire). God increase you!

Widow Quin (taking men to the right stealthily). Do you know what? That man’s raving from his wound to-day, for I met him a while since telling a rambling tale of a tinker had him destroyed. Then he heard of Christy’s deed, and he up and says it was his son had cracked his skull. O isn’t madness a fright, for he’ll go killing someone yet, and he thinking it’s the man has struck him so?

Jimmy (entirely convinced). It’s a fright, surely. I knew a party was kicked in the head by a red mare, and he went killing horses a great while, till he eat the insides of a clock and died after.

Philly (with suspicion). Did he see Christy?

Widow Quin He didn’t. (With a warning gesture.) Let you not be putting him in mind of him, or you’ll be likely summoned if there’s murder done. (Looking round at Mahon.) Whisht! He’s listening. Wait now till you hear me taking him easy and unravelling all. (She goes to Mahon.) And what way are you feeling, mister? Are you in contentment now?

Mahon (slightly emotional from his drink). I’m poorly only, for it’s a hard story the way I’m left to-day, when it was I did tend him from his hour of birth, and he a dunce never reached his second book, the way he’d come from school, many’s the day, with his legs lamed under him, and he blackened with his beatings like a tinker’s ass. It’s a hard story, I’m saying, the way some do have their next and nighest raising up a hand of murder on them, and some is lonesome getting their death with lamentation in the dead of night.

Widow Quin (not knowing what to say). To hear you talking so quiet, who’d know you were the same fellow we seen pass to-day?

Mahon I’m the same surely. The wrack and ruin of three score years; and it’s a terror to live that length, I tell you, and to have your sons going to the dogs against you, and you wore out scolding them, and skelping them, and God knows what.

Philly (to Jimmy). He’s not raving. (To Widow Quin.) Will you ask him what kind was his son?

Widow Quin (to Mahon, with a peculiar look). Was your son that hit you a lad of one year and a score maybe, a great hand at racing and lepping and licking the world?

Mahon (turning on her with a roar of rage). Didn’t you hear me say he was the fool of men, the way from this out he’ll know the orphan’s lot with old and young making game of him and they swearing, raging, kicking at him like a mangy cur.

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