Mary Doul. If I am I’m bearing in mind I’m married to a little dark stump of a fellow looks the fool of the world, and I’ll be bearing in mind from this day the great hullabuloo he’s after making from hearing a poor woman breathing quiet in her place.

Martin Doul. And you’ll be bearing in mind, I’m thinking, what you seen a while back when you looked down into a well, or a clear pool, maybe, when there was no wind stirring and a good light in the sky.

Mary Doul. I’m minding that surely, for if I’m not the way the liars were saying below I seen a thing in them pools put joy and blessing in my heart.

She puts her hand to her hair again.

Martin Doul (laughing ironically). Well, they were saying below I was losing my senses, but I never went any day the length of that.… God help you, Mary Doul, if you’re not a wonder for looks, you’re the maddest female woman is walking the counties of the east.

Mary Doul (scornfully). You were saying all times you’d a great ear for hearing the lies in a word. A great ear, God help you, and you think you’re using it now.

Martin Doul. If it’s not lies you’re telling would you have me think you’re not a wrinkled poor woman is looking like three scores, maybe, or two scores and a half!

Mary Doul. I would not, Martin. (She leans forward earnestly.) For when I seen myself in them pools, I seen my hair would be gray or white, maybe, in a short while, and I seen with it that I’d a face would be a great wonder when it’ll have soft white hair falling around it, the way when I’m an old woman there won’t be the like of me surely in the seven counties of the east.

Martin Doul (with real admiration). You’re a cute thinking woman, Mary Doul, and it’s no lie.

Mary Doul (triumphantly.) I am, surely, and I’m telling you a beautiful white-haired woman is a grand thing to see, for I’m told when Kitty Bawn was selling poteen below, the young men itself would never tire to be looking in her face.

Martin Doul (taking off his hat and feeling his head, speaking with hesitation). Did you think to look, Mary Doul, would there be a whiteness the like of that coming upon me?

Mary Doul (with extreme contempt). On you, God help you! … In a short while you’ll have a head on you as bald as an old turnip you’d see rolling round in the muck. You need never talk again of your fine looks, Martin Doul, for the day of that talk’s gone for ever.

Martin Doul. That’s a hard word to be saying, for I was thinking if I’d a bit of comfort, the like of yourself, it’s not far off we’d be from the good days went before, and that’d be a wonder surely. But I’ll never rest easy, thinking you’re a gray, beautiful woman, and myself a pitiful show

Mary Doul. I can’t help your looks, Martin Doul. It wasn’t myself made you with your rat’s eyes, and your big ears, and your griseldy chin.

Martin Doul (rubs his chin ruefully, then beams with delight). There’s one thing you’ve forgot, if you’re a cute thinking woman itself.

Mary Doul. Your slouching feet, is it? Or your hooky neck, or your two knees is black with knocking one on the other?

Martin Doul (with delighted scorn). There’s talking for a cute woman. There’s talking, surely!

Mary Doul (puzzled at joy of his voice). If you’d anything but lies to say you’d be talking to yourself.

  By PanEris using Melati.

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