Sarah (scornfully). If you are, it’s a clumsy man you are this night, Michael Byrne (raising her voice); and let you make haste now, or herself will be coming with the porter.

Michael (defiantly, raising his voice). Let me make haste? I’ll be making haste maybe to hit you a great clout; for I’m thinking it’s the like of that you want. I’m thinking on the day I got you above at Rathvanna, and the way you began crying out and we coming down off the hill, crying out and saying “I’ll go back to my ma”; and I’m thinking on the way I came behind you that time, and hit you a great clout in the lug, and how quiet and easy it was you came along with me from that hour to this present day.

Sarah (standing up and throwing all her sticks into the fire). And a big fool I was, too, maybe; but we’ll be seeing Jaunting Jim to-morrow in Ballinaclash, and he after getting a great price for his white foal in the horse-fair of Wicklow, the way it’ll be a great sight to see him squandering his share of gold, and he with a grand eye for a fine horse, and a grand eye for a woman.

Michael (working again with impatience). The divil do him good with the two of them.

Sarah (kicking up the ashes with her foot). Ah, he’s a great lad, I’m telling you, and it’s proud and happy I’ll be to see him, and he the first one called me the Beauty of Ballinacree, a fine name for a woman.

Michael (with contempt). It’s the like of that name they do be putting on the horses they have below racing in Arklow. It’s easy pleased you are, Sarah Casey, easy pleased with a big word, or the liar speaks it.

Sarah. Liar!

Michael. Liar, surely.

Sarah (indignantly). Liar, is it? Didn’t you ever hear tell of the peelers followed me ten miles along the Glen Malure, and they talking love to me in the dark night; or of the children you’ll meet coming from school and they saying one to the other: “It’s this day we seen Sarah Casey, the Beauty of Ballinacree, a great sight, surely.”

Michael. God help the lot of them.

Sarah. It’s yourself you’ll be calling God to help, in two weeks or three, when you’ll be waking up in the dark night and thinking you see me coming with the sun on me, and I driving a high cart with Jaunting Jim going behind. It’s lonesome and cold you’ll be feeling the ditch where you’ll be lying down that night, I’m telling you, and you hearing the old woman making a great noise in her sleep, and the bats squeaking in the trees.

Michael. Whisht. I hear some one coming the road.

Sarah (looking out right). It’s some one coming forward from the doctor’s door.

Michael. It’s often his reverence does be in there playing cards, or drinking a sup, or singing songs, until the dawn of day.

Sarah. It’s a big boast of a man with a long step on him and a trumpeting voice It’s his reverence, surely; and if you have the ring done, it’s a great bargain we’ll make now and he after drinking his glass.

Michael (going to her and giving her the ring). There’s your ring, Sarah Casey; but I’m thinking he’ll walk by and not stop to speak with the like of us at all.

Sarah (tidying herself, in great excitement). Let you be sitting here and keeping a great blaze, the way he can look on my face; and let you seem to be working, for it’s great love the like of him have to talk of work.

  By PanEris using Melati.

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