father; even my brother Vernon who had always been kind to me and fed my inordinate vanity, was not regretted: the new life called me: I was in a flutter of expectancy and hope.
Some way up Fifth Avenue I came into the great Square and saw the Fifth Avenue Hotel, but I only grinned and kept right on till at length I reached Central Park. Near it, I can't remember exactly where, but I believe it was near where the Plaza Hotel stands today, there was a small wooden house with an outhouse at the other end of the lot. While I stared a woman came out with a bucket and went across to the outhouse. In a few moments she came back again and noticed me looking over the fence.
"Would you please give me a drink?" I asked. "Sure I will", she replied with a strong Irish brogue. "Come right in" and I followed her into her kitchen.
"You're Irish", I said, smiling at her. "I am", she replied, "how did ye guess?" "Because I was born in Ireland too", I retorted. "You were not!" she cried emphatically, more for pleasure than to contradict. "I was born in Galway", I went on and at once she became very friendly and poured me out some milk warm from the cow, and when she heard I had had no breakfast and saw I was hungry, she pressed me to eat and sat down with me and soon heard my whole story or enough of it to break out in wonder again and again.
In turn she told me how she had married Mike Mulligan, a longshoreman who earned good wages and was a good husband but took a drop too much now and again, as a man will when tempted by one of "thim saloons". It was the saloons, I learned, that were the ruination of all the best Irishmen and "they were the best men anyway, an'—an'—"and the kindly, homely talk flowed on, charming me.