Page:My Life and Loves.djvu/26

This page has been validated.

"he's just screaming out of sheer temper, Sir, look, there's not a tear in his eye".

A year or so later, it must have been, I was proud of walking up and down a long room while my mother rested her hand on my head, and called me her walking stick.

Later still I remember coming to her room at night: I whispered to her and then kissed her, but her cheek was cold and she didn't answer, and I woke the house with my shrieking: she was dead. I felt no grief, but something gloomy and terrible in the sudden cessation of the usual household activities.

A couple of days later I saw her coffin carried out, and when the nurse told my sister and me that we would never see our mother again, I was surprised merely and wondered why.

My mother died when I was nearly four, and soon after we moved to Kingstown near Dublin. I used to get up in the night with my sister Annie, four years my senior and go foraging for bread and jam or sugar. One morning about daybreak I stole into the nurse's room, and saw a man beside her in bed, a man with a red moustache. I drew my sister in and she too saw him. We crept out again without waking them. My only emotion was surprise, but next day the nurse denied me sugar on my bread and butter and I said: "I'll tell"—I don't know why: I had then no inkling of modern journalism.

"Tell what?" she asked.

"There was a man in your bed", I replied, "last night."

"Hush, hush!" she said, and gave me the sugar.

After that I found all I had to do was to say "I'll tell!" to get whatever I wanted. My sister even wished to know one day what I had to tell, but I would not say. I distinctly remember my feeling of