Page:My Life and Loves.djvu/76

This page has been validated.

"Everybody says you can win any woman you like, Mr. Connolly"; I said half -ashamed: "I want to know how you do it, what you say to them."

"Faith, I don't know", he said, "but you're a funny little fellow. What age are you to be asking such questions?"

"I'm fourteen", I said boldly.

"I wouldn't have given you fourteen, but even fourteen is too young; you must wait." So I withdrew but still kept within earshot.

I heard him laughing with my eldest brother over my question and so imagined that I was forgiven, and the next day or the day after, finding me as assiduous as ever, he said:

"You know, your question amused me and I thought I would try to find an answer to it and here is one. When you can put a stiff penis in her hand and weep profusely the while, you're getting near any woman's heart. But don't forget the tears." I found the advice a counsel of perfection; I was unable to weep at such a moment; but I never forgot the words.

There was a large barracks of Irish Constabulary in Ballybay and the Sub-Inspector was a handsome fellow of five feet nine or ten named Walter Raleigh. He used to say that he was a descendant of the famous courtier of Queen Elizabeth and he pronounced his name "Holly" and assured us that his illustrious namesake had often spelt it in this way, which showed that he must have pronounced it as if written with an "o". The reason I mention Raleigh here is that his sisters and mine were great friends and he came in and out of our house almost as if it were his own.

Every evening when Vernon and Raleigh had nothing better to do, they cleared away the chairs in our back parlor, put on boxing gloves and had a set-to. My father used to sit in a corner and watch them: