Mrs. Mooney was a butcher’s daughter. She was a woman who was quite able to keep things to herself: a determined woman.
She governed her house cunningly and firmly, knew when to give credit, when to be stern and when to let things pass. All the resident young men spoke of her as The Madam.
At last, when she judged it to be the right moment, Mrs. Mooney intervened. She dealt with moral problems as a cleaver deals with meat: and in this case she had made up her mind.
The belfry of George’s Church sent out constant peals and worshippers, singly or in groups, traversed the little circus before the church, revealing their purpose by their self-contained demeanour no less than by the little volumes in their gloved hands.
She was sure she would win. To begin with she had all the weight of social opinion on her side: she was an outraged mother.
There must be reparation made in such cases. It is all very well for the man: he can go his way as if nothing had happened, having had his moment of pleasure, but the girl has to bear the brunt.
Dublin is such a small city: everyone knows everyone else’s business.
All his long years of service gone for nothing! All his industry and diligence thrown away! As a young man he had sown his wild oats, of course; he had boasted of his free-thinking and denied the existence of God to his companions in public-houses. But that was all passed and done with . . . nearly.
His instinct urged him to remain free, not to marry. Once you are married you are done for, it said.
She waited on patiently, almost cheerfully, without alarm, her memories gradually giving place to hopes and visions of the future. Her hopes and visions were so intricate that she no longer saw the white pillows on which her gaze was fixed or remembered that she was waiting for anything.