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Dubliners

Ivy Day In The Committee Room
OLD JACK raked the cinders together with a piece of cardboard and spread them
judiciously over the whitening dome of coals. When the dome was thinly covered his
face lapsed into darkness but, as he set himself to fan the fire again, his crouching
shadow ascended the opposite wall and his face slowly reemerged into light. It was an
old man's face, very bony and hairy. The moist blue eyes blinked at the fire and the
moist mouth fell open at times, munching once or twice mechanically when it closed.
When the cinders had caught he laid the piece of cardboard against the wall, sighed
and said:
"That's better now, Mr. O'Connor."
Mr. O'Connor, a grey-haired young man, whose face was disfigured by many blotches
and pimples, had just brought the tobacco for a cigarette into a shapely cylinder but
when spoken to he undid his handiwork meditatively. Then he began to roll the tobacco
again meditatively and after a moment's thought decided to lick the paper.
"Did Mr. Tierney say when he'd be back?" he asked in a sky falsetto.
"He didn't say."
Mr. O'Connor put his cigarette into his mouth and began search his pockets. He took
out a pack of thin pasteboard cards.
"I'll get you a match," said the old man.
"Never mind, this'll do," said Mr. O'Connor.
He selected one of the cards and read what was printed on it:
MUNICIPAL ELECTIONS
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ROYAL EXCHANGE WARD
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Mr. Richard J. Tierney, P.L.G., respectfully solicits the favour of your vote and influence
at the coming election in the Royal Exchange Ward.
Mr. O'Connor had been engaged by Tierney's agent to canvass one part of the ward
but, as the weather was inclement and his boots let in the wet, he spent a great part of
the day sitting by the fire in the Committee Room in Wicklow Street with Jack, the old
caretaker. They had been sitting thus since e short day had grown dark. It was the sixth
of October, dismal and cold out of doors.
 
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