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Dubliners

A Mother
MR HOLOHAN, assistant secretary of the Eire Abu Society, had been walking up and
down Dublin for nearly a month, with his hands and pockets full of dirty pieces of paper,
arranging about the series of concerts. He had a game leg and for this his friends called
him Hoppy Holohan. He walked up and down constantly, stood by the hour at street
corners arguing the point and made notes; but in the end it was Mrs. Kearney who
arranged everything.
Miss Devlin had become Mrs. Kearney out of spite. She had been educated in a high-
class convent, where she had learned French and music. As she was naturally pale and
unbending in manner she made few friends at school. When she came to the age of
marriage she was sent out to many houses, where her playing and ivory manners were
much admired. She sat amid the chilly circle of her accomplishments, waiting for some
suitor to brave it and offer her a brilliant life. But the young men whom she met were
ordinary and she gave them no encouragement, trying to console her romantic desires
by eating a great deal of Turkish Delight in secret. However, when she drew near the
limit and her friends began to loosen their tongues about her, she silenced them by
marrying Mr. Kearney, who was a bootmaker on Ormond Quay.
He was much older than she. His conversation, which was serious, took place at
intervals in his great brown beard. After the first year of married life, Mrs. Kearney
perceived that such a man would wear better than a romantic person, but she never put
her own romantic ideas away. He was sober, thrifty and pious; he went to the altar
every first Friday, sometimes with her, oftener by himself. But she never weakened in
her religion and was a good wife to him. At some party in a strange house when she
lifted her eyebrow ever so slightly he stood up to take his leave and, when his cough
troubled him, she put the eider-down quilt over his feet and made a strong rum punch.
For his part, he was a model father. By paying a small sum every week into a society,
he ensured for both his daughters a dowry of one hundred pounds each when they
came to the age of twenty-four. He sent the older daughter, Kathleen, to a good
convent, where she learned French and music, and afterward paid her fees at the
Academy. Every year in the month of July Mrs. Kearney found occasion to say to some
friend:
"My good man is packing us off to Skerries for a few weeks."
If it was not Skerries it was Howth or Greystones.
When the Irish Revival began to be appreciable Mrs. Kearney determined to take
advantage of her daughter's name and brought an Irish teacher to the house. Kathleen
and her sister sent Irish picture postcards to their friends and these friends sent back
other Irish picture postcards. On special Sundays, when Mr. Kearney went with his
family to the pro-cathedral, a little crowd of people would assemble after mass at the
 
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