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Chapter 10
The superior, the very reverend John Conmee S.J. reset his smooth watch in his interior
pocket as he came down the presbytery steps. Five to three. Just nice time to walk to
Artane. What was that boy's name again? Dignam. Yes. VERE DIGNUM ET IUSTUM
EST. Brother Swan was the person to see. Mr Cunningham's letter. Yes. Oblige him, if
possible. Good practical catholic: useful at mission time.
A onelegged sailor, swinging himself onward by lazy jerks of his crutches, growled some
notes. He jerked short before the convent of the sisters of charity and held out a peaked
cap for alms towards the very reverend John Conmee S. J. Father Conmee blessed him in
the sun for his purse held, he knew, one silver crown.
Father Conmee crossed to Mountjoy square. He thought, but not for long, of soldiers and
sailors, whose legs had been shot off by cannonballs, ending their days in some pauper
ward, and of cardinal Wolsey's words: IF I HAD SERVED MY GOD AS I HAVE
DAYS. He walked by the treeshade of sunnywinking leaves: and towards him came the
wife of Mr David Sheehy M.P.
--Very well, indeed, father. And you, father?
Father Conmee was wonderfully well indeed. He would go to Buxton probably for the
waters. And her boys, were they getting on well at Belvedere? Was that so? Father
Conmee was very glad indeed to hear that. And Mr Sheehy himself? Still in London. The
house was still sitting, to be sure it was. Beautiful weather it was, delightful indeed. Yes,
it was very probable that Father Bernard Vaughan would come again to preach. O, yes: a
very great success. A wonderful man really.
Father Conmee was very glad to see the wife of Mr David Sheehy M.P. Iooking so well
and he begged to be remembered to Mr David Sheehy M.P. Yes, he would certainly call.
--Good afternoon, Mrs Sheehy.
Father Conmee doffed his silk hat and smiled, as he took leave, at the jet beads of her
mantilla inkshining in the sun. And smiled yet again, in going. He had cleaned his teeth,
he knew, with arecanut paste.
Father Conmee walked and, walking, smiled for he thought on Father Bernard Vaughan's
droll eyes and cockney voice.
--Pilate! Wy don't you old back that owlin mob?