Mednyanszky, Down and Out
László Mednyánszky, "Down and Out", after 1898
Chapter 2 — Section 5
Pages 56-5856-5747-48
Wherestreets of Kingstown and Glasthule
WhenWednesday night, May 5 1915
luce couillet
Maximilien Luce, "Couillet, la nuit" detail, 1905

Way up Glasthule Road, through Kingstown and its breezy streets, a smack of industry hits the sleeping town. Outside a black-brick bakery, in the fallen light from a window, a young lad crouches. He looks to be reading, but in fact he’s nodded off. The book slips from his hands and slides to the road.

The bakery hand comes out and shakes him. “Here y’are, son,” he says and drops the broken bread in his lap. “God save us, I hope ’twas worth the wait. What’s that you’re after reading?”

connolly socialism made easy
James Connolly, pamphlet "Socialism Made Easy", Chicago 1909

He takes up the cheap cardboard cover. “Socialism Made Easy, what? By Mr. James Connolly. You don’t want the polis catch you reading likes of that. No, nor the priests.” 

The lad acknowledges him but he’s too tired to grin or say anything. He stuffs the bits of bread in his pockets and homeward treads.

grimshaw heath street night
John Atkinson Grimshaw, "View of Heath Street by Night"

Through George’s Street with its shuttered shops, named for the king who named Kingstown, past the railed-in People’s Park and down the slope to Glasthule Road. The road must squeeze between chapel and college and he glances up at the gaunt red brick of Presentation where no light shows. No light shows from the church and on he treads without signing the cross. At the lane that leads to the Banks, he halts and sniffs the air. Weedy fishy middeny air that follows where he goes.

The words come to him of the old famine song and softly he sings while he crosses the road and past the public house to Ducie’s lamplit window.

Moveen famine village
... surrendered us for lost
print, 1849, of the deserted "famine" village of Moveen, County Clare

O we’re down into the dust, over here, over here,
We’re down into the dust, over here.
O we’re down into the dust, for the Lord in whom we trust
Has surrendered us for lost, over here, over here.

“Flute, is it?”

Cigarette smoke and a glove on his shoulder.

Band flute, aye.”

Boxwood, I should say. German. What they used to call a student flute.”

Still Doyler doesn’t turn, but gazes dead in the glass. The chatty manner has an edge to it which he feels in the press of the hand on his shoulder.

... five bob, actually
19c flute by Haynes

“How much do they ask for it?”

“Five bob, actually.”

“Tidy sum. For a flute.”

“Worth more.”

“I dare say.”

The grip on his shoulder guides gently him round. The face lights up in the cigarette glow. Guard’s moustache under a soft felt hat. The amicable nob from the Forty Foot. Had wanted to learn him a dive. Brim drawn down.

munch self portrait cigarette
... costly smell of the
Edvard Munch, "Self-Portrait with Burning Cigarette", 1895

“What’s your name?”



Costly smell of the tailor-made smoke.

“Walk with me a while.”

Doyler shrugs, careful of dislodging the hand. “If you say so.”

So,” says MacMurrough.