CLAY

THE matron had given her leave to go out as soon as the women's tea was over and Maria looked forward to her evening out. The kitchen was spick and span: the cook said you could see yourself in the big copper boilers. The fire was nice and bright and on one of the side-tables were four very big barmbracks. These barmbracks seemed uncut; but if you went closer you would see that they had been cut into long thick even slices and were ready to be handed round at tea. Maria had cut them herself.

Maria was a very, very small person indeed but she had a very long nose and a very long chin. She talked a little through her nose, always sooth. ingly: "Yes, my dear," and "No, my dear."

She was always sent for when the women quarrelled over their tubs and always succeeded in making peace. One day the matron had said to her:

" Maria, you are a veritable peace-maker!"

And the sub-matron and two of the Board ladies had heard the compliment. And Ginger Mooney was always saying what she wouldn't do to the dummy who had charge of the irons if it wasn't for Maria. Everyone was so fond of Maria.

-123-

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Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Introduction v
  • Contents 5
  • The Sisters 7
  • An Encounter 20
  • Araby 33
  • Eveline 42
  • After the Race 49
  • Two Gallants 58
  • The Boarding House 74
  • A Little Cloud 85
  • Counterparts 106
  • Clay 123
  • A Painful Case 133
  • Ivy Day in the Committee Room 148
  • A Mother 171
  • Grace 190
  • The Dead 224
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