accuse or condemn openly as disgraceful
She doesn’t say a word and I wonder if she’s going to the post office to
denounce me for sleeping in my grandmother’s bed and wearing her black dress.
a severe shortage of food resulting in starvation and death
Have a cup o’ tay an’ a bit o’ bread. You need it, God help us. You look like one left over from the
an intense desire for some particular thing
Dennis had the
craving, so he did, for a nice sheep’s head with a bit of cabbage and a spud so up with me to Barry the butcher with the last few shillings I had.
shine brightly, like a star or a light
I can’t leave the pile of rags alone with a useless money order because the pile is an old woman, Mrs. Gertrude Daly, all twisted with every class of disease you can get in a Limerick lane, arthritis, rheumatism, falling hair, a nostril half gone from her jabbing at it with her finger, and you wonder what kind of a world is it when this old woman sits up from the rags and smiles at you with teeth that
gleam white in the dark, her own teeth and perfect.
a nervous restrained laugh
Getting paid for sitting and chatting is no laughing matter and the first
titter out of any of us and out we go till we come to our senses and if the
tittering continues we’ll be reported to the proper authorities.
speak about unimportant matters rapidly and incessantly
Mackey, what is it you’re
prattling about over there?
a street lined with dwellings that were originally stables
Toby says nobody knows Limerick like the telegram boy. We know every avenue, road, street, terrace,
mews, place, close, lane.
pass from physical life
Come in. You’ll
perish standing there.
She leaps from the sofa, dances around the parlor like a wild one and runs into the kitchen to
douse herself with water.
the absence of mental stress or anxiety
I slip the telegram under the door and cycle back down to the Franciscan church to beg for the
repose of Theresa’s soul.
spread negative information about
I want to go to the priest, to Mr. and Mrs. Carmody. I want to tell them how I’m the one who sent Theresa to hell. They can do whatever they like with me. Abuse me.
Revile me. Throw grave dirt at me.
swallow hurriedly or greedily or in one draught
quaff at every turn.
Get off my wife, you
wretched Papist twit.
appeal or request earnestly
He hits me in the back with the whiskey bottle,
pleads, Will you not watch one hour with me?
attack and bombard with or as if with missiles
pelts me with sherry glasses, whiskey glasses, assorted ham sandwiches, items from his wife’s dressing table, powders, creams, brushes.
a localized collection of pus surrounded by inflamed tissue
Every time I deliver a telegram to her street, every time I pass the graveyard I feel the sin growing in me like an
abscess and if I don’t go to confession soon I’ll be nothing but an
abscess riding around on a bicycle with people pointing and telling each other, There he is, there’s Frankie McCourt, the dirty thing that sent Theresa Carmody to hell.
unpleasantly cool and humid
I kneel with people in the pews next to confessionals but when my turn comes I can’t breathe, my heart pounds, my forehead turns cold and
clammy and I run from the church.
I am sure you don’t want to
languish in the dungeons of Limerick jail far from friends and family.
of or relating to legal proceedings
I remain, yours in
Mrs. Brigid Finucane
the state of being liable to happen soon
Inasmuch as you have not succumbed to the
imminence of litigation in our previous epistle be advised that we are in consultation with our barrister above in Dublin.
Write your name and address and write me a paragraph explaining why you came here for this job and how you propose to rise in the ranks of Eason and Son, Ltd., by dint of
perseverance and assiduity where there is great opportunity in this company for a boy that will keep his eye on the guidon ahead and guard his flanks from the siren call of sin.
great and constant diligence and attention
Write your name and address and write me a paragraph explaining why you came here for this job and how you propose to rise in the ranks of Eason and Son, Ltd., by dint of perseverance and
assiduity where there is great opportunity in this company for a boy that will keep his eye on the guidon ahead and guard his flanks from the siren call of sin.
awaiting conclusion or confirmation
We’ll take you on
pending the decision on the sore eyes.
act between parties with a view to reconciling differences
I begged him to
intercede for Theresa Carmody but he never did a thing, stood up there on his pedestal with the little smile, the birds, the lambs, and didn’t give a fiddler’s fart about Theresa or me.
take one's time; proceed slowly
...and sometimes Mr. McCaffrey gets into a state when boys
linger in the lavatory interfering with themselves and wasting the valuable time for which Easons is paying them and on top of it putting their immortal souls in danger.
without someone's knowledge
Borrows magazines to take home
unbeknownst to Mr. McCaffrey and God knows what he does with himself and the magazines all night.
a feeling of thankfulness and appreciation
She’s not happy I’m a messenger boy because that’s the lowest you can drop in Limerick but if it brings in ham like this we should light a candle in
argue over petty things
Alphie says you can get it in America yes you can and they argue about America and Australia and boomerangs till Mam says, For the love o’Jesus, yeer brother is leaving us and the two of ye are there
squabbling over boomerangs.
pass gradually or leak or as if through small openings
The words make no sense and everyone wonders why tears are
seeping from his shut eyes.
secure in or as if in a berth or dock
He climbs down the ladder, tugboat chugs away, and we sail up the Hudson past Manhattan, under the George Washington Bridge, past hundreds of Liberty ships that did their bit in the war,
moored now and ready to rot.