rules of behaviour previously unknown to her. Can I not leave you alonefor five minutes, he sighed as he patted and pressed the duvet againsther. Can you not be alone with yourself, my silly darling?
In winter her father came into the room and looked at her and smiledhis crooked smile and went out again. Later Éadaoin came in and someother people and they sat around the fire and gave each other presents.A terrible mess was made of the floor; the leaves of crisp paper underher feet were dangerously slippery. More people were in the kitchen;they brought on trays strong drinks in small glasses that made her facetwist and shrink and all present were amused, ha ha ha. Her gift was TheConcise Oxford Dictionary. A photographer captured the moment of itsopening, and she tried to hide her face. Éadaoin, she decided, was her favourite. He had a nice old nose, a kind voice which was always turned inher direction. He brought her a photograph album and showed himselfas a boy. He wore a miniature ten-gallon hat, tasselled chaps, a waistcoatof denim, and a pearl-handled revolver bounced at his hip. Then, turning more pages, Our wedding day, he said, you remember? His crookedfinger came down upon the page. She saw a young lady in white anda man in a dark suit standing in a doorway. They smiled in differentdirections. You remember that, don’t you? said Éadaoin, and he gentlysqueezed her arm.
In winter she looked out from the bedroom window and saw the snoutof the pier lying low in the water and the wide arms of the bay and thedistant pins of the Pigeon House towers. The windows of the passingbuses were misted over. In them you saw obscurely the hats of the menand momently the whiteness of their faces, and then they were gone.Sounds of water. The lights across the bay were small, sharp as nails. Before them vast darkness. In her dressing gown she stood before the window and placed a hand against the cold glass, putting a shiver throughherself. Sounds of water. Her hair was a terrible mess, she realised. Shewent quickly to the dresser mirror and patted into it into shape. Thenback to the window. The snout of the pier lying low in the water and thewide arms of the bay and the distant pins of the Pigeon House towers.And sounds of water? In her dressing gown she padded across the carpetcrisp with cold and entered the bright well of the landing. Yes, sounds ofwater. Along the landing, to the open bathroom door. There in stripedpyjamas and tassel-belted gown, friendly old Éadaoin bent over the sink.