They had eaten a cream tea. Orphrey Whither protested he never ate tea, and in any event it was high time he went below and worked the boulevards, the holy hour having ended. Pilgrim Soul would commence shooting any day. He’d be at Johnny Farrell’s, seeing to the setting up of the dais for that evening’s celebration. Meanwhile, runners must of necessity be engaged—for all along the winding stretch of Grafton Street up to Stephen’s Green, and from the queue for returns at the Gaiety to the lobbies of the Shelbourne, and the Royal Hibernian, and in the Green Room at the Queen’s, and in conversation at Noonan’s, and at Bewlay’s (among the good Protestants), and in whispers in the Long Room at Trinity, and in the National Library, and at the city desk of The Irish Times there would be spreading the news that herself, the wild goose Cohalen example had arrived, and, having struck up an attitude of grand repose, was installed in the company of her paramour, the Tommy crooner who sounded like a cross between McCormack and Schumann-Heink, moreiar, in the uppermost sanctum of the rookery on O’Connell Street. (There being no necessity to hold a press conference to impart information to the town, Orphrey had charged the pair to be at the ready at half-seven to be transported up to Jammet’s for dinner at eight, and then off at half-nine for the ten o’clock opening of the second half at the Olympia, featuring Aodghan Moon’s comical turn as the Washerwoman of Ballsbridge, and then supper at Farrell’s, in the chambre separee [the snug, closed off by folding, although not soundproof doors] and afterwards a little private soiree, and — gathering momentum—had barreled out into the suddenly newly-minted, brilliantly clear late afternoon.)
From the long windows they watched the tricolor of the Republic of Ireland, unfurled and billowing—without fear, without reproach —atop the General Post Office building.Clouds lounged in a blue sky and sunlight splashed like Danae’s gold in oak-leaf patterns across the facades of the thoroughfare, as more and more citizens emerged.
He touched her hair.
“It’s just that I’ve been thinking ... ”
“And that leads to . . .”
“It all seems ridicilous!”
“Before filming even starts?”
“Avoidance is a mistake; it always was.”
“Gennaio — also Percase.”
“Lovely,but what does it mean? Don’t do it in front of the children? En garde? Mush?”
“Why don’t we go out. I know my way around.”
“The fact is you want to put on that enormous hat.”