Usually, when these two companions were alone together, an incessant chattering went{23} on, or, to be accurate, an incessant monologue; for Murdough Blake already possessed one of the more distinctive gifts of his countrymen, and his tongue had a power of building up castles in the air—castles in which he himself, of course, was chief actor, owner, lord, general person of importance—castles which would sometimes mount up, tier above tier, higher and higher, tottering dizzily before the dazzled eyes of his small companion, till even her admiration, her capacity for belief, failed to follow them longer.

Neither of them knew a single word of English, for the schoolmaster had not in those days even casually visited Inishmaan, which is still, at the moment I write, the most retrograde spot, probably, within the four seas. The loss was none to them, however, 대구오피 for they were unaware of it. No one about them spoke English, and had they spoken it, nay, used it habitually, it would{24} have been less an aid probably than a hindrance to these architectural glories. To-day, however, Murdough was in no mood to exhibit any of his usual rhetorical feats. He was thoroughly out of temper. His vanity had been badly mauled, not so much by Shan Daly’s attack upon him—for, like everyone in and around Inishmaan, he despised Shan Daly—as by the fashion in which Con O’Malley had cut short his own explanations. This had touched it to the quick: and Murdough Blake’s vanity was already a serious possession, not one to be wounded with impunity. Con being out of reach, and too high in any case for reprisals, he paid back his wrongs, as most of us do, in snubs upon the person nearest at hand. The tête-à-tête, therefore, was a silent one. From time to time the hooker would give a friendly, encouraging croak, as if to suggest a topic, sloping now a little to the right,{25} now to the left, as the soft air began to be invaded by fresher currents coming in from the Atlantic—wild nurse, mother, and grandmother of storms, calm enough just then, but with the potentiality of, Heaven only knows how many, unborn tempests for ever and for ever brooding within her restless old breast.