Summary (Masterplots, Fourth Edition)
Shabbily dressed, Francis McPhillip comes to the door of the public lodging house. With the caution born of necessity, he waits in the doorway until he is sure he is not being followed, keeping his hand inside his raincoat to feel the reassuring butt of his pistol. For six months, he has been a hunted man, hiding out in the wild mountains.
In October, Francis had killed the secretary of the Farmers’ Union. His orders from the revolutionary organization were to use his gun only if necessary; after the killing, the organization disavowed his act and expelled him. A lone fugitive since then, he is back in Dublin to see his family.
Francis searches among the public rooms crowded with Dublin’s poor. In the dining room, he finds the man he wants to see: Gypo Nolan. Gypo is eating from a huge plate of cabbage and bacon he stole from a locker. Francis sits down and inquires hoarsely of Gypo if the police are still watching his parents’ house. At first, Gypo only grunts in response, then he says he thinks the coast is clear. After eating voraciously from Gypo’s plate, Francis slips away.
Gypo thinks stolidly of his former companion in the organization, then he reflects bitterly on his empty pockets and on the fact that he cannot buy a bed that night. He tries to link up the two facts, but Gypo thinks only with great difficulty. He was Francis’s companion at the time of the murder, and the organization expelled him, too. Without...
(The entire section is 1205 words.)
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