What are some textual descriptions of Mary and Patrick's relationship before the murder?

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parkerlee eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Anticipation on the part of Mary Maloney contrasts vividly with the indifference of her husband.

For Mary: "a slow, smiling air about her"; "curiously tranquil";  "the eyes, with their new placid look";  "content to sit quietly";  "love to luxuriate".

For Patrick: "punctually as always"; "he didn't want to speak     much"; "holding the tall glass with both hands"; "moved slowly...with long strides"; "he drained it in one swallow"; "he didn't answer".      

It is evident that at home Mr. Maloney is only punching time, but his wife doesn't pick up on his body language at all. Then she does notice and looks for receptive signs which don't come: "Her eyes waited on him for an answer, a smile, a little nod, but he made no sign."  The curtness and abruptness of his speech turns to the imperative: "Sit down." At this point she notices what she missed before: "...a little muscle moving near the corner of his left eye." He is brief but not without feeling. He seems honest enough when he says, "I hope you don't blame me too much."

But of course, she does....

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Lamb to the Slaughter

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