Dubliners

by: James Joyce

“A Little Cloud”

1

Little Chandler’s thoughts ever since lunchtime had been of his meeting with Gallaher, of Gallaher’s invitation and of the great city of London where Gallaher lived . . . As he sat at his desk in the King’s Inns he thought what changes those eight years had brought. The friend whom he had known under a shabby and necessitous guise had become a brilliant figure on the London Press.

2

Hallo, Tommy, old hero, here you are! What is it to be? What will you have? I’m taking whisky: better stuff than we get across the water. Soda? Lithia? No mineral? I’m the same. Spoils the flavor . . . Here, garçon, bring us two halves of malt whisky, like a good fellow . . . Well, and how have you been pulling along since I saw you last? Dear god, how old we’re getting!

3

He was beginning to feel somewhat disillusioned. Gallaher’s accent and way of expressing himself did not please him. There was something vulgar in his friend which he had not observed before. But perhaps it was only the result of living in London amid the bustle and competition of the Press. The old personal charm was still there under this new gaudy manner. And, after all, Gallaher had lived, he had seen the world. Little Chandler looked at his friend enviously.

4

“If it ever occurs, you may bet your bottom dollar there’ll be no mooning and spooning about it. I mean to marry money. She’ll have a good fat account at the bank or she won’t do for me . . . Why, man alive,” said Ignatius Gallaher, vehemently, “do you know what it is? I’ve only to say the word and to-morrow I can have the woman and the cash. You don’t believe it? Well, I know it.

5

It was a quarter to nine. Little Chandler had come home late for tea and, moreover, he had forgotten to bring Annie home the parcel of coffee from Bewley’s. Of course she was in a bad humor and gave him short answers. She said she would do without any tea but when it came near the time at which the shop at the corner closed she decided to go out herself for a quarter of a pound of tea and two pounds of sugar. She put the sleeping child deftly in his arms and said: “Here. Don’t waken him.”