Two gentlemen who were in the lavatory at the time tried to lift him up: but he was quite helpless. He lay curled up at the foot of the stairs down which he had fallen. His hat was rolled a few yards away and his clothes were smeared with the filth and ooze of the floor on which he had lain face downwards. His eyes were closed and he breathed with a grunting noise. A thin stream of blood trickled from the corner of his mouth.
Two nights after, his friends came to see him. She brought them up to his bedroom, the air of which was impregnated with a personal odour, and gave them chairs at the fire. Mr. Kernan’s tongue, the occasional stinging pain of which had made him somewhat irritable during the day, became more polite…. He apologised to his guests for the disorder of the room, but at the same time looked at them a little proudly, with a veteran’s pride.
“Jack and I and M’Coy here—we’re all going to wash the pot.” He uttered the metaphor with a certain homely energy and, encouraged by his own voice, proceeded: “You see, we may as well all admit we’re a nice collection of scoundrels, one and all. I say, one and all,” he added with gruff charity and turning to Mr. Power. “Own up now!”
In a whisper, Mr. Cunningham drew Mr. Kernan’s attention to Mr. Hartford, the moneylender, who sat some distance off, and to Mr. Fanning the registration agent and mayor maker of the city, who was sitting immediately under the pulpit beside one of the newly elected councillors of the ward. To the right sat old Michael Grimes, the owner of three pawnbroker’s shops, and Dan Hogan’s nephew, who was up for the job in the Town Clerk’s office . . . Gradually, as he recognized familiar faces, Mr. Kernan began to feel more at home.