And all the time she was talking, Stevie, she had her eyes fixed on my face and she stood so close to me I could hear her breathing. When I handed her back the mug at last she took my hand to draw me in over the threshold and said: Come in and stay the night here. You've no call to be frightened. There's no one in it but ourselves... I didn't go in, Stevie. I thanked her and went on my way again, all in a fever. At the first bend of the road I looked back and she was standing at the door.
The last words of Davin's story sang in his memory and the figure of the woman in the story stood forth reflected in other figures of the peasant women whom he had seen standing in the doorways at Clane as the college cars drove by, as a type of her race and of his own, a batlike soul waking to the consciousness of itself in darkness and secrecy and loneliness and, through the eyes and voice and gesture of a woman without guile, calling the stranger to her bed.
A hand was laid on his arm and a young voice cried:
----Ah, gentleman, your own girl, sir! The first handsel today, gentleman. Buy that lovely bunch. Will you, gentleman?
The blue flowers which she lifted towards him and her young blue eyes seemed to him at that instant images of guilelessness, and he halted till the image had vanished and he saw only her ragged dress and damp coarse hair and hoydenish face.
----Do, gentleman! Don't forget your own girl, sir!
----I have no money, said Stephen.
----Buy them lovely ones, will you, sir? Only a penny.
----Did you hear what I said? asked Stephen, bending towards her. I told you I had no money. I tell you again now.
----Well, sure, you will some day, sir, please God, the girl answered after an instant.