"O, you! The back of my hand to you!" said Mrs. Kernan tartly.
Her husband called after her:
"Nothing for poor little hubby!"
He assumed such a comical face and voice that the distribution of the bottles of stout took place amid general merriment.
The gentlemen drank from their glasses, set the glasses again on the table and paused. Then Mr. Cunningham turned towards Mr. Power and said casually:
"On Thursday night, you said, Jack?"
"Thursday, yes," said Mr. Power.
"Righto!" said Mr. Cunningham promptly.
"We can meet in M'Auley's," said Mr. M'Coy. "That'll be the most convenient place."
"But we mustn't be late," said Mr. Power earnestly, "because it is sure to be crammed to the doors."
"We can meet at half-seven," said Mr. M'Coy.
"Righto!" said Mr. Cunningham.
"Half-seven at M'Auley's be it!"
There was a short silence. Mr. Kernan waited to see whether he would be taken into his friends' confidence. Then he asked:
"What's in the wind?"
"O, it's nothing," said Mr. Cunningham. "It's only a little matter that we're arranging about for Thursday."
"The opera, is it?" said Mr. Kernan.
"No, no," said Mr. Cunningham in an evasive tone, "it's just a little . . . spiritual matter."