He piled the grate up with turf, and when the blaze came leaned over it, warming his hands, asking himself why she liked Mr. Poole rather than him. For he no longer tried to conceal from himself the fact that he loved her. He had played the hypocrite long enough; he had spoken about her soul, but it was herself that he wanted. This admission brought some little relief, but he felt that the relief would only be temporary. Alas! it was surrender. It was worse than surrender—it was abandonment. He could sink no deeper. But he could; we can all sink deeper. Now what would the end be? There is an end to everything; there must be an end even to humiliation, to self-abasement. It was Moran over again. Moran was ashamed of his vice, but he had to accept it, and Father Oliver thought how much it must have cost his curate to come to tell him that he wanted to lie drunk for some days in an outhouse in order to escape for a few days from the agony of living. ’That is what he called it, and I, too, would escape from it.’
His thoughts turned suddenly to a poem written by a peasant in County Cork a hundred years ago to a woman who inspired a passion that wrecked his mind altogether in the end. And he wondered if madness would be the end of his suffering, or if he would go down to the lake and find rest in it.
’Oh, succour me, dear one, give
me a kiss from thy mouth,
And lift me up to thee from death,
Or bid them make for me a narrow bed, a coffin of boards,
In the dark neighbourhood of the worm and his friends.
My life is not life but death, my voice is no voice but a wind,
There is no colour in me, nor life, nor richness, nor health;
But in tears and sorrow and weakness, without music, without
sport, without power,
I go into captivity and woe, and in the pain of my love of thee.’
From Father Oliver Gogarty to Miss Nora Glynn.
’March 12, 19—.