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I sawher in the ward with her white face & the two black plaits. Her hair had grown out in the prison, she had the widow’s peak – her light bodybarelymarking the bed. A nun with a pink face like a marshmallow squeezed hard into a white coif stood over her with the priest & the Blessed Sacraments. Eileen onlyspoke of Mrs Donavan & Flora. Almost as if theywere there beside her, with their faces covered in the white of an egg & their four vain elbows sitting in the four halves of lemons whitening them. It’s me, Babe Cronin, I said. Eileen, don’t you knowme? Her eyes blackened in her white face as she spoke, Mrs Donavan taught me darning & fancydarning. I could do the Peacock’s Eye but all I darned was men’s socks & theywere always on the run.


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