In Dublin's Fair City (Molly Murphy Mysteries, #6)
”Be careful what you wish for.”
That was another of my mother's favorite sayings—one of the few in her wealth of warnings that didn’t predict a bad end, hell fire, and eternal damnation. It was brought out any time I expressed my childhood ambitions to see Dublin one day, to dance at a ball like a real lady, to own a horse and carriage, or just to free myself from our dreary life in Ballykillin. The end of the sentence was rarely said, but always implied—”or you may get it.”
Now it had inally come back to haunt me. My mother would undoubtedly be chuckling her head off in heaven, or wherever she was spending the hereafter. Ever since I’d arrived in New York and met Captain Daniel Sullivan, I suppose I had secretly nourished a hope that we could be together some day. Although I told myself that this would never happen, also that he was unreliable, two-faced, and all around bad news, I had never quite managed to put him out of my thoughts or my heart. And now it seemed I was being offered as much of Daniel Sullivan's company as I ever wanted. More, in fact.
Three weeks had gone by since his release from The Tombs on bail, and he was still charged with taking bribes from a gang member, being in the pay of a gang, and setting up an illegal prize fight. Since then he’d received no news on his future or his fate, although we now knew who had so carefully plotted his downfall. It was a horrible way to be living, to be sure—like walking on eggs—and Daniel wasn’t taking itwell. He was used to being cock o’ the walk, a powerful man who commanded the respect of his colleagues among the New York police and who had connections to the Four Hundred—the highest-born families in town. Those weeks in The Tombs had taxed him physically and mentally so that he was now alternately moping or prowling around like a caged tiger.
And much of his prowling was being done at my house, which is why I was pacing the floor myself one muggy September afternoon. Daniel had inally managed to engage the services of a reputable attorney, who was working on his behalf, and had arranged a meeting today with the police commissioner, Mr. John Partridge. And I was left to pace the floor at home, wondering if he’d return a free man, reinstated at his job. Please let him be freed from this terrible burden, I found myself praying, even though I was not much one for chats with the Almighty. And please let him get his old job back and leave me in peace. I was appalled at myself immediately. Wasn’t I supposed to be in love with Daniel Sullivan? Hadn’t I seriously considered the prospect of marrying him some day? And yet here I was, dreading the thought of his presence. What about for better or worse, richer, poorer, in sickness or health? This marriage question would require some serious rethinking, provided Daniel was ever in a position to ask for my hand, of course.
While I waited I cleaned the house feverishly, polishing my few pieces of furniture till I could see my face in them and still no Daniel. Surely the interview must be over by now. Surely the commissioner would have no alternative but to declare him a free man. I paced the house, exactly as Daniel had done so often these past days. I pulled back the net curtain, looked down Patchin Place, then let it fall again. Suddenly I could stand it no longer. I needed company, and I needed it now. Pleasant company, amusing company. And I knew exactly where that could be found.
I crossed the street and knocked on the door of the house on the other side of the alleyway. It was opened by an alarming vision with a deathly white face and two green circles where eyes should have been. I gasped as the vision removed one of the green circles.
“Sorry about that,” she said. “Cucumber. We’re trying out skinremedies. Sid just read an article in Ladies’ Home Journal on the subject of natural health and beauty from the larder.”
The white-faced ghost now revealed itself as my dear friend and neighbor, Augusta Mary Walcott, of the Boston Walcotts, but more usually known by her nickname, Gus.
“Ladies’ Home Journal?” I had to chuckle. “You two are the last creatures on earth I would have suspected of reading ladies’ magazines.”