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But we do not start," he exclaimed, excitedly; "we remain. Ach Gott, Selina, who does not arrive. Selina, it appeared, was a niece of Mrs. They were on the point of starting without her, when she suddenly arrived, very much out of breath. She was a slender, unhealthy looking girl, who overworked herself giving lessons in hand-painting at twenty-five cents an hour. McTeague was presented. They all began to talk at once, filling the little station-house with a confusion of tongues. Sieppe, his gold-headed cane in one hand, his Springfield in the other.

We depart. The others picked up their bundles.

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Sieppe, waving his rifle and assuming the attitude of a lieutenant of infantry leading a charge. The party set off down the railroad track. Sieppe walked with her husband, who constantly left her side to shout an order up and down the line. Marcus followed with Selina. McTeague found himself with Trina at the end of the procession.

It is a custom. And the woods and the grass smell so fine! In the morning father and the children dig clams in the mud by the shore, an' we bake them, and--oh, there's thousands of things to do. I caught three codfishes. A cousin of mine, Selina's brother, was drowned one Decoration Day. They never found his body. Can you swim, Doctor McTeague? One of them was bit by a rattlesnake once while he was dressing. He was a Frenchman, named Andrew. He swelled up and began to twitch. They're so crawly and graceful-- but, just the same, I like to watch them.

You know that drug store over in town that has a showcase full of live ones? Soon as he takes his hand away, down I go. Don't you hate to get water in your ears? The party stood to one side to let it pass. Marcus put a nickel and two crossed pins upon the rail, and waved his hat to the passengers as the train roared past. The children shouted shrilly.

When the train was gone, they all rushed to see the nickel and the crossed pins. The nickel had been jolted off, but the pins had been flattened out so that they bore a faint resemblance to opened scissors. A great contention arose among the children for the possession of these "scissors. Sieppe was obliged to intervene. He reflected gravely. It was a matter of tremendous moment. The whole party halted, awaiting his decision. At der end of der day, ven we shall have home gecommen, den wull it pe adjudge, eh? A reward of merit to him who der bes' pehaves.

It is an order. If you want to go across for anything it takes up the whole day. Do you know anybody named Oelbermann? That's my uncle. He has a wholesale toy store in the Mission. They say he's awful rich.

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Just fancy! And Mr. Oelbermann won't have it. He says it would be just like burying his child. Yes, she wants to enter the convent of the Sacred Heart. Are you a Catholic, Doctor McTeague? I wish you'd brought it along. Next time you will. I hope you'll come often on our picnics. You'll see what fun we'll have. Oh, yes; there is one, just over Telegraph Hill.

He and I took a lot of dogs from his hospital out for a walk to the Cliff House last Sunday, but we had to walk all the way home, because they wouldn't follow. You've been out to the Cliff House? We had a picnic there one Fourth of July, but it rained. Don't you love the ocean?

Angela's Ashes

Just away, and away, and away, anywhere. They're different from a little yacht. I'd love to travel. They were twenty-one days. Mamma's uncle used to be a sailor. He was captain of a steamer on Lake Geneva, in Switzerland. Sieppe, brandishing his rifle. They had arrived at the gates of the park. All at once McTeague turned cold. He had only a quarter in his pocket. What was he expected to do--pay for the whole party, or for Trina and himself, or merely buy his own ticket? And even in this latter case would a quarter be enough? He lost his wits, rolling his eyes helplessly.

Then it occurred to him to feign a great abstraction, pretending not to know that the time was come to pay. He looked intently up and down the tracks; perhaps a train was coming.

He felt that he had ruined himself forever with Trina. What was the use of trying to win her? Destiny was against him. He was on the point of adding that he would not go in the park. That seemed to be the only alternative. The difficulty had been tided over somehow. Once more McTeague felt himself saved. They had checked their baskets at the peanut stand. The whole party trooped down to the seashore.

The greyhound was turned loose. The children raced on ahead. From one of the larger parcels Mrs. Sieppe had drawn forth a small tin steamboat--August's birthday present--a gaudy little toy which could be steamed up and navigated by means of an alcohol lamp. Her trial trip was to be made this morning. August subsided. A little jetty ran part of the way into the water. Here, after a careful study of the directions printed on the cover of the box, Mr. Sieppe began to fire the little boat.

Mitout attention he will eggsplode. Sieppe, "he will soh soon be ge-whipt, eh? I put him in der water. The perspiration dripped from the back of his neck. The little boat was launched. It hissed more furiously than ever. Clouds of steam rolled from it, but it refused to move. Sieppe, fiercely, his face purple. All at once the boiler of the steamer blew up with a sharp crack. The little tin toy turned over and sank out of sight before any one could interfere. Instantly Mr. Sieppe boxed his ears. There was a lamentable scene.


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August rent the air with his outcries; his father shook him till his boots danced on the jetty, shouting into his face:. Ach, imbecile! Ach, miserable!


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  • I tol' you he eggsplode. Stop your cry. Do you wish I drow you in der water, eh? Silence, bube! Mommer, where ist mein stick? He will der grossest whippun ever of his life receive. Little by little the boy subsided, swallowing his sobs, knuckling his eyes, gazing ruefully at the spot where the boat had sunk.

    Sieppe, finally releasing him. Now, no more. We will der glams ge- dig, Mommer, a fire. Ach, himmel! The work of clam digging began at once, the little boys taking off their shoes and stockings. At first August refused to be comforted, and it was not until his father drove him into the water with his gold-headed cane that he consented to join the others.

    What a day that was for McTeague! What a never-to-be- forgotten day! He was with Trina constantly. They laughed together--she demurely, her lips closed tight, her little chin thrust out, her small pale nose, with its adorable little freckles, wrinkling; he roared with all the force of his lungs, his enormous mouth distended, striking sledge- hammer blows upon his knee with his clenched fist.

    The lunch was delicious. Trina and her mother made a clam chowder that melted in one's mouth. The lunch baskets were emptied. The party were fully two hours eating. There were huge loaves of rye bread full of grains of chickweed. There were weiner-wurst and frankfurter sausages.

    There was unsalted butter.

    There were pretzels. There was cold underdone chicken, which one ate in slices, plastered with a wonderful kind of mustard that did not sting. There were dried apples, that gave Mr. Sieppe the hiccoughs. There were a dozen bottles of beer, and, last of all, a crowning achievement, a marvellous Gotha truffle. After lunch came tobacco. Stuffed to the eyes, McTeague drowsed over his pipe, prone on his back in the sun, while Trina, Mrs.

    Sieppe, and Selina washed the dishes. In the afternoon Mr. Sieppe disappeared. They heard the reports of his rifle on the range. The others swarmed over the park, now around the swings, now in the Casino, now in the museum, now invading the merry-go-round. The family insisted that Marcus and McTeague should take supper with them at their home and should stay over night.

    Sieppe argued they could get no decent supper if they went back to the city at that hour; that they could catch an early morning boat and reach their business in good time. The two friends accepted. The Sieppes lived in a little box of a house at the foot of B Street, the first house to the right as one went up from the station.

    Angela's Ashes | Study Guide

    It was two stories high, with a funny red mansard roof of oval slates. The interior was cut up into innumerable tiny rooms, some of them so small as to be hardly better than sleeping closets. In the back yard was a contrivance for pumping water from the cistern that interested McTeague at once. It was a dog-wheel, a huge revolving box in which the unhappy black greyhound spent most of his waking hours.

    It was his kennel; he slept in it. From time to time during the day Mrs. Sieppe appeared on the back doorstep, crying shrilly, "Hoop, hoop! They were all very tired, and went to bed early. After great discussion it was decided that Marcus would sleep upon the lounge in the front parlor. Trina would sleep with August, giving up her room to McTeague. Selina went to her home, a block or so above the Sieppes's. At nine o'clock Mr. Sieppe showed McTeague to his room and left him to himself with a newly lighted candle.

    For a long time after Mr. Sieppe had gone McTeague stood motionless in the middle of the room, his elbows pressed close to his sides, looking obliquely from the corners of his eyes. He hardly dared to move. He was in Trina's room. It was an ordinary little room. A clean white matting was on the floor; gray paper, spotted with pink and green flowers, covered the walls. In one corner, under a white netting, was a little bed, the woodwork gayly painted with knots of bright flowers. Near it, against the wall, was a black walnut bureau. A work-table with spiral legs stood by the window, which was hung with a green and gold window curtain.

    Opposite the window the closet door stood ajar, while in the corner across from the bed was a tiny washstand with two clean towels. And that was all. But it was Trina's room. McTeague was in his lady's bower; it seemed to him a little nest, intimate, discreet. He felt hideously out of place. He was an intruder; he, with his enormous feet, his colossal bones, his crude, brutal gestures. The mere weight of his limbs, he was sure, would crush the little bed-stead like an eggshell.

    Then, as this first sensation wore off, he began to feel the charm of the little chamber. It was as though Trina were close by, but invisible. McTeague felt all the delight of her presence without the embarrassment that usually accompanied it. They go to the hospital, where a doctor realizes Frank needs his tonsils removed.

    Frank's mother sends him to dance lessons. Embarrassed he soon skips and goes to the movies instead. When his parents find out, Malachy Sr. Three years pass: "I'm seven, eight, nine going on ten and still Dad has no work" because he loses every job on the third Friday like clockwork. Angela complains to her friend Bridey Hannon about her husband's drinking and delusions of grandeur about his service for the IRA.

    Religion continues to play an important role in daily life. To prove to the St. Declan Collopy, head of Frank's division, is using his position with the Confraternity to get a job selling linoleum. Malachy Sr. When Frank is ready, they dress up in their best clothes and go to church, where they are turned away immediately. Frank's mother is sure it is "class distinction. They don't want boys from lanes on the altar. This chapter shows Frank's attempts to navigate the complicated world of adults. Religious and political differences cause great rifts even within families and over several generations.

    Frank learns Catholics shun Protestants and nonbelievers alike, showing a particular distaste for "soupers," those who accepted a bowl of soup from Protestants and converted. McCourt uses the memoir style to observe and report as a child would, without commentary, so readers can form their own judgments without his having to incriminate members of his family or neighbors. Division runs deep in his own family: his mother's side of the family shuns his father because he is from Northern Ireland, and some Protestants may lurk in his background.

    No matter how trivial—and the older McCourt tacitly acknowledges them as such although the young Frank does not—grudges and prejudices are easily developed, deep, and enduring. In fact they seem as ingrained as the class distinctions, chronic unemployment, and alcoholism that cripple the population.

    How It All Goes Down

    Unlike his mother's family, the neighbors show respect for Malachy Sr. Not only is he more educated than the others, he is also willing to help. Writing letters for those who cannot write, he lends both his penmanship and his "way with words" to help neighbors say what they want in more eloquent terms. His sophistication becomes clear when he teaches Frank Latin so he can become an altar boy.

    However, they are turned away because they are poor, illustrating the other great divide in town: class. As a poor family with a father from the North, Frank's family has few choices and opportunities to better themselves. At the beginning of the chapter Angela shows loyalty to and love for her husband in her conversations with Bridey Hannon, but in a "mirror scene" toward the end she voices her frustration and despair.

    After three years, the family still lives off the dole and charity. No matter how detrimental his drinking is to his family's welfare, Malachy Sr. Similarly, neither he nor Angela can give up smoking, revealing a pattern of self-destructive behavior. In fact Angela's only pleasure is smoking, to which she is as addicted as her husband.