'Darcy and O'Mara' is a novel by Arthur Cronin.
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Wednesday, September 29, 2004


It’s been a little bit less wintry lately. I was able to cut the grass again. I did the front on one evening and the back on the next, and I just about managed to get them finished before it got dark. The sky was full of stars by the time I put the rake back in the shed.

My cousin Jane was once going out with a man called Joe, and things were going very well until she was making the dinner one day. She was cutting carrots very slowly and carefully, and he said to her, “Let me do that. I used to play the xylophone.” He cut the carrots very quickly and with a lot of force. She thought it was a bit odd, and dangerous too. She wondered if he played the xylophone like that. Joe and Jane often went for walks around a lake with his dog, Spot. Jane loves animals, and the fact that he had a dog was part of the attraction. One day her parents went with them on the walk, and when they got to the end of the path, Joe said to the dog, “Here boy.” A heron looked around, and Joe shouted at it, “I was talking to the bloody dog!” When he noticed everyone looking at him he said, “Sorry about that. I just don’t like birds.” A few days later, Jane was at a friend’s house and a piece of music was on the stereo. They were only half-listening to it, but Jane paid attention when the xylophone came in. In her mind she pictured someone furiously chopping carrots, and she wondered if it was Joe playing on that recording. Her friend told a story about how the man playing the xylophone was attacked by birds during the performance, and he started hitting them but they only attacked him more. Jane thought that it couldn’t be Joe because he loves animals too, and he might not love birds as much as he loves dogs, but surely he’d never hit one. That’s what she tried to tell herself, but she couldn’t get the idea out of her mind, and she knew she’d never be sure until she put him to the test. She had a pet canary, and she decided to let it out of the cage while Joe was in the room, just to see how he’d react. Her grandmother was in the room at the time too. Joe was sitting on the sofa, and he remained very still when he saw the canary. He tried to stay calm, but he always kept an eye on the bird, and he was ready to swing at it with a newspaper if it came anywhere near him. Jane’s grandmother always believed that in every episode of ‘Tom and Jerry’ the cat and the mouse tried to hide the gin. She had an idea that Tweety Pie would always try to protect the gin because she remembered a cat trying to kill it, so she always liked Jane’s canary. The bird was getting closer to Joe, and he was getting ready to swing at it. Jane was watching him all the time. Her cat came into the room and when he saw the canary he slowly moved towards it, ready to pounce. Jane’s grandmother saw the cat, and she kept a very close eye on it. She noticed it moving towards the canary, and she moved very slowly after it. Just as Joe was about to hit the canary with a newspaper, Jane’s grandmother starting swinging at the cat with a cushion. Jane took the cat out of the room and put the canary back in the cage. She wasn’t angry with her grandmother because she was just trying to protect the bird, and she was very impressed with how calm Joe was around the canary.

The moose’s head over the fireplace still has a look of surprise on its face. I painted the room a few days ago, and I put a sheet over the moose’s head so I wouldn’t get any paint on it. When I took the sheet off there was a look of surprise on its face when it saw the new colour. It still has that look, and I can still get the smell of paint in the room.