An Irish Eye
Dervia O'Shannon, the 13-year-old who tells this tale, finds herself at the dawn of true womanhood when the children of Saint Martha's Home for Foundling Girls embark on a series of festive visits to Saint Clement's Home for Old Soldiers. There Dervia meets Corporal Stack, a wry malcontent and veteran of the First World War old enough to be Dervia's grandfather. What follows is a hilarious account of courtship involving Dervia's outrageously untrue letters to her Foundling Mother (Dervia is a born liar, says Corporal Stack), the shocking injury that befalls Corporal Stack, and the pair's captivity in the near ruin of Great Manor, an Anglo-Irish estate inhabited only by the "young mistress" (a girl very like Dervia herself), her drunken brother, and a host of desolate babies. "An Irish Eye" is part myth, part tall tale, and part children's story intended only for adults - a rare achievement in its rendition of Dervia's "Irish" voice.