Maura Dillion had come to the town in order to tell her husband Tom she was leaving him. They had been separated and living apart for six months, since Maura’s nine year-old son had drowned in the harbor of Ballylynchy Island during the annual regatta. Maura knew Tom would take it hard, especially since she was taking her daughter Nora with her. Neither of the children was Tom’s, but he had gotten very attached to them. People had told her he was still beside himself with grief over Patrick’s drowning; they said he would go mad if he didn’t pull himself together. Maura did not feel anything in regard to her son’s death. The name of Patrick, once so resonant for her, so laden with the rakish and charming personality of her little son, had ceased to carry any associations. She could hear it spoken now without remembering him, without feeling his absence. It seemed to her she had not recovered her capacity to feel after the shock of the news—and she did not care if she ever did. But she had to get away from the place, and she had to tell Tom she was going. She could put it off no longer.
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