Study Guide

Dubliners Two Gallants

By James Joyce

Two Gallants

  • On an August evening, in a large crowd in central Dublin's Rutland Square, "two young men" walk and talk (Two Gallants.2).
  • Today, they're dishing about women, and in particular about Corley's chances with a woman he's supposed to meet up with later in the day. 
  • He tells Lenehan that he used to take girls out on more traditional dates, and to spend money on them, but he complains that it never really worked for him. 
  • Well, except for once. He reminisces a little bit and the two men briefly discuss the one that got away, and how, when she got away, she went a little bit wild with other men. 
  • But this thread of the conversation dies pretty quickly and they turn to the matter at hand: Corley's rendezvous.
  • After crossing St. Stephen's Green, they see her, and Lenehan asks if he can get closer to get a better look. 
  • Corley agrees to let Lenehan walk by and glance at her, and the two agree to meet up after Corley's date to rehash, we guess.
  • "Lenehan's eyes noted approvingly" her features, but it's weird that "she had her Sunday finery on." Her "black boa" is not only a questionable choice for a date, it's also "ragged." She's in quite the weird get-up for a romantic evening.
  • Lenehan gets a lot sadder when he leaves Corley behind and has to pass several hours before hearing how everything turned out (Two Gallants.68). 
  • There aren't any gourmet options available, so Lenehan eats a quick dinner of peas and beer in a low-end bar, a.k.a. the most depressing meal ever.
  • The mood turns to mild jealousy and self-pity. He imagines Corley and the woman he's just seen, and "this vision made him feel keenly his own poverty of purse and spirit" (Two Gallants.76). 
  • Lenehan gets to the meet up point but there's no Corley. He smokes, worries he's been left behind, and then sees the two walking in a different direction and follows them. 
  • What happens next is really confusing, and it's supposed to be. The girl enters a house and leaves Corley waiting on the street for a few minutes. 
  • Lenehan's watching everything, and he sees a woman come out of the house and meet Corley for a moment before returning indoors. 
  • Lenehan makes sure he hasn't been seen, and catches up with Corley on his walk back. He begs his friend to tell him the outcome of his date, but Corley holds off for a minute.
  • Finally, Corley stops under a streetlight, still acting very serious. He smiles and opens his hand to reveal "a small gold coin" (Two Gallants.90).