1 Diamonds Are Forever
“Kitty O’Hallorhan,” said Doctor Fingal Flahertie O’Reilly, looking into those familiar grey eyes flecked with amber, “you don’t look a day over thirty-five, and you’re lovely.” Her silver and black hair shone in the sunlight filtering down past the buildings on Belfast’s Royal Avenue. Her tailored grey suit, with its slim, knee-length skirt, accentuated her figure. God, but she was looking well.
She shook her head. “You’re an old flatterer, Fingal, a soft-soaper. You know I’ll not see fifty again, but thank you.”
“I’ll always see you as twenty-two, the way you were when we were youngsters, always, and that’s because,” he hesitated, “I love you.”
“Thank you, Fingal,” she said. “Thank you for loving me, and thank you for telling me. I do love you so much.”
He bloody well nearly bear-hugged and kissed her there and then. Instead, he continued walking with Kitty at his side and thought about how on the drive here from her flat they’d discussed the progress of Donal Donnelly, one of Fingal’s patients, who was being nursed by Kitty, a senior sister on the brain surgery ward of the Royal Victoria Hospital. It had made O’Reilly happy to discuss a patient with her. He was looking forward to these kinds of professional conversations when she became his wife, on July 3, 1965, and that was only a little more than two months away. He gave a hop and a skip, grinning as he did.
“Fingal,” Kitty said with a smile, “will you stop acting the lig?”
“I’m happy,” he said, guiding her through the midmorning crowds of shoppers, office messengers, and delivery men. Traffic growled, and he heard the ting
of the conductor’s bell as a red double-decker bus pulled away from a stop. The air was heavy with exhaust fumes. A flock of starlings wheeled and jinked in unison across the sky. He pointed to a glass door on which SHARMAN D NEILL. JEWELLERS AND WATCHMAKERS was etched in gilt letters. Watches, barometers, brass telescopes, and jewellery were displayed on velvet mounts in the window. “This is it,” he said.
The lighting was subdued, the carpet thick. Glass jewellery cases were arranged around three walls. A door at the back led, O’Reilly presumed, to offices or storerooms. The air had only a trace of mustiness. Two staff members wearing short black jackets, pinstriped trousers, and highly polished black shoes stood waiting. The place exuded the confidence of a business that had catered to the upper classes for decades. Young men, O’Reilly thought, probably felt intimidated here, and their immediate concerns would be whether their budget might stretch. He was worried himself.
He and Kitty were the only customers.
An assistant glided across to them. He wore rimless spectacles.
“Sir? Modom?” His voice was reverential, his accent affected. “May I be of assistance?”
“Rings,” O’Reilly said, surprising himself by lowering his voice.
“Certainly, sir.” The man glanced at Kitty’s gloved left hand
“A spirited and compassionate story filled with pastoral Irish imagery, cheerful village life, and heartwarming romance.” —Booklist on An Irish Country Wedding
“Taylor is a bang-up storyteller who captivates and entertains from the first word.”
—Publishers Weekly on An Irish Country Girl
“Patrick Taylor has become probably the most popular Irish-Canadian writer of all time.” —The Globe and Mail
“Taylor masterfully charts the small victories and defeats of Irish village life.”
—Irish America Magazine