1 I’ll Give You Leave to Call Me Anything
“Our first breakfast together as man and wife in our own home,” said Doctor Fingal Flahertie O’Reilly, beaming at the suntanned woman across the table. “And how does it feel to be back in Number One Main Street, Mrs. O’Reilly?” Three honeymoon weeks in Rhodes had given them both healthy glows and brightened the silver streaks in the raven hair of Caitlin “Kitty” O’Reilly née O’Hallorhan.
“It feels very good to be home, Fingal, and in what’s now my home, too,” she said, stretching out a hand and covering his.
“And it does be good to have you both back, so.” Mrs. Maureen “Kinky” Kincaid came in bringing a tray with two plates, each bearing a full Irish breakfast. She set one in front of Kitty. “Now eat up however little much is in it, Miss—” She frowned.
Oh-oh, Fingal thought, Kinky’s having difficulty working out the proper form of address between the housekeeper and the mistress of the house. “Miss Kitty” had been fine before the wedding. “Mrs. O’Reilly” would be too formal. “Mrs. Kitty” sounded odd. He waited, a tiny smile playing on his lips.
“Kinky,” Kitty said, “plain Kitty’s fine. Aren’t we friends?”
“We are, so.” Kinky’s two chins wobbled as she chuckled and said, “Indeed we are so, Kitty, bye. And there’s your breakfast, sir. I’ve done the rashers crisp, the way you like them.”
The telephone in the hall began its double-ringing clamour. “I’ll see who that is,” she said.
“That was gracious, Kitty,” O’Reilly said, feeling his mouth water, “and it’s a great relief to me that you and Kinky are getting on so well now.” He stabbed a ring of black pudding, sliced it, and shoved half into his mouth. Greek grub had been all right, but it was great to get back to Kinky’s proper Irish cooking. He was, as she often remarked, “a grand man for the pan.”
“We’d better,” Kitty said, and smiled. “It’ll be a whole new experience for you, having three women in the house and no fun at all if two of them are at loggerheads.”
“True enough.” Young Barry Laverty, who had been O’Reilly’s assistant until recently, had gone to Ballymena for training in obstetrics and gynaecology. His place as temporary assistant had been taken by one Doctor Jennifer Bradley, who was out on a maternity case this Saturday morning. “At least,” he said, “having Jenny living and working here lets me have some weekends off. After breakfast, let’s pop in and see Donal and Julie Donnelly and the new chissler. Kinky tells me the wee lass arrived three days after we left, so her birthday’s July 6.”
“I’ll put that in my diary when we’ve finished breakfast—”
“Sir.” Kinky stood in the doorway. The colour had left her cheeks. “It’s the marquis. His sister, Lady MacNeill, has had a riding accident.”
Fingal ran to the phone, bolti
“The novel is charming, full of Irish wit and wisdom and, of course, all the village characters we’ve come to love. For those just discovering the Irish doctor, this book can stand on its own, but it will leave the reader wanting more.”—Booklist on Fingal O’Reilly, Irish Doctor
“What Herriot did for Yorkshire, Taylor does for Northern Ireland…minus the animals, of course, but with all the good sentiments.”—Kirkus Reviews 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
“The author laces his heartwarming moments with liberal doses of whiskey and colorful Ulster invectives.”—Chicago Sun-Times
“Patrick Taylor has become probably the most popular Irish-Canadian writer of all time.”—The Globe and Mail