The horror, the confusion, and the separation of the murderer from his comrades were all over before I came. There remained only on the barrack-square the blood of man calling from the ground. The hot sun had dried it to a dusky goldbeater-skin film, cracked lozenge-wise by the heat; and as the wind rose, each lozenge, rising a little, curled up at the edges as if it were a dumb tongue.
This is from “Love o’ Women”(1993) in Many Inventions. A tragic story.
This tale it set within a frame, in which a womanising sergeant has been shot dead by the husband of a woman he had been making love to. The husband gets a lenient jail sentence, and the wife survives.
Mulvaney goes on to tell the story of Larry Tighe, a big dangerously attractive gentleman-ranker, who wilfully makes love to many good women, and breaks hearts out of sheer devilment.
Mulvaney meets him years later, and Tighe tells him that he has long ago thrown away a love that was ‘di’monds an’ pearls, and longs to die. In the end he dies in her arms. She shoots herself dead.