Deborah Anne Richardson
September 04, 1999
An Analysis of
of Ennismolach County during the early summer of the year, nineteen hundred and ninety seven.
prosperous life in the city. The author depicts, in detail, long, winding country roads leading to
and splendid by the roadside, still seeming new, although it had been there for sixty years.?
Ennismolach rectory. He was described as an elderly man, faithful, dutiful, and devoted to his
church. He was settled in his life-long home, ?out of touch with the times and what was
had become.? He was a charitable man, providing employment, out of his own meager salary, for
a disabled man, Con Tonan, who would later die. He was respected by those who new him;
during a few long weeks in 1997. The reader visits the Reverend Grattan Fitzmaurice, in his home
Ireland and the generation that would soon inherit it. He would regard, suspiciously, the Irish
Catholic Church, and look upon them as rivals to his cause.
Grattan?s solitude was broken, early one summer morning, as a red-haired youth arrived
bearing unfortunate tidings. Grattan recognized the boy, Seamus Tonan, the son of a Catholic
gardener formerly in his employment. Gratten had hired Corad, a disabled man, paying him out of
his own meager salary. Seamus informed the reverend of his father?s death and that the funeral
would be held on Monday. Grattan was touched by the boy?s thoughtfulness and offered him
every possible courtesy, but Seamus declined and went quickly on his way. The next morning the
deceased Conrad Tonan and their admiration of the humble man.
Later, following Conrad?s funeral, Grattan was visited by two local Catholic priests,
Fathers MacPartlan and Leahy of the Catholic Church of the Holy Assumption. Although he was
courteous, he appraised them critically, ever suspicious of their motives. He feared that they had
away from conversation.
As the afternoon wore on, the two fathers persisted in their attempts to insight a
conversation with the reverend. Eventually, their words began to strike accord. As the three
aglow. He knew now that each gift of kindness mattered, regardless of the source. The priests had
come that evening to recognize his kindness to Conrad, and in his time of grief, he could now
appreciate their gesture.
?Of the Cloth? was a finely written piece of short fiction. It was well structured and
cohesive, each piece of the story finely woven together by nearly ethereal threads of thought.
The author approached his subjects truthfully, lending to each character a sincerity uncommon in
contemporary American fiction. Through Grattan?s concerns and reminiscence, the author affords
well developed history, frequently extending even beyond their birth.
Ennismolach mirror the state of the church in Ireland, even the reverend saw his countenance in
the long granite hillsides,? Fitzmaurice had the look of that gray, unyielding stone, visible even in
the pastureland of the valley. Thin and tall, he belonged to the landscape…?
The author employs a homely vocabulary, well suited to the tone of the story. He writes
with a rough pen, devoid of the sophisticated or florid language that might have been so
with petty subplots or savvy dialogue but to sincerely express the essence of a common man.
I truly enjoyed William Trevor?s ?Of the Cloth? and look forward to reading further works
by this adept and talented author.