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This volume is a collection of fifteen short stories first published in 1914. They form a naturalistic depiction of Irish middle class life in and around Dublin. The writing style employed avoids use of hyperbole, relying instead on simplicity and careful detail to create a realistic setting. This approach tends to tie people to their environments. The stories were written when Irish nationalism was at its peak. A search for a national identity was raging. At a crossroads of history and culture, Ireland was jolted by a variety of ideas and influences.