It was growing dark outside. Inteachán pulled the curtains over the window. In the orange glow of the lamp Mac looked even more ancient than normal. Inteachán sat down on the small footstool in front of the fire.
‘What are the What-Be-Speak?’ she asked.
‘Not ‘What,” Mac replied, ‘but Why.’
He looked into the distance.
‘I have spent my whole adult life searching for an answer to that question. I am no closer to the answer now than I was when I started.’
He blew his nose vigorously.
‘In fact, I’m probably further away today than I have ever been.’