"the merciful swoop of the eiderdown up his fantastic belly's rise"

This type of eiderdown was very a common top dressing for a bed in middle class houses in Dublin in the Fifties and Sixties - particularly amongst those aged over fifty. It was normally dark red or a deep pink which complimented the dark mahogany furniture of the time. Veronica's description of the wake of her grandfather Charlie Spillane is full of little details like this - completely and utterly true to the period. The rosary beads are a series of beads strung in a certain order which Roman Catholics use when praying in a particular series of prayers - particularly praying to Christ's mother, Mary. The beads are normally twined in the hands of the deceased to comfort them in death. These tiny observances show how keen Veronica's intellect is - even as a child she drank in everything about her, could sense the love Ada and Charlie had always and the desire Nugent had for Ada. She could also recognise these passions as being different to the relationship between her mother and father.