Join date: Jun 16, 2022


He didn t know how he was going to do it. The only thing he was sure of in this fantastic moment was that he d have a damned good try

He stood in the kitchen at the end of the long table, while they, like a combating force, stood at the other end, Ruth, his father, and Lizzie. Jimmy stood to the side towards the middle of the table, his face pale, anxious, his eyes darting between them like a troubled referee.

Well, you can say something, can t you? His voice re-echoed through the timbers in the roof.

It was his father who spoke. Quietly he said, Janie s hardly cold.

Janie s been dead over a year, a year and three weeks to be exact.

Huh! Well. Paddy broke away from the group and walked towards the fireplace and, picking up a clay pipe from the mantelpiece, he bent and tapped it on the hob, knocking out the doddle as he said, You re doin well for yersel, there s that much to be said. Aye, aye. They used to say old Kean could buy Shields, that is the parts Cookson hadn t bought up. Money grabbers, the lot of them I . . .

It wasn t the money . . .

Well, begod! it couldn t be her face.

Rory swung round and glared at Lizzie. It looked for a moment as if he would spring down the table and strike her. Their eyes held across the distance before she snapped her gaze from his and, swinging round, went towards the scullery, muttering, My God! My God! What next!

The anger in him blinded him for a moment. Any other family in the town, any other family from here to Newcastle, would, he imagined, have fallen on his neck for making such a match, but not his family, aw no. In their ignorance they thought you must keep loyal to the dead, if not for ever, then for a decent period of years.


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