Join date: Jun 11, 2022


As she went towards the door he looked at her back. It was like a ramrod, she wasn’t like a woman at all. He beckoned to John George, who seemed to be glued to his desk, and as he opened the door he heard her say, ‘You’ll be late for the ferry, I came with the trap. Come along or you’ll never get there.’

The old man always went by ferry up to Newcastle; he didn’t like the trains although he had to take one from Newcastle to Hexham. When he went on his usual trips there he generally left early on a Saturday morning. What had stopped him this time? Anyway, whatever had stopped him had also nearly stopped John George’s breath

They were crossing the market again before he said, ‘Well now, come on, spit it out.’

‘I’ll . . . I’ll give you it back, I . . . I can give you six bob of it now. I’ll get it from home and . . . and the rest on Monday.’

‘What were you up to?’

‘Aw’—John George wagged his head from side to side—’I . . . I wanted to give Maggie something and it had to be the day, it’s the only time I can see her. I mightn’t see her again until after the holiday and so, thinkin’ he wouldn’t be in till Monday, I . . . I took the loan of ten bob out of the . . .’

‘You bloody fool!’

‘Aye, I know, I know I am.’

‘But . . . but how did you expect to put it back by Monday if you haven’t got it now?’

‘Aw well, man’—again his head was wagging—’I . . . I usually put me good suit in and me watch and bits of things . . .’

‘You usually do? You mean you’ve done this afore?’

John George nodded his head slowly. ‘Aye. Aye, a few times. The times that he goes off at the weekends and doesn’t count up till Monday. I . . . I thought I’d drop down dead when I saw him standing there.’

‘You deserve to drop down dead, you bloody fool you. Do you know he could have you up? And he’s the one to do it an’ all; he’d have you along the line afore you could whistle. You must be up the pole, man.’

‘I think I’ll go up the pole soon if things don’t change.’

‘What you want to do is to pull yourself together, get things worked out straight. Leave your Uncle Willy and Aunt Meg, he’s able to work, he’s nothin’ but a scrounger, and take a place on your own.’


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