Join date: Jun 16, 2022


His vision clearing, he glared now at Ruth. She was usually the one to see both sides of everything, but she wasn t seeing his side of this, there was a stricken look on her face. He put his hands on the table and leant towards her now as he cried, You didn t condemn her da, did you— he jerked his head back in the direction of the cottage next door— when he went off and lived with his woman in Jarrow after Gran died He couldn t wait. Six weeks, that s all he stayed there alone, six weeks. But you said nothin about that. And I m marrying her. Do you hear? He flashed a glance towards his father s bent head. I m not taking her on the side. And one at a time ll be enough for me.

There was no sound in the kitchen. Paddy hadn t moved, Ruth hadn t moved, Lizzie hadn t burst into the room from the scullery. He stood breathing deeply. Then looking at Jimmy, he yelled, I came here, you know I came here to say that she wanted to meet them. My God! she didn t know what she was askin . . . Well, it doesn t matter. I know where I stand now; you ll want me afore I ll want you, the lot of you. And on this he turned round and marched out of the room.

Before the door had crashed closed Lizzie appeared in the kitchen. Paddy turned from the fireplace, and Ruth, putting her hand out towards Jimmy as if she were pushing him, said quickly and in a choked voice, Go after him. Stay with him. Tell . . . tell him it ll be all right.

She was now pressing Jimmy towards the door. Tell . . . tell him I understand, and . . . and shell be welcome. Tell him that, shell be welcome.

Jimmy didn t speak but, grabbing up his cap, he pulled it tight down on his head, then ran wobbling down the path and out of the gate, calling, Rory! Rory!

He was at the top of the bank before he caught up with Rory.

Aw, man, hold your hand a minute. It s . . . it s no use gettin in a paddy. I . . . I told you afore we come it would give them a gliff; it gave me a gliff, not only . . . not because of Janie, but . . .


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