Join date: Jun 14, 2022


Janie sat bolt upright in the bed staring down through the darkness, not on to Rory but towards where her hands were gripping the quilt . . . That was it then. That was it ! It should have been as clear as daylight from the beginning

She saw John George’s face through the grid saying, ‘Tell Rory that, will you? Tell him I didn’t take the five pounds.’ And what John George was actually saying was, ‘Tell him to own up.’ She couldn’t believe it, yet she knew it was true. He had let John George, his good friend, go to that stinking place alone. It was true he couldn’t have done much about it at first, but after he regained consciousness in hospital he must have known. That’s why he hadn’t asked for John George. It should have been one of the first things he mentioned. ‘What’s the matter with John George?’ he should have said. ‘Why hasn’t he come to see me?’

No, she couldn’t believe it, she couldn’t. But she had to. She now turned her head towards the bulk lying beside her and instinctively hitched herself away from it towards the wall. But the next move she made was almost like that of an animal, for she pounced on him and, her hands gripping his shoulders, she cried, ‘Wake up! Wake up!’

‘Wha’? What’s-it? What’s-up? What’s wrong?’

‘Get up. Get up.’

As he pulled himself up in the bed she climbed over him, grabbed the matches from the table and lit the candle, and all the while he was repeating, ‘What is it? What’s the matter?’

The candle lit, she held it upwards and gazed down into his blinking eyes.

‘What’s up with you? You gone mad or something?’

‘Aye, I’ve gone mad, flamin’ mad; bloody well flamin’ mad.’

She sounded like Lizzie and her grannie rolled into one. He pushed the clothes back from the bed but didn’t get up, he just peered at her. ‘What the hell’s up with you, woman?’

‘You ask me that! Well, you’ve just had a nightmare an’ you’ve just cleared up somethin’ that’s been puzzling me for a long time. You ! Do you know what I could do to you this minute? I could spit in your eye, Rory Connor. I could spit in your eye.’

He now leant his stiff body back against the wall. He’d had a nightmare, he’d been talking. He was sweating, yet cold, it was always cold on the river at night. With a thrust of his arm he pushed her aside and got out of the bed and pulled his trousers on over his linings, but didn’t speak; and neither did she. But when he went towards the door to go into the other room she followed him, holding the candle high, and she watched him grab the matches from the mantelpiece and light the lamp. When it was aflame he turned and looked at her and said quietly, ‘Well, now you know.’

‘Aye, I know. And how you can stand there and say it like that God alone knows. My God! to think you let John George take the rap for you . . .’


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