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‘I don’t always win now.’

‘You do pretty often, even if it’s only me da’s monkey nuts.’

They both made small audible sounds, then moved aside to let a couple of men pass. And now she said, ‘I’ll have to be goin’, John George’ll get soaking wet . . . Eeh! I always feel sorry for John George https://www.onlinecasinosvizzera.com/.’

‘Your pity’s wasted, he’s too soft to clag holes with, I’m always telling him. It’s right what she said’—he jerked his head—’those two old leeches suck him dry. He gets two shillings a week more than me and yet look at him, you’d think he got his togs from Paddy’s market. And he might as well for he picks them up from the second-hand stalls. And this lass he’s after . . . he would pick on a ranter, wouldn’t he?’

‘Well, he’s not a Catholic.’

‘No, I know he’s not. He’s not anything in that line, but he goes and takes up with one from the narrowest end of the Nonconformists, Baptist-cum- Methodist-cum . . .’

‘What’s she like?’

‘I don’t know.’

‘Doesn’t he talk about her at all?’

‘Oh, he never stops talkin’ about her. By the sound of it she should be a nun.’

‘Oh Rory!’

‘She should, she’s so bloomin’ good by all his accounts. She’s been unpaid housekeeper to a sick mother, her dad, two sisters and a brother since she was ten. And now she’s twenty, and she daresn’t move across the door for fear of her old man. He even escorts his other two lasses to work. They’re in a chemist’s shop and he’s there when it closes to fetch them home.’

‘What is he?’

‘He’s got a little tailor’s business, so I understand. But look, forget about John George for a minute. Come here.’ Once again they were close, and when finally they parted he said, ‘Remember what I said. Think on it and we’ll settle it next Sunday, eh?’

‘Yes, Rory.’ Her voice was soft. Tm ready anytime you are, I’ve been ready for a long time. Oh, a long time . . . I want a home of me own . . .’

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