Join date: Jun 12, 2022


As he handed the two sovereigns to John George and received his muttered thanks he asked himself where he could lay his hands on a couple of quid. It was no good asking any of them back in the house. His dad usually blew half his wages before he got home; by the time he had cleared the slate for the drinks he had run up during the week Ruth was lucky if there was ten shillings left on the mantelpiece for her. There was Janie; she had a bit saved but he doubted if it would be as much as two pounds. Anyway, he wouldn’t be able to see her until the morrow and that would be too late. Oh, he’d like to take his hand and knock some damn sense into John George Armstrong

They were walking on now, cutting through the side streets towards the market and the office, and they didn’t exchange a word. When they reached the office door they cast a glance at each other out of habit as if to say, Now for it once again, but when the door didn’t move under Rory’s push he shook it, then, looking at John George, said, That’s funny.’

‘Use your key. Aw, here’s mine.’

John George pushed the key into the lock and they went into the office and looked about them. The door to the far room was closed but on the front of the first desk was pinned a notice and they both bent down and read it. There was no heading, it just said, ‘Been called away, my father has died. Lock up takings. My daughter will collect on Monday.’ There was no signature.

They straightened up and looked at each other; then Rory jerked his head as he said, ‘Well, this’s one blessin’ in disguise, for I’ve had the worst morning in years. He’d have gone through the roof.’

‘Funny that,’ John George smiled weakly; ‘my takings are up the day, over four pounds. About fifteen of them paid something off the back and there wasn’t one closed door.’

‘That’s a record.’

‘Aye.’ John George now went towards the inner office, saying, ‘I hope he hasn’t forgot to leave the key for the box.’

Standing behind Mr Kean’s desk and, having opened the top drawer on the right-hand side, John George put his hand into the back of it and withdrew a key; then going to an iron box safe that was screwed down on to a bench table in the corner of the room he unlocked it. He now took out the money from his bag, put the sovereigns into piles of five and placed them in a neat row on the top shelf with the smaller change in front of them, and after placing his book to the side of the compartment he stepped back and let Rory put his takings on the bottom shelf.

As John George locked the door he remarked, ‘One day he’ll get a proper safe.’

‘It would be a waste of money, it’s never in there long enough for anybody to get at it.’

‘It’ll lie in there over the week-end, and has done afore.’

‘Well, that’s his look-out. Come on.’



More actions