Join date: Jun 13, 2022


He walked with her along the stone passage and to the door, and there he said, ‘Don’t worry. As I said, what’s a year? And you can visit him once a month.’ Then bending towards her he said, ‘What are you to him? I thought you were his wife, but I hope not after what I heard . . . You his sister?’

‘No, only . . . only a friend’

He nodded at her, then said, ‘Well, he won’t need any friends for the next twelve months, but he will after.’

‘Ta-rah,’ she said.

‘Ta-rah, lass,’ he said, and as she walked away he watched her. He was puzzled by her relationship to the prisoner. Just a friend, she had said.

She walked so slowly from the Court House that she hadn’t time to call in at the hospital and when she arrived in the kitchen she was crying so much that the cook called the mistress, and the mistress said, ‘Oh, I’m sorry, I’m sorry, Janie,’ and she answered her through her tears, ‘No, ’tisn’t . . . ’tisn’t that, he’s . . . he’s still as he was. It’s . . . it’s John George. I know I shouldn’t have but I went to the court, ma’am, and he got a year.’

Her mistress’s manner altered, her face stiffened. ‘You’re a very silly girl, Janie,’ she said. ‘The master will be very annoyed with you. Court rooms are no places for women, young women, girls. I, too, am very annoyed with you. I gave you the time off to visit your fiancé. That man’s a scamp, a thieving scamp. I’m surprised your fiancé didn’t find it out before . . . . What sentence did he get?’

‘A year, ma’am.’

‘That was nothing really, nothing. If he had been an ordinary labouring man, one could have understood him stealing, but he was in a position of trust, and when such men betray their trust they deserve heavy sentences. Dry your eyes now. Go upstairs and see to the children. I’m very displeased with you, Janie.’

Janie went upstairs and she was immediately surrounded by the children.

Why was she crying? Had their mama been cross with her?

She nodded her head while they clung to her and the girls began to cry with her. Yes, their mama had been cross with her, but strangely it wasn’t affecting her. Another time she would have been thrown into despair by just a sharp word from her mistress. At this moment she did not even think of Rory, for Rory had turned the corner, they said, and was on the mend, but her thoughts were entirely with John George. His face haunted her. The fact that he had told her that he had got a girl into trouble had shocked her, but what had shocked her even more was his mental condition, for she felt he must be going wrong in the head to admit that he took the ten shillings but not the five pounds. Poor John George! Poor John George! And Rory would go mad when he knew.



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