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Join date: 13 Yun, 2022

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‘Somebody should go down and see him, he’s got nobody I understand, only those two old ’un’s. And you know, it isn’t so much laziness with them—’ Ruth turned now and shook her head at Lizzie—’it isn’t, Lizzie, it’s the rheumatics. And this’ll put the finish to them, it’ll be the House for them Dear, dear

‘Lord!’—Ruth never said God—’You’ve got to ask why these things happen.’

The three of them stood looking at each other for a moment. Then Janie said, ‘I’ve got to go now, but I’m gettin’ out the night an’ all. The mistress said I can have an hour in the afternoon and in the evenin’s. She’s good, isn’t she?’

They nodded at her, and Lizzie agreed. ‘Aye, she’s unusual in that way. Bye-bye then, lass.’

‘Bye-bye.’ She nodded from one to the other, then again said, ‘Bye-bye,’ before running across the road and almost into a horse that was pulling a fruit cart, and as Lizzie watched her she said, ‘It only needed her to get herself knocked down and that would have been three of them. Everythin’ happens in threes, so I wonder what’s next?’

Janie had never before been in a court. She sat on the bench nearest the wall. At the far end of the room, right opposite to her, was the magistrate; in front of him were a number of dark-clothed men. They kept moving from one to the other, they all had papers in their hands. At times they would bend over a table and point to the papers. The last prisoner had got a month for begging, and now they were calling out the name: ‘John George Armstrong! John George Armstrong!’

As if emerging out of a cellar John George appeared. The box in which he stood came only to his hips, but the upper part of him seemed to have shrunk, his shoulders were stooped, his head hung forward, his face was the colour of clay. One of the dark-suited men began to talk. Janie only half listened to him, for her eyes were riveted on John George, almost willing him to look at her, to let him know there was someone here who was concerned for him. Poor John George! Oh, poor John George!

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