Join date: Jun 19, 2022


It was nice to be called darling . . . Oh God! the pain. Why the hell didn t they give him something? . . . Janie had never called him darling. She had said she loved him, that was all. But there was more to love than that, there was a language. Charlotte knew the language. Charlotte . . . Should he fight the pain, try to stay? He could hardly breathe . . . If only they d give him something

He closed his eyes for a second; when he opened them again he was looking at Lizzie. There was something in her face that was in none of the others. What was it? Why had he hated her so? It seemed so stupid now. Why had he blamed her as he had done? If there had been anybody to blame it was his father. Where was his father? He was surrounded by women. Where was his father? Where was Jimmy? They d said Jimmy was near. Jimmy was all right. And his father? His father had a bad leg; his father had been burnt at the blast furnace . . . He had been burnt . . . Burnt. Burnt. He was back in the boathouse gasping, struggling. The floor was giving way. He slid Jimmy from his shoulder. He was getting out, he was getting out . . .

He s asleep again. Leave him be, let him rest. Lizzie moved from the bed as she spoke, and Ruth followed her, leaving Janie and Charlotte standing one on each side.

Janie looked down on the man whose face was contorted with agony. She did not see him as the virile young man she had married, nor yet as the boy she had grown up with, but she saw him as the stranger, dressed as a gentleman, who had con­fronted her in the boathouse. Not even when he had looked into her eyes and recognized her a moment ago had she glimpsed the old Rory, but had seen him as someone who had transported himself into an­other world and made that world fit him—and having won that world, so to speak, and being Rory Connor, he was determined to hang on to his winnings.

She was the first to turn away from the bed. She knew she had looked at the face on the pillow for the last time and she could not, even to herself, describe how she felt.


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