Join date: Jun 12, 2022


Rory regained consciousness at eight o’clock on the Monday morning. Lizzie was by his side and he looked at her without recognition, and when his lips moved painfully she put her ear down to him and all she could make out was one word, which she repeated a number of times and in an anguished tone. ‘Aye. Aye, lad,’ she said, ‘it is a pity. It is a pity. Indeed it is a pity.’

He would rally, they said, so she must leave the ward but she could come back in the afternoon

Without protest now she left the hospital. But she didn’t go straight home. She found her way to the Catholic church, which she had never been in before; on her yearly visits she patronized the Jarrow one. She waited until the Mass was finished, and then approaching the priest without showing the awe due to his station and infallibility, she told him that her son was dying in the Infirmary and would he see that he got the last rites. The priest asked her where she was from and other particulars. He showed her no sympathy, he didn’t like her manner, she was a brusque woman and she did not afford him the reverence that her kind usually bestowed on him, nor did she slip anything into his hand, but she did say that if her son went she would buy a mass for him.

He watched her leave the church without putting a halfpenny in the poor box.

The priest’s feelings for Lizzie were amply reciprocated. She told herself she didn’t like him, he wasn’t a patch on the Jarrow ones. But then she supposed it didn’t make much difference who sent you over to the other side as long as there was one of them to see that you were properly prepared for the journey.

Daniel Schmid

More actions