Page:While the Billy Boils, 1913.djvu/242

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212
A VISIT OF CONDOLENCE

'My God, yes! God only knows what I'll do now my poor boy's gone. I generally get up at half-past five to scrub out some offices, and when that's done I've got to start my day's work, washing. And then I find it hard to make both ends meet.'

'So does my mother. I suppose you took on bad when yer husband was brought home?'

'Ah, my God! Yes. I'll never forget it till my dying day. My poor husband had been out of work for weeks, and he only got the job two days before he died. I suppose it gave your mother a great shock?'

'My oath! One of the fellows that carried father home said: "Yer husband's dead, mum," he says; "he dropped off all of a suddint," and mother said, "My God! my God!" just like that, and went off.'

'Poor soul! poor soul! And―now my Arvie's gone. Whatever will me and the children do? Whatever will I do? Whatever will I do? My God! I wish I was under the turf.'

'Cheer up, mum!' said Bill. 'It's no use frettin' over what's done.'

He wiped some tobacco-juice off his lips with the back of his hand, and regarded the stains reflectively for a minute or so. Then he looked at Arvie again.

'You should ha' tried cod liver oil,' said Bill.

'No. He needed rest and plenty of good food.'

'He wasn't very strong.'

'No, he was not, poor boy.'

'I thought he wasn't. They treated him bad at Grinder Brothers; they didn't give him a show to learn nothing; kept him at the same work all the time, and he didn't have cheek enough to arsk the boss for a