Crankwood Chapter 14 Nana & a Summons

Uriel Simpkins wondered first of all how he had been invited in. He wondered what he was doing in a bar and most importantly what was correct behaviour in such a place?

He was also impressed, that much he had admitted to himself. The dark mahogany bar forming a complete circle on a tiled marble black and white floor. Drinking stations in the round. The public, miners part of the bar was strictly towards the door. Nan told him that this was to keep the rest of the pub free of pit dirt. This is where Tommy and Albert now stood with pint in hand amongst a similarly clad, if dirtier, group of miners. Tommy giving sheepish to the group and Albert for some unfathomable reason belligerent.

The dark coloured bar itself was covered with a carved bacchanalia of nymphs, gods and grapes and had sash etched glass windows at intervals around the circumference. These were open on the public edge where lounged the motly crew who had been outside; and quite definitely, it seemed, closed on the non public or best side, as Nan continued to call it. Beyond this in its expensive atrium the marble floor continued until it reached a wide curving staircase. Reaching up to shadowed upper floors. This is where Ashes had been taken by a rather scruffy individual with bad teeth and a prominent lower Hapsburg jaw. Presumably the Father of the child. Simpkins followed Tommy and Albert’s gaze up the staircase until Albert noticed and caught Tommy a blow on the arm. Then both looked sheepish.

Nan was talking, Simpkins was suddenly and painfully aware. Her expression suggested a question and stance suggested that she knew he had not been listening. This gave her obviously the moral upper ground confusing and embarrassing the young priest even further.

His mind raced for a suitable and erudite answer but all he could think of was his erstwhile superior. He realised with a further degree of surprise that McBride and Nan were sworn enemies. How he knew this he did not, in fact know. That it was a fact was nontheless true.

“I was saying Reverend” severe emphasis on the I here to turn the screw, " That our lad is a delicate chil" the end of the word seemingly deliberately missed.

" He’s not like the other lads in the village and he keeps himsell to himsell" Black pearled bosom heaved and arms were folded in the age old better than you, female, matriarch, body language.

" So you would oblige by tellin me exactly what happened to the lad and why he’s looking so poorly?"

" An you Albert me lad," turning around to face the quiet pair, " You, aye an thee Tommy, dusn’t think thy has gotten out of anythin. Am cumin around to you pair o’ misfits in a minute". Albert had the good grace to lower his eyes and Tommy coughed into his pint of best bitter, earning a slap on the back from his colleague.

Turning back to the Curate she took her aggresive stance once more and said" Neh then, young man, tell me what all this to do is about".

Simpkins was frantically summoning up his answer, suitable for this harridan of the first water and feeling as much put upon as the two ex miners, when a young boy burst through the door from the street.

" Hey Nan" this urchin spluttered out " Tha’d best tell yon mon", pointing at the black cassocked Curate, “that ee’s needed quick a’ whom as owd Vicar is none too good according to old Ma Boydell, she’s sent mi to fetch im quickish like!”

" A, where" said Simpkins bewildered by both the speed of speech and the accent of the boy.

“A whom, at home for yer posh buggers” said Nan turning fondly back to the urchin, " An you young Billy cun show sum manners whilst yer in my establishment an go an wait thee outside afor ah get shot of my license" The boy grinned and turned to the door. Simpkins was all for following when Nan continued “Aye an you can wait thee turn until ah get mi coat, an all”

Crankwood Chapter 14 Nana & a Summons


Joined January 2008

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