Monday, 10 January 2011

On second thoughts 3

Smike had walked the hedgerows since the first days of the Enclosures. He’d avoided the workhouse by his sure-footedness across rooftops at night and his nimble fingers deftly plundering the pockets of gentlefolk at country fairs and other crowded places. He was averse to both paid labour and trouble, preferring to give each a wide berth.

So it was with mixed emotions that he encountered the recumbent figure of a parson, sprawled by the wayside one glorious summer afternoon. As Smike bent over the near lifeless form, the portly cleric looked up at him with a gasp of relief.

“I’ve been thrown by my mare,” the old man smiled ruefully; with the face of an elderly cherub. “But if you were to bear the news to the rectory at Sedgley but three miles hence, they will send out a cart with the apothecary to succour me.” He managed, grimacing with pain, to slip a hand into a waistcoat pocket and extract a sovereign, “And this might in part recompense you for your trouble.”

Smike looked down at the sovereign, the easiest money he’d ever earn. He imagined arriving at the rectory in Sedgley, being praised for his charitable intentions, fed and furnished with a glass or two. For once he’d be a welcome guest.

Smike held the old parson’s hand, smiled benignly and then deftly cut his throat. After a few gurgling moments the reverend gentleman was reunited with his Maker. Smike was able to ease his earthly remains through a gap in the hedgerow into the meadow beyond. There, he pulled on his dusty frockcoat, his breeches and gaiters, his dog collar and his broad-brimmed hat. He picked up his breviary and his handkerchief. And returned the way he’d come.

People asked too many awkward questions of welcome guests.


locuriatoons said...

hola hay algun libro de esto que estas haciendo con linea suelta?un abrazo!

Oscar Grillo said...

No, Locuria. Estoy preparando un libro pero sera una novela grafica.