Join date: Jun 12, 2022


He hadn’t won anything that first Saturday night down in the cellar but he hadn’t lost either, he had broken even. And the following week he had just managed to clear three pounds ten; the week after he was nine pounds up at one o’clock in the morning, but by the time he left it had been reduced to four pounds, and even then they hadn’t liked it. No, none of them had liked it, the Pittie brothers least of all

Last week when he had cleared six he said he was calling it a day and, aiming to be jocular, had added, and a night. It was the elder of the Pittie brothers who had looked at him and said, ‘No, not yet, lad.’ But he had risen to his feet, gathered his winnings up and stared back at the other man as he replied, grimly, ‘Aye, right now, lad. Nobody’s going to tell me when I come or go. I’ll be along next week and you can have your own back then, but I’m off now.’

There had followed an odd silence in the room, it was a kind of rustling silence as one man after the other at the table moved in his seat. ‘So long,’ he had said, and not until he was up the steps and into the street did he breathe freely. For a moment he had thought they were going to do him. He had decided then that that was the last time he would go there.

Three times this week he had tried to find little Joe but with no success. He was keeping out of his way apparently, so there was nothing for it if he wanted a game but to show up in the cellar again the night.

He never went with less than five pounds on him and he’d had a job to scrape that up today because during the week he had, by putting twelve pounds ten down, cleared half the cost of the boat yard, and signed an agreement that the other seventeen pounds ten was to be paid within six weeks, and he knew, his luck holding out and as long as he didn’t get into a crooked game, he would clear that. One thing about them in the cellar, they played a straight game. Anyway, they had so far.

But if he went in with only three and lost that in a run, well then, the sparks would fly. He’d have to put his thinking cap on. Oh, this bloody fool of a fellow.


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