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Rory s funeral was such that might have been accorded to a prominent member of the town for the sympathy of the town had been directed towards him through the newspaper reports of how he had been fatally injured in saving his brother from the blazing building, and the likelihood that charges, not only of arson, but of murder or manslaughter as well, would soon be made against local men now being questioned by the police www.onlinecasinoluxembourg.com/testberichte/n1/.

No breath of scandal. No mention of former wife reappearing.

Other reports gave the names of the town s notable citizens who had attended the funeral. Mr Frank Nickle s name was not on it. Mr Nickle had been called abroad on business.

Two of the Pittie brothers had already been taken into custody. The police were hunting the third. And there were rumours that one of the brothers was implicating others, whose names had not yet been disclosed. Not only the local papers, but those in Newcastle as well carried the story of how there had been attempts to monopolize the river trade, and that Mr Connor s boats had not only been set adrift, but also been sunk when they were full of cargo.

The reports made Jimmy s little boats appear the size of tramp steamers or tea clippers, and himself as a thriving young businessman.

The private carriages had stretched the entire length of the road passing Westoe village and far beyond. The occupants were all male. In fact, the entire cortège was male, with one exception. Mrs Connor was present at her husband s funeral and what made her presence even more embarrassing to the gentlemen mourners was that it was whispered she was someway gone in pregnancy. She wore a black silk coat and a fashionable hat with widow s weeds flowing low down at the back but reaching no farther than her chest at the front. She was a remarkable woman really . . . nothing to look at personally, but sort of remarkable, a kind of law unto herself.

Another thing that was remarkable, but only to the occupants of the kitchen, was that John George had been present at the burial, but had not shown his face to condole with them nor had he spoken with Paddy who had struggled to the cemetery on sticks. All except Jimmy said they couldn t make him out. But then prison changed a man, and likely he was deeply ashamed, and of more than one thing, for was he not now living with another man s wife?

Poor John George, they said. Yet in all their minds was the faint niggling question, Who was the poorer? John George was alive; Rory, the tough gambling man, was dead.

And this was exactly what had passed through Jimmy s mind when he had seen John George standing against the wall of an outbuilding in the cemetery.

It happened that as they left the grave-side he had become separated from Charlotte. He d had to make way for gentlemen who had ranked themselves on each side of her. He could not see his father, and so he walked on alone, weighed down with the pain in his heart and the sense of utter desolation, and wondering how he was going to live through the endless days ahead.

It was as he crossed an intersecting path that he saw in the distance the unmistakable lanky figure of John George. He was standing alone, head bowed, and his very stance seemed to be portraying his own feelings.

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