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‘Why, lass, it’s the chance in a lifetime. In a boat cruising? My! my! round France. By! the master’s brother must have plenty of money to own a boat like that onlinecasinoitaliani.com/recensioni/7bit/.’

‘I think it’s his wife who has the money, he married a French lady.’

‘And you tell us it’s a sort of castle they live in?’

‘Yes, that’s what the missis says .’

‘We’ll miss you, lass.’ Lizzie sat back on her heels from where she had been kneeling sweeping the fallen cinders underneath the grate and she looked hard at Janie as she said, ‘I know it’s only for three weeks, but what puzzles me is him lettin’ you go at all. Didn’t he kick up a shindy?’

Janie turned away and looked towards Ruth where she was coming out of the scullery carrying plates of thickly cut bread, and she answered, ‘Yes, a bit. But then he’s taken up with his new position an’ such, and . . . and often doesn’t get in till late.’

‘Aye.’ Lizzie pulled her bulk upright and bent to her sweeping once again. ‘His new position. By! he’s fallen on his feet if anybody has. It was a whole day’s blessin’ when old Kean died, you could say.’

‘You’re off first thing in the mornin’ then, lass?’

Janie nodded towards Ruth and said, ‘Yes, we’ve got to be in Newcastle by eight o’clock; we’re goin’ up by carriage.’

‘Then all the way to London by train.’ Ruth shook her head, ‘It’s amazing, wonderful; the sights you’ll see. It would have been a great pity if you hadn’t taken the opportunity; such a thing as this only comes once in a lifetime . . . And you won’t stay for a bite to eat?’

‘I can’t, thanks all the same, there’s so much to do, to see to you know. And that reminds me. I needn’t ask you, need I, to see to me grannie?’

‘Aw, lass—’ Ruth pulled a face at her—’you know that goes without sayin’. At least you should.’

‘Aye, I know. And thanks, thanks to both of you.’ She cast her glance between them, then looking at Lizzie, who had now risen to her feet, she said, ‘Well, I’d better say ta-rah,’ and the next moment she was hugging Lizzie, and Lizzie was holding her tight and saying brokenly, ‘Now don’t cry, there’s nowt to cry about, goin’ on a holiday . . . Don’t. Don’t lass.’

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