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‘You’re goin’ in a game?’

‘Aye, if I can find a good one.’

‘Aw, Rory.’

‘Now, now, don’t get bright-eyed, nowt may come of it. But I’ll have a try. And if we could put something down to secure it—’ he punched Jimmy on the shoulder—’the fellow might wait, take it in bits like, eh? If he’s not short of a bob he could wait, couldn’t he? And it isn’t everybody that’s going to jump at a place like that. But . . . but as I said, don’t get too bright-eyed. Just tell them what I told you, and if I shouldn’t be back afore they go to bed, tell them . . . well, tell them not to wait up.’

‘Aye, Rory, aye, I’ll do that. And . . . and you be careful onlinecasinosvizzera.com.’

‘What have I got to be careful of?’

‘You hear things, I mean along the front, about the schools an’ things. There are some rough customers about.’

‘I’m a bit of one meself.’

‘You’re all right.’

They looked at each other, the undersized bow-legged boy with the angelic face and his thick-set straight-backed, arrogantly attractive-looking half- brother, and each liked what he saw: Rory, the blind admiration in the boy’s face, and Jimmy, the strength, determination and apparent fearlessness in this man he loved above all others.

‘Go on with you, go on.’ Rory thrust out his hand, and Jimmy turned away. Again he was running, and not until he had disappeared from view into the main thoroughfare did Rory swing about and stride along the waterfront in the direction of the pier. But before he came to the high bank known as the Lawe, on which stood the superior houses with their view of the sea and the North and South piers, and which were occupied by ships’ captains and respectable merchants of the town, he turned off and into a street which, from its disreputable appearance, should never have been allowed to lie at the skirt of such a neighbourhood as the Lawe. There were only eight houses in this street and they all had walled back yards and all the doors were locked. It was on the third yard door that he knocked, a sharp knock, rat-tat a-tat, tat-tat, and after some minutes it was furtively opened by a man hardly bigger than a dwarf.

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