The Wedding Group

The Wedding Group Read Online Free PDF Page A

Book: The Wedding Group Read Online Free PDF
Author: Elizabeth Taylor
in a low voice, ‘You can never be sure with her.’
    Joe MacPhail and the Father were on a reminiscent tour of the Dublin bars. As on other evenings, they were day-dreaming themselves from Davey Byrne’s to the Bailey, stopping for a jar at the Russell. Would, no doubt, go on to Jury’s and end up at the Hibernian.
    They had looked up and nodded when David came in. That was all, for they kept to their own company.
    Joe had looks that had been handsome, but had become pouchy and untidy. His mouth was puffy, sensitive. He rolled his own cigarettes with long, brown-stained fingers, and looked down at his glass of Guinness most of the time.
    The Father was fat and moon-faced, with fuzzy patchy hair and odd bits of baldness. His fly-buttons were opened, and Mother was glaring at them contemptuously. Her daughter was trying to distract her attention.
    ‘It makes a nice change, doesn’t it, Mother, coming out?’
    ‘No, thanks, you know I never have more than one. You must please yourself. Like you always do.’
    ‘There’s none so deaf as those as won’t hear,’ her daughter murmured sideways to her husband. ‘It was a good idea of yours, Ken – dumping the old fridge in the woods. Got rid of that and made a nice outing of it.’
    ‘I mind in the old days,’ Pitcher was saying to the American. I mind this. I mind that. He was giving full value, now describing his late Lordship’s pheasant shoots, year by year, gun by gun, brace by brace. He swirled round the last of his draught bitterand drank it swiftly, and the American, understanding the hint, took the empty glass back to the bar, paying well for his taste of village England.
    ‘I was never for the Gresham,’ said the Father. ‘So brassy, so modern, and black with me own kind, don’t you know.’
    David kept looking towards the door, or out of the window at the car-park, hoping that one of his friends might come in.
    ‘Blighty,’ he thought. The darkness, the dull evening. Might up and hop it. There’s all the rest of the world. He imagined Midge up and hopping it with him. She was quite game enough. Sometimes, England felt too small for him. For instance, he was physically cramped in this bar, and had to duck his head under the beams from which pewter pots hung, increasing the hazard. It wasn’t only in this bar either. He remembered other places – Nell’s mews flat, for instance, and, leaving Quayne that day, feeling smothered, wanting open spaces, and having, instead, to speed back to Fleet Street and shoulder his way amongst crowds, caught in a cleft between high buildings.
    That visit to Quayne was in his mind again. What he had written about it was now all that he remembered; but since reading Cressy’s letter, he had been trying to recall what else had happened. The day had been coloured by his dislike of Harry Bretton, and the success of the article had been mainly due to the asperity with which he had dealt with him. Readers who had always discounted his painting, had been delighted to discount the Master himself, and even those who admired his work had found a wicked glee in discovering the cracks in the idol so deftly revealed. David had heard later that the idol, in his vanity, had been delighted, too. He would have liked Joe MacPhail’s opinion, but knew that he would not get it. He should have had the sense to talk more to the daughter, he thought. But the truth about her had come too late to be of use to him. It was all donewith now. Quayne was behind him. There were other idols to topple; other Quaynes to be looked into.
    ‘Ken thinks we ought to be making a move, Mother.’
    David winked at the landlord and looked out of the window again. No one came, and there was a great to-do going on in the bar, the hoisting of Mother to her feet, offering her an arm which she pushed away. With another disgusted glance at Father Daughtry’s gleaming fly-buttons she shuffled to the door, followed by her brood.
    ‘Stable-door, old boy,’ the
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