Lily of Love Lane

Lily of Love Lane by Carol Rivers Read Free Book Online

Book: Lily of Love Lane by Carol Rivers Read Free Book Online
Authors: Carol Rivers
eyes had increased recently.
    ‘You coming too, Noah?’
    ‘Don’t mind if I do.’
    ‘It’s parky out there. Better put our coats on.’
    Lily saw her mother glance after them. She said nothing as the two men went out, closing the door behind them.
    ‘His cough is worse this winter.’
    ‘Does he rub in the wintergreen the doctor gave him?’
    ‘He says he does, but it doesn’t seem to help much.’ Josie laid down her crocheting again. ‘Good job your father has Uncle Noah to talk to.’
    ‘He’s got you as well.’
    ‘I know, but men see things differently. A woman tends to nag or worry or both.’
    ‘Are you worried about him, Mum?’
    ‘I am a bit.’ Josie sank back on the chair. ‘He got a job yesterday. Was waiting on the stones for hours before one came up.’
    Lily realized that this was not good news. ‘You mean it was a skin ship?’
    ‘Yes, I’m afraid so.’
    ‘Oh, Mum, I wish he wouldn’t take it.’
    ‘So do I, but what choice do we have?’
    ‘I told you I would work Saturday afternoons. Reube said I can.’
    Josie’s pale blue eyes looked sad. ‘Lily, ducks, with all the goodwill in the world, it’s not enough.’
    ‘But couldn’t we manage?’
    ‘We have been managing, putting things on the slate. Last week I went up to Mr Gane’s. He said he was very sorry, but he couldn’t let me have any more groceries till I paid the
arrears.’
    ‘I thought his bill was settled.’
    Josie sighed and shook her head. ‘I was going to, but we had no coal. The coalman wants his money the minute he delivers. So the grocery money went to him.’
    ‘You should have told me.’ Lily saw the strain on her mother’s face and her heart ached for her family.
    ‘What good would it have done, Lily? I was hoping not to tell you. But it all just got worse.’
    ‘I would have asked Reube for a loan.’
    ‘You did before Christmas.’ Josie shook her head. ‘As good as Reube is, we ain’t a charity case. Your father’s got his pride too. I don’t tell him about going
to the pawnshop, mind. That’s a secret only you and me share, ducks.’
    Lily had been entrusted many times with a journey to the pawnshop. It was always done in strict secrecy. She had to make sure no one saw her go there, which was not difficult in the dark
evenings, but very awkward in the lighter ones. It was becoming harder to raise a good price on the sheets, linens and personal effects as the pawnbroker had so many families on his books who were
desperate. But as time had gone on and hopes of regular employment for her father had faded, it was the only alternative left. Lily knew her mother was borrowing from Peter to pay Paul, and they
were still getting deeper and deeper into debt.
    Lily thought of the lovely house she had visited this morning. It wasn’t very far from her home, but it seemed as though it was on another planet. She could imagine what it would be like
if Charles Grey’s house was really loved and cared for. She was now certain that when Mrs Grey had died, her husband had just given up! He’d taken down the photographs so he
wouldn’t be reminded of his beautiful wife. And he didn’t bother about lighting fires or making the place cosy. His heart simply wasn’t in it.
    Life was strange. There was Mr Grey with an abundance of money and a desirable home, but he wasn’t happy. Lily had seen the sadness in his eyes. Grief was the clue there, she was sure of
it now. Then there was her own family who were as poor as church mice but were happy because they had each other. It seemed you had either one or the other, not both.
    What would she do if she was wealthy? She could think of a thousand things, the list would be endless. The first and most important action she would take, would be to settle the family’s
debts. Then she would buy a bath like the one she had seen today, but then she would have to have a bathroom to put it in. And a large range to heat the hot water. In fact, one thing led to

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