By Beryl Bainbridge

In a distant cottage in Wales, city are spending their vacation with an idealistic proprietor and his protege. first and foremost every thing is idyllic, yet disaster lurks at the back of each tree, and because the vacation maintains their relationships begin to exhibit their cracks, culminating in a sad finale.

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He had to stop after a time; he was just too tired. He wasn’t cold any more. His cheeks burned and the fringe of hair clung to his forehead. Everything was motionless about him, everything just like a painting he might do at school: all the leaves on all the trees exactly in their places, bits of green paper cut into ragged shapes and gummed against the sky. The hut was up there beyond that beech tree and if he climbed the slope he would be there, except that he must go by the path because the other way there might be nettles and nests of wild bees and perhaps even a snake.

His mother, he thought, would probably be missing him now or having a rest on the Victorian sofa in the living-room, all her hair in little curls about her neck and one fat hand clutching her handkerchief. When she woke she would call his name and then reach for her cigarettes; they would be near but he wouldn’t be. She had told him over and over to be nice to Joseph and give him lots of kisses and not to tire him too much. Lots of kisses, he told himself, watching his sandalled feet go along the path, curving round the hillside towards his father.

Hearing his name, the tool-fitter swung his head from side to side. ‘The declaration of the Jewish state,’ said George at the doorway, propping it open with his back, watching the sway of his scarf ends in the night air. ‘He’s off again,’ moaned Balfour. ‘His name is Edgar Balfour,’ said George. ‘I think he ought to go to bed. ’ Dotty regarded the flushed Balfour. ’ Balfour tried to concentrate. Joseph was saying something, something about the people due to arrive tomorrow. He must attend. There might, who knows, be a message.

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Another Part of the Wood (Flamingo) by Beryl Bainbridge


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