Elephant and Castle, a Reconstruction

Elephant and Castle, a Reconstruction

Elephant and Castle, a Reconstruction

Elephant and Castle, a Reconstruction

Excerpt

His shirt was torn diagonally from the shoulder, letting most of his hairy chest and his stomach show bare, a triangle torn from his trouser-leg hung below one raw and bleeding knee. He walked with his left leg dragging crookedly, as if it wanted to go a way of its own; in another context its behaviour would have been amusing. A muscle behind that knee was torn, and one had said the boy must be in agony; but his face showed no awareness of pain, or anger now, or shame or defiance. The look in his eyes was one of detached interest, as if the main road which he was approaching had just the value of novelty for him. Passing the women who stood at the corner he did turn his eyes for a moment: the girl's head with its crest of copper foam was uncovered and the dove-blue coat she wore, which would have passed without notice in Bruton Street, was not unnoticeable here. In that glance he may have received some impression of her slenderness and the delicacy of her skin; he can hardly have seen how nobly the eyes were made, the depth of their smoke-blue colouring; and then, as if this image was not worth a busy man's attention, his gaze went back to the barber's pole on the other side of the road. Very soon a police car arrived from Damien Street and took him away.

"Where are you going now?" Aunt Georgie called in agony, as Armorel started to walk along Contessa Street.

"I must find out what it was all about. I want to know who that boy is and what they're going to do with him."

2

IT WAS thought wiser to say nothing about the incident to my cousin Gertrude, who of late had heard as much about Armorel's waywardness as an old lady could reasonably be asked to bear with. (But she got wind of it and had the whole story fitted together in a few days.) Edith, of course, was on to it at once. Georgina, determined in her kindness to protect the child, answered her sister's questions with a clumsy evasion; and evasion worked on Edith as linseed on draghounds. In truth Georgina, when cornered, rather enjoyed the narration. "Of course really, Edie, it wasn't what you would call a . . .

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