Keep the Aspidistra Flying

Keep the Aspidistra Flying

Keep the Aspidistra Flying

Keep the Aspidistra Flying

Excerpt

The clock struck half past two. In the little office at the back of Mr. McKechnie's bookshop, Gordon--Gordon Comstock, last member of the Comstock family, aged twenty-nine and rather moth-eaten already--lounged across the table, pushing a fourpenny packet of Player's Weights open and shut with his thumb.

The ding-dong of another, remoter clock--from the Prince of Wales, the other side of the street--rippled the stagnant air. Gordon made an effort, sat upright and stowed his packet of cigarettes away in his inside pocket. He was perishing for a smoke. However, there were only four cigarettes left. To-day was Wednesday and he had no money coming to him till Friday. It would be too bloody to be without tobacco to-night as well as all to-morrow.

Bored in advance by to-morrow's tobaccoless hours, he got up and moved towards the door--a small frail figure, with delicate bones and fretful movements. His coat was out at elbow in the right sleeve and its middle button was missing; his ready-made flannel trousers were stained and shapeless. Even from above you could see that his shoes needed re-soling.

The money clinked in his trouser pocket as he got up. He knew the precise sum that was there. Fivepence halfpenny-- twopence halfpenny and a Joey. He paused, took out the miserable little threepenny-bit and looked at it. Beastly, useless thing! And bloody fool to have taken it! It had happened yesterday, when he was buying cigarettes. "Don't mind a threepenny-bit, do you, sir?" the little bitch of a shop-girl had . . .

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