My Son, My Son!

My Son, My Son!

My Son, My Son!

My Son, My Son!

Excerpt

I LIKED fetching the washing from the Moscrops', and my mother liked washing for Mrs. Moscrop better than for anybody else. That was because Mrs. Moscrop always wrapped a bar of yellow soap in with the washing. There wasn't anyone else who thought of a thing like that.

The Moscrops' shop stood on a corner. The frontage was on the main road. To reach the bakehouse at the back you went down the side street. The shop window looked very gay that night, especially as the streets were full of writhing yellow fog. It was a few days off Christmas. Chinese lanterns, some in long concertina shapes, some spherical, all lit with candles, reinforced the two gas jets which normally lighted the window. There was a long brass tube running the length of the window with half a dozen gas points sprouting from it like nipples, but only one at either end was ever lit. I suppose the Moscrops, like the rest of us in Hulme, had to think of pennies.

But that idea didn't occur to me then. Moscrop's was an oasis of light in the dingy slum, a lounging-place and rendezvous of the boys and girls, and on that particular night, with holly stuck into the tops of cakes, with coloured paper chains dangling in loops from one Chinese lantern to another, with "A Merry Christmas" hanging in separate silver letters from a string that was itself sparkling as though with hoar frost, Moscrop's looked as enchanting a window as a child could wish. There were loaves covered with crisp brown crust, buns oozing currants, Christmas puddings . . .

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