9

OFTEN ENOUGH DURING the war Mungo had felt fiercely and exaltedly contemptuous of his enemies and of those on his own side hampered by scruples. Afterwards, almost ashamed of the wary respect shown him by men who had seen him fight so ruthlessly, he had justified himself by the simple but incontrovertible argument that in war if one’s cause was just and necessary then one’s enemies had either to be forced to submit or killed without mercy.

Now for the first time in peace that ferocity of principle was impelling him. YuilPs stupid disgust, Peffermill’s smirking disapproval, Flo McTaggart’s hatred, and poor Billy’s terror were all admirable on Bess’s behalf, but so had the courage and patriotism of the Germans he had helped to slaughter been admirable on their country’s behalf. Striding from one corpse in field-grey uniform to another, he had been able to tell them all, the grey-haired and the still unshaved, that their burst bellies and blown off heads had been necessary for the freedom of mankind. And today no-one, not even the fathers and mothers, or widows and children, of those butchered Germans dared to say he had not been right. Well, tonight, in this house where his own children had been conceived and born, he was having to be savage and remorseless again, in defence of another kind of freedom more important even than the other, only this time the enemies he had to overcome, at whatever cost, were his children and their mother.

When he had rushed down into the close to find Bess held up against the wall by Yuill as if she was being raped, he had

-73-

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A Very Scotch Affair
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • A Very Scotch Affair 1
  • Title Page 3
  • Part One 5
  • 1 7
  • 2 15
  • 3 23
  • 4 33
  • 5 39
  • 6 48
  • 7 58
  • 8 63
  • 9 73
  • 10 82
  • 11 94
  • 12 101
  • 13 109
  • 14 117
  • 15 127
  • Part Two 135
  • 1 137
  • 2 143
  • 3 150
  • 4 158
  • 5 177
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