ASCENDING stone steps to the railway bridge, a fine spring rain began to fall, hiding towers, wheels, and sheds of the colliery below as Vera fastened her coat and hurried towards the first streets of the city. When Seaton left for the tannery that morning she had been unable to face the empty day and had gone to visit her mother at the Nook, short-cutting it there and back across the fields.
The novelty of decorating two unfurnished rooms had long since worn off, though it had been enjoyable while it lasted, had shown that Seaton, who had seemed too much of a numbskull to talk about anything (even his work had been described and forgotten in five minutes), had proved his worth of papering the walls and ceiling, painting doors and skirting boards, pinning down cheap lino from Sneinton Market. He set them both to making rugs from a pile of clippings and a couple of boiled-clean sackbags, using a sharpened piece of stick to thrust each sliver of coloured rag beneath and then pull it up above the rag-bag base. Plate-