Catherine 6

17 Apr

By Christmas Anne Marie was well enough to walk out with her family. John proudly pushed the pram while Catherine and Billy clutched their mother’s hands as they made their way to Peach Street to visit their grandparents.

The walk took them along Brown Low Hill, passed the Workhouse, a towering monster of a building which stood as a bleak warning to those who were audacious enough to fall upon hard times.  They glimpsed groups of inmates huddled against the cold; women clothed in dreary, identical dresses, and bearded men in overalls.

‘Not a pick of flesh on them.’

Anne Marie whispered, disturbed at the sight of two little girls standing in the gated yard.

‘It’s a terrible place to end up; especially at Christmas.’

‘Their only crime is poverty’ said John.

The girls at the gate watched as the family passed by and Catherine tightened her grip around mammy’s hand. Their presence seemed like a threat to her safety and she wanted to pass that place and rid her mind of the image, although it would remain and resurface in the bleakness of her future. A foreshadow of what lay ahead.

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