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Manual The Loneliness of the Long Distance Runner

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The response of the borstal authorities to Smith's action is heavy-handed: Smith resigns himself to the drudgery of manual labour he is returned to. However, looking back on his actions, he has no regrets. Long-distance running gives the character an ability to freely escape from society without the pressures of a team, which may be found in other athletic stories.

Sillitoe's character Smith uses running as a way to mentally reflect, allowing Smith to give clarity to his political insights and share them with the reader. During the time period that Sillitoe wrote " The Loneliness of the Long Distance Runner " the idea of the runner was changing dramatically. Author Alan Sillitoe is considered to be a member of the ' angry young men ' movement by critics and colleagues though Sillitoe himself disliked this label.

This term was associated with writers who created main characters that were "belligerent and opinionated", such as Smith. On 9 January , impeached Illinois Gov. Steve Wozniak , co-founder of Apple Inc. From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. I suppose it took me a long time to get going on all this because I've had no time and peace in all my bandit life, and now my thoughts are coming pat and the only trouble is I often can't stop, even when my brain feels as if it's got cramp, frostbite and creeping paralysis all rolled into one and I have to give it a rest by slap-dashing down through the brambles of the sunken lane.

And all this is another uppercut I'm getting in first at people like the governor, to show how— if I can— his races are never won even though some bloke always comes unknowingly in first, how in the end the governor is go- ing to be doomed while blokes like me will take the pickings of his roasted bones and dance like maniacs around his Borstal's ruins.

And so this story's like the race and once again I won't bring off a winner to suit the governor; no, I'm being honest like he told me to, without him knowing what he means, though I don't suppose he'll ever come in with a story of his own, even if he reads this one of mine and knows who I'm talking about.

I've just come up out of the sunken lane, kneed and elbowed, thumped and bramble-scratched, and the race is twothirds over, and a voice is going like a wireless in my mind saying that when you've had enough of feeling good like the first man on earth of a frosty morning, and you've known how it is to be taken bad like the last man on earth on a summer's af- ternoon, then you get at last to being like the only man on earth and don't give a bogger about either good or bad, but just trot on with your slippers slapping the good dry soil that at least would never do you a bad turn.

Now the words are like coming from a crys- tal-set that's broken down, and something's happening inside the shell-case of my guts that bothers me and I don't know why or what to blame it on, a grinding near my ticker as though a bag of rusty screws is loose inside me and I shake them up every time I trot for- ward. Now and again I break my rhythm to feel my left shoulderblade by swinging a right hand across my chest as if to rub the knife away that has somehow got stuck there.

But I know it's nothing to bother about, that more likely it's caused by too much thinking that now and again I take for worry. For sometimes I'm the greatest worrier in the world I think as you twigged I'll bet from me having got this story out which is funny anyway because my main don't know the meaning of the word so I don't take after her; though dad Had a Hard time of worry all his life up to when he filled his bedroom with hot blood and kicked the bucket that morning when nobody was in the house.

I'll never forget it, straight I won't, because I was the one that found him and I often wished I hadn't. Back from a session on the fruit-machines at the fishand-chip shop, jingling my three-lemon loot to a nail-dead house, as soon as I got in I knew something was wrong, stood leaning my head against the cold mirror above the mantel piece trying not to open my eyes and see my stone-cold dock—because I knew I'd gone as white as a piece of chalk since coming in as if I'd been got at by a Dracula-vampire and even my penny-pocket winnings kept quiet on purpose.

Gunthorpe nearly caught me up. Birds were singing from the briar hedge, and a couple of thrushies flew like lightning into some thorny bushes. Corn had grown high in the next field and would be cut down soon with scythes and mowers; but I never wanted to notice much while running in case it put me off my stroke, so by the haystack I decided to leave it all behind and put on such a spurt, in spite of nails in my guts, that before long I'd left both Gunthorpe and the birds a good way off; I wasn't far now from going into that last mile and a half like a knife through margarine, but the quietness I suddenly trotted into between two pickets was like opening my eyes underwater and looking at the pebbles on a stream bottom, reminding me again of going back that morning to the house in which my old man had croaked, which is funny because I hadn't thought about it at all since it happened and even then I didn't brood much on it.

I wonder why? I suppose that since I started to think on these long-distance runs I'm liable to have anything crop up and pester at my tripes and innards, and now that I see my bloody dad behind each grass-blade in my barmy runner-brain I'm not so sure I like to think and that it's such a good thing after all.

I choke my phlegm and keep on running anyway and curse the Borstalbuilders and their athletics— flappity-flap, slop-slop, crunchslap-crunchslap-crunchslap— who've maybe got their own back on me from the bright beginning by sliding magic-lantern slides into my head that never stood a chance before. Only if I take whatever comes like this in my runner's stride can I keep on keeping on like my old self and beat them back; and now I've thought on this far I know I'll win, in the crunchslap end.

So anyway after a bit I went up- stairs one step at a time not thinking anything about how I should find dad and what I'd do when I did. But now I'm making up for it by going over the rotten life roam led him ever since I can remember, knocking-on with different men even when he was alive and fit and she not caring whether he knew it or not, and most of the time he wasn't so blind as she thought and cursed and roared and threatened to punch her tab, and I had to stand up to stop him even though I knew she deserved it.

What a life for all of us. Well, I'm not grumbling, because if I did I might just as well win this bleeding race, which I'm not going to do, though if I don't lose speed I'll win it before I know where I am, and then where would I be? Now I can hear the sportsground noise and music as I head back for the flags and the lead-in drive, the fresh new feel of underfoot gravel going against the iron muscles of my legs. I'm nowhere near puffed despite that bag of nails that: rattles as much as ever, and I can still give a big last leap like galeforce wind if I want to, but everything is under control and I know now that there ain't another long-distance cross-country running run- ner in England to touch my speed and style.

Our doddering bastard of a governor, our half-dead gangrened gaffer is hollow like an empty petrol drum, and he wants me and my running life to give him glory, to put in him blood and throbbing veins he never had, wants his potbellied pals to be his witnesses as I gasp and stagger up to his winning post so's he can say: "My Borstal gets that cup, you see. I win my bet, because it pays to be hon- est and try to gain the prizes I offer to my lads, and they know it, have known it all along. They'll always be honest now, because I made them so. They've seen me and they're cheer- ing now and loudspeakers set around the field like elephant's ears are spreading out the big news that I'm well in the lead, and can't do anything else but stay there.

But I'm still thinking of the Out-law death my dad died, telling the doctors to scat from the house when they wanted him to finish up in hospital like a bleeding guinea-pig, he raved at them. He got up in bed to throw them out and even followed them down the stairs in his shirt though he was no more than skin and stick.

They tried to tell him he'd want some drugs but he didn't fall for it, and only took the pain-killer that mam and I got from a herbseller in the next street. It's not till now that I know what guts he had, and when I went into the room that morning he was lying on his stomach with the clothes thrown back, looking like a skinned rabbit, his grey head resting just on the edge of the bed, and on the floor must have been all the blood he'd had in his body, right from his toe-nails up, for nearly all of the lino and carpet was covered in it, thin and pink.

The Loneliness of the Long Distance Runner

And down the drive I went, carrying a heart blocked up like Boulder Dam across my arteries, the nail-bag clamped down tighter and tighter as though in a woodwork vice, yet with my feet like birdwings and arms like talons ready to fly across the field except that I didn't want to give anybody that much of a show, or win the race by accident. I smell the hot dry day now as I run towards the end, passing a mountain-heap of grass emptied from cans hooked on to the fronts of lawnmowers pushed by my pals; I rip a piece of tree-bark with my fingers and stuff it in my mouth, chewing wood and dust and maybe maggots as I run until I'm nearly sick, yet swallowing what I can of it just the same because a little birdie whistled to me that I've got to go on living for at least a bloody sight longer yet but that for six months I'm not going to smell that grass or taste that dusty bark or trot this lovely path.

I hate to have to say this but something bloody-well made me cry, and crying is a thing I haven't bloody-well done since I was a kid of two or three. Because I'm slowing down now for Gunthorpe to catch me up, and I'm doing it in a place just where the drive turns in to the sportsfield— where they can see what I'm doing, especially the governor and his gang from the grandstand, and I'm going so slow I'm almost marking time. Those on the nearest seats haven't caught on yet to what's happening and are still cheering like mad ready for when I make that mark, and I keep on wondering when the bleeding hell Gun- thorpe behind me is going to nip by on to the field because I can't hold this up all day, and I think Oh Christ it's just my rotten luck that Gunthorpe's dropped out and that I'll be here for half an hour before the next bloke comes up, but even so, I say, I won't budge, I won't go for that last hundred yards if I have to sit down cross-legged on the grass and have the governor and his chinless wonders pick me up and carry me there, which is against their rules so you can bet they'd never do it because they're not clever enough to break the rules-like I would be in their place—even though they are their own.

No, I'll show him what honesty means if it's the last thing I do, though I'm sure he'll never understand be- cause if he and all them like him did it'd mean they'd be on my side which is impossible. By God I'll stick this out like my dad stuck out his pain and kicked them doctors down the stairs: if he had guts for that then I've got guts for this and here I stay waiting for Gun- thorpe or Aylesham to bash that turf and go right slap-up against that bit of clothes-line stretched across the winning post.

As for me, the only time I'll hit that clothes-line will be when I'm dead and a comfortable coffin's been got ready on the other side. Until then I'm a long-distance runner, crossing country all on my own no matter how bad it feels.

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The Essex boys were shouting themselves blue in the face telling me to get a move on, waving their arms, standing up and making as if to run at that rope themselves because they were only a few yards to the side of it. You cranky lot, I thought, stuck at that win- ning post, and yet I knew they didn't mean what they were shouting, were really on my side and always would be, not able to keep their maulers to themselves, in and out of cop- shops and clink. And there they were now having the time of their lives letting themselves go in cheering me which made the governor think they were heart and soul on his side when he wouldn't have thought any such thing if he'd had a grain of sense.

And I could hear the lords and ladies now from the grandstand, and could see them standing up to wave me in: "Run! Because I heard a roar and saw the Gunthorpe gang throwing their coats up in the air and I felt the pat-pat of feet on the drive behind me getting closer and closer and suddenly a smell of sweat and a pair of lungs on their last gasp passed me by and went swinging on towards that rope, all shagged out and rocking from side to side, grunting like a Zulu that didn't know any better, like the ghost of me at ninety when I'm heading for that fat uphol- stered coffin. I could have cheered him myself: "Go on, go on, get cracking.

Knot yourself up on that piece of tape. It's about time to stop; though don't think I'm not still running, because I am, one way or another. The governor at Borstal, proved me right; he didn't respect my honesty at all; not that I expected him to, or tried to explain it to him, but if he's supposed to be educated then he should have more or less twigged it. He got his own back right enough, or thought he did, because he had me carting dustbins about every morning from the big full- working kitchen to the garden-bottoms where I had to empty them; and in the afternoon I spread out slops over spuds and carrots growing in the allotments.

In the evenings I scrubbed floors, miles and miles of them. But it wasn't a bad life for six months, which was another thing he could never understand and would have made it grimmer if he could, and it was worth it when I look back on it, considering all the thinking I did, and the fact that the boys caught on to me losing the race on purpose and never had enough good words to say about me, or curses to throw out to themselves at the governor.

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The work didn't break me; if anything it made me stronger in many ways, and the gover- nor knew, when I left, that his spite had got him nowhere. For since leaving Borstal they tried to get me in the army, but I didn't pass the medical and I'll tell you why. No sooner was I out, after that final run and six-months hard, that I went down with pleurisy, which means as far as I'm concerned that I lost the governor's race all right, and won my own twice over, because I know for certain that if I hadn't raced my race I wouldn't have got this pleurisy, which keeps me out of khaki but doesn't stop me doing the sort of work my itchy fingers want to do.

I'm out now and the heat's switched on again, but the rats haven't got me for the last big thing I pulled. I counted six hundred and twenty -eight pounds and am still living off it because I did the job all on my own, and after it I had the peace to write all this, and it'll be money enough to keep me going until I finish my plans for doing an even bigger snatch, something up my sleeve I wouldn't tell to a living soul.

I worked out my systems and hiding-places while pushing scrubbing-brushes around them Borstal floors, planned my outward life of innocence and honest work, yet at the same time grew perfect in the razoredges of my craft for what I knew I had to do once free; and what I'll do again if netted by the poaching coppers. In the meantime as they say in one or two books I've read since, useless though because all of them ended on a winning post and didn't teach me a thing I'm going to give this story to a pal of mine and tell him that if I do get captured again by the coppers he can try and get it put into a book or something, because I'd like to see the governor's face when he reads it, if he does, which I don't suppose he will; even if he did read it though I don't think he'd know what it was all about.

And if I don't get caught the bloke I give this story to will never give me away; he's lived in our terrace for as long as I can remember, and he's my pal. That I do know. Standing for a moment on the edge of the pavement to ad- just his cap—the cleanest thing about him— he looked casually to left and right and, when the flow of traffic had eased off, crossed the road.

His name and trade were always spoken in one breath, even when the nature of his trade was not in question: Ernest Brown the upholsterer. Every night before returning to his lodgings he left the bag of tools for safety with a man who looked after the public lavatory near the town centre, for he felt there was a risk of them being lost or stolen should he take them back to his room, and if such a thing were to happen his living would be gone. Chimes to the value of half past ten boomed from the Council-house clock. Over the thea- tre patches of blue sky held hard-won positions against autumnal clouds, and a treacher- ous wind lashed out its gusts, sending paper and cigarette packets cartwheeling along un- swept gutters.

Empty-bellied Ernest was ready for his breakfast, so walked through a cafe doorway, instinctively lowering his head as he did so, though the beams were a foot above his height. The long spacious eating-place was almost full. Ernest usually arrived for his breakfast at nine o'clock, but having been paid ten pounds for re-covering a three-piece in a public house the day before, he had stationed himself in the Saloon Bar for the rest of the evening to drink jar after jar of beer, in a slow prolonged and concentrated way that lonely men have. As a result it had been difficult to drag himself from drugged and blissful sleep this morning.

His face was pale and his eyes an unhealthy yellow: when he spoke only a few solitary teeth showed behind his lips. Having passed through the half dozen noisy people standing about he found himself at the counter, a scarred and chipped haven for hands, like a littered invasion beach extend- ing between two headlands of tea-urns. The big fleshy brunette was busy, so he hastily scanned the list written out in large white letters on the wall behind. He made a timid ges- ture with his hand. Tea swilled from a huge brown spout—into a cup that had a crack emerging like a hair above the layer of milk—and a spoon clinked after it into the steam.

A steamy appetizing smell rose from the plate: he took up the knife and fork and, with the sharp clean action of a craftsman, cut off a corner of the toast and toma- to and raised it slowly to his mouth, eating with relish and hardly noticing people sitting roundabout. Each wielding of his knife and fork, each geometrical cut of the slice of toast, each curve and twist of his lips joined in a complex and regular motion that gave him great satisfaction.

He ate slowly, quietly and contentedly, aware only of himself and his body being warmed and made tolerable once more by food. The leisurely movement of spoon and cup and saucer made up the familiar noise of late breakfast in a crowded cafe, sounded like music flowing here and there in variations of rhythm.

For years he had eaten alone, but was not yet accustomed to loneliness. He could not get used to it, had only adapted himself to it temporarily in the hope that one day its spell would break. Ernest remembered little of his past, and life moved under him so that he hardly noticed its pro- gress. There was no strong memory to entice him to what had gone by, except that of dead and dying men straggling barbed-wire between the trenches in the first world war.

Two sentences had dominated his lips during the years that followed: "I should not be here in England. I should be dead with the rest of them in France. People, he found, treated him as if he were a ghost, as if be were not made of flesh and blood— or so it seemed— and from then on he had lived alone. His wife left him— due to his too vile temper, it was said— and his brothers went to other towns.

Later he had thought to look them up, but decided against it: for even in this isolation only the will to go forward and accept more of it seemed worth while. He felt in a dim indefinite way that to go back and search out the slums and land- marks of his youth, old friends, the smells and sounds that beckoned him tangibly from better days, was a sort of death. He argued that it was best to leave them alone, because it seemed somehow probable that after death— whenever it came— he would meet all these things once again. No pink scar marked his flesh from shell-shock and a jolted brain, and so what had happened in the war warranted no pension book, and even to him the word 'injury' never came into his mind.

It was just that he did not care anymore: the wheel of the years had broken him, and so had made life tolerable. When the next war came his back was not burdened at first, and even the fines and days in prison that he was made to pay for being without Identity Card or Ration Book—or for giving them away with a glad heart to deserters—did not lift him from his tolerable brokenness. The nightmare hours of gun- fire and exploding bombs revived a dull image long suppressed as he stared blankly at the cellar wall of his boarding house, and even threw into his mind the scattered words of two insane sentences.

But, considering the time-scale his life was lived on, the war ended quickly, and again nothing mattered. He lived from hand to mouth, working cleverly at settees and sofas and chairs, caring about no one. When work was difficult to find and life was hard, he did not notice it very much, and now that he was prosperous and had enough money, he also detected little difference, spending what he earned on beer, and never once thinking that he needed a new coat or a solid pair of boots. He lifted the last piece of toast and tomato from his plate, then felt dregs of tea moving against his teeth.

When he had finished chewing he lit a cigarette and was once more aware of people sit- ting around him. It was eleven o'clock and the low-roofed cafe was slowly emptying, leav- ing only a dozen people inside. He knew that at one table they were talking about horse- racing and at another about war, but words only flowed into his ears and entered his mind at a low pitch of comprehension, leaving it calm and content as he vaguely contemplated the positions and patterns of tables about the room. There would be no work until two o'clock, so he intended sitting where he was until then.

Yet a sudden embarrassment at having no food on the table to justify a prolonged occupation of it sent him to the counter for tea and cakes. As he was being served two small girls came in. One sat at a table, but the second and elder stood at the counter. When he returned to his place he found the younger girl sitting there. He was confused and shy, but nevertheless sat down to drink tea and cut a cake into four pieces. The girl looked at him and continued to do so until the elder one came from the counter carrying two cups of steaming tea.

They sat talking and drinking, utterly oblivious of Ernest, who slowly felt their secretive, childish animation enter into himself. He glanced at them from time to time, feeling as if he should not be there, though when he looked at them he did so in a gentle way, with kind, full-smiling eyes.

The elder girl, about twelve years old, was dressed in a brown coat that was too big for her, and though she was talking and laughing most of the time he noticed the paleness of her face and her large round eyes that he would have thought beautiful had he not de- tected the familiar type of vivacity that expressed neglect and want. The smaller girl was less lively and merely smiled as she answered her sister with brief curt words. She drank her tea and warmed her hands at the same time without putting the cup down once until she had emptied it.

Her thin red fingers curled around the cup as she stared into the leaves, and gradually the talk between them died down and they were si- lent, leaving the field free for traffic that could be heard moving along the street outside, and for inside noises made by the brunette who washed cups and dishes ready for the rush that was expected at midday dinner-time. Ernest was calculating how many yards of rexine would be needed to cover the job he was to do that afternoon, but when the younger girl began speaking he listened to her, hardly aware that he was doing so.

The younger girl gave up and said nothing, looked emptily in front of her. Ernest had finished eating and took out a cigarette, struck a match across the iron fas- tening of a table leg and, having inhaled deeply, allowed smoke to wander from his mouth.

The Loneliness of the Long Distance Runner (2015 Remaster)

Like a gentle tide washing in under the moon, a line of water flowing inwards and covering the sand, a feeling of acute loneliness took hold of him, an agony that would not let him weep. The two girls sat before him wholly engrossed in themselves, still debating whether they should buy a cake, or whether they should ride home on a bus.

The sound of their voic- es told him how lonely he was, each word feeding him with so much more loneliness that he felt utterly unhappy and empty. Time went slowly: the minute-hand of the dock seemed as if it were nailed immovably at one angle.

The Loneliness of the Long Distance Runner

The two girls looked at each other and did not notice him: he withdrew into himself and felt the emptiness of the world and wondered how he would spend all the days that seemed to stretch vacantly, like goods on a broken-down conveyor belt, before him. He tried to remember things that had happened and felt panic when he discovered a thirty -year vacuum. All he could see behind was a grey mist and all he could see before him was the same unpredictable fog that would hide nothing. He wanted to walk out of the cafe and find some activity so that he would hence- forth be able to mark off the passage of his empty days, but he had no will to move.

He heard someone crying so shook himself free of such thoughts and saw the younger girl with hands to her eyes, weeping. The elder girl replied for her, saying sternly: "Nothing. She's acting daft. What is it? He drew it like a live thread from a mixture of reality and dream, hanging on to vague words that floated back into his mind.

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The girls' conversation came to him through an intricate process of recollection. We're going now. He came back with a plate of pastries and two cups of tea, which he set before the girls, who looked on in silence. The younger was smiling now. Her round eager eyes were fascinated, yet fol- lowed each movement of his hands with some apprehension.

Though still hostile the elder girl was gradually subdued by the confidently working actions of his hands, by caressing words and the kindness that showed in his face. He was wholly absorbed in doing good and, at the same time, fighting the feeling of loneliness that he still remembered, but only as a nightmare is remembered. The two children fell under his spell, began to eat cakes and sip the tea. They glanced at each other, and then at Ernest as he sat before them smoking a cigarette. The cafe was still almost empty, and the few people eating were so absorbed in themselves, or were in so much of a hurry to eat their food and get out that they took little notice of the small com- pany in the corner.

Now that the atmosphere between himself and the two girls had grown more friendly Ernest began to talk to them. The elder girl automatically assumed control and answered his questions. Her sister looked at her with disapproval, making it plain that she had said the wrong thing and that she should only speak under guidance. He smiled at her continued hard control. He said nothing for a few moments, sitting with knuckles pressed to his lips. During the following weeks they came to see him almost every day. Sometimes, when he had little money, he filled his empty stomach with a cup of tea while Alma and Joan satis- fied themselves on five shillings' -worth of more solid food.

But he was happy and gained immense satisfaction from seeing them bending hungrily over eggs, bacon and pastries, and he was so smoothed at last into a fine feeling of having something to live for that he hardly remembered the lonely days when his only hope of being able to talk to someone was by going into a public house to get drunk.

He was happy now because he had his 'lit- tle girls' to look after, as he came to call them. He began spending all his money to buy them presents, so that he was often in debt at his lodgings. He still did not buy any clothes, for whereas in the past his money had been swilled away on beer, now it was spent on presents and food for the girls, and he went on wearing the same old dirty mackintosh and was still without a collar to his shirt; even his cap was no longer clean.

Every day, straight out of school, Alma and Joan ran to catch a bus for the town centre and, a few minutes later, smiling and out of breath, walked into the cafe where Ernest was waiting. As days and weeks passed, and as Alma noticed how much Ernest depended on them for company, how happy he was to see them, and how obviously miserable when they did not come for a day—which was rare now—she began to demand more and more presents, more food, more money, but only in a particularly naive and childish way, so that Ernest, in his oblivious contentment, did not notice it. But certain customers of the cafe who came in every day could not help but see how the girls asked him to buy them this and that, and how he always gave in with a nature too good to be decently true, and without the least sign of realizing what was really happen- ing.

He would never dream to question their demands, for to him, these two girls whom he looked upon almost as his own daughters were the only people he had to love. Ernest, about to begin eating, noticed two smartly dressed men sitting at a table a few yards away. They had sat in the same place the previous day, and also the day before that, but he thought no more about it because Joan and Alma came in and walked quickly across to his table.

His face changed from the blank preoccupation of eating, and a smile of happiness infused his cheeks, eyes, and the curve of his lips. Joan stood by without speaking, lacking Alma's confidence; her face timid, and nervous because she did not yet understand this regular transaction of money between Ernest and themselves, being afraid that one day they would stand there waiting for money and Ernest would quite naturally look surprised and say there was nothing for them.

He had just finished repairing an antique three-piece and had been paid that morning, so Alma took five shillings and they went to the counter for a meal. While they were waiting to be served the two well-dressed men who had been watching Ernest for the last few days stood up and walked over to him. Only one of them spoke; the other held his silence and looked on. Ernest looked up and smiled. Who are you? I just want you to answer my question. Why are you asking questions like this? Yet he did not want to laugh in case he should annoy the two detectives.


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He started to talk: "But There was much that he wanted to say, yet he could enunciate nothing, and a bewildered animal stare moved slowly into his eyes. We know all about you. We know who you are. We've known you for years in fact, and we're asking you to leave those girls alone and have nothing more to do with them. Men like you shouldn't give money to little girls. You should know what you're doing, and have more sense.

I mean no harm. I look after them and give them presents just as. I would daughters of my own. They're the only company I've got. In any case why shouldn't I look after them? Why should you take them away from me? Who do you think you are? Leave me alone The two detectives acted quickly and competently, yet without apparent haste. One stood on each side of him, lifted him up, and walked him by the counter, out on to the street, squeezing his wrists tightly as they did so.

As Ernest passed the counter he saw the girls holding their plates, looking in fear and wonder at him being walked out. They took him to the end of the street, and stood there for a few seconds talking to him, still keeping hold of his wrists and pressing their fingers hard into them. He stood speechless. He wanted to say so many things, but the words would not come to his lips.

They quivered helplessly with shame and hatred, and so were incapable of mak- ing words. Go on then. And we don't want to see you with those girls again. Then he was filled with hatred for everything, then intense pity for all the movement that was going on around him, and finally even more intense pity for himself.

The Loneliness of the Long-Distance Runner by Alan Sillitoe, | okybehoq.gq

He wanted to cry but could not: he could only walk away from his shame. Then he began to shed agony at each step. His bitterness eddied away and a feeling the depth of which he had never known before took its place. There was now more purpose in the motion of his footsteps as he went along the pavement through midday crowds.

And it seemed to him that he did not care about anything any more as he pushed through the swing doors and walked into the crowded and noisy bar of a public house, his stare fixed by a beautiful heavily baited trap of beer pots that would take him into the one and only best kind of oblivion. Raynor looked out of the classroom window, across the cobbled road and into the window of Harrison's the draper's shop.

Posted By flaneur Apr 21 Tags epub fiction mobi. Share Tweet. Attached files. Login or register to post comments. November The working class trapped under the Velvet Tricolour. Comments 1.