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He turned on her. His voice low and angry, he said, ‘He didn’t take the rap for me, he took it for himself. He’d have been caught out sooner or later; he’d been at it for months onlinecasinoitaliani.com.’

‘Aye, he might have, but only for a few shillings at a time not five pounds.’

‘No, not for a few shillings, a pound and more. I’d warned him.’

‘You warned him!’ Her voice was full of scorn. ‘But you went and did the same, and for no little sum either. It was for your five pounds he got put away for the year, not for the little bits.’

‘It wasn’t. I tell you it wasn’t’

‘Oh, shut up! Don’t try to stuff me like you’ve been doin’ yourself. That’s what you’ve been tellin’ yourself all along, isn’t it, to ease your conscience? But your conscience wouldn’t be eased, would it? Remember our first night in this place. You nearly knocked me through the wall ’cos I mentioned his name. I should have twigged then.’

‘Aye, yes, you should.’ His tone was flat now, weary-sounding. ‘And if you had, it would have been over and done with, I’d have gone through less.’

‘Gone through less! You talkin’ about goin’ through anything, what about John George?’

‘Damn John George!’ He was shouting now. ‘I tell you he would have gone along the line in any case.’

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