I weren’t much of a looker. Me face being a bit pinched, dark circles under me eyes and I ‘ad this ‘orrible wart on me chin. But I ‘ad a generous ‘eart. I used to give to the poorest of the poor. Blokes who needed me but couldn’t afford the ready.
They’d say “Liza, I got an urgent need, but me ship ain’t come in yet. ‘Ow about yer take care of me and I’ll say a prayer fer yer. I’ll put in a word for yer to that geezer up there. Tell ‘im of your kind ‘eart.”
I’d say ” ‘Ow can a girl with a kind ‘eart refuse yer, when yer willing to do me such a big favor, and yer ‘ave such a need. So we’d do the business and after, I liked to fink, they’d go ‘ome and not beat on their old ladies.”
I’d run into Meg crumpled over in the alley. She was kneeling in piss and vomit, moaning an clutching ‘er belly. I knelt beside ‘er and put me arm gently round ‘er shoulder.
” Wat’s wrong luv. ” I asked.
“Me trick, didn’t like me touch. Said I didn’t know me business and wouldn’t pay. So I put me ‘ands in ‘is pocket and took what’s owed. ‘E gave me such a thump in me belly and boxed me ears and scarpered. I pissed me self and vomited me steak and kidney pud I ‘ad for supper and now ‘ere you are me sweet Liza. Yer a saint, yer are, and no denying. I’m saying a prayer for yer while I’m still on me knees, yer such a comfort to poor old Meg”.
I saw the two starved young’uns eyeing the barrow. Eyeing the barrow man’s every move. When ‘e was distracted by a customer they made their move. Scarpering past the barrow and scooping two apples. The barrow man ‘adn’t seen ’em, but some nosy git grabbed ’em by the neck and yelled thieves. They both frew the apples in ‘is face which made him let go as ‘e tried to shield ‘imself with his ‘ands. They took off. I saw ’em ten minutes later trying the same trick on the other side of Spitalfields. I ‘ad a whole shilling to me self, due to me good luck with a bloke feeling generous, so I went up to the barrow boy and bought two apples. A penny each. I took em over and ‘anded em to the kids. Save yerselfs the bovver I says. They snatched the apples from me ‘ands and said God Bless yer missus and scarpered.
I ‘adn’t seen Sally for a while so I fought I’d pay ‘er a visit. I knocked on ‘er door but there was no answer, so I went in. She was laying on ‘er bed looking proper poorly. A stink came from ‘er as she was layin in ‘er own fluids. She was feverish and tossin from side to side. I looked for some water, but there weren’t any. So I took the bucket down to the pump and filled it, eaving it back to Sally’s ‘ouse. I undressed ‘er and washed ‘er body. Luckily she ‘ad another shift to put on. I turned the mattress over and put on a dry sheet. I stayed with ‘er four days till the fever broke, caring for ‘er, washing ‘er face and forcing down sips of water. On the fourth day she smiled at me and said I fought yer were an Angel looking over me. I smiled back, stroked ‘er face and went ‘ome feeling done in.
I took to me bed, feeling a bit queer. Next fing I knew there was white light all around me. Some voice echoed ” welcome to ‘Eaven but yer work ain’t dun. I’m sending yer back as me Cockney Angel.”
So ‘ere I am back in the East End.
There goes Peg with her bottle of gin again. I whispered in ‘er ear. ” The babies crying Peg dear why don’t yer put the bottle dahn and see to ‘im. ” She paused, frowned and listened.