By N. Upson
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Extra resources for Angel with Two Faces
He knew he should go back in, but another few minutes of air might clear his head and give him the confidence to face everyone again. What would his life have been like, he wondered, if he had never been shown an alternative path to the one that was expected of him? Easier, certainly, especially in those early days. His parents had always assumed that he would work on the farm like his brothers; when he finally plucked up the courage to talk to them about his future, they greeted his intention to enter the Church with a mixture of consternation and pain.
As the mourners gathered by the grave, Archie noticed several of them glance instinctively towards their own dead in different parts of the churchyard, remembering other funerals and other losses. Christopher and his father threaded strips of webbing efficiently under the coffin, ready to lower it gently into the grave. ’ Archie wondered how many of the people gathered here actually took any comfort from those familiar words. For him, there was a much greater resonance in the sound of a handful of earth hitting the coffin of a man who would never see thirty.
The other bearers found seats that had been saved for them, and Archie slipped into the front pew next to his cousins and his uncle William. ‘Nice catch,’ whispered Ronnie, while her elder sister, Lettice, leaned over to give his arm a reassuring squeeze. By now, the Reverend Motley was in full flow from the pulpit, and the words of the thirty-ninth psalm drifted over Archie’s head as he glanced round the church. It must have been two years or more since he had last been in here, but he was sure it had not seemed as neglected and depressing back then.
Angel with Two Faces by N. Upson