The florist’s young brother likes a night at the dogs. He follows his fancy and bets on a hound, hands his fiver over, lucre destined for loss. The bookie’s lust for ladies is very well known and on late summer nights he pays for delights. His fiver goes far, gets him kisses, on top.
The tart with a heart handles money more wisely. Five quid feeds her bairns every day for a week, though the need to go and hustle makes her widow’s eyes weep. The canny grocer, likes her, gives her extra cheese. In truth he’d like to wed her, take her off the streets. Sadly, he knows the local worthies would beat a retreat and boycott his business by voting with their feet.
The cook from the Big House comes to purchase for her boss, and the fiver goes back with her, to the coffers of the rich. Her Master owns the colliery, lock, stock and barrel and pays the miners’ pittances for shifts of dangerous toil. At Sunday service, the owner ostentatiously donates, places his worn fiver on the brass collection plate.
Next month, Master’s share price has plunged right down, so he docks his men’s wages by a mere half-a-crown. He thinks they won’t notice, or kick up a fuss, ‘After all, it’s loose change to workers like us.’ The loss ripples outwards, into every home, except for the Big House where Master eats prime steak alone.
No money for ale to quench a pitman’s thirst. No flowers to mark another death; a man killed by coal dust who suffered his last breath. No betting nor whoring, no food for hungry bairns, the struggling grocer’s takings slide perilously down.
Yet somehow, on Sunday, another fiver’s found, to show the Master’s godliness, to the people of his town.