Saturday, June 03, 2006
... the young men were waiting, a bunched group, heads down in the wind.
"Well, Vincent?" they said; and he stopped, and stopped singing.
They hit him in turn, beat him down to his knees, beat him bloodily down in the snow. They beat and kicked him for the sake of themselves, as he lay there face down, groaning. Then they ripped off his coat, emptied his pockets, threw him over a wall, and left him. He was insensible now from his wounds and the drink; the storm blew all night across him. He didn't stir again from the place where he lay; and in the morning he was frozen to death.
But the young men who had gathered in that winter ambush continued to live amongst us. I saw them often about the village: simple jokers, hard working, mild - the solid heads of families. They were not treated as outcasts, nor did they appear to live under any special stain. They belonged to the village and the village looked after them.
from "Cider with Rosie" (1959)
by Laurie Lee (1914-1997)