His mother’s house? No. His wife’s house. Ex-wife’s. And, in response to Irene’s stony stare: She’s a barrister, he’s a musician. So when the marriage came to an end, he couldn’t afford a place. And he didn’t want to leave his kids. So there he is. It all works very well. Does it indeed? said Irene. Did you ever hear of such a thing? Marriage came to an end. (She said this in phoney English accent.) My my. Modern times, eh? I was quiet for a bit, and Irene said, My Donald was married. Aye. Did your mother never tell you? No. Aye, well. That’s your mother for you. Scarlet Auntie Irene, eh? But I couldn’t remember my mother mentioning Irene at all. Then Irene put on the racing and we both watched it while the baby sucked. There was a horse called Bit-on-the-Side and Irene kept saying: My money’s on that one. Eh? What do you say? Let’s bet the house. Eh? Eh? I fell asleep in the end. Irene left me three cheese scones, their tops shiny with egg. Night time. I was emailing John. He was on tour, but he wrote to me every evening, lovely encouraging messages. Irene appeared, in her quilted nylon dressing gown. Here ye are, lassie, she said. It was a tumbler of whisky, no ice. She was clutching one herself, dark as treacle in her horny hand. I was just a slip of a thing when I met Donald, she said. I was the Saturday girl in his shop. What sort of shop? Shoes. Och, you remember. A grand big shop. Sauchiehall Street. I did remember: plate glass, fold-up ladders, a smell of leather and mahogany. Irene worked there till she retired. Uncle Donald had polished Oxfords and a shining bald head. Did you take me, I said, to the Kibble Palace? Because I could see those shoes against the marble edging in the hothouse. There was a tiny creeping plant and a little black-and-white laminated sign saying Mind Your Own Business. Funny. A funny name.
The benefit of historic hindsight, however, unearths developments that point if not to the inevitability of the Revolution at least to ways of understanding how it came about. Hyderabad Subway Map Most colonists worked as farmers and many owned their land, which granted white male colonists a measure of economic and political independence unknown in England. Whereas only a very small minority of Britons could vote, fairly widespread colonial property ownership meant that a large percentage of Country’s white male population enjoyed suffrage. Thus, many male colonists had a hand in determining the makeup of the representative local assemblies that made laws and levied taxes. As a result, white male colonists held different assumptions about local government and enjoyed a more direct relationship to it than did their contemporaries across the Atlantic. Prior to 1763, the political meaning of membership in the British Empire remained largely symbolic in the colonies. Most colonists could go for years without encountering an imperial officer. In addition, appointed royal governors held very little ruling power, as they were often beholden to the will of the colonial legislature. And while the king held the right to veto any colonial law, he rarely, if ever, did so. Local governments maintained control over taxation, and weak, often very inefficient imperial officers enforced the few customs duties and trade regulations that governed colonial economic life.
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