Oily rags covered her toes and loose leather straps ran around her heels. A hint of blood seemed to darken each step she took through the falling snow.
“Hav ye ah pence, kind sir?” Her weak voice trailed off into the night as the busy street came alive with the evening traffic. A single coin flew through the air. Not far from where she stood a streetlight became illumined by the flame of a street-lamp lighter.
He looked over his soiled half glasses. “Hilda, get ye to da church door before a Bobbi sees ya.”
A handsome coach passed, splashing icy water across the boardwalk. “My dear and precious Jesus, take me home now.”
“Don’t ye be blubberen out here Hildy, go on now, I’ve warned ya.”
She slapped at her damp legs. “Would be better in da constable’s room than on tha church steps. Least dey give me a slice of moldy bread.”
“Yud be noth’n but a veldt crow scratching for crumbs you wud.”
A cab approached and Hilda jumped toward a stone-faced building. “This’ll do.” She sat her satchel on the step.
“Suit yerself, I’ve lamps to light.” The street-lamp lighter pulled his collar up and disappeared in the falling snow.
“Beg yer pardon, mum,” a tiny voice cried beneath her. “Hav ye a penny for me sister and me soup?”
Hilda dug into her satchel and found the single penny in the bottom of her ragged bag.