"Nobody's Child" Cassie is an eleven year old girl who has been in a children's home since she was four years old. Very bright, Cassie excels in most subjects and can play Brahms and Mozart on the piano at the age of only six. Because of her age nobody wants to adopt her. Mrs Cummings the manager of Auton House is a wicked woman who treats Cassie and the rest in her charge badly and beats her with regularity. One day she is sent to clean out the toilet and bathroom and Mrs Cummings comes along to inspect them. Running a white glove over everything and looking for dirt. When she doesn't find any she then reaches up on the door - Cassie is only three feet six inches tall and was unable to reach up to the top of the door and Mrs Cummings sets about her with a cane. She beats her so badly that Cassie runs at her forcing her back where she hits her head on a wash basin. Cassie in her panic rushes out and runs away.- It is there that she meets Don a ex docker who takes pity on the girl - rea


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“Well you will be happy in Shields we are real canny folk around here.’

“I know I’m finding that out already.’

“Well come again pet.’ An diven’t be so shy.’

“How much is that she asked?’

“Giz a bob and I’ll call it quits.

“Thank you so much.’

“Nae bother youngun’ see you next time.’

Cassie walked down the street with the parcel of fish and chips and began to eat them she headed back to her camp with he blanket and carrier bag with her clean clothes and smalls inside. It was now spitting on to rain and she knew it would be hard to start a fire so she went into a grocers store and bought a box of matches.

“I hope these are for your mother mind said the lady who served her.’

“Could I have a bottle of Villa Lemonade as well please?’

“I’ll put them in a bag for you, here give me that blanket that you have there I’ll pop that inside as well; it will make it easier for you to carry.’

“Thank you.’

“Ho much will that be?’

“One and five pence love.’

The woman refolded the blanket then slid it inside the bag then placed the bottle inside. “There now you have less chance of smashing it on your way home.

“Have you got far to go then love?’

“No just to Clive Street.’

 “Mind how you go then.’

“I will.’

Cassie turned for the door.’

“Here lass you forgot your matches.’

Cassie came back and picked up the matches then placed them into her pocket.

She gave the woman a smile as she left the shop.

Cassie followed the same route as she had done the night before. She was careful to watch in case anyone saw her climb through the gap in the wire fence then hurried along to her camp. When she got there some boys were playing further on. so she hid in the bushes The boys were throwing stones into the river until they were spotted by some men returning to the dock and chased. The two men climbed over the wall with a haversack. The clink of bottles could be heard as one man grabbed the bag.

“Divent drop them Bobby, there’s six bottle of broon ale in there an we’ll ha nowt to drink the neet.’

It was a well known fact that many dock workers slipped out to get fish and chips or even go for a pint whilst their mates covered for them. Some men never returned after clocking in and got their mates to clock out for them. Those working through the night knew how to make a job last and the gaffers turned a blind eye as long as the work was done on time. Some of the gaffers were actually in on it and got a few bottles of beer to keep their mouths shut. They weren’t bothered; the work got done and they got free beer. The lads knew how to get their heads down for an hour or two. As well; some of them would go straight to the Crane outside the dock gates where the land lord would serve them with beer at 6am in the morning. They never worried about the police because most of them were their best customers. They would pop in for a quick pint whilst they were on duty. Where ever there was money to be made the Crane was the place to be and was a real den of iniquity, thieves, and fences and even some of the local coppers were in on the deals that went on in that pub as stolen goods were bought and sold. Once the boys had run away Cassie came out of the bushes. 

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