Commentary Part 2
When Pinkie and Rose return to Brighton, she spots Spicer's photograph in the kiosk window and recognizes him as the man that left the card. Pinkie's warnings have not worked. As far as she is concerned, he is on her side. She is a liability for what she knows and she is a liability for what she represents. Is there no escape?
Ida needs money for her investigation. She has staked all her money on 'Black Boy', a tip given to her just after the disappearance of Hale. She goes to the races, confident in her superstitious mind that Black Boy will win, a victory of right over wrong, a victory of vengeance. Pinkie goes also. The races are his battleground but the lines have not been drawn. On this occasion, Spicer is the enemy. '[Pinkie] couldn't get the suggestion of Spicer out of his mind; it was like an invisible power working against him: Spicer's stupidity, the photograph on the pier, that woman - who the hell was she? - asking questions... ' (100). Pinkie sees two liabilities: the girl and Spicer. Spicer has damned himself with his anxiety. His nervousness has betrayed Pinkie's confidence in him. Pinkie goes with him alone to the races. Cubbitt and Dallow are left behind. '"I didn't want them here today," the Boy said. "We've got something to do today that the mob are better out of. I'm going to make up with Colleoni. I wouldn't trust them." (101). In fact, it is Spicer that he doesn't trust and he has arranged for Colleoni's mob to kill him at the races. With school- boy cruelty, he gives Spicer a drink and offers him the chance to leave Brighton. Spicer endorses his trust, happily dreaming of his pub in Nottingham. He lays a bet on 'Memento Mori' which comes in second to 'Black Boy'. Spicer goes to collect his winnings and with a Judas-like friendly pat on the back , Pinkie betrays him to Colleoni's men.
Pinkie's plan backfires. Just as he betrays Spicer's trust, so does Colleoni betray his trust and the mob turn on the betrayer as well as the betrayed. He is cut and kicked but manages to run away, limping and bleeding. As he lies in a garage, hiding from his pursuers, he does not think of his salvation but of his humiliation. At first his pride is empty - he cannot bring himself to repent but only because it was his habit to resist - but as he nears the town and the knowledge that he will not die, he regains his youthful arrogance. 'On day - one day - he limped along the sand with his bleeding hand hidden, a young dictator. He was head of Kite's gang, this was temporary defeat.' (109).
He does not go home. He must clean himself up before Cubbitt and Dallow see him. He goes to Snow's where Rose washes the blood from his cuts and the dirt from his clothes. They hear Ida's raucous laughter in the restaurant. Rose is scared but not as scared as Pinkie is of Rose. He must conciliate her to keep her quiet about the identity of the man that left the card and the conciliation that she requires is love or at least the outward signs of love. He is disgusted even by the thought of kissing her and when she tells him that he is her first boyfriend his distaste turns to hate. She is not the girlfriend that a powerful man would have - he is her first boyfriend, the first ever to want her. '... he'd robbed nobody, he had no rival, no one else would look at her... ' (112). She, on the other hand, is happy to be with him, despite her Catholic upbringing and his shady background. She finds more comfort in him, a fellow Catholic - even one so irreligious as him - than in the pagan Ida with her worldly notions of right and wrong:
'"What does she know about us?... she doesn't know what a mortal sin is... Right and Wrong. That's what she talks about... Right and Wrong. As if she knew." She whispered with contempt, "Oh, she won't burn. She couldn't burn if she tried." She might have been discussing a damp Catherine wheel... "I'd rather burn with you than be like Her." Her immature voice stumbled on the word, "She's ignorant."' (113- 114).
Pinkie has got rid of one liability - Spicer - but with his death, the stakes are raised. It becomes even more important to keep Rose quiet. It is with dread - a dread of 'Saturday night movements' - that he decides to marry her for, as his wife, she cannot be called to give evidence against him in court. He tells Cubbitt who bellows with laughter at the news.
'The Boy sat silent, watching Cubbitt, listening to his laughter as if were the world's contempt... "You dog, you," Cubbitt said. "You're a young one at the game" The game: What did people mean by 'the game'? He knew everything in theory, nothing in practice; he was only old with the knowledge of other people's
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