BOOK REVIEW - D H LAWRENCE - STRIKE PAY
The third and final story in the Miner’s Strike set (folowing The Miner At Home & Her Turn) again shows the effects of the 1912 strikes on a proud Midlands mining community. It is payday Saturday and the men gather in the square to receive their pay from the union shop steward who pays out from a street-by-street register. The men receive more money if they have more children to feed, so men with lots of children receive some adulation from the men with less kids. There is an air of good-natured humour and bonding among the men. Their money received, four men decide to walk nine miles over the moors to see a football Match as Notts County are playing at home. They make an abortive and foolish attempt to release the pit ponies from captivity, before moving on again. It is the one reminder of their contempt for their pit bosses. Near the football ground, one man discovers in some distress that he has dropped his strike pay somewhere on the moors. He has no money left. His friends club together to give him some share of their money, and they go to see the game.
In good spirits due to the victory by his team, and the support he received from his friends when he lost his own money, the main hero is shocked when he sees a navvy die in a horrific accident when a cart tips over burying him and his horse in mud. The horse is rescued but he is not. The witness now goes home to face his own peril, in having to explain to his Mother In Law landlady that he now has no money. He was not even supposed to go to the match, but had been expected to come right home. The battle-axe Mother In Law threatens him with eviction, but when she goes to bed and he meets with his wife, she is much more tender and forgiving to him. The trilogy overall shows a lovely insight into human nature, packing as much action and detail in as many novels achieve. Arthur Chappell