The Money Lender’s Ledger


The Friday night before my nineteenth birthday Mrs. Finucane sends me for the sherry. When I return she is dead in the chair, her eyes wide open, and her purse on the floor wide open. I can’t look at her but I help myself to a roll of money. I take the key to the trunk upstairs. I take forty of the hundred pounds in the trunk and the ledger. I’ll add this to what I have in the post office and I have enough to go to America. On my way out I take the sherry bottle to save it from being wasted.

I sit by the River Shannon near the dry docks sipping Mrs. Finucane’s sherry. Aunt Aggie’s name is in the ledger. She owes nine pounds. It might have been the money she spent on my clothes a long time ago but now she’ll never have to pay it because I heave the ledger into the river. I’m sorry I wrote threatening letters to the poor people in the lanes of Lamerick, my own people, but the ledger is gone, no one will ever know what they owe and they won’t have to pay their balances.

From Angela’s Ashes by Frank McCourt

“As far as the east is from the west, so far hath he removed
our transgressions from us.”
 Psalm 103:12

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