Car 3

Miss Beryl Barber

Outward appearance

Round faced black woman. Spectacles perched on end of her nose. Both feet in a contained parallel. Reading a course text, World Peace and Social Change.

Inside information

At 27 Beryl is many years younger than she looks. Running the family for her mother has left her matronly. Still living with her mother and father, unmarried, a devoted Aunty. Works for her overbearing cousin in a theatrical costumiers off Bayliss.

What she is doing or thinking

The book is for her evening course at Merely College. It is divided into units not chapters. Beryl hopes that the course, about the history of modern Britain, will help her to understand the people better, why they are as they are. She hopes for that even though the course, and particularly this book, deeply bore her.

Roused by a squall of laughter from the man next to her, she looks in time to see some poor man who has sat on an old lady, stand up, hit his head, and sit on someone else. The old lady just laughs, shaking her head. The man he sits on scuttles away, so timid to be sat on first thing in the morning. A pretty girl opens her mouth wide. They all laugh.

Beryl lets the book settle down and laughs too. The man next to her doubles up, like he's done himself a damage.

She wishes she understood. They are all mad. They all enjoy themselves. Underneath everything, the place has as much life in it as home.

Who needs history? She prepares to get off at Waterloo.

Previous passenger
Next passenger
Car 3 map
Journey Planner