Within the last few chapters, Frank McCourt has been infected with two major diseases:
a febrile, infectious disease caused by the bacillus Corynebacterium diphtheria, and characterized by the formation of a false membrane in the air passages, esp. the throat.
inflammation of the conjunctiva of the eye
In the beginning of chapter nine, things are starting to look good for the McCourts. He has an opportunity for a job in England at a factory in Coventry. "Kathleen O'Connell at the shop knows Dad is off to England and money will be flowing back so she's happy to let Mam have credit for tea, milk, sugar, bread, butter, and an egg" (219). The family thinks they will have money to buy a lot of food, new shoes, and warm clothes. Until the time when they are supposed to receive the pay check it was all going well, but they didn't receive it. I am making a prediction that the dad spent it on alcohol. "You don't know what to do with yourself when the first telegram doesn't come" (224).