"Murder will out"

This phrase has been proverbial since at least the late 14th century – Chaucer uses it in the ‘Nun’s Priest’s Tale’. It is linked to the superstition that a murder victim will reveal the identity of the killer by issuing fresh blood if he or she is close by. Hogg makes use of this folk belief by having George’s body continue to bleed even after his wounds have been treated, “so that when he was laid in the coffin he was like one newly murdered” (p. 99).