It’s bad enough. I wish it hadn’t happened.
It might have been worse. It might have been Aunt Martha.
I’d sooner it had been her than poor little Jane.
If it had been Aunt Martha’s photograph she’d have walked in next day and seen it for certain; I know Aunt Martha. Then there’d have been trouble.
But, John, how could she have known?
I don’t know, but she would have; it’s a kind of devilish sense she has.
What’s the matter?
John! What a dreadful word you used.
And on a Sunday too! Really!
O, I’m sorry. It slipped out somehow.
I’m very sorry.
There’s a gentleman to see you, sir, which isn’t, properly speaking, a gentleman at all. Not what I should call one, that is, like.
Not a gentleman! Good gracious, Liza!
Whatever do you mean?
O . . . yes, that would be Ali. A queer old customer, Mary; perfectly harmless. Our firm gets hundreds of carpets through him; and then one day . . .
But what is he doing here, John?
Well, one day he turned up in London; broke, he said; and wanted the firm to give him a little cash. Well, old Briggs was for giving him ten shillings. But I said “here’s a man that’s helped us in making thousands of pounds. Let’s give him fifty.”
Yes, it seems a lot; but it seemed only fair. Ten shillings would have been an insult to the old fellow, and he’d have taken it as such. You don’t know what he’d have done.
Well, he doesn’t want more?
No, I expect he’s come to thank me. He seemed pretty keen on getting some cash. Badly broke, you see. Don’t know what he was doing in London. Never can tell with these fellows. East is East, and there’s an end of it.