Sabre, during this greatly troubled outpouring, had the feeling that this was all of a part with the calamitous news he had just had from Harkness,—a direct continuation of it. This frightful war! Was it going to attack even that pathetic little old woman at Puncher’s Farm with her fumbling hands and her frail existence centred solely in her son? He said, “I’m awfully sorry, Perch. Frightfully sorry for your mother and for you. You know best what you ought to do. I won’t say anything either way. I think a man’s only judge in this ghastly business is himself. Of course, I’ll help you. I’ll help you all I can. It’s a funny coincidence but I believe I do know just the very girl that would be what you want—”
Young Perch grasped his hand in delighted relief. “Oh, Sabre, if you do! I felt you would help. You’ve always been a chap to turn to!”
“I’ve turned to you, Perch, you and your mother, a good deal more than you might imagine. I’m glad to help if I can. The chance I’m thinking about I was hearing of only a few days ago. The works’ foreman in my office, an old chap called Bright. He’s got a daughter about eighteen or thereabouts, and I was hearing he wanted to get her into some kind of post like yours. I’ve spoken to her once or twice when she’s been about the place for her father and I took a tremendous fancy to her. She’s as pretty as a picture. Effie, she’s called. I believe your mother would take to her no end. And she’d just love your mother.”
Young Perch said rather thickly, “Any one would who takes her the right way.”
Sabre touched him encouragingly on the shoulder. “This girl Effie will if only we can get her. She’s that sort, I know. I’ll see about it at once. Buck up, old man.”
“Thanks most frightfully, Sabre. Thanks most awfully.”
It was from Twyning that Sabre had heard that a post of some sort was being considered for Effie Bright. Her father, as he had told young Perch, was works’ foreman at Fortune, East and Sabre’s. “Mr. Bright.” A massive old man with a massive, rather striking face hewn beneath a bald dome and thickly grown all about and down the throat with stiff white hair. He had been in the firm as long as Mr. Fortune himself and appeared to Sabre, who had little to do with him, to take orders from nobody. He was intensely religious and he had the deep-set and extraordinarily penetrating eyes that frequently denote the religious zealot. He was not liked by the hands. They called him Moses, disliked his intense religiosity and feared the cold and heavy manner that he had. He trod heavily about the workshops, looking into the eyes of the young men as if far more concerned to search their souls than their benches; and Sabre, when speaking to him, always had the feeling that Mr. Bright was penetrating him with the same intention.