The address of Fortune, East and Sabre was emphatically a good address because its business was with the Church and for the Church; with colleges, universities and schools and for colleges, universities and schools; with bishops, priests and clergy, churchwardens, headmasters, headmistresses, governors and bursars, and for bishops, priests and clergy, churchwardens, headmasters, headmistresses, governors and bursars.
Its address was The Precincts,—Fortune, East and Sabre, The Precincts, Tidborough.
The Precincts has a discreet and beautiful sound, a discreet and beautiful suggestiveness. High Street, Tidborough, or Cheapside, Tidborough, or Commercial Street, Tidborough, have only to be compared with The Precincts, Tidborough, to establish the discretion and beauty of the situation of the firm. And the names of the firm were equally euphonious and equally suggestive of high decorum and cultured efficiency. Fortune, East and Sabre had a discreet and beautiful sound. Finally Tidborough, the last line of the poem, though not in itself either discreet or beautiful, being intensely busy, suggested to all the cultured persons from bishops to bursars, with whom business was done, the discreet and beautiful lines of Tidborough Cathedral and of Tidborough School, together with all that these venerable and famous institutions connoted. Not Winchester itself conveys to the cultured mind thoughts more discreet and beautiful than are conveyed by Tidborough. The care of the cathedral, for many years in a highly delicate state of health, and the care of the school, yearly ravaged by successive generations of the sons of those who could afford to educate their sons there were, it may be mentioned, established sources of income to the firm.
Thus the whole style and title of the firm had a discreet and beautiful sound, in admirable keeping with its business. Fortune, East and Sabre, The Precincts, Tidborough. Was any one so utterly removed from affairs as not to know them as ecclesiastical furnishers? “They’re at Tidborough. They do Tidborough” (meaning the world-famous cathedral). Or as scholastic providers? “They’re at Tidborough. They do Tidborough” (meaning the empire-famous school).
The frontage of Fortune, East and Sabre on The Precincts consisted of a range of three double-fronted shops. The central shop gave one window to a superb lectern in the style of a brass eagle whose outstretched wings supported a magnificent Bible; to a richly embroidered altar cloth on which stood a strikingly handsome set of communion plate; to a font chastely carried out in marble; to an altar chair in oak and velvet that few less than a suffragan bishop would have dared take seat in; and to an example or two of highest art in needlework and embroidery in the form of offertory bags and testament markers. The other window of the central shop was a lesson to the profane in the beauty, the dignity and the variety of vestments. It also informed rural choirboys, haply in Tidborough on a treat, what surplices can be like if the funds and the faith are sufficiently high to support them.