Sabre had been promised full partnership by Mr. Fortune. He desired it very greatly. The apportionment of duties in the establishment was that Sabre managed the publishing department. Twyning supervised the factory and workshops wherein the ecclesiastical and scholastic furniture was produced, and Fortune supervised his two principals and every least employee and smallest detail of all the business. Particularly orders. He very strongly objected to clients dealing directly with either Sabre or Twyning. His view was that it was the business of Sabre and of Twyning to produce the firm’s commodities. It was his place to sell them. It was his place, to deal with clients who came to buy them, and it was his place to sign all letters that went out concerning them.
Sabre, in so far as his publications were concerned, resented this.
“If I bring out a new textbook,” he had said on the occasion of a formal protest, “it stands to reason that I am the person to interest clients in it; to discuss it with them if they call and to correspond with those who take up our notices of it.”
Mr. Fortune wheeled about his revolving chair by a familiar trick of his right leg against his desk. It presented his whale-like front to impressive advantage. “You do correspond with them.”
“But you sign the letters. You frequently make alterations.”
“That is what I am here for. They are my letters. It will be time to bring up this matter again when you are admitted to partnership.”
Sabre gave the short laugh of one who has heard a good thing before. “When will that be?”
“Well, all I can say is—”
Mr. Fortune raised a whale-like but elegantly white fin. “Enough, I have decided.”
With the same clever motion of his feet he spun his chair and his whale-like front to the table. A worn patch on the carpet and an abraised patch on the side of the desk marked the frequent daily use of these thrusting points.
Sabre kicked out of the room, using a foot to open the door, which stood ajar, and hooking back a foot to shut it, because he knew that this slovenly method of dealing with a door much annoyed Mr. Fortune.
He was not in the least in awe of Mr. Fortune, though Mr. Fortune had power to sever him from the firm. Mr. Fortune was aware that he struck no awe into Sabre, and this caused him on the one hand to dislike Sabre, and on the other (subconsciously, for he would emphatically have denied it) to respect him.
Twyning, Sabre’s fellow sub-principal, did stand in awe of Mr. Fortune and did not resent having his letters signed for him and his callers interviewed for him. Indeed he frequently took opportunity to thank Mr. Fortune for alterations made in his letters and for dealings carried out with his clients, also for direct interference in his workshops. Mr. Fortune liked Twyning, but he did not respect Twyning, consciously or subconsciously.