If Winter Comes eBook

Arthur Stuart-Menteth Hutchinson
This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 343 pages of information about If Winter Comes.

“Yes—­partly.  Well, look here, sir, it’s been a pretty good time, hasn’t it?  I mean since you spoke of it.”

Mr. Fortune tugged strongly at his watch by its gold chain and looked at the watch rather as though he expected to see the extent of the good time there recorded.  He forced it back with both hands rather as though it had failed of this duty and was being crammed away in disgrace.  “I am expecting Canon Toomuch.”  He hit the watch, cowering (as one might suppose) in his pocket.  “You know, my dear Sabre, I do think this is a little odd.  A little unusual.  You cannot bounce into a partnership, Sabre.  I know your manner.  I know your manner well.  Oblige me by not fiddling with that paper knife.  Thank you.  And I make allowances for your manner.  But believe me a partnership is not to be bounced into.  You give me the impression—­I do not say you mean it, I say you give it—­of suddenly and without due cause or just im—­just opportunity, trying to bounce me into taking you into partnership.  I most emphatically am not to be bounced, Sabre.  I never have been bounced and you may quite safely take it from me that I never propose or intend to be bounced.”

Sabre thought, “Well, it would take a steam crane to bounce you, anyway.”  He said.  “I hadn’t the faintest intention of doing any such thing.  If I made you think so, I’m sorry.  I simply wanted to ask if you have changed your mind, and if so why.  I mean, whether I have given you any cause for dissatisfaction since you prom—­since you first mentioned it to me.”

Mr. Fortune’s whale-like front had laboured with some agitation during his repudiation of liability to being bounced.  It now resumed its normal dignity.  “You certainly have not, Sabre.  No cause for dissatisfaction.  On the contrary.  You know quite well that there are certain characteristics of yours of which, constituted as I am, I do not approve.  I really must beg of you not to fiddle with those scissors.  Thank you.  But they are, happily, quite apart from your work.  I do not permit them to influence my opinion of you by one jot or tittle.  You may entirely reassure yourself.  May I inquire why you should have supposed I had changed my mind?”

“Because I’ve just heard that you’ve told Twyning you’re going to take him into partnership.”

The whale-like front gave a sudden leap and quiver precisely as if it had been struck by a cricket ball.  Mr. Fortune’s voice hardened very remarkably.  “As to that, I will permit myself two remarks.  In the first place, I consider it highly reprehensible of Twyning to have communicated this to you—­”

Sabre broke in.  “Well, he didn’t.  I’d like you to be quite clear on that point, if you don’t mind.  Twyning didn’t tell me.  It came out quite indirectly in the course of something I was saying to him.  I doubt if he knows that I know even.  I inferred it.  It seems I inferred correctly.”

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If Winter Comes from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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