Join date: Jun 14, 2022


He watched her as she sat back in the corner of the couch. She made a movement with her legs and for a moment he thought that she was actually going to cross them. But what she did was cross her feet, and as she did so her black skirt rode above her ankles and he saw the bones pressing through what must have been silk stockings . . . She certainly looked after herself in the way of dress did this one. She was in mourning but her mourning was silk.

‘I will come to the point, Mr Connor. I have a proposition to make to you.’

‘A proposition?’ His eyes widened slightly

‘I don’t know whether you are aware that property dealing was only one of my father’s interests.’ She did not wait for him to comment on this but went on, ‘Among other things, he had interests in a number of growing concerns and, since my grandfather died, other small businesses have come into the family. Do you know the Wrighton Tallow Works?’

‘I’ve heard of them.’

‘Well, my grandfather owned the works and naturally they fell to my father, and unfortunately, I say unfortunately, because of the loss of my father they are now my concern . . . How far have you advanced in book-keeping Mr Connor?’

‘Advanced?’ He blinked at her. ‘What . . . what do you rightly mean, miss?’

‘What I mean is, have you studied any further than that which is required to tot up rent accounts? Have you thought of your own advancement in this line, such as that of becoming a fully fledged clerk in a bank, or to a solicitor, say?’

‘No, miss.’ The answer was curt, his tone cold. ‘The opportunities didn’t provide themselves.’ He knew too late that he should have said present, not provide.

‘Opportunities are there for the taking, Mr Connor. This town offers great opportunities to those who are willing to take advantage of them. It isn’t only the shipyards and the boat builders and such who offer apprenticeships in particular crafts; there are the arts.’

The arts! He narrowed his eyes at her. What was she getting at? Was she having him on, trying to get a bit of amusement out of him? The arts! Why didn’t she come to the point?



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