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‘Yes, I’m aware of that, but as I understand it it takes more than reading to get an insight into such trades; the workings of them go deeper than books onlinecasinoitaliani.com.’

‘The workings might, but I would leave the workings to managers and men, of course.’

He shrugged his shoulders slightly and smiled as he said, ‘Well, I won’t say you know best, but what I will say is, you’ll do what you want in the long run.’

That he could speak to her in this fashion was evidence of how far they had travelled in their association over the past year. He now rarely used the term miss, and although from time to time she would call him Mr Connor, it was usually done when in the presence of servants; at other times she addressed him without using his name at all.

Whatever her servants thought of the situation they treated their mistress’s new manager with respect, even deference, which at one time would have amused him. At one time, too, such subservient attitudes would have given him material for mimicry and a big joke in the kitchen; in fact, his association with Miss Charlotte Kean would have been one big joke. At one time, but not now. Anyway, Sundays were different now. He did not always visit the cottage on a Sunday, he went up only on Jimmy’s urging. He did not ask himself why he had turned against the Sunday gatherings, but he knew that the general opinion was he had become too big for his boots. And that could very well be near the truth, for he admitted to himself that the more he saw of the Westoe side of life the less he liked that in which he had been brought up.

He had, on this day, gone through a mental battle which left him thinking he didn’t know which end of him was up. It was the anniversary of Janie’s death, and there was no fierce ache left in him, and he felt there should be. He should, in some way, have held a sort of memorial service, at least within himself, but what had he done? Gone up to Newcastle, walked blithely by his employees side as she paraded around a foundry, sat with her at a meal, which she called lunch, at the Royal Exchange Hotel; then had waited like a docile husband while she went shopping in Bainbridge’s. He had sauntered with her through the Haymarket, where they had stopped and examined almost every article in the ironmongery store. Then she had said they would go to the Assembly Rooms and he wondered what her object was, until, standing outside, she looked at the building and said almost sadly, ‘My mother once danced in there. She often told me about it. It was the highlight of her life; she was taken there by a gentleman—and they danced the whole evening through.’

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Markus Weber

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