When Rachel, to please him and prove her subjugation, had suggested that they should go to church "for the Easter morning service" he had concurred, knowing, nevertheless, that he dared not fail to meet Horrocleave at the works. On the whole, though it gave him a shock, he was relieved that Horrocleave had sent the post-card and that Rachel had seen it.
The next instant he walked away, and Louis heard him at the cloak-room counter barking the one word, "Mackintosh." Louis understood, only too completely. During his absence from the works Horrocleave had amused himself by critically examining the old petty-cash book. That was all, and it was enough. Good-bye to romance, to adventure, to the freedom of the larger world!
On any ordinary Saturday morning Louis by a fine frigidity would have tried to show to the obtuse Axon that he resented such demeanour towards himself on the part of an Axon, assuming as it did that the art-director of the works was one of the servile crew that scuttled about in terror if the ferocious Horrocleave happened to sneeze.
He lived on his means for a little time, frequenting the Municipal School of Art at the Wedgwood Institution at Bursley, and then old Batchgrew had casually suggested to Mrs. Maldon that there ought to be an opening for him with Jim Horrocleave, who was understood to be succeeding with his patent special processes for earthenware manufacture. Mr.
And now Louis was the step-nephew of a Lieutenant-General, a man of private means and of talent, and a trusted employee with a fine wage all under one skin! He shone in Bursley, and no wonder! He was very active at Horrocleave's. He not only designed shapes for vases, and talked intimately with Jim Horrocleave about fresh projects, but he controlled the petty cash.
Hence he abandoned regretfully the notion of confession, as a beautifully impossible dream. But righteousness was not thereby entirely denied to him; his thirst for it could still be assuaged by the device of an oath to repay secretly to Horrocleave every penny that he had stolen from Horrocleave, which oath he took and felt better and worthier of Rachel.
Horrocleave had already nearly eaten an old man alive for the sin of asking whether he had hurt himself! And he had not hurt himself because two days previously he had ferociously stopped the odd-man of the works from wasting his time in mending just that identical stair, and had asserted that the stair was in excellent condition.
Louis looked through the fretted partition at the figure of Krupp alone in the lounge. And Horrocleave also looked at Krupp. And Krupp looked back with his enigmatic gaze, perhaps scornful, perhaps indifferent, perhaps secretly appreciative but in any case profoundly foreign and aloof and sinister. "Well " Louis began at a disadvantage. "Who says I'm off to America?"
Art Lustre Ware." And the envelopes and paper and bill-heads on the desk all bore the same legend: "Horrocleave. Art Lustre Ware." He owed seventy-three pounds to the petty-cash box, and he was startled and shocked.
Once more, it was the consciousness of a loose, entirely available two hundred and twenty-five pounds that was making him restive under the yoke of regular employment. For a row of pins, that morning, he would have given Jim Horrocleave a week's notice, or even the amount of a week's wages in lieu of notice! Rachel sighed, but within herself.