“Henry, what brings you here?” The smile vanished from Henry’s face, “He’s not here is he?” A crooked smile passed over Archie’s face, “No.” Henry sighed, “Capital. I wish you wouldn’t scare me like that.” Archie smirked leaning up against a bookcase, “So, why are you here?” “Oh,” the man took a drag from his cigar, “I was in the neighbourhood,” and as if he had forgotten Regan was there he turned towards her, “My lady, I believe Mr. Gant has been remiss—we have not been acquainted yet, Lord Roseden at your service.” “Regan Ware.” “Forgive Archie’s poor hospitality Miss Ware.” A stiff voice cut off Regan’s reply, “It is my nephew’s poor manners that you must forgive,” and all three turned towards the origin. A portly, elderly-looking man hobbled in, leaning on his cane heavily. His silver hair was drawn back into a queue, his fur lined coat draped over his shoulders. Regan noticed how the others stiffened visibly on seeing him. Archie –the man she had talked to about the job- went forward after his initial vacillation, and was the first to speak, “Can I get you anything Mister Temple?” The man eyed him, with a crooked smile, “A new knee would be nice.” The young man’s face was clouded with uncertainty. “Sir?” “Oh, come now, Archibald, can’t you take a joke?” When the young man did not answer, he let out a breath, “Oh, never mind.” Then he wheeled on Henry who was still seated, frozen, at the desk. “Henry, my tolerance for you smoking my cigars is wearing thin. Don’t test me further. Though I imagine you’re quite thrilled about this business.” He made a gesture towards his knee. His castigation broke Henry out of his stupor, and within seconds he had put out the cigar, and evacuated his position. Regan bit her lip to keep from laughing as the change in his demeanour.
Yeah, I suppose starving orphans are cute and all, except that this little starving orphan is inherently, unrealistically good; his values are never subverted by brutality in the orphanage or the coerced involvement into thievery. Sue—oh Sue, when will we see the death of you? Thus a potentially cute, loveable boy morphs into one of the most annoying twits the other side of the Atlantic.
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