The Business Man
I, of course, was engrossed at this time with my own plunge into the world of commerce. Mamma, although not very pleased, was resigned to my joining Dadda in the business. She took me along to Lewis’s, and had me measured for a couple of suits of eminent respectability and mature cut. To these she added a good supply of sober shirts, ties, socks and gloves, an umbrella and a bowler hat; it was her last blow for refinement. I never wore the bowler except on one later occasion. But even without that item, the outfit provided Anna with a source for much sarcastic wit.
She named me the Business Man. When we both happened to be in together for the evening meal, she would inquire gravely: ‘How was business to-day? The widows and orphans safely transported to the workhouse?’ Or she would look at me thoughtfully and say: ‘Very impressive. I predict a great future for you if you can only find the right niche. What about the white-slave traffic?’
The remarks are trivial enough, but at the time they made me sad and unhappy, and as near to being furious as I ever could be.