She was looking down at her hands now where they were joined on her lap, her fingers making stroking movements between the knuckles. You see, I . . . I want to talk to you this evening about onlinecasinoitaliani.com. about something important, if you can afford me the time after dinner. Which reminds me. Would you mind ringing the bell, please?
He rose slowly to his feet and pulled the bell by the side of the fireplace, and they didn t speak until the maid appeared; then she said, Mr Connor will be staying for dinner, Jessie. How long will it be?
Well . . . well, it s ready now, miss, but —The girl cast a glance in Rory s direction, then added, Say five minutes time, miss?
Very well, Jessie, thank you.
When the door was closed on the maid, she said, I have never seen you smoke, do you smoke?
Yes. I have a draw at nights.
My father never smoked. I like the smell of tobacco. About . . . about your Christian name. What does the R stand for . . . Robert?
Roar-y. What is it short for?
Nothin that I know of. I was christened Rory.
Roar-y. She mouthed the word, then said, I like it. My name, as you know, is Charlotte. My father once said it was a very suitable name for me. Her head drooped again, he was an unkind man, a nasty man, a mean nasty man.
He could say nothing to this. He was so amazed at her frankness he just sat staring at her, until she said, Would you care to go upstairs and wash? He blinked rapidly, swallowed, wetted his lips, and as he drew himself up from the chair answered, Yes. Yes, thank you.
She did not rise from the couch but looked up at him. The bathroom is the third door on the right of the landing.