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There were a number of doors going off all round the hall, and the thick red carpet he was standing on reached to the walls on all sides except where one door was deeply inset in an alcove and had a step down to it onlinecasinoitaliani.com.

He felt his mouth closing when he heard the rustle of a gown on the stairs and saw Charlotte Kean coming down towards him. Her face wore a worried expression. She said immediately, ‘My father has taken a turn for the worse, we are very concerned. Will you come this way?’

Without a word he followed her down the step and through the door that was set in the alcove and found himself in an office, but an office very different from the one in Tangard Street. The room in a way was a pattern of the hall, thick carpet, highly polished desk, the top strewn with papers and ledgers. There were paintings on all the walls except that which was taken up with two long windows over which the curtains had not been drawn.

He watched her turn up the gas light; the mantle, encased in its fancy globe gave out a soft light and set the room in a warm glow.

He couldn’t understand the feeling he was experiencing. He didn’t know whether it was envy, admiration, or respect, that kind of grudging respect the symbols of wealth evoke. He only knew that the feeling was making him feel all arms and legs.

‘Sit down, Mr Connor.’

This was the second time in one day she had invited him to be seated.

He hesitated to take the leather chair that she had proffered; instead, looking down at the bag he had placed on the desk, he opened it for her and took out a number of smaller bags and the two pocket ledgers, which he placed before her, saying, ‘I’ve counted everything, it’s in order.’

She glanced up at him, saying, ‘Thank you.’ Then with her hand she indicated the chair again. And now he sat down and watched her as she emptied each bag and counted the money, then checked it against the books.

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