palm, ‘they are difficult things, what with their dampers and traps. They are like organs, only to be played upon by one who understands the stops. And where will you find a cook who understands a range? When she wants to bake she pulls out both the dampers, one of which is designed to draw the fire away from the oven to the boiler; and when she wants to boil, she pulls out both dampers, one of which is designed to draw away the fire from the boiler. And when she wants neither to bake nor to boil, she pulls out both dampers, and carries the fire up the chimney, which is just the same as if an organist pulled out stop diapason and hautboy when he wanted pianissimo; and tremolo and dulciano when he wanted forte; and diapason, hautboy, tremolo and dulciano when he wanted nothing in particular. Come here, Joanna.’ He made her follow into his sanctum. ‘We must have a clearance here. It is a loss, but it cannot be helped. Do you see all those shelves full of chemist’s drugs? I took the lot once for a bad debt, but I’ve never been able to sell them. Ipecacuanha, cod-liver and castor oils, extract of senna, mercurial ointment, tincture of taraxacum, arnica, laudanum. There is enough there to dose the Barbican.’
‘What, am I to throw them all away?’
‘Yes, unless you can dispose of them better. And you can sell the bottles.’
‘I shall find a use for some,’ said Joanna.
‘Mr. Lazarus,’ said Joanna.
‘Call me Emmanuel, or, for short, Em.’
‘Mr. Lazarus,’ said Joanna, disregarding the interruption, ‘you will not proceed against Mr. Cheek.’
‘Why not? Show me the reason. Didn’t he shake me, and slap me, and bang me, and beat me with a stick? Didn’t he burst the buttons off me, and nigh upon throttle me with my cravat? And didn’t he tumble my teeth out and break the laces of my stays? Am I to sit down under all these provocations and bear them like a lamb?’