Page:Ragged Trousered Philanthropists.djvu/48

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The Financiers

That night as Easton walked home through the rain he felt very depressed. It had been a bad summer for most people, and he had fared no better than the rest.

He was a man of medium height, about twenty-three years old, with fair hair and moustache and blue eyes. He wore a stand-up collar with a coloured tie, and his clothes, though shabby, were clean and neat.

He was married. His wife was a young woman whose acquaintance he had made when he happened to be employed with others painting the outside of the house where she was a general servant. They had 'walked out' for about fifteen months. Easton had been in no hurry to marry, for he knew that, taking good times with bad, his wages did not average a pound a week. At the end of that time, however, he found that he could not honourably delay longer, so they were married.

That was twelve months ago.

As a single man he had never troubled much if he happened to be out of work; he always had enough to live on, and pocket money besides, but now that he was married it was different: the fear of being 'out' haunted him.

He had started for Rushton and Company on the previous Monday, after having been idle for three weeks, and as 'The Cave' had to be done right through, he had congratulated himself on having secured a job that would last till Christmas. But he now began to fear that what had befallen Jack Linden might also happen to himself at any time. He would have to be very careful not to offend Crass in any way, for he knew that Crass could get him the sack at any time, and would not scruple to do so if he wanted to make room for some crony of his own. Although Crass was the 'coddy' or foreman of the job, he had no very unusual abilities, and was