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time：2023-12-01 12:12:42 Source: Originally writtenedit：year
Then, after a long silence, the chairman, without rising, said:
"I move the adoption of the report and accounts."
"Those in favour signify the same in the usual way. Contrary? Carried." The secretary noted the dissentients, six in number, and that Mr. Westgate did not vote.
A quarter of an hour later he stood in the body of the emptying room supplying names to one of the gentlemen of the Press. The passionless fellow said: "Haythorp, with an 'a'; oh! an 'e'; he seems an old man. Thank you. I may have the slips? Would you like to see a proof? With an 'a' you said--oh! an 'e.' Good afternoon!" And the secretary thought: 'Those fellows, what does go on inside them? Fancy not knowing the old chairman by now!'...
Back in the proper office of "The Island Navigation Company" old Heythorp sat smoking a cigar and smiling like a purring cat. He was dreaming a little of his triumph, sifting with his old brain, still subtle, the wheat from the chaff of the demurrers: Westgate--nothing in that--professional discontent till they silenced him with a place on the board--but not while be held the reins! That chap at the back--an ill-conditioned fellow! "Something behind!" Suspicious brute! There was something--but--hang it! they might think themselves lucky to get four ships at that price, and all due to him! It was on the last speaker that his mind dwelt with a doubt. That fellow Ventnor, to whom he owed money--there had been something just a little queer about his tone--as much as to say, "I smell a rat." Well! one would see that at the creditors' meeting in half an hour.
In a fur coat which seemed to extinguish his thin form, Joe Pillin entered. It was snowing, and the cold had nipped and yellowed his meagre face between its slight grey whiskering. He said thinly:
"How are you, Sylvanus? Aren't you perished in this cold?"
"Warm as a toast. Sit down. Take off your coat."
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