DR LOVELL looked across his desk to the girl sitting in front of it. She would have to do, he supposed; none of the other applicants had been suitable. No one, of course, could replace the estimable Miss Brimble who had been with him for several years before leaving reluctantly to return home and nurse an aged parent, but this girl, with her mediocre features and quiet voice, was hardly likely to upset the even tenor of his life. There was nothing about her appearance to distract him from his work; her mousy hair was in a smooth French pleat, her small nose was discreetly powdered, and if she wore lipstick it wasn’t evident. And her clothes were the kind which were never remembered… She was, in fact, suitable.
Matilda Paige, aware that she was being studied, watched the man on the other side of the desk in her turn. A very large man, in his thirties, she guessed. Handsome, with a commanding nose and a thin mouth and hooded eyes and dark hair streaked with silver. She had no intention of being intimidated by him but she thought that anyone timid might be. A calm, quiet girl by nature, she saw no reason to stand in awe of him. Besides, since the moment she had set eyes on him, not half an hour ago, she had fallen in love with him…
‘You are prepared to start work on Monday, Miss Paige?’
Matilda said yes, of course, and wished that he would smile. Probably he was tired or hadn’t had time for a proper breakfast that morning. That he had a good housekeeper she had already found out for herself, whose brother did the gardening and odd jobs. She had also discovered that he was