"I think Mr. Athelny has spoken to you about me," said Philip.
"Oh, you are the young feller who did that poster?"
"No good to us, you know, not a bit of good."
He looked Philip up and down. He seemed to notice that Philip was in some way different from the men who had preceded him.
"You'd 'ave to get a frock coat, you know. I suppose you 'aven't got one. You seem a respectable young feller. I suppose you found art didn't pay."
Philip could not tell whether he meant to engage him or not. He threw remarks at him in a hostile way.
"Where's your home?"
"My father and mother died when I was a child."
"I like to give young fellers a chance. Many's the one I've given their chance to and they're managers of departments now. And they're grateful to me, I'll say that for them. They know what I done for them. Start at the bottom of the ladder, that's the only way to learn the business, and then if you stick to it there's no knowing what it can lead to. If you suit, one of these days you may find yourself in a position like what mine is. Bear that in mind, young feller."
"I'm very anxious to do my best, sir," said Philip.
He knew that he must put in the sir whenever he could, but it sounded odd to him, and he was afraid of overdoing it. The manager liked talking. It gave him a happy consciousness of his own importance, and he did not give Philip his decision till he had used a great many words.
"Well, I daresay you'll do," he said at last, in a pompous way. "Anyhow I don't mind giving you a trial."
"Thank you very much, sir."
"You can start at once. I'll give you six shillings a week and your keep. Everything found, you know; the six shillings is only pocket money, to do what you like with, paid monthly. Start on Monday. I suppose you've got no cause of complaint with that."
"Harrington Street, d'you know where that is, Shaftesbury Avenue. That's where you sleep. Number ten, it is. You can sleep there on Sunday night, if you like; that's just as you please, or you can send your box there on Monday." The manager nodded: "Good-morning."
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