The Shriving of Miss Esme Stamp…

Episode 21…The Promoter

‘Your husband is a jealous man, it seems’. Herbert Marks leaned back on his dry creaking chair and behind a worn desk of greasy cups and plates. ‘Bin meaning to clear this lot away’ he said, ‘Ere you sit down’ He ushered a chair towards her. ‘How are you Miss Esme, or do I call you Mrs Corton now?’

‘Esme is fine.’ She smiled her reply and glanced up at a bending shelf of dog-eared manuscripts, well-thumbed theatre programs and forgotten posters. The entire room was barely the size of a small bedroom and sat precariously over a Butcher’s shop in the Goldhawk Road.

‘See I’ve come up in the world. This is West One ain’t it.’ He grinned through some gaps where teeth should have been. ‘Yer ol man wrote me you know, told me to clear off in so many words. Me! Herbert Marks… A man that’s never done anybody any a’rm. Told me to leave you alone if I know whats best for me ealth… Yes, a jealous body if ever I’ve read.’ His thick black eyebrows raised themselves exposing thoughtful watching eyes that advanced on Esme with pleasured warmth. ‘S’pose he’s got good reason though.’ His eyes twinkled mischievously.

Esme smiled carefully. His observation, she knew, was meant kindly. She sat facing this man of strange self intellect and thought how different he was to Charles, and yet both men were drawn friends.

‘How…’ She cleared her throat girlishly. ‘…Is Charles?’

‘Charlie? God bless you Esme, he’s doing ok now, keeping his distance from you… So he tell’s me… feels he hurt you bad, you know, fair cut him up it did.’

About Patrick

a photographer, writer and blogger, a studio and press photographer since the mid 1960's, first published writings in 1974
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