beg pardon, I'm sure!" said this youngish man suddenly; and with a
swift turn he disappeared whence he had come.
Mr. Povey, a person universally esteemed, both within and without the
shop, the surrogate of bedridden Mr. Baines, the unfailing comfort and
stand-by of Mrs. Baines, the fount and radiating centre of order and
discipline in the shop; a quiet, diffident, secretive, tedious, and
obstinate youngish man, absolutely faithful, absolutely efficient in
his sphere; without brilliance, without distinction; perhaps rather
little-minded, certainly narrow-minded; but what a force in the shop!
The shop was inconceivable without Mr. Povey. He was under twenty and
not out of his apprenticeship when Mr. Baines had been struck down,
and he had at once proved his worth. Of the assistants, he alone slept
in the house. His bedroom was next to that of his employer; there was
a door between the two chambers, and the two steps led down from the
larger to the less.
Bennett: The Old Wives Tales