A pause elapsed while the tailor apparently gathered his thoughts. Then, while attending to an irregularity of the hem, he began:
‘Might I ask whether Maurice Bayotte is known to you, sir?’
‘To a slight degree.’
‘But you know his character?’
‘Indeed, sir. Unfortunately, his reputation didn’t deter my niece. Around a year ago, she caught his eye. She was then aged fifteen. She became acquainted with him, and allowed him to draw her into his mode of life. Please believe me when I say I judge no mode of life in and of itself, but it’s different when one’s own flesh and blood is involved.’
‘It always is.’
As soon as he had heard that Maurice Bayotte and a niece were involved, Gwynn hadn’t felt the need to think too hard about where the story was going. Maurice was the eldest son of a branch of one of the local families of note. At the age of twenty or so, he was already an old hand in the business of being a playboy about town.
‘Bayotte introduced Veronica to those habits in which the strong and level-headed may indulge, but which overwhelm weaker personalities. I think we are finished with this garment, sir, if you would slip your arms out.’
While Sill exchanged the ivory wasitcoat for the other, Gwynn released the smile he had been holding within. His own fondness for short-stay pharmacies and the delights of the Ghetto of the Doctors was no secret, and he felt rather tickled by the tailor’s stalwart tact.