A Storyby V. S. Pritchett
‘I’m beginning to be worried about Mr “Wolverhampton” Smith,’ said Mr Armitage to Mrs Johnson who was sitting in his study with her notebook on her knee and glancing from time to time at the window. She was watching the gardener’s dog rooting in a flower-bed. ‘Would you read his letter again: the second paragraph about the question of a partnership.’
Since Mr Armitage was blind it was one of Mrs Johnson’s duties to read his correspondence.
‘He had the money—that is certain; but I can’t make out on what conditions,’ he said.
‘I’d say he helped himself. He didn’t put it into the business at Ealing—he used it to pay off the arrears on the place at Wolverhampton,’ she said in her cheerful manner.
‘I’m afraid you’re right. It’s his character I’m worried about,’ said Mr Armitage.
‘There isn’t a single full stop in his letter—a full page on both sides. None. And all his words are joined together. It’s like one word two pages long,’ said Mrs Johnson.
‘Is that so?’ said Mr Armitage. ‘I’m afraid he has an unpunctuated moral sense.’
Coming from a blind man whose open eyes and face had the fixed gleam of expression you might have seen on a piece of rock, the word “unpunctuated” had a sarcasm unlike an ordinary sarcasm. It seemed, quite delusively, to come from a clearer knowledge than any available to the sighted.