The funeral of Sarah Jane White was a sombre one with only a few family members and George, Agnes and some of the neighbours turned up as well from Liddell Street. The priest had gathered enough information to at least say a few meaningful words before her coffin was finally lowered into the ground. Afterwards George invited Sarah’s family back to his humble home where Agnes had baked so that there would be a wake of some kind.
Elizabeth thanked George and Agnes as they sat around the small table with the children who were tucking into the scones and cakes and tart’s that Agnes hade made.
Peter and George chatted in the living room over a few glasses of scotch whiskey.
George told Elizabeth that he’d had the Sovereigns valued and it seemed that they were worth a lot more than what Elizabeth was thinking. George had sold them then handed over £3, 250 pounds to Elizabeth; he had spent six hundred pounds on the funeral, including the coffin, the flowers, and paid the priest for his time.’
“I don’t know what to say said Elizabeth; you must take this; it is only fitting; you knew my mother better than I and you looked after her.’
Your mother was very kind to me growing up Elizabeth; your mother owes me nothing; I was just being a good neighbour. Well now you can go out and buy yourself a nice house and a car.’
“But I couldn’t, Elizabeth, you see I was brought up here on this street; my mother and father lived here and I will remain here. I may not have a lot but it’s my home Elizabeth my friends and neighbours all live here.
“You say you are a carpenter is that true?’
“Yes, I am. I started working when I was Sixteen and have been with Matthew Hoggs for forty odd years now.
“Wouldn’t you like to run a business of your own?’
“Well I never really thought about it.’
“Now you have enough money to buy a shop and set up your own business.’
“I will help you George.’ I have seen that you are a clever man and know how to organise things. Let me help you George; my husband has contacts and I’m sure that he will get you a good price for a shop where you can make a good living.’
“It sounds good Elizabeth but how would I run it myself?’
“Once you got started you could employ someone and then set on an apprentice.’
“My husband will help you George what do you say.’
“Me wi me own shop; who would have thought it.’
“Peter, you can find out about a big enough shop for George can’t you?’
“Yes,’ it will be easy finding a shop in this town I saw quite a few as we drove here.’
“Alright then I will give it a go but only under one condition.’
“What is that?’
“We name the shop after your mother.’ Since it is her money that is financing this project then it is only right.’
“Elizabeth smiled then nodded in agreement.’
“I will have to hand my notice in on Monday.’ What will the boss say?’
“Good luck I expect said Peter.’ Remember there is no sentiment in business.’
“You have to be ruthless to make money; you are a good craftsman and the prices that you charge people should reflect that. I will get you plenty of customers don’t worry about that as long as you can produce good quality furniture.’
“I will not let anything out of the shop that I work for unless I am completely satisfied with it.’
“That’s what I like to hear.’