Volume 1 – Chapter 1.5
The child’s innocent face revealed a panicked expression. His body shrank back as if he wanted to hide in the darkness behind him. With his hands tightly held and uneasily twisted in front of his chest, he lowered his head and stared at the ground, avoiding the middle-aged man’s eyes.
“What’s up?” A bald, fat man came out from behind the counter. That fatty was dressed extremely neatly. The clothes were not luxurious but never cheap.
“I told him to move the porcelains to the window. The goods just arrived this month. The kid is really dawdling around.” The middle-aged man said respectfully.
“That’s no use to make a fuss. What if we scare the customers?” The fatty said.
“Yes, yes, yes, but the boy is lazy all the time. I think we should find another one.” the middle-aged man said.
“The child is quite diligent except that he sometimes likes to be in a daze.” Fatty replied to the middle-aged man casually. Then, he turned around and said to the kid with a straight face, “You are lucky to work here. The boss pitied you and took you in. You have to take your job serious and repay him. Change the bad habit. If something goes wrong, I can only drive you away. You have nowhere to go, you know that? Do your work. ”
After saying this, the fatty turned around and said to the middle-aged man, “No matter what happens, you must not shout out loud. Harmony brings wealth. You’ve been here for more than ten years, but you don’t even know this. ”
Fatty went back to the counter to do his own work.
“Get back to work!” the middle-aged man shouted at the child.
Fabian saw the whole event, thinking that this kid was a pretty good candidate.
But he wasn’t in a hurry to make a decision. He turned around and walked out of the shop, memorizing the sign in his mind, and wandered on the street again.
Since he had three days, Fabian could take it easy to finish the task.
Fabian seldom came to South Port, so this time he gave himself a day off. He left the business block and strolled along other two small streets.
The streets were full of water, so there weren’t many people walking around. Not to mention the rich. However, after searching for a long time, there was always something that one could gain.
When Fabian came out of the streets, he had already filled the pockets with coins.
Fabian was quite satisfied with his harvest. He didn’t want to continue, but he wasn’t worried about revealing his secrets.
It would take a lot of time for most people to look for it in the street where the money pouches were lost in the small, stagnant streets.
And Fabian was quite sure that there was no plainclothesman in that place.
The only thing he had to do now was to change his clothes, and that was easy.
Fabian, who had picked up a casual dress in the street, no longer needed to worry about the two bags of money, and wandered about the streets until late at night when most of the shops were shut.
Franco went back in front of the shop he had memorized.
As expected, he saw the kid working hard alone with the signboard and decorations, putting them in place and then closing the heavy iron gate.
After quietly following the kid, Fabian arrived at the place where the poor people were living at the outskirts of the southern city.
It was a damp, muddy alley with sour vinegar smell in the air. Fabian guessed the place possibly was where the leather was processed.
He did not want to get himself exposed too early. Meanwhile, the muddy road helped him of not needing to follow too close.
He stared at the footprints on the ground and was led to a small courtyard.
There were three bungalows in the yard. A plume of smoke soared up from the house on the west side, with some talking sound inside.
Fabian went up and listened.
It was that kid who was talking. He shouted excitedly, “Aunt Betty, you know, today the shop brought in a lot of porcelains. They are so dedicate that as white as milk and as bright as moon.There are beautiful prints on the bottom of the porcelains——the fishes are as dramatic as real ones, and the water plants are so strange and beautiful that I’ve never seen. Those plants, usually seen on the art works from the east, are so beautiful with round and wide leaves, big and straight stems,and brilliant and big flowers.”
“You were scolded by the vice manager again, right?” said an old woman.
“How do you know that?” asked the kid.
“Every time you see these things,your attention must be taken away. And, the hunchback can’t wait to drive you out,and so he could bring his nephew in.” The woman paused suddenly and then said, “Well,I have told you so many times that those things aren’t what you should notice. They’re expensive, aren’t they? You shouldn’t be able to have just one in your entire life. Even your manager who is really a wealthy person, can definitely do nothing but only watch them.”
“Even your boss could not buy such a good thing. It’s not that he can’t afford it, but he can’t bear to use it for himself. Those things are for the noble and wealthy families. So you’d better still working hard and trying to keep your footing, so that the hunchback can’t get rid of you. Then, in the coming seven or eight years, you can read some books, learn how to do accounts, get to the purchasing office or the cashier’s office. At that time, the hunchback will do nothing on you.”
“I know, Auntie Betty, but why don’t you let me follow the uncle to go onto a ship? I really want to be a sailor, to Siba, to Eley, and further to the east. ”
“Forget it. You’re young and don’t know how bad it is. I am keeping worried about your uncle. The happiest time I have is that your uncle returns safely. It is a very dangerous thing, and every day on the docks, there was news of a sinking ship.”
“Apart from the sinking accidents, you can go to the docks and figure out which sailor still remain strong after more than ten years’ working. Sailors easily get sick, and when they are ill, there’s no way to cure it. Your uncle is left with severe injuries and still needs waiting for a few years. The owner of the boat will transfer him to the warehouse on the docks, taking care of the goods, and then he can have a peaceful life. ”
“Anyway, Auntie Betty, I do want to go onto the sea and see what it is like.”
“OK then, you can talk to your boss. If you keep working for seven or eight years, maybe your boss will let you follow him to do the overseas business. That’s much better than being a sailor. It’s for your own good. Your parents have died. Your uncle and I don’t have any children. We watched you growing up and treated you as our own child. Your uncle and I don’t want you to walk the path the uncle has been walking, and your uncle knows everything about the sailor. It’s a difficult, dangerous, and hopeless business. ”
“I know you do this for my good, I know …”
Fabian eavesdropped by the wall had roughly known the kid’s background.
As being a rookie, he would be a perfect man. No parents but only two relatives who are not families, let alone one of them was on the sea all year around.
Fabian made up his mind and returned to the street with satisfaction.
South Port were where merchants gathered, so inns were a very developed business here.
All kinds of hotels could be found here. For a man like Fabian who used to stay in a cell in a comfortable station, no matter how shabby the hotel was, he didn’t care about it.
Before it was completely dark, Fabian found a cheap hotel in the outskirts of South Port with many single rooms. This was for the small shop owners who run small businesses.
To his surprise, such a shabby hotel could provide hot bath facilities.
Fabian never missed out on this sort of enjoyment.
As soaking comfortably in the large bathing pool，Fabian thought about what he had heard today. That kid would be a pretty good candidate, and what would happen next depended on how he would act.
But it was a rare opportunity for Fabian to enjoy a good time in South Port. Especially this time he was full of money in his pocket, so how to use the next day to enjoy himself was the most important problem that he had in his mind.
Well, South Port is a place to spend money. and also a place to spend not a penny but having a great time.
Fabian came out of the pool and felt relaxed. He spent a silver coin for a large beer and went back to his room to rest.
The next morning, when the sun had just set, Fabian forced himself to get up.
Fabian is not a man who liked getting up early, and none of gold-fingers liked early rising.
It was really not a good time to get generous rewards in the morning.
However, at South Port, Fabian absolutely didn’t want to waste any time.
The happy holiday had begun.Fabian stretched himself comfortably, put on his coat, and walked out of the inn.