There was a quiet tap at her door and Mary the head housemaid poked her head round the jamb. In her soft Welsh accent she whispered, "Ma'am, there is a workman at the back door asking for you. Says he is here to mend the clock. Shall I just show him where it is?". Louisa spluttered, "Workman? Workman be blowed, that's my father. The silly sausage! He should have come to the front door. I don't know! Bring him up here Mary and rustle up a nice pot of tea for two and a few biscuits. Then he and I can have a good chin-wag."
A few minutes later Mary showed Louisa's father into his daughter's office. He stood just inside the doorway with his cap in his hands looking unsure as to what to do next. Louisa rushed round from her desk and gave him a big hug and planting a kiss on his bald forehead said, "Come and sit down Father, take a load off your feet and we can have a nice cuppa and you can tell me what you have been getting up to." Louisa motioned him to one of the buttoned leather armchairs at the side of the room. They were still exchanging news when Mary came back in with the tea tray and laid it on the table between them. Louisa nodded and smiled at Mary, not only had she used the hotel's best silver tea set but also the finest china all set out on a silver tray with the best lace tray cloth and some of cooks homemade shortbread.
One thing Louisa's father had not mentioned was the young photographer. So, as they finished off the last of the tea and shortbread she broached the subject. Her father replied, "Oh young Horace? His father is another clockmaker, from over Fulham way. We sometimes pass each other some work when we are busy or there is something specialist to be done that we think the other would be better at. It was Horace who brought Dollie to me looking for work, I think they are sweet on each other. When I told him that I needed a photograph of the shop so that the newspaper could make an engraving for an advertisement he volunteered to come over on his day off to take some. He's a good lad and clever with his hands like his father. He has just started working at the General Motor Cab Company, keeping their taximeters repaired. I've even been making them some replacement parts now and then, those French that make the taximeters can't make good clock springs." Louisa asked, "When do you think he will have the print's done? I'd love a picture of your shop for my mantle and also the one he took of Dollie and me for my album." Mr Leyton thought for a few seconds, "I expect it will be next week, he should bring them over to my shop on his next day off. Now, shall I take a look at that clock that has been playing up. I'll have to be off back to the shop soon, that Dollie panics if I'm away too long."
Out in the hotel reception Mr Leyton stood on a chair to remove the velour throw from over the clock, having first placed his handkerchief on the seat to avoid marking the fabric. He lifted off the clock cover and handed it down to Starr, then had a good look at the works. There was much tutting and in-drawn whistles of breath between his teeth. Finally he climbed down and looked at his daughter with sorrowful eyes. "How a daughter of mine could have bought such a shoddy clock I just don't know. The case is the only good part of it. You are lucky it even went at all, never mind kept good time. The escapement is worn, the governor for the chimes is rusted through and the cam to activate the chimes is coated in dust and grease. What finally stopped it is one of the bearings on the chime gears wore out. The best thing we can do is to fit a better movement and works inside the case. I'll measure it up and see if I have anything in stock that will fit."
Louisa hugged her father and took him to the hotel's front door, saying, "This is your way in from now on Dad, and when you bring the works you make sure you get a cab. I'll pay for it. I won't have you trying to manhandle things on a 'bus. If you like it can wait till next week and you can bring the pictures with you."