Louisa closed her accounts ledger. She really would have to have a long talk with 'The Major' about his drinks bill. Even though he was their longest permanent resident and they had come to an agreement that covered his room and board in return for certain services to the hotel he had not paid that bill for a few months. Admittedly having him vet new guests for suitability, provide advice to them on interesting places and events for them to visit, marketing the hotel at the many clubs he was invited to and also managing the wine cellar were valuable, however his personal consumption wines and spirits still exceeded his army pension. By the time she came out to the hotel reception her father and a young man she recognised were already starting to unpack the crate.
"Good to see you Dad!", Louisa called, "and I see, erm," she paused, "Horace has come with you. Nice to see you again young man." Horace smiled and replied, "Nice to see you again too, Mrs Trotter. I thought I'd kill two birds with one stone. Help your father with the clock and deliver some pictures as well. Taking the old works out and putting the new ones in is a two man job."
Louisa watched as the pair started stripping out the old works from the clock. They worked silently and efficiently. Horace passing her father the tools he needed without needing to be asked, laying the parts out as they were removed and sorting screws and bolts that would be needed again into the many pockets in his waistcoat. "You two must have worked together before," remarked Louisa, "it's like a silent ballet." Horace paused a moment to reply, "Actually this is the first time I've worked with Mr Leyton, but I've been helping my father for as long as I remember and they both seem to have the same way of working." Mr Leyton chimed in, "If I could find an apprentice as good as Horace I'd hire him on the spot, but the taxicab companies have lured them all away with better pay now that they have to have the meters by law and have them checked regular."
Soon all the old works were out of the clock and the pair started to assemble the new works, keeping the old familiar face and making small adjustments so everything fitted. Within the hour the clock was running and the old parts packed into the crate. Mr Leyton pulled out his huge pocket watch and listening to it and the tick-tock of the larger clock started counting under his breath. After a few minutes he stopped the clock, made a tiny adjustment to the pendulum and started it again. More moments passed and he repeated the process. After a quarter of an hour of this he pocketed his watch and declared, "That is just about right. Should be within a minute a day. Let it settle down for a week and then send your man, Starr is it? Send him with his pocket watch to check that against the railway station clock each week, they are the most accurate clocks in town, all regulated by electric telegraph from a central clock that gets it time from Greenwich. You can adjust this one then with the little dial on the face which is marked in seconds a day, fast and slow."
Louisa gave her father a hug and shook hands with Horace. "Thank you both for your time.", she said, "I think this calls for a drink of something a little stronger than tea and I can see by the clock that it is past eleven so the sun is most certainly over the yard-arm as the sailors say. Come and join me in my office. Starr, will you ask Merriman to bring up a bottle of Madiera, I know my father is partial to that."
As they sat sipping the sweet wine in Louisa's office Horace reached into his coat pocket and pulled out an envelope. "Here are the pictures you asked for Mrs Trotter. The small album one of you and Dollie I printed out myself but I thought you would like a larger one of the outside of Mr Leyton's shop so I took it to the chemist's and had an enlargement made." Louisa took the envelope and opened it. "These are wonderful, Horace. I know just the frame for the large one and I think I'll frame the one of me too. In years to come I can look at it and remember this moment in time and how family and a new friend helped me."