Priestley John Boynton - The grey ones

Author : Priestley John Boynton
Title : The grey ones
Year : 1953

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'And your occupation, Mr Patson?' Dr Smith asked, holding his beautiful fountain pen a few inches from the paper. 'I'm an exporter,' said Mr Patson, smiling almost happily. Really this wasn't too bad at all. First, he had drawn Dr Smith instead of his partner Dr Meyenstein. Not that he had anything against Dr Meyenstein, for he had never set eyes on him, but he had been free to see him and Dr Meyenstein hadn't. If he had to explain himself to a psychiatrist, then he would much rather have one simply and comfortingly called Smith. And Dr Smith, a broad-faced man about fifty with giant rimless spectacles, had nothing forbidding about him, and looked as if he might have been an accountant, a lawyer or a dentist. His room too was reassuring, with nothing frightening in it; rather like a sitting-room in a superior hotel. And that fountain pen really was a beauty. Mr Patson had already made a mental note to ask Dr Smith where he had bought that pen. And surely a man who could make such a mental note, right off, couldn't have much wrong with him? 'It's a family business,' Mr Patson continued, smiling away. 'My grandfather started it. Originally for the Far East. Firms abroad, especially in rather remote places, send us orders for all manner of goods, which we buy here on commission for them. It's not the business it was fifty years ago, of course, but on the other hand we've been helped to some extent by all these trade restrictions and systems of export licences, which people a long way off simply can't cope with. So we cope for them. Irritating work often, but not uninteresting. On the whole I enjoy it.' 'That is the impression you've given me,' said Dr Smith, making a note. 'And you are reasonably prosperous, I gather ? ...

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