"Now why would I know that?"
"I come because it is gratis. Free admission."
Light dawned slowly over the coarse features. He reminded Carrier of a straw man, the type of doll farmers made their daughters, bulging, with hay coming out at the seams. Yet this freakish looking giant with no manners and apparently less brains had just extorted a thousand pounds from someone's agent. A city barrister, from the sound of it.
"I didn't catch your tag," the man said, extending his mighty left paw.
"Jack Pierce," Carrier instantly responded. "Late of Liverpool."
"I don't really care for all this," Carrier confided, stepping closer now, including him in a pact against the examples of heathen culture that surrounded them. "For one thing, it makes one intolerably thirsty."
"Oh." It took a moment. Saying anything to the man was like dropping a coin in a slot. Then another grin broke his face in two and he clapped Carrier on the shoulder. "Sure, then. Come on, Jack. I got reason to celebrate. And maybe you do too."
"I didn't catch your name," Carrier said, as they walked together down the broad, sagging steps of the entrance.
"Egan," the man replied, taking deep breaths, as if to purge the dust of the ages from his lungs. "Godfrey Egan."
They repaired to the Duke's Head, a nearby establishment where Carrier was able to indicate by a discreet mime of popping a cork that bottles of ale should be brought them. Egan squeezed with difficulty his large frame onto a creaking bench.
"Like to have my back to the wall," he explained.
When Lily, the barmaid, came over with two bottles of Special, Egan turned and jovially smacked his bottle against Carrier's.