"You are quite right, sir," he said. "I have no intention of marrying for the second time. What I was saying to Miss Naomi doesn't matter to you. It was not at all what you choose to suppose; it was something of quite another kind, with which you have no concern. Be pleased to understand once for all, Mr. Silas, that not so much as the thought of making love to the young lady has ever entered my head. I respect her; I admire her good qualities; but if she was the only woman left in the world, and if I was a much younger man than I am, I should never think of asking her to be my wife." He burst out suddenly into a harsh, uneasy laugh. "No, no! not my style, Mr. Silasnot my style!"
Something in those words, or in his manner of speaking them, appeared to exasperate Silas. He dropped his clumsy irony, and addressed himself directly to John Jago in a tone of savage contempt.
"Not your style?" he repeated. "Upon my soul, that's a cool way of putting it, for a man in your place! What do you mean by calling her 'not your style?' You impudent beggar! Naomi Colebrook is meat for your master!"
John Jago's temper began to give way at last. He approached defiantly a step or two nearer to Silas Meadowcroft.
"Who is my master?" he asked.