Five years passed. Again it was a Sunday afternoon in October and again Mr Coombes was out walking by the canal. He was still the same man as before, and yet there was something different about him. He was thinner and he walked straighter, his overcoat was new as was his hat and gloves. He looked like a man who was happy with himself. Beside him, walked his brother Tom, just back from Australia.
`You have a very nice little business, Jim,’ said brother Tom. `In these hard days you have done well. And you are lucky to have a wife who is so happy to help you.’
`Between you and me,’ said Mr Coombes, `it wasn’t always like this. To begin with, she was not keen to help at all.’
Mr Coombes continued. `You would not think it, but at first she was very extravagant and always angry at me. I was a bit too loving, too gentle. She did what she wanted, always having her relations over and her girlfriends and their chaps. Comic songs on a Sunday, too. It was all getting too much and driving business away. I tell you Tom, the place wasn’t my own.’
`Dear, oh dear,’ said Tom, `I’m surprised.’
‘I tried to bargain with her. But she wouldn’t listen to me…She wouldn’t listen to my warnings.’
`So what happened?’ asked brother Tom.