hiram harris had been a dull boy. harriet had often despaired of making anything out of him.
if she could not make him adventurous, intelligent or energetic, she could at least make him dutiful and punctual. and she did.
or maybe he had just inherited these qualities from her, and all her efforts at training him had been superfluous.
in any case, by the time he had been entrusted with the nominal management of the factory, he had become even more a creature of habit and routine than his mother.
hiram departed the factory on foot at quarter to three every afternoon, "leaving" it in the care of the foreman bud riley, and arriving at the family home for dinner at exactly three o'clock.
a curious time for dinner, but one that suited harriet unless she was entertaining guests, which she only did under the most severe and unavoidable exigencies.
it only spasmodically and fleetingly occurred to harriet that her lack of sociability might have a negative effect on her ambitions in the town.
the table was always cleared at five minutes to four, and hiram made his return journey, arriving back at the factory at quarter past four. he remained there until nine o'clock, an hour after the gates had been opened for the workers to depart for their homes or for the saloons.
when hiram got home at quarter past nine, he invariably went to bed, after drinking a glass of milk and eating a slice of pie and reading a page of the bible.
harriet and hermione would already be in bed at nine, sparing hiram the tedium of talking to them and saying good night to them.
poor hermione had restless dreams and often cried out in the night. no one ever responded to her cries.
harriet usually slept soundly, no matter how much annoyance she had suffered during the day.