It was obvious from Miss Howard's quirked eyebrow that he was not going to be called Joe in this lifetime or the next. Instead, he was pulled into what appeared to be a teashop -- and Joseph was quick enough to recognise the burly inhabitants and the clean but second-best dresses as a conglomerate of mill-workers and miners. He had been pulled into a Union stronghold. No wonder Miss Howard's smile bordered on slightly horrible.
"Hallo, Molly," she said to a woman, as some of the men doffed their hats to her, as she waved them off and spoke warmly to one of the waitresses -- Joe caught "my acquaintance, Mr. Steinberg," -- before Alvean motored him firmly to a small tea-table in the corner. She took off her morning-coat, and she took her own chair out -- not something that a woman usually did -- before sitting down, without waiting for him either. She looked satisfied. She was, after all, among the friends she had threatened, and even if the people around them didn't seem to be readying Unionist slogans and blackjacks it was still a slightly uncomfortable place to be. Not neutral, either.
"That was a test," she said, smilingly. "Either you're not one of the industrialist pawns, or you are extremely brave -- or foolish, not that the two concepts can't go hand-in-hand. Sit, Mr. Steinberg," she ordered, but she was still smiling, at least. "Give me your tally, and I shall give you honest critique. I don't talk to pawns, but I'll talk to you."