Gambar halaman
PDF
ePub

affairs of himself and his step. straotedly, walked in the aunt.

direotion indicated, olambered “Good - bye, Step - aunt into the train, and opened his Båth,” said he. He had once paper. At that moment he made an endeavour to call heard a surprised voice say. his step-dunt Aunt Anastasia, ing outside, “But is this my but Mrs Bath had replied that train?” and another voioe reshe was not his aant, and that plying, “Yes, madam, this is she considered the use of the certainly your train." surname & mark of respeot in “By Jove!” ejaculated Mr the young.

Peoklebury, suddenly remem“Good - bye, Step · aunt bering, and he sprang to his Bath,” said Mr Peoklebury feet and thrust his head mildlyd. bee Hand

through the window. “Is this “Good-bye, Henry,” replied the London train ?he shouted Mrs Bath majestically. Trust to any one who would hear and securities, you will please to answer him; and the guard, remember and as few as who happened to be passing, possible even of those. The repliedspirit of gambling that has “No, sir; of course it ain't. developed since this war is one The London train goes from to whioh I refuse to ponder.” No. 4, and you've only three

Mr Pooklebury was so busy seoonds to oatoh it in." bearing this in mind with “God bless my soull” said regard to certain recent in- Mr Peoklebury, and he olutohed vestments whioh were return his belongings and sorambled ing 80 excellent & dividend out. As he rushed down the that he was unable to help platform, he was aware of some wondering rather guiltily one running behind him. The whether his step-dunt might doors of the London train were not consider them pandering, slamming, but Mr Peoklebury that he reached Clapham wrenched one open and flung Junotion and descended to himself in, and a breathless ohange into the London train lady sprang in after him. in ă preocoupied state of "Well, upon my soul, that mind. He was marohing thus was a near things” he ejacuunobservantly towards the lated as he sank panting on familiar platform when a voice & seat and the train moved said : “Sir, that is your way,” out. and he looked up to see & “I am so thankful I happorter standing before him pened to hear your question," with an outstretohed arm, gasped the lady. “I was just pointing to another platform. going off in the wrong train The porter was so tall a man too. And yet the porter that Mr Peoklebury had almost assured me it was the right to gaze heavenwards before he one!” oould see his face.

“Really, you know," said “Oh, thanks,” said Mr Mr Peoklebury, “a complaint Peoklebury. He turned ab- ought to be made about this. It was & porter sent me the countenance of the man wrong also, and it's not the before him, first time I've heard of it “You're the porter who happening.”

sent me wrong this morning!" The other passengers in the he announced triumphantly. oarriage agreed that the “I thought so! Now what on railway services were beoom- earth do you do this kind of ing outrageous and the rail. thing for, my good fellow ! way servants most inefficient, Why don't you learn your and that strong complaints business better? I know my must certainly be made; and own way to my own platform then the carriage took up its quite well, thank you." daily papers again, and silence "And I know this business reigned, while Mr Peoklebury, better than any man on oontemplating the financial earth," said the porter. artioles of the 'Morning Post,' “I don't believe you even gradually returned to his know what train I'm wantpensive meditation on the ing!" said Mr Peoklebury diffioulty of reoonoiling divi- warmly. dends of 20 per cent with the “I know that you are look. lofty principles of his Step- ing for the Paddispor train," aunt Bath.

said the porter. By the time he reached “Yes, I am," said Mr PeokleClapham Junotion on his re- bury firmly, “and, what's more, turn journey at midday, & I'm going to it. You sent me blaok fog bad descended. The wrong once, and I'm not going Junotion was submerged in an to let you do it again; and, impenetrable gloom, through God bless my soul! there's the whioh large crowds of travel. whistle and I shall be left lers groped with anxious faces behind,” and he olutobed his like perturbed ghosts seeking bag and dodged the porter & way out of hell. Mr Peokle- and rushed into the fog. For bury, wondering anxiously the the second time that day be while whether it might not found himself pulling open & have been altered on account slammed door and plunging of the fog, pushed cautiously into a moving carriage. in the direction of the usual “Sir, that's neither the way platform of the Puddispor to Pire nor Peu d'Espoir !" train, and he was well on his called the porter, gazing with way thither when & tall and a half-smile after Mr Peoklestately figare loomed out of bury's disappearing coat-tails; the darkness immediately in but Mr Peoklebury was tri. front of him, and a voice said: umphantly in, and an irate "Sir, you are going in the guard had reklammed the door, wrong direotion."

and the train was off. Mr Peoklebury awoke to "Some bloke got away in instant suspioion. He stood the wrong train, mate!" said a stook - still, tilted back his passer-by wbo had half-caught head, and oarefully sorutinised the porter's words.

“Oh no," said the porter, way, it's the train to Pirrie, “in the right one. Both of and that's the station before them," and he went away. Paddispor, isn't it?”.

There was one other pas. “It is," said Mr Peoklebury senger in the compartment with relief. “One oan be sure into which Mr Peoklebury had of nothing in this fog. It's flang himself - & lady — who dreadful weather for you to had greeted his sudden and be travelling in, madam.” tumultuous entry with a faint “Eduoational journeys oan't squeak; and Mr Peoklebury, take account of the weather," as soon as he had a little said the lady. regained his breath, entered Mr Peoklebury was unable into earnest apologies

to restrain a delioate glanoo “I am most sincerely sorry of survey and surprise. The to have startled you, madam," lady, still young, in a wellhe said, “but the fact is I was out travelling - coat, and a escaping from a porter who sable cape and sable muff, has twice this very day tried and a gold chain-purse and to put me into a wrong train, & first-olass carriage, did not and has onde succeeded. I in the least resemble Mr shall have to have that fellow Peoklebury's idea of an edureprimanded!”

oational person, save perhaps “How strange," said the for a slightly resigned and lady. “There's & porter at suffering expression of oountethat station who has twioe nanoe which appeared to be to-day tried to put me into a habitual to her. wrong train too! I wonder if “Are you making an eduit can have been the same oational journey, madam?” he man." They looked at each inquired respeotfully. other — and simultaneously “Yes," said the lady. “I have reoognised eaoh other. to make a great many. I am

“It's very ourious that we starting Eduoa tional Centres in should meet again!” said Mr a great many places, you see. Peoklebury, beaming over the I'm staying in Pirrie just interesting ooinoidence. “It now, starting an eduoational was you who followed me into centre there. I come up every the London train this morn- Wednesday to report to my ing, was it not? But we are G.H.Q. in town. Not that I in the right train now, I hope ? believe in education," she -the train for Paddispor," he added. “Or in centres." added, looking with slight “No?" said Mr Peoklebury, misgiving at the blank walls once more surprised. of fog through which the train "No," said the Educational was oautiously moving. Lady, with decision. Mr

“Oh yes," said his oom- Peoklebury ooughed slightly, panion."I'm sure it's right, looked out of the window, and ohiefly because the porter was earnestly refrained from even 80 sure it wasn't! But I know & glance. “Are you wonderthe platform quite well. Any. ing why I do it if I don't

believe in it?" said the Edu- prised oonviotion, “ I'm neither, oational Lady, sighing. because I'm nothing. I never

"Well-perhaps-you see— have been anything. I'm noth. that is " murmured Mr ing now, when you come to Peoklebary apologetioally think of it, though I somehow

“I hadn't much ohoice,” said never have come to think of the Eduoational Lady, sighing it before-at least not clearly. again. “There are only two I lived in Paddis por before the things to choose from in this war, and I went back to live country nowadays—since the in Paddispor after the war, war. You can either be and I'm still there, just callously mad or solemnly living," mad. Bat mad you've got “I wish I could just live," to be."

said the Eduoational Lady, “God bless my soul!" said sighing once more. “I couldn't Mr Peoklebury, hurriedly en- find any life left to just live. deavouring to review the They seemed to have all van. activities of the United King. ished-after the war. There dom in the new light, as it seemed to be no life left fit were, of this remark.

to live except & made one. “If you're oallously mad," And I do so hate a made oontinued the Educational life.” Lady, "you danoe, dress, “It isn't worse than no sort gamble, spend, flirt, grab, of life at all,” said Mr Peoklemarry, grow harder and aglier bury. They looked at each every minute, and care nothing other. “My name's Henry whatever for all the things you Peoklebury," said Mr Pecklemight alter if you tried. If bary politely, producing a you're solemnly mad, you card. speak, write, fight, resolve, re. “Mine's Elizabeth Draye," volve, dissolve, never sit down said the Educational Lady. except on Committees, and “I'm afraid I haven't a card make endless Leagues to alter with me.” things that no League has ever “If you don't mind my altered yet or ever will.” asking," said Mr Peoklebury,

“God bless my soul !” said with great delicacy and courthe startled Mr Peoklebury, tesy, "is it Miss or Mrs?" “and which are you?"

"Lady," said the Educational “I'm solemnly mad," said Lady. the Edaoational Lady. “The “There would never be any other was too vulgar. I'm in need to tell any one that," every League there is, and on said Mr Pecklebury, unalterevery Committee there is, and ably polite, if slightly puzzled. I'm quite well known now “What I meant was, if you among the most solemnly mad don't mind my asking, do I there are. Which are you?" address you as Mrs or Miss ? "

Mr Peoklebury hastily pon. “Well, as neither, you see," dered. “I'm neither," he said; said the Educational Lady. and added with sudden sur. “ I'm not married, and my

[ocr errors]

name is Lady Elizabeth “Well, you couldn't help Draye,”

that,” said the Eduoational "Oh,” said Mr Peoklebury. Lady oonsolingly. “You were He sat a moment gazing out fighting, anyway, and that's of the window, and then all that matters.” turned his gaze upon his oom- “I was not fighting," said panion. “I hope you don't Mr Pecklebury. think the worse of me for “No?" said the Educational not having apprehended your Lady. meaning,” he said with pensive “No," said Mr Peoklebury. melanoholy; “I think I may “Not an inch.” They looked say I'm a gentleman-yes, I at each other again. think I may safely say that, “Why not," said the Edu. but I'm afraid I don't need oational Lady. to explain that I'm not in “Because I never got the Society.”

chance," said Mr Peoklebury “Oh, Society !” said the bitterly. “I joined up in Eduoational Lady oontemptu- August 1914, and they inously. If her voioe had been a stantly put me into Folkenose there would have been a stone, and there I get the tilt to it.

whole war, keeping accounts.' “Don't you like Society ?“Why?” said the Educa. inquired Mr Peoklebury, sur- tional Lady, surprised. prised, but with renewed hope. “Because I'm good at 80

“Somebody defined Society counts, and they knew it," the other day as a large said Mr Peoklebury. “I was quantity of people whom an accountant before the war, one hasn't the faintest inten- you see. I kept myself and tion of knowing,” said the my step-aunt that way. It Eduoational Lady. “It's & was all she and I had to live little sweeping, perhaps, but on. But just after the warthere's no denying one does I'm talking a great deal about get very tired of perpetually myself,” said Mr Pecklebury going into drawing - rooms earnestly. and finding the servants "No," said the Educational there."

Lady, though he certainly "Not dusting?” said Mr was. Pecklebury, after a moment's “Well, just after the war, thought.

you see," said Mr Peoklebury "Oh no, not dusting," said with a grateful smile, "an old the Educational Lady. “Now uncle of ours died in America, tell me in your turn how to and he left a good deal of address you! Are you Cap- money to my Step-aunt Bath tain Pecklebury or Major and me, which surprised everyPeoklebury, or what?

body very much, because he “I'm nothing," said Mr was & naturalised American, Peoklebury, flushing. “I re. But when the Americans put mained a second lieutenant We won the war' on their war throughout the entire war." medals he un-naturalised him.

[ocr errors]
« SebelumnyaLanjutkan »