Times' Red Cross Story Book By Famous Novelists Serving In His Majesty's Forces | Various | 3/6

story six of the times Red Cross storybook by famous novelist serving in his Majesty's forces by various this LibriVox recording is in the public domain story six Bill Bailey by Ian hey Argyll and sutherland highlanders one the coming of Bill Bailey for sale a superb three seated the AB lament odorant touring car 12 to 15 horsepower 1907 model with cape cart hood speedometer spare wheel fanfare horn and lamps complete body French gray picked out with red costs 350 pounds will take the sum which the vendor was prepared to take was so startling that to mention it would entirely spoil the symmetry of the foregoing paragraph it is therefore deleted the advertisement concluded by remarking that the car was as good as new and added darkly that the owner was going abroad such was the official title and description of the car after making its acquaintance we devised for ourselves other and shorter terms of designation I used to refer to it as my bargain mr. Gooch our local cycle agent and a petrol merchant dismissed it glue Mele as one of them Oh 70 Doran's my daughter hereinafter termed the Griffin christened it Bill Bailey because it usually declined to come home and the title was adopted with singular enthusiasm and unanimity by subsequent passengers I'm a preface this narrative by stating that until I purchased Bill Bailey my experience of motor mechanics had been limited to a motor bicycle of antique design which had been sold me by a distant relative of my wife's this stately but inanimate vehicle I rode assiduously for something like two months buoyed up by the not unreasonable hope that one day provided I pedal long enough and hard enough the engine would start I was doomed to disappointment and after removing the driving belt and writing the thing for another month or so as an ordinary bicycle mortifying my flesh and enlarging my heart in the process i bartered my unresponsive steed it turned the scale at about two hundred weight to mr. Gooch in exchange for a set of new wheels for the perambulator teresa we called it Teresa after our first cook who on receiving notice invariably declined to go was immediately put into working order by mr. Gooch who I believe still wins prizes with her at reliability trials to return to Bill Bailey I had been coquetting with the idea of purchasing a car for something like three months and my wife had definitely made up her mind upon the subject for something like three years when the advertisement already quoted caught my eye on the back of an evening paper the car was duly inspected by the family-owned block in its temporary abiding place at a garage in distance surbiton what chiefly attracted me was the price my wife's fancy was taken by the French grey body picked out with red and the favorable consideration of the Griffin was secured by the idea of a speedometer reeling off its mile per minute the baby's interest was chiefly centered in the fanfare horn my young friend and the Finch one of those fortunate people who feel competent to give advice upon any subject Under the Sun obligingly offered to overhaul the engine and bearings and report upon their condition his report was entirely favorable and the bargain was concluded next day on returning home from the city I found the new purchase awaiting me in the coach house it was a two seated affair with a precarious looking arrangement like an iron camp stool known I believe as a spider see clamped on behind a general survey of the car assured me that the lamps speedometer spare wheel and other extra fittings had not been abstracted for the benefit of the gentleman who had gone broad and I decided there and then to take a holiday next day and indulge the family with an excursion to the proving of Bill Bailey where I made my initial error was in permitting Andy Finch to come round next morning weekly deciding that I might possibly be able to extract a grain or two of helpful information from the avalanche of advice which would descend upon me I agreed to his proposal that he should come and assist me to start her up and he arrived in due course and proceeded to run over the chorus points in a manner which at first rather impressed me hitherto I had contented myself with opening a sort of oven door in the dish cover arrangement which concealed the creatures works from view and appearing in with an air of intense wisdom much as a diffident amateur inspects a horse's mouth after that I usually felt the tires in search of spans and curbs and he began by removing the dish cover bodily I learned for the first time that it was called the bonnet and then proceeded to tear up the boards on the floor of the car this done a number of curious and mysterious objects were exposed to view for the first time with the functions and shortcomings of each of which I was fated to become severally and monotonous ly familiar having completed his observations and he suggested a run along the road I did not know then as I know now that his knowledge of automobile dizzam was about on par with my own otherwise I would not have listened with such respect or permitted him to take any further liberties with the mechanism however I knew no better and this is what happened I had better described the results in tabular form 1215 and he performs a feat which he describes as tickling the carburetor 1216 to 1220 and he turns the handle in front 1222 1225 I turned the handle in front 1225 to 1230 and the the handle in front 1230-1245 adjournment to the dining room sideboard 1245 to 1250 and he turns the handle in front 1252 1255 i turn the handle in front 12 55 21 and he turns the handle in front and I tickled the carburetor 1 2 105 I turned the handle in front and Andy tickles the carburetor at one and five and he announced that there was one infallible way to start a refractory car and that was to let it run downhill under its own momentum and then suddenly let the clutch in I need hardly say that my residence lies in a hollow however with the assistance of the Griffin we manfully trundled are superb 1907 the abbe Lamont Oh Durant out of the coach house and pushed it up the hill without mishap if I accept two large dense in the back of the body caused by the ignorance of my daughter that what looks like solid timber may after all be only hollow aluminum we then turned the car climbed on board and proceeded to descend the hill by the force of gravity Bill Bailey I must say traveled beautifully despite my self-appointed chauffeurs efforts to interfere with his movements by stamping on pedals and manipulating levers absorbed with these exercises and he failed to observe the eminence of our destination and we reached the foot of the hill at a good 25 miles an hour the back wheels locked fast by a belated but wholehearted application of the handbrake however the collision with the confines of my estate was comparatively gentle and we soon disentangle the headlight from the garden hedge the engine still failed to exhibit any signs of life at this point my wife who had been patiently sitting in the Hall wearing a new motor bonnet for the best part of two hours came out and suggested that we should proclaim a temporary truce and have lunch at two-thirty we return to the scene of operations having once more tickled the now thoroughly depress carburetor to the requisite pitch of hilarity and Andy was on the point of resuming operations with the starting handle when I drew his attention to a small stud like affair sliding across a groove in the dashboard I think I remarked that that is the only thing on the car which you haven't fiddled with as yet supposing I push it across and the I was pleased to observe betrayed distinct signs of confusion recovering quickly he protested that the condemned thing was of no particular use but I could push it across if I like i did so next moment after three deafening but encouraging backfires bill bailey's engine came to life with a roar and the car proceeded rapidly backwards down the road and the threaded through the spare wheel like a camel in a needles I slapping down pebbles with one hand and clutching at the steering gear with the other who left the reverse in he panted when the car had at length been brought to a standstill and the engine stopped no explanation was forthcoming but I observed the scared and flushed countenance of my daughter peering apprehensively round the coach house door and drew my own conclusions since Bill Bailey was obviously prepared to atone for past inertia by frenzied activity our trial trip now came within the sphere of possibility my wife had by this time removed her bonnet and flatly declined to accompany us alleging somewhat unkindly that she was expecting friends to tennis at the end of the week the Griffon however would not be parted from us and presently Bill Bailey with an enthusiastic but incompetent chauffeur at the wheel an apprehensive proprietor holding on beside him and a tousled long leg Hoyden of twelve clinging grimly to the spider seat behind clanked majestically out of the garden gate and breasted the slope leading to the main road victory at last this was life this was joy I leaned back and took a full breath the Griffon shooting her unkempt head between mine and Andy's shrieked out a hope that we might encounter a load of hay enroute it was so lucky she said she was not disappointed from the outset it was obvious that the money expended upon the fanfare horn had been thrown away no fanfare could have advertised bill bailey's approach more efficaciously than bill himself he was his own trumpeter whenever we passed a roadside cottage we found frantic mothers garnering straight children into doorways what time the fauna of the district hastily took refuge in ditches or behind hedges still all went well as they say in reporting railway disasters until we had traveled about four miles when that nearside front wheel settled down with a gentle sigh upon its rim and the tire assumed a plane instead of a cylindrical surface 10 menit strenuous work with a pump restored it to its former rotundity and off we went again in what can only be described as a rattling pace after another mile or so I decided to take the helm myself not because I thought I could drive the car well but because I could not conceive how anyone could drive it worse than Andy I was wrong still loads of hay are proverbially soft and since the driver of this one continued to slumber stertorous lee upon its summit even after the shock of impact we decided not to summon a fellow creature from dreamland for the express purpose of distressing him with unpleasant tidings on the subject of the paint on his tail board so cutting loose from the wreck we silently stole away if the reader will pardon the expression it must have been about 20 minutes later I fancy that the gearbox fell off personally I should never have noticed our bereavement for the den indigenous to bill bailey's ordinary progress was quite sufficient to allow a margin for such extra items of disturbance as the sudden exposure of the gear wheels a few Jets of a black and glutinous compound which I afterwards learned to recognize as gear oil began to spout up through cracks in the flooring but that was all it was the Griffin who from her retrospective coin advantage in the spiders seat raised the alarm of a heavy metallic body overboard we stopped the car and the gearbox was discovered in a disintegrated condition a few hundred yards back but as none of us was capable of restoring it to its original position and as Bill Bailey appeared perfectly prepared to do without it all together we decided to go on in statu quo the journey I rejoiced to say was destined not to conclude without witnessing the final humiliation and exposure of Andy Finch we had pumped up the leaky tire three times in about seven miles when Andy struck by a brilliant idea exclaimed what mugs we are what is the use of a Stepney wheel if we don't use it a trifle ashamed of our want of resource we laborious lead attach the Stepney from its moorings and trundle did it around to the front side of the car I leaned it up against his future partner and then stepped back and waited so did Andy the Griffon anxious to learn edged up and did the same there was a long pause go ahead I said encouragingly as my young friend merely continued to regard the wheel with a mixture of embarrassment and malevolence I want to see how these things are put on oh it's quite easy said Andy desperately you just hold it up against the wheel and clamp it on then do it said I yes do it said my loyal daughter ferociously with me she was determined not to spare the malefactor a quarter of an hour later we brought out the pump and I once more inflated the leaky tire Wow Andy endeavoured to replace the Stepney wheel in its original resting place beside the driver's seat even now the tail of his in competence was not complete this blamed Stepney won't go back into its place he said plaintively I fancy one of the clip things must have dropped off it's rather an old-fashioned pattern this of yours I think we had better carry it back loose after all he added almost tearfully evading my daughter stony I it doesn't matter how you carry the thing so long he wizard and collapsed ultimately we drove home with the Griffin wearing the Stepney wheel around her waist lifebuoy fashion on reaching home I sent for mr. Gooch who come and take Bill Bailey away and put him into a state of efficiency then I explained to Andy during a most consoling 10 minutes exactly what I thought of him as a mechanic a chauffeur and a fellow-creature 3 the passing of Bill Bailey it is a favorite maxim of my wife's that any woman can manage any man provided she takes the trouble to thoroughly understand him the italic sand split infinitive or hers this formula I soon found is capable of extension to the relations existing between a motor car and its owners Bill Bailey and I soon got to understand one another thoroughly he was possessed of what can only be described as an impish temperament he seemed to know by instinct what particular idiosyncrasy of his would approve most exasperating at a given moment and he varied his repertoire accordingly on the other hand he never wasted his energies upon an unprofitable occasion for instance he soon discovered that I had not the slightest objection to his backfiring in a quiet country road consequently he reserved that stunning performance for a crowded Street full of nervous horses he nearly always broke down when I took critical or expert friends for an outing and the only occasion which ever roused him to high speed were those upon which i was driving alone having dispatched the rest of the family by train to ensure their safe arrival gradually i acquired a familiarity with most of the complaints from which bill bailey suffered and their name was legion for they were many together with the symptoms which heralded their respective recurrences in this connection I should like to set down for the benefit of those who may at any time find themselves in a similar position a few of the Communist causes of cessation of activity in a motor-car gradual or instantaneous temporary or permanent a break downs on the part of the engine these may be due to one absence of petrol usually discovered after the entire car has been dismantled to a presence of a foreign body EG teddy bear in the water pump how it got there I cannot imagine the animal was a present from the superstitious gruffen and in the role of mascot adorned the summit of the radiator it must have felt the steer thirsty and dropped in one day when the cap was off three things in the wrong places EG water in the petrol tank and a petrol in the water tank this occurred on the solitary occasion upon which i entrusted the gruffen with the preparation of the car for an afternoon's run for loss of some essential portion of the mechanism eg the carburetor a Manute examination of the road for a few hundred yards back will usually restore it be intermediate troubles by this I mean troubles connected with the complicated apparatus which harnesses the engine to the car the clutch the gears the driving shaft etc of these it is sufficient to speak briefly one the clutch this may either refuse to go in or refuse to come out in the first case the car cannot be started and in the second it cannot be stopped the former contingency is humiliating the latter expensive to the gears these have a habit of becoming entangled with one another persons in search of a novel sensation are recommended to try getting the live axle connected simultaneously with a top speed forward and the reverse three the driving shaft the front end of this is comparatively intelligible but the tale is shrouded in mystery it merges into a thing called the differential I have no idea what this is it is kept securely concealed in a sort of Bluebeard's chamber attached to the back axle inquiries of mine as to its nature and purpose were always greeted by mr. Gooch with amused contempt or genuine alarm according as I merely displayed curiosity on the subject or expressed a desire to have the axle laid bare see trouble with the car with which is incorporated trouble with the brakes and steering apparatus it must not be imagined that the car will necessarily go because the engine is running one of the wheels may refuse to go round possibly because one you have omitted to take the brake off to something has gone wrong with the differential I have no further comment to offer on this head three it has just dropped off in be this only happened once after a time then I was able not merely to foretell the coming of one of bill bailey's periods of rest from labor but to diagnose the cause and make up a prescription if the car came to a standstill for no outwardly perceptible reason i removed the bonnet and took a rapid inventory of bills most vital organs sending the gruffen back along the road at the same time with instructions to retrieve anything of a metallic nature which she might discover their when Bill Bailey without previous warning suddenly charged ahead or passing pedestrian or otherwise exhibit at a preference for the footpath as opposed to the roadway I gathered that the steering gear had gone wrong again the Griffin who had developed an apt pneus for applied mechanics most unusual in her sacks immediately produced from beneath the seed a suit of blue overalls of her own construction of which she was in ordinate ly proud I hope I shall be able to dress her as cheaply in ten years time and proceeded to squirm beneath the car here happy as a queen she lay upon her back on the dusty road with oil and petrol dripping in about equal proportions into her wide grey eyes and open mouth adjusting a bit of chronically refractory worm and wheel gear which I from reasons of am bumpin and advancing years found myself unable to reach finally if my nose was assailed by a mingled odour of blistering paint melted india rubber and drizzling metal I deduced that the cooling apparatus had gone wrong and that the cylinders were red-hot the petrol tap was hurriedly turned off and the Griffin and I retired gracefully but without undue waste of time to a distance of about 50 yards where we sat down behind the highest and thickest wall available and waited for a fall of temperature a conflagration or an explosion as the case might be Bill Bailey remained in my possession for nearly two years during that time he covered 3,000 miles consumed more petrol and oil than I should have thought possible ran through two sets of tires and cost a sum of money and repairs which would have purchased a small steam yacht there were moments when I loved him like a brother others more frequent when he was an offense to my vision the Griffin on the other hand having fallen in love with him on sight worshipped him with increasing order and true feminine perversity the dingy ER and more repulsive he grew not that we had not are great days once we overtook an inadvertently ran over a hen an achievement which while it revolted my humanitarian instincts and fill the radiator with feathers struck me as dirt cheap at half a crown again there was the occasion upon which we were caught in a police trap never had I felt so proud of Bill Bailey as when I stood in the dark listening to a policeman's Homeric description of our flight over a measured quarter of a mile at the end of the recital despite my certain knowledge that bills limit was about 23 miles an hour I felt that I must in a common fairness enter him at brooklyn's next season the Griffin who came to see me through afterwards assured her mother that I thank the magistrate who find me and handed my accusing angel five shillings but there was another side to the canvas many were the excursions upon which we embarked only to trap home in the rain at the end of the day leaving word at mr. Gooch's to send out in tow bill bailey home many a time to have bill and i formed the nucleus of an interested crowd in a village street bill inert and unresponsive while I perspiring vigorously and studiously ignoring inquiries as to whether i could play The Merry Widow waltz desolate Lee turned the starting handle to evoke nothing more than an inferior hurdy-gurdy melody syncopated by explosions at irregular intervals once too when in a fit of overweening presumption is aid to drive across London we broke down finally and completely exactly opposite the angel at Islington where Bill Bailey with his back wheels locked fast in some new and incomprehensible manner another vagary of the differential I suppose despite the urgent appeals of seven policemen innumerable errand boys and the drivers conductors and passengers of an increasing line of london county council electric tram cars stood his ground in the fairway for nearly a quarter of an hour finally he was lifted up and carried bodily by a self-appointed Committee of Public Safety to the side of the road to be conveyed home in a trolley but all flesh is as grass bill bailey's days drew to an end the French gray in his complexion was becoming indistinguishable from the red his joints rattled like dry bones his fanfare horn was growing asthmatic old age was upon him and I with the ingratitude of a man to the faithful servant who has outlived his period of usefulness sold him to mr. Gooch for 15 sovereigns and a small ladies bicycle only the gruffen mourned his passing she said little but accepted the bicycle which I had purchased for her consolation with becoming meekness at ten o'clock on the night before bill bailey's departure he was to be sent for early in the morning the nurse announced with some concern that Miss ala Thea the gruffen was not in her bed she was ultimately discovered in the coach-house attired in a pink dressing gown and bath slippers she was kneeling with her arms round as much of bill bailey's as they could encompass her long hair flowed and rippled over his scratched and dented bonnet and she was crying as if her very heart would break for bill bailey comes again a year later i bought a new car it possessed four cylinders and an innumerable quantity of claims to perfection the engine would start at the pressure of a button the foot brake and accelerator never became involved in an unholy alliance it could climb any Hill and outlying portions of its Anatomy adhered faithfully to the parent body pedestrians and domestic animals no longer took refuge in ditches at our approach on the contrary we charmed them like Orpheus with his loot for the sound of our engine never rose above a sleek and comfortable / while the note of the horn suggested the first three bars of onward Christian soldiers my wife christened the new arrival the greyhound but the Griffon faithful to the memory of the late lamented Bill Bailey never referred to it as anything but the egg boiler this scornful denotation found some justification in the cars ornate nickel-plated radiator whose curving sides and domed top made up a faraway resemblance to the heavily patented and highly explosive contrivance which daily terrorized our breakfast table of a bill bailey's fate we knew little but since mr. Gooch once informed us with some bitterness that he had had to sell him to a Scotchman we gathered that for once in his life our esteemed friend had bitten off more than he could chew the greyhound though a sheer delight as a vehicle was endowed with somewhat complicated internal mechanism and I was compelled in consequence to retain the services of a skilled chauffeur mr. Richards who very properly limited to my dealings with the car to ordering it round when I thought I should be likely to get it consequently my connection with practical mechanics came to an end and henceforth I traveled with my friends in the backseat the Griffon keeping mr. Richards company in front and goading that exclusive and haughty menial to visible annoyance by her supercilious attitude towards the new car finally we decided on a motor trip to Scotland there was a luggage carrier on the back of the car which was quite competent to contain my wife's trunk and my own suitcase the Griffin who was not yet of an age to trouble about her appearance carried her a bath aveda toilet in a receptacle of her own which shared the front seat with its owner and served the additional purpose of keeping the Griffin slim person more securely wedged therein we joined the car at Carlyle and drove the first day to Sterling on the second the weather broke down and we plowed our way through Perth and the passive killiecrankie to Inverness in a blinding Scotch mist the Greyhound behaved magnificently and negotiated the spittle of Glen she and other notorious nightmares of the bad hillclimber in a manner which caused me to refer slightingly to what might have happened had we entrusted our fortunes to Bill Bailey the Griffin tossed back to me over her shoulder a recommendation to touch wood next day broke fine and clear and we rose early for we intended to run right across Scotland I ate a hearty breakfast inwardly congratulating myself upon not having to accelerate its assimilation performing calisthenic exercises upon a starting handle directly afterwards at ten o'clock the Greyhound slid round to the hotel door and we embarked upon our journey infatuated by long immunity from disaster i dispatched a telegram to an hotel 50 miles away ordering luncheon at a meticulously definite hour and another to our destination a hospitable shooting box on the west coast mentioning the exact moment at which we might be expected certainly we were asking for it as my Cassandra like offspring did not fail to remark but for a while fate answered us according to our folly we arrived at our luncheon hotel ten minutes before my advertised time and achievement which pleased me so much that I wasted some time in exhibiting the engine to the courtly and venerable brigand who owned the hotel with the result that we got away half an hour late but what was half an hour to the Greyhound blithely we sped across the endless more beneath the September son the road straight and undulating ran ahead of us like a white tape laid upon the Heather the engine purred contentedly and mr. Richards lolling back in his seat took a patronizing survey of the surrounding landscape evidently he rejoiced in his benign and lofty fashion to think how this glittering vision was a brightening the dull lives of the grouse and sheep certainly the appearance of the greyhound did him credit not a speck of mud defiled its body suit and oil were nowhere obtrusive bill bailey had been want during periods of rest outside friends front doors to deposit a small puddle of some black and greasy liquid upon the gravel the greyhound was guilty of no such untied eNOS mr. Richards to quote his own respectfully satirical words preferred using his oil to oil the car instead of a gentleman's front drives under his administration my expenditure on lubricants alone had shrunk to half of what it had been in bill bailey's time but economy can be pushed to excess even as i toast in the back seat sleepily observing the Griffins flying mane and wondering whether we ought not shortly to get out the thermos containing RT there came a grating crackling sound the greyhound gave a swerve which nearly deposited its occupants in a P tag and after one or two zig zag and epileptic Gamble's came to a full stop steering gear gone wrong Richards I inquired I don't think so sir replied mr. Richard easily seems to me it was kind of a sides get out circuit out mum the damn things a fire we cooled the fervid glowing of the back axle with a patent fire extinguisher and sat down gloomily to survey the wreck economy is the foundation of riches but you must discriminate in your choice of economies axle grease should not be included in the list mr. Richards whether owing to a saving disposition or an aesthetic desire to avoid untidy drippings had omitted so we afterwards discovered to lubricate the back axle or differential for several weeks with the result that the bearings of the offside back wheel had seized and most of the appurtenances thereof had fused into a solid immovable mass we sat in the declining rays of the Sun and regarded the Greyhound the brass works still shone and the engine was in beautiful running order but the incontrovertible and humiliating fact remained that we were ten miles from the nearest dwelling and the greyhounds career as a medium of transport was temporarily closed even the biting reminder of the Griffon that we could still employ it to boil eggs failed to cheer us restraining and impulse to give mr. Richards a month's warning on the spot i conferred with my wife and daughter we might possibly be picked up by a passing car but the road was a lonely one and the contingency unlikely we must walk according we sat down to a hasty tea prepared directly afterwards to trap on towards our destination the wind had dropped completely and the silence that lay upon the sleepy Sonny Moore was almost uncanny imbued with a gentle melancholy my wife and I partook of refreshment in chasin silence suddenly as the gruffen considerably more cheerful than I had seen her for some days was passing up her cup for the third time a faint and irregular sound came pulsing and vibrating across the moor it might have been the roar of a battle far away one could almost hear the popping of rifles the clash of steel and the shrieks of the wounded presently the noise increased in intensity and volume it appeared to come from beyond a steep rise in the long straight road behind us we pricked up our ears I became conscious of a vague sense of familiarity with the phenomenon the air seemed charged with some sympathetic influence what is that noise Richards I said I rather think sir replied mr. Richards peering down the road that it might be some kind of a suddenly I was aware of a distinct rise of temperature in the neighborhood of my left foot my daughter with face flushed and lips parted was gazing feverishly down the road an unheated thermos flask held limply in her hand was directing a stream of scalding tea down my leg before I could expostulate she wheeled round upon me and I swear there were tears in her eyes it's bill she shrieked Bill Bailey my bill she was right as she spoke a black object appeared upon the crown of the hill and incredible to relate Bill Bailey puffing snorting reeking jingling backfiring came lumbering down the slope in his old hopeless but irresistible fashion right upon our present encampment his lamps and Stephanie wheel were gone his back tires were solid and his erstwhile body of Gray was now decked out in a rather blistered coat of that serviceable red pigment which adorns most of the farmers carts in the highlands but his voice was still unmistakably the voice of bill baby he was driven by a dirty faced youth in a blue overall who presented the appearance of one who acts as general factotum in a country establishment which supports two or three motors and generates its own electric light by his side SAT a patriarchal old gentleman with a white beard in tweeds hobnail boots and a deerstalker cap obviously a head Gillie of high and ancient lineage the spider seat of the back was occupied in the fullest sense of the word by a dead stag about the size of a horse lashed to this it's temporary catafalque with innumerable ropes the old gentleman was politeness itself and on hearing of our plight placed himself and Bill Bailey unreservedly at our disposal his master the engine of invar nation would be proud to house us for the night and the game car should convey us to the hospitable walls of information forthwith tactfully worded doubts upon our part as to Bill's carrying capacity we did not complicate matters by explaining upon what good authority we spoke were waved aside with the highlanders indifference to mere detail the car was a grand car and the castle was no distance at all mr. Richards alone need to be jettisoned he could remain with a greyhound all night and on the moral sucker should be sent him mr. Richards utterly demoralized by his recent fall from the summit of autocracy meekly assented and presently Bill Bailey act like the last bus on a Saturday night staggered off upon his homeward way my wife and I shared the front seat with the oleaginous youth in the overall while the patriarchal Gilly hung on precariously behind walked in the embrace of the dead stag how or where the Griffin traveled I do not know she may have pushed herself upon some outlying portion of the stag or she may have attached herself to bill bailey's back axle by her hair and sash and been towed home anyhow when two hours later bill bailey swaying beneath his burden and roaring like a bull of Bashan drew up with all standing at the portals of em verse 9 castle it was the Griffin who unkempt Scarlett but triumphant rang the bell and bearded the butler while my wife and I uncoiled ourselves from intimate association with the chauffeur the Gilly and the stag next morning in returning thanks for the princely manner in which our involuntary host had entertained us I retailed to him the full story of our previous acquaintance with Bill Bailey I further added with my daughter's hot hand squeezing mine in passionate approval and intimation that if ever bill should again come into the market I thought I could find a purchaser for him he duly came back to us at a cost of five pounds and his sea passage a few months later and we have had him ever since such as the tale of Bill Bailey today he stands in the corner of my coach house an occupier of valuable space a stumbling block to all and sundry and a lasting memorial to the omnipotence of human especially feminine sentiment end of story 6 story seven of the times Red Cross storybook by famous novelist serving in his Majesty's forces by various this LibriVox recording is in the public domain story 7 lifelike by Martin Swain Royal Army Medical Corps Colonel wedge was a quiet genial bachelor if there was anything that seemed to distinguish him from the familiar type of retired officer it was his great breadth of shoulder he was well over 50 but still vigorous an active on the day after his arrival in Paris whether he had come on a week's visit he breakfast at nine and spent the morning in visiting some public places of interest he lunched at a restaurant near the ports at Montana where he found himself in a typically Parisian atmosphere and after smoking a cigar began to stroll idly along the streets chants directed his steps in a northerly direction and about three in the afternoon he found himself at the Montmartre thrust district he walked along in a casual manner his hands clasped behind his back watching everything with infinite relish while passing up a side street his eye fell on a flamboyant advertisement outside a cinematograph show the colonel was not averse to cinematograph shows and it struck him that here perhaps he might see something out of the ordinary the poster was certainly lurid it represented a man being attacked by snakes and wedge understood enough French to read the statement underneath that the representation was absolutely lifelike and that the death agony was a masterpiece of acting rattlesnakes reflected the colonel eyeing the poster it's wonderful what they do in the way of films nowadays of course they've taken out the poison glands he stood for a short time studying the poster which was extremely realistic and then decided to enter he went up to the ticket office which stood on the pavement and paid the entrance fee it was obvious that the establishment was not of the first order a couple of rickety wine shops flanked it one on either side and the ticket office was apparently an old sentry box with a hole cut in the back wedge took his ticket and a glanced up the street it was a day of brilliant sunshine at the far end of the narrow road there was a glimpse of the white domes of the sacre-coeur standing on its rising ground and looking like an oriental palace only a few people were about and the wine shops were empty a shaft of sunlight fell on the poster of the man fighting with rattlesnakes and the colonel looked at it again it attracted him in some mysterious way probably because physical problems interested him seems to be in a kind of pit he thought otherwise he could run for it it is certainly lifelike he turned away ticket in hand a man standing before a faded plush curtain beckoned to him and wedge passed from the right light of day into the darkness behind the curtain he could see nothing someone took his arm and let him forward the colonel blinked but the darkness was complete somewhere on his left he could hear the familiar clicking of uh cinematograph the hand on his arm piloted him gently along and he had the impression of walking in a curve but it seemed an intolerably long curve since he could not speak French he was unable to ask how much farther he had to go he felt vaguely that people were around him close to him and naturally concluded he was passing down the room where the performance was being held but where was the screen he could not see a ray of light heavy impenetrable darkness was before him and seemed to press on his eyelids like a cloth suddenly the hand on his arm was lifted wedge stopped blinking look here he said with a feeling of irritation where am I there was no answer he waited listening he could hear nothing the clicking of the cinematograph was no longer audible deeply perplexed he held out his arms before him and took a step forward his outstretched foot descended on thing wedge fell forward and downwards with a sharp cry his fall was brief but it seemed endless to him he landed sprawling on something soft before he could move he was caught and held down with his face pressed against the soft mass that felt like a heap of pillows a suffocating pungent odor assailed his nostrils and gradually consciousness slipped away when Colonel wedge came to his senses he found himself in a small room lit by an oil lamp on against the wall he was lying on a heap of mattresses bound hand and foot at first he stared vaguely upwards directly overhead was a circular mark in the ceiling the sound of voices struck on his ears and looking round he saw a group of men talking at a table nearby with startling suddenness memory came back he glanced up at the ceiling there was no doubt that the circular mark was the outline of the trap door through which he had fallen he did not attempt to struggle but lay passively searching in his mind for some explanation of his position the men at the table were talking in loud voices but they spoke in french he could not understand what they said he looked round at them five of them there were half a dozen were roughly dressed with blue or red handkerchief knotted round their throats but one of them was of a different type and looked like a prosperous businessman he was the spokesman and leader of the group and wedge notice that he had a peculiar than the evil energetic type of face he spoke rapidly occasionally nodding towards the heap of mattresses and employing violent gestures from time to time he thumped at the table before him finally he rose and crossed the room my name is dance he said he stuck the cigar he was smoking into the corner of his mouth and went on speaking between st I'm an Englishman by birth and wonderfully fond of my fellow countrymen that's why you are here you're just a man I was wanting and when I saw you looking at that poster I could hugged myself what did you think of it good huh sorry you didn't see the film he chuckled to himself Wedge looked at him steadily and made no reply the other shrugged his shoulders and turned away some further discussion followed and then all six left the room wedge waited until the sound of their footsteps had died away in the passage without and then raised himself owing to the way in which he was found he could not stand up he looked around keenly there was only one door and no window the walls were of rough brick and it was clear the place was a kind of cellar safer the table and chairs there was no furniture the stone floor was damp and from one dark corner wedge could hear the trickling of water after the first scrutiny of his prison he lay back again on the mattresses and tried to think he could hear no sound of the traffic or footsteps from the road and guessed that it would be useless to shout save for the trickle of water and the occasional hissing and spurting of the lamp the place was absolutely silent the atmosphere was thick and close the flame of the lamp grew smaller and smaller and finally expired wedge lay in the darkness open-eyed listening to the beating of his heart he was thirsty his throat was dry and his head ached and the cords around his wrists and feet bit into the flesh he made several powerful attempts to burst them but in vain for what purpose did they want him if it was simply a question of robbery why was he kept prisoner and eternity seemed to pass in despair he tried to sleep but the question as to why he was in this prison repeated itself and made sleep impossible wedge was a man of tried courage but there was something sinister in his position that caused disagreeable thrills to pass down his back the trapdoor the chloroform the cords the group of evil looking men were not reassuring incidents moreover the isolation in complete darkness with the monotonous trickling of water unnerved him an hour went by and he made another violent attempt to release himself his breath came in gasps before his shot eyes he saw sheets of red flame but his efforts were useless thoroughly exhausted he lay still again staring upwards owing to some trick of vision possibly because the strong sunlight had intensified the coloring of the poster while he was studying it he saw a shadowy picture of the man fighting for his life in the pit full of rattlesnakes hovering before him in the darkness he thought grimly that it would be some time before he would have the pleasure of seeing the representation of that film perhaps never the latter event was more likely it was not probable that they would let him go free because his freedom would mean their arrest they want me for some purpose he muttered but what it is heaven knows it can't be simple robbery there's no point in murdering me I'm not a person of any importance so I don't see where the object of kidnapping comes in their game beats me unless they've mistaken me for someone else a step outside interrupted his reflections he heard the door open something that sounded like a plate was put on the floor and the steps retreated down the passage after a few minutes they became audible again and a light showed in the doorway a man appeared holding a candle Colonel wedge realized that it was the intention of his captors that he should take some nourishment and decided that to do so would be the wisest course there was no reason why he should weaken himself by abstinence he submitted to being fed by his jailer and eagerly drank the harsh red wine that was offered to him when the meal was finished he was left alone again but the candle was put on the table by watching its rate of decrease in length wedge gain some idea of the passage of time by a calculation based on the number of his heartbeat which were normally 62 the minute he deduced that the candle would last for about four hours as a matter of fact wedges deduction was wrong the candle burned for three hours wedge was unaware that his heart was beating 82 the minute months seemed to he laughs before the candle shot up in a last flare the colonel stared at the walls at the rough unfazed bricks at the trapdoor in the ceiling he closed his eyes and tried to sleep he SAT up at intervals and looked around him he rolled from one side to another but nothing helped to make the time pass more quickly and when he was left again in darkness he felt for the first time in his life how easy it would be to go mad the Tramp of feet roust him from a drowsy half-conscious condition the door was flung open and a lantern shown in wedges eyes the men who had sat at the table had returned two of them cut the cords around his ankles and pulled him onto his feet he stood with difficulty for his legs were numb the man dance who had previously spoken to him whose evil face had made an impression on the Colonel's mind sat down at the table and wedge was placed before him speak no French he inquired no the man nodded and played with a thick gold ring on one of his fingers his eyes were fixed on the Colonel's face what am I here for asked wedge quietly you'll soon see do you want my money oh we've taken that already they looked at each other steadily the others in the cellar shuffled uneasily they did not seem to be so certain of themselves as the man at the table you're an English officer aren't you yes and you seen some fighting the colonel shrugged his shoulders and said nothing he refused to submit to a cross-examination at the hands of this scoundrel all right said the other don't get angry I promise you that you'll see some more fighting before you die something in the man's expression made wedge take a quick step towards the table what do you mean are you going to kill me there was no answer but the silence was enough wedge relaxed his attitude slowly is that money you need he asked after a pause what's the good offering us money once you got out of this place you would give us away to the police yes we need money but not from you one thought dominated wedge is mine it was clear that the situation did not demand any unnecessary heroism if anything could affect his escape he was perfectly justified in making use of it I will give you a thousand pounds and will promise not to put the affair in the hands of the police he said he offers money and gives us his word of honor to say nothing to the police exclaimed the other looking at the men behind wedge there was an outburst of violent opposition they were wildly excited they were all round wedge shouting and gesticulating and brandishing their fists in his face he stood impassively in the center of them with his hands bound what was this riot why did the eyes of these men shine so strangely 2000 he said steadily impossible the man at the table jumped up this is only a waste of time he caught up the lantern and went out the others pushing wedge before them followed they passed through a long stone corridor down some narrow steps and stopped before an iron door wedge heard the fumbling of keys the creak of a rusty law and the door swung open the interior was dark dance stood by the door holding the lantern aloft in obedience to a brief command wedges hands were released and him the club a stout cudgel of a twisted wood with a heavy knobbed n was thrust into his hands but wedge was a man of action and he saw in a flash that if he was to escape from his unknown fate the opportunity had come they were trying to push him through the door into the dark interior djeli dajjal exclaimed the man with the lantern but wedge was too quick he swung the club swiftly round and the lantern fell smashed to atoms in a moment he was seized by half a dozen hands he fought powerfully but they hung on to him grimly and little by little he was thrust forward he had not enough space to use the club he dropped it and used his fists and more than once struck the stone walls in the confusion of the struggle in the dark then someone got hold of his throat while the others fastened on his arms and he was thrown backwards he heard the clang of the iron door and lay gasping on the floor a blinding white light suddenly shone down on him he staggered to his feet and looked round shading his eyes with his hands from the dazzling glare he was in a circular space bounded by smooth white walls the floor was sanded above him burned half a dozen arc lamps whose brilliant rays were reflected directly downwards by polished metal discs the upper part of the place was in shadow but he could make out an iron balcony running partly round the wall about 15 feet above the sanded floor Colonel wedge went to the wall and began to examine its surface it was smooth and seemed made of painted iron the outline of the door through which he had been flung was visible on one side but directly opposite there was the outline of another door he went towards it it was also made of iron like the surrounding structure and apparently opened outwards he pushed at it but it was shut the sound of something falling on the floor made him turn the wooden cudgel had been thrown down from the iron platform above looking up he could denley see a number of faces staring down at him and also a couple of box like instruments one at either end of the platform it was difficult to see clearly for the light of the arc lamps was intense he stared up shielding his eyes and then suddenly he saw what they were a couple of cinematograph machines were trained on the floor below it was not until then that wedge fully realized his position the picture of the man fighting the rattlesnakes was suddenly explained he remembered the pit he walked to the center and stood with clenched fists here was the pit extremely lifelike he stooped and picked up the cudgel at any rate whatever he had to face he would make a fight for it mechanically he found himself watching the second door it was through that door that the Menace of death would come upon the platform they were whispering together his brain was clear and he felt calm he knew that whatever came out from behind that door would have the intention to kill and he knew also that it was not the wish of the onlookers that he should triumph it would not be a fair fight in the moments of suspense he wondered in a kind of deliberate leisurely way what was coming they would not repeat the rattlesnake picture that had already had its victim in this arena one man had acted the part of fear with marvelous realism perhaps others as well cudgel in hand ready embraced with his free hand at his mustache Colonel wedge waited his eyes fixed on the door I think you understand now said a voice out of the shadows above we hope that this will make a fine film the finest of this series that we have done yet wedge did not move a muscle we rely on you to do your best for us somewhere at the bottom of his heart the colonel registered a vow that if he ever got out of that place alive he would kill dance a chuckle followed and then silence except for the sizzling of the arc lamps then he heard a sound of clicking the cinematograph machines had begun ready wedge took his breath slowly the door was opening he saw a gap of blackness widening in the white circular wall the hand that was at his moustache fell to aside the cudgel Rose a trifle and the muscles of his right arm stiffen inch by inch without a creek the door swung out words until it stood widely open for a few seconds nothing appeared the suspense was becoming on durable and wedge had just made up his mind to approach when he saw an indistinct form moving in the background of the shadowy interior and next moment a big yellow beast slipped out and stood blinking and the strong light he recognized the flat diamond head and tufted ears in a moment the door clanged behind it Puma he muttered with his eyes on the brute and a spark of hope glowed in his heart there were worse brutes to face single-handed than Pumas and he knew something of the capriciousness of the animal it was just possible his thoughts ceased abruptly the beast was moving it slunk on its belly to the wall and began to walk slowly round and round wedge turning as it moved always faced it it quickened it space into a trot and as it ran it looked only occasionally at the man in the center it seemed more interested in the wall at times it stretched his head and peered up words in its lean white jaw and yellow eyes there was no message of hatred for the moment suddenly it stopped and listened the clicking of the cinematograph had attracted it it stood up against the wall clawing at the paint then it squatted on his haunches with its back to wedge and blinked up at the platform overhead the heavy fetid odor of the Beast fill the air wedge relaxed himself a little but the Puma heard the movement for it looked round swiftly it behaved as if it had seen him for the first time and began to pace round and round again eyeing him it came to a halt near the door from which it had emerged and lay down flat with its paws outstretched watching wedge he caught the sheen of its eyes he remained still for at the slightest movement the brute quivered as yet he could read nothing vindictive in its look but he knew that at any moment it might change into a raging snarling demon and spring being a believer in the idea that animals are in some way conscious of the emotional state and others and act accordingly he tried to banish all sense of fear and all sense of ill-will from his mind and look at it calmly and indifferently the Puma with its four claws extended on the sand and its head raised blinked lazily at him it seemed half asleep by its attitude sometimes the brilliant eyes were almost shut merger said a voice above he wants rousing in a flash the animal was on its feet rigid and glaring up apparently the platform overhead roused its anger its tail began to whip from side to side and it slips lifted at one corner in a vicious snarl uncovering the White Fang a clamor of voices broke out the whole aspect of the beast changed its eyes glazed it stooped on its belly glaring upwards was it possible at recognized an old enemy amongst the spectators wedge waited anxiously and the sweat began to break out on his brow with bared claws the animal crouched still looking upwards it seemed to have forgotten wedge the men were shouting added and stamping their feet on the iron floor of the platform the Beast put one paw out and crept forward the muscles rippled and bulged under the skin it's going to spring thought wedge but it's not looking at me slowly step by step the Beast advanced it passed scarcely two feet away from wedge and went on without looking at him when it was almost directly under the platform it stopped and snarled up words then someone threw a lighted match on its back and straightway it became transformed into the devil cat of tradition wedge was never quite clear as to its movements after that for it flashed around the arena like a streak of yellow lightning he raised his club but the brute was not after him it went twice and then a third time around the white walls and stopped for an instant taught low on the sandy floor and then it shot up in a magnificent leap towards the shadows above the arc lamps the shouts from the platform ceased suddenly and then a wild hubba broke out wedge heard the rattling and scraping of the beasts claws against the railings above and a shriek of terror there was a stampede of feet a loud series of snarls followed and the sound of a body falling heavily wedge stood for a moment dazed then he dashed across to the door through which the Beast had entered and flung all his weight against it he tried again and again with all the weight of his powerful shoulders it yielded with a crash and he fell flat into the cage on the other side amongst the foul straw he was up in an instant by the light of the arc lamps in the arena he could make out that the cage had an iron grating on one side closed by a bolt he thrust his hand through the bars and worked back the bolt next moment he was out of the cage and running down a dark stone corridor cudgel in hand and determined to brain anyone who stood in his path at the top of a flight of steps he came to a door barred from the inside he flung aside the fastenings and staggered out into the sweet night air when the police raided the sellers under the cinematograph show a few hours later led by wedge they found the Puma asleep in its open cage and above on the iron platform all that was left of mr. dance inventor and producer of life like films it was not until daylight came that wedge discovered they had blackened his eyebrows and drawn disfiguring lines across his face end of story seven story eight of the times Red Cross storybook by famous novelists serving in His Majesty's forces by various this LibriVox recording is in the public domain story eight lame dogs by cosmo hamilton Royal Naval Air Service the Sun fell straightly upon a great golden corn field already the sickle had been at work upon its edges and tall bundles among whose feet the Vermilion poppy peeped stood head-to-head at regular distances among the ripe heads of the uncut corn the intermittent puffs of a soft August breeze whispered offering congratulations and perhaps condolences congratulations mostly because what is there more beautiful and right in all the years usefulness than the glorious fulfillment of the springs green promise all the hours of a busy morning had been marked off melodiously by the old clock of an older church which stood with maternal dignity among gravestones several fields away it wanted only a few moments to the hour of one a brawny son of the soil tanned a face neck and arms who had been working in the angle of the field nearest the road had just laid down his sickle and his crook'd stick he was hot but satisfied he was also sharp set and very ready for the dinner that awaited him with beer at his cottage on the outskirts of the village he sang quietly and monotonous Lee in a typical burung way a song which was written in praise of boiled beef and carrots and while he sang he dabbed his face and neck with a startling handkerchief of red and yellow swallows flying high skimmed the air playfully flocks of sparrows moved quickly among the standing corn no longer frightened by the tin with stones in it that was rattled by a slow footed boy in the distance they were eager to get their fill of stolen fruits before their natural enemies removed it from their beaks the air was alive with a glim in heat and the shadows of the trees were almost straight one sounded and before the bells reverberations had blown away a note of discord in the delicious harmony was struck by the sudden appearance of a man who leaned on the white gate which divided the field from the road he was a short slight odd looking creature dressed in clothes that were rather too smart and a green dump hat a little the worse for wear his clean-shaven face mobile and curiously lined was pale and a little pinched and the whole limp appearance of the man showed that he was only just recovering from an illness across one shoulder a knapsack was slung and behind his left ear they arrested a cigarette a Pearl was stuck in a rather loud tie and there was a large ring on one of his little fingers there was something both comic and pathetic in the figure and everything that was peculiarly the very antithesis of the exquisite rural surroundings the initials Rd were stenciled on the knapsack and they stood for Richard NB a name that was well known in towns but wholly unknown among cornfields and under the blue unsmoked sky Danby who had gladly leaned on the gate to rest watch the big muscular man for a moment with eyes in which there was admiration and listen to the unmusical rendering of a song which had trickled note by note into the country from London with amusement he then adopted an air of forced cheerfulness and clapped his hands Bravo he said Bravo Peter peppered turned slowly antagonistically ah he said the little man waved his ring tan I said Bravo well rendered what is it an aria from Faust or a little thing of your own the big man was puzzled man surprised ah he said again Danby was not to be beaten there was something in his manner which showed that he was in the habit of addressing himself to audiences and talking for effect how delightful he continued with in sincerity to find a peasant in song a merry heart wags all the day who wouldn't be happy among the golden corn in touch with nature with the field bugs gambling over once back ah then be laughed you find me a little flowery I am flying too high for you I am indulging in aeroplanes Ock's i'll come down to the good red earth mornin maybe house to crops the imitation of the country accent was ridiculously exaggerated the farmhand examined the town man searchingly and suspiciously huh he said again beat again said Dan me with a shriek of laughter peppered went closer but slowly want anything mr. he asked no Oh Lord no I only want to get some other word out of you then uh-oh said peppered thanks thanks most awfully now we're moving well how's the corn it looks fine in fact ah said peppered grinning broadly and affectionately the little man bowed he seemed to be saying things which would arouse laughter among an invisible audience again I thank you yes very fine and fat you've been punching out and giving them thick ears what the examination was continued you don't seem to be talking sense mr. another shriek of laughter disturbed the characteristic peacefulness congratulations you've discovered me how can I talk sense when I'm trying to be sociable you don't object to a little bright conversation do you know well we'll cut generalities and come to facts how's the twins ain't got no two ends nonsense I don't believe it a great big brawny fellow like you I take it you've got some nippers pepper chuckled three girls and two boys ah that's something like again congratulations it's very kind of you to ask me to come over since you're so pressing I think I will he climbed over the gate a little painfully and walked jauntily into the field the hand broke into a laugh ah records how you're a funny man HJ the little man became suddenly serious so suddenly and so eagerly serious that if Pitt had been endowed with the first glimmerings of psychology he would have been startled and a little nervous are you joking or do you mean it is it possible that i make you laugh is it possible this idea gives me a ticklin inside was the reply then be seized the brawny in surprised hand and wrung it warmly god bless you dear old hodge he said hoarsely god bless you then he laughed merrily you make me feel like an attack of bronchitis the feeble joke went home tipard roared there are those again he said what are you mr. a heart 'used an artist oh dear no oh god bless me know I'm an artiste what the difference a now if the little man had asked for his cue he could not have got it more readily an artist earns his bread and butter by putting paint on canvas and an artiste gets an occasional dish of tripe and onions by putting paint on his face ah reckon as how you're an artiste mr. although I can't see no paint on your face I washed over 12 months ago said then be sadly oh by the way am i trespassing well all depends on what you're going to do eat old boy if you've no objection I'm going to spread out my orders and pate de foie gras and lunch alfresco don't understand a bland word said peppered grinning putting it in plain English i'm going to wrestle with half a loaf of bread and two slices of cold am will you join me too the invitation was made eagerly stay here and let me hear you laugh it does me more good than a whole side of streaky bacon tipard scratched his head doubtfully Wow I told a woman as how odd the own for dinner he said the old woman must not be disappointed do you pass a pub on way home can't go anywhere from year without passing a boob then be squeezed a shilling into the great suntan fist well call in and get a drink hanky I don't mind if I do drink to my health I don't suppose you want to drink any more than I want health he walked around the farm labor admiringly he looked like a smooth hair terrier who had suddenly met a st. Bernard my word I'd give something to be a man like you what muscle what bones what are back what a hand it's as big as a leg of mutton do you ever get tired of being healthy do you ever wake up in the morning and say oh lord i'm still as strong as an ox why can't i get a nice thumping headache to keep me in bed it was altogether too much for the man who rose with the sun and went to bed with the sun and worked out in the fields all day long the big simple healthy natural man whose life was a series of seasons to whom there was no tragedy except bad weather and a lack of work and wages this odd little creature who said unexpected things as though he meant them and asked funny question seriously was a comic such a man as the clown who came with the circus twice a year and played the fool in the big tent which was pitched on the green and lighted with flares of gas peppered laughs so loudly that he scared the eager sparrows there you go he said I reckon as how you were born funny Danby item keenly and wistfully are you laughing at me he asked me laughin why you'd make an old sow laughs you amaze me said Danby he gave the man another shilling get further drinks on your way back you're a you're a pink pill for pale people oh boy a moscow said peppered reluctantly yes you trudge off to the old woman and get your dinner I'll drink your health in a glass of water and a tabloid pipper that got into his coat and real it a short black clay well good a and thankee good day and thank you Dan be held out his hand it was thin and pale it was grasped and shaken monstrously that's right heard it go on heard it he make me feel almost manly good day and good luck my love to the old woman and the kids and the rabbit and the old dog and granny laughing again the big man marched off made small work of the gate and trudged away danby followed him up to the gate and stood watching him curiously and admiring Lee and as he watched he spoke his thoughts aloud good day giant he said good day simple son of the soil who eats hearty drinks like a fish and digests everything goodbye man who knows nothing and doesn't want to know anything I'd give ten years of my wife or five of yours any day well well he turned with a sigh took off his hat and hung it on a twig of the edge and then divested himself of his knapsack this he unstrapped and taking out a napkin spreaded with a certain neatness on the grass and said upon it a loaf a piece of cheddar cheese a lettuce and several slices of ham wrapped in paper a knife and fork to this not an appetizing meal he added a large green bottle of water ah he said a sudden thought struck him he put his finger and thumb into a waistcoat pocket and brought out a small bottle of tabloids he swallowed one with many grimaces and much effort he sighed again and sat down he looked with feigned interest at the eatables in front of him for several minutes he then shook his head and gave an expressive gesture no he said aloud in order that he might not feel quite so lonely no not hungry beautiful food clean napkin lettuce washed in the brook no appetite not one faint semblance of a twist it appeared from the startled flight of a thrush from the hedge that Ardi was not to be lonely after all another person bent over the gate and looked into the cornfield seemed perfectly satisfied and climbed over that is all right she said Carlton SW the exclamation was involuntary the girl caught sight of the man and pulled up short danby sprang to his feet the girl was pretty and although her once smart clothes were shabby and her shoes very much the worse for wear she looked a nice honest Frank creature aglow with health and youth and optimism then be caught up his hat put it on and took it off again in his best Society manner no intrusion he said just a little alfresco lunch nothing more the girl smiled her teeth were very small and white and regular that was my idea she said not in the way I hope oh please reply Dan be the site of someone eating may inspire me and give me the much desired appetite a ringing laughs was caught up by the gentle breeze I should like to be able to eat enough to star of mine good morning good morning said dan B he bowed again and hung his hat back on the twig he was not a little disappointed he had hoped for conversation and companionship he sat down but with interested eyes watched the girl unpack her lunch and quickly and deftly she had no napkin she spread her bread and meat on a sheet of newspaper and cleaned her knife by thrusting it into the earth and wiping it on the grass he noticed that her shoes were very dusty and came to the conclusion that she had walked some distance he was right he caught her eye and looked away quickly I beg pardon he said granted I'm sure danby's manners were excellent you haven't got such a thing as a pinch of salt I suppose I can oblige you with all the condiments including a little a1 sauce the girl laughed again it was a charming laughs oh I can do without that she said then be only too glad of an excuse to be of use scrambled to his feet and made his way across the gold and stubble to the girls side in his hand he held a small tobacco ten he opened it and held it out navy cut she said with wide-eyed surprise an old dreadnought turned into a merchant ship it why clean oh thanks most awfully she helped herself to salt not at all said Dan be any little thing like that good day good day she said but Danby did not move the girls kind heart was reflected in her blue eyes never in his life had he needed sympathy and companionship so desperately he felt that even his long lost appetite would return if she were to invite him to eat with her she too was lonely although her indomitable courage did not permit her to own it even to herself there was to something about the little man that was very attractive something which made her feel sorry for him she wished that he would ask her if he might join her and bring his own food what was it about him which reminded her of someone she had seen before rather nice here isn't it she said he replied quickly eagerly charming he said so Sylvan so water Sylvan a French for rustic Oh French yes I beg your pardon good day she said good day he replied he returned reluctantly to his pitch he felt that he deserved his dismissal it was a very foolish thing to have shown that he was something of a scholar evidently she considered that he was putting on side he sat down and made a sandwich he felt that he could eat it with some enjoyment if he were seated on the other side of Earth square of newspaper as it was the girl gave a short laugh I'm afraid I'm a great nuisance she began apologetically not at all far from it there was another chance then you haven't such a thing as a touch of mustard I suppose oh yes I have almost quite fresh he got up again and carried a little cold cream pot with him oh thank you she took the pot and gazed at its label with raised eyebrows it's a husband he said hastily I'm a bit of an engineer everything comes in useful oh thanks frightfully she helped herself honored and delighted he remained standing over her she looked up anything I can do for you now yes if you would when you came here you said something about Carlton Hotel oh that was a poor attempt at wit danby's hand went up to his tie it was extraordinary how nervous he felt these days don't think me intrusive but suppose we imagine that this is the Carlton Hotel and that all the tables are full except one well well in that case as you and I both wish to lunch it would be very natural for us to be put at the same table wouldn't it do you take me the girl laughed heartily come on then two's company how kind of you said Danby it will give me an appetite for the first time for months he hurried to his belongings and brought them back I know this is very irregular or not having been introduced but I don't think under the circumstances it will cause a scandal in high life no nor a paragraph in the weeklies Danby re spread his napkin and arranged his things on it a sudden unexpected sensation of high spirits infected him he adopted what he considered to be the manner of a man of the world wait ah wait ah he called shooting his cuffs great heavens where's that waiter I shall really have to lodge a complaint with the manager hi you in last week's shirt her ladyship and I have been waiting here for five minutes and no one's been near us it's a disgrace don't stand gaping there sir with a Swiss grin allez-vous on get a vote gong to too sweet BAM bring him wala menu fair flush togashi vent hunt he waved the imaginary waiter away pray pardon my heat Lady Susan the girl was intensely amused Oh certainly Lord Edmund she replied assuming an elaborately refined accent danby kept it up do you find the glare the electric light too much for you shall I complain about the orchestra or one must endure these things in these places Your Lordship were you writing in the row this morning yes damn beat world an imaginary mustache I had a cat my Marik has to shoo 16 buttons I wrote her so hard that she strained her hemlock she's a good little mare has 14 hands and plenty of action she's a bit of a roarer but then her mother was written by a cabinet minister you haven't taken to a car then oh yes I've got one fit and two damn lose the annoying thing is I've just lost my chauffeur oh really how I dropped an oath into the petrol tank and was seen no more what an absurdly careless person dan be dropped acting and I'd the girl keenly I say he exclaimed that was good so's that ham said the girl involuntarily instantly danby's fork prodded the best piece have some do sure you can spare it it would be a pity to waste it I can't tackle more than one slice the girl held out a slice of bread haven't seen him for 10 days she said simply it's an awfully odd thing what the ham know your face danby laughed you're not the first who's thought so and your voice is familiar to said the girl then be pretended to miss understand she had provided him with a chance he simply could not resist a familiar oh don't say that I thought I was behaving like an undoubted gentlemen one of the old regime the girl examined the little man with a sudden touch of excitement look here she said tell me the truth haven't you been a picture postcard yes said damn be bitterly oh dear yes a year ago I was to be found in all the shops between Hackenschmidt and the German emperor I've got it she cried I know you know you don't said damn be I do I recognize you I think not no could recognize me now but I do your dick Tambe the dick damn be the famous dick damn be the dick damn be who used to set all London laughing who played Widow Twankey at Drury Lane and topped the bill at the Tivoli and the pub the little man's pale hands went up to his face oh don't he said bursting into tears I can't bear it for a moment of the girl was not sure whether this unexpected emotion was not part of the celebrated funny man's comic method she was about to laugh when she found that darren be shoulders were shaking with very real and very terrible sobs she was intensely surprised and upset and touched she had never seen a man cry before she put a soft hand on his arm Oh mr. Danby she said what is it what's the matter haven't you heard dick damn he's done for gone under gone foot dick damn be that was Dick damn be that is no more dick damn be that used to make him laugh as a broken man oh my god oh don't go on like that said the girl brokenly you'll make me cry if you do what's happened to mr. Denby the little man shook himself angrily he was ashamed of himself he didn't know that he had become so weak so unstrung so little master of himself I'm sorry he said I've never cried before it was you're recognizing me I didn't think anyone could recognize me as I am now it was overworked overstrain three holes a night I couldn't stand it I tried to struggle on but it was no use I earned my living as a funny man can you imagine what it means to a funny man to find that his jokes don't go can you imagine what it meant for me to stand waiting in the wings for my number to go up trembling all over with fear and fright and then to face the public that used to roar with delight and get a few scattered hands oh those awful nights the crowd no longer my friends who struck matches and talked the look of pity on the face of the conductor and a few words from the stage door when I crept away oh never mind mr. gambiae can't always expect to knock him you know do you wonder that I fretted myself into an illness do you wonder that I've been creeping about the country afraid to face the managers I'm done I'm a funny man gone unfunny I'm the dick damn be that can't get its lass the girl listened to this painful confession with intense sympathy she too had earned a hard living on the Music Hall stage she too knew what it was to fail in her anxious and everton when applause she too was at that moment tramping to London in search of work with only a few shillings between the lodging house and the Salvation Army shelter there was something very different between her case and Richard danby's she was an insignificant member of a large army of Music Hall artists whose place was always at the very beginning or the very end of the program when she had the good fortune to be in work her salary was a bear living wage and it was only by stenting herself of the few luxuries of life that she could put by a few pounds for a rainy day dick damn bees case was utterly almost in ludicrously different his salary for years had been large enough to take her breath away he had earned more in a week than she had earned in a year his health had broken down and his nerves and competence that left him but at any rate he was not faced or likely to be faced with starvation and the embankment and other terrors that were unmentionable don't take it to heart mr. Danby she said cheerily you'll get better never fear and knock him again and until then you can be a country gentleman and enjoy yourself think of all the money you've made danby gave a curious little laugh and spent he said money oh yes I made money and money to burn and I burnt it in the usual way I thought my day would go on forever but like other thoughtless fools I made a mistake it came to a sudden end but but you don't mean to tell me that you haven't saved mr. Danby save damn be left again have you ever heard that the word save isn't in the dictionary of the men who earned their living behind the footlights I've just got enough left to keep me on the road till the end of the summer and then and then the workhouse or the prison never never cried the girl never a great thrill ran through the little man's veins the emphatic cry was the best thing he had heard for many long depressing months the fact that it came from a shabby girl who might be in a worse flight than himself did not seem to matter but what am I to do he asked the girl did not hesitate go back to the halls with new and better turns she said strongly Dan be shuttered and went back snail-like into a shell I couldn't I couldn't face them who'd have me now the Coliseum the Hippodrome they'd never look at me me they only want good stuff first-rate stuff all-stars but you are a star a fallen star no it's the workhouse for me I'm a has-been a waster who will be again said the girl mr. Danby I know you and what you're capable of I've been in the same bill with you and you haven't begun to show them what you can do yet damn be looked at this girl whose young voice quivered with confidence with a new interest you in the same bill with me yes you've never heard of the sisters Ives damn be wrinkled up his forehead the sisters Ives Fanny and Emily Ives I'm Fanny Emily's dead we did pretty well together but to somehow i don't know i don't seem to catch on alone I'm tramping back to London she was unable to keep her a resolutely cheerful voice quite steady or prevent her smiling mouth from trembling damn be bent forward and caught Fanny's hand and held it warmly oh my dear he said my dear there was no longer any need for society manners between these two no introductions nor small talk they had become brother and sister to human beings on the same hard road so we're both of us lame dog huh he said yes said Fanny but not too lame to give each other a hand over the stile I'm not going to give up barking and you're not either I've got no bark left in me said Dan be sadly not even a growl the girl sprang to her feet her young body seemed to be a light with energy don't talk nonsense mr. Danby she said up your tail go sprightly on your feet and come back to London and give him a bit of the old do you mean to tell me that you can't remember the knack you had a doing the blur I'd major Danby was beginning to feel horribly excited his depression seemed to be lifting like a mist I can remember nothing he said irritably I tell you I'm no good I've lost my pluck he said these things merely in the hope that they might be denied go on Clark you only want a shove I'm not going to have any of that sort of thing believe me you've got to wake up you have you've got to be brought in from grass and stuck into harness again now no nonsense I'm the great BP I am for the time being now then on you come the blur I'd major quick we'll take the song for song come to the patter then these fingers twitched and already he had flung out his chest and squared his shoulders I if I can't he said you shall said Fanny but but I've a cup Fanny nearly gave a shout of triumph it had got as far as makeup she was winning makeup she scoffed a great artiste wants no makeup but I must have a mustache I never did the major without something to twirl Fanny's quick hands were up to her hair here you are she said holding out a curl bit of my extra go on now get it up damn be caught it and laughed he was shaking with excitement you you inspire me he said you fill me with new life how can I stick it on oh I know mustard he rushed to the cold cream pot put his fingers into it rub the thick yellow stuff on his upper lip and stuck on the curl then he seized his hat cocked it at an angle of forty-five buttoned up his coat and strutted about like an irascible bantam ma ma my dear lady we have no-armed a it was taken over by a lawyer as a hobby it's a joke a bad joke at which nobody laughs when you ask about the arm may you go back to the days of my youth when i was in the 45th a deuce of a feller to I give you my word we have officers of Her Majesty's British Armed a were fine fellows and some dogs my dear and I think I may say I am the last of the fruity old Barker's who could make love as well as they could fight ooh la mula more do you kiss there was an asst rapidly touched in sketch something of portraiture which was not spoiled by the banality of the patter it was perhaps the portrait of the stage major but it was the portrait of a man who might conceivably have lived even for the strong note of caricature Fanny danced with a delight and clapped her hands until they smarted hot stuff mr. Danby very hot stuff now it's rotten hopeless yet better give me up Danby still afraid to believe in himself took off the impromptu moustache and unbuttoned his coat give you up I'll see you further now then the woman turn quick you were a scream as a woman mr. Danby dear the woman how can I he looked round for his properties wig bonnet dress umbrella little dog his hands fluttered impotently Fanny was ready for him ready for anything she was playing the angel the Florence Nightingale she was bringing back a human being to life to a sense of responsive to a realization of power putting him on his feet again she intended to win here you are she said get into this with quick deft fingers she undid her belt and some hooks slipped her skirt down stepped out of it through it to him in her short striped petticoat she looked younger and prettier and more honest than ever Danby gave a gurgle of excitement oh he said Oh miss Ives you you've beat me you he got into the skirt that's the notion she said now get into this she had whipped off her hat and held it out Danby took it if pipit had caught sight of him as he stood among the stubble in a skirt beneath his coat he would have fallen into what might turn out to be a dangerous fit of laughter but how about hair ask nambe oh I know it was an inspiration he darted to the nearest Rick lucked out a handful of gold and corn twisted it into a sort of halo put it on turban wise and placed the hat on top the effect was excellent but it was the expression of the little actors face which did more to put before his audience of one the garrulous spiteful prying woman then the skirt and hat put together he came forward with a lifelike walk and smile oh how do you do my dear mrs. Richmond's worth he said I'm afraid I'm a little late but I only just remembered that it's the third Thursday I see you've got a new knocker it represents a gargle or a Chinese God does it not or is it a fancy portrait of your husband how is dear mr. Richman's worth better oh I wish I could say the same for mine my husband but there Lily said the soonest mended I see that you've been having some coal in today isn't it dreadful how cool has risen I don't call a call now I call it yeast my husband but let us talk of pleasant things I see that you've lost your next-door neighbor she was a good woman great personal friend of mine but I must say in all fairness and a very truth that she won't be missed for her tongue was bitter and her words poison Oh No thank you I will not take d I was foolish enough to drink a cup at mrs. Snodgrass's and although I don't wish to go into details I might just as well have swallowed a cannonball I'm that swollen I could hardly put my gloves on I think it's called gastritis Fanny roared with delight the absurd patter was said with an unmistakable touch of humor which would have appealed irresistibly to any music hall audience good old dick Denby she cried it's a case of sick suites at the Coliseum and 15 on the road with a star line on the bills give me my skirt I beg your pardon he got out of it quickly oh if only I dared if only I had the pluck to face my friends in front again return of mr. Danby ah that's it it's assert its fine you're up to your best form you only want a couple of good songs and your face will gleam again in all the shop windows damn be put his trembling hands on the girls shoulders Oh miss Ives Oh Fanny you're better than all the medicine you're a lady doctor a hospital of lady doctors you've bucked me up you've given me back my clock come on to London to London yes cried Fanny to London damn be ran to his knapsack and began to pack a feverishly the color had returned to his face his eyes were alight he laughed as he packed they both laughed and when a few minutes later they faced each other again ready for the road they both looked as if a fairy had touched them with her wand your sisters dead said damn be and you're down on your luck join forces with me and we'll do a turn together this turn this story just as we've done it here and we'll call it lame dogs Fanny's tears started to her eyes oh mr. Danby do you mean that damn be almost shouted with excitement mean it I never meant anything so seriously in my life dick damn bein Fanny Ives at ten o'clock nightly that's what I mean my dear you've done it you've helped a lame dog over a stile in future I won't work only for myself I'll work for you too little dick damn be on his feet again little dick damn bees believed in he's come face to face with Miss fanny hope faith charity Ives and he won't let her go is it a contract Fanny tried to take the outstretched hand she tried to speak and failed damn be bent down and put his lips on her sleeve then he led her to the style helped her over and together they took the road which led to London end of story 8 you

2 thoughts on “Times' Red Cross Story Book By Famous Novelists Serving In His Majesty's Forces | Various | 3/6

  1. Times' Red Cross Story Book By Famous Novelists Serving In His Majesty's Forces | Various | 3/6
    Parts of this video:
    Part 1: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=I1UHHJjv8gQ
    Part 2: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZAJRQ_zpmq4
    Part 3: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=esefP4OJ4vM (this video)
    Part 4: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kjgXxijUUjU
    Part 5: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eDdxpC8HaQ0
    Part 6: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3ciPOsXqdNA

  2. Times' Red Cross Story Book By Famous Novelists Serving In His Majesty's Forces | Various | 3/6
    6: [00:00:00] – Bill Bailey
    7: [00:41:33] – Life-Like
    8: [01:07:52] – Lame Dogs

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