The Uttermost Farthing eBook

R Austin Freeman
This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 197 pages of information about The Uttermost Farthing.

“This rather makeshift plan I proceeded to execute.  Transporting the material to the middle of the weed-grown space, I covered it lightly with twigs and various articles of loose rubbish.  It was now quite invisible, and I was turning away to go when suddenly I bethought me of the dry preparation of the head that ought to accompany the skeleton.  Without that, the specimen would be incomplete; and an incomplete specimen would spoil the series.  I reflected awhile.  It seemed a pity to spoil the completeness of the series for the sake of a little trouble.  I had a good-sized bag with me and a quantity of stout brown paper in it in which the bulbs had been wrapped.  Why not?

“In the end, I decided that the series should not be spoilt.  I need not describe the obvious details of the simple procedure.  When I came up out of the chalk-pit a quarter of an hour later, my bag contained the material for the required preparation of a mummified head.

“I soon struck the familiar footpath and set forth at a brisk pace to catch the late train from Gravesend.  It was a long walk and a pleasant one, though the bag was uncomfortably heavy.  I thought, with grim amusement, of Grayson’s gang of footpads.  It would be a quaint situation if I encountered some of them and was robbed of my bag.  The possibilities that the idea opened out were highly diverting and kept me entertained until I at last reached Gravesend Station and was bundled by the guard into a first-class compartment just as the train was starting.  I should have preferred an empty compartment, but there was no choice; and as three of the corners were occupied, I took possession of the fourth.  The rack over my seat was occupied by a bag about the size of my own, apparently the property of a clergyman who sat in the opposite corner, so I had to place my bag in the rack over his head.

“I watched him during the journey as he sat opposite me reading the Church Times and wondered how he would feel if he knew what was in the bag above him.  Probably he would have been quite disturbed; for many of these clerics entertain the quaintest of old-world ideas.  And he was mighty near to knowing, too; for when the train had stopped at Hither Green and was just about to move off, he suddenly sprang up, exclaiming, ‘God bless my soul!’ and snatching my bag from the rack, darted out on the platform.  I immediately grabbed his bag from my rack and rushed out after him as the train started, hailing him to stop.  ’Hi!  My good sir!  You’ve taken my bag.’

“‘Not at all,’ he replied indignantly.  ‘You’re quite mistaken.’  And then, as I held out his own bag, he looked from one to the other, and, to my horror, pressed the clasp of my bag and pulled it wide open.

“On what small chances do great events turn!  But for the brown paper in my bag, there would have been a catastrophe.  As it was, when his eye lighted on that rough, globular paper parcel he handed me my bag with an apologetic smirk and received his own in exchange.  But after that, I kept my property in my hand until I was safe within the precincts of my laboratory.

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Project Gutenberg
The Uttermost Farthing from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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