Half-an-hour later, we were at Gower Street, making preparations for our journey to Turin—Simon calm and collected, I feverish and excited.
NEARING THE END
There were, as I said, eight days in which to find Kaffar and bring him to London, counting the day on which we started our journey. It was Wednesday; by the following Wednesday, at midnight, I must prove to Gertrude that Voltaire was a villain and a liar. It should be done easily. It was but little more than a thirty hours’ ride to Turin—that is, providing everything went smoothly. To put it at the outside, it was only a forty-eight hours’ journey, allowing time for a sleep on the way. Thus four days would suffice for travelling, and I should have more than three days in which to find Kaffar. It was true Turin was a large town, but in three days I was sure I could find him. In that time I thought I could hunt every lodging-house and hotel in the city.
I shall say little of the journey. Mostly it was cold and wearisome enough. From Dover to Paris it was fairly comfortable, but from Paris to the Italian border we were travelling through a snowstorm, and thus, when we came to this our last stopping-place before going through the famous Mont Cenis Tunnel, we were four hours late. It was terribly cold there. Everything was ice-bound. Brooklets, waterfalls, rivers, all were held fast by the ice-king. Simon was much impressed by the scenery. The great giant mountains towering up on every hand were a revelation to him, and he stood open-mouthed, gazing at what is perhaps among the grandest sights in France.
We swept through Mont Cenis Tunnel, and then, with a cry of gladness, we entered the sunny land of Italy. What a change it was! Here the warm sun, which had been hidden on the other side by the high mountain range, had melted the snow, and so bright streams of water came rushing down the mountain sides, laughing as if in glee. The cottagers sat outside their doors, singing in the sun. The vine-covered hills, although not yet clothed with their green garment, were still beautiful, while away in the distance spread a broad Italian plain, dotted with villages, out of whose midst a modest church spire ever lifted its head.
I had seen all this before, but to Simon it was a marvel of beauty. In England the streets were muddy, and a yellow fog hung over London, and yet in forty-eight hours we were beneath sunny skies, we were breathing a comparatively humid air.
But I must not stay to write about this, for my story is not about Italian scenery, or beautiful sights of any sort. It is my work now to tell about my search after Kaffar.
We arrived in Turin on Friday evening, about fifty-one hours from the time we started from London. We had spent some little time in Paris, or we could have done it more quickly. We found Turin lit up with a pure bright light, and, as Simon declared, “looking one of the most purtiest places like, as ever he’d clapped his eyes on.”