If Winter Comes eBook

Arthur Stuart-Menteth Hutchinson
This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 343 pages of information about If Winter Comes.

“I was very much annoyed with Miss Bright yesterday.  I had been kept rather late at our Red Cross Supply Depot owing to an urgent call for accessories and when I came home I found that Miss Bright had actually taken what I consider the great liberty of ordering up tea without waiting for me.  I considered it great presumption on her part and told her so.  I find her taking liberties in many ways.  It’s always the way with that class,—­once you treat them kindly they turn on you.  However, I have, I think, made it quite clear to her that she is not here for the purpose of giving her own orders and being treated like a princess.”

It clouded his excitement.  His thought was, “Damn it, I hope she isn’t bullying Effie.”

He had the luck almost at once to jump a lorry that would lift him a long bit on his road, and the driver felicitated him with envious cheerfulness on being off for “leaf.”  He would have responded with immense heartiness before reading that letter.  With Mabel’s tart sentences in his mind a certain gloom, a rather vexed gloom, bestrode him.  Her words presented her aspect and her attitude and her atmosphere with a reminiscent flavour that took the edge off his eagerness for home.  On the road when the lorry had dropped him, on the interminable journey in the train, on the boat, the feeling remained with him.  England—­England!—­merged into view across the water, and he was astonished, as his heart bounded for joy at Folkestone coming into sight, to realise from what depression of mind it bounded away.  He was ashamed of himself and perturbed with himself that he had not more relished the journey:  the journey that was the most glorious thing in the dreams of every man in France.  He thought, “Well, what am I coming home to?”

The train went speeding through the English fields,—­dear, familiar, English lands, sodden and bare and unspeakably exquisite to him in their December mood.  He gazed upon them, flooding all his heart out to them.  He thought, “Why should there be anything to make me feel depressed?  Why should things be the same as they used to be?  But dash that letter....  Dash it, I hope she’s not been bullying that girl.”

V

He made rather a boisterous entry into the house on his arrival, arriving in the morning before breakfast.  He entered the hall just after eight o’clock and announced himself with a loud, “Hullo, everybody!” and thumped the butt of his rifle on the floor.  An enormous crash in the kitchen and a shriek of “It’s the master!” heralded the tumultuous discharge upon him of High Jinks and Low Jinks.  Effie appeared from the dining room.  He was surrounded and enthusiastically shaking hands.  “Hullo, you Jinkses!  Isn’t this ripping?  By Jove, High—­and Low—­it’s famous to see you again.  Hullo, Effie!  Just fancy you being here!  How jolly fine, eh?  High Jinks, I want the most enormous breakfast you’ve ever cooked.  Got any kippers?  Good girl.  That’s the stuff to give the troops.  Where’s the Mistress?  Not down yet?  I’ll go up.  Low Jinks—­Low Jinks, I’m dashed if you aren’t crying!  Well, it is jolly nice to see you again, Low.  How’s the old bike?  Look here, Low, I want the most boiling bath—­”

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If Winter Comes from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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