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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.
anyway.  That’s Twyning’s sort.  Chap I never cottoned on to a bit.  They’d precious little to say about Sabre.  Sort of handed out the impression that he’d been out of the business so long that really they weren’t much in touch with his doings.  Rather rotten, I thought it, seeing that the poor beggar had done his bit in the war and done it pretty thoroughly too.  They said that really they hardly knew when he’d be fit to get back to work again; not just yet awhile, anyway.  And, yes, he was at home over at Penny Green, so far as they knew,—­in the kind of tone that they didn’t know much and cared less:  at least, that was the impression they gave me; only my fancy, I daresay, as the girl said when she thought the soldier sat a bit too close to her in the tram.

“Well, I’d nothing to do till my train pulled out in the afternoon, so I hopped it over to Penny Green Garden Home on the railway and walked down to old Sabre’s to scoop a free lunch off him.  Found him a bit down the road from his house trying out this game leg of his.  By Jove, he was no end bucked to see me.  Came bounding along, dot and carry one, beaming all over his old phiz, and wrung my honest hand as if he was Robinson Crusoe discovering Man Friday on a desert island.  I know I’m called Popular Percy by thousands who can only admire me from afar, but I tell you old Sabre fairly overwhelmed me.  And talk!  He simply jabbered.  I said, ’By Jove, Sabre, one would think you hadn’t met any one for a month the way you’re unbelting the sacred rites of welcome.’  He laughed and said, ’Well, you see, I’m a bit tied to a post with this leg of mine.’

“‘How’s the wife?’ said I.

“‘She’s fine,’ said he.  ’You’ll stay to lunch?  I say, Hapgood, you will stay to lunch, won’t you?’

“I told him that’s what I’d come for; and he seemed no end relieved,—­so relieved that I think I must have cocked my eye at him or something, because he said in an apologetic sort of way, ’I mean, because my wife will be delighted.  It’s a bit dull for her nowadays, only me and always me, crawling about more or less helpless.’

“It struck me afterwards—­oh, well, never mind that now.  I said, ’I suppose she’s making no end of a fuss over you now, hero of the war, and all that sort of thing?’

“‘Oh, rather!’ says old Sabre, and a minute or two later, as if he hadn’t said it heartily enough, ’Oh, rather.  Rather, I should think so.’”

II

“Well, we staggered along into the house, old Sabre talking away like a soda-water bottle just uncorked, and he took me into a room on the ground floor where they’d put up a bed for him, him not being able to do the stairs, of course.  ‘This is my—­my den,’ he introduced it, ’where I sit about and read and try to do a bit of work.’

“There didn’t look to be much signs of either that I could see, and I said so.  And old Sabre, who’d been hobbling about the room in a rather uncomfortable sort of way, exclaimed suddenly, ’I say, Hapgood, it’s absolutely ripping having you here talking like this.  I never can settle down properly in this room, and I’ve got a jolly place upstairs where all my books and things are.’

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