Jaffery eBook

William John Locke
This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 296 pages of information about Jaffery.

As soon as business or idleness took me to town, I visited St. Quentin’s Mansions, and after consultation with the porter, who, knowing me to be a friend of Mr. Chayne’s, assured me that I need not have burdened myself with the horrible key, I entered Jaffery’s chambers.  I found the small sitting-room in very much the same state of litter as when Jaffery left it.  He enjoyed litter and hated the devastating tidiness of housemaids.  Give a young horse with a long, swishy tail a quarter of an hour’s run in an ordinary bachelor’s rooms, and you will have the normal appearance of Jaffery’s home.  As I knew he did not want me to dust his books and pictures (such as they were) or to make order out of a chaos, of old newspapers, or to put his pipes in the rack or to remove spurs and physical culture apparatus from the sofa, or to bestow tender care upon a cannon ball, an antiquated eighteen or twenty-pounder, which reposed—­most useful piece of furniture—­in the middle of the hearth-rug, or to see to the comfortless electric radiator that took the place of a grate, I let these things be, and concentrated my attention on his papers which lay loose on desk and table.  This was obviously the tidying up to which he had referred.  I swept his correspondence into one drawer.  I gathered together the manuscript of his new novel and swept it into another.  On the top of a pedestal bookcase I discovered the original manuscript of “The Greater Glory,” neatly bound in brown paper and threaded through with red tape.  This I dropped into the third drawer of the desk, which already contained a mass of papers.  I went into his bedroom, where I found more letters lying about.  I collected them and looked around.  There seemed to be little left for me to do.  I noticed two photographs on his dressing-table—­one of his mother, whom I remembered, and, one of Doria—­these I laid face downwards so that the light should not fade them.  I noticed also a battered portmanteau from beneath the lid of which protruded three or four corners of scribbling paper, and lastly my eyes fell upon the offending beer-barrel in a dark alcove.  The basin set below the tap, in order to catch the drip, was nearly full.  In four months’ time the room would be flooded with sour and horrible beer.  Full of the thought, I deposited the letters in the drawer with the rest of the correspondence, and, leaving the flat, summoned the lift, and in Jaffery’s name presented a delighted porter with the contents of a nine-gallon cask.  I went away in the rich glow that mantles from man’s heart to check when he knows that he has made a friend for life.  It was only afterwards, when I got home, and hung the labelled key on my library wall, that I realised that old Jaffery and myself had, at least, one thing in common—­videlicet, the keyless habit.  I had often suspected that deep in our souls lurked some hidden trait-d’union.  Now I had found it.

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Project Gutenberg
Jaffery from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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