Living Alone eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 127 pages of information about Living Alone.
out, an’ always a-hollerin’ an’ a-laughin’ an’ a-playin’ ’is game.  ’E stayed with us all them ten days, an’ ’e come with me to Victoria, to see Sherrie off to France.  It’s Sherrie’s allotted money what I fetch every week.  But I won’t touch it, I puts it away for Elbert.  I don’t want to owe nothin’ to nobody, for I’m payin’ sich a big debt.  Elbert, when ’e comes back to me, ’e’s going to be my payment to the world, an’ it’s got to be good money.  For Elbert left me after Sherrie went.  ’E said as ’ow ’e was going ‘ome, an’ as ’ow ‘e would come back to me in the Spring, an’ stay with me always.  It wasn’t like partin’, e’ ses, ‘im an’ me could never do thet.  I know what ’e meant, now....”

“And what about Sherrie?” asked Sarah Brown.

“Oh, Sherrie, ’e never writes to me.  But ’e promised too to come back in the Spring, an’ so ’e will, for there ain’t no Boche bullet that can ’it a magic man.”

“It’s springtime now,” said Sarah Brown.

“It’s springtime now,” repeated Peony.  “Ow, it’s wonderful, seems like as if I was gettin’ too much given me, so as I can never repay.  But I’m keepin’ count, I’m not forgettin’.  It ain’t long now before I’ll pay my debt.  Come the middle o’ May....”

CHAPTER IV

THE FORBIDDEN SANDWICH

While Sarah Brown’s unenviable leisure was spent in acting as slave to committees, she had at the same time a half-time profession which, when she was well enough to follow it, brought twenty shillings a week to her pocket.  She was in the habit of sitting every morning in a small office, collecting evidence from charitable spies about the Naughty Poor, and, after wrapping the evidence in mysterious ciphers, writing it down very beautifully upon little cards, so that the next spy might have the benefit of all his forerunners’ experience.  Sarah Brown never thought about the theory of this work, because the different coloured inks and the beautiful writing pleased her so.

There are people to whom a ream of virgin paper is an inspiration, who find the first sharpening of a pencil the most lovable of all labours, who see something almost holy in the dedication of green and red penholders to their appropriate inks, in whose ears and before whose eyes the alphabet is like a poem or a prayer.  Touch on stationery and you touched an insane spot in Sarah Brown’s mind.  Her dream of a perfect old age was staged in a stationer’s shop in a quiet brown street; there she would spend twilit days in stroking thick blotting-paper, in drawing dogs—­all looking one way—­with new pen-nibs, in giving advice in a hushed voice to connoisseur customers, who should come to buy a diary or a book-plate or a fountain-pen with the same reverence as they now show who come to buy old wine.

Therefore Sarah Brown’s hand had found ideal employment on a charity register.  As for her mind, it usually shut its eye during office hours.  Her Dog David liked the work too, as the hearth-rug was a comfortable one, and Charity, though it may suffer long in other directions, is rather particular about its firing.

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Living Alone from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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