And I hurried along the sands, only just in time, for I had been so interested in Shin Shira’s story that I had not noticed how the tide had been creeping up. I shall have a good look at that jewel in Shin Shira’s turban next time I see him—and as for “the Bellows,” I hardly know which explanation to accept, Shin Shira’s or that of the guide.
MYSTERY NO. III
THE MAGIC CARPET
It was just at the end of the school term, and I had received a letter from my young cousin Lionel, who was at Marlborough, reminding me of my promise that he should spend a part at least of his holidays with me.
“Mind you’re at the station in time,” he had said; “and, I say! please don’t call me Lionel if there are any of our fellows about, it sounds so kiddish. Just call me Sutcliffe, and I’ll call you sir—as you’re so old—like we do the masters. Oh yes! and there’s something I want you to buy for me, very particularly—it’s for my study. I’ve got a study this term, and I share it with a fellow named Gammage. He’s an awfully good egg!”
“What extraordinary language schoolboys do manage to get hold of,” I thought as I re-read the letter while bowling along in the cab on my way to the station, which, a very few minutes later, came in sight, the platform being crowded with parents, relatives and friends waiting to meet the train by which so many Marlburians were travelling.
There was a shriek from an engine, and a rattle and clatter outside the station, as the train, every window filled with boys’ excited faces, came dashing up to the platform.
“There’s my people!” “There’s Tom!” “Hi! hi! Here I am!” “There’s the pater with the trap!” “Hooray!” To the accompaniment of a babel of cries like these, and amidst an excited scramble of half-wild schoolboys, I at last discovered my small cousin.
“There he is!” he said, pointing me out to a young friend who was with him; and coming up he hurriedly offered his hand.
“How are you, Sutcliffe?” I asked, remembering his letter.
“All right, thanks,” he replied. “This is Gammage. I wanted to show you to him. He wouldn’t believe I had a cousin as old as you are. See, Gammage?”
Gammage looked at me and nodded. “’Bye, Sutcliffe; good-bye, sir,” said he, raising his hat to me and hurrying off to his “people.”
“I say! don’t forget the rug, Sutcliffe!” he bawled over his shoulder before finally disappearing.
“Oh no! I say, sir! That’s what I want to ask you about,” said Sutcliffe, scrambling into the taxi, and settling himself down with a little nod of satisfaction.
“What?” I inquired, as we bowled out of the station.