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and the candles burnt down," I suggested. "That's what usually happens with these night students."
Nothing of the sort!" replied Simpson sharply. "Mrs Trent couldn't do anything according to the usual." Then his tone suddenly changed. "Begging your pardon, Mr Gresham, sir, what I mean to say is, Mrs Trent left her room, left the door open too, which, with the window open as well, makes a considerable draught, and the curtains of that bed were nothing more than muslinlike, with strips of thin stuff that could easily move in a draught. Well, she went downstairs and into the morningroom; I suppose she
wanting a book or some rubbish from there. But she didn't go back, just lay down on the lounge, and rolled herself up in the silk rugs and cushions lying round the room, and there she stayed, and there she slept. Mind you, sir, a person that can't rest in their own bed, or let anybody else rest either, but to go and drop down and curl up anywhere like a dog, and that's when they can sleep, when they've just set the house in flames above their 'ead, and above everybody else's 'ead too."
Simpson was embittered. He must have been very cold by this time. I was fairly petrified myself, but I knew we should soon be back.
"I told Mrs Hawkins for fear the master should go looking for her."
"But, Simpson, I don't see how you know about the candles" I began.
"Didn't Mrs Hawkins come to me the last thing in the evening for that branch-candlestick, and on purpose for reading at night, she said? I always found the twelve hours of a day time enough for reading myself; but then I'm an idle man, to be sure."
We turned in at the gate, and went round to the garage to put up the car. Smoke was still puffing out and hanging heavily round the house, and by the glare from inside I could see a hole right through the roof. As we hurried off after putting in the car, I saw a light under a door somewhere in the stables, and turned back again to investigate it. The light came from a lantern placed on the ground, and inside the door. It shone full in the face of a little brown donkey, which, with lowered head and feet firmly planted, was stoutly refusing to move an inch, though dragged at with might and main by Patsy, who had put on the bridle, and with set teeth was bending all her strength against the donkey's, in a vain attempt to lead him out.
"Did you wake her up, by afraid of the lantern you have the way?" I inquired. shining in his eye," I said,
"Come along had run back upstairs, and my poor lady having the hysterics so badly, she couldn't stop him, as you may see for yourself."
as I picked it up. now, and we'll get the engine to take charge of the stable. You must explain to the firemen just where the donkey lives."
She seemed to see the sense of that, and came after me without delay.
The house, when I got back to it, was no longer dark. They had evidently turned on all the light they could. The hall was bright, and there was a sort of crowd in the drawingroom. All the maids were in there, half-frightened, half-excited, bustling about doing nothing. Hilda was spread out on a long couch in a conspicuous state of collapse, with two of them holding smellingsalts to her nose. She was absolutely useless. But where was David?
Plainly enough Hilda was in hysterics, but it was the last thing I wanted to see for myself.
"I'll find him," I said. "I'll have him down in no time
Steps sounded at the door, heavy and measured steps, as of men carrying a weight.
"In there, straight please!" said Simpson's voice, and two men of the fire-brigade came in, carrying David, white and perfectly unconscious, between them. They laid him down gently, but lost no time.
Found him in the passage, lying face to the ground, overcome with the smoke, like; it was thick enough. We nearly stepped on him, but the little dog growled, he did———” And they were gone on the instant back to their work.
Poor little Dandy stuck close to David. I tried to feel his pulse, then his heart; it was barely perceptible.
"Fetch some brandy," I said to Simpson. "Don't leave him a minute. I'll take the car out again and bring the doctor."
I believe I got that doctor to his side in about twenty minutes. I knew where he lived. It was not ten miles away; and he brought some medicine along with him after I had explained what he was wanted for.
"It's probably just a faint," he said, as we streaked along
back. But of course the con- everything that makes life
dition of his heart makes it hum! I'll see."
He did see, but he made no pretence of giving any help. David was just breathing when we got back. He opened his eyes once, but I don't think he knew me. He never spoke again.
So this ends the incident, but it leaves everything unfinished.
I don't presume to understand the real connections that I suppose existed between us all. I only know I have lost my friend, and he had lost
(To be concluded.)
TWO ON THE THAMES.
BY B. G. MURE.
wet bathing-dress. The type of bathing-dress worn by a woman who really enjoys swimming does not lend itself to the attitude of deprecating charm necessary to cover up a nasty social error like ours. Another time-but no, this is irrelevant. To return to our journey down the river. I explained to G. that he would have to be responsible for locomotion. I am rather better nowadays, but I then clung to a punt-pole like a monkey on a stick, and fell foul of everything I met from a college eight to a brood of ducklings. Also my punts, especially in a cross-wind, showed a strong tendency to leave the river altogether, and attempt to waddle tankwise across the meadows. I am much impressed by this amphibian characteristic of punts. Can it be that the poor darlings are really worried by the miserable flatness of their figures, so different from those of the eager, keenly curved canoes around them! Do they feel they are really not looking their best in the water, and might cut more of a dash ashore if only allowed to climb out on the bank and grow wheels ?
WHEN in the year of grace 1919 my brother proposed that we should travel from Oxford to Henley in a simple punt, and arrive there in time to observe at least part of the now reviving Regatta, I consented at once. It seemed only right and fitting. He and I rather specialise in foolish adventures on or in the water. Once we were nearly drowned together while swimming against wind and tide off the coast of Yorkshire. I may remark, in I may remark, in case any one cares to know, that no vision of my past life (an existence blameless and boring) assailed me at that uncomfortable moment. I suppose I was not nearly "nearly drowned" enough for that. What did preoccupy me was the thought that the 'Daily Mail' would probably record a "sad bathing fatality" and spell our name with an i. However, we extricated ourselves after a short struggle, and celebrated our survival with a vast tea of turf-cakes. On another occasion G. and I climbed into a privatelyowned dinghy at Bembridge, being desirous of diving out again, but she capsized and spilled us ignominiously. I felt singularly foolish apologising to Never mind; G. is a mighty the wrathful proprietor (who punter before the Lord, and most unluckily was on the my share in the expedition beach at the moment) in my was mainly confined to ex
I took a beloved Jaeger flea-bag which had been twice to France in the war, and bears, not exactly a wound stripe, but a no less honourable patch where it caught fire in a motor-lorry. It would take real gold sovereigns to buy it from me. With this and rugs and the usual flat punt cushions-but I dislike people who tell you exactly what they consider essential for such adventures, and also how superbly they dealt with the packing of it. Having said which I will promptly follow their lead and boast (for my own sex only) that I took with me a dress and hat "for regatta wear," and that they rolled up as a scroll after the neat fashion of the heavens in the Apocalypse, and appeared fresh as daisies when required. May woman never again become voluminous as to garments.
Confound clothes, says some rude man (not my brother,
whom I remember sobbing himself sick at the age of three because sent into our London Square in what he considered an outworn hat). “What did you do about meals?" I have ere this implied that G. and I see eye to eye on many points. One of these is a determination not to let Fate drive us into cooking for ourselves, if possible, still less into spoiling the harmony of our fraternal relationship by cooking for each other. Meals on shore, then, in the packed riverside inns, where food would always be obtainable though beds were not. For baths we could wallow in the river before the world awoke; we would take one mug for tea or shaving-water, and a wee stove. As for dressing for the Regatta, that was the end that crowned all, and shall be described in its proper place.
At 6.30 A.M. on the morning we were pledged to start, I woke up and observed the weather. It was, as 'The Times' would say, "cool and unsettled "-adjectives which apply equally to the British climate and the British cook. Visibility moderate ugh! Why did I ever, &c., &c. I rose, dressed, and padded meekly through the streets to my brother's college. I should perhaps have mentioned that he is a full-fledged don, inculcating some form of philosophy that I live on the verge of understanding from one year's end to the other. None of our friends got out of bed to dis