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Saturday To Monday
by [?]

The happy man would have happy faces round him; a sad face is a reproach to him for his happiness. So when I escape by the 2.10 on Saturday I distribute largesse with a liberal hand. The cabman, feeling that an effort is required of him, mentions that I am the first gentleman he has met that day; he penetrates my mufti and calls me captain, leaving it open whether he regards me as a Salvation Army captain or the captain of a barge. The porters hasten to the door of my cab; there is a little struggle between them as to who shall have the honour of waiting upon me. …

Inside the station things go on as happily. The booking-office clerk gives me a pleasant smile; he seems to approve of the station I am taking. “Some do go to Brighton,” he implies, “but for a gentleman like you–” He pauses to point out that with this ticket I can come back on the Tuesday if I like (as, between ourselves, I hope to do). In exchange for his courtesies I push him my paper through the pigeon hole. A dirty little boy thrust it into my cab; I didn’t want it, but as we are all being happy to- day he had his penny.

I follow my porter to the platform. “On the left,” says the ticket collector. He has said it mechanically to a hundred persons, but he becomes human and kindly as he says it to me. I feel that he really wishes me to get into the right train, to have a pleasant journey down, to be welcomed heartily by my friends when I arrive. It is not as to one of a mob but to an individual that he speaks.

The porter has found me an empty carriage. He is full of ideas for my comfort; he tells me which way the train will start, where we stop, and when we may be expected to arrive. Am I sure I wouldn’t like my bag in the van? Can he get me any papers? No; no, thanks. I don’t want to read. I give him sixpence, and there is another one of us happy.

Presently the guard. He also seems pleased that I have selected this one particular station from among so many. Pleased, but not astonished; he expected it of me. It is a very good run down in his train, and he shouldn’t be surprised if we had a fine week- end. …

I stand at the door of ray carriage feeling very happy. It is good to get out of London. Come to think of it, we are all getting out of London, and none of us is going to do any work to- morrow. How jolly! Oh, but what about my porter? Bother! I wish now I’d given him more than sixpence. Still, he may have a sweetheart and be happy that way.

We are off. I have nothing to read, but then I want to think. It is the ideal place in which to think, a railway carriage; the ideal place in which to be happy. I wonder if I shall be in good form this week-end at cricket and tennis, and croquet and billiards, and all the other jolly games I mean to play. Look at those children trying to play cricket in that dirty backyard. Poor little beggars! Fancy living in one of those horrible squalid houses. But you cannot spoil to- day for me, little backyards. On Tuesday perhaps, when I am coming again to the ugly town, your misery will make me miserable; I shall ask myself hopelessly what it all means; but just now I am too happy for pity. After all, why should I assume that you envy me, you two children swinging on a gate and waving to me? You are happy, aren’t you? Of course; we are all happy to-day. See, I am waving back to you.