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Holiday Time
by [?]

“Then we shall have to draw lots who is to be eaten.”

“Don’t we eat our boots and things first?” asked Myra.

“The doctor says I mustn’t have anything more solid than a lightly-boiled shoe-lace the last thing at night.”

“After all, there’s always the dinghy,” said Archie. “If we put in a tin of corned beef and a compass and a keg of gunpowder, somebody might easily row in and post the letters. Personally, as captain, I must stick to my ship.”

“There’s another way I’ve just thought of,” I said. “Let’s sail in.”

I pointed out to sea, and there, unmistakably, was the least little breeze coming over the waters. A minute later and our pennant napped once Simpson moistened a finger and held it up.

The sprint for home had begun.


“Well, which is it to be?” asked Archie.

“Just whichever you like,” said Dahlia, “only make up your minds.”

“Well, I can do you a very good line in either. I’ve got a lot of sea in the front of the house, and there’s the Armadillo straining at the leash; and I’ve had some land put down at the back of the house, and there’s the Silent-Knight eating her carburettor off in the kennels.”

“Oh, what can ail thee, Silent-Knight, alone and palely loitering?” asked Simpson. “Keats,” he added kindly.

“Ass (Shakespeare),” I said.

“Of course, if we sailed,” Simpson went on eagerly, “and we got becalmed again, I could teach you chaps signalling.”

Archie looked from one to the other of us.

“I think that settles it,” he said, and went off to see about the motor.

“Little Chagford,” said Archie, as he slowed down. “Where are we going to, by the way?”

“I thought we’d just go on until we found a nice place for lunch.”

“And then on again till we found a nice place for tea,” added Myra.

“And so home to dinner,” I concluded.

“Speaking for myself–” began Simpson.

“Oh, why not?”

“I should like to see a church where Katharine of Aragon or somebody was buried.”

“Samuel’s morbid craving for sensation–“

“Wait till we get back to London, and I’ll take you to Madame Tussaud’s, Mr Simpson.”

“Well, I think he’s quite right,” said Dahlia. “There is an old Norman church, I believe, and we ought to go and see it. The Philistines needn’t come in if they don’t want to.”

“Philistines!” I said indignantly. “Well, I’m–“

“Agagged,” suggested Archie. “Oh no, he was an Amalekite.”

“You’ve lived in the same country as this famous old Norman church for years and years and years, and you care so little about it that you’ve never been to see it and aren’t sure whether it was Katharine of Aragon or Alice-for-short who was buried here, and now that you HAVE come across it by accident you want to drive up to it in a brand-new 1910 motor-car, with Simpson in his 1910 gent.’s fancy vest knocking out the ashes of his pipe against the lych-gate as he goes in. … And that’s what it is to be one of the elect!”

“Little Chagford’s noted back-chat comedians,” commented Archie. “Your turn, Dahlia.”

“There was once a prince who was walking in a forest near his castle one day–that’s how all the nice stories begin–and he suddenly came across a beautiful maiden, and he said to himself, ‘I’ve lived here for years and years and years, and I’ve never seen her before, and I’m not sure whether her name is Katharine or Alice, or where her uncle was buried, and I’ve got a new surcoat on which doesn’t match her wimple at all, so let’s leave her and go home to lunch….’ And THAT’S what it is to be one of the elect!”

“Don’t go on too long,” said Archie. “There are the performing seals to come after you.”

I jumped out of the car and joined her in the road.

“Dahlia, I apologize,” I said. “You are quite right. We will visit this little church together, and see who was buried there.”

Myra looked up from the book she had been studying, Jovial Jaunts Round Jibmouth.