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Holiday Time
by [?]

“There isn’t a church at Little Chagford,” she said. “At least there wasn’t two years ago, when this book was published. So that looks as though it can’t be VERY early Norman.”

“Then let’s go on,” said Archie, after a deep silence.

We found a most delightful little spot (which wasn’t famous for anything) for lunch, and had the baskets out of the car in no time.

“Now, are you going to help get things ready,” asked Myra, “or are you going to take advantage of your sex and watch Dahlia and me do all the work?”

“I thought women always liked to keep the food jobs for themselves,” I said. “I know I’m never allowed in the kitchen at home. Besides, I’ve got more important work to do–I’m going to make the fire.”

“What fire?”

“You can’t really lead the simple life and feel at home with Nature until you have laid a fire of twigs and branches, rubbed two sticks together to procure a flame, and placed in the ashes the pemmican or whatever it is that falls to your rifle.”

“Well, I did go out to look for pemmican this morning, but there were none rising.”

“Then I shall have my ham sandwich hot.”

“Bread, butter, cheese, eggs, sandwiches, fruit,” catalogued Dahlia, as she took them out; “what else do you want?”

“I’m waiting here for cake,” I said.

“Bother, I forgot the cake.”

“Look here, this picnic isn’t going with the swing that one had looked for. No pemmican, no cake, no early Norman church. We might almost as well be back in the Cromwell Road.”

“Does your whole happiness depend on cake?” asked Myra scornfully.

“To a large extent it does. Archie,” I called out, “there’s no cake.”

Archie stopped patting the car and came over to us. “Good. Let’s begin,” he said; “I’m hungry.”

“You didn’t hear. I said there WASN’T any cake–on the contrary, there is an entire absence of it, a shortage, a vacuum, not to say a lacuna. In the place where it should be there is an aching void or mere hard-boiled eggs or something of that sort. I say, doesn’t ANYBODY mind, except me?”

Apparently nobody did, so that it was useless to think of sending Archie back for it. Instead, I did a little wrist-work with the corkscrew….

“Now,” said Archie, after lunch, “before you all go off with your butterfly nets, I’d better say that we shall be moving on at about half-past three. That is, unless one of you has discovered the slot of a Large Cabbage White just then, and is following up the trail very keenly.”

“I know what I’m going to do,” I said, “if the flies will let me alone.”

“Tell me quickly before I guess,” begged Myra.

“I’m going to lie on my back and think about–who do you think do the hardest work in the world?”


“Then I shall think about stevedores.”

“Are you sure,” asked Simpson, “that you wouldn’t like me to show you that signalling now?”

I closed my eyes. You know, I wonder sometimes what it is that makes a picnic so pleasant. Because all the important things, the eating and the sleeping, one can do anywhere.


Myra gazed out of the window upon the driving rain and shook her head at the weather.

“Ugh!” she said. “Ugly!”

“Beast,” I added, in order that there should be no doubt about what we thought. “Utter and deliberate beast.”

We had arranged for a particularly pleasant day. We were to have sailed across to the mouth of the–I always forget its name, and then up the river to the famous old castle of-of-no, it’s gone again; but anyhow, there was to have been a bathe in the river, and lunch, and a little exploration in the dinghy, and a lesson in the Morse code from Simpson, and tea in the woods with a real fire, and in the cool of the evening a ripping run home before the wind. But now the only thing that seemed certain was the cool of the evening.