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Winter Sport
by [?]


“I had better say at once,” I announced as I turned over the wine list, “that I have come out here to enjoy myself, and enjoy myself I shall. Myra, what shall we drink?”

“You had three weeks’ honeymoon in October,” complained Thomas, “and you’re taking another three weeks now. Don’t you ever do any work?”

Myra and I smiled at each other. Coming from Thomas, who spends his busy day leaning up against the wireless installation at the Admiralty, the remark amused us.

“We’ll have champagne,” said Myra, “because it’s our opening night. Archie, after you with the head-waiter.”

It was due to Dahlia, really, that the Rabbits were hibernating at the Hotel des Angeliques, Switzerland (central-heated throughout); for she had been ordered abroad, after an illness, to pull herself together a little, and her doctor had agreed with Archie that she might as well do it at a place where her husband could skate. On the point that Peter should come and skate too, however, Archie was firm. While admitting that he loved his infant son, he reminded Dahlia that she couldn’t possibly get through Calais and Pontarlier without declaring Peter, and that the duty on this class of goods was remarkably heavy. Peter, therefore, was left behind. He had an army of nurses to look after him, and a stenographer to take down his more important remarks. With a daily bulletin and a record of his table-talk promised her, Dahlia was prepared to be content.

As for Myra and me, we might have hesitated to take another holiday so soon, had it not been for a letter I received one morning at breakfast.

“Simpson is going.” I said. “He has purchased a pair of skis.”

“That does it,” said Myra decisively. And, gurgling happily to herself, she went out and bought a camera.

For Thomas I can find no excuses. At a moment of crisis he left his country’s Navy in jeopardy and, the Admiralty yacht being otherwise engaged, booked a first return from Cook’s. And so it was that at four o’clock one day we arrived together at the Hotel des Angeliques, and some three hours later were settling down comfortably to dinner.

“I’ve had a busy time,” said Archie. “I’ve hired a small bob, a luge and a pair of skis for myself, a pair of snow-shoes and some skates for Dahlia, a–a tricycle horse for Simpson, and I don’t know what else. All in French.”

“What is the French for a pair of snow-shoes?” asked Myra.

“I pointed to them in French. The undersized Robert I got at a bargain. The man who hired it last week broke his leg before his fortnight was up, and so there was a reduction of several centimes.”

“I’ve been busy too,” I said. “I’ve been watching Myra unpack, and telling her where not to put my things.”

“I packed jolly well–except for the accident.”

“An accident to the boot-oil,” I explained. “If I get down to my last three shirts you will notice it.”

We stopped eating for a moment in order to drink Dahlia’s health. It was Dahlia’s health which had sent us there.

“Who’s your friend, Samuel?” said Archie, as Simpson caught somebody’s eye at another table and nodded.

“A fellow I met in the lift,” said Simpson casually.

“Samuel, beware of elevator acquaintances,” said Myra in her most solemn manner.

“He’s rather a good chap. He was at Peterhouse with a friend of mine. He was telling me quite a good story about a ‘wine’ my friend gave there once, when—-“

“Did you tell him about your ‘ginger-beers’ at Giggleswick?” I interrupted.

“My dear old chap, he’s rather a man to be in with. He knows the President.”

“I thought nobody knew the President of the Swiss Republic,” said Myra. “Like the Man in the Iron Mask.”

“Not that President, Myra. The President of the Angeliques Sports Club.”

“Never heard of it,” we all said.

Simpson polished his glasses and prepared delightedly to give an explanation.