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The Holiday Problem
by [?]

Yes; we must be near St. John’s Wood in July, but what about August? Everybody, you say, goes away in August; but is not that rather a reason for staying? I don’t bother to point out that the country will be crowded, only that London will be so pleasantly empty. In August and September you can wander about in your oldest clothes and nobody will mind. You can get a seat for any play without difficulty–indeed, without paying, if you know the way. It is a rare time for seeing the old churches of the City or for exploring the South Kensington Museum. London is not London in August and September; it is a jolly old town that you have never seen before. You can dine at the Savoy in your shirt sleeves–well, nearly. I mean, that gives you the idea. And, best of all, your friends will all be enjoying themselves in the country, and they will ask you down for week-ends. Robinson, who is having a cricket week for his schoolboy sons, and Smith, who has hired a yacht, will be glad to see you from Friday to Tuesday. If you had gone to Switzerland for the month, you couldn’t have accepted their kind invitations. “How I wish,” you would have said as you paid the extra centimes on their letters, “how I wish I had taken my holiday in June.” On the other hand, in June—-

Well, you see how difficult it is for you. Of course, I don’t really mind what you do. For myself I have almost decided to have a week in each month. The advantage of this is that I shall go away four times instead of once. There is no joy in the world to equal that of strolling after a London porter who is looking for an empty smoker in which to put your golf clubs. To do it four times, each time with the knowledge of a week’s holiday ahead, is almost more than man deserves. True that by this means I shall also come back four times instead of once, but to a lover of London that is no great matter. Indeed, I like it so.

And another advantage is that I can take five weeks in this way while deluding my conscience into thinking that I am only taking four. A holiday taken in a lump is taken and over. Taken in weeks, with odd days at each end of the weeks, it always leaves a margin for error. I shall take care that the error is on the right side. And if anybody grumbles, “Why, you’re always going away,” I shall answer with dignity, “Confound it! I’m always coming back.”