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A Trunk Call
by [?]

“Well?” she said eagerly.

I struggled out of the sofa.

“What is it?” I asked sternly.

“Did you hear it all right?”

“I didn’t hear anything.”

“Oh!” she said in great disappointment. “But perhaps you were asleep,” she went on hopefully.

“Certainly not. I was working.”

“Did I interrupt you?”

“You did rather; but it doesn’t matter.”

“Oh, well, I won’t do it again–unless I really have to. Good-bye, and good luck.”

She went out and I returned to my sofa. After an hour or so my mind began to get to work, and I got up and walked slowly up and down the room. The gentle exercise seemed to stimulate me. Seeing my new putter in the corner of the room, I took it up (my brain full of other things) and, dropping a golf ball on the carpet, began to practise. After five or ten minutes, my ideas being now quite clear, I was just about to substitute the pen for the putter when Celia came in.

“Oh!” she said. “Are–are you busy?”

I turned round from a difficult putt with the club in my hand.

“Very,” I said. “What is it?”

“I don’t want to disturb you if you’re working—-“

“I am.”

“But I just wondered if you–if you liked artichokes.”

I looked at her coldly.

“I will fill in your confession book another time,” I said stiffly, and I sat down with dignity at my desk and dipped the putter in the ink.

“It’s for dinner to-night,” said Celia persuasively. “Do say. Because I don’t want to eat them all by myself.”

I saw that I should have to humour her.

“If it’s a Jerusalem artichoke you mean, yes,” I said; “the other sort, no. J. Arthur Choke I love.”

“Right-o. Sorry for interrupting.” And then as she went to the door, “You did hear Jumbo this time, didn’t you?”

“I believe that’s the only reason you came in for.”

“Well, one of them.”

“Are you coming in again?”

“Don’t know,” she smiled. “Depends if I can think of an excuse.”

“Right,” I said. “In that case—-“

There was nothing else for it; I took up my pen and began to work.

But I have a suggestion to make to Celia. At present, although Jumbo is really mine, she is having all the fun with him. And as long as Jumbo is on the outside of the door there can never rise an occasion when I should want to use him. My idea is that I should unscrew Jumbo and put him on the inside of the door, so that I can knock when I come out.

And then when Celia wants to come in she will warn me in the old-fashioned way with her knuckles … and I shall have time to do something about it.