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Old Friends
by [?]

It was an odd collection of very dear friends, Miss Middleton’s final reminder having been that nothing was too old for a jumble sale.

Lot One,” I said. “A photograph of my house cricket eleven, framed in oak. Very interesting. The lad on the extreme right is now a clergyman.”

“Oh, which is you?” said Miss Middleton eagerly.

I was too much wrapped up in my parcel to answer. “Lot Two,” I went on. “A pink-and-white football shirt; would work up into a dressy blouse for adult, or a smart overcoat for child. Lot Three. A knitted waistcoat; could be used as bath-mat. Lot Four. Pair of bedroom slippers in holes. This bit is the slipper; the rest is the hole. Lot Five. Now this is something really good. Truthful Jane–my first prize at my Kindergarten.”

“Mother is in luck. It’s just the sort of things she wants,” said Miss Middleton.

“Her taste is excellent. Lot Six. A pair of old grey flannel trousers. Lot Seven. Lot Seven forward. Where are you?” I began to go through the things again. “Er–I’m afraid Lot Seven has already gone.”

“What about Lot Eight?”

“There doesn’t seem to be a Lot Eight either. It’s very funny; I’m sure I started with more than this. Some of the things must have eaten each other on the way.”

“Oh, but this is heaps. Can you really spare them all?”

“I should feel honoured if Mrs. Middleton would accept them,” I said with a bow. “Don’t forget to tell her that in the photograph the lad on the extreme right—-” I picked up the photograph and examined it more carefully. “I say, I look rather jolly, don’t you think? I wonder if I have another copy of this anywhere.” I gazed at it wistfully. “That was my first year for the house, you know.”

“Don’t give it away,” said Miss Middleton suddenly. “Keep it.”

“Shall I? I don’t want to deprive—- Well, I think I will if you don’t mind.” My eyes wandered to the shirt. “I’ve had some fun in that in my time,” I said thoughtfully. “The first time I wore it—-“

“You really oughtn’t to give away your old colours, you know.”

“Oh, but if Mrs. Middleton,” I began doubtfully–“at least, don’t you–what?–oh, all right, perhaps I won’t.” I put the shirt on one side with the photograph, and picked up the dear old comfy bedroom slippers. I considered them for a minute and then I sighed deeply. As I looked up I caught Miss Middleton’s eye…. I think she had been smiling.

“About the slippers,” she said gravely.

. . . . .

“Good-bye,” I said to Miss Middleton. “It’s been jolly to see you.” I grasped my parcel firmly as the train began to move. “I’m always glad to help Mrs. Middleton, and if ever I can do so again be sure to let me know.”

“I will,” said Miss Middleton.

The train went out of the station, and my parcel and I looked about for a cab.