**** ROTATE **** **** ROTATE **** **** ROTATE **** **** ROTATE ****

Find this Story

Print, a form you can hold

Wireless download to your Amazon Kindle

Look for a summary or analysis of this Story.

Enjoy this? Share it!


Silver Linings
by [?]

“Don’t let us be rash,” I said thoughtfully. “Don’t let us infuriate them.”

“You aren’t afraid of a striker?” asked Celia in amazement.

“Of an ordinary striker, no. In a strike of bank-clerks, or–or chess-players, or professional skeletons, I should be a lion among the blacklegs; but there is something about the very word coal porter which—- You know, I really think this is a case where the British Army might help us. We have been very good to it.”

The British Army, I should explain, has been walking out with Jane lately. When we go away for week-ends we let the British Army drop in to supper. Luckily it neither smokes nor drinks nor takes any great interest in books. It is a great relief, on your week-ends in the country, to know that the British Army is dropping in to supper, when otherwise you might only have suspected it. I may say that we are rather hoping to get a position in the Army Recruiting film on the strength of this hospitality.

“Let the British Army go,” I said. “We’ve been very kind to him.”

“I fancy Jane has left the service. I don’t know why.”

“Probably they quarrelled because she gave him caviare two nights running,” I said. “Well, I suppose I shall have to go. But it will be no place for women. To-morrow afternoon I will sally forth alone to do it. But,” I added, “I shall probably return with two coal porters clinging round my neck. Order tea for three.”

Next evening, after a warm and busy day at the office, I put on my top-hat and tail-coat and went out. If there was any accident I was determined to be described in the papers as “the body of a well-dressed man”; to go down to history as “the remains of a shabbily dressed individual” would be too depressing. Beautifully clothed, I jumped into a taxi and drove to Celia’s greengrocer. Celia herself was keeping warm by paying still more calls.

“I want,” I said nervously, “a hundredweight of coal and a cauliflower.” This was my own idea. I intended to place the cauliflower on the top of a sack, and so to deceive any too-inquisitive coal porter. “No, no,” I should say, “not coal; nice cauliflowers for Sunday’s dinner.”

“Can’t deliver the coal,” said the greengrocer.

“I’m going to take it with me,” I explained.

He went round to a yard at the back. I motioned my taxi along and followed him at the head of three small boys who had never seen a top-hat and a cauliflower so close together. We got the sack into position.

“Come, come,” I said to the driver, “haven’t you ever seen a dressing-case before? Give us a hand with it or I shall miss my train and be late for dinner.”

He grinned and gave a hand. I paid the greengrocer, pressed the cauliflower into the hand of the smallest boy, and drove off….

It was absurdly easy.

There was no gore at all.

. . . . .

“There!” I said to Celia when she came back. “And when that’s done I’ll get you some more.”

“Hooray! And yet,” she went on, “I’m almost sorry. You see, I was working off my calls so nicely, and you’d been having some quite busy days at the office, hadn’t you?”