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Here and Hereafter   By: (1864-1928)

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HERE AND HEREAFTER

BY THE SAME AUTHOR

LINDLEY KAYS THE GIFTED FAMILY THE EXILES OF FALOO

HERE AND HEREAFTER

BY

BARRY PAIN

METHUEN & CO. LTD. 36 ESSEX STREET W.C. LONDON

First Published in 1911

CONTENTS

PAGE MALA 1 THE FEAST AND THE RECKONING 39 POST MORTEM 57 THE GIRL WITH THE BEAUTIFUL HAIR 65 THE WIDOWER 74 THE UNFINISHED GAME 83 SPARKLING BURGUNDY 104 THE ACT OF HEROISM 120 SOME NOTES ON CYRUS VERD 137 THE FOUR FINGERED HAND 152 THE TOWER 162 THE FUTILITY OF WILLIAM PENARDEN 175 THE PATHOS OF THE COMMONPLACE 188 THE NIGHT OF GLORY 209 AN IDYLL OF THE SEA 222 THE MAGIC RINGS 230 THE UNSEEN POWER 243 A BRISK ENGAGEMENT 259 HASHEESH 276 THE GARDENER 288 THE SCENT 300

HERE AND HEREAFTER

MALA

I

It was Saturday night at the end of a hard week. I was just finishing my dinner when I was told that a man wished to see me at once in the surgery. The name, Tarn, was unknown to me.

I found a fair haired man of thirty in a faded and frayed suit of mustard colour, holding in his hand a broken straw hat. His face was rather fat and roundish; his build powerful but paunchy. The colour of face and hands showed open air life and work. His manner was slow, apathetic, heavy. His speech was slow too, but it was the speech of an educated man, and the voice was curiously gentle.

"My wife's ill, doctor. Can you come?"

"I can. What's the matter with her, Mr Tarn?"

He explained. I do not regard child bearing as illness, and told him so. I told him further that he ought to have made his arrangements and to have engaged a doctor and nurse beforehand.

"In her own country they do not regard it as illness either. The women there do not have doctor or nurse. She did not wish it. But, however, as she seemed to suffer "

"Well, well. We'll get on. Where do you live?"

"Felonsdene."

"Eight miles away and right up on the downs. Phew! Can I get my car there?"

"Most of the way at any rate we could always walk the rest."

"We'll chance it. I'll bring the car round. Shan't keep you a minute, Mr Tarn."

I kept him rather longer than that. There were the lamps to see to, and I had directions to give to my servants. I did not take my driver with me. He had been at work since eight in the morning. When I re entered the surgery I found Tarn still standing in just the same pose and place, as if he had not moved a hair's breadth since I left him.

"Ready now," I said, as I picked up my bag.

He took out a pinch of sovereigns from his waistcoat pocket, seven or eight of them.

"Your fee, doctor," he said.

"That can wait until I've done my work. Come along. Shall I lend you an overcoat?"

He thanked me but refused it, saying that he was used to all weathers. The night was fairly warm too. He sat beside me on the front seat. The first six miles were easy enough along a good road, and I talked to him as I drove. I omit the professional part of our conversation the questions which a doctor would naturally put on such an occasion.

"So your wife's a foreigner," I said... Continue reading book >>




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