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Love at Paddington   By: (-1930)

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Thomas Nelson and Sons London, Edinburgh, Dublin Leeds, Melbourne, and New York Leipzig: 35 37 Königstrasse. Paris: 189, rue Saint Jacques


Mord Em'ly. Secretary to Bayne, M.P. A Son of the State. Lost Property. 'Erb. A Breaker of Laws. Mrs. Galer's Business. The Wickhamses. Name of Garland. Sixty nine Birnam Road. Splendid Brother. Thanks to Sanderson.

First Published in 1912



Children had been sent off to Sunday school, and the more conscientious reached that destination; going in, after delivering awful threats and warnings to those who preferred freedom of thought and a stroll down Edgware Road in the direction of the Park. As a consequence, in the streets off the main thoroughfare leading to Paddington Station peace and silence existed, broken only by folk who, after the principal meal of the week, talked in their sleep. Praed Street was different. Praed Street plumed itself on the fact that it was always lively, ever on the move, occasionally acquainted with royalty. Even on a Sunday afternoon, and certainly at all hours of a week day, one could look from windows at good racing, generally done by folk impeded by hand luggage who, as they ran, glanced suspiciously at every clock, and gasped, in a despairing way, "We shall never do it!" or, optimistically, "We shall only just do it!" or, with resignation, "Well, if we lose this one we shall have to wait for the next."

Few establishments were open in Praed Street, shutters were up at the numerous second hand shops, and at the hour of three o'clock p.m. the thirst for journals at E. G. Mills's (Established 1875) was satisfied; the appetite for cigars, cigarettes, and tobacco had scarcely begun. Now and again a couple of boys, who had been reading stories of wild adventure in the Rocky Mountains, dashed across the road, upset one of Mrs. Mills's placard boards, and flew in opposite directions, feeling that although they might not have equalled the daring exploits of their heroes in fiction, they had gone as far as was possible in a country hampered by civilization.

"Young rascals!" said Mrs. Mills, coming back after repairing one of these outrages. The shop had a soft, pleasing scent of tobacco from the brown jars, marked in gilded letters "Bird's Eye" and "Shag" and "Cavendish," together with the acrid perfume of printer's ink. "Still, I suppose we were all young once. Gertie," raising her voice, "isn't it about time you popped upstairs to make yourself good looking? There's no cake in the house, and that always means some one looks in unexpectedly to tea."

No answer.

"Gertie! Don't you hear me when I'm speaking to you?"

"Beg pardon, aunt. I was thinking of something else."

"You think too much of something else, my dear," said Mrs. Mills persuasively. "I was saying to a customer, only yesterday, that you don't seem able lately to throw off your work when you've finished. You keep on threshing it out in your mind. And it's all very well, to a certain extent, but there's a medium in all things." Mrs. Mills went to the half open door, that was curtained only in regard to the lower portion. "Trimming a hat," she cried protestingly. "Oh, my dear, and to think your mother was a Wesleyan Methodist. Before she came to London, I mean."

Her niece surveyed the work at arm's length. "I've done all I want to do to it," she said.

Mrs. Mills ordered the hat to be put on that she might ascertain whether it suited, and this done, and guarded approval given, asked to be allowed to try it on her own head. Here, again, the results, inspected in the large mirror set in a narrow wooden frame above the mantelpiece, gained commendation; Mrs. Mills declared she would feel inclined to purchase a similar hat, only that Praed Street might say she was looking for a second husband... Continue reading book >>

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