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A Veldt Vendetta   By: (1855-1914)

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A Veldt Vendetta, by Bertram Mitford.




I had not a friend in the world.

My own fault? No doubt. It is usually said so, at any rate, so of course must be true. For I, Kenrick Holt, who do this tale unfold, am not by nature and temperament an expansive animal, rather the reverse, being constitutionally reticent; and, is it not written that the world takes you at your own valuation? Still, I had managed to muddle on through life somehow, and gain a living so far which was satisfactory, but in an uncongenial and sedentary form of occupation which was not. Incidentally I owned to the ordinary contingent of acquaintances, but at the period of which I write I had not a friend in the world only brothers.

Of these, one owned an abominable wife, the other a snug country living, which combination of circumstances may account for the fact that we had rather less to do with each other on the whole than the latest conjunction of club acquaintances. Incidentally, too, I owned relatives, but for ordinary reasons, not material to this narrative, they didn't count.

"Great events from little causes spring" is a truism somewhat shiny at the seams. In the present instance the "little cause" took the form of an invite from the last mentioned of my two brethren he who drew comfortable subsidy for shepherding a few rustics in the national creed to wit to run down and get through a week with him at his vicarage.

I was out of sorts and "hipped," not so much through overwork as through remaining in town too long at a stretch: for, except a day off now and then up the river, I had stuck to my office all through the hot months, and it was now September. In passing, it may be mentioned I held a secretaryship to a not very long floated company; a fairly good berth as long as it lasted. As long as it lasted! There lay the rub. For I had held two similar berths before!

Well, this invite came in pat. A blow of country air would do me all the good in the world just then. The invite was something of an event, as may be conjectured in the light of certain foregoing remarks; still, that didn't matter. Nothing did according to my then philosophy except lack of the needful, and an abominable noise when one wanted to go to sleep. The first I had experienced more than once, the second I was destined to and notably if I accepted the invite. However, that didn't weigh. The only thing that remained was to pack up and send a wire.

I had packed, and found out a convenient train. But the first thing in the morning brought a counter wire

"Sorry must put you off dick and bertha got scarlatina holt."

Here was a nuisance the said Dick and Bertha being among the certain arch contributors in prospective to the second of the things that matter in life, as referred to above. Yes, it was a nuisance. I was all ready to start, and the weather was perfect; just that soft, golden, hazy kind of September weather that is exquisite in the country, and here was I, doomed to the reek of asphalt and wood paving once more, just as I was rejoicing in the prospect of a week of emancipation therefrom. Well, I would go somewhere, but it wasn't the same thing, for I am not partial to solitary jaunts, albeit in most matters self concentrated. At any rate, I would not go back to work.

I strolled round to the club, thinking out an objective the while. There were few habitues there, but a sprinkling of strangers, for we were housing another kindred institution pending its summer cleaning. Among these was a man I knew, and as we got talking over our "split" I found he was in the same predicament as myself.

"Don't know where to go?" he said. "I'll tell you. There's a jolly little place on the Dorsetshire coast Whiddlecombe Regis right out of the public beat, only known to a few, and they always go back there... Continue reading book >>

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