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What Timmy Did   By: (1868-1947)

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Author of "From Out the Vasty Deep," "The Lonely House," "Love and Hatred," "Good Old Anna," "The Chink in the Armour," Etc.

Copyright, 1922, By George H. Doran Company


"Deliver my soul from the sword, my darling from the power of the dog." Psalms xxii, 20.


The telephone bell rang sharply in the sunlit and charming, if shabby, hall of Old Place.

To John Tosswill there was always something incongruous, and recurringly strange, in this queer link between a little country parish mentioned in Domesday Book and the big bustling modern world.

The bell tinkled on and on insistently, perhaps because it was now no one's special duty to attend to it. But at last the mistress of the house came running from the garden and, stripping off her gardening gloves, took up the receiver.

Janet Tosswill was John Tosswill's second wife, and, though over forty, a still young and alert looking woman, more Irish than Scotch in appearance, with her dark hair and blue eyes. But she came of good Highland stock and was proud of it.

"London wants you," came the tired, cross voice she knew all too well.

"I think there must be some mistake. This is Old Place, Beechfield, Surrey. I don't think anyone can be ringing us from London."

She waited a moment impatiently. Of course it was a mistake! Not a soul in London knew their telephone number. It had never been put on their notepaper. Still, she went on listening with the receiver held to her ear, and growing more and more annoyed at the futile interruption and waste of time.

She was just going to hang up the receiver when all at once the expression of her face altered. From being good humoured, if slightly impatient, it became watchful, and her eyes narrowed as was their way when Janet Tosswill was "upset" about anything. She had suddenly heard, with startling clearness, the words: "Is that Old Place, Beechfield? If so, Mr. Godfrey Radmore would like to speak to Mrs. Tosswill."

She was so surprised, so taken aback that for a moment she said nothing. At last she answered very quietly: "Tell Mr. Radmore that Mrs. Tosswill is here waiting on the 'phone."

There was another longish pause, and then, before anything else happened, Janet Tosswill experienced an odd sensation; it was as if she felt the masterful, to her not over attractive, presence of Godfrey Radmore approaching the other end of the line. A moment later, she knew he was there, within earshot, but silent.

"Is that you, Godfrey? We thought you were in Australia. Have you been home long?"

The answer came at once, in the deep, resonant, once familiar voice the voice no one had heard in Old Place for nine years nine years with the war having happened in between.

"Indeed no, Janet! I've only been back a very short time." (She noticed he did not say how long.) "And I want to know when I may come down and see you all? I hope you and Mr. Tosswill will believe me when I say it wasn't my fault that I didn't come to Beechfield last year. I hadn't a spare moment!"

The tone of the unseen speaker had become awkward, apologetic, and the listener bit her lips she did not believe in his explanation as to why he had behaved with such a lack of gratitude and good feeling last autumn.

"We shall be very glad to see you at any time, of course. When can we expect you?"

But the welcoming words were uttered very coldly.

"It's Tuesday to day; I was thinking of motoring down on Friday or Saturday. I've got a lot of business to do before then. Will that be all right?"

"Of course it will. Come Friday."

She was thawing a little, and perhaps he felt this, for there came an eager, yearning note into the full, deep voice which sounded so oddly near, and which, for the moment, obliterated the long years since she had heard it last.

"How's my godson? Flick still in the land of the living, eh?"

"Thank heaven, yes! That dog's the one thing in the world Timmy cares for, I sometimes think... Continue reading book >>

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