Where can that boy have got to? If I cou...

The Magistrate

Aeneas Posket

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Where can that boy have got to? If I could only remember how, when, and where we parted! I think it was at Kilburn. Let me think—first, the kitchen. [Putting his hand to his side as if severely bruised.] Oh! Cis was all right, because I fell underneath; I felt it was my duty to do so. Then what occurred? A dark room, redolent of onions and cabbages and paraffine oil, and Cis dragging me over the stone floor, saying, “We’re in the scullery, Guv; let’s try and find the tradesmen’s door.” Next, the night air—oh, how refreshing! “Cis, my boy, we will both learn a lesson from to-night—never deceive.” Where are we? In Argyll Street. “Look out, Guv, they’re after us.” Then—then, as Cis remarked when we were getting over the railings of Portman Square—then the fun began. We over into the square—they after us. Over again, into Baker Street. Down Baker Street. Curious recollections, whilst running, of my first visit, as a happy child, to Madame Tussaud’s, and wondering whether her removal had affected my fortunes. “Come on, Guv—you’re getting blown.” Where are we? Park Road. What am I doing? Getting up out of puddle. St. John’s Wood. The cricket-ground. “I say, Guv, what a run this would be at Lord’s, wouldn’t it? and no fear of being run out either, more fear of being run in.” “What road is this, Cis?” Maida Vale. Good gracious! A pious aunt of mine once lived in Hamilton Terrace; she never thought I should come to this. “Guv?” “Yes, my boy.” “Let’s get this kind-hearted coffee-stall keeper to hide us.” We apply. “Will you assist two unfortunate gentlemen?” “No, blowed if I will.” “Why not?” “ ’Cos I’m agoin’ to join in the chase after you.” Ah! Off again, along Maida Vale! On, on, heaven knows how or where, ’till at last, no sound of pursuit, no Cis, no breath, and the early Kilburn buses starting to town. Then I came back again, and not much too soon for the Court. [Going up to the washstand and looking into the little mirror, with a low groan.] Oh, how shockingly awful I look, and how stiff and sore I feel! [Taking off his coat and hanging it on a peg, then washing his hands.] What a weak and double-faced creature to be a magistrate! I really ought to get some member of Parliament to ask a question about me in the House. Where’s the soap? I shall put five pounds and costs into the poor’s box to-morrow. But I deserve a most severe caution. Ah, perhaps I shall get that from Agatha. [He takes off his white tie, rolls it up and crams it into his pocket.] When Wormington arrives I will borrow some money and send out for a black cravat! All my pocket money is in my overcoat at the Hotel des Princes. If the police seize it there is some consolation in knowing that that money will never be returned to me. [There is a knock at the door.] Come in!

Pinero, Arthur Wing. The Magistrate. http://www.gutenberg.org/files/41750/41750-h/41750-h.htm

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