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YOU CHANGE AT CLAPHAM JUNCTION.
BY EVELYNE BUXTON.
MR PECKLEBURY, one Satur- “Well, not here exactly," day afternoon in January 1920, said the young man. “I was assiduously gardening in couldn't exactly be said to the front garden of the neat de- have had a way here to loge, tached villa-residence in which you see. Not as yet! I've he dwelt with his step-aunt, only just arrived." when some one ooming from "Did you come by mistake?" the direction of the suburban inquired Mr Peoklebury, selectstation, not a stone's throw ing, after a brief pause of not away, passed the gate, paused, unnatural bewilderment, the returned, looked over it, and question which seemed most said
likely to lead to enlighten. “I beg your pardon, but ment. oan you tell me the name of "I can't call it a mistake," this place ?”
said the young man. He “This is Paddispor, sir,” gazed intensely round him. said Mr Peoklebury, looking "I feel as if all other places ap from the minute grass in the world were a mistake, border he was olipping at his and this alone were the place step-aunt's behest in case it to oome to. I feel as if I had should grow.
come to the place of my “What a delightful spot it dreams-dreams I had never appears to be !” said the well. So much as realised I was dressed young man at the dreaming, I do assure you," he gate, gazing blissfully about added with a change of voice, him upon the little red villa- bringing suddenly pozzled eyes residences which surrounded back to Mr Peoklebury's surMr Peoklebury's in their prised face. hundreds along the neat They gazed at each other a laburnumed roads.
moment, and then Mr Peckle. Mr Peoklebury's eyes left bury made an earnest effort to the young man's face. He sat reduce what he could not help baok on his heels, and his gaze feeling to be a rising element also travelled round as much of of incomprehensibility in the the villa-residences as he could situation. see. He looked at them pen. “If you came here in a train sively, as though he had once by mistake, sir," he said, "that or twice before gazed round on is, if you have arrived here them thus and wondered what without meaning to, perhaps they really looked like.
you took the wrong train," "Have you lost your way, “I oan't oall it the wrong sir ?” he inquired, his eyes train," said the young man, returning to the young man. smiling rapturously.
“Perhaps, for instance, you sir," replied Mr Peoklebury forgot to obange at Clapham with some warmth, “when I Junotion," oontinued Mr Peokle- haven't the least idea what it bury firmly. “It frequently is you're talking about ?” happens that people forget to “Well, never mind,” said change at Clapham Junotion, the young man, sighing. “It and one or two trains ran was only that I seemed to straight throngh to Paddispor," myself to have said something
“I did change at Clapham I never said in my life before, Junotion,” said the young man. and that I didn't know any one “I had to change there to ever said. But it's clear they oatoh & train for my grand. do! At least I do! At least father's place in Hampshire, I do here !”. and a porter took me across Mr Peoklebury looked at him several platforms and put again & moment in silence, and mer "
then remarked gently, “Don't At that moment a lady you think, sir, that it would hurrying by, apparently in be almost better if you went some agitation, jostled against home? You wouldn't have to the young man as he stood wait long for a train back, talking earnestly in the middle you know, for we are a terof the path.
minus " "Oh, I beg your pardon,” “A terminus!” oried the she gasped.
young man rapturously. “Did "It's granted, I'm sure,” said you say & terminus ? Impos. the young man, skipping round sible! Inoredible! Is there and beaming and smiling. really such a thing as a ter.
The lady hurried on and minus still to be found in this entered the next gate, and the boundless, breaking, cracking, young man turned and looked whirling world, where there at Mr Peoklebury with a gaze doesn't seem to be a single of blank bewilderment. “What thing left that isn't leading did I say just now?” he straight to something else, and demanded.
nearly always something dread. “What did you say just ful! A terminas! We are a when?” inquired Mr Peokle. terminus! Beautiful! Inbury, still seated upon his credible!” heels.
“I do really advise you, sir," "Just now," said the young said Mr Peoklebury earnestly, map.
"to go instantly straight “What did you say just home." now?” said Mr Peoklebury “I am home," oried the with interest.
young man. “I'm never go“That's what I'm asking ing away. I'm never going you!” said the young man. anywhere but farther and “It's impossible that I really farther into this delightful said what I believe I said." spot," and he bounded away
“How on earth can I know among the detached villa-resiwhat it is you believe you said, dences.
“Poor fellow, poor fellow,' everywhere, and I heard the murmured MrPeoklebury,sbak- romour from the milkman, and ing his head as he prepared to I hurried round to ask; and get baok on to his knees to con- oh, Mr Peoklebury, it's pertinue olipping the garden bor- fectly true, it reelly is. He is der. “Mad, or drunk, or both, known to have ohanged at the I'm afraid;" and at that instant Junotion, like you always have an agitated voice said over the to by the 8.15, but where he neat little privet hedge that went to when he changed divided his step-aunt's garden nobody knows. He's gone." from the next villa garden- “If the Vioar's gone, Eliza
“Oh, Mr Peoklebury, Mr Wilkins," said a lofty voice Peoklebury, have you heard behind them, “there's only one the dreadful news! The place he's gone to, and that's Vioar's gone!”
over to Rome.” It was the lady who had “Oh, Mrs Bath," quavered jostled the young man in her Miss de Wilkin, clasping at hurry a minute before.
"God bless my soul, Miss “And he hadn't far to go de Wilkin!” ejaculated Mr either," continued Mrs Bath Peoklebury, sinking baok upon majestioally. "I wonder it's his heels in his surprise. "The taken him five days, for he Vicar! Gone! Dead! Im- was practioally there already. possible! Why, only last Sun- The bowings and ourtseyings day
and processings and workings “No, no, not dead, Mr Peok- of the Paddispor congregation lebury," oried Miss de Wilkin, could have told anybody that ! olasping at herself in profound I regret to hurt your feelings, agitation. “At least we hope Eliza Wilkins, but I must rehe's not dead. We don't know fuse to pander. If the Vioar's that he's dead. We don't know gone, he's gone over to Rome; what he is. We reelly don't. and it's where he belongs. He's merely gone."
Henry, come in to your tea." “But, God bless my soul! “But you don't go over Miss de Wilkin," said Mr to Rome through Clapham Peoklebury, sorambling to his Junotion, Step - aunt Bath,”
protested Mr Peoklebury, “Nobody knows," said Miss struggling against the muddled de Wilkin. “They reelly sensation which the remarks don't. He went up to London of Mrs Bath not infrequently for the day by the 8.15 without produced in the brain. 80 much as a bag in the hand “As it's impossible to get to five days ago, his housekeeper any part of the Continent from says; and he's never come Paddispor except through Clapback, and there's not been a ham Junotion, Henry," replied sight or sound of him since; Mrs Bath; "and as I have and they kept it quiet at first, always understood Rome to be in the hope there would be on the Continent, I fail to per. news of him; but now it's ceive the foroe of your conten
foot, spory, Borkan
tion, the war-dances of the bury once more. “But what Vioar in Paddispor Churoh on earth for?” having long been enough to “Well, I feel to want a make a dervish turn."
little ohange, Mr Peoklebury. “They turn anyhow, I be. I reelly do," said Miss de lieve," said Mr Peoklebury. Wilkin, sighing again. “Our
“Then let them,” replied Mrs little oirolo somehow seems so Bath majestioally. “Kindly sadly altered without the dear come in to your tea, Henry.” Vioar, it reelly does. Mr and
“Wherever the dear Vioar's Mrs Snodkips and their ten gone,” faltered Miss de Wilkin, children are all that could be olasping at herself, “we all do desired in the way of a most feel it to be such & meroy he respectable locum tenens, of wasn't married, we reelly do. course, till something is found Only think of his poor wife.” out about the dear Vicar; but
“I believe the ladies of when will that be, you know? Paddispor have not waited till for they've discovered nothing now to feel the meroy of the yet, and our little oirole is so Vioar's not being married, sadly altered without him that Eliza Wilkins," replied Mrs I reelly feel to want a little Bath, commenoing to swoop change. So I think of going back to her villa - residence, out to visit my second oousin “and as his wife doesn't exist, once removed who lives in I find myself unable to think Gondokkoro collecting paperof her. Henry, oome in to your knives from elephants, and is tea."
the only relative I have in A few days later Migs de the world, and I've decided to Wilkin, wearing her London go up to Cook's this morning costame, addressed Mr Peokle. by the 10.17 to ask about the bury aoross the privet hedge. tioket.”
“I've made up my mind Mr Peoklebury, with an inthat I reelly must have a terested and thoughtful air, little change, Mr Peoklebury," watohed Miss de Wilkin walk she sighed.
out of her garden gate on her “Really?” said Mr Peokle- way to ask about a ticket to bury, pausing in his task of Gondokkoro, and pensively reclipping the hedge at his step- sumed his olipping. At twelve aunt's behest in case it should o'olook, much to his surprise, grow.
he beheld Miss de Wilkin walk “Yes, reelly," said Miss de in again. “What, back from Wilkin, “and I think of going town already!” he exolaimed. to Gondokkoro."
“Well, I never got there, “God bless my soull” said Mr Peoklebury," said Miss de Mc Peoklebary, surprised, Wilkin coyly. " where on earth's that?”. “You never got there?”
“It's in Africa," said Miss ejaculated Mr Peoklebury. de Wilkin.
"No," said Miss de Wilkin, “God bless my sonl!” ejaou. “I never did. It was a most lated the astonished Mr Peokle- extraordinary thing, and I'm
sure I don't know how it seemed to oome over me again happened. I got out to in the train; and whoever do ohange at the Junotion; but you think I met coming down, you know they've been alter. Mr Peoklebury? You'll never ing the platforms lately, and guess, you reelly won't.” I wasn't quite sure where the “Who can it have been?” London train started from, so said Mr Peoklebury. I asked & porter, and he “It was a young priest," pat me into a train which he said Miss de Wilkin with bated said was the right one, and it breath, "& curate. Such an was the return train to Pud- interesting young man, Comdispor, and here I am." ing down to help Mr Snodkips
"Well, upon my soul!” said till something is found out Mr Peoklebury strongly. about the dear Vicar. And
“Yes," said Mios de Wilkin. oh, Mr Peoklebury, what do
“The truth is," said Mr you think?” said Miss de Peoklebury, "that during that Wilkin, olasping herself—" he's strike they let all sorts of a celibate!” strangers in, and the half of It should perhaps be exthem don't know their busi. plained that Miss de Wilkin ness, and this kind of thing had humbly let it be known is the result. But never mind, among her friends that, if there Miss Wilkins-Miss de Wilkin, were no objection, her sense of I mean—I beg your pardon.” the romantio would be greatly
“It's granted, I'm sure,” gratified were she to be desigsaid Miss de Wilkin, bowing nated as Doris de Wilkin and smiling.
instead of Eliza Wilkins, which “Never mind, Miss de Wil- she felt to be a name to depress kin," resumed Mr Peoklebary. even the humblest aspirations, “I've got to go up to town and which she fully and dismyself to-morrow, and you can armingly admitted there was oome with me, and I'll see small prospeot of her ever that nobody puts you into & otherwise being able to change. wrong train."
Mr Peoklebury had immedi“Well, do you know, Mr ately praotised the desired Peoklebury," said Miss do alteration with such assiduity Wilkin ooyly, “I'm not quite that his gratification of Miss sure that it was the wrong de Wilkin's sense of the rotrain; I'm really not."
mantio now rarely knew & “No?” said Mr Peoklebury, lapse; but Mrs Bath, while surprised.
regretting the necessity of "No," said Miss de Wilkin; hurting Eliza Wilkins' feelings, “I somehow seem to feel dif- had refused to pander. ferent about it. When I got Early next morning, equipped back to Puddispor again it for town, Mr Peoklebury stood did seem somehow to be such at his front door, ready for & delightful spot. Of course one of his occasional journeys I've always known it to be up to London to consult his that but it somehow all solioitors upon the business