Written by -A.G.Gardiner
There is a pleasant sense of freedom about being alone in a carriage that is jolting noisily through the night, It is liberty and unrestraint in a very agreeable form. You can do anything you like. You can talk to yourself as loud as you please and no one will hear you. You can have the argument out with jones and roll hiom triumphantly in the dust without fear of a counterstroke. You can stand on your head and no one will see you. You can sing, or dance a two-step, or practice a golf stroke, or play marbles on the floor without let or hindrance. You can open the window or shut it without provoking a protest. You can open both windows or shut both. Indeed you can go on opening them and shutting them as a sort of festival of freedom. You can have any corner you choose and try all of them in turn. You can lie at full length on the cushions and enjoy the luxury of breaking the regulations and possibly the heart of D.O.R.A. herself. Only D.O.R.A. will not know that her heart broken. You have escaped even D.O.R.A.
I flicked him off again. He skipped away, took another jaunt round the compartment, returned and seated himself impudently on the back of my hand. It is enough, I said : magnanimity has its limits. Twice you have been warned that I am someone in particular, that my august person resents the tickling impertinence of strangers. I assume the black cap. I condemn you to death. Justice demands it, and the court awards it. The counts against you are many. You are a vagrant; you are a public nuisance, you are travelling without a ticket; you have no meat coupon. For these and many other misdemeanours you are about to die. I struck a swift, lethal blow with my right hand. He dodged the attack with an with an insolent ease that humiliated me. My personal vanity was aroused. I lunged at him with my hand, with my paper; I jumped on the seat and pursued him around the lamp; I adopted tactics of feline cunning, waiting till he had alighted, approaching with a horrible stealthiness, striking with a sudden and terrible swiftness.
I took up my paper and he came and sat on it. Foolish fellow, I said, you have delivered yourself into my hands have but to give this respectable weekly organ of opinion smack on both the covers and you are corpse, neatly sandwiched between an article on 'peace Traps' and another on 'The Modesty of Mr. Hughes'. But I shall not do it. I have reprieved you, and I will satisfy you that when this large animal says a thing he means it. Moreover, I no longer desire to kill you. Through knowing you better I have come to feel- shall I say? - a sort of affection for you. I fancy that St. Francis would have called you 'little brother'. I cannot go so far as that in Christian charity and civility. But I recognize a more distant relationship. Fortune has made us fellow-travellers on this summer night. I have interested you and you have entertained me. The obligation is mutual and it is founded on the fundamental fact that we are fellow mortals. The miracle of life is ours in common and it's mystery too. I suppose you don't know anything about your journey. I am not sure that I know about mine. We are really when you come to think of it, a good deal alike just apparitions that are and then are not, coming out of the night into the lighted carriage, fluttering about the lamp for a while and going out into the night again. Perhaps...................
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