A. V. Laider - Max Beerbohm - Страница 1 из 30

A. V. Laider
I unpacked my things and went down to await luncheon.
It was good to be here again in this little old sleepy hostel by the
sea. Hostel I say, though it spelt itself without an "s" and even
placed a circumflex above the "o." It made no other pretension. It
was very cozy indeed.
I had been here just a year before, in mid-February, after an attack of
influenza. And now I had returned, after an attack of influenza.
Nothing was changed. It had been raining when I left, and the
waiter--there was but a single, a very old waiter--had told me it was
only a shower. That waiter was still here, not a day older. And the
shower had not ceased.
Steadfastly it fell on to the sands, steadfastly into the iron-gray
sea. I stood looking out at it from the windows of the hall, admiring
it very much. There seemed to be little else to do. What little there
was I did. I mastered the contents of a blue hand-bill which, pinned
to the wall just beneath the framed engraving of Queen Victoria's
Coronation, gave token of a concert that was to be held--or, rather,
was to have been held some weeks ago--in the town hall for the benefit
of the Life-Boat Fund. I looked at the barometer, tapped it, was not
the wiser. I wandered to the letter-board.
These letter-boards always fascinate me. Usually some two or three of
the envelops stuck into the cross-garterings have a certain newness and
freshness. They seem sure they will yet be claimed. Why not? Why
SHOULDN'T John Doe, Esq., or Mrs. Richard Roe turn up at any moment? I

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