Symud i'r prif gynnwys
Cuddio Rhestr Erthyglau

28 erthygl ar y dudalen hon



OUR SHORT STORY. CUPBOARD LOVE J i By VINCENT EMS. When Mudeford's new vicar, the Rev. John James Chickford, arrived in the village ihe determined, even if the laying of the vicarage at-air carpet had to be postponed, that he would, without any delay what- ever, set about visiting his flock. "My dear," he said to his wife, "I gather ttsKat my predecessor was extremely remiss in carrying out what I deem to be one of the most important of a clergyman's duties. I refer to the pleasure and privilege of paro- chial visitation. I intend, therefore, to in- vite A favourable contrast by goisg to see th? dear people at enoo, If you, my dear, 'Will, bog-in at the top end of the village, I "wiy begin at the bottom. You, my dear, can teJl tho people at the top thai I am coming as quiclly aa I can, and I will tell the folk at the bottom that you are on the way to them. You, my dear, can put in a good word for me, and say how extremely anxtoue I am to make myself and my minis- trations acceptable and fruitful; and I, on my part, will spread tie- good rewai that you are not only my wife, but also my moet use- ful coadjutor in all good works." At 2 p.m. to the miswite the vicar aad his wife sallied forth to visit the dear people. Here it must be put on record that although the motives of the Rev. J. J. were quite praiseworthy, and he really did desiro to know hie flock, y?t his ardour for visiting was not wholly and entirely ministerial. He had n liobby, or perhaps it would be more correct to oay -t-h,it the hobby had him. He Wi!« passionately fend of old furniture, and he knew from experience that many a tumblodowH cotta ge yielded treasure. To have a remote old-world village to explore made him thrill with anticipatory delight. < It would be extraordinary if he did not light upon a chair, or a tt;ole, or an old sideboard, end one, or ell, for the v icarage. However, m it happened, he lighted upon nothing of interest save on old tea caddy. But Mra. Chickford had better luck. She tad called at two cottages, and at the third she found an old couple, each suffering from iheumatk-s. She gathered that they had a fcard job to make both ends meet, and thereupon, being quite a kindly person, she bestowed haif-a-crown on them, and pro- mised them a pudding on the morrow. Then she glanced round the little sitting-room, and caw in the corner one of those antique corner cupboard's beloved by collectors. It was exactly what her husband had been looking out for and had never found. Here let it be said that in her heart of hearts Mrs. Cliickford had uo great liking for antique furniture. But, fl5 a loyal and dutiful wife, she had interested herself in her }'¡> hobby, and had given him— and therefore herself—much pleasure for many successive years by presenting to him on his birthday something in the old furni- tune line, for which she had bargained her- self. His birthday was a month di. stant, and then and there she determined to get the corner cupboard. "That's' a funny cupboard you haye there," she said to Job. "I suppose it's an old one, isn't it?" "I couldn't say its age, mum," quavered Job. "Might be. three or four 'undred years, an' it might be less." Mrs. Chickford crossed the room and looked at it closer. "I suppose you've never thought of sell- in it?" 6he asked, trying to keep the tremor of excitement out of her voice. "Sell i-t?" chuckled Job. "An' who'd buy a bit of old stuff like that? Why, Mister Tims, the carp enter, 'e'd make a better one than that for three 'arf-crowas any day. Sell it!" The vicar's wife xamird the cupboard again, and could fc-ardly suppress an excla- mation when she saw scratch ed in the scroll work of the panel the date "1562." ,-It is dreadfully old," she admitted, as if disillusioned. U I believe it's Eliza- bethan." Li1.ziÐ wn(\. mum?" asked Job, putting lis hand to hia ear. "Elizabethan—made by Queen Elizabeth, you know." said the vicar's wife. "Tha.t worn't made by no Qu<?u 'Liza- beth! You can take my word for that, mum said Job. "I didn't quite mean that," said the ladv ,-What I meant was that someone who lived in Queen Elizabeth's time made it." "1 as far back as that, mum," admitted Job, "but if you says it was, 'vcrv likely you're right. There worn't wa?, verv likely you're right. There v-ern' t ?o much thought o' achoo'm' -.vbeu I was a lad." "If you sold it, don't you think the money would .be very useful to you?" "If I did, it would, mum admitted Job. But as I said afore, who'd buy a old thing like that? Mister Tims-" "Some people like old cupboards," said the vicar's wife. "Now do thev, mum?" asked Job, greatly surprised. "Well, that fair beats me: Come to ihink of it, though, there was a gent ,8tay- I in" 'ere once what offered me four pun' ten for that cupboard, but 'e was one of them joky sort. E said 'e'd come an' bring the rnor,ey, an' then I d see 'o I joKin but he never did" 'E might 'ave done," put in Job's wife. "You're forgettin' 'o was killed on the line. "I don't reckon that made much differ- nc-e," said Job. "I means to that cup- board," he explained. "I'm willin' to admit it made a bit o' difference to 'im. Fair cut to pieces, 'e was. Well, mum, we thanks you kindly for callin', likewise for this 'arf-crown an' the pudd-en that's comin If so be you want3 a clipboard, Mister Tima is wonderful "andv taken quite a fancy to this," said the lady. "And I'll give you four pounds ten for it." "Shall us let it go?" asked Job, turning j to his wife. The old lady wiped her evc-9 and nedded. "The money'11 be 'andv, she said, "al- though I've got that used to thnt old Clil)- board that the place won't seem like 'OIDO when it's gone. Let the lady 'ave it, Job." It's JOdr", Intlm, said Job solemnl" y. We'll give it a coat o' paint aforc-" "No!" shrieked tho vicar's wife. "I want it as it is; Please don't touch it. I will bring the money to-morrow, but I want it to stay hei-e for a month. I am going to give it as a birthday present to my husband, and I should not want it until the day before. That's the 16th of next month'. And"—sud- denly remembering—"as the vicar will be coming here to see YOU, and I don't want him to see the cupboard would you be so kind as to tell him to go round to the back door. He can have bis chat with yetI in the kitchen quite well." "We'll remember, mum," said Job. 'Tain't often we does PTOV. t'hn front door, but as it was yon, we did." Mrs. Chickford returned to the vicarage extremely well pleased with her afternoon's work, and when she had looked up "Corner Cupboards (Elizabethan)" in one cf her hUfJ- band's manuals on Old Furniture, and found that good cupboards of that period were worth from fifteen to twenty guineai she was extra pleased. On the morrow she went down with the money, as "Thank yo kindly, muni." soil Jcb (D. bis surname, by the way), I 'ope 'id civerenee will like 'ia cupboard. 'E'-? got h ,i T (-, t s T 1-+ E c, i gotn good wife in yru, as [n;51:èt¡¡::rl'.) I 2Y€ can see. it c-en: just iike rob- bery takin' four pun' ten for an old cup- d "No, no!" said the vicar's wife, flushing a little. "If you are satisfied, I am. I ¡, want you to bring it up in the evening oi the loth, to the back door, so that the vical may not see it until it is in his study. And do not forget your promise that he shall not see it here." "Don't you be afraid, mum," said Job. "An' while we're on about promises, iLtt an' the missus would be much obliged if you'd promise us solemn not to say where you got the cupboard from. We gets a little 'elp mum, trom one an' t'other, an' if it got out we' d been selling "I quite understand," interrupted Mrs. Chickford, smiling. "I promise you t;b --t wild horses will no; Make nie say from whom I bought the cupboard." • » » In duo course the vicar, ad his visitation proceeded, reached Job's cottage. He rapped on the front dcor, but Job (through the keyhole) shouted that the door was stuck on account o' the damp an' would e' ColiO to the back. The vicar didn't mind in the least, and was soon sorted in the cosy kitchen chatting ilway jovially. As had been the ooto with his better half, there came an interval in the conversation when his eyes wandered round t.he room. ge-eking what they might devour in the antique line. "Ah he ejaculated, as he spotted a little table of the variety termed "gate-legged." "Now, my friend, you must let mo Ux>k at that table. May It" "Look at it, sir?" said Job, astonished. "Of course ye may. an' ",lcome It'" nought but an old -it to hav-3 been chopped up years a go. The missus is rather set on it. though. Now, sir, you tell 'er it's three 'undcrd year old, an' p'raps she'll believe you, an' let me smash it up." The vicar looked, and his eyes glittered. "Doc," he said, "I cannot see a piece of old furniture like this without coming very closely to an infringement of the tenth com- malldm'nt-' Thou ehalt not covet thy neighbour's goods,' you know. I want to buy this table from you, and I am prepared to offer you five pounds for it." "Folks'll like you, H said Job. "Our old parson never cracked a joke with nobody. Did you catch that, Martha? Tha gentleman says 'e'll give five pun' ten for this old t>ai>le He, he "But I'm not joking!" protested the Reverend J. J., "and I hereby renew my offer of five poun-J.-r?ten shillings." "There's worm 'oles in it, sir," said Job, "an' the top's been spoiled with comecne puttin' the date on when it was made. There's the figgers, sir, sixteen sixty. That's a terrible long time ago, but you could put a book over the place or a vase or summat, so that nobody wouldn't knew." The vicar smiled. "It's the date that attracts me, friend Job. In an old table I obtain a new treasure. Will you sell it to meF" "'Tain't worth five shillings, sir, let alone five pun' ten!" said Job. Now if you're wantin' a table. Mister Tims 'ud mako you one-" "I know he would. But I like old tables, not new ones. I offer you i-ve pounds ten shillings for it. For the third and last 1 time, as our friends with the hammer say will you accept that sum?" "It's robbery, sir," said Job, with a sigh, "btot I can't 'old out no longer. But you'll 'ave to promise that you won't tell nobody I sold it. not for that sum, or they'll be savin' 1-" "The matter, so far as I am concerned, shall be kept absolutely private," said the vicar. "Much obliged, sir," said Job. And when would vou like the table sent?" "I'll let vou know. We're still in some- what of a muddle up at the vicarage. Koep it for a little while, please. I'll change a cheque to-morrow and leave the money as 1 pass. The corner cupboard went up to the vicar- age on the evening of the 15th, and (Tims assisting) it was faxed in the vicar s study while he was out. On his return he was delighted. "My dear," he said, as he kissed his wife, "vour thought is as charming as yourself The cupboard is a splendid specimen of the beet Elizabethan workmanship. I shall keep mv sermons in it. I, too. have a surprise for you, and I am precluded from doing any- thing more than say: Here, my dear, is a new adornment for your drawing-room! Ask no but receive at the hands of your spouse a crift from the gods!' To- morrow that g-ift shall be yours Mrs. Chickford was delighted with the e-ate-legged table. She really wanted a small table, and had at first been afraid that the "gift" was to be still another an- j tiquc warming-pan, making the ninth, or a three-legged stool, making the sixth. » write a "Missus," said Job, "I'll 'ave to write a letter to-night. So if you're goin' out, you might tret a postal order for thirty shillings. You know what for." "dere Sirs," wrote Job, slowly and pain- fully "the cuberd is Sold and Abo the tabel. And"I send the 30 shillings for them along of tbM. I might havo 1 of them spinning wheels same as I had larst summer and 1 chest not 2 big, oping to do better when the War stops ana Visitors come back.—Yours truly, "JOB DOE." The envelope was addre^ed "Messrs Abrahamstein and Co. to an address in London, and Abrahamstein and Co., to those who know, are expert makers of "Genuine Antiques." They may supply Bond Street, or they may not, but certain it is that they prbvide Mr. Job Doe, of Mudeford (and other simple-minded villagers in other quaint old villages), with expert-defying imitations of Elizabethan and Jacobean work. "Who do I reckon I'll sell that chest to?" repeated Jcb, in reply to his wife's question. "Why, the vicar, of course! Directly it comes I'm goiu' to 'aTe rooniatics dreadful bad an' go to bed. Thilt chest will be along- side Hi v bed, and if "i- 'oly riverence don't spot it an' want to get it I'll eat my 'at!" j And it can be recorded that when the vicar came to see poor old Job he saw the chest, coveted it, and bought it for ten guineas, the wholesale pries to Job being "putting on one side the ministerial aspect of my work, Job," said the vicar, "and regarding myself merely as a judge and collector of the antique, I feel sure that it wa3 Providence that guided me to this village." "There ain't a doubt about it," said Job. "An' seein' you're so set on these old things I've asked niv sister to send over an old spicnin' wheel she's got what belonged to graii d iii,-t? h ,,er. 'er great-great-qrandmother's grandmother. T .ike as not vonr lady would like to 'ave a lo-.k at it." Tin spinning wheel is in the vicarage.

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