7:36 pm - Saturday May 26, 2018

Angels’s Visit-by W.W.Jacobs-Novel and Ebooks

Novel Name:Angel’s Visit

Written by: W.W.Jacobs

Category:Fiction, Classics, Fairytales, Children

Page 1:

Mr. William Jobling leaned against his door-post, smoking. The evening air, pleasant in its coolness after the heat of the day, caressed his shirt-sleeved arms. Children played noisily in the long, dreary street, and an organ sounded faintly in the distance. To Mr. Jobling, who had just consumed three herrings and a pint and a half of strong tea, the scene was delightful. He blew a little cloud of smoke in the air, and with half-closed eyes corrected his first impression as to the tune being played round the corner.

“Bill!” cried the voice of Mrs. Jobling, who was washing-up in the tiny scullery.

“‘Ullo!” responded Mr. Jobling, gruffly.

“You’ve been putting your wet teaspoon in the sugar-basin, and–well, I declare, if you haven’t done it again.”

“Done what?” inquired her husband, hunching his shoulders.

“Putting your herringy knife in the butter. Well, you can eat it now; I won’t. A lot of good me slaving from morning to night and buying good food when you go and spoil it like that.”

Mr. Jobling removed the pipe from his mouth. “Not so much of it,” he commanded. “I like butter with a little flavor to it. As for your slaving all day, you ought to come to the works for a week; you’d know what slavery was then.”

Mrs. Jobling permitted herself a thin, derisive cackle, drowned hurriedly in a clatter of tea-cups as her husband turned and looked angrily up the little passage.

“Nag! nag! nag!” said Mr. Jobling.

He paused expectantly.

“Nag! nag! nag! from morning till night,” he resumed. “It begins in the morning and it goes on till bedtime.”

“It’s a pity–” began Mrs. Jobling.

“Hold your tongue,” said her husband, sternly; “I don’t want any of your back answers. It goes on all day long up to bedtime, and last night I laid awake for two hours listening to you nagging in your sleep.”

He paused again.

“Nagging in your sleep,” he repeated.

There was no reply.

“Two hours!” he said, invitingly; “two whole hours, without a stop.”

“I ‘ope it done you good,” retorted his wife. “I noticed you did wipe one foot when you come in to-night.”

Mr. Jobling denied the charge hotly, and, by way of emphasizing his denial, raised his foot and sent the mat flying along the passage. Honor satisfied, he returned to the door-post and, looking idly out on the street again, exchanged a few desultory remarks with Mr. Joe Brown, who, with his hands in his pockets, was balancing himself with great skill on the edge of the curb opposite.

His gaze wandered from Mr. Brown to a young and rather stylishly-dressed woman who was approaching–a tall, good-looking girl with a slight limp, whose hat encountered unspoken feminine criticism at every step. Their eyes met as she came up, and recognition flashed suddenly into both faces.

“Fancy seeing you here!” said the girl. “Well, this is a pleasant surprise.”

She held out her hand, and Mr. Jobling, with a fierce glance at Mr. Brown, who was not behaving, shook it respectfully.

“I’m so glad to see you again,” said the girl; “I know I didn’t thank you half enough the other night, but I was too upset.”

“Don’t mention it,” said Mr. Jobling, in a voice the humility of which was in strong contrast to the expression with which he was regarding the antics of Mr. Brown, as that gentleman wafted kisses to the four winds of heaven.

There was a pause, broken by a short, dry cough from the parlor window. The girl, who was almost touching the sill, started nervously.

“It’s only my missis,” said Mr. Jobling.

The girl turned and gazed in at the window. Mr. Jobling, with the stem of his pipe, performed a brief ceremony of introduction.

“Good-evening,” said Mrs. Jobling, in a thin voice. “I don’t know who you are, but I s’pose my ‘usband does.”

“I met him the other night,” said the girl, with a bright smile; “I slipped on a piece of peel or something and fell, and he was passing and helped me up.”

Mrs. Jobling coughed again. “First I’ve heard of it,” she remarked.

“I forgot to tell you,” said Mr. Jobling, carelessly. “I hope you wasn’t hurt much, miss?”

“I twisted my ankle a bit, that’s all,” said the girl; “it’s painful when I walk.”

“Painful now?” inquired Mr. Jobling, in concern.

The girl nodded. “A little; not very.”

Mr. Jobling hesitated; the contortions of Mr. Brown’s face as he strove to make a wink carry across the road would have given pause to a bolder man; and twice his wife’s husky little cough had sounded from the window.

“I s’pose you wouldn’t like to step inside and rest for five minutes?” he said, slowly.

“Oh, thank you,” said the girl, gratefully; “I should like to. It–it really is very painful. I ought not to have walked so far.”

She limped in behind Mr. Jobling, and after bowing to Mrs. Jobling sank into the easy-chair with a sigh of relief and looked keenly round the room. Mr. Jobling disappeared, and his wife flushed darkly as he came back with his coat on and his hair wet from combing. An awkward silence ensued.

“How strong your husband is!” said the girl, clasping her hands impulsively.

“Is he?” said Mrs. Jobling.

“He lifted me up as though I had been a feather,” responded the girl. “He just put his arm round my waist and had me on my feet before I knew where I was.”

“Round your waist?” repeated Mrs. Jobling.

“Where else should I put it?” broke in her husband, with sudden violence.

His wife made no reply, but sat gazing in a hostile fashion at the bold, dark eyes and stylish hat of the visitor.

“I should like to be strong,” said the latter, smiling agreeably over at Mr. Jobling.

“When I was younger,” said that gratified man, “I can assure you I didn’t know my own strength, as the saying is. I used to hurt people just in play like, without knowing it. I used to have a hug like a bear.”

“Fancy being hugged like that!” said the girl. “How awful!” she added, hastily, as she caught the eye of the speechless Mrs. Jobling.

“Like a bear,” repeated Mr. Jobling, highly pleased at the impression he had made. “I’m pretty strong now; there ain’t many as I’m afraid of.”

He bent his arm and thoughtfully felt his biceps, and Mrs. Jobling almost persuaded herself that she must be dreaming, as she saw the girl lean forward and pinch Mr. Jobling’s arm. Mr. Jobling was surprised too, but he had the presence of mind to bend the other.

“Enormous!” said the girl, “and as hard as iron. What a prize-fighter you’d have made!”

“He don’t want to do no prize-fighting,” said Mrs. Jobling, recovering her speech; “he’s a respectable married man.”

Mr. Jobling shook his head over lost opportunities. “I’m too old,” he remarked.

“He’s forty-seven,” said his wife.

“Best age for a man, in my opinion,” said the girl; “just entering his prime. And a man is as old as he feels, you know.”

Mr. Jobling nodded acquiescence and observed that he always felt about twenty-two; a state of affairs which he ascribed to regular habits, and a great partiality for the company of young people.

“I was just twenty-two when I married,” he mused, “and my missis was just six months–“

“You leave my age alone,” interrupted his wife, trembling with passion. “I’m not so fond of telling my age to strangers.”

“You told mine,” retorted Mr. Jobling, “and nobody asked you to do that. Very free you was in coming out with mine.”

“I ain’t the only one that’s free,” breathed the quivering Mrs. Jobling. “I ‘ope your ankle is better?” she added, turning to the visitor.

“Much better, thank you,” was the reply.

“Got far to go?” queried Mrs. Jobling.

The girl nodded. “But I shall take a tram at the end of the street,” she said, rising.

Mr. Jobling rose too, and all that he had ever heard or read about etiquette came crowding into his mind. A weekly journal patronized by his wife had three columns regularly, but he taxed his memory in vain for any instructions concerning brown-eyed strangers with sprained ankles. He felt that the path of duty led to the tram-lines. In a somewhat blundering fashion he proffered his services; the girl accepted them as a matter of course.

Mrs. Jobling, with lips tightly compressed, watched them from the door. The girl, limping slightly, walked along with the utmost composure, but the bearing of her escort betokened a mind fully conscious of the scrutiny of the street.

He returned in about half an hour, and having this time to run the gauntlet of the street alone, entered with a mien which caused his wife’s complaints to remain unspoken. The cough of Mr. Brown, a particularly contagious one, still rang in his ears, and he sat for some time in fierce silence.

“I see her on the tram,” he said, at last “Her name’s Robinson–Miss Robinson.”

“In-deed!” said his wife.

“Seems a nice sort o’ girl,” said Mr. Jobling, carelessly. “She’s took quite a fancy to you.”

“I’m sure I’m much obliged to her,” retorted his wife.

“So I–so I asked her to give you a look in now and then,” continued Mr. Jobling, filling his pipe with great care, “and she said she would. It’ll cheer you up a bit.”

Mrs. Jobling bit her lip and, although she had never felt more fluent in her life, said nothing. Her husband lit his pipe, and after a rapid glance in her direction took up an old newspaper and began to read.

He astonished Mrs. Jobling next day by the gift of a geranium in full bloom. Surprise impeded her utterance, but she thanked him at last with some warmth, and after a little deliberation decided to put it in the bedroom.

Filed in: Children, Fairytales, Fantasy, Fiction, W. W. Jacobs

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