George Manville Fenn.

Christmas Penny Readings: Original Sketches for the Season online

. (page 19 of 19)
Online LibraryGeorge Manville FennChristmas Penny Readings: Original Sketches for the Season → online text (page 19 of 19)
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"Ah! I see," said Cook, "go on."

"And, after being begged and prayed a deal, she says as she will, and he
fetches the ladder; and, just as she's done falling on his neck and
weeping, a mysterious voice says - "

"Oh!" cried the domestics in horrified tones as they clung together, for
in the stillness of the night there was a fearful cry from below stairs,
followed by the noise of something heavy falling.

"It's the biler busted, Mary!" shivered and sobbed the cook.

"Oh no, it's master being murdered," gasped Mary; "I know it is.
Ennery! Ennery! Ennery!" she cried, banging at the frail partition
wall to arouse Buttons, who at last condescended to wake up and knock in
answer.

"Oh! do get up and go down; there's something the matter!" cried Mary
and Cook together.

"Oh, ah! you go," came back in muffled tones from the sweet youth.

"Oh, do go, there's a good boy!" said Cook sweetly; "do go down and
see."

"Ah! I dessay," said Buttons, recalling the morning's treatment.

A compromise was at length effected, and the three domestics stood upon
the top of the staircase gazing down, while the moon looked sideways at
them through the skylight.

"Ah! I see you!" cried Cook to an imaginary burglar. "You'd better go:
here's the perlice a-coming," which was a great fib of Mrs Cook's, for
there was not a policeman near; though, from the lady's tones and
confident way of speaking, it might have been imagined that there was a
police barracks on the roof, just within call.

"Cook!" cried a faint voice.

"There. I know'd it was!" cried Mary. "It's master, half killed."

"Here, help! come down!" came up again faintly.

"Oh! we dussen't, sir!" chorused Mr Dodd's servants.

But at length Buttons was pushed forward, and, a landing at a time, the
timid trio slowly descended to the assistance of poor Mr Dodd, whom
they found half-stunned and bleeding upon the dining-room door mat; but
warm water, diachylon, and half a glass of brandy revived Mr Dodd so
that he was able to re-send his servants to bed, and then retire
himself, and ponder upon the advisability of having mechanical
life-preservers attached to the lower room doors, since the experimental
affair fixed that day by Mr Pouter had proved so awkward, when its
owner had hurriedly gone down to fetch the letters left upon the
dining-room chimney-piece; though if Mr Dodd had been a burglar, the
effect would have been most effectual as well as striking.

"No," said Mr Dodd, as he turned his aching head to find an easier spot
upon the pillow. "No, I think bells are the best after all."

Next morning Mr Dodd was too ill to rise, and many of his
Christmas-boxing friends who had omitted to call the previous day, went
away empty. Mr Pouter's bill has decreased yearly, for Mr Dodd's
faith has been shaken in patents; while as to spring-guns in grounds,
and preservers set with springs on doors, surely it is better to suffer
imaginary dangers than to run real risk, for really it cannot be
pleasant to be caught in your own trap.








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Online LibraryGeorge Manville FennChristmas Penny Readings: Original Sketches for the Season → online text (page 19 of 19)