Grindley Junior drops into the Position of Publisher
Few are the ways of the West Central district that have changed less within the last half-century than Nevills Court, leading from Great New Street into Fetter Lane. Its north side still consists of the same quaint row of small low shops that stood theredoing perhaps a little brisker businesswhen George the Fourth was King; its southern side of the same three substantial houses each behind a strip of garden, pleasant by contrast with surrounding grimness, built long agosome say before Queen Anne was dead.
Out of the largest of these, passing through the garden, then well cared for, came one sunny Sunday morning, some fifteen years before the commencement proper of this story, one Solomon Appleyard, pushing in front of him a perambulator. At the brick wall surmounted by wooden railings that divides the garden from the court, Solomon paused, hearing behind him the voice of Mrs. Appleyard speaking from the doorstep.
If I dont see you again until dinner-time, Ill try and get on without you, understand. Dont think of nothing but your pipe and forget the child. And be careful of the crossings.
Mrs. Appleyard retired into the darkness. Solomon, steering the perambulator carefully, emerged from Nevills Court without accident. The quiet streets drew Solomon westward. A vacant seat beneath the shade overlooking the Long Water in Kensington Gardens invited to rest.
Piper? suggested a small boy to Solomon. Sunday Times, Server?
My boy, said Mr. Appleyard, speaking slowly, when youve been mewed up with newspapers eighteen hours a day for six days a week, you can do without em for a morning. Take em away. I want to forget the smell of em.
Solomon, having assured himself that the party in the perambulator was still breathing, crossed his legs and lit his pipe.
The exclamation had been wrung from Solomon Appleyard by the approach of a stout, short man clad in a remarkably ill-fitting broad-cloth suit.
What, Sol, my boy?
It looked like you, said Solomon. And then I said to myself: No; surely it cant be Hezekiah; hell be at chapel.
You run about, said Hezekiah, addressing a youth of some four summers he had been leading by the hand. Dont you go out of my sight; and whatever you do, dont you do injury to those new clothes of yours, or youll wish youd never been put into them. The truth is, continued Hezekiah to his friend, his sole surviving son and heir being out of earshot, the morning tempted me. Taint often I get a bit of fresh air.
The business, replied Hezekiah, is going up by leaps and boundsleaps and bounds. But, of course, all that means harder work for me. Its from six in the morning till twelve oclock at night.
Theres nothing I know of, returned Solomon, who was something of a pessimist, thats given away free gratis for nothing except misfortune.
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