Henley Telegraph (1920) - And There Was No Rainbow
AND THERE WAS NO RAINBOW
Robert Sherwood was "fed up"; of that fact there was not the least doubt. Time hung heavily, for he had exhausted his source of amusement and had returned from whence he had started — the club. He did not know what to do next: everything seemed so monotonous. How he had looked forward to these few days' rest! And now... well, there it was! He was fed right up!
While he was thus engaged in reviewing his present circumstances, in strolled his pal, Jim. Now, Jim was married, so be was in a position to sympathise with him; although, mind you, Jim's life contract had not been the ultramodern kind — where you repent and eventually divorce at leisure. It simply happened that Jim had struck lucky, and he was content.
"Hullo, Bob, old fruit!"
"You don't look in the pink. Anything wrong?"
"Oh, I'm tired — and fed up!" And Bob unfolded his little drama.
"Why, I know the solution. What you want is a girl!"
"Yes: a nice young lady — someone with whom you can share all your little joys and sorrows — and money!"
Bob shook his head. "No, that's no good; I'm not built that way. Besides, I don't know any girls."
"Listen to me. All you have to do is to go to one of the suburbs — say, Fulham — and keep your eyes open around the smart houses. When you have struck your fancy, just go up and... oh, well, you know what to say! Simply pass the time of day, etc."
Bob got up.
"I'll think about it. Can't do any harm, and in any case it'll pass an hour."
"Good man!" exclaimed Jim. "Let me know how you get on."
It was pouring heavily, and, in consequence, Bob swore. If he had any special antipathy it surely was relations (all of the old and crusty sort) and duty visits. The latter was a demand of the present occasion, and he made haste to get the ordeal over. But the rain teemed down heavier, and, being without an umbrella, he slipped into a nearby doorway. Some minutes had passed without any abatement of the rain, when a cloaked figure made its way up the garden path towards the refugee.
"Oh!" exclaimed the newcomer, startled.
"Excuse me," said Bob, "but I am sheltering from the rain. I hope you don't mind."
"Not at all," she replied, inserting her key in the lock. "Oh, dear," she cried, "I can't get the key to turn."
"May I try?" volunteered Robert. Receiving assent, he continued the good work, but was equally unsuccessful. "The only thing to do is to force the door," he said.
"Oh, is there no other way?"
"I'm afraid that's the only solution. I find that one of the wards of the key has been broken off. You must have dropped it."
"I did — this afternoon, after I had closed the door. Well, as force is the only remedy, do you mind trying?"
A few heaves with his shoulder proved sufficient to send the door flying open.
"Thank you so much," she said. "In return for your kindness may I ask you to come in and sit down until the rain ceases?"
Bob hesitated for a moment; then he remembered Jim's advice, and assented, with thanks. Once inside, he lost no time in getting acquainted, and the end of thirty minutes saw the pair intensely interested in each other. Brainy man, Jim (thought Bob), to put me on a stunt like this. I shall never be able to thank him enough! He'll be glad to hear of my progress.
At the end of an hour he was all but engaged. Then came the sound of footsteps up the path.
"My husband," she gasped. "What shall I do? You must get out of the window — hide — or do something — quick!"
"Oh — hell!" groaned poor Romeo. "Here's a go!" To her he said quickly: "Switch out the light, and I'll slip out of the door when he enters!"
She sprang to the switch and the room was plunged into darkness.
But almost simultaneously her husband opened the door and turned on the light, finding Bob at his feet, ready to escape.
"You d—n fool!" he shouted, "I said Fulham — not Peckham!"