Read Books Online, for Free
|The Wheels of Chance||H. G. [Herbert George] Wells|
XXIX. The Unexpected Anecdote Of The Lion
|Page 2 of 4||
He plucked and began to nibble a blade of grass. It was really not so much lying as his quick imagination that prompted him to add, "In Papers, you know, and all that."
"I see," said Jessie, looking at him thoughtfully. Artists were a very heterogeneous class certainly, and geniuses had a trick of being a little odd. He avoided her eye and bit his grass. "I don't do MUCH, you know."
"It's not your profession?
"Oh, no," said Hoopdriver, anxious now to hedge. "I don't make a regular thing of it, you know. jest now and then something comes into my head and down it goes. No--I'm not a regular artist."
"Then you don't practise any regular profession? Mr. Hoopdriver looked into her eyes and saw their quiet unsuspicious regard. He had vague ideas of resuming the detective role. "It's like this," he said, to gain time. "I have a sort of profession. Only there's a kind of reason--nothing much, you know "
"I beg your pardon for cross-examining you."
"No trouble," said Mr. Hoopdriver. "Only I can't very well--I leave it to you, you know. I don't want to make any mystery of it, so far as that goes." Should he plunge boldly and be a barrister? That anyhow was something pretty good. But she might know about barristry.
"I think I could guess what you are."
"Well--guess," said Mr. Hoopdriver.
"You come from one of the colonies?"
"Dear me!" said Mr. Hoopdriver, veering round to the new wind. "How did you find out THAT?" (the man was born in a London suburb, dear Reader.)
"I guessed," she said.
He lifted his eyebrows as one astonished, and clutched a new piece of grass.
"You were educated up country."
"Good again," said Hoopdriver, rolling over again into her elbow. "You're a CLAIRVOY ant." He bit at the grass, smiling. "Which colony was it?"
"That I don't know."
"You must guess," said Hoopdriver.
"South Africa," she said. "I strongly incline to South Africa."
"South Africa's quite a large place," he said.
"But South Africa is right?"
"You're warm," said Hoopdriver, "anyhow," and the while his imagination was eagerly exploring this new province.
"South Africa IS right?" she insisted.
He turned over again and nodded, smiling reassuringly into her eyes.
"What made me think of South Africa was that novel of Olive Schreiner's, you know--The Story of an African Farm.' Gregory Rose is so like you."
"I never read 'The Story of an African Farm,'" said Hoopdriver. "I must. What's he like?"
"You must read the book. But it's a wonderful place, with its mixture of races, and its brand-new civilisation jostling the old savagery. Were you near Khama?"
"He was a long way off from our place," said Mr. Hoopdriver. "We had a little ostrich farm, you know--Just a few hundred of 'em, out Johannesburg way."
|Who's On Your Reading List?
Read Classic Books Online for Free at
Page by Page Books.TM
|The Wheels of Chance
H. G. [Herbert George] Wells
Home | More Books | About Us | Copyright 2004