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The Project Gutenberg EBook of Happy Days, by Alan Alexander Milne This eBook is for the use of anyone anywhere at no cost and with almost no restrictions whatsoever. You may copy it, give it away or re-use it under the terms of the Project Gutenberg License included with this eBook or online at Title: Happy Days Author: Alan Alexander Milne Release Date: July 21, 2008 [EBook #26098] Language: English Character set encoding: ISO-8859-1 *** START OF THIS PROJECT GUTENBERG EBOOK HAPPY DAYS *** Produced by Malcolm Farmer, Huub Bakker and the Online Distributed Proofreading Team at (This file was produced from images generously made available by The Internet Archive/Canadian Libraries) HAPPY DAYS BY [Pg 1] [Pg 2] A.A. MILNE NEW YORK GEORGE H. DORAN COMPANY [Pg 4] FOREWORD This book is made up from my contributions to Punch—a casual selection from the four hundred or so which have appeared in the last nine years. It is offered to the American public as a sample of that Punch humour (and perhaps, therefore, British humour) which Americans so often profess not to understand. According to whether they like it or do not like it, I hope they will consider it a representative or an unrepresentative sample. A.A.M. [Pg 7] CONTENTS MARGERY CHAPTER P AGE I. HER SOCK II. HOW WE PLAY THE PIANOLA III. THE KNIGHT OF THE CHIMNEY-PIECE IV. THE ART OF CONVERSATION V. AFTERNOON SLEEP VI. A TWICE TOLD TALE VII. THE LITERARY ART VIII. MY SECRETARY IX. THE TRUTH ABOUT HOME RAILS LIFE'S LITTLE TRAGEDIES 13 20 27 32 38 44 50 56 62 X. XI. XII. XIII. XIV. XV. XVI. XVII. XVIII. XIX. XX. XXI. XXII. A CROWN OF SORROWS THE LUCKY MONTH THE RESCUE THE PORTUGUESE CIGAR A COLD WORLD A BREATH OF LIFE THE DOCTOR THE FINANCIER THE THINGS THAT MATTER THREE STORIES THE MAKING OF A CHRISTMAS STORY A MATTER-OF-FACT FAIRY TALE THE SEASIDE NOVELETTE OUT-OF-DOORS THE FIRST OF SPRING 71 76 83 90 96 103 113 120 126 135 151 166 181 188 195 202 208 214 221 228 234 241 251 258 264 270 276 283 290 [Pg 8] XXIII. THE COMING OF THE CROCUS XXIV. THE LANDSCAPE GARDENER XXV. PAT-BALL XXVI. TEN AND EIGHT XXVII. AN INLAND VOYAGE XXVIII. ONE OF OUR SUFFERERS XXIX. CHUM XXX. "UNDER ENTIRELY NEW MANAGEMENT" XXXI. A FAREWELL TOUR INDOORS XXXII. PHYSICAL CULTURE XXXIII. AN INSURANCE ACT XXXIV. GETTING THE NEEDLE XXXV. DRESSING UP XXXVI. THE COMPLETE KITCHEN XXXVII. AN INFORMAL EVENING XXXVIII. A BILLIARD LESSON XXXIX. BACHELOR RELICS 297 LITTLE PLAYS FOR AMATEURS XL. "FAIR MISTRESS DOROTHY" XLI. "A SLIGHT MISUNDERSTANDING" XLII. "MISS PRENDERGAST" XLIII. "AT DEAD OF NIGHT" XLIV. "THE LOST HEIRESS" XLV. "THE LITERARY LIFE" SUCCESSFUL MEN XLVI. THE SOLICITOR XLVII. THE PAINTER XLVIII. THE BARRISTER XLIX. THE CIVIL SERVANT L. THE ACTOR LI. THE COLLECTOR LII. THE STATESMAN LIII. THE MAGNATE LIV. THE ADVENTURER 349 356 363 370 377 384 391 400 407 305 312 319 326 335 340 [Pg 9] LV. THE EXPLORER LVI. THE NEWSPAPER PROPRIETOR 414 421 [Pg 11] 10] MARGERY I. HER SOCK I When Margery was three months old I wrote a letter to her mother: [Pg 12] 13] Dear Madam ,—If you have a copy in Class D at 1/10d. net, I shall be glad to hear from you. I am, THE BABY'S UNCLE. On Tuesday I got an answer by the morning post: Dear Sir ,—In reply to yours: How dare you insult my child? She is in Class A1, priceless and bought in by the owner. Four months old (and two days) on Christmas Day. Fancy! I am, THE BABY'S MOTHER. Margery had been getting into an expensive way of celebrating her birthday every week. Hitherto I had ignored it. But now I wrote: [Pg 14] Dear Madam ,—Automatically your baby should be in Class D by now. I cannot understand why it is not so. Perhaps I shall hear from you later on with regard to this. Meanwhile I think that the extraordinary coincidence (all but two days) of the baby's birthday with Christmas Day calls for some recognition on my part. What would Margery like? You, who are in constant communication with her, should be able to tell me. I hear coral necklaces well spoken of. What do you think? I remember reading once of a robber who "killed a little baby for the coral on its neck"—which shows at any rate that they are worn. Do you know how coral reefs are made? It is a most fascinating business. Then there is a silver mug to be considered. The only thing you can drink out of a mug is beer; yet it is a popular present. Perhaps you, with your (supposed) greater knowledge of babies, will explain this. Meanwhile, I am, THE BABY'S UNCLE. P.S.—Which is a much finer thing than a mother. To which her mother: My Dear Boy ,—It is too sweet of you to say you would like to get Baby something. No, I don't know how coral reefs are made, and don't want to. I think it is wicked of you to talk like that; I'm sure I shan't dare let her wear anything valuable now. And I don't think she really wants a mug. [Pg 15] I'm sure I don't know what she does want, except to see her uncle (There!) but it ought to be something that she'll value when she grows up. And of course we could keep it for her in the meantime. Her Father has smoked his last cigar to-day. Isn't it awful? I have forbidden him to waste his money on any more, but he says he must give me 500 for a Christmas present. If he does, I shall give him that sideboard that I want so badly, and then we shall both go to prison together. You will look after Baby, won't you? I am, THE BABY'S MOTHER. P.S.—Which she isn't proud, but does think it's a little bit classier than an uncle. And so finally, I: Dear Child ,—I've thought of the very thing. I am, THE BABY'S UNCLE. That ends Chapter I. Here we go on to II Chapter II finds me in the Toy Department of the Stores. "I want," I said, "a present for a child." "Yes, sir. About how old?" "It must be quite new," I said sternly. "Don't be silly. Oh, I see; well, the child is only a baby." "Ah, yes. Now here—if it's at all fond of animals——" "I say, you mustn't call it 'IT.' I get in an awful row if I do. Of course, I suppose it's all right for you, only—well, be careful, won't you?" The attendant promised, and asked whether the child was a boy or girl. "And had you thought of anything for the little girl?" "Well, yes.