Bob Strong
158 Pages
English
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Bob Strong's Holidays - Adrift in the Channel

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158 Pages
English

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Published 08 December 2010
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Language English

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Project Gutenberg's Bob Strong's Holidays, by John Conroy Hutcheson 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 www.gutenberg.org Title: Bob Strong's Holidays Adrift in the Channel Author: John Conroy Hutcheson Illustrator: John B. Greene Release Date: April 16, 2007 [EBook #21106] Language: English Character set encoding: ISO-8859-1 *** START OF THIS PROJECT GUTENBERG EBOOK BOB STRONG'S HOLIDAYS *** Produced by Nick Hodson of London, England John Conroy Hutcheson "Bob Strong's Holidays" Chapter One. Down the Line. “Bob!” The noise of the train, however, drowned Nellie’s voice; besides which Master Bob was further prevented from hearing this appeal to him by reason of his head and shoulders being at that precise instant projected out of the window of the railway-carriage, in utter defiance of the Company’s bye-laws to the contrary and of his sister’s solicitous entreaties to the same effect—poor Nellie, fearing, in her feminine anxiety, that the door would fly open unexpectedly, from the pressure of Bob’s person, and precipitate her brother as suddenly out on the line. “Bob!” she therefore repeated on finding her first summons disregarded, speaking in a louder key and giving a tug to his jacket the better to attract his attention—“I say, Bob!” “Hullo! What’s the row?” shouted back the delinquent, hearing her at last, and wriggling himself in from the window like a snail withdrawing itself into its shell, turning round the while his face, slightly flushed with the exertion, to hers—“Anything wrong, eh?” Little Miss Nellie had not expected her timid and tentative conversational advances to be taken up in this downright fashion. Really she was only anxious for some one to sympathise with her and talk about the various objects of interest which came across her notice as they went along; so, Bob’s abrupt address, coupled with his gruff tone of voice, fell on her enthusiasm like a wet blanket! “Nothing’s the matter,” she replied timidly. “I only wanted to say how nice it is travelling like this.” “You don’t mean to say you only called me in to tell me that?” said Bob, almost angrily. “I do think girls are the greatest geese in the world!” With this dogmatic assertion, Master Bob shoved himself head and shoulders out of the window again, utterly ignoring poor Nellie’s existence, much to her chagrin and dismay. He was very rude, it must be confessed; but, some allowance should be made for him, all things considered. In the first place, he was a boy just fresh from the rougher associations of school life; and, secondly, his inquiring mind was intently occupied in endeavouring to solve a series of mathematical problems that set all Euclid’s laws at defiance, as the train whizzed on its way with a ‘piff-paff! pant-pant!’ of the great Juggernaut engine, the carriages rattling and jolting as they were dragged along at the tail of the mighty steam demon, swaying to and fro with a rhythmical movement of the wheels, in measured cadence of spondees and dactyls, as if singing to themselves the song of “the Iron Road.” Strange to say, this was a song of which, Bob noticed, the involuntary musicians never completed the second bar. They re-commenced all over again from the beginning, when they reached some particularly crucial point, where the ‘click’ or the ‘clack’ of the ever-echoing ‘click-clacking’ chorus proved too much for their overworked axles! Bob, though, was not thinking of this music of the rail, or paying any attention to it, albeit it was distinct and plain to him; as, indeed, it is to all with ears attuned in harmony with this mystery of motion, and who choose to listen to it, just as there are ‘sermons in stones,’ for those who care to read them! No, all his energies were bent on finding out how it was that the straight hedgerows and square fields became round, while curving outlines grow straight in a moment, as if ruled with a measure, at the instant of their speeding by them; and, it occurred to him, or probably would have done so if he had given himself time for reflection, that the question of squaring the circle, which has perplexed the philosophers of all ages, was not so very difficult of solution after all—looking at the matter out of the window of a railway-carriage, that is! Yes, so it really appeared; for, everything seemed ‘at sixes and sevens,’ the landscape having its middle distances and foreground irretrievably mixed up and its perspective gone mad, the country through which they passed resembling in this respect the land of topsyturvey-dom! Bob’s surprise, and wonder and delight, at all he saw became presently too great for him to remain silent any longer or to keep his thoughts to himself; so, affably forgetting his previous ‘snub’ to his sister when she had wished to express her feelings, he jerked in his head as suddenly as he had popped it out the moment before. “I say, Nell, isn’t it jolly?” he exclaimed in eager accents. “Just look out with me and see how funny everything seems!” “Why, that was what I wanted to speak of a little while ago, only you wouldn’t listen to me,” replied Nellie, more good-humouredly than Bob would have answered under the circumstances. “It is nice, though, I must say!” “‘Nice’ indeed!” replied he indignantly. “It is just like a girl to say that. I call it ‘jolly,’ nothing more nor less. There’s no other word to express what a fellow feels; and I do wonder, Nell, at your putting it so tamely!” The girl laughed out merrily at this; and her smiling face, wreathed in dimples, expressed as much animation as her brother could have wished. “Do forgive me, Bob,” she cried. “You are quite right. It is ‘jolly,’ the fields flying by, the trees all jumping up when you least expect them, the hills coming close, and—everything! I have noticed them all; for, I’ve been looking out, too, Master Observer, and have eyes like you, old chappie!” “Ah, but you haven’t seen all that I have,” said Bob, mollified by Nellie’s sympathetic accord. “Look at those little woolly lambs, there, frisking about, with their sedate old mothers standing by, watching the train with wondering eyes—” “Yes, I see, I see,” said she, interrupting him. “What great big eyes they have, to be sure! I declare, too, I can hear them ‘baa’ above all the noise of the railway!” Just