Tales of the Unexpected by Roald Dahl

Tales of the Unexpected by Roald Dahl

Author:Roald Dahl [Dahl, Roald]
Language: eng
Format: epub
Tags: Fiction / Short Stories (Single Author)
ISBN: 9780679729891
Google: osCGVUgNTfoC
Amazon: 0679729895
Publisher: Vintage
Published: 1990-07-13T22:00:00+00:00

Gregory W. Temple

27 Sycamore Drive, Bristol

As a matter of fact, now he came to think of it, he wasn’t at all sure that the second name didn’t have almost as much of a familiar ring about it as the first.

‘Gregory Temple?’ he said aloud, searching his memory. ‘Christopher Mulholland?…’

‘Such charming boys,’ a voice behind him answered, and he turned and saw his landlady sailing into the room with a large silver tea-tray in her hands. She was holding it well out in front of her, and rather high up, as though the tray were a pair of reins on a frisky horse.

‘They sound somehow familiar,’ he said.

‘They do? How interesting.’

‘I’m almost positive I’ve heard those names before somewhere. Isn’t that queer? Maybe it was in the newspapers. They weren’t famous in any way, were they? I mean famous cricketers or footballers or something like that?’

‘Famous,’ she said, setting the tea-tray down on the low table in front of the sofa. ‘Oh no, I don’t think they were famous. But they were extraordinarily handsome, both of them, I can promise you that. They were tall and young and handsome, my dear, just exactly like you.’

Once more, Billy glanced down at the book. ‘Look here,’ he said, noticing the dates. ‘This last entry is over two years old.’

‘It is?’

‘Yes, indeed. And Christopher Mulholland’s is nearly a year before that – more than three years ago.’

‘Dear me,’ she said, shaking her head and heaving a dainty little sigh. ‘I would never have thought it. How time does fly away from us all, doesn’t it, Mr Wilkins?’

‘It’s Weaver,’ Billy said. ‘W-e-a-v-e-r.’

‘Oh, of course it is!’ she cried, sitting down on the sofa. ‘How silly of me. I do apologize. In one ear and out the other, that’s me, Mr Weaver.’

‘You know something?’ Billy said. ‘Something that’s really quite extraordinary about all this?’

‘No, dear, I don’t.’

‘Well, you see – both of these names, Mulholland and Temple, I not only seem to remember each one of them separately, so to speak, but somehow or other, in some peculiar way, they both appear to be sort of connected together as well. As though they were both famous for the same sort of thing, if you see what I mean – like… well… like Dempsey and Tunney, for example, or Churchill and Roosevelt.’

‘How amusing,’ she said, ‘but come over here now, dear, and sit down beside me on the sofa and I’ll give you a nice cup of tea and a ginger biscuit before you go to bed.’

‘You really shouldn’t bother,’ Billy said. ‘I didn’t mean you to do anything like that.’ He stood by the piano, watching her as she fussed about with the cups and saucers. He noticed that she had small, white, quickly moving hands, and red finger-nails.

‘I’m almost positive it was in the newspapers I saw them,’ Billy said. ‘I’ll think of it in a second. I’m sure I will.’

There is nothing more tantalizing than a thing like this which lingers just outside the borders of one’s memory.


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