The Adventures of a Three-Guinea Watch

The Adventures of a Three-Guinea Watch

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Publié le 08 décembre 2010
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The Project Gutenberg EBook of The Adventures of a Three-Guinea Watch, by Talbot Baines Reed 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: The Adventures of a Three-Guinea Watch Author: Talbot Baines Reed Release Date: April 11, 2007 [EBook #21035] Language: English Character set encoding: ISO-8859-1 *** START OF THIS PROJECT GUTENBERG EBOOK THREE-GUINEA WATCH *** Produced by Nick Hodson of London, England Talbot Baines Reed "The Adventures of a Three-Guinea Watch" Chapter One. My infancy and education—How I was sold and who bought me. “Then you can guarantee it to be a good one to go?” “You couldn’t have a better, sir.” “And it will stand a little roughish wear, you think?” “I’m sure of it, sir; it’s an uncommon strong watch.” “Then I’ll take it.” These few sentences determined my destiny, and from that moment my career may be said to have begun. I am old, and run down, and good for nothing now; but many a time do I find my thoughts wandering back to this far-off day; and remembering all that has befallen me since that eventful moment, I humbly hope my life has not been one to disgrace the good character with which I went out into the world. I was young at the time, very young—scarcely a month old. Watches however, as every one knows, are a good deal more precocious in their infancy than human beings. They generally settle down to business as soon as they are born, without having to spend much of their time either in the nursery or the schoolroom. Indeed, after my face and hands had once been well cleaned, and a brand-new shiny coat had been put on my back, it was years before I found myself again called upon to submit to that operation which is such a terror to all mortal children. As to my education, it lasted just a week; and although I am bound to say, while it lasted, it was both carefully and skilfully managed, I did not at all fancy the discipline I was subjected to in the process. I used to be handed over to a creature who took me up and examined me (as if he were a policeman and a magistrate combined), and according as I answered his questions he exclaimed, “You’re going too fast,” or “You’re going too slow,” and with that he set himself to “regulate” me, as he called it. I was ordered to turn round, take off my coat, and submit my poor shoulders to his instrument of correction. But why need I describe this experience to boys? They know what “regulating” means as well as I do! Well in due time I profited by the instructions received, and one day my tutor, after the usual examination, grumpily told me, “You’re right at last; you can go.” And I did go, and I’ve been going ever since. The troubles of my infancy however were not all over. I discovered at a very early age that the one thing a watch is never allowed to do is to go to sleep. They’d as soon think of leaving an infant to starve as of letting a watch go to sleep. But to my story. Ever since I had left school—or, in other words, gone through my due course of regulation—I had remained shut up under a glass-case, lying comfortably upon a bed of purple velvet, and decorated with a little white label bearing the mysterious inscription, “Only Three Guineas.” From this stately repose I was only once a day disturbed in order to be kept from sleeping, and had all the rest of my time to look about me and observe what went on in the world in which I found myself. It was not a big world indeed, but I could see I was not the only inhabitant. All around me were watches like myself, some of a golden complexion, and some—of which I was one—of a silvery. Some were big, and made an awful noise, and some were tiny, and just whispered what they had to say. Some were very proud, and showed off their jewels and chains in a way which made me blush for the vanity of my fellow-creatures—“dear” watches, the ladies called these, and others were as plain as plain could be. Every now and then our case would be opened, and one of my neighbours taken out and never put back. Then we knew he had been sold, and we who were left spent our time in gossiping about what had become of him, and speculating whose turn would come next. A gold repeater near me was very confident the turn would be his, and so impressed us with the sense of his “striking” importance and claims, that when the next time our glass house was entered, and a hand came groping in our direction, I at once concluded it was his summons into publicity and honour. Imagine my astonishment, then, when the hand, instead of reaching my gold neighbour, took hold of me and cautiously drew me out of the case! My heart leaped to my mouth—or whatever part of a watch’s anatomy corresponds with that organ—and I was ready to faint with excitement. I had always imagined I was to lie in that case for years, but now, when I was barely a month old, here was I going out into the world. It made me quite bashful to listen to all the flattering things my master said of me. I was worth twice the price he was selling me at, he said; in fact, if trade had been good he would not have parted with me under three times that price. It was a relief to think the repeater could not overhear this, or he would have sneered in a way to extinguish me altogether. As it was, no other watch was by, so that I was not very much embarrassed. After turning me over, and feeling my pulse, and listening to the beating of my heart, and taking off my coat and waistcoat to inspect my muscle, my master’s customer at last laid me down on the counter and pronounced the sentences with which I have begun my story. “Then I’ll take it,” he said, and pulled out his purse. “Stop a bit, though!” exclaimed he; “I’d better have a chain too, my little chap