Sunday, 27 January 2013

Mandoa

"The rapid Mandoan dawn had come. ...  The air, after the shower, was almost fresh.  Bill sought, in the twilight of the stuffy, dishevelled sitting-room for his typewriter.  He hunted among his papers for the draft agreement already planned and approved by Talal, giving permission to construct, two miles north-west of the city on land now belonging to the Royal House, an aerodrome, with a site for a hotel and all the necessary offices, to be built by the firm of Prince's Tours, Limited.  He collected paper and carbons, fitted a new ribbon on to the machine, and sat down to his first direct participation in the making of Mandoa.

Tick, ticketty, tick rattled his fingers on the keys.  Tick, ticketty, grr.  Something was wrong. The space-key was definitely out of action.  Cursing softly over his spoiled copies, for paper was precious, Bill began to tinker.

But it very soon became evident that the case was hopeless.  Without further tools, he could do nothing. He needed a small screwdriver, wire, heaven knew what -- or he must copy thirty-five documents by hand.  He sat cursing and tapping dismally.

The solicitous Jeff came with his tea.  He looked at the machine and at Bill's disconsolate face.
'Sick?' he inquired, comprehensively.
Bill nodded.
'You take him to Mr. Byron Wilberforce Gish, eh?  Mr Gish A.1. mechanic,' Jeff continued, touching the disabled machine with a timid finger.
'That's a good idea, Jeff,'  said Bill, who had never learned the indignity of accepting suggestions from a slave....

Glad to avoid walking in the heat of the day, he shut the typewriter into its case, told Jeff to carry it, and set off for the cinema."

Mandoa, Mandoa  Winifred Holtby



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