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TEN MINUTES late, in the hot evening sunshine,
my train bustled contentedly along between
orchards and hop gardens, jolted past the signal-box,
puiFed importantly under the bridge, and slowed up
at Baldock Wood. The station was exactly the same
as usual and 1 was very pleased to see it again. I was
back from Ballboro5 for the summer holidays. As I
was going forward to the guard's van to identify my
trunk and my wooden play-box, the station-master
(who, in those days, wore a top-hat and a baggy black
frock-coat) saluted me respectfully. Aunt Evelyn
always sent him a turkey at Christmas.

Having claimed my luggage I crossed the bridge,
Surrendered my ticket to a red-nosed and bearded
collector, who greeted me good-naturedly, and
emerged from the station with my cricket bat (which
was wrapped in my cricket pads) under my arm.
Dixon was waiting outside with a smart pony and
trap. Grinning at me with restrained delight, he
instructed my luggage-trundling porter to put it on
the village omnibus and I gave the man the last six-
pence of my journey-money* As we rattled up the
road the unpunctual train with a scries of snorts and a
streamer of smoke sauntered sedately away into the
calm agricultural valley of its vocation.