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The New Zealand Railways Magazine, Volume 5, Issue 5 (September 1, 1930)

The Way We Go — Ins and Outs of Life

page 49

The Way We Go
Ins and Outs of Life

Whenever I hear anyone uttering that old untruth: “There's nothing in the paper.” I always reply: “Have you read the ads.?” Among the advertisements, especially on the page of “Wanteds,” you see the real life of the people. What tragedies and comedies lurk between words or lines of some of those little statements of needs!

Cosily half asleep beside a big fire one night, when a howling southerly was trying viciously to break through a window or wall, I failed to develop any lively interest in the latest exploits of aircraft or the speeches in the Budget debate. So I turned languidly to the front page of a Wellington paper, and let my eye waver drowsily down a column headed: “Lost, Found, Personal.” Very quickly I was wide awake, as keenly alert as one of Edgar Wallace's sharpest sleuths. Indeed two or three of the ads. could furnish more exciting plots than some of the overworked Edgar's.

* * *

Take this one first:

Lost, last night, pair lady's dark brown suede gloves,. vicinity Ferry Wharf or Majestic Theatre. Finder Ring ——. Reward.

Reader, before you look further into this article, pause and ponder. Peruse that ad. very carefully again, and try to build a story. You notice the positive statement of the lady's belief that the gloves were lost either near the theatre or the wharf (which happens to be about a quarter of an hour's walk from the theatre). She feels confident that she did not lose them between those two places. If she admits a possibility that she did not lose them just outside the theatre, why should she think that the only other possible losing place would be near the wharf and not at any point on the way thither?

* * *

Let us then “Sherlock” ourselves for a minute or two, and reconstruct the scene. A theatre party, of course. Women and men. Probably all young. The girl had taken off her gloves in the warm theatre and did not put them on again in the building. She remembered that her hands were bare when she reached the chilly street and the party stayed chattering for a while until some of the members scurried for trams. She remembers (with a slight thrill and perhaps a pleasant blush) that her right hand was ungloved when it was warmly pressed by one of her admirers who left the group by the theatre. She feels now that she might have dropped the gloves in the flurry and flutter of that moment. She knows also that if she did not lose them then, she would have put them on for the walk or ride to the wharf with other members of the party. She remembers also that she would have removed at least one glove at the wharf for another tender leave-taking. She knows that her right hand was bare for the final pressures. So there you are. You know now why the ad. was worded in that peculiar manner.

page 50

But there is more mystery. Just near that ad. was another one:

Lost gold ball ear-ring, Ferry Wharf, last night.

Same time, same place! Probably a member of the same party. Now why should the lady feel sure that she lost the ear-ring at the Ferry Wharf? It would have been easy to lose it on the way to the wharf or on the boat, without missing it. Probably she did not notice the loss until she reached home and gazed in a mirror. Then she ran her mind rapidly over the events of the night and remembered the impetuous embrace of a lover in the dark. Put the gloves and ear-ring together, and you have the makings of a merry party.

* * *

But we must move on to other ads. in the same column. Here is one:

Lost top set teeth, Lambton Quay, Monday.

The teeth do not seem to be linked with the ear-ring and the gloves, but they may be. Indeed, I think they are, because the “last night” of the first two ads. was Monday night. Now, if the teeth were lost on Monday, would the loss have occurred in broad daylight or at night? “Night, of course,” you all say, and so do I. Lambton Quay is on the way from the Majestic Theatre to the Ferry Wharf. We can assume, then, for the moment that the man who lost the teeth was a member of the party which included the owners of the suede gloves and the gold ear-ring. Why you can find a story for the missing teeth.

* * *

Tarry again, readers, and see whether you can find a story for the missing teeth. Lambton Quay has a number of restaurants. Did the party have supper? Did the man of the shifty teeth get them entangled or embedded in a difficult mouthful, slip them quickly into a handkerchief and hold them away from their proper habitat until he could find an opportunity, in the street, to fix them? Then in a playful rally there, did he drop them and lack the courage to retrieve them among curious onlookers?

I prefer a more romantic explanation of the loss. I looked up the programme of the Majestic Theatre for Monday night and I saw that it featured” ‘The Loveliest Woman of the Screen’—-who will delight you with her delicious portrayal of a soft-spoken, charming little waitress in some of the greatest love scenes ever filmed. The most glorious romance of her screen career.” And there were “talking effects” too!

Did the man try to talk some of those “effects” and thus project those top teeth into the street? Or did the memory of those “greatest love scenes” suddenly surge in him and urge him to give a super-Valentino kiss to the delightful girl who held his arm, the kind of devouring kiss given by the he-man lover who cries: “I could eat you!“? If only those top teeth had been lost at the wharf where the ear-ring vanished! But we can't have everything to help us with our plots. I have shown enough in these ads. for plenty of exercise with the imagination.

The great thing about life is the going out of friendliness from being to being.

John Galsworthy.

Railway Veteran's Death. The late Mr. John Timms, formerly Inspector of Permanent Way, N. Z. R., reference to whose death, at the advanced age of 87 years, was made in our last issue

Railway Veteran's Death.
The late Mr. John Timms, formerly Inspector of Permanent Way, N. Z. R., reference to whose death, at the advanced age of 87 years, was made in our last issue