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The Manhood of Edward Robinson: An Agatha Christie Short Story

The Manhood of Edward Robinson: An Agatha Christie Short Story
Agatha Christie

A classic Agatha Christie short story, available individually for the first time as an ebook.Sane and sensible Edward Robinson secretly dreams of fast cars, adventurous women and danger, but his fiancée, Maud, keeps him grounded in reality. When Edward wins money in a newspaper competition, he immediately buys the sleek red car of his dreams – without telling Maud. Adventure swiftly ensues, as he is embroiled in high society scandals that lead him to a significant transformation.

THE MANHOOD OF EDWARD ROBINSON

A Short Story

by Agatha Christie

Copyright

This short story is entirely a work of fiction. The names, characters and incidents portrayed in it are the work of the author’s imagination. Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, events or localities is entirely coincidental.

Published by HarperCollinsPublishers Ltd 1 London Bridge Street London SE1 9GF www.harpercollins.co.uk (http://www.harpercollins.co.uk)

‘The Manhood of Edward Robinson’ was first published as ‘The Day of His Dreams’ in Grand Magazine, December 1924.

This ePub edition published April 2012.

Copyright © 2012 Agatha Christie Ltd.

A catalogue record for this book is available from the British Library

All rights reserved under International and Pan-American Copyright Conventions. By payment of the required fees, you have been granted the nonexclusive, nontransferable right to access and read the text of this e-book on-screen. No part of this text may be reproduced, transmitted, downloaded, decompiled, reverse-engineered, or stored in or introduced into any information storage and retrieval system, in any form or by any means, whether electronic or mechanical, now known or hereinafter invented, without the express written permission of HarperCollins e-books.

EPub Edition © 2012 ISBN: 9780007486762

Version: 2017-04-18

Contents

Cover (#u51d27759-66bb-57b6-9c37-d951a6dfc922)

Title Page (#ucbbf82ab-5e27-5273-b9bf-e2fca232a519)

Copyright

The Manhood of Edward Robinson

About the Publisher (#litres_trial_promo)

The Manhood of Edward Robinson

‘The Manhood of Edward Robinson’ was first published as ‘The Day of His Dreams’ in Grand Magazine, December 1924.

‘With a swing of his mighty arms, Bill lifted her right off her feet, crushing her to his breast. With a deep sigh she yielded her lips in such a kiss as he had never dreamed of –’

With a sigh, Mr Edward Robinson put down When Love is King and stared out of the window of the underground train. They were running through Stamford Brook. Edward Robinson was thinking about Bill. Bill was the real hundred percent he-man beloved of lady novelists. Edward envied him his muscles, his rugged good looks and his terrific passions. He picked up the book again and read the description of the proud Marchesa Bianca (she who had yielded her lips). So ravishing was her beauty, the intoxication of her was so great, that strong men went down before her like ninepins, faint and helpless with love.

‘Of course,’ said Edward to himself, ‘it’s all bosh, this sort of stuff. All bosh, it is. And yet, I wonder –’

His eyes looked wistful. Was there such a thing as a world of romance and adventure somewhere? Were there women whose beauty intoxicated? Was there such a thing as love that devoured one like a flame?

‘This is real life, this is,’ said Edward. ‘I’ve got to go on the same just like all the other chaps.’

On the whole, he supposed, he ought to consider himself a lucky young man. He had an excellent berth – a clerkship in a flourishing concern. He had good health, no one dependent upon him, and he was engaged to Maud.

But the mere thought of Maud brought a shadow over his face. Though he would never have admitted it, he was afraid of Maud. He loved her – yes – he still remembered the thrill with which he had admired the back of her white neck rising out of the cheap four and elevenpenny blouse on the first occasion they had met. He had sat behind her at the cinema, and the friend he was with had known her and had introduced them. No doubt about it, Maud was very superior. She was good looking and clever and very lady-like, and she was always right about everything. The kind of girl, everyone said, who would make such an excellent wife.

Edward wondered whether the Marchesa Bianca would have made an excellent wife. Somehow, he doubted it. He couldn’t picture the voluptuous Bianca, with her red lips and her swaying form, tamely sewing on buttons, say, for the virile Bill. No, Bianca was Romance, and this was real life. He and Maud would be very happy together. She had so much common sense …

But all the same, he wished that she wasn’t quite so – well, sharp in manner. So prone to “jump upon him”.

It was, of course, her prudence and her common sense which made her do so. Maud was very sensible. And, as a rule, Edward was very sensible too, but sometimes – He had wanted to get married this Christmas, for instance. Maud had pointed out how much more prudent it would be to wait a while – a year or two, perhaps. His salary was not large. He had wanted to give her an expensive ring – she had been horror stricken, and had forced him to take it back and exchange it for a cheaper one. Her qualities were all excellent qualities, but sometimes Edward wished that she had more faults and less virtues. It was her virtues that drove him to desperate deeds.

For instance –

A blush of guilt overspread his face. He had got to tell her – and tell her soon. His secret guilt was already making him behave strangely. Tomorrow was the first of three days holiday, Christmas Eve, Christmas Day and Boxing Day. She had suggested that he should come round and spend the day with her people, and in a clumsy foolish manner, a manner that could not fail to arouse her suspicions, he had managed to get out of it – had told a long, lying story about a pal of his in the country with whom he had promised to spend the day.

And there was no pal in the country. There was only his guilty secret.

Three months ago, Edward Robinson, in company with a few hundred thousand other young men, had gone in for a competition in one of the weekly papers. Twelve girls’ names had to be arranged in order of popularity. Edward had had a brilliant idea. His own preference was sure to be wrong – he had noticed that in several similar competitions. He wrote down the twelve names arranged in his own order of merit, then he wrote them down again this time placing one from the top and one from the bottom of the list alternately.

When the result was announced, Edward had got eight right out of the twelve, and was awarded the first prize of £500. This result, which might easily be ascribed to luck, Edward persisted in regarding as the direct outcome of his ‘system.’ He was inordinately proud of himself.

The next thing was, what do do with the £500? He knew very well what Maud would say. Invest it. A nice little nest egg for the future. And, of course, Maud would be quite right, he knew that. But to win money as the result of a competition is an entirely different feeling from anything else in the world.

Had the money been left to him as a legacy, Edward would have invested it religiously in Conversion Loan or Savings Certificates as a matter of course. But money that one has achieved by a mere stroke of the pen, by a lucky and unbelievable chance, comes under the same heading as a child’s sixpence – ‘for your very own – to spend as you like’.

And in a certain rich shop which he passed daily on his way to the office, was the unbelievable dream, a small two-seater car, with a long shining nose, and the price clearly displayed on it – £465.

‘If I were rich,’ Edward had said to it, day after day. ‘If I were rich, I’d have you.’

And now he was – if not rich – at least possessed of a lump sum of money sufficient to realize his dream. That car, that shining alluring piece of loveliness, was his if he cared to pay the price.


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