"It's really very good of you,” said Simpson.
At home, we managed to find the money he needed. He thanked me and left. I watched him take several steps up the street and then return to me.
“I say, I’m sorry to trouble you again,” he said. “The fact is we’re still quite strangers round here and — well, I'm rather lost, to tell you the truth.3 Will you tell me the way to the post-office?”
I did my best. It took me several minutes to explain to him where the post-office was. At the end of that time I felt as lost as Simpson and decided to go along with him. I led the way to the post-office. Simpson put a penny into the automatic stamp-machine. The coin passed through the machine, but with no result.
“It’s empty,” I explained.
Simpson was so nervous that he dropped the letter on the ground and when he picked it up there was a large black spot on its face.
“Dear me,” he said. “My wife told me to post the letter
tonight. After all it’s not so important4 but you don’t
know my wife. I had better post it now.”5
Suddenly I remembered that I had a book of stamps
at home. “It will be posted,” I said. “But we’d better hurry, or we’ll miss the midnight collection.”
It took rather a long time to find the book of stamps. But when we found it, we saw after all that it was emp ty. The last thing I could advise him to do was to post the letter unstamped. “Let the other man pay double postage on it in the morning”.
I took him firmly by the arm and accompanied him to the post-office in time for the midnight collection. He dropped in his letter, and then, to finish off my job, I took him home.
“I’m so grateful to you, really," he said when we reached his home. “That letter — it’s only an invitation to dinner, to Mr ... Dear me!".
“Why, what’s the matter?”
“Nothing. Just something I’ve remembered.”
But he didn’t tell me. He just opened his eyes and his mouth at me like a wounded goldfish, hurriedly said “Good-night”, and went inside.
All the way home I was wondering what it was he had remembered.