The Green Hat

The Green Hat

The Green Hat

The Green Hat

Excerpt

It has occurred to the writer to call this unimportant history The Green Hat because a green hat was the first thing about her that he saw: as also it was, in a way, the last thing about her that he saw. It was bright green, of a sort of felt, and bravely worn: being, no doubt, one of those that women who have many hats affect pour le sport.

I saw it for the first time (writes the Author) on the eve of my removal from one residence in London to another; although when I say residence I mean that I was, by the grace of God and at the impulse of my own temerity, removing to somewhat more habitable premises nearby from two rooms and a bathroom above a mean lane in a place called Shepherd's Market. Not that our lane hadn't attractions of its own to offer. Our lane was one in which many improbable things were wont to happen, but it somehow seemed inevitable that such things should happen there. But maybe I had better select a few of these things, that you may know the sort of lane ours was. I have seen men arrested there, and I have seen a heavy constable worsted in a fight with a little Jew pickpocket, who was for some time responsible for a rag-shop in our lane. I have seen two butlers fighting in our lane. I have seen a very old nobleman woo a flower-girl in our lane, but whether or not she ever favoured his suit our lane had no means of telling. One night I fell over the body of a woman lying in the blood of a broken head, and in our lane by night policemen solace themselves by smoking cigarettes into the crowns of their helmets, while cats, I must tell you, will never cease to sport together all about it.

But it was by day that our lane attained to any real interest for a student of such things, for then it was sacred to the activities of a hearty-looking man in a brown bowler-hat, who with one hand would write interminably in a small book, while with the other he dealt with passing men in slips of paper known to the law as "betting-slips." As partner to the hearty-looking man -- we are, I venture to say, already embarked on our tale, for these gentlemen will make a faint devil's chorus for more spacious happenings -- was a tall, wizened man who wore a check cap and had hair growing out of his ears. This man would stand at one end of the lane and now and then say, "Oil!" When he had said "Oil!" he would light a cigarette, while the hearty-looking man would run heavily round our end of the lane, for "Oil!" meant that the law was after him. When the law had gone he would come back wiping his mouth, and jokes were exchanged with the butcher and the fish . . .

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.