Gloves  (1896) 
by Barry Pain

Extracted from To-day Magazine, 18 April 1896, p. 350. A sketch.


By Barry Pain.

He had purchased the new gloves at Charing Cross, and put them on there. They fitted beautifully, and were in perfect harmony with the general excellence of his clothes. He had the old pair in his pocket; as he entered the train at Charing Cross he pulled them out and looked at them. The old gloves were very bad indeed, very dirty, and full of holes. He decided that he could never wear them any more, and that he did not want them. He accordingly left them on the seat of the carriage when he got out at the Temple station. As he was going down the platform, a breathless porter came up to him, handed him the old gloves, and said, "You left these in the carriage, sir."

From sheer force of habit, he took the gloves and gave the man twopence.


Later in the day he left the old gloves in a cab, and felt quite thankful that he had got rid of them.

On the following morning he happened, by a curious coincidence, to take the same cab again. The cabman opened the trap and handed down the old pair of gloves, remarking that he had been just going to take them to the Yard.

"That's all right," said the man; "you can keep them if you like."

"They wouldn't fit me, sir," said the cabman. So the man gave the cabman twopence, and sat pensive, wishing t hat the cabman had been less honest. Indeed, it seemed to him that the world was far too full of honest men, and that the stories of Diogenes could have had no foundation in fact. He decided once more to try leaving them in the train.

He had made all his preparations now. If a porter rescued them, and brought them to him, he would declare that they were not his. It would be a lie, but he could not help that, and it seemed to him that there were quite enough honest men in the world, without his coming in and unduly overcrowding the profession. He had the compartment of the carriage entirely to himself, and there was no danger of some officious fellow-passenger handing out the gloves to him. He leaped out of the train, and found to his relief that no porter followed him. It was not even necessary to lie. As he watched the train steaming out of the station, he thought with joy that he had at last left those gloves behind him.

So, as a matter of fact, he had.

And the new gloves as well.

This work is in the public domain in the United States because it was published before January 1, 1928.

The longest-living author of this work died in 1928, so this work is in the public domain in countries and areas where the copyright term is the author's life plus 94 years or less. This work may be in the public domain in countries and areas with longer native copyright terms that apply the rule of the shorter term to foreign works.

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