A Hansom to St. James's
Michael Harrison


e-Book, 160 pp. (Tina Rhea #36)
ISBN 978-1-55497-479-5 $10.00

On Christmas Eve old Colonel Vandyke faced the bleak prospect of spending the festive season quite alone. Finding even his Club dismal and empty, he decided to enliven the evening with a visit to a nearby public house which he had last entered exactly fifty years ago. Here he fell in with some young Guards officers of his old regiment, and, with them, he spent a few pleasant hours. But when the barman called ‘Time, gentlemen, please,’ the late hour and the unaccustomed drinking had had their inevitable effect on the old man, and his new-found friends went in search of a taxi to convey him home. But, so late on Christmas Eve, there were no taxis to be found, only an ancient hansom which still plied the quiet streets near the Palace.

Once settled into the hansom, the Colonel, very tired, not a little fuddled, and quite bemused by the combination of long-remembered sights and sounds, thought that it was the evening of his previous visit to the public house and had himself driven to his old home overlooking Green Park. Tired out, he fell asleep in an easy chair, to be discovered later by the present owner, Lord Tintagel and family, on their return from a party.

And, in the very early hours of Christmas Day, the Colonel told them his story, heard the problems of the Tintagels, and, like Santa Claus, brought to them peace and goodwill.