(Nigel [´naIGql] Balchin [´bLlCIn], a modern English writer, was born in 1908. He is the author of several novels, stories and screen-scripts.)
Among the passengers travelling home by train from Florence [´flPrqns] there was a certain Miss Bradley [´brxdlI].
I only noticed her when passing down the corridor, because of her really remarkable plainness. She was rather a large, awkward woman of about thirty-five with a big, red nose, and large spectacles.
Later on, when I went to the dining-car, Miss Bradley was already seated, and the attendant placed me opposite her.
I think we may have exchanged half a dozen words at dinner, when passing one another the sugar or the bread. But they were certainly all we exchanged, and after we left the dining-car, I did not see Miss Bradley again until we reached Calais Maritime [´kxleI ´mxrItaIm].
And then our acquaintance really began, and it began entirely on my initiative. There were plenty of porters, and I called one without difficulty from the window of the train. But as I got off, I saw Miss Bradley standing on the platform with two large very old suit-cases. The porters were passing her by.
I am quite sure that had she been an even slightly attractive woman, I should not have gone up to her, but she was so ugly, and looked so helpless that I approached her, and said:
"My porter has a barrow. Would you like him to put your cases on it too?" Miss Bradley turned and looked at me.
"Oh - thank you. It is very kind of you."