Mr Coombes was sick of life. He walked out his front door and away from his unhappy home. He did not want to see anyone, so he took a quiet path. The path led to a canal and a wooden bridge. He crossed the wooden bridge. Soon, he was alone in damp, pine woods. He was out of sight and sound of all humans. He stopped and thought about his wife. That made him angry. ‘I won’t stand it any longer,’ he repeated over and over.
He was a pale-faced little man, with dark eyes and a very fine, black moustache. He wore a very stiff upright collar. It gave him a double chin. He wore an untidy, grey overcoat. His gloves were brown with stripes and split at the finger ends. His appearance, his wife once said – in the days before they were married – was military. But now she called him her `little grub`. And it wasn’t the only thing she called him!
The row between Mr Coombes and his wife happened about an hour ago. It was about that horrible Jenny, again! Jenny was his wife’s friend and every Sunday she came to dinner. Of course, Mr Coombes did not invite her. She was a big, noisy girl. She liked bright colours and had a very loud laugh. This time, Jenny went too far. She brought a male friend to dinner. He was as loud and showy as her. All through Sunday dinner, Mr Coombes sat quiet and angry at his own table. But his wife and her guests talked foolishly and laughed loudly all afternoon. Then Jenny got up and sat at his piano. His piano! She played loudly and sang even louder! They would hear next door; they would hear out in the street!