Excerpt from “Random Harvest” by James Hilton ~~Reunited~~

picture-RandomHarvest-HiltonBut as we neared the post-office I caught sight of something that to me was most significant of all – a small brown two-seater car. I walked over to it; a man saw me examining the licence. “If you’re looking for the tall gentleman,” he came over to say, “I think he took a walk up the hill.”
I turned to Mrs. Rainier. “CHARLES?” was all she whispered.
“Might be. It meets the Club porter’s description and it was hired from a London firm.”
We turned off the main road by a path crossing an open field towards the hill; as we were climbing the chime of three quarters came up to us, blown faint by the breeze. The slope was too steep for much talk, but when we came within a few yards of the ridge she halted to gain breath, gazing down over the village.
“Looks as if it has never changed.”
“I don’t suppose it has, much, in a thousand years.”
“That makes twenty seem only yesterday.”
“If we meet him, what are you going to say?”
“I don’t know. I can’t know – before I see him.”
“He’ll wonder why on earth we have come HERE, of all places.”
“Then we’ll ask him why on earth HE’S here. Perhaps we’ll both have to pretend we came to look at the five counties.”
She resumed the climb, and in another moment we could see that the summit dipped again to a further summit, perhaps higher, and that in the hollow between lay a little pond. There was a man lying beside it with arms outstretched, as if he had flung himself there after the climb. He did not move as we approached, but presently we saw smoke curling from a cigarette between his fingers.
“He’s not asleep,” I said. “He’s just resting.”
I saw her eyes and the way her lips trembled; something suddenly occurred to me. “By the way, how did you know there were FIVE counties?”
But she didn’t answer; already she was rushing down the slope. He saw her in time to rise to his feet; she stopped then, several yards away, and for a few seconds both were staring at each other, hard and still and silent. Then he whispered something I couldn’t hear; but I knew in a flash that the gap was closed, that the random years were at an end, that the past and the future would join. She knew this too, for she ran into his arms calling out: “Oh, Smithy – Smithy – it may not be too late!”


1 Comment

Filed under Fiction, Literature

One response to “Excerpt from “Random Harvest” by James Hilton ~~Reunited~~

  1. James Hilton was born in Lancashire, England on 9 September 1900, and died in California on 20 December 1954, aged 54 years. ‘Random Harvest’ was published in 1941 and was made into a film in the following year.

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