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As the train approached the seaside town where I was going to spend my holidays, I went into the corridor to stretch my legs. I stayed there a short while, breathing in the fresh sea air and exchanging a few words with one of the passengers, whom I had met earlier on the station platform.
When I turned to go back to my seat, I happened to glance into the compartment next to mine. Sitting there was a man who many years before had been my neighbour. He was a great talker, I remembered; it used to take hours to get away from him once he began a conversation. I was not at all sorry when he went to live in another part of London. We had not met since then, nor did I wish to meet him now, when my holiday was about to begin.
Luckily at that moment he was much too busy talking to the man opposite him to catch sight of me. I slipped back into my compartment, took down my two suitcases and carried them to the far end of the corridor so as to be ready to get off the train as soon as it stopped. The moment the train came to a halt, I called a porter, who in no time at all had carried my luggage out of the station and found me a taxi. As I drove towards my small hotel on the outskirts of the town, I breathed a deep sigh of relief at my narrow escape. There was little chance that I should run into my boring ex-neighbour again.
When I reached the hotel, I went straight to my room and rested there until it was time for dinner. Then I went down to the lounge and ordered a drink. I had barely raised the glass to my lips when an all too familiar voice greeted me. I had not escaped from my tiresome neighbour after all! He grasped me warmly by the hand and insisted that we should share a table in the dining-room. "This is a pleasant surprise," he said. " I never expected to see you again after all these years."