26 FEBRUARY 1954, Page 15

Buying Trouble

Old S. stopped me in the road yesterday to say a few words about property. I have never been sure just how wealthy old S. is. He talks about cottages bought and sold so glibly that at times I think he must be rich indeed. How much is fact and how much fiction I doubt whether he really knows him- self. He gave me a nudge with his elbow and asked me if I had heard who had bought the house of old So-and-so. I said I had, but S, had more to add. " Offered for it meself," he told me confidentially. " Take it or leave it, I said, but they wouldn't have me brass. Him that's bought it has bought trouble. That's what he's bought. Look-see, there's rot and there's: them beetle things eatin' the beams an' on top o' that there was a bad bust when the thaw come. Bought trouble an' bought it dear." I didn't ask him why he himself had made an offer for the trouble our mutual acquaintance had so foolishly bought, for I have no time in which to daily. Old S. savours his years and draws everything out, making the most of it in the same way as he smokes his pipe.