Sunday, June 5, 2011

Quote of the Day

"Funny looking station," said Charlotte looking round. A large wheel whirled round above their heads from which came a cable making queer clanking noises.
"No train," said Midge.
Susan still said nothing. She was liking the idea of this cable-car less and less.
Bill's inspection of the station didn't take long as there was nothing to inspect. "Hey," he said, "here's a telephone, what d'you reckon that's for?"
Midge suggested that it was for summoning the ambulance when the cable-car crashed down the hillside to the bottom, which didn't improve Susan's peace of mind. Charlotte told Midge absently not to be silly and they all crowded round a very antiquated telephone which hung on the wall. Beside it was a notice in three languages. They supposed one of them to be English as it gave helpful instructions like Ring onc. Pic up receivre. Eventually Charlotte said doubtfully, "I think the idea is that when you want the cable-car you have to telephone to the top for it."
"For goodness sake!" said Midge. "Go on then Susie, ring for the thing."
"Who, me?" Susan squeaked.
"You're the one who wanted to go to Wissifluh."
"I didn't particularly want to go to Wissifluh," said Susan in an offhand voice. "In fact, I don't care if we give up the whole idea and go home."
Midge looked at her in surprise; but meantime Bill had tackled the telephone. He picked up the receiver and wound a handle. "Oh, hallo," they heard him saying. "I mean Bonjour, I mean Grüezi" (this word was the universal greeting in Switzerland, the one word that they had all learnt) "Voulez-vous, I mean..." There was a pause, then bill said, "Ja."
Susan said, "What did they say to you, Bill?"
"How should I know?" said Bill. "They were speaking some foreign language. Let's wait and see what happens."
What happened was that in a very few minutes a tiny speck began to swing down the thin silver thread and eventually there arrived at their feet a small red tin box.
Susan felt quite faint. She glanced at the others and was relieved to find rather anxious expressions on all their faces, which gave her the courage to say, "Are we supposed to go up a sheer mountain-side in that tin can?"
"I expect it's stronger than it looks," said Charlotte in a quavering voice.
"It had better be," said Midge.

From SUSAN INTERFERES, Chapter 5, Looking for Fräulein Amacher. Clearly, the Swiss mountains are no place for those without a head for heights!