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enjoyed 'Jack and the Beanstalk' enormously. Despite his ex-
travagances he still managed to send £10 home to his parents.
A week before Holmes was due to leave, Aquila unexpectedly
returned from Germany. The friends had much to catch up on
and spent the night sitting over clay pipes and talking till two
in the morning. In later years Holmes was rarely seen without
his pipe, although he claimed not to smoke a great deal, 'but I
rather enjoy it. It rather mystifies the brain - at least in my
case, though it puts one in a good humour' . Next day they both
departed for Gateshead by the steamship Stephen Furness so
Holmes could say farewell to family and relations. As the only
first-class passengers on the overnight voyage they had 'little to
do but read, play the piano, and converse with the stewardess
- the latter being Aquila's chief occupation!'
The week in Gateshead was passed largely in music. Holmes
treated his mother to a piano recital - she enjoyed sharing his
new found prosperity in the expensive five shilling seats - and
his father to a concert in Newcastle. He and his friend Bob
bought some Grieg songs and practised them together which
gave them both 'the keenest of delight' . Then it was time to do
the round of goodbyes. A large number of relatives and friends
were visited, including Mr McIntosh, the physics teacher at
school, who seemed impressed by Holmes' new job and must
have felt pleased with himself for having helped to turn out such
an accomplished young man.
A final evening was spent around the piano at Bob's house.
Amidst much teasing about Aquila's sisters, particularly one,
Holmes enjoyed being the centre of attention. But later, as he
walked home with his parents, he realised sadly that this might
be the last evening for some time in such enjoyable circum-
stances. At the station next morning many tears accompanied
the goodbyes, despite assurances that he was going to be alright
in Mozambique, and he was finally glad to be rapidly whirled
away, back to London. His last evening in England was spent at
the theatre with Edie watching Henry VIII , the tickets costing an
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