The adventure started the day that Miss Edwina Clancy reluctantly decided to run away; she felt that life as she knew it was over. Edwina had broken one of her parents’ golden rules: the one stipulating that under no circumstances were ball games allowed in the house. Rainy weather had put an end to her game of Jacks and she thought continuing an innocent game indoors would go unnoticed.
It probably would have were it not for the fact that her younger brother Thomas opened the door to her room at a poorly chosen moment. This allowed the small, hard rubber ball to bounce out into the hallway, through a thin glass pane on a display cabinet and all over great grandmother’s heirloom crystal.
Edwina boarded the “The Rye”, an ancient carriage pulled by an old steam train, which headed out of Chuffley. Sitting in one of the The Rye’s compartments she slowly realised that she had not thought things through well. Yes her parents would have been cross when they saw the devastated crystal heirloom but right now they were worried sick as to her wellbeing and whereabouts.
Being on the run was hungry work, Edwina had not had much of a chance to eat or rest and she feared her rumbling stomach was going to draw attention to her. She noticed that the sleeping passenger on the bench opposite her appeared to have a lovingly prepared and wrapped pastrami sandwich sticking out of his travelling bag. Her mouth was watering as she stared at.
“Hungry are we?” The passenger was awake and looking at her with one open eye. He reached into his bag and gave Edwina the sandwich, which she took and after the briefest and most genuine thank-you devoured every delicious morsel. Hercules Farrow, Ten Acre’s village constable was on his way to attend a police conference where he hoped to pick up first prize for Best Maintained Bicycle and an award for Best Bulled Boots. Naturally his instincts had been aroused, one hungry child, no obvious adult…
With patience Hercules eased Edwina’s story out of her. He then told her of when he was little and he accidentally smashed his father’s prize Gramophone, he had run away too. His parents had found him hiding in his treehouse and when they did they told him that no matter what he had done running from home was not the answer. He was punished for what he did, but compared to what could have happened to him out there… it was for the best. Edwina asked if he thought her parents would do the same and he assured her that would be so.
At the next stop they got off and grabbed the next train home, Hercules missed his conference, but safely returned a child to her distraught parents. Their tears of relief more than made up for his missing out on that year’s prize.
News of the Constable’s actions spread far and wide and was reported in the newspaper as “The incident of the Pastrami in the Rye”