TOBY & THESTOUT GENTLEMAN
Narrator: Toby is a tram engine. He has cow catchers and side plates and doesn't look like a steam engine at all! He takes trucks from farms and villages to the main line and is cheerful to everyone he meets. He has a coach called Henrietta, who has seen better days. 'It's not fair at all' she grumbles, remembering that she used to be full and nine tricks would rattle behind her.
Toby: *rings bell*
Narrator: Now there are only three or four and the farms and factories send their goods mostly by lorry. Toby is always careful, but cars, buses and lorries can have accidents. Toby hasn't had an accident for years. The buses are crowded and Henrietta is empty.
Toby: *rings bell and slows down to stop* A lady and a stout gentleman stood on Toby's platform. He was, of course, the Fat Controller, but Toby didn't know this yet.
Stephen & Bridget: Come on, Grandfather.
Narrator: Cried the children.
Stephen & Bridget: Do look at this engine!
Sir Topham Hatt: That's a tram engine, Stephen.
Narrator: Said the Fat Controller.
Bridget: Is it electric?
Narrator: Asked Bridget.
Narrator: Hissed Toby.
Stephen: Sssshhh! Sssshhh!
Narrator: Said her brother.
Stephen: You've offended him.
Bridget: But trams ARE electric, aren't they?
Sir Topham Hatt: They are mostly, but this is a steam tram.
Stephen & Bridget: May we go in it, Grandfather? Please?
Sir Topham Hatt: Stop!
Narrator: Said The Fat Controller to the guard. They all scrambled into Henrietta.
Toby: *grumpily rings bell and starts*
Henrietta: Hip hip hooray!
Narrator: Chanted Henrietta. But Toby did not sing.
Toby: Electric indeed. Electric indeed.
Narrator: He snorted. He was very hurt.
Sir Topham Hatt: What is your name?
Narrator: Asked the Fat Controller.
Toby: Toby, sir.
Sir Topham Hatt: Thank you, Toby, for a very nice ride.
Toby: *rolls eyes* Thank YOU, sir.
Narrator: Said Toby. He felt better now. 'This gentleman,' he thought. 'Is a gentleman who knows how to speak to engines'. The children came everyday for a fortnight. Sometimes they rode with the guard, sometimes in empty trucks. On the last day of all, the driver invited them into his cab. All were sorry when they had to go away.
Toby: *sadly looks down*
Narrator: And the Fat Comtroller and his family thanked everyone.
Toby: *rings bell* Come again soon!
Narrator: Replied Toby.
Stephen & Bridget: We will, we will.
Narrator: Said the children. They waved 'till Toby was out of sight. The months passed, Toby had few trucks and fewer passengers.
Toby's Driver: Our last day, Toby.
Narrator: Said his driver one more time. The manager says we must close tommorow. That day everyone wanted the chance of a last ride. The passengers joked and sang. Toby and his driver wished they wouldn't.
Toby: *starts and goes under the 'Farewell Toby' sign*
Passengers: Goodbye, Toby.
Narrator: Said the passengers afterwards.
Passengers: We ARE sorry your line is closing down.
Toby: So am I.
Narrator: Said Toby. 'Nobody wants me', Toby thought. And went unhappily to sleep. Next morning, the shed was flung open and he woke with a start to see his driver waving a piece of paper.
Toby's Driver & Fireman: Wake up, Toby!
Narrator: They shouted.
Toby's Driver & Fireman: Listen to this! It's a letter from the Stout Gentleman!
Narrator: Toby listened and... But I mustn't tell you anymore, or it shall spoil the next story.