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INTERLUDE

2006-09-08 21:14

    INTERLUDE

    We had some more punch, and then the curate told us a story.

    I could not make head or tail of the curate's story, so I cannot retail it to you. We none of us could make head or tail of that story. It was a good story enough, so far as material went. There seemed to be an enormous amount of plot, and enough incident to have made a dozen novels. I never before heard a story containing so much incident, nor one dealing with so many varied characters.

    I should say that every human being our curate had ever known or met, or heard of, was brought into that story. There were simply hundreds of them. Every five seconds he would introduce into the tale a completely fresh collection of characters accompanied by a brand new set of incidents.

    This was the sort of story it was:

    "Well, then, my uncle went into the garden, and got his gun, but, of course, it wasn't there, and Scroggins said he didn't believe it."

    "Didn't believe what? Who's Scroggins?"

    "Scroggins! Oh, why he was the other man, you know——it was wife."

    "WHAT was his wife——what's SHE got to do with it?"

    "Why, that's what I'm telling you. It was she that found the hat. She'd come up with her cousin to London——her cousin was my sister- in-law, and the other niece had married a man named Evans, and Evans, after it was all over, had taken the box round to Mr. Jacobs', because Jacobs' father had seen the man, when he was alive, and when he was dead, Joseph——"

    "Now look here, never you mind Evans and the box; what's become of your uncle and the gun?"

    "The gun! What gun?"

    "Why, the gun that your uncle used to keep in the garden, and that wasn't there. What did he do with it? Did he kill any of these people with it——these Jacobses and Evanses and Scrogginses and Josephses? Because, if so, it was a good and useful work, and we should enjoy hearing about it." "No——oh no——how could he?——he had been built up alive in the wall, you know, and when Edward IV spoke to the abbot about it, my sister said that in her then state of health she could not and would not, as it was endangering the child's life. So they christened it Horatio, after her own son, who had been killed at Waterloo before he was born, and Lord Napier himself said——"

    "Look here, do you know what you are talking about?" we asked him at this point.

    He said "No," but he knew it was every word of it true, because his aunt had seen it herself. Whereupon we covered him over with the tablecloth, and he went to sleep.

    And then Uncle told us a story.

    Uncle said his was a real story.

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