Lunes, Marso 21, 2011

Midnight's Children is a 1981 book by Salman Rushdie

Midnight's Children is a loose allegory for events in India both before and, primarily, after the independence and partition of India, which took place at midnight on 15 August 1947. The protagonist and narrator of the story is Saleem Sinai, born at the exact moment when India becomes an independent country. He has telepathic powers, as well as an enormous and constantly dripping nose. The novel is divided into three books.
Midnight's Children tells the story of the Sinai family and the earlier events leading up to India's Independence and Partition, connecting the two lines both literally and allegorically. Saleem discovers that in fact all children born in India between 12 AM and 1 AM on 15 August 1947, are imbued with special powers. Saleem thus attempts to use these powers to convene the eponymous children. The convention, or Midnight Children's Conference, is in many ways reflective of the issues India faced in its early statehood concerning the cultural, linguistic, religious, and political differences faced by such a vastly diverse nation. Saleem acts as a telepathic conduit, bringing hundreds of geographically disparate children into contact while also attempting to discover the meaning of their gifts. In particular, those children born closest to the stroke of midnight wield more powerful gifts than the others. Shiva of the Knees, Saleem's evil nemesis, and Parvati, called "Parvati-the-witch," are two of these children with notable gifts and roles in Saleem's story.
Meanwhile, Saleem must also contend with his personal trajectory. His family is active in this, as they begin a number of migrations and endure the numerous wars which plague the subcontinent. During this period he also suffers amnesia until he enters a quasi-mythological exile in the jungle of Sundarban, where he is re-endowed with his memory. In doing so, he reconnects with his childhood friends. Saleem later becomes involved with the Indira Gandhi - proclaimedEmergency and her son Sanjay's "cleansing" of the Jama Masjid slum. For a time Saleem is held as a political prisoner; these passages contain scathing criticisms of Indira Gandhi's overreach during the Emergency as well as what Rushdie seems to see as a personal lust for power bordering on godhood. The Emergency signals the end of the potency of the Midnight Children, and there is little left for Saleem to do but pick up the few pieces of his life he may still find and write the chronicle that encompasses both his personal history and that of his still-young nation; a chronicle written for his son, who, like his father, is both chained and supernaturally endowed by history.

To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee (Novel)

The story takes place during three years of the Great Depression in the fictional "tired old town" of Maycomb, Alabama. The narrator, six-year-old Scout Finch, lives with her older brother Jem and their widowed father Atticus, a middle-aged lawyer. Jem and Scout befriend a boy named Dill who visits Maycomb to stay with his aunt for the summer. The three children are terrified of, and fascinated by, their neighbor, the reclusive "Boo" Radley. The adults of Maycomb are hesitant to talk about Boo and, for many years, few have seen him. The children feed each other's imagination with rumors about his appearance and reasons for remaining hidden, and they fantasize about how to get him out of his house. Following two summers of friendship with Dill, Scout and Jem find that someone is leaving them small gifts in a tree outside the Radley place. Several times, the mysterious Boo makes gestures of affection to the children, but, to their disappointment, never appears in person.
Atticus is appointed by the court to defend Tom Robinson, a black man who has been accused of raping a young white woman, Mayella Ewell. Although many of Maycomb's citizens disapprove, Atticus agrees to defend Tom to the best of his ability. Other children taunt Jem and Scout for Atticus' actions, calling him a "nigger-lover". Scout is tempted to stand up for her father's honor by fighting, even though he has told her not to. For his part, Atticus faces a group of men intent on lynching Tom. This danger is averted when Scout, Jem, and Dill shame the mob into dispersing by forcing them to view the situation from Atticus' and Tom's points of view.
Because Atticus does not want them to be present at Tom Robinson's trial, Scout, Jem, and Dill watch in secret from the colored balcony. Atticus establishes that the accusers—Mayella and her father, Bob Ewell, the town drunk—are lying. It also becomes clear that the friendless Mayella was making sexual advances towards Tom and her father caught her in the act. Despite significant evidence of Tom's innocence, the jury convicts him. Jem's faith in justice is badly shaken, as is Atticus', when a hopeless Tom is shot and killed while trying to escape from prison.
Humiliated by the trial, Bob Ewell vows revenge. He spits in Atticus' face on the street, tries to break into the presiding judge's house, and menaces Tom Robinson's widow. Finally, he attacks the defenseless Jem and Scout as they walk home from the school Halloween pageant. Jem's arm is broken in the struggle, but amid the confusion, someone comes to the children's rescue. The mysterious man carries Jem home, where Scout realizes that he is the reclusive Boo Radley.
Maycomb's sheriff arrives and discovers that Bob Ewell has been killed in the struggle. The sheriff argues with Atticus about the prudence and ethics of holding Jem or Boo responsible. Atticus eventually accepts the sheriff's story that Ewell simply fell on his own knife. Boo asks Scout to walk him home, and after she says goodbye to him at his front door, he disappears again. While standing on the Radley porch, Scout imagines life from Boo's perspective and regrets that they never repaid him for the gifts he had given them.

To Have and To Hold by Mary Johnston (Novel)

To Have and to Hold is the story of an English soldier turned Virginian explorer in colonial Jamestown. He buys a wife for himself - a girl named Jocelyn Leigh - little knowing that she is the escaping ward of King James I, fleeing a forced marriage to Lord Carnal. Jocelyn hardly loves Ralph - indeed, she seems to abhor him. Her husband-to-be eventually comes to Jamestown, not knowing that Ralph Percy and Jocelyn Leigh are man and wife.
Lord Carnal attempts to kidnap Jocelyn several times and eventually follows Ralph, Jocelyn, and their two companions - Jeremy Sparrow, the Separatist minister, and Diccon, Ralph's servant - as they escape from the King's orders to arrest Ralph and carry Jocelyn back to England. The boat that they are in, however, crashes on a desert island, but they are accosted by pirates, who, after a short struggle, agree to take Ralph as their captain, after he pretends to be the pirate "Kirby". The pirates gleefully play on with Ralph's masquerade, until he refuses to allow them to rape and pillage those on board Spanish ships.
The play is up when the pirates see an English ship off the coast of Florida. Ralph refuses to fire upon it, knowing that it carries the new Virginian governor, Sir Francis Wyatt, but the pirates open fire, and Jeremy Sparrow, before the English ship can be destroyed, purposefully crashes the ship into a reef. The pirates are all killed, but the Englishmen (and woman) are rescued by the Governor's ship.
Ralph is put on trial on board the ship as a pirate, after Lord Carnal tells the Governor that he ordered the destruction of the ship, but Jocelyn, having come to love Ralph, speaks for him; her words are so persuasive that the Governor believes her and frees Ralph. They return to Virginia, though Ralph is forced to remain in a gaol - King's orders.
He is lured into a trap, though, by Lord Carnal and is subsequently captured by Indians - but not before putting up a fight and seeing Lord Carnal terribly wounded. The brother of Pocahontas, the Indian Nantauquas, rescues him and Diccon, but only to inform them that all the Virginian Indians plan to massacre Jamestown. As they are on their way back to Jamestown, Diccon is shot and killed by a hostile Indian, and Ralph is left alone to brave his way back. Returning to the colony, he gives his information, only to be told that Jocelyn had made her way to the forest in search of him after his absence was noticed, with Jeremy Sparrow, and that they had not been found. It is also discovered that Lord Carnal has taken poison and will die within a week.
Jamestown is saved, thanks to Ralph's almost-too-late warning, and after things are stabilized, Ralph goes in search of Jocelyn and the minister. After a long and seemingly fruitless search, Nantauquas himself, though he had turned traitor, leads Ralph to where Jocelyn is staying. The two are reunited, and at the end of the story intend to go to England, where Jocelyn's lands have been restored to her and they can finally live in peace.
To Have and to Hold was revised and edited by Josh and Sarah Wean for the four-hundredth anniversary of the founding of Jamestown. It is sold in this edition by the Christian company, Vision Forum Inc.

The Rabbit and The Coyote (South American Folktale)

This is a story of Uncle Rabbit and the coyote. The rabbit came to a big rock, and there he deceived the coyote. He was leaning on the rock when the coyote came by.
"What are you doing, brother?" the coyote asked the rabbit.
"Come here quickly, brother, the sky is falling down on top of us. Lean against the rock and hold it up while I go for a stick. We'll prop it up with that," said the rabbit to the coyote.
"All right," said the coyote and began holding it up with all his might. Since the coyote was so stupid, he did exactly what the rabbit told him to. The rabbit had said that he was going to get a stick, but he went and left the coyote holding up the rock. When the rabbit didn't return the coyote shouted:
"Come back, brother! The weight of the rock has made me tired."
The rabbit still didn't come back.
"No matter, I'm going to leave even though the sky may fall down on top of us," said the coyote. But when he ran away he fell into a ravine. The rabbit never came back to the rock and the coyote was lost.
Later the rabbit came to a pond and saw the reflection of the moon in there. As the rabbit was very tricky, he was always deceiving the coyote. The dumb coyote always followed him and didn't know that the rabbit was deceiving him. The coyote came to the pond where the rabbit was. When he saw the coyote coming he began to drink the water from the pond.
"What are you doing, brother? The coyote asked the rabbit:
"Look, brother, there's a lot of food down there," answered the rabbit.
"What kind of food?"
"Look," the rabbit told the coyote.
The coyote looked in the water and said: "I see it. What is it?"
"There's a cheese in the water," the rabbit said to the coyote.
"If we drink all the water we can get the cheese. Drink it, you're big and you can finish all the water."
"All right, brother," he said, and began to drink the water.
"I'm going for a walk," said the rabbit, and left. The coyote continued to drink the water, but the rabbit was gone. The coyote's stomach began to hurt him, and he got the runs. He wasn't able to finish the water, so the coyote abandoned the effort and left.

The Cat and the Cock (European Folktale)

Once upon a time there lived a Cat and a Cock who loved one another dearly. The Cat would play his fiddle and the Cock would sing, the Cat would go out to get food for the two of them, and the Cock would stay at home and look after the house. Every time the Cat prepared to go out he would say to the Cock:
"You mustn't let anyone into the house, Cock, or go out yourself, no matter who calls you." "I won't, don't you worry," the Cock would reply, and he would get into the house and stay there till the Cat came home.
Now, a Fox once saw the Cock and decided to lure him out and catch him. She crept up to the window of their house when the Cat was out and called out:
"Come out, Cock, and join me, and I'll give you grains of wheat and some water clear and sweet."
But the Cock called out in reply: "Cock-a-doodle-doo, I'll do without, For I promised Puss I'd not go out!"
The Fox saw that this was not the way to go about things, so one night she crept up to the house, threw some wheat grains under the window for the Cock to see and herself hid behind a bush.
By and by the Cat went out hunting as usual, and the Cock opened the window and looked out. There was no one about, he saw, but there, scattered on the ground, lay some luscious grains of wheat. The Cock was eager to eat them and said to himself:
"I think I'll go out and peck at those grains for a bit. There is no one about, so no one will see me or tell Puss on me."
But no sooner did he step over the threshold than the Fox was upon him. She seized him by the scruff of his neck and away she ran to her own house! And the Cock called out to the Cat:
"Save me, Brother Puss, I pray! Foxy's taking me far away. For her bushy tail I can't see the trail. If you don't come, friend, I will meet my end."
Now, the Cat was a long way off and he did not hear the Cock, and by the time he returned home it was too late for him to go after the Fox. He tried to overtake her, but could not, so back he went home and wept and cried. But he got to thinking after a while, and, taking his fiddle and a bright-pictured sack, set out for the Fox's house.
Now, the Fox had four daughters and a son, and before going out hunting that day, she told them to keep an eye on the Cock and to heat a potfull of water so that as soon as she was back she could kill and cook him for dinner.
"And mind you let no one into the house while I'm away," she said.
Away she went, and the Cat came up to the house, stood under the window and began to play and to sing the following song:
"Foxy's house is big and tall, Her four little daughters are beauties all, And Pilipko, her only son, Is very sweet to look upon. Step outside, young Foxy, do, And I'll sing some more for you!"
Now, the Fox's eldest daughter felt that she must go and see who it was playing and she said to the others:
"Stay here in the house and I'll go and see who it is that plays so well."
She came out of the house, and the Cat rapped her smartly on the nose, whisked her into his sack and began to play and to sing again:
"Foxy's house is big and tall, Her four little daughters are beauties all, And Pilipko, her only son, Is very sweet to look upon. Step outside, young Foxy, do, And I'll sing some more for you!"
The Fox's second daughter went out to see who it was playing, and the Cat rapped her on the nose and whisked her into his sack. And the very same thing happened to the Fox's two younger daughters. There sat their brother Pilipko in the house and waited for his sisters, but they did not come back.
"I think I'll go out and get them to come home," said he to himself, "or our mother will give me a good hiding when she gets back."
He stepped outside, and the Cat rapped him on the nose too and whisked him into the sack! Then he hanged the sack on a dry willow tree and ran into the Fox's house. He found the Cock and untied him, and the two of them ate all of the Fox's food, overturned the pot of boiling water, broke all the dishes and ran home. And the Cock did just as the Cat told him ever after and never, never disobeyed him.

The nightingale (European Folktale)

One day a nobleman caught a nightingale and wanted to put it in a cage. But the bird spoke to him:

- Let me go and I will give you a good advice. It may be of use to you some day.

The rich man agreed to let it go.

The nightingale gave him these advices:

- Never be sorry for something that cannot be brought back, my lord. And never trust idle words.

The nobleman heard the advises and let the nightingale go. The bird flew out and said:

- Too bad you let me go. If only you knew about my treasure. I have a huge very expensive gem under my wing. If you had taken it, you would become even richer.

When he heard that, the nobleman began to regret letting bitterly about the bird go, jumped up and tried to catch it.

The nightingale turned towards him and said:

- Now I know, master, that you are a greedy and foolish man: you were sorry for something that cannot be brought back. And you believed my idle words! Look at what a little bird I am. How could I be hiding a large gem under my wing?

And after these words the bird flew away.

The Jaguar and the Little Skunk (South American Folktale)

Once there was a gentleman jaguar and a lady skunk. Mrs. Skunk had a son, who was baptized by Mr. Jaguar, so Mrs. Skunk became his comadre (godmother). And as Mr. Jaguar had baptized the little skunk, he was Mrs. Skunk's compadre (godfather).

Mr. Jaguar decided to go looking for food and came to Mrs. Skunk's house.

"Well, compadre, what are you looking for? What have you come here for?" the skunk asked the jaguar.

"Comadre, what I have come to do is to look for some food," said Mr. Jaguar.

"Oh," said Mrs. Skunk.

"I want my godson to come with me so that he can learn to hunt," said Mr. Jaguar.

"I don't think your godson ought to go; he's still very small and something could happen to him. He better not go, compadre," said Mrs. Skunk. But the little skunk protested:

"No, mother, I had better go. What my godfather says is true. I need to get some practice, if I'm going to learn to hunt," said the little skunk.

"But if you go, you'll be so far away," said Mrs. Skunk.

"I'm going, I'm going. Come on, let's go." So they set off on a long walk.

"We're going to where there's a river. That's where we're going," Mr. Jaguar explained to the little skunk, his godson.

"When are we going to get there?" asked the little skunk.

"We're getting close. Follow me so you won't get lost," said Mr. Jaguar.

"All right," answered the little skunk. They finally came to the river.

"This is where we're going to eat," said Mr. Jaguar to the little skunk.

"All right," said the little skunk.

"Come on over here. I'm going to sharpen my knife," said Mr. Jaguar.

"All right," said the little skunk, looking at his godfather.

Mr. Jaguar sharpened his claws, which he called his "knife."

"I sharpened my knife. Now you're going to be on guard, because I am going to sleep. When you see them come, wake me up," said Mr. Jaguar.

"All right," said the little skunk, "all right, godfather."

Then Mr. Jaguar told him: "Don't shout. Just scratch my belly when they come. Scratch my belly, so I won't alarm them. But don't wake me up if just any little old animals without antlers come along, only when the one with big antlers gets here. That's when you'll wake me up."

"All right," said the little skunk. Then the one with the big antlers came, and the skunk awakened Mr. Jaguar. He scratched his belly, and pointed out the deer to Mr. Jaguar, who attacked the animal with big antlers. He went after him and seized him.

"All right, my godson, let's eat. We're going to eat meat," said the jaguar.

"All right," said the little skunk. And so they ate and ate.

"Now we're going to take whatever leftovers there are to your mother," said the jaguar.

"Since we are full, we can take something to your mother. Your mother will have meat to eat, just as we did. We will take some to your mother," said the jaguar. When they came back to the mother's house, he told the lady:

"Look at the food here. Look, we've brought you some food, the food that we hunted. Eat your fill of the meat, comadre," the jaguar said to Mrs. Skunk.

"All right," said the skunk, and ate the meat.

"I'm full," she said.

"It's good that you're satisfied. I've seen that you are, so I'll be leaving now," said Mr. Jaguar to Mrs. Skunk. And so he left.

After the jaguar left, the little skunk stayed with his mother.

When they ran out of meat, Mrs. Skunk said to her son: Dear, our meat is all gone."

"Yes, the meat is all gone. I better go and get us some more food," said the little skunk.

"How can you, son? Do you think you're big enough? You're very small. Don't you think you'll be killed?" asked Mrs. Skunk.

"No, mother, I already know how to hunt, my godfather taught me how," replied the little skunk.

"I'm leaving now." He left, and Mrs. Skunk was very worried.

Her son came once more to the river, the place to which he had come with his godfather to get the meat.

"This is how my godfather did it. Why shouldn't I be able to do the same thing?" said the little skunk.

"This is how you sharpen a knife," said the little skunk. He sharpened his "knife."

"This is the way my godfather did it. I'm not going to hunt the little animals, I'm just going to hunt the one with the great big antlers. I'm going to hunt one for myself just like the one I ate with my godfather. I have my knife here and I'm going to sleep for a little while." The little skunk lay down to sleep, but then he awakened. He was waiting for the one with the big antlers, and when he came, he attacked him, thinking he was as strong as his godfather. But he just hung from the neck of the one with big antlers. His claws had dug into his skin. He was hanging from his neck and was carried far away and fell on his back. He was left with his mouth wide open.

Since he had not come home to his mother, she wondered: "What could have happened to my son? Why hasn't he come back yet? Something must have happened to him. I better go and look for him."

And so Mrs. Skunk went as far as the bank of the river. She was looking everywhere for her son, but couldn't find him. She began to cry when she found the tracks where the one with the big antlers had come by running.

"They must have come by here," said Mrs. Skunk, and began to follow the tracks.

She came to the place where her son had been left lying on his back. When the mother caught sight of him, she noticed that his teeth were showing and shouted at him: "Son, what are you laughing at? All your teeth are showing," she said to him before she had gotten very close. When she did get close she told him: "Give me your hand. I've come to get you, but you're just laughing in my face." She put her hand on him, thinking that he was still alive, but when she noticed that he was already dead, she began to cry.

Clever Jackal gets away (African Folktale)

"Hawu, hawu, hawu, my children," Gogo began one evening. "You know, cleverness is a very important thing to own! Why, cleverness has helped Nogwaja out of the cooking pot more than once!"

"The Jackal is also a clever animal, isn't he, Gogo?" asked little Sipho (see' poh), who was quite proud that his nickname was Mpungushe (mpoo-ngoo'-shay = "jackal"). Gogo, in fact, had given him that name because of the loud howl he had made as a baby. Sipho liked to think it was because he was quick and agile as the Jackal.

Gogo laughed and looked at the child at her feet. "Yes, my boy! You are right! Jackal is a very clever animal. Sometimes too clever for his own good!"

"I remember how he helped Jabu the herdboy by tricking Bhubesi back into the snare. Tell us another tale about Jackal, Gogo!" begged Sipho.

"Yes, Gogo," her other grandchildren chorused. "Please tell us...."

"Alright, my children. But listen and learn!" Gogo settled her round self down more comfortably upon the tree stump. "Kwasuka sukela . . ."

One day long ago, Jackal was trotting through a narrow, rocky pass. As he often did, he kept his nose to the ground as he ambled along, to catch the odd scent. "Never know when I'll happen upon my next meal, " he thought to himself, although it was highly unlikely that he would find a rat out in the midday heat. But perhaps he could catch a lizard or two.

Suddenly he was aware of a movement ahead of him in the pass. "Oh, no!" Jackal moaned and stopped dead-still in his tracks. Lion was coming toward him. Realising that he was too near to escape, Jackal was filled with fear. He had played so many tricks on the great Bhubesi in the past, he was sure that lion would take this opportunity to get his revenge. In a flash Jackal thought of a plan.

"Help! Help!" cried Jackal. He cowered down on the cliff path, looking above at the rocks.

Lion stopped short in surprise.

"Help!" Jackal howled, using the fear he felt in the middle of his chest to accentuate his cry. Jackal glanced up at Bhubesi. "Oh, great Nkosi! Help! There is no time to lose! See those great rocks above us? They are about to fall! We shall both be crushed to death!!!! Oh, mighty Lion, do something! Save us!" And Jackal cowered even lower, his paws covering his head.

Lion looked up, most alarmed. Before he even had a chance to think, Jackal was begging him to use his strength to hold up the overhanging rock. So Lion put his brawny shoulder to the rock and heaved.

"Oh, thank you, great King!" yelped Jackal. "I will quickly fetch that log over there to prop under the rock, and we will both be saved!" With that Jackal bounded out of sight.

Lion was left all alone to struggle under the weight of the unmoving rock. How long he remained there before he realised that it was another trick, we will never know. But this much we do know: Jackal continued to live by his wits!

Linggo, Marso 20, 2011

Lion and Jackal (African Folktale)

The Lion and the Jackal agreed to hunt on shares, for the purpose of laying in a stock of meat for the winter months for their families.

As the Lion was by far the more expert hunter of the two, the Jackal suggested that he (himself) should be employed in transporting the game to their dens, and that Mrs. Jackal and the little Jackals should prepare and dry the meat, adding that they would take care that Mrs. Lion and her family should not want.

This was agreed to by the Lion, and the hunt commenced.

After a very successful hunt, which lasted for some time, the Lion returned to see his family, and also to enjoy, as he thought, a plentiful supply of his spoil; when, to his utter surprise, he found Mrs. Lion and all the young Lions on the point of death from sheer hunger, and in a mangy state. The Jackal, it appeared, had only given them a few entrails of the game, and in such limited quantities as barely to keep them alive; always telling them that they (i. e., the Lion and himself) had been most unsuccessful in their hunting; while his own family was reveling in abundance, and each member of it was sleek and fat.

This was too much for the Lion to bear. He immediately started off in a terrible fury, vowing certain death to the Jackal and all his family, wherever he should meet them. The Jackal was more or less prepared for a storm, and had taken the precaution to remove all his belongings to the top of a krantz (i. e., a cliff), accessible only by a most difficult and circuitous path, which he alone knew.

When the Lion saw him on the krantz, the Jackal immediately greeted him by calling out,

Good morning, Uncle Lion."

"How dare you call me uncle, you impudent scoundrel," roared out the Lion, in a voice of thunder," after the way in which you have behaved to my family?"

"Oh, Uncle! How shall I explain matters? That beast of a wife of mine!" Whack, whack was heard, as he beat with a stick on dry hide, which was a mere pretence for Mrs. Jackal's back; while that lady was preinstructed to scream whenever he operated on the hide, which she did with a vengeance, joined by the little Jackals, who set up a most doleful chorus. "That wretch!" said the Jackal. "It is all her doing. I shall kill her straight off," and away he again belabored the hide, while his wife and children uttered such a dismal howl that the Lion begged of him to leave off flogging his wife. After cooling down a little, he invited Uncle Lion to come up and have something to eat. The Lion, after several ineffectual attempts to scale the precipice, had to give it up.

The Jackal, always ready for emergencies, suggested that a reim should be lowered to haul up his uncle. This was agreed to, and when the Lion was drawn about halfway up by the whole family of Jackals, the reim was cleverly cut, and down went the Lion with a tremendous crash which hurt him very much. Upon this, the Jackal again performed upon the hide with tremendous force, for their daring to give him such a rotten reim, and Mrs. Jackal and the little ones responded with some fearful screams and yells. He then called loudly out to his wife for a strong buffalo reim which would support any weight. This again was lowered and fastened to the Lion, when all bands pulled away at their uncle; and, just when he had reached so far that he could look over the precipice into the pots to see all the fat meat cooking, and all the biltongs hanging out to dry, the reim was again cut, and the poor Lion fell with such force that he was fairly stunned for some time. After the Lion had recovered his senses, the Jackal, in a most sympathizing tone, suggested that he was afraid that it was of no use to attempt to haul him up onto the precipice, and recommended, instead, that a nice fat piece of eland's breast be roasted and dropped into the Lion's mouth. The Lion, half famished with hunger, and much bruised, readily accepted the offer, and sat eagerly awaiting the fat morsel.

In the mean time, the Jackal had a round stone made red-hot, and wrapped a quantity of inside fat, or suet, round it, to make it appear like a ball of fat. When the Lion saw it held out, he opened his capacious mouth to the utmost extent, and the wily Jackal cleverly dropped the hot ball right into it, which ran through the poor old beast, killing him on the spot.

It need hardly be told that there was great rejoicing on the precipice that night.

When You Are Old by the Famous Irish Poet-- W. B. Yeats (1865-1939) (Poem)

When you are old and gray and full of sleep,
And nodding by the fire, take down this book,
And slowly read, and dream of the soft look
Your eyes had once, and of their shadows deep;

How many loved your moments of glad grace,
And loved your beauty with love false or true;
But one man loved the pilgrim soul in you,
And loved the sorrows of your changing face.

And bending down beside the glowing bars
Murmur, a little sadly, how love fled
And paced upon the mountains overhead
And his his face amid a crowd of stars.

To The Lake by the Famous American Poet- Edgar Allan Poe (1809-1849) (Poem)

 In Spring of youth it was my lot
To haunt of the wide world a spot
The which I could not love the less -
So lovely was the loneliness
Of a wild lake, with black rock bound,
And the tall pines that towered around.

But when the night had thrown her pall
Upon that spot, as upon all,
And the mystic wind went by
Murmuring in melody -
Then - ah, then, I would awake
To the terror of the lone lake.

Yet that terror was not fright,
But a tremulous delight -
A feeling not the jewelled mine
Could teach or bribe me to define -
Nor Love - although the love were thine.

Death was in that poisonous wave,
And in its gulf a fitting grave
For him who thence could solace bring
To his lone imagining -
Whose solitary soul could make
An Eden of that dim lake.

In Salutation to the Eternal Peace by the Famous Poet from India-Sarojini Naidu (1879 - 1949) (Poem) I

Men say the world is full of fear and hate,
And all life's ripening harvest-fields await
The restless sickle of relentless fate.

But I, sweet Soul, rejoice that I was born,
When from the climbing terraces of corn
I watch the golden orioles of Thy morn.

What care I for the world's desire and pride,
Who know the silver wings that gleam and glide,
The homing pigeons of Thine eventide?

What care I for the world's loud weariness,
Who dream in twilight granaries Thou dost bless
With delicate sheaves of mellow silences?

Say, shall I heed dull presages of doom,
Or dread the rumoured loneliness and gloom,
The mute and mythic terror of the tomb?

For my glad heart is drunk and drenched with Thee,
O inmost wind of living ecstasy!
O intimate essence of eternity!

Love by the Poet who won the Nobel Prize for Literature (Poem)

Love means to learn to look at yourself
The way one looks at distant things
For you are only one thing among many.
And whoever sees that way heals his heart,
Without knowing it, from various ills
A bird and a tree say to him: Friend.
Then he wants to use himself and things
So that they stand in the glow of ripeness.
It doesnt matter whether he knows what he serves:
Who serves best doesnt always understand.

True Love by the Poet who won the Nobel Prize for Literature (Poem)

True love. Is it normal
is it serious, is it practical?
What does the world get from two people
who exist in a world of their own?

Placed on the same pedestal for no good reason,
drawn randomly from millions but convinced
it had to happen this way - in reward for what?
For nothing.
The light descends from nowhere.
Why on these two and not on others?
Doesn't this outrage justice? Yes it does.
Doesn't it disrupt our painstakingly erected principles,
and cast the moral from the peak? Yes on both accounts.

Look at the happy couple.
Couldn't they at least try to hide it,
fake a little depression for their friends' sake?
Listen to them laughing - its an insult.
The language they use - deceptively clear.
And their little celebrations, rituals,
the elaborate mutual routines -
it's obviously a plot behind the human race's back!

It's hard even to guess how far things might go
if people start to follow their example.
What could religion and poetry count on?
What would be remembered? What renounced?
Who'd want to stay within bounds?

True love. Is it really necessary?
Tact and common sense tell us to pass over it in silence,
like a scandal in Life's highest circles.
Perfectly good children are born without its help.
It couldn't populate the planet in a million years,
it comes along so rarely.

Let the people who never find true love
keep saying that there's no such thing.

Their faith will make it easier for them to live and die.

Decálogo del Artista by the Poet who won the Nobel Prize for Literature Gabriela Mistral (Poem)

Decálogo del Artista

I. Amarás la belleza, que es la sombra de Dios sobre
el Universo.

II. No hay arte ateo. Aunque no ames al Creador,
lo afirmarás creando a su semejanza.

III. No darás la belleza como cebo para los sentidos,
sino como el natural alimento del alma.

IV. No te será pretexto para la lujuria ni para
la vanidad, sino ejercicio divino.

V. No la buscarás en las ferias ni llevarás
tu obra a ellas, porque la Belleza es virgen,
y la que está en las ferias no es Ella.

VI. Subirá de tu corazón a tu canto y te habrá
purificado a ti el primero.

VII.Tu belleza se llamará también misericordia,
y consolará el corazón de los hombres.

VII.Darás tu obra como se da un hijo: restando
sangre de tu corazón.

IX. No te será la belleza opio adormecedor,
sino vino generoso que te encienda para la acción,
pues si dejas de ser hombre o mujer,
dejarás de ser artista.

X. De toda creación saldrás con vergüenza,
porque fué inferior a tu sueño, e inferior
a ese sueno maravilloso de Dios,
que es la Naturaleza.


Decalogue of the Artist

I. You shall love beauty, which is the shadow of God
over the Universe.

II.There is no godless art. Although you love not the
Creator, you shall bear witness to Him creating His likeness.

III.You shall create beauty not to excite the senses
but to give sustenance to the soul.

IV. You shall never use beauty as a pretext for luxury
and vanity but as a spiritual devotion.

V. You shall not seek beauty at carnival or fair
or offer your work there, for beauty is virginal
and is not to be found at carnival or fair.

VI. Beauty shall rise from your heart in song,
and you shall be the first to be purified.

VII.The beauty you create shall be known
as compassion and shall console the hearts of men.

VIII.You shall bring forth your work as a mother
brings forth her child: out of the blood of your heart.

IX. Beauty shall not be an opiate that puts you
to sleep but a strong wine that fires you to action,
for if you fail to be a true man or a true woman,
you will fail to be an artist.

X. Each act of creation shall leave you humble,
for it is never as great as your dream and always
inferior to that most marvelous dream of God
which is Nature.

- Gabriela Mistral

Translated by Doris Dana

The Guy You Work With by the Famous Australian Poets John Grey (Poem)

What you want more than anything
is to grab the zebra in your jaws.
Forget the job. Forget teamwork.
Roll the nature film,
You''ve seen your neighbor
in his flashy car.
You've heard the whispers
of bonuses for others
delivered behind locked doors
like secret Mason handshakes.
You just need five minutes or so
of stalking in the dry Savannah grass.
And then one good sniff of your prey
nibbling weeds by a small lagoon.
What better than a slow creep
up behind that unknowing striped back
as deliberate as sharpening a pencil.
And then the pounce,
the real law of the jungle,
you with your fangs around its rump,
it braying in agonizing terror.
What you want from life
is to trot back to your den in triumph,
zebra intestine flapping in your jaw
like spaghetti.
So they don't pay you as much as the next guy.
You're at the point now
that if they paid you in zebras
that would be enough.

The Lottery by Shirley Jackson (Short Story)

as several voices in the crowd said thin#s like "Good fellow, lack." and "Glad to see your mother's got a man to do it."
"Well," Mr. Summers said, "guess that's everyone. Old Man Warner make it?"
"Here," a voice said. and Mr. Summers nodded.
A sudden hush fell on the crowd as Mr. Summers cleared his throat and looked at the list. "All ready?" he called. "Now, I'll read the names--heads of families first--and the men come up and take a paper out of the box. Keep the paper folded in your hand without looking at it until everyone has had a turn. Everything clear?"
The people had done it so many times that they only half listened to the directions: most of them were quiet. wetting their lips. not looking around. Then Mr. Summers raised one hand high and said, "Adams." A man disengaged himself from the crowd and came forward. "Hi. Steve." Mr. Summers said. and Mr. Adams said. "Hi. Joe." They grinned at one another humorlessly and nervously. Then Mr. Adams reached into the black box and took out a folded paper. He held it firmly by one corner as he turned and went hastily back to his place in the crowd. where he stood a little apart from his family. not looking down at his hand.
"Allen." Mr. Summers said. "Anderson.... Bentham."
"Seems like there's no time at all between lotteries any more." Mrs. Delacroix said to Mrs. Graves in the back row.
"Seems like we got through with the last one only last week."
"Time sure goes fast.-- Mrs. Graves said.
"Clark.... Delacroix"
"There goes my old man." Mrs. Delacroix said. She held her breath while her husband went forward.
"Dunbar," Mr. Summers said, and Mrs. Dunbar went steadily to the box while one of the women said. "Go on. Janey," and another said, "There she goes."
"We're next." Mrs. Graves said. She watched while Mr. Graves came around from the side of the box, greeted Mr. Summers gravely and selected a slip of paper from the box. By now, all through the crowd there were men holding the small folded papers in their large hand. turning them over and over nervously Mrs. Dunbar and her two sons stood together, Mrs. Dunbar holding the slip of paper.
"Harburt.... Hutchinson."
"Get up there, Bill," Mrs. Hutchinson said. and the people near her laughed.
"They do say," Mr. Adams said to Old Man Warner, who stood next to him, "that over in the north village they're talking of giving up the lottery."
Old Man Warner snorted. "Pack of crazy fools," he said. "Listening to the young folks, nothing's good enough for them. Next thing you know, they'll be wanting to go back to living in caves, nobody work any more, live hat way for a while. Used to be a saying about 'Lottery in June, corn be heavy soon.' First thing you know, we'd all be eating stewed chickweed and acorns. There's always been a lottery," he added petulantly. "Bad enough to see young Joe Summers up there joking with everybody."
"Some places have already quit lotteries." Mrs. Adams said.
"Nothing but trouble in that," Old Man Warner said stoutly. "Pack of young fools."
"Martin." And Bobby Martin watched his father go forward. "Overdyke.... Percy."
"I wish they'd hurry," Mrs. Dunbar said to her older son. "I wish they'd hurry."
"They're almost through," her son said.
"You get ready to run tell Dad," Mrs. Dunbar said.
Mr. Summers called his own name and then stepped forward precisely and selected a slip from the box. Then he called, "Warner."
"Seventy-seventh year I been in the lottery," Old Man Warner said as he went through the crowd. "Seventy-seventh time."
"Watson" The tall boy came awkwardly through the crowd. Someone said, "Don't be nervous, Jack," and Mr. Summers said, "Take your time, son."
After that, there was a long pause, a breathless pause, until Mr. Summers. holding his slip of paper in the air, said, "All right, fellows." For a minute, no one moved, and then all the slips of paper were opened. Suddenly, all the women began to speak at once, saving. "Who is it?," "Who's got it?," "Is it the Dunbars?," "Is it the Watsons?" Then the voices began to say, "It's Hutchinson. It's Bill," "Bill Hutchinson's got it."
"Go tell your father," Mrs. Dunbar said to her older son.
People began to look around to see the Hutchinsons. Bill Hutchinson was standing quiet, staring down at the paper in his hand. Suddenly. Tessie Hutchinson shouted to Mr. Summers. "You didn't give him time enough to take any paper he wanted. I saw you. It wasn't fair!"
"Be a good sport, Tessie." Mrs. Delacroix called, and Mrs. Graves said, "All of us took the same chance."
"Shut up, Tessie," Bill Hutchinson said.
"Well, everyone," Mr. Summers said, "that was done pretty fast, and now we've got to be hurrying a little more to get done in time." He consulted his next list. "Bill," he said, "you draw for the Hutchinson family. You got any other households in the Hutchinsons?"
"There's Don and Eva," Mrs. Hutchinson yelled. "Make them take their chance!"
"Daughters draw with their husbands' families, Tessie," Mr. Summers said gently. "You know that as well as anyone else."
"It wasn't fair," Tessie said.
"I guess not, Joe." Bill Hutchinson said regretfully. "My daughter draws with her husband's family; that's only fair. And I've got no other family except the kids."
"Then, as far as drawing for families is concerned, it's you," Mr. Summers said in explanation, "and as far as drawing for households is concerned, that's you, too. Right?"
"Right," Bill Hutchinson said.
"How many kids, Bill?" Mr. Summers asked formally.
"Three," Bill Hutchinson said.
"There's Bill, Jr., and Nancy, and little Dave. And Tessie and me."
"All right, then," Mr. Summers said. "Harry, you got their tickets back?"
Mr. Graves nodded and held up the slips of paper. "Put them in the box, then," Mr. Summers directed. "Take Bill's and put it in."
"I think we ought to start over," Mrs. Hutchinson said, as quietly as she could. "I tell you it wasn't fair. You didn't give him time enough to choose. Everybody saw that."
Mr. Graves had selected the five slips and put them in the box. and he dropped all the papers but those onto the ground. where the breeze caught them and lifted them off.
"Listen, everybody," Mrs. Hutchinson was saying to the people around her.
"Ready, Bill?" Mr. Summers asked. and Bill Hutchinson, with one quick glance around at his wife and children. nodded.
"Remember," Mr. Summers said. "take the slips and keep them folded until each person has taken one. Harry, you help little Dave." Mr. Graves took the hand of the little boy, who came willingly with him up to the box. "Take a paper out of the box, Davy." Mr. Summers said. Davy put his hand into the box and laughed. "Take just one paper." Mr. Summers said. "Harry, you hold it for him." Mr. Graves took the child's hand and removed the folded paper from the tight fist and held it while little Dave stood next to him and looked up at him wonderingly.
"Nancy next," Mr. Summers said. Nancy was twelve, and her school friends breathed heavily as she went forward switching her skirt, and took a slip daintily from the box "Bill, Jr.," Mr. Summers said, and Billy, his face red and his feet overlarge, near knocked the box over as he got a paper out. "Tessie," Mr. Summers said. She hesitated for a minute, looking around defiantly. and then set her lips and went up to the box. She snatched a paper out and held it behind her.
"Bill," Mr. Summers said, and Bill Hutchinson reached into the box and felt around, bringing his hand out at last with the slip of paper in it.
The crowd was quiet. A girl whispered, "I hope it's not Nancy," and the sound of the whisper reached the edges of the crowd.
"It's not the way it used to be." Old Man Warner said clearly. "People ain't the way they used to be."
"All right," Mr. Summers said. "Open the papers. Harry, you open little Dave's."
Mr. Graves opened the slip of paper and there was a general sigh through the crowd as he held it up and everyone could see that it was blank. Nancy and Bill. Jr.. opened theirs at the same time. and both beamed and laughed. turning around to the crowd and holding their slips of paper above their heads.
"Tessie," Mr. Summers said. There was a pause, and then Mr. Summers looked at Bill Hutchinson, and Bill unfolded his paper and showed it. It was blank.
"It's Tessie," Mr. Summers said, and his voice was hushed. "Show us her paper. Bill."
Bill Hutchinson went over to his wife and forced the slip of paper out of her hand. It had a black spot on it, the black spot Mr. Summers had made the night before with the heavy pencil in the coal company office. Bill Hutchinson held it up, and there was a stir in the crowd.
"All right, folks." Mr. Summers said. "Let's finish quickly."
Although the villagers had forgotten the ritual and lost the original black box, they still remembered to use stones. The pile of stones the boys had made earlier was ready; there were stones on the ground with the blowing scraps of paper that had come out of the box Delacroix selected a stone so large she had to pick it up with both hands and turned to Mrs. Dunbar. "Come on," she said. "Hurry up."
Mr. Dunbar had small stones in both hands, and she said. gasping for breath. "I can't run at all. You'll have to go ahead and I'll catch up with you."
The children had stones already. And someone gave little Davy Hutchinson few pebbles.
Tessie Hutchinson was in the center of a cleared space by now, and she held her hands out desperately as the villagers moved in on her. "It isn't fair," she said. A stone hit her on the side of the head. Old Man Warner was saying, "Come on, come on, everyone." Steve Adams was in the front of the crowd of villagers, with Mrs. Graves beside him.
"It isn't fair, it isn't right," Mrs. Hutchinson screamed, and then they were upon her.

The Exact Science of Matrimony by O Henry (Short Story)

"As I have told you before," said Jeff Peters, "I never had much confidence in the perfidiousness of woman. As partners or coeducators in the most innocent line of graft they are not trustworthy."

"They deserve the compliment," said I. "I think they are entitled to be called the honest sex."

"Why shouldn't they be?" said Jeff. "They've got the other sex either grafting or working overtime for 'em. They're all right in business until they get their emotions or their hair touched up too much. Then you want to have a flat footed, heavy breathing man with sandy whiskers, five kids and a building and loan mortgage ready as an understudy to take her desk. Now there was that widow lady that me and Andy Tucker engaged to help us in that little matrimonial agency scheme we floated out in Cairo.

"When you've got enough advertising capital--say a roll as big as the little end of a wagon tongue--there's money in matrimonial agencies. We had about $6,000 and we expected to double it in two months, which is about as long as a scheme like ours can be carried on without taking out a New Jersey charter.

"We fixed up an advertisement that read about like this:

"Charming widow, beautiful, home loving, 32 years, possessing $3,000 cash and owning valuable country property, would remarry. Would prefer a poor man with affectionate disposition to one with means, as she realizes that the solid virtues are oftenest to be found in the humble walks of life. No objection to elderly man or one of homely appearance if faithful and true and competent to manage property and invest money with judgment. Address, with particulars.

Care of Peters & Tucker, agents, Cairo, Ill.

"'So far, so pernicious,' says I, when we had finished the literary concoction. 'And now,' says I, 'where is the lady.'

"Andy gives me one of his looks of calm irritation.

"'Jeff,' says he, 'I thought you had lost them ideas of realism in your art. Why should there be a lady? When they sell a lot of watered stock on Wall Street would you expect to find a mermaid in it? What has a matrimonial ad got to do with a lady?'

"'Now listen,' says I. 'You know my rule, Andy, that in all my illegitimate inroads against the legal letter of the law the article sold must be existent, visible, producible. In that way and by a careful study of city ordinances and train schedules I have kept out of all trouble with the police that a five dollar bill and a cigar could not square. Now, to work this scheme we've got to be able to produce bodily a charming widow or its equivalent with or without the beauty, hereditaments and appurtenances set forth in the catalogue and writ of errors, or hereafter be held by a justice of the peace.'

"'Well,' says Andy, reconstructing his mind, 'maybe it would be safer in case the post office or the peace commission should try to investigate our agency. But where,' he says, 'could you hope to find a widow who would waste time on a matrimonial scheme that had no matrimony in it?'

"I told Andy that I thought I knew of the exact party. An old friend of mine, Zeke Trotter, who used to draw soda water and teeth in a tent show, had made his wife a widow a year before by drinking some dyspepsia cure of the old doctor's instead of the liniment that he always got boozed up on. I used to stop at their house often, and I thought we could get her to work with us.

"'Twas only sixty miles to the little town where she lived, so I jumped out on the I.C. and finds her in the same cottage with the same sunflowers and roosters standing on the washtub. Mrs. Trotter fitted our ad first rate except, maybe for beauty and age and property valuation. But she looked feasible and praiseworthy to the eye, and it was a kindness to Zeke's memory to give her the job.

"'Is this an honest deal you are putting on, Mr. Peters,' she asks me when I tell her what we want.

"'Mrs. Trotter,' says I, 'Andy Tucker and me have computed the calculation that 3,000 men in this broad and unfair country will endeavor to secure your fair hand and ostensible money and property through our advertisement. Out of that number something like thirty hundred will expect to give you in exchange, if they should win you, the carcass of a lazy and mercenary loafer, a failure in life, a swindler and contemptible fortune seeker.

"'Me and Andy,' says I, 'propose to teach these preyers upon society a lesson. It was with difficulty,' says I, 'that me and Andy could refrain from forming a corporation under the title of the Great Moral and Millennial Malevolent Matrimonial Agency. Does that satisfy you?'

"'It does, Mr. Peters,' says she. 'I might have known you wouldn't have gone into anything that wasn't opprobrious. But what will my duties be? Do I have to reject personally these 3,000 ramscallions you speak of, or can I throw them out in bunches?'

"'Your job, Mrs. Trotter,' says I, 'will be practically a cynosure. You will live at a quiet hotel and will have no work to do. Andy and I will attend to all the correspondence and business end of it.

"'Of course,' says I, 'some of the more ardent and impetuous suitors who can raise the railroad fare may come to Cairo to personally press their suit or whatever fraction of a suit they may be wearing. In that case you will be probably put to the inconvenience of kicking them out face to face. We will pay you $25 per week and hotel expenses.'

"'Give me five minutes,' says Mrs. Trotter, 'to get my powder rag and leave the front door key with a neighbor and you can let my salary begin.'

"So I conveys Mrs. Trotter to Cairo and establishes her in a family hotel far enough away from mine and Andy's quarters to be unsuspicious and available, and I tell Andy.

"'Great,' says Andy. 'And now that your conscience is appeased as to the tangibility and proximity of the bait, and leaving mutton aside, suppose we revenoo a noo fish.'

"So, we began to insert our advertisement in newspapers covering the country far and wide. One ad was all we used. We couldn't have used more without hiring so many clerks and marcelled paraphernalia that the sound of the gum chewing would have disturbed the Postmaster- General.

"We placed $2,000 in a bank to Mrs. Trotter's credit and gave her the book to show in case anybody might question the honesty and good faith of the agency. I knew Mrs. Trotter was square and reliable and it was safe to leave it in her name.

"With that one ad Andy and me put in twelve hours a day answering letters.

"About one hundred a day was what came in. I never knew there was so many large hearted but indigent men in the country who were willing to acquire a charming widow and assume the burden of investing her money.

"Most of them admitted that they ran principally to whiskers and lost jobs and were misunderstood by the world, but all of 'em were sure that they were so chock full of affection and manly qualities that the widow would be making the bargain of her life to get 'em.

"Every applicant got a reply from Peters & Tucker informing him that the widow had been deeply impressed by his straightforward and interesting letter and requesting them to write again; stating more particulars; and enclosing photograph if convenient. Peters & Tucker also informed the applicant that their fee for handing over the second letter to their fair client would be $2, enclosed therewith.

"There you see the simple beauty of the scheme. About 90 per cent. of them domestic foreign noblemen raised the price somehow and sent it in. That was all there was to it. Except that me and Andy complained an amount about being put to the trouble of slicing open them envelopes, and taking the money out.

"Some few clients called in person. We sent 'em to Mrs. Trotter and she did the rest; except for three or four who came back to strike us for carfare. After the letters began to get in from the r.f.d. districts Andy and me were taking in about $200 a day.

"One afternoon when we were busiest and I was stuffing the two and ones into cigar boxes and Andy was whistling 'No Wedding Bells for Her' a small slick man drops in and runs his eye over the walls like he was on the trail of a lost Gainesborough painting or two. As soon as I saw him I felt a glow of pride, because we were running our business on the level.

"'I see you have quite a large mail to-day,' says the man.

"I reached and got my hat.

"'Come on,' says I. 'We've been expecting you. I'll show you the goods. How was Teddy when you left Washington?'

"I took him down to the Riverview Hotel and had him shake hands with Mrs. Trotter. Then I showed him her bank book with the $2,000 to her credit.

"'It seems to be all right,' says the Secret Service.

"'It is,' says I. 'And if you're not a married man I'll leave you to talk a while with the lady. We won't mention the two dollars.'

"'Thanks,' says he. 'If I wasn't, I might. Good day, Mrs. Peters.'

"Toward the end of three months we had taken in something over $5,000, and we saw it was time to quit. We had a good many complaints made to us; and Mrs. Trotter seemed to be tired of the job. A good many suitors had been calling to see her, and she didn't seem to like that.

"So we decides to pull out, and I goes down to Mrs. Trotter's hotel to pay her last week's salary and say farewell and get her check for the $2,000.

"When I got there I found her crying like a kid that don't want to go to school.

"'Now, now,' says I, 'what's it all about? Somebody sassed you or you getting homesick?'

"'No, Mr. Peters,' says she. 'I'll tell you. You was always a friend of Zeke's, and I don't mind. Mr. Peters, I'm in love. I just love a man so hard I can't bear not to get him. He's just the ideal I've always had in mind.'

"'Then take him,' says I. 'That is, if it's a mutual case. Does he return the sentiment according to the specifications and painfulness you have described?'

"'He does,' says she. 'But he's one of the gentlemen that's been coming to see me about the advertisement and he won't marry me unless I give him the $2,000. His name is William Wilkinson.' And then she goes off again in the agitations and hysterics of romance.

"'Mrs. Trotter,' says I, 'there's no man more sympathizing with a woman's affections than I am. Besides, you was once the life partner of one of my best friends. If it was left to me I'd say take this $2,000 and the man of your choice and be happy.

"'We could afford to do that, because we have cleaned up over $5,000 from these suckers that wanted to marry you. But,' says I, 'Andy Tucker is to be consulted.

"'He is a good man, but keen in business. He is my equal partner financially. I will talk to Andy,' says I, 'and see what can be done.'

"I goes back to our hotel and lays the case before Andy.

"'I was expecting something like this all the time,' says Andy. 'You can't trust a woman to stick by you in any scheme that involves her emotions and preferences.'

"'It's a sad thing, Andy,' says I, 'to think that we've been the cause of the breaking of a woman's heart.'

"'It is,' says Andy, 'and I tell you what I'm willing to do, Jeff. You've always been a man of a soft and generous heart and disposition. Perhaps I've been too hard and worldly and suspicious. For once I'll meet you half way. Go to Mrs. Trotter and tell her to draw the $2,000 from the bank and give it to this man she's infatuated with and be happy.'

"I jumps up and shakes Andy's hand for five minutes, and then I goes back to Mrs. Trotter and tells her, and she cries as hard for joy as she did for sorrow.

"Two days afterward me and Andy packed up to go.

"'Wouldn't you like to go down and meet Mrs. Trotter once before we leave?' I asks him. 'She'd like mightily to know you and express her encomiums and gratitude.'

"'Why, I guess not,' says Andy. 'I guess we'd better hurry and catch that train.'

"I was strapping our capital around me in a memory belt like we always carried it, when Andy pulls a roll of large bills out of his pocket and asks me to put 'em with the rest.

"'What's this?' says I.

"'It's Mrs. Trotter's two thousand,' says Andy.

"'How do you come to have it?' I asks.

"'She gave it to me,' says Andy. 'I've been calling on her three evenings a week for more than a month.'

"'Then are you William Wilkinson?' says I.

"'I was,' says Andy."

The Hollow of the Three Hills by Nathaniel Hawthorne (Short Story)

In those strange old times, when fantastic dreams and madmen's reveries were realized among the actual circumstances of life, two persons met together at an appointed hour and place. One was a lady, graceful in form and fair of feature, though pale and troubled, and smitten with an untimely blight in what should have been the fullest bloom of her years; the other was an ancient and meanly-dressed woman, of ill-favored aspect, and so withered, shrunken, and decrepit, that even the space since she began to decay must have exceeded the ordinary term of human existence. In the spot where they encountered, no mortal could observe them. Three little hills stood near each other, and down in the midst of them sunk a hollow basin, almost mathematically circular, two or three hundred feet in breadth, and of such depth that a stately cedar might but just be visible above the sides. Dwarf pines were numerous upon the hills, and partly fringed the outer verge of the intermediate hollow, within which there was nothing but the brown grass of October, and here and there a tree trunk that had fallen long ago, and lay mouldering with no green successsor from its roots. One of these masses of decaying wood, formerly a majestic oak, rested close beside a pool of green and sluggish water at the bottom of the basin. Such scenes as this (so gray tradition tells) were once the resort of the Power of Evil and his plighted subjects; and here, at midnight or on the dim verge of evening, they were said to stand round the mantling pool, disturbing its putrid waters in the performance of an impious baptismal rite. The chill beauty of an autumnal sunset was now gilding the three hill-tops, whence a paler tint stole down their sides into the hollow.

"Here is our pleasant meeting come to pass," said the aged crone, "according as thou hast desired. Say quickly what thou wouldst have of me, for there is but a short hour that we may tarry here."

As the old withered woman spoke, a smile glimmered on her countenance, like lamplight on the wall of a sepulchre. The lady trembled, and cast her eyes upward to the verge of the basin, as if meditating to return with her purpose unaccomplished. But it was not so ordained.

"I am a stranger in this land, as you know," said she at length. "Whence I come it matters not; but I have left those behind me with whom my fate was intimately bound, and from whom I am cut off forever. There is a weight in my bosom that I cannot away with, and I have come hither to inquire of their welfare."

"And who is there by this green pool that can bring thee news from the ends of the earth?" cried the old woman, peering into the lady's face. "Not from my lips mayst thou hear these tidings; yet, be thou bold, and the daylight shall not pass away from yonder hill-top before thy wish be granted."

"I will do your bidding though I die," replied the lady desperately.

The old woman seated herself on the trunk of the fallen tree, threw aside the hood that shrouded her gray locks, and beckoned her companion to draw near.

"Kneel down," she said, "and lay your forehead on my knees."

She hesitated a moment, but the anxiety that had long been kindling burned fiercely up within her. As she knelt down, the border of her garment was dipped into the pool; she laid her forehead on the old woman's knees, and the latter drew a cloak about the lady's face, so that she was in darkness. Then she heard the muttered words of prayer, in the midst of which she started, and would have arisen.

"Let me flee,--let me flee and hide myself, that they may not look upon me!" she cried. But, with returning recollection, she hushed herself, and was still as death.

For it seemed as if other voices--familiar in infancy, and unforgotten through many wanderings, and in all the vicissitudes of her heart and fortune--were mingling with the accents of the prayer. At first the words were faint and indistinct, not rendered so by distance, but rather resembling the dim pages of a book which we strive to read by an imperfect and gradually brightening light. In such a manner, as the prayer proceeded, did those voices strengthen upon the ear; till at length the petition ended, and the conversation of an aged man, and of a woman broken and decayed like himself, became distinctly audible to the lady as she knelt. But those strangers appeared not to stand in the hollow depth between the three hills. Their voices were encompassed and reechoed by the walls of a chamber, the windows of which were rattling in the breeze; the regular vibration of a clock, the crackling of a fire, and the tinkling of the embers as they fell among the ashes, rendered the scene almost as vivid as if painted to the eye. By a melancholy hearth sat these two old people, the man calmly despondent, the woman querulous and tearful, and their words were all of sorrow. They spoke of a daughter, a wanderer they knew not where, bearing dishonor along with her, and leaving shame and affliction to bring their gray heads to the grave. They alluded also to other and more recent woe, but in the midst of their talk their voices seemed to melt into the sound of the wind sweeping mournfully among the autumn leaves; and when the lady lifted her eyes, there was she kneeling in the hollow between three hills.

"A weary and lonesome time yonder old couple have of it," remarked the old woman, smiling in the lady's face.

"And did you also hear them?" exclaimed she, a sense of intolerable humiliation triumphing over her agony and fear.

"Yea; and we have yet more to hear," replied the old woman. "Wherefore, cover thy face quickly."

Again the withered hag poured forth the monotonous words of a prayer that was not meant to be acceptable in heaven; and soon, in the pauses of her breath, strange murmurings began to thicken, gradually increasing so as to drown and overpower the charm by which they grew. Shrieks pierced through the obscurity of sound, and were succeeded by the singing of sweet female voices, which, in their turn, gave way to a wild roar of laughter, broken suddenly by groanings and sobs, forming altogether a ghastly confusion of terror and mourning and mirth. Chains were rattling, fierce and stern voices uttered threats, and the scourge resounded at their command. All these noises deepened and became substantial to the listener's ear, till she could distinguish every soft and dreamy accent of the love songs that died causelessly into funeral hymns. She shuddered at the unprovoked wrath which blazed up like the spontaneous kindling of flames and she grew faint at the fearful merriment raging miserably around her. In the midst of this wild scene, where unbound passions jostled each other in a drunken career, there was one solemn voice of a man, and a manly and melodious voice it might once have been. He went to and fro continually, and his feet sounded upon the floor. In each member of that frenzied company, whose own burning thoughts had become their exclusive world, he sought an auditor for the story of his individual wrong, and interpreted their laughter and tears as his reward of scorn or pity. He spoke of woman's perfidy, of a wife who had broken her holiest vows, of a home and heart made desolate. Even as he went on, the shout, the laugh, the shriek the sob, rose up in unison, till they changed into the hollow, fitful, and uneven sound of the wind, as it fought among the pine-trees on those three lonely hills. The lady looked up, and there was the withered woman smiling in her face.

"Couldst thou have thought there were such merry times in a madhouse?" inquired the latter.

"True, true," said the lady to herself; "there is mirth within its walls, but misery, misery without."

"Wouldst thou hear more?" demanded the old woman.

"There is one other voice I would fain listen to again," replied the lady, faintly.

"Then, lay down thy head speedily upon my knees, that thou mayst get thee hence before the hour be past."

The golden skirts of day were yet lingering upon the hills, but deep shades obscured the hollow and the pool, as if sombre night were rising thence to overspread the world. Again that evil woman began to weave her spell. Long did it proceed unanswered, till the knolling of a bell stole in among the intervals of her words, like a clang that had travelled far over valley and rising ground, and was just ready to die in the air. The lady shook upon her companion's knees as she heard that boding sound. Stronger it grew and sadder, and deepened into the tone of a death bell, knolling dolefully from some ivy-mantled tower, and bearing tidings of mortality and woe to the cottage, to the hall, and to the solitary wayfarer that all might weep for the doom appointed in turn to them. Then came a measured tread, passing slowly, slowly on, as of mourners with a coffin, their garments trailing on the ground, so that the ear could measure the length of their melancholy array. Before them went the priest, reading the burial service, while the leaves of his book were rustling in the breeze. And though no voice but his was heard to speak aloud, still there were revilings and anathemas, whispered but distinct, from women and from men, breathed against the daughter who had wrung the aged hearts of her parents,--the wife who had betrayed the trusting fondness of her husband,--the mother who had sinned against natural affection, and left her child to die. The sweeping sound of the funeral train faded away like a thin vapor, and the wind, that just before had seemed to shake the coffin pall, moaned sadly round the verge of the Hollow between three Hills. But when the old woman stirred the kneeling lady, she lifted not her head.

"Here has been a sweet hour's sport!" said the withered crone, chuckling to herself.

The Necklace (Short Story)

SHE WAS ONE OF THOSE PRETTY AND CHARMING GIRLS BORN, as though fate had blundered over her, into a family of artisans. She had no marriage portion, no expectations, no means of getting known, understood, loved, and wedded by a man of wealth and distinction; and she let herself be married off to a little clerk in the Ministry of Education. Her tastes were simple because she had never been able to afford any other, but she was as unhappy as though she had married beneath her; for women have no caste or class, their beauty, grace, and charm serving them for birth or family. Their natural delicacy, their instinctive elegance, their nimbleness of wit, are their only mark of rank, and put the slum girl on a level with the highest lady in the land.
She suffered endlessly, feeling herself born for every delicacy and luxury. She suffered from the poorness of her house, from its mean walls, worn chairs, and ugly curtains. All these things, of which other women of her class would not even have been aware, tormented and insulted her. The sight of the little Breton girl who came to do the work in her little house aroused heart-broken regrets and hopeless dreams in her mind. She imagined silent antechambers, heavy with Oriental tapestries, lit by torches in lofty bronze sockets, with two tall footmen in knee-breeches sleeping in large arm-chairs, overcome by the heavy warmth of the stove. She imagined vast saloons hung with antique silks, exquisite pieces of furniture supporting priceless ornaments, and small, charming, perfumed rooms, created just for little parties of intimate friends, men who were famous and sought after, whose homage roused every other woman's envious longings.

When she sat down for dinner at the round table covered with a three-days-old cloth, opposite her husband, who took the cover off the soup-tureen, exclaiming delightedly: "Aha! Scotch broth! What could be better?" she imagined delicate meals, gleaming silver, tapestries peopling the walls with folk of a past age and strange birds in faery forests; she imagined delicate food served in marvellous dishes, murmured gallantries, listened to with an inscrutable smile as one trifled with the rosy flesh of trout or wings of asparagus chicken.

She had no clothes, no jewels, nothing. And these were the only things she loved; she felt that she was made for them. She had longed so eagerly to charm, to be desired, to be wildly attractive and sought after.

She had a rich friend, an old school friend whom she refused to visit, because she suffered so keenly when she returned home. She would weep whole days, with grief, regret, despair, and misery.


One evening her husband came home with an exultant air, holding a large envelope in his hand.

" Here's something for you," he said.

Swiftly she tore the paper and drew out a printed card on which were these words:

"The Minister of Education and Madame Ramponneau request the pleasure of the company of Monsieur and Madame Loisel at the Ministry on the evening of Monday, January the 18th."

Instead of being delighted, as her-husband hoped, she flung the invitation petulantly across the table, murmuring:

"What do you want me to do with this?"

"Why, darling, I thought you'd be pleased. You never go out, and this is a great occasion. I had tremendous trouble to get it. Every one wants one; it's very select, and very few go to the clerks. You'll see all the really big people there."

She looked at him out of furious eyes, and said impatiently: "And what do you suppose I am to wear at such an affair?"

He had not thought about it; he stammered:

"Why, the dress you go to the theatre in. It looks very nice, to me...."

He stopped, stupefied and utterly at a loss when he saw that his wife was beginning to cry. Two large tears ran slowly down from the corners of her eyes towards the corners of her mouth.

"What's the matter with you? What's the matter with you?" he faltered.

But with a violent effort she overcame her grief and replied in a calm voice, wiping her wet cheeks:

"Nothing. Only I haven't a dress and so I can't go to this party. Give your invitation to some friend of yours whose wife will be turned out better than I shall."

He was heart-broken.

"Look here, Mathilde," he persisted. :What would be the cost of a suitable dress, which you could use on other occasions as well, something very simple?"

She thought for several seconds, reckoning up prices and also wondering for how large a sum she could ask without bringing upon herself an immediate refusal and an exclamation of horror from the careful-minded clerk.

At last she replied with some hesitation:

"I don't know exactly, but I think I could do it on four hundred francs."

He grew slightly pale, for this was exactly the amount he had been saving for a gun, intending to get a little shooting next summer on the plain of Nanterre with some friends who went lark-shooting there on Sundays.

Nevertheless he said: "Very well. I'll give you four hundred francs. But try and get a really nice dress with the money."

The day of the party drew near, and Madame Loisel seemed sad, uneasy and anxious. Her dress was ready, however. One evening her husband said to her:

"What's the matter with you? You've been very odd for the last three days."

"I'm utterly miserable at not having any jewels, not a single stone, to wear," she replied. "I shall look absolutely no one. I would almost rather not go to the party."

"Wear flowers," he said. "They're very smart at this time of the year. For ten francs you could get two or three gorgeous roses."

She was not convinced.

"No . . . there's nothing so humiliating as looking poor in the middle of a lot of rich women."

"How stupid you are!" exclaimed her husband. "Go and see Madame Forestier and ask her to lend you some jewels. You know her quite well enough for that."

She uttered a cry of delight.

"That's true. I never thought of it."

Next day she went to see her friend and told her her trouble.

Madame Forestier went to her dressing-table, took up a large box, brought it to Madame Loisel, opened it, and said:

"Choose, my dear."

First she saw some bracelets, then a pearl necklace, then a Venetian cross in gold and gems, of exquisite workmanship. She tried the effect of the jewels before the mirror, hesitating, unable to make up her mind to leave them, to give them up. She kept on asking:

"Haven't you anything else?"

"Yes. Look for yourself. I don't know what you would like best."

Suddenly she discovered, in a black satin case, a superb diamond necklace; her heart began to beat covetousIy. Her hands trembled as she lifted it. She fastened it round her neck, upon her high dress, and remained in ecstasy at sight of herself.

Then, with hesitation, she asked in anguish:

"Could you lend me this, just this alone?"

"Yes, of course."

She flung herself on her friend's breast, embraced her frenziedly, and went away with her treasure. The day of the party arrived. Madame Loisel was a success. She was the prettiest woman present, elegant, graceful, smiling, and quite above herself with happiness. All the men stared at her, inquired her name, and asked to be introduced to her. All the Under-Secretaries of State were eager to waltz with her. The Minister noticed her.

She danced madly, ecstatically, drunk with pleasure, with no thought for anything, in the triumph of her beauty, in the pride of her success, in a cloud of happiness made up of this universal homage and admiration, of the desires she had aroused, of the completeness of a victory so dear to her feminine heart.

She left about four o'clock in the morning. Since midnight her husband had been dozing in a deserted little room, in company with three other men whose wives were having a good time. He threw over her shoulders the garments he had brought for them to go home in, modest everyday clothes, whose poverty clashed with the beauty of the ball-dress. She was conscious of this and was anxious to hurry away, so that she should not be noticed by the other women putting on their costly furs.

Loisel restrained her.

"Wait a little. You'll catch cold in the open. I'm going to fetch a cab."

But she did not listen to him and rapidly descended-the staircase. When they were out in the street they could not find a cab; they began to look for one, shouting at the drivers whom they saw passing in the distance.

They walked down towards the Seine, desperate and shivering. At last they found on the quay one of those old nightprowling carriages which are only to be seen in Paris after dark, as though they were ashamed of their shabbiness in the daylight.

It brought them to their door in the Rue des Martyrs, and sadly they walked up to their own apartment. It was the end, for her. As for him, he was thinking that he must be at the office at ten.

She took off the garments in which she had wrapped her shoulders, so as to see herself in all her glory before the mirror. But suddenly she uttered a cry. The necklace was no longer round her neck!

"What's the matter with you?" asked her husband, already half undressed.

She turned towards him in the utmost distress.

"I . . . I . . . I've no longer got Madame Forestier's necklace. . . ."

He started with astonishment.

"What! . . . Impossible!"

They searched in the folds of her dress, in the folds of the coat, in the pockets, everywhere. They could not find it.

"Are you sure that you still had it on when you came away from the ball?" he asked.

"Yes, I touched it in the hall at the Ministry."

"But if you had lost it in the street, we should have heard it fall."

"Yes. Probably we should. Did you take the number of the cab?"

"No. You didn't notice it, did you?"


They stared at one another, dumbfounded. At last Loisel put on his clothes again.

"I'll go over all the ground we walked," he said, "and see if I can't find it."

And he went out. She remained in her evening clothes, lacking strength to get into bed, huddled on a chair, without volition or power of thought.

Her husband returned about seven. He had found nothing.

He went to the police station, to the newspapers, to offer a reward, to the cab companies, everywhere that a ray of hope impelled him.

She waited all day long, in the same state of bewilderment at this fearful catastrophe.

Loisel came home at night, his face lined and pale; he had discovered nothing.

"You must write to your friend," he said, "and tell her that you've broken the clasp of her necklace and are getting it mended. That will give us time to look about us."

She wrote at his dictation.


By the end of a week they had lost all hope.

Loisel, who had aged five years, declared:

"We must see about replacing the diamonds."

Next day they took the box which had held the necklace and went to the jewellers whose name was inside. He consulted his books.

"It was not I who sold this necklace, Madame; I must have merely supplied the clasp."

Then they went from jeweller to jeweller, searching for another necklace like the first, consulting their memories, both ill with remorse and anguish of mind.

In a shop at the Palais-Royal they found a string of diamonds which seemed to them exactly like the one they were looking for. It was worth forty thousand francs. They were allowed to have it for thirty-six thousand.

They begged the jeweller not tO sell it for three days. And they arranged matters on the understanding that it would be taken back for thirty-four thousand francs, if the first one were found before the end of February.

Loisel possessed eighteen thousand francs left to him by his father. He intended to borrow the rest.

He did borrow it, getting a thousand from one man, five hundred from another, five louis here, three louis there. He gave notes of hand, entered into ruinous agreements, did business with usurers and the whole tribe of money-lenders. He mortgaged the whole remaining years of his existence, risked his signature without even knowing it he could honour it, and, appalled at the agonising face of the future, at the black misery about to fall upon him, at the prospect of every possible physical privation and moral torture, he went to get the new necklace and put down upon the jeweller's counter thirty-six thousand francs.

When Madame Loisel took back the necklace to Madame Forestier, the latter said to her in a chilly voice:

"You ought to have brought it back sooner; I might have needed it."

She did not, as her friend had feared, open the case. If she had noticed the substitution, what would she have thought? What would she have said? Would she not have taken her for a thief?


Madame Loisel came to know the ghastly life of abject poverty. From the very first she played her part heroically. This fearful debt must be paid off. She would pay it. The servant was dismissed. They changed their flat; they took a garret under the roof.

She came to know the heavy work of the house, the hateful duties of the kitchen. She washed the plates, wearing out her pink nails on the coarse pottery and the bottoms of pans. She washed the dirty linen, the shirts and dish-cloths, and hung them out to dry on a string; every morning she took the dustbin down into the street and carried up the water, stopping on each landing to get her breath. And, clad like a poor woman, she went to the fruiterer, to the grocer, to the butcher, a basket on her arm, haggling, insulted, fighting for every wretched halfpenny of her money.

Every month notes had to be paid off, others renewed, time gained.

Her husband worked in the evenings at putting straight a merchant's accounts, and often at night he did copying at twopence-halfpenny a page.

And this life lasted ten years.

At the end of ten years everything was paid off, everything, the usurer's charges and the accumulation of superimposed interest.

Madame Loisel looked old now. She had become like all the other strong, hard, coarse women of poor households. Her hair was badly done, her skirts were awry, her hands were red. She spoke in a shrill voice, and the water slopped all over the floor when she scrubbed it. But sometimes, when her husband was at the office, she sat down by the window and thought of that evening long ago, of the ball at which she had been so beautiful and so much admired.

What would have happened if she had never lost those jewels. Who knows? Who knows? How strange life is, how fickle! How little is needed to ruin or to save!

One Sunday, as she had gone for a walk along the Champs-Elysees to freshen herself after the labours of the week, she caught sight suddenly of a woman who was taking a child out for a walk. It was Madame Forestier, still young, still beautiful, still attractive.

Madame Loisel was conscious of some emotion. Should she speak to her? Yes, certainly. And now that she had paid, she would tell her all. Why not?

She went up to her.

"Good morning, Jeanne."

The other did not recognise her, and was surprised at being thus familiarly addressed by a poor woman.

"But . . . Madame . . ." she stammered. "I don't know . . . you must be making a mistake."

"No . . . I am Mathilde Loisel."

Her friend uttered a cry.

"Oh! . . . my poor Mathilde, how you have changed! . . ."

"Yes, I've had some hard times since I saw you last; and many sorrows . . . and all on your account."

"On my account! . . . How was that?"

"You remember the diamond necklace you lent me for the ball at the Ministry?"

"Yes. Well?"

"Well, I lost it."

"How could you? Why, you brought it back."

"I brought you another one just like it. And for the last ten years we have been paying for it. You realise it wasn't easy for us; we had no money. . . . Well, it's paid for at last, and I'm glad indeed."

Madame Forestier had halted.

"You say you bought a diamond necklace to replace mine?"

"Yes. You hadn't noticed it? They were very much alike."

And she smiled in proud and innocent happiness.

Madame Forestier, deeply moved, took her two hands.

"Oh, my poor Mathilde! But mine was imitation. It was worth at the very most five hundred francs! . . . "

The Open Window
"My aunt will be down presently, Mr. Nuttel," said a very self-possessed young lady of fifteen; "in the meantime you must try and put up with me."
Framton Nuttel endeavored to say the correct something which should duly flatter the niece of the moment without unduly discounting the aunt that was to come. Privately he doubted more than ever whether these formal visits on a succession of total strangers would do much towards helping the nerve cure which he was supposed to be undergoing

"I know how it will be," his sister had said when he was preparing to migrate to this rural retreat; "you will bury yourself down there and not speak to a living soul, and your nerves will be worse than ever from moping. I shall just give you letters of introduction to all the people I know there. Some of them, as far as I can remember, were quite nice."

Framton wondered whether Mrs. Sappleton, the lady to whom he was presenting one of the letters of introduction came into the nice division.

"Do you know many of the people round here?" asked the niece, when she judged that they had had sufficient silent communion.

"Hardly a soul," said Framton. "My sister was staying here, at the rectory, you know, some four years ago, and she gave me letters of introduction to some of the people here."

He made the last statement in a tone of distinct regret.

"Then you know practically nothing about my aunt?" pursued the self-possessed young lady.

"Only her name and address," admitted the caller. He was wondering whether Mrs. Sappleton was in the married or widowed state. An undefinable something about the room seemed to suggest masculine habitation.

"Her great tragedy happened just three years ago," said the child; "that would be since your sister's time."

"Her tragedy?" asked Framton; somehow in this restful country spot tragedies seemed out of place.

"You may wonder why we keep that window wide open on an October afternoon," said the niece, indicating a large French window that opened on to a lawn.

"It is quite warm for the time of the year," said Framton; "but has that window got anything to do with the tragedy?"

"Out through that window, three years ago to a day, her husband and her two young brothers went off for their day's shooting. They never came back. In crossing the moor to their favorite snipe-shooting ground they were all three engulfed in a treacherous piece of bog. It had been that dreadful wet summer, you know, and places that were safe in other years gave way suddenly without warning. Their bodies were never recovered. That was the dreadful part of it." Here the child's voice lost its self-possessed note and became falteringly human. "Poor aunt always thinks that they will come back someday, they and the little brown spaniel that was lost with them, and walk in at that window just as they used to do. That is why the window is kept open every evening till it is quite dusk. Poor dear aunt, she has often told me how they went out, her husband with his white waterproof coat over his arm, and Ronnie, her youngest brother, singing 'Bertie, why do you bound?' as he always did to tease her, because she said it got on her nerves. Do you know, sometimes on still, quiet evenings like this, I almost get a creepy feeling that they will all walk in through that window--"

She broke off with a little shudder. It was a relief to Framton when the aunt bustled into the room with a whirl of apologies for being late in making her appearance.

"I hope Vera has been amusing you?" she said.

"She has been very interesting," said Framton.

"I hope you don't mind the open window," said Mrs. Sappleton briskly; "my husband and brothers will be home directly from shooting, and they always come in this way. They've been out for snipe in the marshes today, so they'll make a fine mess over my poor carpets. So like you menfolk, isn't it?"

She rattled on cheerfully about the shooting and the scarcity of birds, and the prospects for duck in the winter. To Framton it was all purely horrible. He made a desperate but only partially successful effort to turn the talk on to a less ghastly topic, he was conscious that his hostess was giving him only a fragment of her attention, and her eyes were constantly straying past him to the open window and the lawn beyond. It was certainly an unfortunate coincidence that he should have paid his visit on this tragic anniversary.

"The doctors agree in ordering me complete rest, an absence of mental excitement, and avoidance of anything in the nature of violent physical exercise," announced Framton, who labored under the tolerably widespread delusion that total strangers and chance acquaintances are hungry for the least detail of one's ailments and infirmities, their cause and cure. "On the matter of diet they are not so much in agreement," he continued.

"No?" said Mrs. Sappleton, in a voice which only replaced a yawn at the last moment. Then she suddenly brightened into alert attention--but not to what Framton was saying.

"Here they are at last!" she cried. "Just in time for tea, and don't they look as if they were muddy up to the eyes!"

Framton shivered slightly and turned towards the niece with a look intended to convey sympathetic comprehension. The child was staring out through the open window with a dazed horror in her eyes. In a chill shock of nameless fear Framton swung round in his seat and looked in the same direction.

In the deepening twilight three figures were walking across the lawn towards the window, they all carried guns under their arms, and one of them was additionally burdened with a white coat hung over his shoulders. A tired brown spaniel kept close at their heels. Noiselessly they neared the house, and then a hoarse young voice chanted out of the dusk: "I said, Bertie, why do you bound?"

Framton grabbed wildly at his stick and hat; the hall door, the gravel drive, and the front gate were dimly noted stages in his headlong retreat. A cyclist coming along the road had to run into the hedge to avoid imminent collision.

"Here we are, my dear," said the bearer of the white mackintosh, coming in through the window, "fairly muddy, but most of it's dry. Who was that who bolted out as we came up?"

"A most extraordinary man, a Mr. Nuttel," said Mrs. Sappleton; "could only talk about his illnesses, and dashed off without a word of goodby or apology when you arrived. One would think he had seen a ghost."

"I expect it was the spaniel," said the niece calmly; "he told me he had a horror of dogs. He was once hunted into a cemetery somewhere on the banks of the Ganges by a pack of pariah dogs, and had to spend the night in a newly dug grave with the creatures snarling and grinning and foaming just above him. Enough to make anyone lose their nerve."

Romance at short notice was her speciality.