Beasts and Super-Beasts
The Seventh Pullet
"IT'S not the daily grind that I complain of," said Blenkinthrope resentfully; "it's the dull
grey sameness of my life outside of office hours. Nothing of interest comes my way,
nothing remarkable or out of the common. Even the little things that I do try to find some
interest in don't seem to interest other people. Things in my garden, for instance."
"The potato that weighed just over two pounds," said his friend Gorworth.
"Did I tell you about that?" said Blenkinthrope; "I was telling the others in the train this
morning. I forgot if I'd told you."
"To be exact you told me that it weighed just under two pounds, but I took into account
the fact that abnormal vegetables and freshwater fish have an after- life, in which growth
is not arrested."
"You're just like the others," said Blenkinthrope sadly, "you only make fun of it."
"The fault is with the potato, not with us," said Gorworth; "we are not in the least
interested in it because it is not in the least interesting. The men you go up in the train
with every day are just in the same case as yourself; their lives are commonplace and not
very interesting to themselves, and they certainly are not going to wax enthusiastic over
the commonplace events in other men's lives. Tell them something startling, dramatic,
piquant that has happened to yourself or to someone in your family, and you will capture
their interest at once. They will talk about you with a certain personal pride to all their
acquaintances. 'Man I know intimately, fellow called Blenkinthrope, lives down my way,
had two of his fingers clawed clean off by a lobster he was carrying home to supper.
Doctor says entire hand may have to come off.' Now that is conversation of a very high
order. But imagine walking into a tennis club with the remark: 'I know a man who has
grown a potato weighing two and a quarter pounds.'"
"But hang it all, my dear fellow," said Blenkinthrope impatiently, "haven't I just told you
that nothing of a remarkable nature ever happens to me?"
"Invent something," said Gorworth. Since winning a prize for excellence in Scriptural
knowledge at a preparatory school he had felt licensed to be a little more unscrupulous
than the circle he moved in. Much might surely be excused to one who in early life could
give a list of seventeen trees mentioned in the Old Testament.
"What sort of thing?"asked Blenkinthrope, somewhat snappishly.
"A snake got into your hen-run yesterday morning and killed six out of seven pullets, first
mesmerising them with its eyes and then biting them as they stood helpless. The seventh
pullet was one of that French sort, with feathers all over its eyes, so it escaped the
mesmeric snare, and just flew at what it could see of the snake and pecked it to pieces."