Beasts and Super-Beasts
"YOU are not really dying, are you?" asked Amanda.
"I have the doctor's permission to live till Tuesday," said Laura.
"But to-day is Saturday; this is serious!" gasped Amanda.
"I don't know about it being serious; it is certainly Saturday," said Laura.
"Death is always serious," said Amanda.
"I never said I was going to die. I am presumably going to leave off being Laura, but I
shall go on being something. An animal of some kind, I suppose. You see, when one
hasn't been very good in the life one has just lived, one reincarnates in some lower
organism. And I haven't been very good, when one comes to think of it. I've been petty
and mean and vindictive and all that sort of thing when circumstances have seemed to
"Circumstances never warrant that sort of thing," said Amanda hastily.
"If you don't mind my saying so," observed Laura, "Egbert is a circumstance that would
warrant any amount of that sort of thing. You're married to him - that's different; you've
sworn to love, honour, and endure him: I haven't."
"I don't see what's wrong with Egbert," protested Amanda.
"Oh, I daresay the wrongness has been on my part," admitted Laura dispassionately; "he
has merely been the extenuating circumstance. He made a thin, peevish kind of fuss, for
instance, when I took the collie puppies from the farm out for a run the other day."
"They chased his young broods of speckled Sussex and drove two sitting hens off their
nests, besides running all over the flower beds. You know how devoted he is to his
poultry and garden."
"Anyhow, he needn't have gone on about it for the entire evening and then have said,
`Let's say no more about it' just when I was beginning to enjoy the discussion. That's
where one of my petty vindictive revenges came in," added Laura with an unrepentant
chuckle; "I turned the entire family of speckled Sussex into his seedling shed the day
after the puppy episode."
"How could you?" exclaimed Amanda.
"It came quite easy," said Laura; "two of the hens pretended to be laying at the time, but I