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The most extraordinary dream I ever had was one in which I fancied that, as I was going
into a theater, the cloak-room attendant stopped me in the lobby and insisted on my
leaving my legs behind me.
I was not surprised; indeed, my acquaintanceship with theater harpies would prevent my
feeling any surprise at such a demand, even in my waking moments; but I was, I must
honestly confess, considerably annoyed. It was not the payment of the cloak-room fee
that I so much minded--I offered to give that to the man then and there. It was the parting
with my legs that I objected to.
I said I had never heard of such a rule being attempted to be put in force at any
respectable theater before, and that I considered it a most absurd and vexatious
regulation. I also said I should write to The Times about it.
The man replied that he was very sorry, but that those were his instructions. People
complained that they could not get to and from their seats comfortably, because other
people's legs were always in the way; and it had, therefore, been decided that, in future,
everybody should leave their legs outside.
It seemed to me that the management, in making this order, had clearly gone beyond their
legal right; and, under ordinary circumstances, I should have disputed it. Being present,
however, more in the character of a guest than in that of a patron, I hardly like to make a
disturbance; and so I sat down and meekly prepared to comply with the demand.
I had never before known that the human leg did unscrew. I had always thought it was a
fixture. But the man showed me how to undo them, and I found that they came off quite
The discovery did not surprise me any more than the original request that I should take
them off had done. Nothing does surprise one in a dream.
I dreamed once that I was going to be hanged; but I was not at all surprised about it.
Nobody was. My relations came to see me off, I thought, and to wish me "Good-by!"
They all came, and were all very pleasant; but they were not in the least astonished--not
one of them. Everybody appeared to regard the coming tragedy as one of the most-
naturally-to-be-expected things in the world.
They bore the calamity, besides, with an amount of stoicism that would have done credit
to a Spartan father. There was no fuss, no scene. On the contrary, an atmosphere of mild
cheerfulness prevailed.
Yet they were very kind. Somebody--an uncle, I think--left me a packet of sandwiches
and a little something in a flask, in case, as he said, I should feel peckish on the scaffold.