Told After Supper
We had some more punch, and then the curate told us a story.
I could not make head or tail of the curate's story, so I cannot retail it to you. We none of
us could make head or tail of that story. It was a good story enough, so far as material
went. There seemed to be an enormous amount of plot, and enough incident to have made
a dozen novels. I never before heard a story containing so much incident, nor one dealing
with so many varied characters.
I should say that every human being our curate had ever known or met, or heard of, was
brought into that story. There were simply hundreds of them. Every five seconds he
would introduce into the tale a completely fresh collection of characters accompanied by
a brand new set of incidents.
This was the sort of story it was:-
"Well, then, my uncle went into the garden, and got his gun, but, of course, it wasn't
there, and Scroggins said he didn't believe it."
"Didn't believe what? Who's Scroggins?"
"Scroggins! Oh, why he was the other man, you know--it was wife."
"WHAT was his wife--what's SHE got to do with it?"
"Why, that's what I'm telling you. It was she that found the hat. She'd come up with her
cousin to London--her cousin was my sister- in-law, and the other niece had married a
man named Evans, and Evans, after it was all over, had taken the box round to Mr.
Jacobs', because Jacobs' father had seen the man, when he was alive, and when he was
"Now look here, never you mind Evans and the box; what's become of your uncle and the
"The gun! What gun?"
"Why, the gun that your uncle used to keep in the garden, and that wasn't there. What did
he do with it? Did he kill any of these people with it--these Jacobses and Evanses and
Scrogginses and Josephses? Because, if so, it was a good and useful work, and we should
enjoy hearing about it."
"No--oh no--how could he?--he had been built up alive in the wall, you know, and when
Edward IV spoke to the abbot about it, my sister said that in her then state of health she
could not and would not, as it was endangering the child's life. So they christened it