Told After Supper
Now The Stories Came To Be Told
It was Christmas Eve! Christmas Eve at my Uncle John's; Christmas Eve (There is too
much 'Christmas Eve' about this book. I can see that myself. It is beginning to get
monotonous even to me. But I don't see how to avoid it now.) at No. 47 Laburnham
Grove, Tooting! Christmas Eve in the dimly-lighted (there was a gas-strike on) front
parlour, where the flickering fire-light threw strange shadows on the highly coloured
wall-paper, while without, in the wild street, the storm raged pitilessly, and the wind, like
some unquiet spirit, flew, moaning, across the square, and passed, wailing with a troubled
cry, round by the milk-shop.
We had had supper, and were sitting round, talking and smoking.
We had had a very good supper--a very good supper, indeed. Unpleasantness has
occurred since, in our family, in connection with this party. Rumours have been put about
in our family, concerning the matter generally, but more particularly concerning my own
share in it, and remarks have been passed which have not so much surprised me, because
I know what our family are, but which have pained me very much. As for my Aunt
Maria, I do not know when I shall care to see her again. I should have thought Aunt
Maria might have known me better.
But although injustice--gross injustice, as I shall explain later on--has been done to
myself, that shall not deter me from doing justice to others; even to those who have made
unfeeling insinuations. I will do justice to Aunt Maria's hot veal pasties, and toasted
lobsters, followed by her own special make of cheesecakes, warm (there is no sense, to
my thinking, in cold cheesecakes; you lose half the flavour), and washed down by Uncle
John's own particular old ale, and acknowledge that they were most tasty. I did justice to
them then; Aunt Maria herself could not but admit that.
After supper, Uncle brewed some whisky-punch. I did justice to that also; Uncle John
himself said so. He said he was glad to notice that I liked it.
Aunt went to bed soon after supper, leaving the local curate, old Dr. Scrubbles, Mr.
Samuel Coombes, our member of the County Council, Teddy Biffles, and myself to keep
Uncle company. We agreed that it was too early to give in for some time yet, so Uncle
brewed another bowl of punch; and I think we all did justice to that--at least I know I did.
It is a passion with me, is the desire to do justice.
We sat up for a long while, and the Doctor brewed some gin-punch later on, for a change,
though I could not taste much difference myself. But it was all good, and we were very
happy--everybody was so kind.
Uncle John told us a very funny story in the course of the evening. Oh, it WAS a funny
story! I forget what it was about now, but I know it amused me very much at the time; I
do not think I ever laughed so much in all my life. It is strange that I cannot recollect that