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Welcome my dear friends. Enjoy your visit and share your thoughts. Thank you, much love

Friday, 17 April 2015

KEEPING IT REAL with FRIZZY LIZZY

KEEPING IT REAL with FRIZZY LIZZY

Hi dear friends and followers. First I wish to thank you for coming to my blog and today is Lizzy's day. Take five relax and read  


I cannot say that every second of every day with all of my former partners was a living hell. We had our fun times together. Once in a while it was at the expense of a third party and that made things interesting.

It was early in 1978, as I recall, and we were still living on that farm in the place that I call Poverty Pocket, Pennsylvania. We had been there long enough to begin to fit in rather well with everyone in the area, even down to the fact that both of us were unemployed and collecting the grand sum of $140 a week between us.

A letter came in the mail from a resort called Shawnee-on-the-Delaware. It was an invitation to look at their vacation condominiums and learn about the timeshare form of ownership. The invitation said that they would pay for the gasoline that we used to drive there, give us a free meal, two gifts to take home with us, and all that we had to do was to take a tour of their facilities.

We talked it over and since we were broke and there was no road trip in our future, we agreed to go, listen to their sales pitch, act interested and buy nothing. He was to be the one who was ready to buy-into the resort and I was to be the one who was to be of the mind to go home without anything but the gas money.

After about a 90-minute drive, we arrived at the sales office of Shawnee-on-the-Delaware Resort. It was on the Delaware River in the Pocono Mountains of Pennsylvania. As we parked our new Chevrolet the sales crew must have thought that we had more money than we did.

A fellow whose name I have forgotten ushered us into a nicely-appointed sales office and gave us coffee, snacks, and two comfortable seats while he explained to us that the condominiums were sold on the timeshare basis. My ex was full of questions as I sat there with a poker face.

Then he took us to a place where there were Jeeps parked and he told us to get into one of them. The driver was already there. He was a fellow in his 30s, I would say, well-built, with black hair. The salesman took pains to tell us that the driver was a Native American and a descendant of those who lived in the area around the resort. He introduced him as “Chief.” That tacky bit of tokenism has stayed with me until today.

As we drove, Chief explained what we saw. There were buildings under renovation, new construction, snow in the beautiful hemlock trees, deer in the woods, and, generally speaking, a beautiful resort coming together. My former asked all of the questions and sounded like a child in a toy store while I kept silent.

Then we went for lunch with Chief and the salesman, who by then had become a bit more than an irritation because of the pressure he had been applying to get a comment from me.

We finished lunch and went back to the sales center. This time it was to a different room, one with a conference table and contract documents on it. On its walls were pictures of the condominium units we had seen and their prices for a two-week “deed.”

The salesman and a female accomplice sat across the table from us and pressured both of us for a commitment to buy. My ex was all for it, but I refused to agree.
Finally, the salesman looked at his partner and told us that they were leaving the room for a few minutes so we could talk it over and maybe come to a positive resolution. They rose from the table and left us alone.

My ex made many mistakes in his life but not being prepared for that trip was not one of them. He told me that it was a sure thing that we would be left alone to discuss the deal and that the salespeople would be listening to our private conversation, maybe even watching us, to get a clue as to how to close a deal.
We played our parts so well that I believed for a few minutes that we were sincerely interested in having a timeshare condominium and that being broke was no object to getting it!
He pleaded, whined, and cajoled, but it fell on unsympathetic ears. Every time he came up with a way to afford payments on a condo, I came up with an expense that would eat those payments. This went on for about five minutes.

The sales people returned and asked if they could help us to decide. My ex told them that things were at an impasse. They gave up on us, paid us for our trip, gave us our free gifts, and showed us the door.

We were about ten minutes away from there when we began to relax and share a laugh about our afternoon at Shawnee-on-the-Delaware and how well we had played our parts with no rehearsals or acting experience.

A few months later we moved from Poverty Pocket to a place where jobs were plentiful. I never looked back. 

Thank you very much again, dear friends, for visiting my blog. Please share your thoughts with us, if you will. have a great Week.

ڰۣIn Loving Light from the Fairy Ladyڰۣ


Wednesday, 15 April 2015

A Fairy Song



A Fairy Song

Hi, dear friends and followers. Today I have for you one of my poems that I am hoping you can find five minutes to read, run the video while reading. Thank you



Over the forest, beyond the horizon;

Over the rivers, through the valleys; 

Over park, in the darkness of night;

They fly over cities and wide open spaces!

Look mom, look! What are those tiny lights,

over there in the dark of this night's sky?

There flew four, no five, tiny points of light,

glowing and filled with the colors of the rainbow.

Through storm and through flood 

and fire in the fields below,

they fly and wander everywhere. 

Swifter than the clouds

that pass by the moon's sphere,

they twinkle and they dash to and fro!

But all come to a standstill,

at a brilliant light perched upon a stone,


in the center of the placid pond.

All of the forest's denizens are there,

They come, invited by the Fairy Queen.

As I join the proceedings at the edge of the pond,

Orbs of every size and color surround the Queen,

Followed by a precession of the sparkly beings;


tiny little specks of flickering light 

in their gold coats and sparkly attire.

The wee folks of light dance in unison

to the musical light of the Queen; 

The sparkle of rubies and diamonds ,

would fail to match the brightness all about.

Fairy favor I must seek with dewdrops,


and hang them from every bloom. 

Above the forest the sky was lit 

with the glow of Mardi Gras on a summer's night.

Then all grew quiet as the bright light faded,

and vanished from my sight.

I walked home from the pond with a glow of my own


but feeling rather crestfallen,

to see the night's dancing end.

Composed by Cynthia ©


Thank you very much again, dear friends, for visiting my blog. Please share your thoughts with us, if you will. have a great Week.

ڰۣIn Loving Light from the Fairy Ladyڰۣ


Tuesday, 14 April 2015

The King of the Werewolves

The King of the Werewolves

Hi, dear friends and followers. I am pleased that you are here, today I have another fiction and fantasy story for you. Take five,  relax and enjoy, thank you   

By: Christopher Bleakley


Ironically, it was in Vulpecula, the constellation of the little fox, where the persecuted werewolves finally found safety—on a nameless planet orbiting a distant, faint, nameless star. Whether the location was reached by chance or design is both unknown and unimportant. What mattered were the six moons, one always full, which waxed and waned asymmetrically in the blue-back sky, permanently keeping the lycanthropes in their altered, feral state.

They had been driven there from across seventy-seven solar systems in seventy-seven galaxies; misunderstood, feared and hounded by every species they encountered. On Aanganese, an orb of charred land and oceans of lead, anarchic cyborgs
 
crucified werewolves along the ragged equatorial coastlines, leaving them to bake in the heat of the nearby red giant, as it expanded to destroy their incorrigible world. 

On the twin planets of Eulergall and Eaxexass—inhabited by the paranoid Y’Chroma, a sadistic race of half-life automatons—werewolves were stretched—howling ferociously in the agony—between the gravitational pull of the coupled worlds, until their brutalised bodies became thinner than a string of atoms. Their fate on Trauhasse had been so chilling that it had been repressed from the collective lycanthropic memory. Now, on this anonymous world, they had found safety and peace. They swore they would never allow their terrible history to be repeated; that no living thing would ever come to torment them again. This anonymous rock, where every surviving lycanthrope had made their lair, was theirs now, and theirs alone. They would defend both it and themselves until the end of time.

Bósifried was the last King of the Werewolves: A god-like beast so magnificent that he was entwined with the very fabric of the universe. From his throne in the firmament of the Beyond, he watched in helpless pity as carnivorous mutant robots massacred his brethren and drove them from ancestral lands; as their suckling young were mutilated by the steam-hissing savages of Alpha Kraucente; as werewolf turned against werewolf in desperation to survive; and as they petitioned him, Bósifried—beseeched him through sacrifice and incantation—to protect and save them. Yet their maltreatment was no more than a reflection of the abuse their godhead faced in the murky peripheries between the real and unreal megacosms.

Once, not so long ago, Bósifried had enjoyed all the immunity that his divine status brought him: The respect and untouchability of being a member of the Grand Cosmic Council. Yet something had recently stirred changes in the other deities’ perceptions of Bósifried and his kin. To begin with the propaganda was mild and indirect, but soon the Grand Cosmic Council stopped consulting the Werewolf King on issues affecting his species, and overturned resolutions he had already proclaimed.

Matters rapidly degenerated: New forces, new powers and new procedures began to take precedence; Bósifried was being usurped, and the attempted extermination of werewolves was the natural result. The Werewolf King himself had become a target. He had no choice, now. He was forced to run.

From his residence in the mysterious and magickal substance that holds all suns and moons and planets together, Bósifried tore himself free and took on his physical form. As he left the constraints of the cosmic fibre behind him a terrifying roar resounded through thirty galaxies, and a dozen stars imploded from the sudden imbalance in the quantum. A fissure appeared in the tissue of the universe and a streamlined craft burst out of it at tremendous speed, its cylindrical shape unwavering in its unequivocal course. At the helm of the magnificent yellow and orange craft stood Bósifried: Twelve feet and an inch on his hind legs, coarse fur, blacker than the souls of a thousand black holes, enveloping his muscular body. His thick, lengthy tail thrashed about behind him and his jaws dripped oleaginous saliva. His fiery red eyes glared like embers. He wore a simple crown of beaten gold panel, the symbol of his legitimate rank.

Within an instant of Bósifried making his escape four more lacerations cut through the universal curtain, setting off four more monstrous bombs of deadening sound. Shockwaves oscillated wildly in all directions as four more rockets departed the non-spacetime realms in hot pursuit of their lycanthropic quarry.


In the first craft were the Zlochin—a mechanical paramilitary force—resplendent in their brass and leather uniforms and wielding deadly anti-atom rifles. The second craft contained a delegation of the Judges of the Soudny Den—huge, bodiless wrinkled heads of fifteen eyes, twelve ears and one mouth—who were responsible for ensuring the legality of capital proceedings throughout all cosmic jurisdictions. The third contained a back up militia, the six-armed Fialova Brigade—bloodthirsty, amoral and murderous rogues with the ability to become invisible at will. Finally came the Moudrosti, the writers of the chronicles and annals of known and unknown galaxies. The inhabitants of each craft had a common purpose: To ensure the demise of Bósifried, and the obliteration of werewolves from history.

Bósifried increased his speed to factor Σ≥0.05/-1. Knowing that this journey was imminent he had already programmed his craft to head directly to the planet where his brethren had congregated. There he knew he would be safe. More than that, his coming would be final proof of the werewolves’ faith in him—that he had not, and never would, abandon them. Galaxies shot by in green and pink light as the King of the Werewolves strove to shake his pursuers and reach his final destination.

The first missile caught the rear end of Bósifried’s craft and ripped off a chunk of the upper fuselage. The Zlochin had been careless in their aim. Bósifried howled, snarled, and howled again, as the impact sent his ship spinning off course and his precious crown hurtling from his head, and he struggled to regain control. Rapidly, he hit several buttons on the console in front of him, activating the ship’s auto-repair function, then gripped the dirigibility lever to assume manual navigation. A few seconds later equilibrium was restored and auto-pilot reinstated. In his long, freshly sharpened claws, the King of the Werewolves picked up his crown and restored it carefully to his head. He howled again.

A voice came through on the intership communicating screen. It was unrecognisable, but its message was clear.

—Bósifried, it is folly to continue further with this preposterous charade. You cannot escape. We outnumber you four-to-one. We will soon have you surrounded. You are a wise beast, you have proven that over your time, but new laws of history are being written, and it has come to pass that you must face due process. Save your dignity, Bósifried, and surrender. Your brethren will praise the sacrifice. Alas! they must submit to the redaction in the cosmic anthropology, for their extinction has already been ordained. But listen to reason, Bósifried. Give yourself up and be remembered with the nobility that your kind richly deserves.

The King of the Werewolves howled and spat a torrent of diseased phlegm at the communicating screen. He regretted being unable to unleash his wrath on his opponents in person.

Several aeons passed, yet Bósifried did not reply to the continuing demands of his executioners-in-waiting. He had no intention of capitulating, and increased his speed to Σ≥0.06/-1. He checked his galactic longitude and latitude on the positional abacus. Seeing he was less than thirty light years from the werewolf colony he snarled and pawed at the console in delight.

A second missile hit the craft, causing substantially more damage than the first. The Zlochin had improved their aim. The ballistic tore straight through the fuselage, leaving a gaping hole from one side to the other. By sheer coincidence, neither Bósifried’s flight path nor any of the ship’s navigational equipment was damaged; the missile had failed to hit any vital apparatus. The only noticeable effect, after the initial explosion and subsequent shockwave, was a slight reduction in the spacecraft’s velocity. Bósifried moved up two gears to Σ≥0.08/-1, to compensate for the increase in drag.

He checked the positional abacus again: Fifteen light years until touchdown. He considered sending a message to his kin that he was finally coming to them, that they need do nothing in preparation except ready themselves to welcome him, but ultimately he decided against it. He thought it would be better to arrive unannounced; that way he could observe their true reaction to his visitation.

On the perception monitors Bósifried could see that the four pursuing spacecraft were gaining on him. He checked his fuel levels and cursed himself for not having set the replenishment gauge, which would have instantly replaced fuel as it was burnt. Levels were getting critically low; perhaps only eleven light years’ worth remained, and there was no time to rectify the oversight now. He performed some quick calculations on the reckoning engine. With enough propulsion it might just be possible to reach the werewolf colony even when the fuel ran out; the momentum should be enough to get him within two or three light months, from which distance he could complete his descent in the smaller landing module. The risk had to be taken. The King of the Werewolves increased speed to Σ≥0.09/-1.

A third missile attack from the Zlochin did nothing to slow Bósifried down. Another message came across the intership communicating system, the distinct tone of desperation in the voice giving Bósifried a singular reassurance that a victorious escape was within his grasp. The missile penetrated his craft in a similar manner as the second one had, causing much superficial damage but leaving all essential machinery unaffected. On the positional abacus, Bósifried could now see the exact location of the werewolf colony, and duly programmed his route into the navigational console. To be safe he duplicated the coordinates in the spacecraft’s back up routemaster. With a final blast of warp speed he left his pursuers behind.

The King of the Werewolves snarled, howled, and snarled again.

From an anonymous planet in the constellation of Vulpecula, where the universe’s entire population of werewolves had built a safe haven for themselves, a rapidly moving bright white light could be seen in the sky, approaching the planet in a steady arc. The werewolf elders feared the worst: That some unrelenting enemy had tracked them down, intent on seeing them out once and for all. Seemingly abandoned by their godhead, the formerly all-powerful Bósifried, the elders had taken it upon themselves to ensure the continued survival of their community. With the entire body of werewolf knowledge at their disposal they had constructed a devastating defence system on their new planetary home. A series of gigantic launchers, each with a warhead containing the explosive power of half a pulsar, had been set up at strategic, regular intervals all across the landscape and seascape. No matter where an attack came from, the colony would be defended.

For several months the werewolf elders followed the trajectory of the mysterious invader, holding their fire until they were sure of what they faced. By recording its progression and speed they were able to predict its path with unerring accuracy. The day of reckoning would soon be upon them.

When the day finally came, the elders knew their fears had been justified. A great cylindrical craft was bearing down on them, its luminous yellow and orange livery distinct against the dark background of the sky. The elders gave the order, and one, another, then a third warhead was launched. The three missiles hit the invading spacecraft simultaneously, blowing it to smithereens, trails of dust and debris sprawling out in every which way like the last death throes of collapsing star.

The elders did not rejoice. Their faces and hearts hung heavy with sorrow. For now that they knew they had to protect themselves, they also knew that that could mean only one thing. Their godhead, Bósifried, was dead.

END

About the author: Christopher Bleakley is a lawyer currently working in Prague, Czech Republic. Suffering legal nightmares during the day he likes to relax with literary nightmares in the evenings. A fan of the horror and other weird fiction since childhood, particularly the classic English ghost story, he has been writing short stories in various genres for the last few years, but not nearly as many as he would like to. He has also completed one novel and is currently working on his second

Thank you very much again, dear friends, for visiting my blog. Please share your thoughts with us, if you will. have a great Week.
✿ ڰۣ❤In Loving Light from the Fairy Lady❤ڰۣ✿

Sunday, 12 April 2015

Tobermory

Hi dear friends and followers. Thought I would change the pace and introduce a little sci-fi and humor. Take five and enjoy the story, thank you.
Tobermory

By: Saki

It was a chill, rain-washed afternoon of a late August day, that indefinite season when partridges are still in security or cold storage, and there is nothing to hunt - unless one is bounded on the north by the Bristol Channel, in which case one may lawfully gallop after fat red stags. Lady Blemley's house-party was not bounded on the north by the Bristol Channel, hence there was a full gathering of her guests round the tea-table on this particular afternoon. And, in spite of the blankness of the season and the triteness of the occasion, there was no trace in the company of that fatigued restlessness which means a dread of the pianola and a subdued hankering for auction bridge. The undisguised open-mouthed attention of the entire party was fixed on the homely negative personality of Mr. Cornelius Appin. Of all her guests, he was the one who had come to Lady Blemley with the vaguest reputation. Some one had said he was "clever," and he had got his invitation in the moderate expectation, on the part of his hostess, that some portion at least of his cleverness would be contributed to the general entertainment. Until tea-time that day she had been unable to discover in what direction, if any, his cleverness lay. He was neither a wit nor a croquet champion, a hypnotic force nor a begetter of amateur theatricals. Neither did his exterior suggest the sort of man in whom women are willing to pardon a generous measure of mental deficiency. He had subsided into mere Mr. Appin, and the Cornelius seemed a piece of transparent baptismal bluff. And now he was claiming to have launched on the world a discovery beside which the invention of gunpowder, of the printing-press, and of steam locomotion were inconsiderable trifles. Science had made bewildering strides in many directions during recent decades, but this thing seemed to belong to the domain of miracle rather than to scientific achievement.

"And do you really ask us to believe," Sir Wilfrid was saying, "that you have discovered a means for instructing animals in the art of human speech, and that dear old Tobermory has proved your first successful pupil?"

"It is a problem at which I have worked for the last seventeen years," said Mr. Appin, "but only during the last eight or nine months have I been rewarded with glimmerings of success. Of course I have experimented with thousands of animals, but latterly only with cats, those wonderful creatures which have assimilated themselves so marvellously with our civilization while retaining all their highly developed feral instincts. Here and there among cats one comes across an outstanding superior intellect, just as one does among the ruck of human beings, and when I made the acquaintance of Tobermory a week ago I saw at once that I was in contact with a `Beyond-cat' of extraordinary intelligence. I had gone far along the road to success in recent experiments; with Tobermory, as you call him, I have reached the goal."

Mr. Appin concluded his remarkable statement in a voice which he strove to divest of a triumphant inflection. No one said "Rats," though Clovis's lips moved in a monosyllabic contortion which probably invoked those rodents of disbelief.

"And do you mean to say," asked Miss Resker, after a slight pause, "that you have taught Tobermory to say and understand easy sentences of one syllable?"

"My dear Miss Resker," said the wonder-worker patiently, "one teaches little children and savages and backward adults in that piecemeal fashion; when one has once solved the problem of making a beginning with an animal of highly developed intelligence one has no need for those halting methods. Tobermory can speak our language with perfect correctness."

This time Clovis very distinctly said, "Beyond-rats!" Sir Wilfrid was more polite, but equally sceptical.

"Hadn't we better have the cat in and judge for ourselves?" suggested Lady Blemley.

Sir Wilfrid went in search of the animal, and the company settled themselves down to the languid expectation of witnessing some more or less adroit drawing-room ventriloquism.

In a minute Sir Wilfrid was back in the room, his face white beneath its tan and his eyes dilated with excitement. "By Gad, it's true!"

His agitation was unmistakably genuine, and his hearers started forward in a thrill of awakened interest.

Collapsing into an armchair he continued breathlessly: "I found him dozing in the smoking-room and called out to him to come for his tea. He blinked at me in his usual way, and I said, 'Come on, Toby; don't keep us waiting'; and, by Gad! he drawled out in a most horribly natural voice that he'd come when he dashed well pleased! I nearly jumped out of my skin!"

Appin had preached to absolutely incredulous hearers; Sir Wilfred's statement carried instant conviction. A Babel-like chorus of startled exclamation arose, amid which the scientist sat mutely enjoying the first fruit of his stupendous discovery.

In the midst of the clamour Tobermory entered the room and made his way with velvet tread and studied unconcern across to the group seated round the tea-table.

A sudden hush of awkwardness and constraint fell on the company. Somehow there seemed an element of embarrassment in addressing on equal terms a domestic cat of acknowledged mental ability.

"Will you have some milk, Tobermory?" asked Lady Blemley in a rather strained voice.

"I don't mind if I do," was the response, couched in a tone of even indifference. A shiver of suppressed excitement went through the listeners, and Lady Blemley might be excused for pouring out the saucerful of milk rather unsteadily.

"I'm afraid I've spilt a good deal of it," she said apologetically.

"After all, it's not my Axminster," was Tobermory's rejoinder.

Another silence fell on the group, and then Miss Resker, in her best district-visitor manner, asked if the human language had been difficult to learn. Tobermory looked squarely at her for a moment and then fixed his gaze serenely on the middle distance. It was obvious that boring questions lay outside his scheme of life.

"What do you think of human intelligence?" asked Mavis Pellington lamely.

"Of whose intelligence in particular?" asked Tobermory coldly.

"Oh, well, mine for instance," said Mavis, with a feeble laugh.

"You put me in an embarrassing position," said Tobermory, whose tone and attitude certainly did not suggest a shred of embarrassment. "When your inclusion in this house-party was suggested, Sir Wilfrid protested that you were the most brainless woman of his acquaintance, and that there was a wide distinction between hospitality and the care of the feeble-minded. Lady Blemley replied that your lack of brain-power was the precise quality which had earned you your invitation, as you were the only person she could think of who might be idiotic enough to buy their old car. You know, the one they call 'The Envy of Sisyphus,' because it goes quite nicely up-hill if you push it."

Lady Blemley's protestations would have had greater effect if she had not casually suggested to Mavis only that morning that the car in question would be just the thing for her down at her Devonshire home.

Major Barfield plunged in heavily to effect a diversion.

"How about your carryings-on with the tortoise-shell puss up at the stables, eh?"

The moment he had said it every one realized the blunder.

"One does not usually discuss these matters in public," said Tobermory frigidly. "From a slight observation of your ways since you've been in this house I should imagine you'd find it inconvenient if I were to shift the conversation on to your own little affairs."

The panic which ensued was not confined to the Major.

"Would you like to go and see if cook has got your dinner ready?" suggested Lady Blemley hurriedly, affecting to ignore the fact that it wanted at least two hours to Tobermory's dinner-time.

"Thanks," said Tobermory, "not quite so soon after my tea. I don't want to die of indigestion."

"Cats have nine lives, you know," said Sir Wilfrid heartily.

"Possibly", answered Tobermory; "but only one liver."





"Adelaide!" said Mrs. Cornett, "do you mean to encourage that cat to go out and gossip about us in the servants' hall?"

The panic had indeed become general. A narrow ornamental balustrade ran in front of most of the bedroom windows at the Towers, and it was recalled with dismay that this had formed a favourite promenade for Tobermory at all hours, whence he could watch the pigeons - and heaven knew what else besides. If he intended to become reminiscent in his present outspoken strain the effect would be something more than disconcerting. Mrs. Cornett, who spent much time at her toilet table, and whose complexion was reputed to be of a nomadic though punctual disposition, looked as ill at ease as the Major. Miss Scrawen, who wrote fiercely sensuous poetry and led a blameless life, merely displayed irritation; if you are methodical and virtuous in private you don't necessarily want every one to know it. Bertie van Tahn, who was so depraved at seventeen that he had long ago given up trying to be any worse, turned a dull shade of gardenia white, but he did not commit the error of dashing out of the room like Odo Finsberry, a young gentleman who was understood to be reading for the Church and who was possibly disturbed at the thought of scandals he might hear concerning other people. Clovis had the presence of mind to maintain a composed exterior; privately he was calculating how long it would take to procure a box of fancy mice through the agency of the Exchange and Mart as a species of hush-money.

Even in a delicate situation like the present, Agnes Resker could not endure to remain too long in the background.

"Why did I ever come down here?" she asked dramatically.

Tobermory immediately accepted the opening.

"Judging by what you said to Mrs. Cornett on the croquet-lawn yesterday, you were out for food. You described the Blemleys as the dullest people to stay with that you knew, but said they were clever enough to employ a first-rate cook; otherwise they'd find it difficult to get any one to come down a second time."

"There's not a word of truth in it! I appeal to Mrs. Cornett--" exclaimed the discomfited Agnes.

"Mrs. Cornett repeated your remark afterwards to Bertie van Tahn," continued Tobermory, "and said, 'That woman is a regular Hunger Marcher; she'd go anywhere for four square meals a day,' and Bertie van Tahn said--"

At this point the chronicle mercifully ceased. Tobermory had caught a glimpse of the big yellow Tom from the Rectory working his way through the shrubbery towards the stable wing. In a flash he had vanished through the open French window.

With the disappearance of his too brilliant pupil Cornelius Appin found himself beset by a hurricane of bitter upbraiding, anxious inquiry, and frightened entreaty. The responsibility for the situation lay with him, and he must prevent matters from becoming worse. Could Tobermory impart his dangerous gift to other cats? was the first question he had to answer. It was possible, he replied, that he might have initiated his intimate friend the stable puss into his new accomplishment, but it was unlikely that his teaching could have taken a wider range as yet.

"Then," said Mrs. Cornett, "Tobermory may be a valuable cat and a great pet; but I'm sure you'll agree, Adelaide, that both he and the stable cat must be done away with without delay."

"You don't suppose I've enjoyed the last quarter of an hour, do you?" said Lady Blemley bitterly. "My husband and I are very fond of Tobermory - at least, we were before this horrible accomplishment was infused into him; but now, of course, the only thing is to have him destroyed as soon as possible."

"We can put some strychnine in the scraps he always gets at dinner-time," said Sir Wilfrid, "and I will go and drown the stable cat myself. The coachman will be very sore at losing his pet, but I'll say a very catching form of mange has broken out in both cats and we're afraid of its spreading to the kennels."

"But my great discovery!" expostulated Mr. Appin; "after all my years of research and experiment--"

"You can go and experiment on the short-horns at the farm, who are under proper control," said Mrs. Cornett, "or the elephants at the Zoological Gardens. They're said to be highly intelligent, and they have this recommendation, that they don't come creeping about our bedrooms and under chairs, and so forth."

An archangel ecstatically proclaiming the Millennium, and then finding that it clashed unpardonably with Henley and would have to be indefinitely postponed, could hardly have felt more crestfallen than Cornelius Appin at the reception of his wonderful achievement. Public opinion, however, was against him - in fact, had the general voice been consulted on the subject it is probable that a strong minority vote would have been in favour of including him in the strychnine diet.

Defective train arrangements and a nervous desire to see matters brought to a finish prevented an immediate dispersal of the party, but dinner that evening was not a social success. Sir Wilfrid had had rather a trying time with the stable cat and subsequently with the coachman. Agnes Resker ostentatiously limited her repast to a morsel of dry toast, which she bit as though it were a personal enemy; while Mavis Pellington maintained a vindictive silence throughout the meal. Lady Blemley kept up a flow of what she hoped was conversation, but her attention was fixed on the doorway. A plateful of carefully dosed fish scraps was in readiness on the sideboard, but sweets and savoury and dessert went their way, and no Tobermory appeared either in the dining-room or kitchen.

The sepulchral dinner was cheerful compared with the subsequent vigil in the smoking-room. Eating and drinking had at least supplied a distraction and cloak to the prevailing embarrassment. Bridge was out of the question in the general tension of nerves and tempers, and after Odo Finsberry had given a lugubrious rendering of "Melisande in the Wood" to a frigid audience, music was tacitly avoided. At eleven the servants went to bed, announcing that the small window in the pantry had been left open as usual for Tobermory's private use. The guests read steadily through the current batch of magazines, and fell back gradually on the "Badminton Library" and bound volumes of Punch. Lady Blemley made periodic visits to the pantry, returning each time with an expression of listless depression which forestalled questioning.

At two o'clock Clovis broke the dominating silence.

"He won't turn up tonight. He's probably in the local newspaper office at the present moment, dictating the first instalment of his reminiscences. Lady What's-her-name's book won't be in it. It will be the event of the day."

Having made this contribution to the general cheerfulness, Clovis went to bed. At long intervals the various members of the house-party followed his example.

The servants taking round the early tea made a uniform announcement in reply to a uniform question. Tobermory had not returned.

Breakfast was, if anything, a more unpleasant function than dinner had been, but before its conclusion the situation was relieved. Tobermory's corpse was brought in from the shrubbery, where a gardener had just discovered it. From the bites on his throat and the yellow fur which coated his claws it was evident that he had fallen in unequal combat with the big Tom from the Rectory.

By midday most of the guests had quitted the Towers, and after lunch Lady Blemley had sufficiently recovered her spirits to write an extremely nasty letter to the Rectory about the loss of her valuable pet.

Tobermory had been Appin's one successful pupil, and he was destined to have no successor. A few weeks later an elephant in the Dresden Zoological Garden, which had shown no previous signs of irritability, broke loose and killed an Englishman who had apparently been teasing it. The victim's name was variously reported in the papers as Oppin and Eppelin, but his front name was faithfully rendered Cornelius.

"If he was trying German irregular verbs on the poor beast," said Clovis, "he deserved all he got."

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