The Queen of Hearts, by Wilkie Collins

The Third Day.

FINE again. Our guest rode out, with her ragged little groom, as usual. There was no news yet in the paper — that is to say, no news of George or his ship.

On this day Morgan completed his second story, and in two or three days more I expected to finish the last of my own contributions. Owen was still behindhand and still despondent.

The lot drawing to-night was Five. This proved to be the number of the first of Morgan’s stories, which he had completed before we began the readings. His second story, finished this day, being still uncorrected by me, could not yet be added to the common stock.

On being informed that it had come to his turn to occupy the attention of the company, Morgan startled us by immediately objecting to the trouble of reading his own composition, and by coolly handing it over to me, on the ground that my numerous corrections had made it, to all intents and purposes, my story.

Owen and I both remonstrated; and Jessie, mischievously persisting in her favorite jest at Morgan’s expense, entreated that he would read, if it was only for her sake. Finding that we were all determined, and all against him, he declared that, rather than hear our voices any longer, he would submit to the minor inconvenience of listening to his own. Accordingly, he took his manuscript back again, and, with an air of surly resignation, spread it open before him.

“I don’t think you will like this story, miss,” he began, addressing Jessie, “but I shall read it, nevertheless, with the greatest pleasure. It begins in a stable — it gropes its way through a dream — it keeps company with a hostler — and it stops without an end. What do you think of that?”

After favoring his audience with this promising preface, Morgan indulged himself in a chuckle of supreme satisfaction, and then began to read, without wasting another preliminary word on any one of us.

http://ebooks.adelaide.edu.au/c/collins/wilkie/queen-of-hearts/chapter5.html

Last updated Thursday, March 13, 2014 at 21:30