A Passionate Pilgrim, by Henry James

Chapter 2

We looked out the topography of Middleshire in a county-guide, which spoke highly, as the phrase is, of Lackley Park, and took up our abode, our journey ended, at a wayside inn where, in the days of leisure, the coach must have stopped for luncheon and burnished pewters of rustic ale been handed up as straight as possible to outsiders athirst with the sense of speed. We stopped here for mere gaping joy of its steep-thatched roof, its latticed windows, its hospitable porch, and allowed a couple of days to elapse in vague undirected strolls and sweet sentimental observance of the land before approaching the particular business that had drawn us on. The region I allude to is a compendium of the general physiognomy of England. The noble friendliness of the scenery, its latent old-friendliness, the way we scarcely knew whether we were looking at it for the first or the last time, made it arrest us at every step. The countryside, in the full warm rains of the last of April, had burst into sudden perfect spring. The dark walls of the hedgerows had turned into blooming screens, the sodden verdure of lawn and meadow been washed over with a lighter brush. We went forth without loss of time for a long walk on the great grassy hills, smooth arrested central billows of some primitive upheaval, from the summits of which you find half England unrolled at your feet. A dozen broad counties, within the scope of your vision, commingle their green exhalations. Closely beneath us lay the dark rich hedgy flats and the copse-chequered slopes, white with the blossom of apples. At widely opposite points of the expanse two great towers of cathedrals rose sharply out of a reddish blur of habitation, taking the mild English light.

We gave an irrepressible attention to this same solar reserve, and found in it only a refinement of art. The sky never was empty and never idle; the clouds were continually at play for our benefit. Over against us, from our station on the hills, we saw them piled and dissolved, condensed and shifted, blotting the blue with sullen rain-spots, stretching, breeze-fretted, into dappled fields of grey, bursting into an explosion of light or melting into a drizzle of silver. We made our way along the rounded ridge of the downs and reached, by a descent, through slanting angular fields, green to cottage-doors, a russet village that beckoned us from the heart of the maze in which the hedges wrapped it up. Close beside it, I admit, the roaring train bounces out of a hole in the hills; yet there broods upon this charming hamlet an old-time quietude that makes a violation of confidence of naming it so far away. We struck through a narrow lane, a green lane, dim with its barriers of hawthorn; it led us to a superb old farmhouse, now rather rudely jostled by the multiplied roads and by-ways that have reduced its ancient appanage. It stands there in stubborn picturesqueness, doggedly submitting to be pointed out and sketched. It is a wonderful image of the domiciliary conditions of the past — cruelly complete; with bended beams and joists, beneath the burden of gables, that seem to ache and groan with memories and regrets. The short low windows, where lead and glass combine equally to create an inward gloom, retain their opacity as a part of the primitive idea of defence. Such an old house provokes on the part of an American a luxury of respect. So propped and patched, so tinkered with clumsy tenderness, clustered so richly about its central English sturdiness, its oaken vertebrations, so humanised with ages of use and touches of beneficent affection, it seemed to offer to our grateful eyes a small rude symbol of the great English social order. Passing out upon the highroad, we came to the common browsing-patch, the “village-green” of the tales of our youth. Nothing was absent: the shaggy mouse-coloured donkey, nosing the turf with his mild and huge proboscis, the geese, the old woman — THE old woman, in person, with her red cloak and her black bonnet, frilled about the face and double-frilled beside her decent placid cheeks — the towering ploughman with his white smock-frock puckered on chest and back, his short corduroys, his mighty calves, his big red rural face. We greeted these things as children greet the loved pictures in a storybook lost and mourned and found again. We recognised them as one recognises the handwriting on letter-backs. Beside the road we saw a ploughboy straddle whistling on a stile, and he had the merit of being not only a ploughboy but a Gainsborough. Beyond the stile, across the level velvet of a meadow, a footpath wandered like a streak drawn by a finger over a surface of fine plush. We followed it from field to field and from stile to stile; it was all adorably the way to church. At the church we finally arrived, lost in its rook-haunted churchyard, hidden from the workday world by the broad stillness of pastures — a grey, grey tower, a huge black yew, a cluster of village-graves with crooked headstones and protrusions that had settled and sunk. The place seemed so to ache with consecration that my sensitive companion gave way to the force of it.

“You must bury me here, you know”— he caught at my arm. “It’s the first place of worship I’ve seen in my life. How it makes a Sunday where it stands!”

It took the Church, we agreed, to make churches, but we had the sense the next day of seeing still better why. We walked over some seven miles, to the nearer of the two neighbouring seats of that lesson; and all through such a mist of local colour that we felt ourselves a pair of Smollett’s pedestrian heroes faring tavernward for a night of adventures. As we neared the provincial city we saw the steepled mass of the cathedral, long and high, rise far into the cloud-freckled blue; and as we got closer stopped on a bridge and looked down at the reflexion of the solid minster in a yellow stream. Going further yet we entered the russet town — where surely Miss Austen’s heroines, in chariots and curricles, must often have come a-shopping for their sandals and mittens; we lounged in the grassed and gravelled precinct and gazed insatiably at that most soul-soothing sight, the waning wasting afternoon light, the visible ether that feels the voices of the chimes cling far aloft to the quiet sides of the cathedral-tower; saw it linger and nestle and abide, as it loves to do on all perpendicular spaces, converting them irresistibly into registers and dials; tasted too, as deeply, of the peculiar stillness of this place of priests; saw a rosy English lad come forth and lock the door of the old foundation-school that dovetailed with cloister and choir, and carry his big responsible key into one of the quiet canonical houses: and then stood musing together on the effect on one’s mind of having in one’s boyhood gone and come through cathedral-shades as a King’s scholar, and yet kept ruddy with much cricket in misty river meadows. On the third morning we betook ourselves to Lackley, having learned that parts of the “grounds” were open to visitors, and that indeed on application the house was sometimes shown.

Within the range of these numerous acres the declining spurs of the hills continued to undulate and subside. A long avenue wound and circled from the outermost gate through an untrimmed woodland, whence you glanced at further slopes and glades and copses and bosky recesses — at everything except the limits of the place. It was as free and untended as I had found a few of the large loose villas of old Italy, and I was still never to see the angular fact of English landlordism muffle itself in so many concessions. The weather had just become perfect; it was one of the dozen exquisite days of the English year — days stamped with a purity unknown in climates where fine weather is cheap. It was as if the mellow brightness, as tender as that of the primroses which starred the dark waysides like petals wind-scattered over beds of moss, had been meted out to us by the cubic foot — distilled from an alchemist’s crucible. From this pastoral abundance we moved upon the more composed scene, the park proper — passed through a second lodge-gate, with weather-worn gilding on its twisted bars, to the smooth slopes where the great trees stood singly and the tame deer browsed along the bed of a woodland stream. Here before us rose the gabled grey front of the Tudor-time, developed and terraced and gardened to some later loss, as we were afterwards to know, of type.

“Here you can wander all day,” I said to Searle, “like an exiled prince who has come back on tiptoe and hovers about the dominion of the usurper.”

“To think of ‘others’ having hugged this all these years!” he answered. “I know what I am, but what might I have been? What do such places make of a man?”

“I dare say he gets stupidly used to them,” I said. “But I dare say too, even then, that when you scratch the mere owner you find the perfect lover.”

“What a perfect scene and background it forms!” my friend, however, had meanwhile gone on. “What legends, what histories it knows! My heart really breaks with all I seem to guess. There’s Tennyson’s Talking Oak! What summer days one could spend here! How I could lounge the rest of my life away on this turf of the middle ages! Haven’t I some maiden-cousin in that old hall, or grange, or court — what in the name of enchantment do you call the thing? — who would give me kind leave?” And then he turned almost fiercely upon me. “Why did you bring me here? Why did you drag me into this distraction of vain regrets?”

At this moment there passed within call a decent lad who had emerged from the gardens and who might have been an underling in the stables. I hailed him and put the question of our possible admittance to the house. He answered that the master was away from home, but that he thought it probable the housekeeper would consent to do the honours. I passed my arm into Searle’s. “Come,” I said; “drain the cup, bitter-sweet though it be. We must go in.” We hastened slowly and approached the fine front. The house was one of the happiest fruits of its freshly-feeling era, a multitudinous cluster of fair gables and intricate chimneys, brave projections and quiet recesses, brown old surfaces weathered to silver and mottled roofs that testified not to seasons but to centuries. Two broad terraces commanded the wooded horizon. Our appeal was answered by a butler who condescended to our weakness. He renewed the assertion that Mr. Searle was away from home, but he would himself lay our case before the housekeeper. We would be so good, however, as to give him our cards. This request, following so directly on the assertion that Mr. Searle was absent, was rather resented by my companion. “Surely not for the housekeeper.”

The butler gave a diplomatic cough. “Miss Searle is at home, sir.”

“Yours alone will have to serve,” said my friend. I took out a card and pencil and wrote beneath my name NEW YORK. As I stood with the pencil poised a temptation entered into it. Without in the least considering proprieties or results I let my implement yield — I added above my name that of Mr. Clement Searle. What would come of it?

Before many minutes the housekeeper waited upon us — a fresh rosy little old woman in a clean dowdy cap and a scanty sprigged gown; a quaint careful person, but accessible to the tribute of our pleasure, to say nothing of any other. She had the accent of the country, but the manners of the house. Under her guidance we passed through a dozen apartments, duly stocked with old pictures, old tapestry, old carvings, old armour, with a hundred ornaments and treasures. The pictures were especially valuable. The two Vandykes, the trio of rosy Rubenses, the sole and sombre Rembrandt, glowed with conscious authenticity. A Claude, a Murillo, a Greuze, a couple of Gainsboroughs, hung there with high complacency. Searle strolled about, scarcely speaking, pale and grave, with bloodshot eyes and lips compressed. He uttered no comment on what we saw — he asked but a question or two. Missing him at last from my side I retraced my steps and found him in a room we had just left, on a faded old ottoman and with his elbows on his knees and his face buried in his hands. Before him, ranged on a great credence, was a magnificent collection of old Italian majolica; plates of every shape, with their glaze of happy colour, jugs and vases nobly bellied and embossed. There seemed to rise before me, as I looked, a sudden vision of the young English gentleman who, eighty years ago, had travelled by slow stages to Italy and been waited on at his inn by persuasive toymen. “What is it, my dear man?” I asked. “Are you unwell?”

He uncovered his haggard face and showed me the flush of a consciousness sharper, I think, to myself than to him. “A memory of the past! There comes back to me a china vase that used to stand on the parlour mantel-shelf when I was a boy, with a portrait of General Jackson painted on one side and a bunch of flowers on the other. How long do you suppose that majolica has been in the family?”

“A long time probably. It was brought hither in the last century, into old, old England, out of old, old Italy, by some contemporary dandy with a taste for foreign gimcracks. Here it has stood for a hundred years, keeping its clear firm hues in this quiet light that has never sought to advertise it.”

Searle sprang to his feet. “I say, for mercy’s sake, take me away! I can’t stand this sort of thing. Before I know it I shall do something scandalous. I shall steal some of their infernal crockery. I shall proclaim my identity and assert my rights. I shall go blubbering to Miss Searle and ask her in pity’s name to ‘put me up.’”

If he could ever have been said to threaten complications he rather visibly did so now. I began to regret my officious presentation of his name and prepared without delay to lead him out of the house. We overtook the housekeeper in the last room of the series, a small unused boudoir over whose chimney-piece hung a portrait of a young man in a powdered wig and a brocaded waistcoat. I was struck with his resemblance to my companion while our guide introduced him. “This is Mr. Clement Searle, Mr. Searle’s great-uncle, by Sir Joshua Reynolds. He died young, poor gentleman; he perished at sea, going to America.”

“He was the young buck who brought the majolica out of Italy,” I supplemented.

“Indeed, sir, I believe he did,” said the housekeeper without wonder.

“He’s the image of you, my dear Searle,” I further observed.

“He’s remarkably like the gentleman, saving his presence,” said the housekeeper.

My friend stood staring. “Clement Searle — at sea — going to America —?” he broke out. Then with some sharpness to our old woman: “Why the devil did he go to America?”

“Why indeed, sir? You may well ask. I believe he had kinsfolk there. It was for them to come to him.”

Searle broke into a laugh. “It was for them to come to him! Well, well,” he said, fixing his eyes on our guide, “they’ve come to him at last!”

She blushed like a wrinkled rose-leaf. “Indeed, sir, I verily believe you’re one of US!”

“My name’s the name of that beautiful youth,” Searle went on. “Dear kinsman I’m happy to meet you! And what do you think of this?” he pursued as he grasped me by the arm. “I have an idea. He perished at sea. His spirit came ashore and wandered about in misery till it got another incarnation — in this poor trunk!” And he tapped his hollow chest. “Here it has rattled about these forty years, beating its wings against its rickety cage, begging to be taken home again. And I never knew what was the matter with me! Now at last the bruised spirit can escape!”

Our old lady gaped at a breadth of appreciation — if not at the disclosure of a connexion — beyond her. The scene was really embarrassing, and my confusion increased as we became aware of another presence. A lady had appeared in the doorway and the housekeeper dropped just audibly: “Miss Searle!” My first impression of Miss Searle was that she was neither young nor beautiful. She stood without confidence on the threshold, pale, trying to smile and twirling my card in her fingers. I immediately bowed. Searle stared at her as if one of the pictures had stepped out of its frame.

“If I’m not mistaken one of you gentlemen is Mr. Clement Searle,” the lady adventured.

“My friend’s Mr. Clement Searle,” I took upon myself to reply. “Allow me to add that I alone am responsible for your having received his name.”

“I should have been sorry not to — not to see him,” said Miss Searle, beginning to blush. “Your being from America has led me — perhaps to intrude!”

“The intrusion, madam, has been on our part. And with just that excuse — that we come from so far away.”

Miss Searle, while I spoke, had fixed her eyes on my friend as he stood silent beneath Sir Joshua’s portrait. The housekeeper, agitated and mystified, fairly let herself go. “Heaven preserve us, Miss! It’s your great-uncle’s picture come to life.”

“I’m not mistaken then,” said Miss Searle —“we must be distantly related.” She had the air of the shyest of women, for whom it was almost anguish to make an advance without help. Searle eyed her with gentle wonder from head to foot, and I could easily read his thoughts. This then was his maiden-cousin, prospective mistress of these hereditary treasures. She was of some thirty-five years of age, taller than was then common and perhaps stouter than is now enjoined. She had small kind grey eyes, a considerable quantity of very light-brown hair and a smiling well-formed mouth. She was dressed in a lustreless black satin gown with a short train. Disposed about her neck was a blue handkerchief, and over this handkerchief, in many convolutions, a string of amber beads. Her appearance was singular; she was large yet somehow vague, mature yet undeveloped. Her manner of addressing us spoke of all sorts of deep diffidences. Searle, I think, had prefigured to himself some proud cold beauty of five-and-twenty; he was relieved at finding the lady timid and not obtrusively fair. He at once had an excellent tone.

“We’re distant cousins, I believe. I’m happy to claim a relationship which you’re so good as to remember. I hadn’t counted on your knowing anything about me.”

“Perhaps I’ve done wrong.” And Miss Searle blushed and smiled anew. “But I’ve always known of there being people of our blood in America, and have often wondered and asked about them — without ever learning much. To-day, when this card was brought me and I understood a Clement Searle to be under our roof as a stranger, I felt I ought to do something. But, you know, I hardly knew what. My brother’s in London. I’ve done what I think he would have done. Welcome as a cousin.” And with a resolution that ceased to be awkward she put out her hand.

“I’m welcome indeed if he would have done it half so graciously!” Again Searle, taking her hand, acquitted himself beautifully.

“You’ve seen what there is, I think,” Miss Searle went on. “Perhaps now you’ll have luncheon.” We followed her into a small breakfast-room where a deep bay window opened on the mossy flags of a terrace. Here, for some moments, she remained dumb and abashed, as if resting from a measurable effort. Searle too had ceased to overflow, so that I had to relieve the silence. It was of course easy to descant on the beauties of park and mansion, and as I did so I observed our hostess. She had no arts, no impulses nor graces — scarce even any manners; she was queerly, almost frowsily dressed; yet she pleased me well. She had an antique sweetness, a homely fragrance of old traditions. To be so simple, among those complicated treasures, so pampered and yet so fresh, so modest and yet so placid, told of just the spacious leisure in which Searle and I had imagined human life to be steeped in such places as that. This figure was to the Sleeping Beauty in the Wood what a fact is to a fairy-tale, an interpretation to a myth. We, on our side, were to our hostess subjects of a curiosity not cunningly veiled.

“I should like so to go abroad!” she exclaimed suddenly, as if she meant us to take the speech for an expression of interest in ourselves.

“Have you never been?” one of us asked.

“Only once. Three years ago my brother took me to Switzerland. We thought it extremely beautiful. Except for that journey I’ve always lived here. I was born in this house. It’s a dear old place indeed, and I know it well. Sometimes one wants a change.” And on my asking her how she spent her time and what society she saw, “Of course it’s very quiet,” she went on, proceeding by short steps and simple statements, in the manner of a person called upon for the first time to analyse to that extent her situation. “We see very few people. I don’t think there are many nice ones hereabouts. At least we don’t know them. Our own family’s very small. My brother cares for nothing but riding and books. He had a great sorrow ten years ago. He lost his wife and his only son, a dear little boy, who of course would have had everything. Do you know that that makes me the heir, as they’ve done something — I don’t quite know what — to the entail? Poor old me! Since his loss my brother has preferred to be quite alone. I’m sorry he’s away. But you must wait till he comes back. I expect him in a day or two.” She talked more and more, as if our very strangeness led her on, about her circumstances, her solitude, her bad eyes, so that she couldn’t read, her flowers, her ferns, her dogs, and the vicar, recently presented to the living by her brother and warranted quite safe, who had lately begun to light his altar candles; pausing every now and then to gasp in self-surprise, yet, in the quaintest way in the world, keeping up her story as if it were a slow rather awkward old-time dance, a difficult pas seul in which she would have been better with more practice, but of which she must complete the figure. Of all the old things I had seen in England this exhibited mind of Miss Searle’s seemed to me the oldest, the most handed down and taken for granted; fenced and protected as it was by convention and precedent and usage, thoroughly acquainted with its subordinate place. I felt as if I were talking with the heroine of a last-century novel. As she talked she rested her dull eyes on her kinsman with wondering kindness. At last she put it to him: “Did you mean to go away without asking for us?”

“I had thought it over, Miss Searle, and had determined not to trouble you. You’ve shown me how unfriendly I should have been.”

“But you knew of the place being ours, and of our relationship?”

“Just so. It was because of these things that I came down here — because of them almost that I came to England. I’ve always liked to think of them,” said my companion.

“You merely wished to look then? We don’t pretend to be much to look at.”

He waited; her words were too strange. “You don’t know what you are, Miss Searle.”

“You like the old place then?”

Searle looked at her again in silence. “If I could only tell you!” he said at last.

“Do tell me. You must come and stay with us.”

It moved him to an oddity of mirth. “Take care, take care — I should surprise you! I’m afraid I should bore you. I should never leave you.”

“Oh you’d get homesick — for your real home!”

At this he was still more amused. “By the way, tell Miss Searle about our real home,” he said to me. And he stepped, through the window, out upon the terrace, followed by two beautiful dogs, a setter and a young stag-hound who from the moment we came in had established the fondest relation with him. Miss Searle looked at him, while he went, as if she vaguely yearned over him; it began to be plain that she was interested in her exotic cousin. I suddenly recalled the last words I had heard spoken by my friend’s adviser in London and which, in a very crude form, had reference to his making a match with this lady. If only Miss Searle could be induced to think of that, and if one had but the tact to put it in a light to her! Something assured me that her heart was virgin-soil, that the flower of romantic affection had never bloomed there. If I might just sow the seed! There seemed to shape itself within her the perfect image of one of the patient wives of old.

“He has lost his heart to England,” I said. “He ought to have been born here.”

“And yet he doesn’t look in the least an Englishman,” she still rather guardedly prosed.

“Oh it isn’t his looks, poor fellow.”

“Of course looks aren’t everything. I never talked with a foreigner before; but he talks as I have fancied foreigners.”

“Yes, he’s foreign enough.”

“Is he married?”

“His wife’s dead and he’s all alone in the world.”

“Has he much property?”

“None to speak of.”

“But he has means to travel.”

I meditated. “He has not expected to travel far,” I said at last. “You know, he’s in very poor health.”

“Poor gentleman! So I supposed.”

“But there’s more of him to go on with than he thinks. He came here because he wanted to see your place before he dies.”

“Dear me — kind man!” And I imagined in the quiet eyes the hint of a possible tear. “And he was going away without my seeing him?”

“He’s very modest, you see.”

“He’s very much the gentleman.”

I couldn’t but smile. “He’s ALL—”

At this moment we heard on the terrace a loud harsh cry. “It’s the great peacock!” said Miss Searle, stepping to the window and passing out while I followed her. Below us, leaning on the parapet, stood our appreciative friend with his arm round the neck of the setter. Before him on the grand walk strutted the familiar fowl of gardens — a splendid specimen — with ruffled neck and expanded tail. The other dog had apparently indulged in a momentary attempt to abash the gorgeous biped, but at Searle’s summons had bounded back to the terrace and leaped upon the ledge, where he now stood licking his new friend’s face. The scene had a beautiful old-time air: the peacock flaunting in the foreground like the genius of stately places; the broad terrace, which flattered an innate taste of mine for all deserted walks where people may have sat after heavy dinners to drink coffee in old Sevres and where the stiff brocade of women’s dresses may have rustled over grass or gravel; and far around us, with one leafy circle melting into another, the timbered acres of the park. “The very beasts have made him welcome,” I noted as we rejoined our companion.

“The peacock has done for you, Mr. Searle,” said his cousin, “what he does only for very great people. A year ago there came here a great person — a grand old lady — to see my brother. I don’t think that since then he has spread his tail as wide for any one else — not by a dozen feathers.”

“It’s not alone the peacock,” said Searle. “Just now there came slipping across my path a little green lizard, the first I ever saw, the lizard of literature! And if you’ve a ghost, broad daylight though it be, I expect to see him here. Do you know the annals of your house, Miss Searle?”

“Oh dear, no! You must ask my brother for all those things.”

“You ought to have a collection of legends and traditions. You ought to have loves and murders and mysteries by the roomful. I shall be ashamed of you if you haven’t.”

“Oh Mr. Searle! We’ve always been a very well-behaved family,” she quite seriously pleaded. “Nothing out of the way has ever happened, I think.”

“Nothing out of the way? Oh that won’t do! We’ve managed better than that in America. Why I myself!”— and he looked at her ruefully enough, but enjoying too his idea that he might embody the social scandal or point to the darkest drama of the Searles. “Suppose I should turn out a better Searle than you — better than you nursed here in romance and extravagance? Come, don’t disappoint me. You’ve some history among you all, you’ve some poetry, you’ve some accumulation of legend. I’ve been famished all my days for these things. Don’t you understand? Ah you can’t understand! Tell me,” he rambled on, “something tremendous. When I think of what must have happened here; of the lovers who must have strolled on this terrace and wandered under the beeches, of all the figures and passions and purposes that must have haunted these walls! When I think of the births and deaths, the joys and sufferings, the young hopes and the old regrets, the rich experience of life —!” He faltered a moment with the increase of his agitation. His humour of dismay at a threat of the commonplace in the history he felt about him had turned to a deeper reaction. I began to fear however that he was really losing his head. He went on with a wilder play. “To see it all called up there before me, if the Devil alone could do it I’d make a bargain with the Devil! Ah Miss Searle,” he cried, “I’m a most unhappy man!”

“Oh dear, oh dear!” she almost wailed while I turned half away.

“Look at that window, that dear little window!” I turned back to see him point to a small protruding oriel, above us, relieved against the purple brickwork, framed in chiselled stone and curtained with ivy.

“It’s my little room,” she said.

“Of course it’s a woman’s room. Think of all the dear faces — all of them so mild and yet so proud — that have looked out of that lattice, and of all the old-time women’s lives whose principal view of the world has been this quiet park! Every one of them was a cousin of mine. And you, dear lady, you’re one of them yet.” With which he marched toward her and took her large white hand. She surrendered it, blushing to her eyes and pressing her other hand to her breast. “You’re a woman of the past. You’re nobly simple. It has been a romance to see you. It doesn’t matter what I say to you. You didn’t know me yesterday, you’ll not know me tomorrow. Let me today do a mad sweet thing. Let me imagine in you the spirit of all the dead women who have trod the terrace-flags that lie here like sepulchral tablets in the pavement of a church. Let me say I delight in you!”— he raised her hand to his lips. She gently withdrew it and for a moment averted her face. Meeting her eyes the next instant I saw the tears had come. The Sleeping Beauty was awake.

There followed an embarrassed pause. An issue was suddenly presented by the appearance of the butler bearing a letter. “A telegram, Miss,” he announced.

“Oh what shall I do?” cried Miss Searle. “I can’t open a telegram. Cousin, help me.”

Searle took the missive, opened it and read aloud: “I shall be home to dinner. Keep the American.”

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Last updated Saturday, March 1, 2014 at 20:38