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Lords Temporal
by [?]

Now, with John at last arranged for, our family should have been happy; but three days ago I discovered that it was William who was going to be the real trouble. To think of William, the pride of the flock, betraying us!

As you may remember, William lives with me. He presides over the room we call “the library” to visitors and “the master’s room” to Jane. He smiles at me when I work. Ordinarily, when I want to know the time, I look at my watch; but the other morning I happened to glance at William. He said “twenty minutes past seven.” As I am never at work as early as that, and as my watch said eleven-thirty, I guessed at once that William had stopped. In the evening–having by that time found the key–I went to wind him up. To my surprise he said “six-twenty-five.” I put my ear to his chest and heard his gentle breathing. He was alive and going well. With a murmured apology I set him to the right time … and by the morning he was three-quarters of an hour fast.

Unlike John, William is reticent to a degree. With great difficulty I found my way to his insides, and then found that he had practically none to speak of at all. Certainly he had no regulator.

“What shall we do?” I asked Celia.

“Leave him. And then, when you bring your guests in for a smoke, you can say, ‘Oh, don’t go yet; this clock is five hours and twenty-three minutes fast.'”

“Or six hours and thirty-seven minutes slow. I wonder which would sound better. Anyhow, he is much too beautiful to go under a bed.”

So we are leaving him. And when I am in the mood for beauty I look at William’s mahogany sides and am soothed into slumber again … and when I want to adjust my watch (which always loses a little), I creep under the spare-room bed and consult John. John alone of all our family keeps the correct time, and it is a pity that he alone must live in retirement.