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The Complete Kitchen
by [?]

“Gnats,” I went on nervously and hastily. “Of course I know that—-“

“Gnats are spelt with a G,” they shrieked.

“These weren’t. They had lost the G when they were quite young, and consequently couldn’t bite at all, and Cook said that—-“

“No; I’m afraid not.”

“I’m sorry,” I said resignedly. “I had about forty of them–on the dresser. If you won’t allow any of them, it pulls me down a lot. Er–then we have Nitro-glycerine.”

There was another howl of derision.

“Not at all,” I said haughtily. “Cook had chapped hands very badly, and she went to the chemist’s one evening for a little glycerine. The chemist was out, and his assistant–a very nervous young fellow–gave her nitro-glycerine by mistake. It stood on the dresser, it did, really.”

“Well,” said everybody very reluctantly, “I suppose—-“

I went on hastily.

“That’s two. Then Nobody. Of course, you might easily find nobody in the kitchen. In fact you would pretty often, I should say. Three. The next is Noon. It could be noon in the kitchen as well as anywhere else. Don’t be narrow-minded about that.”

“All right. Go on.”

“Non-sequitur,” I said doubtfully.

“What on earth—-“

“It’s a little difficult to explain, but the idea is this. At most restaurants you can get a second help of anything for half-price, and that is technically called a ‘follow.’ Now, if they didn’t give you a follow, that would be a Non-sequitur…. You do see that, don’t you?”

There was a deadly silence.

“Five,” I said cheerfully. “The last is Nottingham. I must confess,” I added magnanimously, “that I am a bit doubtful whether you would actually find Nottingham in a kitchen.”

“You don’t say so!”

“Yes. My feeling is that you would be more likely to find the kitchen in Nottingham. On the other hand, it is just possible that as Calais was found engraven on Mary’s heart, so–Oh, very well. Then it remains at five.”

* * * * *

Of course you think that as I only had five, I came out last. But you are wrong. There is a pleasing rule in this game that, if you have any word in your list which somebody else has, you cannot count it. And as all the others had the obvious things–such as a nutmeg-grater or a neck of mutton, or a nomlette–my five won easily. And you will note that if only I had been allowed to count my gnats, it would have been forty-five.