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The Seven Pullet
by [?]

“IT’S not the daily grind that I complain of,” said Blenkinthrope resentfully; “it’s the dull grey sameness of my life outside of office hours. Nothing of interest comes my way, nothing remarkable or out of the common. Even the little things that I do try to find some interest in don’t seem to interest other people. Things in my garden, for instance.”

“The potato that weighed just over two pounds,” said his friend Gorworth.

“Did I tell you about that?” said Blenkinthrope; “I was telling the others in the train this morning. I forgot if I’d told you.”

“To be exact you told me that it weighed just under two pounds, but I took into account the fact that abnormal vegetables and freshwater fish have an after- life, in which growth is not arrested.”

“You’re just like the others,” said Blenkinthrope sadly, “you only make fun of it.”

“The fault is with the potato, not with us,” said Gorworth; “we are not in the least interested in it because it is not in the least interesting. The men you go up in the train with every day are just in the same case as yourself; their lives are commonplace and not very interesting to themselves, and they certainly are not going to wax enthusiastic over the commonplace events in other men’s lives. Tell them something startling, dramatic, piquant that has happened to yourself or to someone in your family, and you will capture their interest at once. They will talk about you with a certain personal pride to all their acquaintances. ‘Man I know intimately, fellow called Blenkinthrope, lives down my way, had two of his fingers clawed clean off by a lobster he was carrying home to supper. Doctor says entire hand may have to come off.’ Now that is conversation of a very high order. But imagine walking into a tennis club with the remark: ‘I know a man who has grown a potato weighing two and a quarter pounds.'”

“But hang it all, my dear fellow,” said Blenkinthrope impatiently, “haven’t I just told you that nothing of a remarkable nature ever happens to me?”

“Invent something,” said Gorworth. Since winning a prize for excellence in Scriptural knowledge at a preparatory school he had felt licensed to be a little more unscrupulous than the circle he moved in. Much might surely be excused to one who in early life could give a list of seventeen trees mentioned in the Old Testament.

“What sort of thing?”asked Blenkinthrope, somewhat snappishly.

“A snake got into your hen-run yesterday morning and killed six out of seven pullets, first mesmerising them with its eyes and then biting them as they stood helpless. The seventh pullet was one of that French sort, with feathers all over its eyes, so it escaped the mesmeric snare, and just flew at what it could see of the snake and pecked it to pieces.”

“Thank you,” said Blenkinthrope stiffly; “it’s a very clever invention. If such a thing had really happened in my poultry-run I admit I should have been proud and interested to tell people about it. But I’d rather stick to fact, even if it is plain fact.” All the same his mind dwelt wistfully on the story of the Seventh Pullet. He could picture himself telling it in the train amid the absorbed interest of his fellow-passengers. Unconsciously all sorts of little details and improvements began to suggest themselves.

Wistfulness was still his dominant mood when he took his seat in the railway carriage the next morning. Opposite him sat Stevenham, who had attained to a recognised brevet of importance through the fact of an uncle having dropped dead in the act of voting at a Parliamentary election. That had happened three years ago, but Stevenham was still deferred to on all questions of home and foreign politics.