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7. ON THE WEATHER.
Things do go so contrary-like with me. I wanted to hit upon an especially novel, out-of-the-way subject for one of these articles. "I will write one paper about something altogether new," I said to myself; "something that nobody else has ever written or talked about before; and then I can have it all my own way." And I went about for days, trying to think of something of this kind; and I couldn't. And Mrs. Cutting, our charwoman, came yesterday--I don't mind mentioning her name, because I know she will not see this book. She would not look at such a frivolous publication. She never reads anything but the Bible and Lloyd's Weekly News. All other literature she considers unnecessary and sinful.
She said: "Lor', sir, you do look worried."
I said: "Mrs. Cutting, I am trying to think of a subject the discussion of which will come upon the world in the nature of a startler--some subject upon which no previous human being has ever said a word--some subject that will attract by its novelty, invigorate by its surprising freshness."
She laughed and said I was a funny gentleman.
That's my luck again. When I make serious observations people chuckle; when I attempt a joke nobody sees it. I had a beautiful one last week. I thought it so good, and I worked it up and brought it in artfully at a dinner-party. I forget how exactly, but we had been talking about the attitude of Shakespeare toward the Reformation, and I said something and immediately added, "Ah, that reminds me; such a funny thing happened the other day in Whitechapel." "Oh," said they, "what was that?" "Oh, 'twas awfully funny," I replied, beginning to giggle myself; "it will make you roar;" and I told it them.
There was dead silence when I finished--it was one of those long jokes, too--and then, at last, somebody said: "And that was the joke?"
I assured them that it was, and they were very polite and took my word for it. All but one old gentleman at the other end of the table, who wanted to know which was the joke--what he said to her or what she said to him; and we argued it out.
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