by Ernest William Hornung

Epub (Kobo), Epub (Adobe) Publication Date: 08/03/2015

DUST TO DUST Long Stow church lay hidden for the summer amid a million leaves. It had neither tower nor steeple to show above the trees; nor was the scaffolding between nave and chancel an earnest of one or the other to come. It was a simple little church, of no antiquity and few exterior pretensions, and the alterations it was undergoing were of a very practical character. A sandstone upstart in a countryside of flint, it stood aloof from the road, on a green knoll now yellow with buttercups, and shaded all day long by horse-chestnuts and elms. The church formed the eastern extremity of the village of Long Stow. It was Midsummer Day, and a Saturday, and the middle of the Saturday afternoon. So all the village was there, though from the road one saw only the idle group about the gate, and on the old flint wall a row of children commanded by the schoolmaster to "keep outside." Pinafores pressed against the coping, stockinged legs dangling, fidgety hob-nails kicking stray sparks from the flint; anticipation at the gate, fascination on the wall, law and order on the path in the schoolmaster's person; and in the cool green shade hard by, a couple of planks, a crumbling hillock, an open grave. Near his handiwork hovered the sexton, a wizened being, twisted with rheumatism, leaning on his spade, and grinning as usual over the stupendous hallucination of his latter years. He had swallowed a rudimentary frog with some impure water. This frog had reached maturity in the sexton's body. Many believed it. The man himself could hear it croaking in his breast, where it commanded the pass to his stomach, and intercepted every morsel that he swallowed. Certainly the sexton was very lean, if not starving to death quite as fast as he declared; for he had become a tiresome egotist on the point, who, even now, must hobble to the schoolmaster with the last report of his unique ailment. "That croap wuss than ever. Would 'ee like to listen, Mr. Jones
Epub (Kobo), Epub (Adobe)
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Library of Alexandria

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