Short Circuits

Short Circuits

by Stephen Leacock
     
 
I went the other day into the beautiful home of my two good
friends, the Hespeler-Hyphen-Joneses, and I paused a moment, as my
eye fell on the tall clock that stood in the hall.

"Ah," said Hespeler-Hyphen-Jones, "I see you are looking at the
clock--a beautiful thing, isn't it?--a genuine antique."

"Does it go?" I asked.

"Good

Overview

I went the other day into the beautiful home of my two good
friends, the Hespeler-Hyphen-Joneses, and I paused a moment, as my
eye fell on the tall clock that stood in the hall.

"Ah," said Hespeler-Hyphen-Jones, "I see you are looking at the
clock--a beautiful thing, isn't it?--a genuine antique."

"Does it go?" I asked.

"Good gracious, no!" exclaimed my two friends. "But isn't it a
beautiful thing!"

"Did it ever go?"

"I doubt it," said Hespeler-Hyphen-Jones. "The works, of course,
are by Salvolatile--one of the really GREAT clockmakers, you know.
But I don't know whether the works ever went. That, I believe, is
one way in which you can always tell a Salvolatile. If it's a
genuine Salvolatile, it won't go."

"In any case," I said, "it has no hands."

"Oh, dear, no," said Mrs. Jones. "It never had, as far as we know.
We picked it up in such a queer little shop in Amalfi and the man
assured us that it never had had any hands. He guaranteed it.
That's one of the things, you know, that you can tell by. Charles
and I were terribly keen about clocks at that time and really
studied them, and the books all agreed that no genuine Salvolatile
has any hands."

"And was the side broken, too, when you got it," I asked.

"Ah, no," said my friend. "We had that done by an expert in New
York after we got back. Isn't it exquisitely done? You see, he
has made the break to look exactly as if some one had rolled the
clock over and stamped on it. Every genuine Salvolatile is said to
have been stamped upon like that.

"Of course, our break is only imitation, but it's extremely well
done, isn't it? We go to Ferrugi's, that little place on Fourth
Avenue, you know, for everything that we want broken. They have a
splendid man there. He can break anything."

"Really!" I said.

"Yes, and the day when we wanted the clock done, Charles and I went
down to see him do it. It was really quite wonderful, wasn't it,
Charles?"

"Yes, indeed. The man laid the clock on the floor and turned it on
its side and then stood looking at it intently, and walking round
and round it and murmuring in Italian as if he were swearing at it.
Then he jumped in the air and came down on it with both feet."

"Did he?" I asked.

"Yes, and with such wonderful accuracy. Our friend Mr. Appin-
Hyphen-Smith--the great expert, you know--was looking at our clock
last week and he said it was marvelous, hardly to be distinguished
from a genuine fractura."

"But he did say, didn't he, dear," said Mrs. Jones, "that the
better way is to throw a clock out of a fourth story window? You
see, that was the height of the Italian houses in the Thirteenth
Century--is it the Thirteenth Century I mean, Charles?"

"Yes," said Charles.

"Do you know, the other day I made the silliest mistake about a
spoon. I thought it was a Twelfth Century spoon and said so and in
reality it was only Eleven and a half. Wasn't it, Charles?"

"Yes," said Charles.

"But do come into the drawing room and have some tea. And, by the
way, since you are interested in antiques, do look please at my
teapot."

"It looks an excellent teapot," I said, feeling it with my hand,
"and it must have been very expensive, wasn't it?"

"Oh, not THAT one," interposed Mr. Hespeler-Hyphen-Jones. "That is
nothing. We got that here in New York at Hoffany's--to make tea
in. It IS made of solid silver, of course, and all that, but even
Hoffany's admitted that it was made in America and was probably not
more than a year or so old and had never been used by anybody else.
In fact, they couldn't guarantee it in any way."

Product Details

ISBN-13:
2940013695962
Publisher:
WDS Publishing
Publication date:
01/21/2012
Sold by:
Barnes & Noble
Format:
NOOK Book
File size:
217 KB

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