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268     Material for a Projected Sequel

autumn crocuses would begin to push up their delicate, naked
snouts through the closely shaven surface. I expressed my

" Siamo esatti," said the fat, crumby woman.

For what little things will not people risk their lives ? So
Smith and I crossed the Rangitata. So Esau sold his birth-

It was noon, and I was so sheer above the floor of the valley
and the sun was so sheer above me that the chestnuts in the
meadow of Bondo squatted upon their own shadows and the
gardens were as though the valley had been paved with bricks
of various colours. The old grass-grown road ran below,
nearer the river, where many a good man had gone up and
down on his journey to that larger road where the reader and
the writer shall alike join him.


I know a man, and one whom people generally call a very
clever one, who, when his eye catches mine, if I meet him at
an at home or an evening party, beams upon me ^ from afar
with the expression of an intellectual rattlesnake on having
espied an intellectual rabbit. Through any crowd that man
will come sidling towards me, ruthless and irresistible as
fate; while I, foreknowing my doom, sidle also him-wards,
and flatter myself that no sign of my inward apprehension
has escaped me.

Supreme Occasions

Men are seldom more commonplace than on supreme
occasions. I knew of an old gentleman who insisted on having
the original polka played to him as he lay upon his death-bed.
In the only well-authenticated words I have ever met with
as spoken by a man who knew he was going to be murdered,
there is a commonness which may almost be called Shake-
spearean. There had been many murders on or near some
gold-fields in New Zealand about the years 1863 or 1864, I
forget where but I think near the Nelson gold-fields, and at
last the murderers were taken. One was allowed to turn
Queen's evidence and gave an account of the circumstances