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|Crome Yellow||Aldous Huxley|
|Page 1 of 4||
"I hope you all realise," said Henry Wimbush during dinner, "that next Monday is Bank Holiday, and that you will all be expected to help in the Fair."
"Heavens!" cried Anne. "The Fair--I had forgotten all about it. What a nightmare! Couldn't you put a stop to it, Uncle Henry?"
Mr. Wimbush sighed and shook his head. "Alas," he said, "I fear I cannot. I should have liked to put an end to it years ago; but the claims of Charity are strong."
"It's not charity we want," Anne murmured rebelliously; "it's justice."
"Besides," Mr. Wimbush went on, "the Fair has become an institution. Let me see, it must be twenty-two years since we started it. It was a modest affair then. Now..." he made a sweeping movement with his hand and was silent.
It spoke highly for Mr. Wimbush's public spirit that he still continued to tolerate the Fair. Beginning as a sort of glorified church bazaar, Crome's yearly Charity Fair had grown into a noisy thing of merry-go-rounds, cocoanut shies, and miscellaneous side shows--a real genuine fair on the grand scale. It was the local St. Bartholomew, and the people of all the neighbouring villages, with even a contingent from the county town, flocked into the park for their Bank Holiday amusement. The local hospital profited handsomely, and it was this fact alone which prevented Mr. Wimbush, to whom the Fair was a cause of recurrent and never-diminishing agony, from putting a stop to the nuisance which yearly desecrated his park and garden.
"I've made all the arrangements already," Henry Wimbush went on. "Some of the larger marquees will be put up to-morrow. The swings and the merry-go-round arrive on Sunday."
"So there's no escape," said Anne, turning to the rest of the party. "You'll all have to do something. As a special favour you're allowed to choose your slavery. My job is the tea tent, as usual, Aunt Priscilla..."
"My dear," said Mrs. Wimbush, interrupting her, "I have more important things to think about than the Fair. But you need have no doubt that I shall do my best when Monday comes to encourage the villagers."
"That's splendid," said Anne. "Aunt Priscilla will encourage the villagers. What will you do, Mary?"
"I won't do anything where I have to stand by and watch other people eat."
"Then you'll look after the children's sports."
"All right," Mary agreed. "I'll look after the children's sports."
"And Mr. Scogan?"
Mr. Scogan reflected. "May I be allowed to tell fortunes?" he asked at last. "I think I should be good at telling fortunes."
"But you can't tell fortunes in that costume!"
"Can't I?" Mr. Scogan surveyed himself.
"You'll have to be dressed up. Do you still persist?"
"I'm ready to suffer all indignities."
"Good!" said Anne; and turning to Gombauld, "You must be our lightning artist," she said. "'Your portrait for a shilling in five minutes.'"
"It's a pity I'm not Ivor," said Gombauld, with a laugh. "I could throw in a picture of their Auras for an extra sixpence."
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