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Somewhere Or Nowhere?
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"Where do you think it stands?"
"Why THERE, where you know it is!"
"Where is THERE?"
"You bother me with your silly questions!" I cried. "I am growing tired of you!"
"That tree stands on the hearth of your kitchen, and grows nearly straight up its chimney," he said.
"Now I KNOW you are making game of me!" I answered, with a laugh of scorn.
"Was I making game of you when you discovered me looking out of your star-sapphire yesterday?"
"That was this morning--not an hour ago!"
"I have been widening your horizon longer than that, Mr. Vane; but never mind!"
"You mean you have been making a fool of me!" I said, turning from him.
"Excuse me: no one can do that but yourself!"
"And I decline to do it."
"In declining to acknowledge yourself one already. You make yourself such by refusing what is true, and for that you will sorely punish yourself."
"By believing what is not true."
"Then, if I walk to the other side of that tree, I shall walk through the kitchen fire?"
"Certainly. You would first, however, walk through the lady at the piano in the breakfast-room. That rosebush is close by her. You would give her a terrible start!"
"There is no lady in the house!"
"Indeed! Is not your housekeeper a lady? She is counted such in a certain country where all are servants, and the liveries one and multitudinous!"
"She cannot use the piano, anyhow!"
"Her niece can: she is there--a well-educated girl and a capital musician."
"Excuse me; I cannot help it: you seem to me to be talking sheer nonsense!"
"If you could but hear the music! Those great long heads of wild hyacinth are inside the piano, among the strings of it, and give that peculiar sweetness to her playing!--Pardon me: I forgot your deafness!"
"Two objects," I said, "cannot exist in the same place at the same time!"
"Can they not? I did not know!--I remember now they do teach that with you. It is a great mistake--one of the greatest ever wiseacre made! No man of the universe, only a man of the world could have said so!"
"You a librarian, and talk such rubbish!" I cried. "Plainly, you did not read many of the books in your charge!"
"Oh, yes! I went through all in your library--at the time, and came out at the other side not much the wiser. I was a bookworm then, but when I came to know it, I woke among the butterflies. To be sure I have given up reading for a good many years--ever since I was made sexton.--There! I smell Grieg's Wedding March in the quiver of those rose-petals!"
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