898 THE STORM SHIFTS THE SIGNS
found over the billiard club, and the Institute itself got the sign * Children brought up by hand \ Now, this was not at all witty, merely naughty; but the storm had done it, and no one has any control over that.
It was a terrible night, and in the morning—only think !—nearly all the signs had changed places : in some places the inscriptions were so malicious, that Grandfather would not speak of them at all; but I saw that he was chuckling secretly, and it is possible he was keeping something to himself.
The poor people in the town, and still more the strangers, were continually making mistakes in the people they wanted to see ; nor was this to be avoided, when they went according to the signs. Thus, for instance, some who wanted to go to a very grave assembly of elderly men, where important affairs were to be discussed, found themselves in a noisy boys' school, where all the company were leaping over the chairs and tables.
There were also people who made a mistake between the church and the theatre, and that was terrible indeed !
Such a storm we have never witnessed in our day ; for that only happened in Grandpapa's time, when he was quite a little boy. Perhaps we shall never experience a storm of the kind, but our grandchildren may ; and we can only hope and pray that all may stay at home while the storm is shifting the signs.
There was a proud tea-pot, proud of its porcelain, proud of its long spout, proud of its broad handle ; it had something both before and behind, the spout before and the handle behind, and it talked about it; but it did not talk about its lid; that was cracked, it was riveted, it had a defect, and one does not willingly talk of one's defects ; others do that sufficiently. The cups, the cream-pot, and the sugar-basin, the whole of the tea-service would remember more about the frailty of the lid and talk about it, than about the good handle and the splendid spout; the tea-pot knew that.