318 Concerning the Carnival of Crime in Connecticut
"Well, none that I propose to tell you, my son. Ass! I don't care what act you may turn your hand to, I can straightway whisper a word in your ear and make you think you have committed a dreadful meanness. It is my business— and my joy — to make you repent of everything you do. If I have fooled away any opportunities it was not intentional; I beg to assure you it was not intentional!''
" Don't worry; you haven't missed a trick that I know of. I never did a thing in all my life, virtuous or otherwise, that I didn't repent of in twenty-four hours. In church last Sunday I listened to a charity sermon. My first impulse was to give three hundred and fifty dollars; I repented of that and reduced it a hundred; repented of that and reduced it another hundred ; repented of that and reduced it another hundred ; repented of that and reduced the remaining fifty to twenty-five ; repented of that and came down to fifteen ; repented of that and dropped to two dollars and a half; when the plate came around at last, I repented once more and contributed ten cents. Well, when I got home, I did wish to goodness I had that ten cents back again ! You never did let me get through a charity sermon without having something to sweat about."
" Oh, and I never shall, I never shall. You can always depend on me."
" I think so. Many and many's the restless night I've wanted to take you by the neck. If I could only get hold of you now!"
" Yes, no doubt. But I am not an ass; I am only the saddle of an ass. But go on, go on. You entertain me more than I like to confess."
" I am glad of that. (You will not mind my lying a little, to keep in practice.) Look here; not to be too personal, I think you are about the shabbiest and most contemptible little shriveled-up reptile that can be