Concerning the Carnival of Crime in Connecticut 319
imagined. I am grateful enough that you are invisible to other people, for I should die with shame to be seen with such a mildewed monkey of a conscience as you are. Now if you were five or six feet high, and—"
" Oh, come ! who is to blame?"
"Why, you are; nobody else."
" Confound you, I wasn't consulted about your personal appearance."
" I don't care, you had a good deal to do with it, nevertheless. When you were eight or nine years old, I was seven feet high, and as pretty as a picture.'
" I wish you had died young! So you have grown the wrong way, have you?"
" Some of us grow one way and some the other.
You had a large conscience once; if you've a small
conscience now I reckon there are reasons for it.
However, both of us are to blame, you and I. You
see, you used to be conscientious about a great many
things; morbidly so, I may say. It was a great many
years ago. You probably do not remember it now.
Well, I took a great interest in my work, and I so
enjoyed the anguish which certain pet sins of yours
afflicted you with, that I kept pelting at you until I
rather overdid the matter. You began to rebel. Of
course I began to lose ground, then, and shrivel a little
— diminish in stature, get mouldy, and grow deformed.
The more I weakened, the more stubbornly you fastened
on to those particular sins; till at last the places on my
person that represent those vices became as callous as
shark skin. Take smoking, for instance. I played
that card a little too long, and I lost. When people
plead with you at this late day to quit that vice, that
old callous place seems to enlarge and cover me all
over like a shirt of mail. It exerts a mysterious,
smothering effect; and presently I, your faithful hater, 21