372 An Encounter with an Interviewer
" Why, certainly!"
" Oh, that is what took me so long."
" Why, my dear sir, what did you propose to spell it with?"
" Well, I — I —hardly know. I had the Unabridged, and I was ciphering around in the back end, hoping I might tree her among the pictures. But it's a very old edition."
" Why, my friend, they wouldn't have a picture of it in even the latest e— My dear sir, I beg your pardon, I mean no harm in the world, but you do not look as — as — intelligent as I had expected you would. No harm — I mean no harm at all."
" Oh, don't mention it! It has often been said, and by people who would not flatter and who could have no inducement to flatter, that I am quite remarkable in that way. Yes — yes; they always speak of it with rapture."
" I can easily imagine it. But about this interview. You know it is the custom, now, to interview any man who has become notorious."
" Indeed, I had not heard of it before. It must be very interesting. What do you do it with?"
"Ah, well — well — well — this is disheartening. It ought to be done with a club in some cases; but customarily it consists in the interviewer asking questions and the interviewed answering them. It is all the rage now. Will you let me ask you certain questions calculated to bring out the salient points of your public and private history?"
" Oh, with pleasure — with pleasure. I have a very bad memory, but I hope you will not mind that. That is to say, it is an irregular memory — singularly irregular. Sometimes it goes in a gallop, and then again it will be as much as a fortnight passing a given point. This is a great grief to me."