Sunday, October 21


The Reverend Atticus, rector of Barton, surveyed his tea, which had just been placed before him, thorough the thin lenses of small steel-framed spectacles.  In the centre of the plate was a weeping chunk of boiled ham, half a hard-boiled egg with a blob of sickly-looking mayonnaise on top, two circles of dry cucumber, a radish, an over-ripe tomato and a fan-shaped piece of wilting lettuce edged in brown.

'Is there something the matter with your tea, Charles?' asked the vicar's wife.

She was a plain woman with a tong oval face and skin the colour of wax candles on the altar in the church, but her redeeming features were the most striking jade green eyes and her soft Titian hair.

'No, no, my dear,' the vicar replied, raising a smile.  I am sure someone starving in somewhere in the world would be glad of this repast, he thought, but it looked deeply unappetizing to him.  Of course he didn't say anything but picked up his knife and fork.  'I was just thinking,' he said.

'About what?' asked his wife, spearing a radish.

'Oh, what I might make the theme of my sermon on Sunday.'"

Gervase Phinn

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