by Edward Lucas White
“It stands to reason,” said Twombly, “that a man must accept the evidence of his own eyes, and when his eyes and ears agree, there can be no doubt. He has to believe what he has both seen and heard.”
“Not always,” put in Singleton, softly.
Every man turned towards Singleton. Twombly was standing on the hearth-rug, his back to the grate, his legs spread out, with his habitual air of dominating the room. Singleton, as usual, was as much as possible effaced in a corner. But when Singleton spoke he said something. We faced him in that flatteringly spontaneity of expectant silence which invites utterance.
“I was thinking,” he said, after an interval, “of something I both saw and heard in Africa.”
Now, if there was one thing we had found impossible it had been to elicit from Singleton anything definite about his African experiences. As with the Alpinist in the story, who could only tell that he went up and came down, the sum of Singleton”s revelations had been that he went there and came away. His words now riveted our attention at once. Twombly faded from the hearth-rug, but not one of us could ever recall having seen him go. The room readjusted itself, focused on Singleton, and there was some hasty and furtive lighting of fresh cigars. Singleton lit one also, but it went out immediately, and he never relit it. (Continue Reading…)