10:01 pm - Monday July 16, 2018

Three Sundays in a Week-by Edgar Allan POE

Novel Name: Three Sundays in a Week

Written by: Edgar Allan Poe

Category: Fiction, Short Stories, Short Novel

Page 1:

(1850)

 

======

YOU hard-headed, dunder-headed, obstinate, rusty, crusty, musty,
fusty, old savage!” said I, in fancy, one afternoon, to my grand
uncle Rumgudgeon — shaking my fist at him in imagination.

Only in imagination. The fact is, some trivial discrepancy did exist,
just then, between what I said and what I had not the courage to say
— between what I did and what I had half a mind to do.

The old porpoise, as I opened the drawing-room door, was sitting with
his feet upon the mantel-piece, and a bumper of port in his paw,
making strenuous efforts to accomplish the ditty.

Remplis ton verre vide!

Vide ton verre plein!

“My dear uncle,” said I, closing the door gently, and approaching him
with the blandest of smiles, “you are always so very kind and
considerate, and have evinced your benevolence in so many — so very
many ways — that — that I feel I have only to suggest this little
point to you once more to make sure of your full acquiescence.”

“Hem!” said he, “good boy! go on!”

“I am sure, my dearest uncle [you confounded old rascal!], that you
have no design really, seriously, to oppose my union with Kate. This
is merely a joke of yours, I know — ha! ha! ha! — how very pleasant
you are at times.”

“Ha! ha! ha!” said he, “curse you! yes!”

“To be sure — of course! I knew you were jesting. Now, uncle, all
that Kate and myself wish at present, is that you would oblige us
with your advice as — as regards the time — you know, uncle — in
short, when will it be most convenient for yourself, that the wedding
shall — shall come off, you know?”

“Come off, you scoundrel! — what do you mean by that? — Better wait
till it goes on.”

“Ha! ha! ha! — he! he! he! — hi! hi! hi! — ho! ho! ho! — hu! hu!
hu!- that’s good! — oh that’s capital — such a wit! But all we want
just now, you know, uncle, is that you would indicate the time
precisely.”

“Ah! — precisely?”

“Yes, uncle — that is, if it would be quite agreeable to yourself.”

“Wouldn’t it answer, Bobby, if I were to leave it at random — some
time within a year or so, for example? — must I say precisely?”

“If you please, uncle — precisely.”

“Well, then, Bobby, my boy — you’re a fine fellow, aren’t you? —
since you will have the exact time I’ll — why I’ll oblige you for
once:”

“Dear uncle!”

“Hush, sir!” [drowning my voice] — I’ll oblige you for once. You
shall have my consent — and the plum, we mus’n’t forget the plum —
let me see! when shall it be? To-day’s Sunday — isn’t it? Well,
then, you shall be married precisely — precisely, now mind! — when
three Sundays come together in a week! Do you hear me, sir! What are
you gaping at? I say, you shall have Kate and her plum when three
Sundays come together in a week — but not till then — you young
scapegrace — not till then, if I die for it. You know me — I’m a
man of my word — now be off!” Here he swallowed his bumper of port,
while I rushed from the room in despair.

A very “fine old English gentleman,” was my grand-uncle Rumgudgeon,
but unlike him of the song, he had his weak points. He was a little,
pursy, pompous, passionate semicircular somebody, with a red nose, a
thick scull, [sic] a long purse, and a strong sense of his own
consequence. With the best heart in the world, he contrived, through
a predominant whim of contradiction, to earn for himself, among those
who only knew him superficially, the character of a curmudgeon. Like
many excellent people, he seemed possessed with a spirit of
tantalization, which might easily, at a casual glance, have been
mistaken for malevolence. To every request, a positive “No!” was his
immediate answer, but in the end — in the long, long end — there
were exceedingly few requests which he refused. Against all attacks
upon his purse he made the most sturdy defence; but the amount
extorted from him, at last, was generally in direct ratio with the
length of the siege and the stubbornness of the resistance. In
charity no one gave more liberally or with a worse grace.

For the fine arts, and especially for the belles-lettres, he
entertained a profound contempt. With this he had been inspired by
Casimir Perier, whose pert little query “A quoi un poete est il bon?”
he was in the habit of quoting, with a very droll pronunciation, as
the ne plus ultra of logical wit. Thus my own inkling for the Muses
had excited his entire displeasure. He assured me one day, when I
asked him for a new copy of Horace, that the translation of “Poeta
nascitur non fit” was “a nasty poet for nothing fit” — a remark
which I took in high dudgeon. His repugnance to “the humanities” had,
also, much increased of late, by an accidental bias in favor of what
he supposed to be natural science. Somebody had accosted him in the
street, mistaking him for no less a personage than Doctor Dubble L.
Dee, the lecturer upon quack physics. This set him off at a tangent;
and just at the epoch of this story — for story it is getting to be
after all — my grand-uncle Rumgudgeon was accessible and pacific
only upon points which happened to chime in with the caprioles of the
hobby he was riding. For the rest, he laughed with his arms and legs,
and his politics were stubborn and easily understood. He thought,
with Horsley, that “the people have nothing to do with the laws but
to obey them.”

I had lived with the old gentleman all my life. My parents, in dying,
had bequeathed me to him as a rich legacy. I believe the old villain
loved me as his own child — nearly if not quite as well as he loved
Kate — but it was a dog’s existence that he led me, after all. From
my first year until my fifth, he obliged me with very regular
floggings. From five to fifteen, he threatened me, hourly, with the
House of Correction. From fifteen to twenty, not a day passed in
which he did not promise to cut me off with a shilling. I was a sad
dog, it is true — but then it was a part of my nature — a point of
my faith. In Kate, however, I had a firm friend, and I knew it. She
was a good girl, and told me very sweetly that I might have her (plum
and all) whenever I could badger my grand-uncle Rumgudgeon, into the
necessary consent. Poor girl! — she was barely fifteen, and without
this consent, her little amount in the funds was not come-at-able
until five immeasurable summers had “dragged their slow length
along.” What, then, to do? At fifteen, or even at twenty-one [for I
had now passed my fifth olympiad] five years in prospect are very
much the same as five hundred. In vain we besieged the old gentleman
with importunities. Here was a piece de resistance (as Messieurs Ude
and Careme would say) which suited his perverse fancy to a T. It
would have stiffed the indignation of Job himself, to see how much
like an old mouser he behaved to us two poor wretched little mice. In
his heart he wished for nothing more ardently than our union. He had
made up his mind to this all along. In fact, he would have given ten
thousand pounds from his own pocket (Kate’s plum was her own) if he
could have invented any thing like an excuse for complying with our
very natural wishes. But then we had been so imprudent as to broach
the subject ourselves. Not to oppose it under such circumstances, I
sincerely believe, was not in his power.

Filed in: Classics, Edgar Allan Poe, Short Stories, Speculative

No comments yet.

Leave a Reply