So the next morning, I gave it a stab. I wandered around the kitchen with a mixing bowl, throwingin my daughter’s half-eaten apple, some kidney beans of questionable vintage, a bunch of rawspinach, and a ton of broccoli, which I chopped into splinters, hoping to make it more likecoleslaw. Dr. Ruth fancies up her salads with blackstrap molasses, but I figured I’d earned theextra fat and sugar, so I went upscale, dousing mine with gourmet poppy-seed dressing.
It may have been in consequence of Mrs. Crupp's advice, and, perhaps, for no better reason than because there was a certain similarity in the sound of the word skittles and Traddles, that it came into my head, next day, to go and look after Traddles. The time he had mentioned was more than out, and he lived in a little street near the Veterinary College at Camden Town, which was principally tenanted, as one of our clerks who lived in that direction informed me, by gentlemen students, who bought live donkeys, and made experiments on those quadrupeds in their private apartments. Having obtained from this clerk a direction to the academic grove in question, I set out, the same afternoon, to visit my old schoolfellow.
This prolonged equilibrium was insecure. Sooner or later some more than usually widespread scourge would extinguish the species. The end came in a manner that I had not expected. The rat had accompanied man through all his adventures. Indeed, long before man appeared on the earth, the rat was well-established. And it was destined to survive him. A considerable part of the energy of the human race had always been devoted to defence against the rat. Even at the height of material civilization this ubiquitous rodent devoured much of man’s food stores and infected him with plagues. With the decline of human intelligence the rat became a much more serious menace. It exacted a far heavier toll on his food stores. It multiplied extravagantly. In the last long phase of human degeneracy the rat-catcher was the most honoured profession. Only the most intelligent of men could cope with the limited but adequate native cunning of the inferior species. Century by century man held his own against this formidable enemy, but only by a narrow margin and at great cost.
In the intervals between sifting photographs submitted by the great agencies - Keystone, Wide-World, Universal, INP, and Reuter-Photo - he would get peremptory instructions by telephone from a man he had never met to carry out certain simple operations requiring nothing but absolute discretion, speed, and accuracy. For these occasional services he received twenty pounds a month paid into his account with the Royal Bank of Canada by a fictitious relative in England.
Speak fair to all; do good to none;