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Author Topic: The Monkey's Paw by W. W. Jacobs  (Read 998 times)

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The Monkey's Paw by W. W. Jacobs
« on: May 28, 2013, 04:33:13 PM »
THE MONKEY'S PAW
By W. W. Jacobs

I.

Without, the night was cold and wet, but in the small parlour of Laburnam
Villa the blinds were drawn and the fire burned brightly.  Father and son
were at chess, the former, who possessed ideas about the game involving
radical changes, putting his king into such sharp and unnecessary perils
that it even provoked comment from the white-haired old lady knitting
placidly by the fire.

"Hark at the wind," said Mr. White, who, having seen a fatal mistake
after it was too late, was amiably desirous of preventing his son from
seeing it.

"I'm listening," said the latter, grimly surveying the board as he
stretched out his hand.  "Check."

"I should hardly think that he'd come to-night," said his father, with
his hand poised over the board.

"Mate," replied the son.
...than to speak out and remove all doubt." - Abraham Lincoln


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Re: A horror story by W. W. Jacobs
« Reply #1 on: May 28, 2013, 04:33:43 PM »
"That's the worst of living so far out," bawled Mr. White, with sudden
and unlooked-for violence; "of all the beastly, slushy, out-of-the-way
places to live in, this is the worst.  Pathway's a bog, and the road's a
torrent.  I don't know what people are thinking about.  I suppose because
only two houses in the road are let, they think it doesn't matter."

"Never mind, dear," said his wife, soothingly; "perhaps you'll win the
next one."

Mr. White looked up sharply, just in time to intercept a knowing glance
between mother and son.  The words died away on his lips, and he hid a
guilty grin in his thin grey beard.
...than to speak out and remove all doubt." - Abraham Lincoln


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Re: A horror story by W. W. Jacobs
« Reply #2 on: May 28, 2013, 04:34:12 PM »
"There he is," said Herbert White, as the gate banged to loudly and heavy
footsteps came toward the door.

The old man rose with hospitable haste, and opening the door, was heard
condoling with the new arrival.  The new arrival also condoled with
himself, so that Mrs. White said, "Tut, tut!"  and coughed gently as her
husband entered the room, followed by a tall, burly man, beady of eye and
rubicund of visage.

"Sergeant-Major Morris," he said, introducing him.
...than to speak out and remove all doubt." - Abraham Lincoln

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Re: A horror story by W. W. Jacobs
« Reply #3 on: May 28, 2013, 04:34:51 PM »
The sergeant-major shook hands, and taking the proffered seat by the
fire, watched contentedly while his host got out whiskey and tumblers and
stood a small copper kettle on the fire.

At the third glass his eyes got brighter, and he began to talk, the
little family circle regarding with eager interest this visitor from
distant parts, as he squared his broad shoulders in the chair and spoke
of wild scenes and doughty deeds; of wars and plagues and strange
peoples.

"Twenty-one years of it," said Mr. White, nodding at his wife and son.
"When he went away he was a slip of a youth in the warehouse.  Now look
at him."

"He don't look to have taken much harm," said Mrs. White, politely.
...than to speak out and remove all doubt." - Abraham Lincoln


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Re: A horror story by W. W. Jacobs
« Reply #4 on: May 28, 2013, 04:35:20 PM »
"I'd like to go to India myself," said the old man, "just to look round a
bit, you know."

"Better where you are," said the sergeant-major, shaking his head.  He
put down the empty glass, and sighing softly, shook it again.

"I should like to see those old temples and fakirs and jugglers," said
the old man.  "What was that you started telling me the other day about a
monkey's paw or something, Morris?"

"Nothing," said the soldier, hastily.  "Leastways nothing worth hearing."
...than to speak out and remove all doubt." - Abraham Lincoln

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Re: A horror story by W. W. Jacobs
« Reply #5 on: May 28, 2013, 04:35:50 PM »
"Monkey's paw?"  said Mrs. White, curiously.

"Well, it's just a bit of what you might call magic, perhaps," said the
sergeant-major, offhandedly.

His three listeners leaned forward eagerly.  The visitor absent-mindedly
put his empty glass to his lips and then set it down again.  His host
filled it for him.

"To look at," said the sergeant-major, fumbling in his pocket, "it's just
an ordinary little paw, dried to a mummy."
...than to speak out and remove all doubt." - Abraham Lincoln

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Re: A horror story by W. W. Jacobs
« Reply #6 on: May 28, 2013, 04:36:20 PM »
He took something out of his pocket and proffered it.  Mrs. White drew
back with a grimace, but her son, taking it, examined it curiously.

"And what is there special about it?"  inquired Mr. White as he took it
from his son, and having examined it, placed it upon the table.

"It had a spell put on it by an old fakir," said the sergeant-major,
"a very holy man.  He wanted to show that fate ruled people's lives, and
that those who interfered with it did so to their sorrow.  He put a spell
on it so that three separate men could each have three wishes from it."

His manner was so impressive that his hearers were conscious that their
light laughter jarred somewhat.
...than to speak out and remove all doubt." - Abraham Lincoln

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Re: A horror story by W. W. Jacobs
« Reply #7 on: May 28, 2013, 04:37:03 PM »
"Well, why don't you have three, sir?"  said Herbert White, cleverly.

The soldier regarded him in the way that middle age is wont to regard
presumptuous youth.  "I have," he said, quietly, and his blotchy face
whitened.

"And did you really have the three wishes granted?"  asked Mrs. White.

"I did," said the sergeant-major, and his glass tapped against his strong
teeth.

"And has anybody else wished?"  persisted the old lady.
...than to speak out and remove all doubt." - Abraham Lincoln

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Re: A horror story by W. W. Jacobs
« Reply #8 on: May 28, 2013, 04:37:34 PM »
"The first man had his three wishes.  Yes," was the reply; "I don't know
what the first two were, but the third was for death.  That's how I got
the paw."

His tones were so grave that a hush fell upon the group.

"If you've had your three wishes, it's no good to you now, then, Morris,"
said the old man at last.  "What do you keep it for?"
...than to speak out and remove all doubt." - Abraham Lincoln

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Re: A horror story by W. W. Jacobs
« Reply #9 on: May 28, 2013, 04:38:03 PM »
The soldier shook his head.  "Fancy, I suppose," he said, slowly.  "I did
have some idea of selling it, but I don't think I will.  It has caused
enough mischief already.  Besides, people won't buy.  They think it's a
fairy tale; some of them, and those who do think anything of it want to
try it first and pay me afterward."

"If you could have another three wishes," said the old man, eyeing him
keenly, "would you have them?"

"I don't know," said the other.  "I don't know."
...than to speak out and remove all doubt." - Abraham Lincoln

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Re: A horror story by W. W. Jacobs
« Reply #10 on: May 28, 2013, 04:38:35 PM »
He took the paw, and dangling it between his forefinger and thumb,
suddenly threw it upon the fire.  White, with a slight cry, stooped down
and snatched it off.

"Better let it burn," said the soldier, solemnly.

"If you don't want it, Morris," said the other, "give it to me."

"I won't," said his friend, doggedly.  "I threw it on the fire.  If you
keep it, don't blame me for what happens.  Pitch it on the fire again
like a sensible man."
...than to speak out and remove all doubt." - Abraham Lincoln

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Re: A horror story by W. W. Jacobs
« Reply #11 on: May 28, 2013, 04:39:21 PM »
The other shook his head and examined his new possession closely.  "How
do you do it?"  he inquired.

"Hold it up in your right hand and wish aloud," said the sergeant-major,
"but I warn you of the consequences."

"Sounds like the Arabian Nights," said Mrs. White, as she rose and began
to set the supper.  "Don't you think you might wish for four pairs of
hands for me?"

Her husband drew the talisman from pocket, and then all three burst into
laughter as the sergeant-major, with a look of alarm on his face, caught
him by the arm.

"If you must wish," he said, gruffly, "wish for something sensible."
...than to speak out and remove all doubt." - Abraham Lincoln

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Re: A horror story by W. W. Jacobs
« Reply #12 on: May 28, 2013, 04:39:51 PM »
Mr. White dropped it back in his pocket, and placing chairs, motioned his
friend to the table.  In the business of supper the talisman was partly
forgotten, and afterward the three sat listening in an enthralled fashion
to a second instalment of the soldier's adventures in India.

"If the tale about the monkey's paw is not more truthful than those he
has been telling us," said Herbert, as the door closed behind their
guest, just in time for him to catch the last train, "we sha'nt make much
out of it."

"Did you give him anything for it, father?"  inquired Mrs. White,
regarding her husband closely.
...than to speak out and remove all doubt." - Abraham Lincoln

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Re: A horror story by W. W. Jacobs
« Reply #13 on: May 28, 2013, 04:40:23 PM »
"A trifle," said he, colouring slightly.  "He didn't want it, but I made
him take it.  And he pressed me again to throw it away."

"Likely," said Herbert, with pretended horror.  "Why, we're going to be
rich, and famous and happy.  Wish to be an emperor, father, to begin
with; then you can't be henpecked."

He darted round the table, pursued by the maligned Mrs. White armed with
an antimacassar.
...than to speak out and remove all doubt." - Abraham Lincoln

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Re: A horror story by W. W. Jacobs
« Reply #14 on: May 28, 2013, 04:40:53 PM »
Mr. White took the paw from his pocket and eyed it dubiously.  "I don't
know what to wish for, and that's a fact," he said, slowly.  "It seems to
me I've got all I want."

"If you only cleared the house, you'd be quite happy, wouldn't you?"
said Herbert, with his hand on his shoulder.  "Well, wish for two hundred
pounds, then; that 'll just do it."

His father, smiling shamefacedly at his own credulity, held up the
talisman, as his son, with a solemn face, somewhat marred by a wink at
his mother, sat down at the piano and struck a few impressive chords.

"I wish for two hundred pounds," said the old man distinctly.
...than to speak out and remove all doubt." - Abraham Lincoln

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Re: A horror story by W. W. Jacobs
« Reply #15 on: May 28, 2013, 04:41:31 PM »
A fine crash from the piano greeted the words, interrupted by a
shuddering cry from the old man.  His wife and son ran toward him.

"It moved," he cried, with a glance of disgust at the object as it lay on
the floor.

"As I wished, it twisted in my hand like a snake."

"Well, I don't see the money," said his son as he picked it up and placed
it on the table, "and I bet I never shall."
...than to speak out and remove all doubt." - Abraham Lincoln

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Re: A horror story by W. W. Jacobs
« Reply #16 on: May 28, 2013, 04:42:07 PM »
"It must have been your fancy, father," said his wife, regarding him
anxiously.

He shook his head.  "Never mind, though; there's no harm done, but it
gave me a shock all the same."

They sat down by the fire again while the two men finished their pipes.
Outside, the wind was higher than ever, and the old man started nervously
at the sound of a door banging upstairs.  A silence unusual and
depressing settled upon all three, which lasted until the old couple rose
to retire for the night.
...than to speak out and remove all doubt." - Abraham Lincoln

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Re: A horror story by W. W. Jacobs
« Reply #17 on: May 28, 2013, 04:43:09 PM »
"I expect you'll find the cash tied up in a big bag in the middle of your
bed," said Herbert, as he bade them good-night, "and something horrible
squatting up on top of the wardrobe watching you as you pocket your
ill-gotten gains."

He sat alone in the darkness, gazing at the dying fire, and seeing faces
in it.  The last face was so horrible and so simian that he gazed at it
in amazement.'  It got so vivid that, with a little uneasy laugh, he felt
on the table for a glass containing a little water to throw over it.  His
hand grasped the monkey's paw, and with a little shiver he wiped his hand
on his coat and went up to bed.
...than to speak out and remove all doubt." - Abraham Lincoln

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Re: A horror story by W. W. Jacobs
« Reply #18 on: May 28, 2013, 04:43:40 PM »
II.

In the brightness of the wintry sun next morning as it streamed over the
breakfast table he laughed at his fears.  There was an air of prosaic
wholesomeness about the room which it had lacked on the previous night,
and the dirty, shrivelled little paw was pitched on the sideboard with a
carelessness which betokened no great belief in its virtues.

"I suppose all old soldiers are the same," said Mrs. White.  "The idea of
our listening to such nonsense!  How could wishes be granted in these
days?  And if they could, how could two hundred pounds hurt you, father?"

"Might drop on his head from the sky," said the frivolous Herbert.
...than to speak out and remove all doubt." - Abraham Lincoln

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Re: A horror story by W. W. Jacobs
« Reply #19 on: May 28, 2013, 04:44:45 PM »
"Morris said the things happened so naturally," said' his father, "that
you might if you so wished attribute it to coincidence."

"Well, don't break into the money before I come back," said Herbert as he
rose from the table.  "I'm afraid it'll turn you into a mean, avaricious
man, and we shall have to disown you."

His mother laughed, and following him to the door, watched him down the
road; and returning to the breakfast table, was very happy at the expense
of her husband's credulity.  All of which did not prevent her from
scurrying to the door at the postman's knock, nor prevent her from
referring somewhat shortly to retired sergeant-majors of bibulous habits
when she found that the post brought a tailor's bill.
...than to speak out and remove all doubt." - Abraham Lincoln


 

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