One Third Off eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 63 pages of information about One Third Off.

Now there was never offered any direct proof that our hero, in pursuance of his plan for teaching the Indian a lesson, actually did do with regard to the latter’s liver what he had promised the bystanders he would do; moreover, touching on this detail he ever thereafter maintained a steadfast and unbreakable silence.  In lieu of corroborative testimony by unbiased witnesses as to the act itself, we have only these two things to judge by:  First, that when Mr. Watkins returned in the dusk of the same day he was wearing upon his face a well-fed, not to say satiated, expression, yet had started forth that morning with no store of provisions; and second, that on being found in a deceased state some days later, the Piute, who when last previously seen had with him two of Mr. Watkin’s pintos and one liver of his own, was now shy all three.  By these facts a strong presumptive case having been made out, Mr. Watkins was thenceforth known not as Ezekiel or Emanuel, or whatever his original first name had been, but as Liver-Eating, or among friends by the affectionate diminutive of Liv for short.

This I would regard as a typical instance of the value of a chain of good circumstantial evidence, with no essential link lacking.  Direct testimony could hardly have been more satisfactory, all things considered; and yet direct testimony is the best sort there is, in the law courts and out.  On the other hand, hearsay evidence is viewed legally and often by the layman with suspicion; in most causes of action being barred out altogether.  Nevertheless, it is a phase of the fattish man’s perversity that, rejecting the direct, the circumstantial and the circumferential testimony which abounds about him, he too often awaits confirmation of his growing suspicions at the hands of outsiders and bystanders before he is willing openly to admit that condition of fatness which for long has been patent to the most casual observer.

Women, as I have observed them, are even more disposed to avoid confession on this point.  A woman somehow figures that so long as she refuses to acknowledge to herself or any other interested party that she has progressed out of the ranks of the plumpened into the congested and overflowing realms of the avowedly obese, why, for just so long may she keep the rest of the world in ignorance too.  I take it, the ostrich which first set the example to all the other ostriches of trying to avoid detection by the enemy through the simple expedient of sticking its head in the sand was a lady ostrich, and moreover one typical of her sex.  But men are bad enough.  I know that I was.

CHAPTER IV

I Become The Panting Champion

Month after month, through the cycle of the revolving seasons, I went along deceiving myself, even though I deceived none else, coining new pleas in extenuation or outright contradictions to meet each new-arising element of confirmatory proof to a state of case which no unprejudiced person could fail to acknowledge.  The original discoverer of the alibi was a fat man; indeed, it was named for him—­Ali Bi-Ben Adhem, he was, a friend and companion of the Prophet, and so large that, going into Mecca, he had to ride on two camels.  This fact is historically authenticated.  I looked it up.

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One Third Off from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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