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Thing In A Jar

Wed 7 Nov 2001 by mskala Tags used: ,

[OCRed and hand-corrected, from a page found in a recycling bin in the East photocopier area, lower level, Davis Centre Library, University of Waterloo, at about 6pm on Wednesday 7 November 2001. It seemed to be a photocopied page (page 37) from a book. I searched the bins but couldn't find any other pages from the same book, nor was the book among those on the nearby table of books to be reshelved. If anyone can identify it, please let me know.]

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can hire Barton's to manage the auction.  I am acquainted with several of
the Directors of that firm; they will give us a good rate if they know
what's good for them."  She walked to the window, looked out, then turned and
surveyed the room.  That cruel smile I would later come to know well played
across her lips for a moment as she stood in thought.  The she spoke again. 
"Hmm, well then!  I think that's everything.  Wilhelm?"

"Milady," said the hunchback carefully, "there is one other matter.  What of
the Thing In A Jar?"  He indicated a tightly capped glass jar on the table;
the late Lord had apparently been using it as a paperweight.  Lady Glastonby
picked it up and held it to the light.

Let me say now that although I found the Thing's appearance moderately
disquieting, it was not one half so upsetting as many of the other objects I
had beheld that day.  Upon my discovery of Lord Glastonby's shattered
remains amidst the wreckage of his laboratory that morning, I had said to
myself that I should never again be quite the timorous vicar who had knocked
at the great door of the Manor just three days before; visions like that one
steel a man.  My newfound courage had been put to the test during luncheon,
and again when I beheld the objects the gardener found, but for the most
part I thought I was bearing up well, under the circumstances.  The Thing In
A Jar did not frighten me much.

Mercifully, Lady Glastonby never offered it to me to take a closer look. 
From a distance I beheld that it was in a glass jar of perhaps one half
pint's capacity, with a wide mouth and a tightly-fitting metal lid.  Inside,
in a clear amber broth, floated the Thing.  Its shape was softly embryonic,
rather like what might be found inside a hen's egg cracked open before its
time to hatch.  But it seemed to have the wrong number of appendages.

As I was saying, the widow was holding the jar up to the light, peering
intently into the amber liquid.  She tilted it this way and that, the
contents sloshing grotesquely.  Then she set it down on the table, near the
hunchback, who cringed.  "Well, I certainly don't want it.  Put it in the
auction then also; see what we can get for it." The hunchback picked up the
jar and carried it out.  I noticed that he was holding it at arm's length,
an expression of horror plainly visible on his face.  I wondered why.  The
Thing In A Jar really did not appear to be so bad as all that.  Perhaps, I
thought idly to myself, he had some special information of its provenance,
unknown to the Lady and myself.  Later, of course, I would come to realise
that that was in no way the limit of the things he knew beyond what any
mortal man should.

Lady Glastonby turned to me.  "Come, Vicar Bekins," she said, "Let us 

                                37
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