Mr. Hungerton, her father, really was the most tactless person on earth, — a fluffy, feathery, untidy cockatoo of a man, perfectly good-natured, but absolutely centered on his own silly self. If anything could have driven me from GladysLoading..., it would have been the thought of such a father-in-law. I am convinced that he really believed in his heart that I came around to the Chestnuts three days a week for the pleasure of his company, and very especially to hear his views on bimetallism, a subject upon which he he is seen as an authority.
“SIR, — I have duly received your note, in which you claim to endorse my views, although I am not aware that they depend on endorsement either from you or anyone else. You have ventured to use the word 'speculation' with regard to my statement on the subject of Darwinism, and I would call your attention to the fact that such a word in such a connection is offensive to a degree. The context convinces me, however, that you have sinned rather through ignorance and tactlessness than through malice, so I am content to pass the matter by. You quote an isolated sentence from my lecture, and appear to have some difficulty in understanding it. I should have thought that only a sub-human intelligence could have failed to grasp the point, but if it really needs amplification I shall consent to see you at the hour named, though visits and visitors of every sort are exceeding distasteful to me. As to your suggestion that I may modify my opinion, I would have you know that it is not my habit to do so after a deliberate expression of my mature views. You will kindly show the envelope of this letter to my man, Austin, when you call, as he has to take every precaution to shield me from the intrusive rascals who call themselves 'journalists.'
“GEORGE EDWARD CHALLENGER.”
“My dear chap, things don't happen like that in real life. People don't stumble onto enormous discoveries and then lose their evidence. Leave that to the novelists. The fellow is as full of tricks as the monkey-house at the Zoo. It's all bosh.”
No men have ever found themselves in a worse position; nor is there any use in disclosing to you our exact geographical situation and asking our friends for a relief party. Even if they could send one, our fate will in all human probability be decided long before it could arrive in South America.