‘The Pond’

Mona had always regarded herself as cast for the tragic rôle; her name, her large dark eyes, and the style of hairdressing that best suited her, all contributed to support that outlook on life. She habitually wore the air of one who has seen trouble, or, at any rate, expects to do so very shortly; and she was accustomed to speak of the Angel of Death almost as other people would speak of their chauffeur waiting around the corner to fetch them at the appointed moment. Fortune-tellers, noting this tendency in her disposition, invariably hinted at something in her fate which they would not care to speak about too explicitly. “You will marry the man of your choice, but afterwards you will pass through strange fires,” a Bond Street two-guinea palm-oilist had told her. “Thank you,” said Mona, “for your plain speaking. But I have known it always.” Continue reading

‘The Garden of Eden’

[This fragment was found among Munro’s papers after his death and first published as part of his sister’s memoir of him. Ethel Munro’s (rather idiosyncratic) commentary on it runs thus: “Eve is depicted as a very stubborn, even mule-like character. The serpent simply cannot get her to eat the forbidden fruit. She does not see that any good will come of it, and she is placidly happy in her limited knowledge. […] How she eventually succumbed I don’t know. Hector had a special detestation for this type of character, stubborn, placid, unimaginative, like the awful, good child in ‘The Story Teller’ […]”]

The Serpent elaborated all the arguments and inducements that he had already brought forward, and improvised some new ones, but Eve’s reply was unfailingly the same. Her mind was made up. The Serpent gave a final petulant wriggle of its coils and slid out of the landscape with an unmistakeable air of displeasure.

“You haven’t tasted the Forbidden Fruit, I suppose?” said a pleasant but rather anxious voice at Eve’s shoulder a few minutes later. It was one of the Archangels who was speaking.

“No,” said Eve placidly, “Adam and I went into the matter very thoroughly last night and we came to the conclusion that we should be rather ill-advised in eating the fruit of that tree; after all, there are heaps of other trees and vegetables for us to feed on.”

“Of course it does great credit to your sense of obedience,” said the Archangel, with an entire lack of enthusiasm in his voice, “but it will cause considerable disappointment in some quarters. There was an idea going about that you might be persuaded by specious arguments into tasting the Forbidden Fruit.” Continue reading