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35. CHAPTER XXXV. (continued)
He only said: "Go slow--the old woman won't know any different." [His aunt.]
This person gathers mementoes with a perfect recklessness, now-a-days; mixes them all up together, and then serenely labels them without any regard to truth, propriety, or even plausibility. I have found him breaking a stone in two, and labeling half of it "Chunk busted from the pulpit of Demosthenes," and the other half "Darnick from the Tomb of Abelard and Heloise." I have known him to gather up a handful of pebbles by the roadside, and bring them on board ship and label them as coming from twenty celebrated localities five hundred miles apart. I remonstrate against these outrages upon reason and truth, of course, but it does no good. I get the same tranquil, unanswerable reply every time:
"It don't signify--the old woman won't know any different."
Ever since we three or four fortunate ones made the midnight trip to Athens, it has afforded him genuine satisfaction to give every body in the ship a pebble from the Mars-hill where St. Paul preached. He got all those pebbles on the sea shore, abreast the ship, but professes to have gathered them from one of our party. However, it is not of any use for me to expose the deception--it affords him pleasure, and does no harm to any body. He says he never expects to run out of mementoes of St. Paul as long as he is in reach of a sand-bank. Well, he is no worse than others. I notice that all travelers supply deficiencies in their collections in the same way. I shall never have any confidence in such things again while I live.
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