In my last work I dealt with the circumstances in which I first soiled my trousers, but owing to the constraints of writing within a 'readable' length of manuscript - that is, one which can be read by any normal reader within seven days allowing two uninterrupted hours per day for that pursuit - whilst at the same time preserving to the fore of my mind an acute consciousness of the necessity to sustain a writing style that would at once entice and beguile but never fatigue, I was in that account able to deal only with the practical circumstances of the soiling during the antecedent period immediately prior to the evacuation. Subsequent pertinent factors - such as my embarrassment that such an unheralded and disturbing catastrophe should explode into my otherwise calm existence, or my worry lest my friends should become aware of my revolting condition, or my fears that my efforts to escape their presence unexposed should fail - had to be omitted and I was, on that consideration, compelled to suffer the frustration of recounting only one part (indeed I described it, with no little justification, as a 'fragment') of a situation which must needs display of all its facets in order for the reader to have understood the whole in anything approaching an accurate assessment.
Part One: Chapter One
My frustration is in part mitigated now by my opportunity to
deal with those other facets here, but I beg any reader of this volume who has
not already studied the former work to cease this perusal immediately and to
proceed through both volumes in chronological sequence lest he obtain but a
partial glimpse of that extraordinary episode.
My state of mind upon becoming cognizant of my condition is one that may only be conjectured by those who have yet to suffer a similar ordeal: it was one in which disgust, incredulity, fear, reserve, repugnance, abhorrence, displeasure, concern, discomfort, and extreme nervous debility all jostled for supremacy in their attempt to unseat my reason. Indeed, my efforts to maintain my sang-froid notwithstanding, I have little doubt that my features betrayed something of the maelstrom that raged beneath for several of my companions enquired as to the palatability of the course I was then engaged in consuming.
I replied to the best of my ability, although undoubtedly in a distracted fashion - I have no recollection now of whether or not I commended the dish and did not think to make a note of my verdict at the time - for the foremost thought that began to echo and resound throughout this emotional discombobulation concerned the ardent hope that the close weave of my thick serge breeches might serve as a type of barrier that would be impermeable to both the aroma and the waste itself. But even as I conceived this thought I was forced to abandon it in desperation - I am far from pessimistic in outlook, maintaining always a positive cast of thought regarding the outcome of events, but my former experiences in the experimental sciences informed me that it was but a question of time before the contents of my trousers leached through the substantial but nevertheless permeable woven serge. At once I conjectured how different it might be if my undergarments were made of oilskin, or some other impervious material such as caoutchouc impregnated canvas, and with both leg sections tightened close to my thighs with leather straps. I resolved to reserve the thought for future consideration and study and make mention of it here to illustrate how the minds of those who are drawn towards scientific study by virtue of their disposition, temperament, or leaning can never be wholly distracted from that pursuit.
I should say here that it was obvious to me from the start that I had to depart immediately and I began making preparations for my leave-taking, determining as I did so that I would take the first opportunity to effect an escape ...
Part Seven: Chapter Nine
... but seeing himself pursued he reversed direction, climbed
back down the ladder and placed the salmon mousse on a high shelf. We all laughed
gustily. Cadwallader, in celebration, determined to singe the hairs from the
boar's skin in order to produce first-rate crackling. In that moment I seized
my opportunity. Rising very slowly and without any sudden movement that might
attract attention, so that it took a full four minutes for me to attain an upright
posture, I then began moving sideways, crab-like, towards the door.
The self-loathing and disgust which I experienced with every touch of my clothing threatened to overwhelm me but was superseded by a desire to obtain my freedom undetected. By dint of such subtle and unobtrusive movements I reached the door in a little under seven minutes (fortunately, my predicament notwithstanding, my sense of duty asserted itself and I had the presence of mind not only to time my movements but also to make notes upon my shirt cuff).
My hand was but six inches from the door latch when I was arrested by a shout from one of my companions. I froze in place and then turned in dread at the prospect of exposure but was initially relieved and then heartily pleased to discover that the object of their attention was another of our party, one Senor Rodolpho Brazin, who was suffering a kind of fit (either of apoplexy or pulmonary collapse) and had subsided onto his plate. Uttering a silent prayer to Our Lord for this timely distraction I pulled open the door and fled into the darkened streets of St. James's and thence, by a judiciously selected series of back-alleys and side-streets, to my London address and the refreshing and very welcome ministrations of my butler.
I declare that this is a true and accurate account of events that night and further that, although I did not at the time consider the prudence of preserving the soiled trousers as evidence (henceforth I shall allow no such oversight), I can provide testimony from my manservant who cleaned me and is willing to swear an affidavit as to my condition.
J. S-T 1892