Harris had the beefstead pie between his knees, and was carving it, and George
and I were waiting with our plates ready.
"Have you got a spoon there?" says Harris; "I want a spoon to help
the gravy with."
The hamper was close behind us, and George and I both turned round to
reach one out. We were not five seconds getting it. When we looked round
again, Harris and the pie were gone!
It was a wide, open field. There was not a tree or a bit of hedge for
hundreds of yards. He could not have tumbled into the river, because we were
on the water side of him, and he would have had to climb over us to do it.
George and I gazed all about. Then we gazed at each other.
"Has he been snatched up to heaven?" I queried.
"They'd hardly have taken the pie, too," said George.
There seemed weight in this objection, and we discarded the heavenly
"I suppose the truth of the matter is," suggested George, descending
to the commonplace and practicable, "that there has been an earthquake."
And then he added, with a touch of sadness in his voice: "I wish he
hadn't been carving that pie."
-- Jerome K. Jerome, "Three Men In A Boat"