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A Shocking Turn Of Events

Having nearly been shot to pieces by an impudent member of the yeoman class, Standish and I fled in terror across the valley. I ask you, what-ever happened to the milk of human kindness? Strip a man of his fortune and status, and suddenly he is a marked man, the target of antipathy of every shape and stripe!

What I wouldn't have given to be back on the Zweibel Estate in my cozy death-bed, squatting over my jewel-encrusted bed-pan. Instead, I was forced to fend for my-self in the wild against rabid bob-cats and carnivorous trees.

By night-fall, Standish and I had finally managed to retreat to the wooded ridge. It was sad to look at Standish, who was but a hollow semblance of his former self. His once-immaculate livery was stained with dirt and covered with brambles and nettles. I saw my own reflection in a small puddle of water and could not believe how ghastly I looked. I'm 132 years old, but I looked more like 146!

I had finally come to the end. All in all, it had been a nice life. I had been the publisher of the Republic's finest news-paper; how many can claim that? I also had my own private slaughter-house and a giant oil portrait of Kaiser Wilhelm. And I once kissed Sophie Tucker square on the lips. But now, it was all over. "Let us go to the top of the ridge," I told Standish, "and cast ourselves off. The world no longer needs T. Herman Zweibel, nor his man-servant."

We started up the ridge, but as we progressed, the woods grew thicker and darker. The moon disappeared, and we realized we had taken a wrong turn. We were about to reverse our steps, when we noticed, directly ahead of us, a flaming torch. Approaching the torch, we found that its light revealed a well-trodden path. We followed the path and discovered a long row of evenly spaced torches beside it. "This must lead to some kind of camp, Standish," I said. "Proceed with caution. A posse could be lying in wait for us."

The sound of music and laughter grew louder. Eventually, we came upon a clearing and ducked behind a bush to conceal our-selves. Nothing could have prepared us for what we saw in that clearing.

It was my vast fortune! My gold bullion! My diamonds! My chalices! My frankincense! My diadems! My six Excaliburs!

And, more shocking still, frolicking and cavorting in the middle of it all... the thieving highway-man Black Scarlet!!! ...and Mr. Tin!!!

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