"Speak", he cried, 'and tell us whether you are alive or dead....and where is the rest of you?"
Half-way up the backwater, we got out and lunched; and it was during this lunch that George and I received rather a trying shock. Harris received a shock, too; but I do not think Harris’s shock could have been anything like so bad as the shock that George and I had over the business. You see, it was in this way: we were sitting in a meadow, about ten yards from the water’s edge, and we had just settled down comfortably to feed. Harris had the beefsteak 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 theory. “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.” With a sigh, we turned our eyes once more towards the spot where Harris and the pie had last been seen on earth; and there, as our blood froze in our veins and our hair stood up on end, we saw Harris’s head – and nothing but his head – sticking bolt upright among the tall grass, the face very red, and bearing upon it an expression of great indignation! George was the first to recover.
“Speak!” he cried, “and tell us whether you are alive or dead – and where is the rest of you?” “Oh, don’t be a stupid ass!” said Harris’s head. “I believe you did it on purpose.” “Did what?” exclaimed George and I.
” Why, put me to sit here – darn silly trick! Here, catch hold of the pie.” And out of the middle of the earth, as it seemed to us, rose the pie – very much mixed up and damaged; and, after it, scrambled Harris – tumbled, grubby, and wet. He had been sitting, without knowing it, on the very verge of a small gully, the long grass hiding it from view;...