Two friends were sitting at a table drinking tea.
A sudden hubbub arose in the street. They heard pitiable groans, furious
abuse, bursts of malignant laughter.
'They're beating someone,' observed one of the friends, looking out of
'A criminal? A murderer?' inquired the other. 'I say, whatever he may be,
we can't allow this illegal chastisement. Let's go and take his part.'
'But it's not a murderer they're beating.'
'Not a murderer? Is it a thief then? It makes no difference, let's go and
get him away from the crowd.'
'It's not a thief either.'
'Not a thief? Is it an absconding cashier then, a railway director, an army
contractor, a Russian art patron, a lawyer, a Conservative editor, a social
reformer? … Anyway, let's go and help him!'
'No… it's a newspaper reporter they're beating.'
'A reporter? Oh, I tell you what: we'll finish our glasses of tea first