Emerson looked up from the book he was reading.
“The Old Testament,” he remarked, “is a tissue of lies from start to finish.”
As I have said before, and never tire of repeating, my husband is the greatest Egyptologist of this or any other century. It cannot be denied, however, that he holds somewhat unorthodox opinions on certain subjects. Prejudiced he is not; his critical comments are applied indiscriminately to all the major world religions, and not a few of the minor ones. Ordinarily I do not bother to protest, since contradiction only inspires him to more outrageous flights of rhetoric. However, I had become bored with my own reading material—an article on negative verb forms in the latest issue of the Zeitschrift für Aegyptische Sprache—and considered what response was most likely to result in a refreshing discussion.
The weather was unusually warm even for August in Kent, and the roses in the garden outside Emerson’s study drooped dustily. This chamber, the library in point of fact, is one of the most comfortable rooms in the house, a pleasant clutter of books and papers sprinkled with the ashes from Emerson’s pipe and the hair shed by cats of various colors. We all tend to gather there; Emerson’s attempts to claim it as his own are sporadic and ineffectual. He only does it to stir up an argument when other sources fail.