“Well,” said Jack, “it seems to me that you have a garment too good for a King and too fine for a Bishop. Is that the strength of it?”
“Yes,” said Eve. “That describes it nicely. If it is no good for them, it won’t be much use to anyone else. Who would ever want something that has been insulted by a King and by a Bishop?” She asked.
“I’m glad you were wondering about that,” said Jack. “I do hear tell that in this land of Nearly Perfect people that there is no-one so flawed as to flinch from abusing the poor and trodden-upon. Is that so?”
“I don’t know,” replied Eve. “I have never seen a poor or a down-trodden-upon. What do they look like?” “You wouldn’t want to see them,” said the tramp. “That is until they are so rare they have to be saved and kept in a zoo as an endangered species. But I will tell you this – their arms are stretched like the neck of a giraffe. As their necks are like large cauliflowers they are very difficult to clothe.”
While Eve was brought up to be disbelieving of everything she was told, she found this so hard to believe it had to be true. It seems an ideal solution, she thought. This would be one way to get the garment into another land so that the grandmother would never see what a hash she had made of it. “Mr. Leeming,” she asked, “would you be kind enough to take this garment to the land of the poor and trodden-upon?” “Now why would you be wanting to give them such a splendid piece of work?” asked the tramp.
“Well,” says she, “as you said, it is too good for a King and too fine for a Bishop. There must be someone it would suit. Besides I don’t know how to go about finding God, but you seem to be the sort of person who is wise in the ways of this world.”
“I know just the person,” said the tramp. “Leave it with me and I will guarantee that not only will it go to the poor and trodden-upon, but will eventually end up in the hands of God. Will that do you?”
“Bless you, sir,” said Eve. She thrust the package into the hands of Mr. Jack, gave him an impetuous kiss on the cheek then ran away as only the shy can run after a brave bout of boldness.
Jack Leeming undid the wrapping covering the parcel and laid the garment out on the park bench. Only a man with very short arms would think the arms too long; in fact they were just of the length that, at their full length, they would keep a man’s hands warm under his armpits on a crisp autumnal evening. The cuffs were elasticated so they would not go out of shape should a man decide to push the sleeves up and get down to some work. But then Kings are not noted for physical labour. Only a man with half a brain would think that the neck was too wide, too deep. It had been made that way to accommodate a collar which was also a cowl when uncurled. But then too often Bishops forget the feeling of a cowl over the head as protection from the storms in the darkest nights on the road. These days they tend to use telephone boxes in which to shelter against raging winds of winter.