|At a grand party, a spirited discussion sprang up between a young lady
and a captain in the army. Said the young lady, "The modern woman no
longer jumps at the sight of a mouse."|
The captain said, "I beg to differ. A woman never fails to scream in any crisis. While a man may feel like it, he has that little more of nerve control to hold back. Among the guests was an elderly gentleman who did not join in the argument but watched the guests quietly. As his eyes fell upon the hostess, he noticed a strange expression come over her face. She was staring straight ahead, her muscles contracting slightly. With a slight hand gesture, she summoned the waiter and whispered to him. The waiter's eyes widened and he left the room.
Of the guests, only the elderly man saw the waiter place a bowl of milk on the verandah beyond the open doors. With a start, he realised that there was a cobra in the room. He knew what the milk was for. He looked all over the room but there was no sign of the creature. Only one place was left - where they were sitting. It must be there. Not wanting to alarm anyone for the commotion would frighten the snake into striking, the old gentleman joined in the conversation, "I want to know just what control everyone at this table has. I will count to one hundred and no one is to move a muscle Those who move will have to pay up fifty pieces of silver."
All the guests were like stone images while the elderly man counted. As soon as he saw the cobra emerge and head for the verandah, he jumped to slam the verandah doors shut. Screams rang out.
"You were right, Captain! the host, a rich businessman exclaimed. "A man has just shown us as. example of perfect control."
Just a minute," the elderly man said, turning to the hostess.
"Madam, how did you know the snake was in the room?"
The woman, still at the table smiled and replied, "It was crawling over my feet."
"He knew what the milk was for." (line 13) What was the milk for?
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