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Messer Marco Polo
Brian Oswald Donn-Byrne

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MESSER MARCO POLO 

The message came to me, at the second check of the hunt, that a
countryman and a clansman needed me.  The ground was heavy, the
day raw, and it was a drag, too fast for fun and too tame for sport.
So I blessed the countryman and the clansman, and turned my back on
the field. 

But when they told me his name, I all but fell from the saddle. 

"But that man's dead!" 

But he wasn't dead.  He was in New York.  He was traveling from
the craigs of Ulster to his grandson, who had an orange-grove on
the Indian River, in Florida.  He wasn't dead.  And I said to myself
with impatience, "Must every man born ninety years ago be dead?" 

"But this is a damned thing," I thought, "to be saddled with a man
over ninety years old.  To have to act as GARDE-MALADE at my age!

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