(Curiosity Box)
Lesley Gordon

Angelica Cox

Curiosity box from bonnet to socks was a child by the name of ANGELICA COX. According to older and worthier Coxes, among many kinds there are two sorts of boxes, CURIOSITY first, and the second one, CHATTER, and both kinds are trying and both of them matter, and though to admit it her parents were loth, they had to agree that their daughter was both.

Her questioning voice and her constant

'What for?'

were really a quite indefensible bore. With eyebrows well raised and alert in each joint, she would question and pry, she would poke, she would point, she would finger and sniff, she would ask, she would wheedle, till her nose was as long and as sharp as a needle.

When she woke in her cot
She would want to know 'what?'
When the sun was still new
She would want to know 'who?'
When the sun was quite high
She'd demand to know 'why?'
Then raising her pitch
She would loudly ask 'which!'
And while you're still there
She would like to know 'where?'
In less than a jiff
She wants to know 'if?'
You are silent and then
She wants to know 'when?'
You are dumb altogether -
She wants to know 'whether?'
You're about to refuse -
She demands to know 'whose?'
You wrinkle your brow
And she wants to know 'how?'
But before she asks 'whom?'
You rush from the room

Crying, 'Save me from this curiosity box,
Oh, somebody smother ANGELICA COX! '

Till person by person her every relation was lost by degrees and discreet emigration, and cousins by marriage effectively proved how very far distant they might be removed, and Europe and Asia were peopled with flocks of uncles and aunts of the family Cox.

'Though it's hard at our age to be exiled abroad, it is all one can do,' sighed Aunt Geraldine Maud. And 'Australia's best,' said her third cousin Martha, 'unless one could hear of a continent farther.'
But still in her breast curiosity burned and none of the Coxes have ever returned.

This story occurred many ages ago, but the ghost of ANGELICA still wants to know. If you stand by her cob-webbed and mouldering cot you may hear in the silence an echoing, 'What?' And sometimes an owl at the fall of the dew or the wind in the chimney cries mournfully, 'Whoo—oo?' or ANGELICA'S ghost will call plaintively, 'Why—yy—y?' but there's never a ghost of a ghostly reply.

She wants to know how and she wants to know whether, but the roof and the rafters re-echo together and nobody answers the door to the knocks of the curious ghost of ANGELICA COX. And no one believes that this story is true, and if you should ask me...

I don't think I do!

The end