So she went into the garden to cut a cabbage-leaf to make an apple-pie; and at the same time a great she-bear, coming up the street, pops its head into the shop. "What! No soap?" So he died, and she very imprudently married the barber; and there were present the Picninnies, and the Joblillies, and the Garyalies, and the grand Panjandrum himself, with the little round button at top, and they all fell to playing the game of catch-as-catch-can till the gunpowder ran out at the heels of their boots.

Samuel Foote

(Composed by Foote in 1755 to test the memory of the actor Charles Macklin, who had claimed he could read any paragraph once through and then recite it verbatim. What Foote demonstrated here was the way in which we expect language to make sense and to be coherent. When our expectations are confounded as much as they are here, the text becomes impossible to memorise.)


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