sallow skin gone paler than Wentworth's, but a look of determination fixed upon his face. Behind him were two broadshouldered, shifty-looking men. "We will take charge of Mr. Farmer, if you please."
"No, I think not," Mr. Farmer said. He stood up, an air of dignity upon him. "There has been enough taking charge of Mr. Farmer, and Mr. Farmer has a task to do."
"Oh, sir, you are unwell," Blee said, in a fawning tone, and he sidled forward, followed by his minions. And then, without warning, the room was filled with men: constables with their staves in their hands, soldiers in red coats, Mr. Martinson, the magistrate, a tall young man looking very much like Mr. Farmer himself, and others.
"You had better come with us, sir, I think," said the tall young man. Mr. Farmer slumped. The air of dignity fell from him. Then he laughed vacantly.
"Very well, Fred, very well," he said. "Very well, very well. You think it best, what, what?" He shambled forward, stopped, looked over his shoulder.
A curiously clumsy story, set in the late 1700s that starts in a muddle, gets a bit confusing with the characters (the misspelling of Farmer as Fanner several times doesn't help,) and ends with a supposition.
Fans of Davidson will want to read it, though it's got no science fiction in it.
Although I have read Mr. Davidson's science fiction in the past and loved it, I did not find this one of his best stories.
Avram Davidson (1923 – 1993) was an American Jewish writer of fantasy fiction, science fiction, and crime fiction, as well as the author of many stories that do not fit into a genre niche.
King's Evil is a fascinating tale that takes place in 18th century London when hypnotism (called mesmerism) was just starting to become a legitimate tool of the medical profession. The hypnotizing of a test subject in the back room of a London pub makes for an interesting ending when the subject's true identity is revealed, not through hypnotism, but through another rather interesting event.