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Chapter Twenty-five

Those who are regular followers of the doings of Arthur Dent may have received an impression of his character and habits which, while it includes the truth and, of course, nothing but the truth, falls somewhat short, in its composition, of the whole truth in all its glorious aspects.

And the reasons for this are obvious. Editing, selection, the need to balance that which is interesting with that which is relevant and cut out all the tedious happenstance.

Like this for instance. ``Arthur Dent went to bed. He went up the stairs, all fifteen of them, opened the door, went into his room, took off his shoes and socks and then all the rest of his clothes one by one and left them in a neatly crumpled heap on the floor. He put on his pyjamas, the blue ones with the stripe. He washed his face and hands, cleaned his teeth, went to the lavatory, realized that he had once again got this all in the wrong order, had to wash his hands again and went to bed. He read for fifteen minutes, spending the first ten minutes of that trying to work out where in the book he had got to the previous night, then he turned out the light and within a minute or so more was asleep.

``It was dark. He lay on his left side for a good hour.

``After that he moved restlessly in his sleep for a moment and then turned over to sleep on his right side. Another hour after this his eyes flickered briefly and he slightly scratched his nose, though there was still a good twenty minutes to go before he turned back on to his left side. And so he whiled the night away, sleeping.

``At four he got up and went to the lavatory again. He opened the door to the lavatory ...'' and so on.

It's guff. It doesn't advance the action. It makes for nice fat books such as the American market thrives on, but it doesn't actually get you anywhere. You don't, in short, want to know.

But there are other omissions as well, beside the teethcleaning and trying to find fresh socks variety, and in some of these people have often seemed inordinately interested.

What, they want to know, about all that stuff off in the wings with Arthur and Trillian, did that ever get anywhere?

To which the answer is, of course, mind your own business.

And what, they say, was he up to all those nights on the planet Krikkit? Just because the planet didn't have Fuolornis Fire Dragons or Dire Straits doesn't mean that everyone just sat up every night reading.

Or to take a more specific example, what about the night after the committee meeting party on Prehistoric Earth, when Arthur found himself sitting on a hillside watching the moon rise over the softly burning trees in company with a beautiful young girl called Mella, recently escaped from a lifetime of staring every morning at a hundred nearly identical photographs of moodily lit tubes of toothpaste in the art department of an advertising agency on the planet Golgafrincham. What then? What happened next? And the answer is, of course, that the book ended.

The next one didn't resume the story till five years later, and you can, claim some, take discretion too far. ``This Arthur Dent,'' comes the cry from the furthest reaches of the galaxy, and has even now been found inscribed on a mysterious deep space probe thought to originate from an alien galaxy at a distance too hideous to contemplate, ``what is he, man or mouse? Is he interested in nothing more than tea and the wider issues of life? Has he no spirit? has he no passion? Does he not, to put it in a nutshell, fuck?''

Those who wish to know should read on. Others may wish to skip on to the last chapter which is a good bit and has Marvin in it.

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