The new member of the club listened with solemn interest to the various stories that were told in the smoking room.

They were good stories, and obviously lies, and each of them was a bigger lie than any that had gone before.

Finally, the company insisted that the new member should relate a tale.

He refused at first, but under pressure yielded, and gave a vivid account of a shipwreck at sea during one of his voyages.

He described the stress of the terrible situation with such power that his hearers were deeply impressed.

He reached the point in his account where only the captain and himself and half a dozen others were left aboard the doomed vessel, after the last of the boats had been lowered.

“And then,” he concluded, “a vast wave came hurtling down on us. It was so huge that it shut out all the sky. It crashed over the already sinking ship in a torrent of irresistible force. Under that dreadful blow the laboring vessel sank, and all those left on board of her were drowned.”

The narrator paused and there was a period of tense silence. But presently someone asked:

“And you — what became of you?”

“Oh, I,” was the reply, “why I was drowned with the rest of them.”