Just as Edward and the Reverend Hobbington were about to make a start on extinguishing the fire, an elderly man approached them.
‘That’s a leviathan of a blaze,’ he observed. ‘Someone should do something about it.’
‘Indeed,’ replied Edward. ‘We were just discussing the best way to go about it.’ The old man nodded sagely.
‘In situations such as this,’ he said, ‘a strong central authority is needed in order to prevent chaos.’
‘I’m sorry,’ said Edward, slightly annoyed. ‘I didn’t catch your name.’
‘Tom,’ the old man said. ‘Tom Hobbes. Well, good day, gentlemen.’ With that, he was gone. The two would-be fire-fighters watched him walk away.
‘How strange,’ said the Reverend. ‘Odd little fellow, wouldn’t you say?’
‘Yes,’ Edward agreed. ‘I didn’t like him. He struck me as nasty, brutish and short.’