Source: Zimmermann, Heiko, ed.  Aspects of E.M. Forster.  1 Mar. 2000 - 22 Feb. 2019. 22 Feb. 2019 <>.

The Classical Annex


When the Curator of the Municipal Museum at Bigglesmouth, who has ever neglected the classical part of the collection, is informed that there are some breakages, he goes to the badly lit room, known as the Classical Annex, to inspect the damages. Just when he is about to take some little broken terracotta items to his office to consider how they might be repaired, he perceives a tinkle behind him: the fig leaf attached to a nude male statue in the centre of the room has fallen off. Grumbling that “the things might be alive” he embraces the stone buttocks of the Roman athlete, who he thinks is not as personable as his son Denis, and fixes the leaf again. When he turns around to pick up the two broken terracotta statuettes, which he had put on a plush couch, he hears a string snap, and the fig leaf whizzes across the room. As he seeks shelter in an Early Christian sarcophagus, the nude sways to fall on him. Only after he makes the sign of the Cross, do the contents of the Classical Annex become instantly still. It could have been a dream but there remains “an obscene change in the statue's physique”, which makes the fig leaf, which was too large before, look very small now. After the Curator has escaped from the museum, which he carefully locks, he takes a tram home while planning to consult specialists to investigate the events. Arrived at home, he gets to know that his son has left for the museum to see his father-a duplicate key with him. The Curator rushes to the museum where he hears his son's giggles from the Classical Annex. Before he switches on the lights, he, again, makes the sign of the Cross and the scene freezes. After years, when the Curator and the circumstances of his retirement are already forgotten, The Wrestling Lesson, a Hellenistic group, becomes quite a feature of the Museum. “Look 'ow the elder brother's got the little chappie down. Look 'ow well the little chappie's taking it.” (h.z.)

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