The foreigner, who prided himself on his mastery of colloquial expressions in English, was speaking of the serious illness of a distinguished statesman.
"It would be a great pity," he declared, "if such a splendid man should kick the ghost."
The old man told how his brother made a hazardous descent into a well by standing in the bucket while those above operated the windlass.
"And what happened?" one of the listeners asked as the aged narrator paused.
The old man stroked his beard, and spoke softly, in a tone of sorrowing reminiscence:
"He kicked the bucket."