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This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 283 pages of information about The Best American Humorous Short Stories.

“Thomas,” said Mr. Podington, on the last evening of his stay, “I have enjoyed myself very much since I have been down here, and now, Thomas, if I were to come down again next summer, would you mind—­would you mind, not——­”

“I would not mind it a bit,” replied Buller, promptly.  “I’ll never so much as mention it; so you can come along without a thought of it.  And since you have alluded to the subject, William,” he continued, “I’d like very much to come and see you again; you know my visit was a very short one this year.  That is a beautiful country you live in.  Such a variety of scenery, such an opportunity for walks and rambles!  But, William, if you could only make up your mind not to——­”

“Oh, that is all right!” exclaimed Podington.  “I do not need to make up my mind.  You come to my house and you will never so much as hear of it.  Here’s my hand upon it!”

“And here’s mine!” said Mr. Buller.

And they shook hands over a new compact.

COLONEL STARBOTTLE FOR THE PLAINTIFF

By Bret Harte (1839-1902)

[From Harper’s Magazine, March, 1901.  Republished in the volume, Openings in the Old Trail (1902), by Bret Harte; copyright, 1902, by Houghton Mifflin Company, the authorized publishers of Bret Harte’s complete works; reprinted by their permission.]

It had been a day of triumph for Colonel Starbottle.  First, for his personality, as it would have been difficult to separate the Colonel’s achievements from his individuality; second, for his oratorical abilities as a sympathetic pleader; and third, for his functions as the leading counsel for the Eureka Ditch Company versus the State of California.  On his strictly legal performances in this issue I prefer not to speak; there were those who denied them, although the jury had accepted them in the face of the ruling of the half-amused, half-cynical Judge himself.  For an hour they had laughed with the Colonel, wept with him, been stirred to personal indignation or patriotic exaltation by his passionate and lofty periods—­what else could they do than give him their verdict?  If it was alleged by some that the American eagle, Thomas Jefferson, and the Resolutions of ’98 had nothing whatever to do with the contest of a ditch company over a doubtfully worded legislative document; that wholesale abuse of the State Attorney and his political motives had not the slightest connection with the legal question raised—­it was, nevertheless, generally accepted that the losing party would have been only too glad to have the Colonel on their side.  And Colonel Starbottle knew this, as, perspiring, florid, and panting, he rebuttoned the lower buttons of his blue frock-coat, which had become loosed in an oratorical spasm, and readjusted his old-fashioned, spotless shirt frill above it as he strutted from the court-room amidst the hand-shakings and acclamations of his friends.

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