The Best American Humorous Short Stories eBook

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

II

The big bays swung to the brow of the hill with ease, and dashed into a small circular clearing, where a quaint little two-story building, with a mossy watering-trough out in front, nestled under the shade of majestic old trees that reared their brown and scarlet crowns proudly into the sky.  A long, low porch ran across the front of the structure, and a complaining sign hung out announcing, in dim, weather-flecked letters on a cracked board, that this was the “Tutt House.”  A gray-headed man, in brown overalls and faded blue jumper, stood on the porch and shook his fist at the stage as it whirled by.

“What a delightfully old-fashioned inn!” exclaimed the pretty daughter.  “How I should like to stop there over night!”

“You would probably wish yourself away before morning, Evelyn,” replied her mother indifferently.  “No doubt it would be a mere siege of discomfort.”

The blonde matron turned to her husband.  The pretty daughter had been looking at the picturesque “inn” between the heads of this lady and her son.

“Edward, please pull down the shade behind me,” she directed.  “There is quite a draught from that broken window.”

The pretty daughter bit her lip.  The brunette matron continued to stare at the shade in the exact spot upon which her gaze had been before directed, and she never quivered an eyelash.  The young man seemed very uncomfortable, and he tried to look his apologies to the pretty daughter, but she could not see him now, not even if her eyes had been all corners.

They were bowling along through another avenue of trees when the driver suddenly shouted, “Whoa there!”

The horses were brought up with a jerk that was well nigh fatal to the assortment of dignity inside the coach.  A loud roaring could be heard, both ahead and in the rear, a sharp splitting like a fusillade of pistol shots, then a creaking and tearing of timbers.  The driver bent suddenly forward.

“Gid ap!” he cried, and the horses sprang forward with a lurch.  He swung them around a sharp bend with a skillful hand and poised his weight above the brake as they plunged at terrific speed down a steep grade.  The roaring was louder than ever now, and it became deafening as they suddenly emerged from the thick underbrush at the bottom of the declivity.

“Caught, by gravy!” ejaculated the driver, and, for the second time, he brought the coach to an abrupt stop.

“Do see what is the matter, Ralph,” said the blonde matron impatiently.

Thus commanded, the young man swung out and asked the driver about it.

“Paintsville dam’s busted,” he was informed.  “I been a-lookin’ fer it this many a year, an’ this here freshet done it.  You see the holler there?  Well, they’s ten foot o’ water in it, an’ it had ort to be stone dry.  The bridge is tore out behind us, an’ we’re stuck here till that water runs out.  We can’t git away till to-morry, anyways.”

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The Best American Humorous Short Stories from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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