The Best American Humorous Short Stories eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 365 pages of information about The Best American Humorous Short Stories.
also recognized it, and replied, until the silence of the city was destroyed.  The odd clamor and confusion drew from a saloon near by a group of noisy youngsters, who had been making a night of it.  They surrounded Elder Brown as he began to transfer himself to the hungry beast to whose motion he was more accustomed, and in the “hail fellow well met” style of the day began to bandy jests upon his appearance.  Now Elder Brown was not in a jesting humor.  Positively he was in the worst humor possible.  The result was that before many minutes passed the old man was swinging several of the crowd by their collars, and breaking the peace of the city.  A policeman approached, and but for the good-humored party, upon whom the elder’s pluck had made a favorable impression, would have run the old man into the barracks.  The crowd, however, drew him laughingly into the saloon and to the bar.  The reaction was too much for his half-rallied senses.  He yielded again.  The reviving liquor passed his lips.  Gloom vanished.  He became one of the boys.

The company into which Elder Brown had fallen was what is known as “first-class.”  To such nothing is so captivating as an adventure out of the common run of accidents.  The gaunt countryman, with his battered hat and claw-hammer coat, was a prize of an extraordinary nature.  They drew him into a rear room, whose gilded frames and polished tables betrayed the character and purpose of the place, and plied him with wine until ten thousand lights danced about him.  The fun increased.  One youngster made a political speech from the top of the table; another impersonated Hamlet; and finally Elder Brown was lifted into a chair, and sang a camp-meeting song.  This was rendered by him with startling effect.  He stood upright, with his hat jauntily knocked to one side, and his coat tails ornamented with a couple of show-bills, kindly pinned on by his admirers.  In his left hand he waved the stub of a cigar, and on his back was an admirable representation of Balaam’s head, executed by some artist with billiard chalk.

As the elder sang his favorite hymn, “I’m glad salvation’s free,” his stentorian voice awoke the echoes.  Most of the company rolled upon the floor in convulsions of laughter.

The exhibition came to a close by the chair overturning.  Again Elder Brown fell into his beloved hat.  He arose and shouted:  “Whoa, Balaam!” Again he seized the nearest weapon, and sought satisfaction.  The young gentleman with political sentiments was knocked under the table, and Hamlet only escaped injury by beating the infuriated elder into the street.

What next?  Well, I hardly know.  How the elder found Balaam is a mystery yet:  not that Balaam was hard to find, but that the old man was in no condition to find anything.  Still he did, and climbing laboriously into the saddle, he held on stupidly while the hungry beast struck out for home.


Project Gutenberg
The Best American Humorous Short Stories from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
Follow Us on Facebook