Elbow-Room eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 248 pages of information about Elbow-Room.

“I think not, if you state the case properly.”

“It won’t, hey?” exclaimed Mr. Briggs, hysterically.  “Oh, very well, very well!  I s’pose if that dog had chewed me all up and spit me out it’d’ve been all the same to this constitutional republic.  But hang me if I don’t have satisfaction.  I’ll kill Johnson, poison his dog, and emigrate to some country where the rights of citizens are protected.  If I don’t, you may bust me open!”

Then Mr. Briggs got on his crutches and hobbled out.  He is still a citizen, and will vote at the next election.

CHAPTER XXV.

A PERSECUTED JOURNALIST.

That the editor of every daily paper is persecuted by poetasters is an unquestionable fact; and it is probable that some of the worst of the sufferers would be justified in taking extreme measures to protect themselves from such outrages.  But that Major Slott of The Patriot ever proposed to murder a poet in self-defence I doubt.  The editor of a rival sheet in our county declares, however, that the major actually thirsts for blood; and in proof of the assertion he has printed the following narrative, which, he says, he obtained from Mr. Grady, the policeman: 

“One day recently the major sent for a policeman; and when Mr. Grady, of the force, arrived, the major shut the door of his sanctum and asked him to take a seat.

“Mr. Grady,” he said, “your profession necessarily brings you into contact with the criminal classes and familiarizes you with them.  This is why I have sent for you.  My business is of a confidential nature, and I trust to your honor to regard it as a sacred trust confided in you.  Mr. Grady, I wish to ascertain if among your acquaintances of the criminal sort you know of any one who is a professional assassin—­who rents himself out to any one who wants to destroy a fellow-creature?  Do you know of such a person?’

“‘I dunno as I do,’ said Mr. Grady, thoughtfully rubbing his chin.  ‘There’s not much demand for murderers now.’

“‘Well,’ said the editor, ’I wish you’d look around and see if you can light on such a man, and get him to do a little job for me.  I want a butcher who will slay a person whom I will designate.  I don’t care how he does it.  He may stab him, or drown him, or bang him with a shot-gun.  It makes no difference to me; I will pay him all the same.  Now, will you get me such a man?’

“‘I s’pose I might.  I’ll look round, any way.’

“‘Between you and me,’ said the editor, ’the chap I’m going to assassinate is a poet—­a fellow named Markley.  He has been sending poetry to this paper every day for eight months.  I never printed a line, but he keeps stuffing it in as if he thought I was depositing it in the bank and drawing interest on it.  Well, sir, it’s got to be so bad that it annoys me terribly.  It keeps me awake at night.  I’m losing flesh.  That man and his poetry haunt me.  I’m getting gloomy and morose.  Life is beginning to pall upon me.  I seem to be under the influence of a perpetual nightmare.  I can’t stand it much longer, Mr. Grady; my reason will totter upon its throne.  Here, only this morning, he sent me a poem entitled “Lines to Hannah.”  Are you fond of poetry, Grady?’

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Elbow-Room from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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