Elbow-Room eBook

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

CHAPTER XXX.

MR. BANGER’S AUNT.

There are two families of Bangers in our neighborhood, the heads of which have the same name—­Henry Banger.  The Henry who married the widow, heretofore mentioned, is a lawyer in the village, while the other, having no relationship to the former, is a “professor,” and he lives on the opposite side of the river, in a hamlet that has grown up there.  One day Henry Banger, the lawyer, received a telegram saying that his aunt had died suddenly in Elmira, New York, and that the body would be sent on at once by express.  Mr. Banger made preparations for the funeral, and upon the day that the remains were due he went down to the express office to receive them.

They did not come, however; and when the agent telegraphed to ask about them, he ascertained that Mr. Banger’s aunt had been carried through to Baltimore by mistake.  Orders were sent at once to reship the body with all possible speed; and accordingly, it was placed upon the cars of the Northern Central Railroad.  As the train was proceeding north a collision occurred.  The train was wrecked, and Mr. Banger’s aunt was tossed rudely out upon the roadside.

The people who were attending to things supposed that she was one of the victims of the accident, and so the coroner held an inquest; and as nobody knew who she was, she was sent back to Baltimore and interred by the authorities.  As she did not reach Mr. Banger, he induced the express company to hunt her up; and when her resting-place was discovered, they took her up, placed her in a casket and shipped her again.

During that trip some thieves got into the express car and threw out the iron money-chest and Mr. Banger’s aunt, supposing that the casket contained treasure.  On the following morning a farmer discovered Mr. Banger’s aunt in the casket leaning up against a tree in the woods.  He sent for the coroner; and when another inquest had been held, they were about to bury the remains, and would have done so had not a telegram come from the express company instructing the authorities to ship Mr. Banger’s aunt back to Baltimore.

Mr. Banger, meantime, endured the most agonizing suspense, and began to talk about suing the express company for damages.  At last, however, he received information that the departed one had been sent on upon the Philadelphia, Wilmington and Baltimore Railroad.  So she had.  But as the train was crossing Gunpowder River the express car gave a lurch, and the next moment Mr. Banger’s aunt shot through the door into the water.  She sailed around in the bay for several days, apparently uncertain whether to seek the ocean and move straight across for Europe, or to go up into the interior.  She chose the latter course, and a week afterward she drifted ashore in the Lower Susquehanna.

As soon as she was discovered the coroner held an inquest, and then put her on the cars again.  This time she came directly to Millburg, and Mr. Banger was at the depot waiting for her with the funeral.  By some mistake, however, she was carried past and put out at the next town above, and the agent said that the best thing he could do would be to have her brought down in the morning.  In the morning she came, and Mr. Banger was there with the friends of the family to receive her.

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Elbow-Room from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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