Elbow-Room eBook

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

The judge felt certain that her former owner didn’t deceive him when he said her appetite was good.  She had hunger enough for a drove of cattle and a couple of flocks of sheep.  That day the judge went after the butcher to get him to buy her.  When he returned with him, she had just eaten the monkey-wrench and the screw-driver, and she was trying to put away a fence-paling.  The butcher said she was a fair-enough sort of cow, but she was too thin.  He said he would buy her if the judge would feed her up and fatten her; and the judge said he would try.  He gave her that night food enough for four cows, and she consumed it as if she had been upon half rations for a month.  When she finished, she got up, reached for the hired man’s straw hat, ate it, and then, bolting out into the garden, she put away the honeysuckle vine and a coil of India-rubber hose.  The man said that if it was his cow he would kill her; and the judge told him that he had perhaps better just knock her on the head in the morning.

During the night she had another attack of somnambulism, and while wandering about she ate the door-mat from the front porch, bit off all the fancy-work on top of the cast-iron gate, swallowed six loose bricks that were piled up against the house, and then had a fit among the rose bushes.  When the judge came down in the morning, she seemed to be breathing her last, but she had strength enough left to seize a newspaper that the judge held in his hand; and when that was down, she gave three or four kicks and rolled over and expired.  It cost the judge three dollars to have the carcase removed.  Since then he has bought his butter and milk and given up all kinds of live-stock.

CHAPTER X.

OUR CIVIL SERVICE.

Some of the public officers of Millburg are interesting in their way.  The civil service system of the village is based upon the principle that if there is any particular function that a given man is wholly unfitted to perform he should be chosen to perform it.  The result is that the business of our very small government goes plunging along in the most surprising manner, with a promise that it will end some day in chaos and revolution—­of course upon a diminutive scale.

A representative man is Mr. Bones, the solitary night-watchman of the town.  One of the duties of Mr. Bones is to light the street-lamps.  It is an operation which does not require any very extraordinary effort of the intellect; but during a part of the summer the mind of Mr. Bones did not seem to be equal to the strain placed upon it by this duty.  It was observed that whenever there were bright moonlight nights Mr. Bones would have all the lamps burning from early in the evening until dawn, while upon the nights when there was no moon he would not light them at all, and the streets would be as dark as tar.  At last people began to complain about it, and one day one of the supervisors called to see Mr. Bones about it.  He remarked to him,

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Elbow-Room from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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