Elbow-Room eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 315 pages of information about Elbow-Room.
cent out of them.  I’d a put that Indian under ’graven images,’ only they ain’t mentioned, either.  I s’pose I could tax the bundle of wooden cigars in his fist as ‘tobacco,’ but that leaves out the rest of the figure; and he’s not liable to poll-tax because he can’t even vote.  Now, how would it strike you if I levied on him as an ‘immigrant’?  He was made somewheres else than here, and he came here from there, consequently he’s an immigrant.  That’s my view.  What do you think of it?”

I advised him to try it upon that plan, and the next morning Mr. Slingsby and Mr. Hough had a fight on the pavement in front of the Indian because Mr. Slingsby tried to seize the immigrant for unpaid taxes.  Slingsby was taken home and put to bed, and the business of collecting taxes was temporarily suspended.  But Slingsby will be around again soon with some new and ingenious ideas that he has thought of during his illness.



Mrs. Banger has buried four husbands, and her experience of domestic life in their company was so satisfactory that she recently married a fifth, Mr. Banger.  The name of her fourth was McFadden.  The name of her first and third was Smyth, while that of her second, oddly enough, was Smith.  Soon after her return from her last wedding-tour she was visited by Mr. Toombs, the undertaker, who called ostensibly to correct an error in his last bill.  When Mrs. Banger entered the parlor, Mr. Toombs greeted her cordially and said,

“Ah!  Mrs. Smy—­Banger, I mean; I hope I see you well?  Did you have a pleasant trip?  Nice weather while you were away; a little backward, maybe, but still comfortable, and likely to make things grow.  Cemetery looks beautiful now.  I was out there to-day to a burying.  Grass is coming up charming on your lot, and I noticed a blackberry bush growing out of Mr. Smyth’s grave.  He was fond of ’em, I reckon.  There they were lying, Smith and Smyth, and McFadden and the other Smyth, all four of them.  No woman could have done fairer with those men than you did, ma’am; those mahogany coffins with silver-plated handles were good enough for the patriarchs and prophets, and the President of the United States himself daren’t ask anything better than a hearse with real ostrich feathers and horses that are black as ink all over.

“I know when we laid Mr. McFadden out I said to Tim Lafferty, my foreman, that the affection you showed in having that man buried in style almost made me cry; but I never fully realized what woman’s love really is till you made me line Mr. Smith’s coffin with white satin and let in a French plate-glass skylight over the countenance.  That worked on my feelings so that I pretty near forgot to distribute the gloves to the mourners.  And Mr. Smith was worthy of it; he deserved it all.  He was a man all over, no difference how you looked at him; stoutish, maybe, and took a casket that was thick through, but he was all there, and I know when you lost him it worried you like anything.

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Elbow-Room from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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