Elbow-Room eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 315 pages of information about Elbow-Room.



There was some horse-racing over at the Blank course one day last fall, and Butterwick attended to witness it.  On his way home in the cars in the afternoon he encountered Rev. Dr. Dox, a clergyman who knows no more about horse-racing than a Pawnee knows about psychology.  Butterwick, however, took for granted, in his usual way, that the doctor was familiar with the subject; and taking a seat beside him, he remarked loudly—­for the doctor is deaf—­

“I was out at the Blank course to-day to see Longfellow.”

“Indeed!  Was he there?  Where did you say he was?”

“Why, over here at the course.  I saw him and General Harney, and a lot more of ’em.  He run against General Harney, and it created a big excitement, too; but he beat the general badly, and the way the crowd cheered him was wonderful.  They say that a good deal of money changed hands.  The fact is I had a small bet upon the general myself.”

“You don’t mean to say that Longfellow actually beat General Harney?”

“Yes, I do!  Beat him the worst kind.  You’d hardly’ve thought it, now, would you?  I was never more surprised in my life.  What’s queer about it is that he seemed just as fresh afterward as before he commenced.  Didn’t faze him a bit.  Why, instead of wanting to rest, he was jumping about just as lively; and when the crowd began to push around him, he kicked a boy in the back and doubled him all up—­nearly killed him.  Oh, he’s wicked!  I wouldn’t trust him as far as I could see him.”

“This is simply astonishing,” said the doctor.  “I wouldn’t have believed it possible.  Are you sure it was Longfellow, Mr. Butterwick?”

“Why, certainly, of course; I’ve seen him often before.  And after breathing a while, he and Maggie Mitchell came out, and as soon as they stepped off he put on an extra spurt or two and led her by a neck all around the place, and she came in puffing and blowing, and nearly exhausted.  I never took much stock in her, anyway.”

“Led her by the neck!  Why, this is the most scandalous conduct I ever heard of.  Mr. Butterwick, you must certainly be joking.”

“I pledge you my word it’s the solemn truth.  I saw it myself.  And after that Judge Bullerton and General Harney, they took a turn together, and that was the prettiest contest of the day.  First the judge’d beat the general, and then the general’d put in a big effort and give it to the judge, and the two’d be about even for a while, and all of a sudden the general would give a kinder jerk or two and leave the judge just nowhere, and by the time the general passed the third quarter the judge keeled over against the fence and gave in.  They say he broke his leg, but I don’t know if that’s so or not.  Anyway he was used up.  If he’d passed that quarter, he might have been all right.”

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Elbow-Room from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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