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This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 156 pages of information about Cobwebs from an Empty Skull.

“Then it went through my mind like a flash what was the matter.  Finding it cold outside, Ben had made a roaring fire on the top of the rock, and the heat had deceived the worms into the belief that it was late spring.  As I lay there and thought of a full-grown man who hadn’t any better sense than to do such a thing as that, I was mad enough to kill him.  I lost confidence in mankind.  If I had not stopped up the entrance before lying down, with a big round stone which the heat had swollen so that a hydraulic ram couldn’t have butted it loose, I should have put on my clothes and gone straight home.”

“But, Sam, you said the entrance was open, and the moon shining in.”

“There you go again!  Always contradicting—­and insinuating that the moon must remain for hours in one position—­and saying you’ve heard it told better by some one else—­and wanting to fight!  I’ve told this story to your brother over at Milk River more than a hundred million times, and he never said a word against it.”

“I believe you, Samuel; for he is deaf as a tombstone.”

“Tell you what to do for him!  I know a fellow in Smith’s Valley will cure him in a minute.  That fellow has cleaned the deafness all out of Washington County a dozen times.  I never knew a case of it that could stand up against him ten seconds.  Take three parts of snake-root to a gallon of waggon-grease, and—­I’ll go and see if I can find the prescription!”

And Sam was off like a rocket.

* * * * *


That is she in the old black silk—­the one with the gimlet curls and the accelerated lap-cat.  Doesn’t she average about as I set her forth?

“Never told you anything about her?” Well, I will.

Twenty years ago, many a young man, of otherwise good character, would have ameliorated his condition for that girl; and would have thought himself overpaid if she had restored a fosy on his sepulchre.  Maud would have been of the same opinion—­and wouldn’t have construed the fosy.  And she was the most sagacious girl I ever experienced!  As you shall hear.

I was her lover, and she was mine.  We loved ourselves to detraction.  Maud lived a mile from any other house—­except one brick barn.  Not even a watch-dog about the place—­except her father.  This pompous old weakling hated me boisterously; he said I was dedicated to hard drink, and when in that condition was perfectly incompatible.  I did not like him, too.

One evening I called on Maud, and was surprised to meet her at the gate, with a shawl drawn over her head, and apparently in great combustion.  She told me, hastily, the old man was ill of a fever, and had nearly derided her by going crazy.

This was all a lie; something had gone wrong with the old party’s eyes—­amanuensis of the equinox, or something; he couldn’t see well, but he was no more crazy than I was sober.

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