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This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 156 pages of information about Cobwebs from an Empty Skull.
disappointed, and again they returned full of hope.  For three long weeks they did nothing but squat upon that eminence, looking fixedly at the wrong place.  But when it transpired that Von Schmidt had hastily left the State directly he had completed his preparations, leaving the wire floating in the water, in the hope that some electrical eel might swim against it and ignite the explosives, the people began to abate their ardour, and move out of town.  They said it might be a good while before a qualified gymnotus would pass that way, although the State Ichthyologer assured them that he had put some eels’ eggs into the head waters of the Sacramento River not two weeks previously.  But the country was very beautiful at that time of the year, and the people would not wait.  So when the explosion really occurred, there wasn’t anybody in the vicinity to witness it.  It was a stupendous explosion all the same, as the unhappy gymnotus discovered to his cost.

Now, I have often thought that if this mighty convulsion had occurred a year or two earlier than it really did, it would have been bad for me as I floated idly past, unconscious of danger.  As it was, my little bark was carried out into the broad Pacific, and sank in ten thousand fathoms of the coldest water!—­it makes my teeth chatter to relate it!

* * * * *

TONY ROLLO’S CONCLUSION.

To a degree unprecedented in the Rollo family, of Illinois, Antony was an undutiful son.  He was so undutiful that he may be said to have been preposterous.  There were seven other sons—­Antony was the eldest.  His younger brothers were a nice, well-behaved bevy of boys as ever you saw.  They always attended Sunday School regularly; arriving just before the Doxology (I think Sunday School exercises terminate that way), and sitting in a solemn row on a fence outside, waiting with pious patience for the girls to come forth; then they walked home with them as far as their respective gates.  They were an obedient seven, too; they knew well enough the respect due to paternal authority, and when their father told them what was what, and which side up it ought to lie, they never tarried until he had more than picked up a hickory cudgel before tacitly admitting the correctness of the riper judgment.  Had the old gentleman commanded the digging of seven graves, and the fabrication of seven board coffins to match, these necessaries would have been provided with unquestioning alacrity.

But Antony, I bleed to state, was of an impractical, pensive turn.  He despised industry, scoffed at Sunday-schooling, set up a private standard of morals, and rebelled against natural authority.  He wouldn’t be a dutiful son—­not for money!  He had no natural affections, and loved nothing so well as to sit and think.  He was tolerably thoughtful all the time; but with some farming implement in his hand he came out strong.  He has been known to

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