Can Such Things Be? eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 221 pages of information about Can Such Things Be?.

I do not remember that I felt anything like surprise at this discovery.  I viewed that lonely grave with something of the feeling that Columbus must have had when he saw the hills and headlands of the new world.  Before approaching it I leisurely completed my survey of the surroundings.  I was even guilty of the affectation of winding my watch at that unusual hour, and with needless care and deliberation.  Then I approached my mystery.

The grave—­a rather short one—­was in somewhat better repair than was consistent with its obvious age and isolation, and my eyes, I dare say, widened a trifle at a clump of unmistakable garden flowers showing evidence of recent watering.  The stone had clearly enough done duty once as a doorstep.  In its front was carved, or rather dug, an inscription.  It read thus: 


Age unknown.  Worked for Jo.  Dunfer.  This monument is erected by him to keep the Chink’s memory green.  Likewise as a warning to Celestials not to take on airs.  Devil take ’em!  She Was a Good Egg.

I cannot adequately relate my astonishment at this uncommon inscription!  The meagre but sufficient identification of the deceased; the impudent candor of confession; the brutal anathema; the ludicrous change of sex and sentiment—­all marked this record as the work of one who must have been at least as much demented as bereaved.  I felt that any further disclosure would be a paltry anti-climax, and with an unconscious regard for dramatic effect turned squarely about and walked away.  Nor did I return to that part of the county for four years.


“Gee-up, there, old Fuddy-Duddy!”

This unique adjuration came from the lips of a queer little man perched upon a wagonful of firewood, behind a brace of oxen that were hauling it easily along with a simulation of mighty effort which had evidently not imposed on their lord and master.  As that gentleman happened at the moment to be staring me squarely in the face as I stood by the roadside it was not altogether clear whether he was addressing me or his beasts; nor could I say if they were named Fuddy and Duddy and were both subjects of the imperative verb “to gee-up.”  Anyhow the command produced no effect on us, and the queer little man removed his eyes from mine long enough to spear Fuddy and Duddy alternately with a long pole, remarking, quietly but with feeling:  “Dern your skin,” as if they enjoyed that integument in common.  Observing that my request for a ride took no attention, and finding myself falling slowly astern, I placed one foot upon the inner circumference of a hind wheel and was slowly elevated to the level of the hub, whence I boarded the concern, sans ceremonie, and scrambling forward seated myself beside the driver—­who took no notice of me until he had administered another

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Can Such Things Be? from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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