free ebooks
A Gentleman Vagabond and Some Others by Smith

A GENTLEMAN VAGABOND AND SOME OTHERS

BY

F. HOPKINSON SMITH

NEW YORK GROSSET & DUNLAP PUBLISHERS

1895

_INTRODUCTORY NOTE_

_There are gentlemen vagabonds and vagabond gentlemen. Here and there one finds a vagabond pure and simple, and once in a lifetime one meets a gentleman simple and pure._

_Without premeditated intent or mental bias, I have unconsciously to myself selected some one of these several types,--entangling them in the threads of the stories between these covers._

_Each of my readers can group them to suit his own experience._

F.H.S. NEW YORK, 150 E. 34TH ST.

CONTENTS

PAGE A GENTLEMAN VAGABOND 1 A KNIGHT OF THE LEGION OF HONOR 36 JOHN SANDERS, LABORER 67 BAeADER 82 THE LADY OF LUCERNE 102 JONATHAN 126 ALONG THE BRONX 141 ANOTHER DOG 147 BROCKWAY'S HULK 160

A GENTLEMAN VAGABOND

I

I found the major standing in front of Delmonico's, interviewing a large, bare-headed personage in brown cloth spotted with brass buttons. The major was in search of his very particular friend, Mr. John Hardy of Madison Square, and the personage in brown and brass was rather languidly indicating, by a limp and indecisive forefinger, a route through a section of the city which, correctly followed, would have landed the major in the East River.

I knew him by the peculiar slant of his slouch hat, the rosy glow of his face, and the way in which his trousers clung to the curves of his well-developed legs, and ended in a sprawl that half covered his shoes. I recognized, too, a carpet-bag, a ninety-nine-cent affair, an "occasion," with galvanized iron clasps and paper-leather sides,--the kind opened with your thumb.

The major--or, to be more definite, Major Tom Slocomb of Pocomoke--was from one of the lower counties of the Chesapeake. He was supposed to own, as a gift from his dead wife, all that remained unmortgaged of a vast colonial estate on Crab Island in the bay, consisting of several thousand acres of land and water,--mostly water,--a manor house, once painted white, and a number of outbuildings in various stages of dilapidation and decay.

In his early penniless life he had migrated from his more northern native State, settled in the county, and, shortly after his arrival, had married the relict of the late lamented Major John Talbot of Pocomoke. This had been greatly to the surprise of many eminent Pocomokians, who boasted of the purity and antiquity of the Talbot blood, and who could not look on in silence, and see it degraded and diluted by an alliance with a "harf strainer or worse." As one possible Talbot heir put it, "a picayune, low-down corncracker, suh, without blood or breedin'."

The objections were well taken. So far as the ancestry of the Slocomb family was concerned, it was a trifle indefinite. It really could not be traced back farther than the day of the major's arrival at Pocomoke, notwithstanding the major's several claims that his ancestors came over in the Mayflower, that his grandfather fought with General Washington, and that his own early life had been spent on the James River. These statements, to thoughtful Pocomokians, seemed so conflicting and improbable, that his neighbors and acquaintances ascribed them either to that total disregard for salient facts which characterized the major's speech, or to the vagaries of that rich and vivid imagination which had made his conquest of the widow so easy and complete.


eBook Search
Social Sharing
Share Button
About us

freefictionbooks.org is a collection of free ebooks that can be read online. Ebooks are split into pages for easier reading and better bookmarking.

We have more than 35,000 free books in our collection and are adding new books daily.

We invite you to link to us, so as many people as possible can enjoy this wonderful free website.

© 2010-2013 freefictionbooks.org - All Rights Reserved.

Terms of Use | Privacy Policy | Contact Us