Exit Laughing

Exit Laughing

Exit Laughing

Exit Laughing

Excerpt

Once upon a time I was returning, by the not-so-roundabout way of Western Europe from South America, where I had been to collect material on a series of articles for the Cosmopolitan magazine. My traveling companion was the most perfect of all possible traveling companions and that would be Will Hogg, eldest son of the greatest governor the state of Texas ever had, and in his own right a great man.

So there we were, aboard an Italian liner bound from Brazil to Spain, a lengthy slantwise cruise of the Atlantic. There were only a few other English-speaking passengers and we had to depend rather heavily upon ourselves for company. Even so, the voyage was for me not a lonesome or a tedious voyage. You see, Will was there.

A day or two out from Rio we met an Argentino, a mannerly, middle-aged and very melancholy individual. I've rarely seen a sadder-looking man; he was a model for professional pallbearers everywhere. He had a limited English vocabulary. Will and I had a store of the bastardized Spanish a fellow picks up on the Mexican border. But we all three had hands to gesture with and eyebrows to shrug with and shoulders to lift; and since to the Latin a language is almost as much a calisthenic as it is a spoken tongue, we got along, after a fashion.

He said he was quite alone. He said he had been copiously indisposed, which was obvious. He said he disliked the sea and practically everything about the sea. This was his first extended sea voyage and, God willing, 'twould be his last one. He had been in his stateroom since quitting the land; this was his initial appearance on deck and now, if we would excuse him, he would go below. In his . . .

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