Caleb Catlum's America: The Enlivening Wonders of His Adventures, Voyages, Discoveries, Loves, Hoaxes, Bombast and Rigmaroles in All Parts of America, from His Birth in 1798 Almost to the Present Year, Told by Himself

Caleb Catlum's America: The Enlivening Wonders of His Adventures, Voyages, Discoveries, Loves, Hoaxes, Bombast and Rigmaroles in All Parts of America, from His Birth in 1798 Almost to the Present Year, Told by Himself

Caleb Catlum's America: The Enlivening Wonders of His Adventures, Voyages, Discoveries, Loves, Hoaxes, Bombast and Rigmaroles in All Parts of America, from His Birth in 1798 Almost to the Present Year, Told by Himself

Caleb Catlum's America: The Enlivening Wonders of His Adventures, Voyages, Discoveries, Loves, Hoaxes, Bombast and Rigmaroles in All Parts of America, from His Birth in 1798 Almost to the Present Year, Told by Himself

Excerpt

He came to me under a cloud, wearing it as a horse does a straw hat, with an effect of tender and imperturbable homeliness. I told him that I liked it. "Nice piece o'haberdash'ry," he acknowledged. "Cooler'n a palm-leaf, but the depreciation's higher. I wouldn't recommend 'em for ev'ryday use. My name's Caleb Catlum o' Catlumville," he said. "This part the country ain't changed much since I come through in 1800. Any old Tories left hereabouts?"

I had been leaning over the well-curb, gazing down. There was no sound of a car on the hot white road, no footsteps came into the lane; but suddenly, far below, on the fresh-tin-colored surface wrinkled by skater-bugs, a face hung beside mine, a carrot-poll with long tanned cheekbones. The bulging pale-blue eyes had a quality of hypnotic self-possession, and I remember thinking for an instant that he might be one of the actors from Dyerville. Then the face in the water moved. "Put down some beer t'cool?" it said.

He must have been a good bit more than seven feet tall in his denim trousers, hitched up with firemen's red galluses, and his "thousand-mile" shirt -- this last, I recalled, the blue-and-white-checked badge and twinout of the pioneer. He looked like a young man, and one who had been young a long time; but there was about him the air and habit of another age of Americans. I asked him to come in and have a drink.

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