CHAPTER XLIII
THE ART OF INHUMATION

A BOUT the same time I encountered a man in the street whom I had not seen for six or seven years; and something like this talk followed. I said:

"But you used to look sad and oldish; you don't now. Where did you get all this youth and bubbling cheerfulness? Give me the address."

He chuckled blithely, took off his shining tile, pointed to a notched pink circlet of paper pasted into its crown, with something lettered on it, and went on chuckling while I read, "J. B., UNDERTAKER." Then he clapped his hat on, gave it an irreverent tilt to leeward, and cried out:

"That's what's the matter! It used to be rough times with me when you knew me--insurance-agency business, you know; mighty irregular. Big fire, all right--brisk trade for ten days while people scared; after that, dull policy business till next fire. Town like this don't have fires often enough--a. fellow strikes so many dull weeks in a row that he gets discouraged. But you bet you, this is the business! People don't wait for examples to die. No, sir, they drop off right along--there ain't any dull spots in the undertaker line. I just started in with two or three little old coffins and a hired hearse, and now

-349-

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