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Page:Sketches by Mark Twain.djvu/222

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"You surprise me. Why do you say this? Has anything gone wrong? What is the matter?"

"Matter! Look at this shroud rags. Look at this gravestone, all battered up. Look at that disgraceful old coffin. All a man's property going to ruin and destruction before his eyes, and ask him if anything is wrong! Fire and brimstone!"

"Calm yourself, calm yourself," I said. It is too bad—it is certainly too bad, but then I had not supposed that you would much mind such matters, situated as you are"

"Well, my dear sir, I do mind them. My pride is hurt, and my comfort is impaired—destroyed, I might say. I will state my case—I will put it to you in such a way that you can comprehend it, if you will let me," said the poor skeleton, tilting the hood of his shroud back, as if he were clearing for action, and thus unconsciously giving himself a jaunty and lestive air very much at variance with the grave character of his position in life so to speak and in prominent contrast with his distressful mood.

"Proceed," said I.

"I reside in the shameful old graveyard a block or two above you here, in this street—there, now, I just expected that cartilage would let go!—third rib from the bottom, friend, hitch the end of it to my spine with a string, if you have got such a thing about you, though a bit of silver wire is a deal pleasanter, and more durable and becoming, if one keeps it polished—to think of shredding