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A Rubber Esophagus
by [?]

I could not help thinking of him afterward. I tried to imagine him on his way to Europe over a stormy sea; the surprise of his stomach when it found itself frustrated and beaten at its own game, and all that. Then I thought of him as the honored guest of some great corporation or club, and at the banquet, when the president, in a few well-chosen words, apparently born of the moment but really wearing trousers, says, “Gentlemen, we have with us this evening,” etc., etc.; and then rising, all the members join in a toast to the guest. Touching his glass to theirs, and then gracefully unreeling his garden hose, he takes from his pocket the small funnel, and, gently sipping the generous wine through his tin pharynx, he begins his well-digested response.

Nature did not do much for this poor lad, but science has stepped in and made him a man of mark. He went to bed unknown. He awoke to find himself noted. He went to sleep with ordinary tastes. He arose with no taste at all. Thus, through the medical treatment of a typhoid idiot, for a disease which was in no way malignant, or, as I might say, therapeutic, he became a man of parts and stands next to the nobility of Europe, not having to work.

Afterward, in Paris, I saw on the street a man who played the trombone by means of a bullet-hole in his trachea, but I do not think it elevated me and spurred me on to nobler endeavor and made a better man of me, as did this simple-hearted young gentleman who made a living by eating publicly through a tin horn, and who actually earned his bread by eating it. I hope that the medical fraternity will make his case a study and try to do better next time. That is the only moral I can think of in connection with this story.