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Plentiful Valley
by [?]

“So this here head brakeman, the same being a large, coarse, hairy, rectangular person with a square-toed jaw and a square-jawed toe, he up and boots the two of us right off this here freight train.”

My old and revered friend, Scandalous Doolan, is much addicted to opening a narrative smack down the middle, as though it were an oyster, and then, by degrees, working both ways–toward the start and the finish. So it did not greatly surprise me that without preface, dedication, index or chapter-heading, he should suddenly introduce a head brakeman and a freight train into a conversation which until that moment had dealt with topics not in the least akin to these. Indeed, knowing him as I did, it seemed to me all the better reason why I should promptly incline the greedy ear, for over and above his eccentricities in the matter of launching a subject, Mr. Doolan is the only member of his calling I ever saw who talks in real life as all the members of his calling are fondly presumed to talk, in story-books and on the stage.

I harkened, therefore, saying nothing, and sure enough, having dealt for a brief passage of time with the incident of a certain enforced departure from a certain as yet unnamed common carrier, he presently retraced his verbal footsteps and began at the beginning.

I quote in full:

“Yes, sir, that’s what he does. Refusing to listen to reason, this here head brakeman, which anybody could tell just by looking at him that he didn’t have no heart a-tall and no soul, so as you could notice it, he just red lights us off into the peaceful and sun-lit bosom of the rooral New York State landscape. But before reaching the landscape it becomes necessary for us to slide down a grade of a perpendicular character, and in passing I am much pleased to note that the right-of-way is self-trimmed to match the prevalent style of scenery, with maybe a few cinders interspersed for decorations. There is one class of travelers which prefers a road-bed rock-ballasted, and these is those which goes on trains from place to place. There’s another kind which likes a road-bed done in the matched or natural materials, and them’s the kind which goes off trains from time to time. And us two, being for the moment in this class, we are much gratified by the circumstance.

“And we sits up and dusts ourselves off in a nonchalant manner while the little old choo-choo continues upon her way to Utica, Syracuse, and all points west, leaving me and the Sweet Caps Kid with all the bright world before us, and nothing behind us but the police force.

“For some months previous to this, me and the Sweet Caps Kid has been sojourning in that favored metropolis which is bounded on one side by a loud Sound and on the other by a steep Bluff, and is doing her constant best at all times to live up to the surroundings. Needless to say, I refer to little Noo Yawk, the original haunt of the come-on and the native habitat of the sure thing, where the jays bite freely and the woods are full of fish. We have been doing very well there–very, very well, considering. What with working the nuts on the side streets right off Broadway and playing a little three-card monte down round Coney in the cool of the evening and once in a while selling a sturdy husbandman from over Jersey way a couple of admission tickets to Central Park, we have found no cause to complain at the business depression. It sure looks to us like confidence has been restored and any time she seems a little backward we take steps to restore her some ourselves. But all of a sudden, something seems to tell me that we oughter be moving.