Click here to Download The Gilded Age PDF Book by Charles Dudley Warner and Mark Twain English having PDF Size 11.9 MB and No of Pages 388.
Squire Hawkins sat upon the pyramid of large blocks, called the “stile,” in front of his house, contemplating the morning. The locality was Obedstown, East Tennessee. You would not know that Obedstown stood on the top of a mountain, for there was nothing about the landscape to indicate it—but it did: a mountain that stretched abroad over whole counties, and rose very gradually.
The Gilded Age PDF Book by Charles Dudley Warner and Mark Twain
|Name of Book||The Gilded Age|
|Author||Charles Dudley Warner and Mark Twain|
|PDF Size||11.9 MB|
|No of Pages||388|
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The district was called the “Knobs of East Tennessee,” and had a reputation like Nazareth, as far as turning out any good thing was concerned. The Squire’s house was a double log cabin, in a state of decay; two or three gaunt hounds lay asleep about the threshold, and lifted their heads sadly whenever Mrs. Hawkins or the children stepped in and out over their bodies.
Rubbish was scattered about the grassless yard; a bench stood near the door with a tin wash basin on it and a pail of water and a gourd; a cat had begun to drink from the pail, but the exertion was overtaxing her energies, and she had stopped to rest. There was an ash-hopper by the fence, and an iron pot, for soft-soap-boiling, near it.
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“Well you may open your eyes and stare! But it’s so. You and I may not see the day, but they’ll see it. Mind I tell you; they’ll see it. Nancy, you’ve heard of steamboats, and maybe you believed in them—of course you did. You’ve heard these cattle here scoff at them and call them lies and humbugs,—but they’re not lies and humbugs.
They’re a reality and they’re going to be a more wonderful thing some day than they are now. They’re going to make a revolution in this world’s affairs that will make men dizzy to contemplate. I’ve been watching—I’ve been watching while some people slept, and I know what’s coming.
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“Even you and I will see the day that steamboats will come up that little Turkey river to within twenty miles of this land of ours—and in high water they’ll come right to it! And this is not all, Nancy —it isn’t even half! There’s a bigger wonder—the railroad! These worms here have never even heard of it—and when they do they’ll not believe in it.
But it’s another fact. Coaches that fly over the ground twenty miles an hour—heavens and earth, think of that, Nancy! Twenty miles an hour. It makes a man’s brain whirl. Some day, when you and I are in our graves, there’ll be a railroad stretching hundreds of miles—all the way down from the cities of the Northern States to New Orleans.
And its got to run within thirty miles of this land—may be even touch a corner of it. Well, do you know, they’ve quit burning wood in some places in the Eastern States? And what do you suppose they burn? Coal!” [He bent over and whispered again:] “There’s world—worlds of it on this land! You know that black stuff that crops out of the bank of the branch?—well, that’s it. The Gilded Age PDF Book
You’ve taken it for rocks; so has every body here; and they’ve built little dams and such things with it. One man was going to build a chimney out of it. Nancy I expect I turned as white as a sheet! Why, it might have caught fire and told everything. I showed him it was too crumbly. Then he was going to build it of copper ore—splendid yellow fortyper-cent. ore!
There’s fortunes upon fortunes of copper ore on our land! It scared me to death, the idea of this fool starting a smelting furnace in his house without knowing it, and getting his dull eyes opened. And then he was going to build it of iron ore! There’s mountains of iron ore here, Nancy— whole mountains of it. I wouldn’t take any chances.
I just stuck by him—I haunted him—I never let him alone till he built it of mud and sticks like all the rest of the chimneys in this dismal country. Pine forests, wheat land, corn land, iron, copper, coal—wait till the railroads come, and the steamboats! We’ll never see the day, Nancy—never in the world—never, never, never, child. The Gilded Age PDF Book
We’ve got to drag along, drag along, and eat crusts in toil and poverty, all hopeless and forlorn—but they’ll ride in coaches, Nancy! They’ll live like the princes of the earth; they’ll be courted and worshiped; their names will be known from ocean to ocean! Ah, well-a-day! Will they ever come back here, on the railroad and the steamboat, and say.
‘This one little spot shall not be touched—this hovel shall be sacred—for here our father and our mother suffered for us, thought for us, laid the foundations of our future as solid as the hills!’” “You are a great, good, noble soul, Si Hawkins, and I am an honored woman to be the wife of such a man”—and the tears stood in her eyes when she said it.
“We will go to Missouri. You are out of your place, here, among these groping dumb creatures. We will find a higher place, where you can walk with your own kind, and be understood when you speak—not stared at as if you were talking some foreign tongue. I would go anywhere, anywhere in the wide world with you. The Gilded Age PDF Book
I would rather my body would starve and die than your mind should hunger and wither away in this lonely land.” “Spoken like yourself, my child! But we’ll not starve, Nancy. Far from it. I have a letter from Beriah Sellers—just came this day. A letter that—I’ll read you a line from it!” He flew out of the room.
A shadow blurred the sunlight in Nancy’s face—there was uneasiness in it, and disappointment. A procession of disturbing thoughts began to troop through her mind. Saying nothing aloud, she sat with her hands in her lap; now and then she clasped them, then unclasped them, then tapped the ends of the fingers together; sighed, nodded, smiled—occasionally paused, shook her head.
This pantomime was the elocutionary expression of an unspoken soliloquy which had something of this shape: “I was afraid of it—was afraid of it. Trying to make our fortune in Virginia, Beriah Sellers nearly ruined us and we had to settle in Kentucky and start over again. Trying to make our fortune in Kentucky he crippled us again and we had to move here. The Gilded Age PDF Book
Trying to make our fortune here, he brought us clear down to the ground, nearly. He’s an honest soul, and means the very best in the world, but I’m afraid, I’m afraid he’s too flighty. He has splendid ideas, and he’ll divide his chances with his friends with a free hand, the good generous soul, but something does seem to always interfere and spoil everything.
I never did think he was right well balanced. But I don’t blame my husband, for I do think that when that man gets his head full of a new notion, he can out-talk a machine. He’ll make anybody believe in that notion that’ll listen to him ten minutes—why I do believe he would make a deaf and dumb man believe in it and get beside himself.
If you only set him where he could see his eyes tally and watch his hands explain. What a head he has got! When he got up that idea there in Virginia of buying up whole loads of negroes in Delaware and Virginia and Tennessee, very quiet, having papers drawn to have them delivered at a place in Alabama and take them and pay for them. The Gilded Age PDF Book Download
Away yonder at a certain time, and then in the meantime get a law made stopping everybody from selling negroes to the south after a certain day—it was somehow that way—mercy how the man would have made money! Negroes would have gone up to four prices. But after he’d spent money and worked hard, and traveled hard.
And had heaps of negroes all contracted for, and everything going along just right, he couldn’t get the laws passed and down the whole thing tumbled. And there in Kentucky, when he raked up that old numskull that had been inventing away at a perpetual motion machine for twenty-two years, and Beriah Sellers saw at a glance where just one more little cog-wheel would settle the business.
Why I could see it as plain as day when he came in wild at midnight and hammered us out of bed and told the whole thing in a whisper with the doors bolted and the candle in an empty barrel. The hospitable gentleman, having disposed of his liquor, remarking that it was not quite the thing —“when a man has his own cellar to go to, he is apt to get a little fastidious about his liquors”—called for cigars. The Gilded Age PDF Book Download
But the brand offered did not suit him; he motioned the box away, and asked for some particular Havana’s, those in separate wrappers. “I always smoke this sort, gentlemen; they are a little more expensive, but you’ll learn, in this climate, that you’d better not economize on poor cigars.” Having imparted this valuable piece of information.
The Colonel lighted the fragrant cigar with satisfaction, and then carelessly put his fingers into his right vest pocket. That movement being without result, with a shade of disappointment on his face, he felt in his left vest pocket. Not finding anything there, he looked up with a serious and annoyed air, anxiously slapped his right pantaloon’s pocket, and then his left, and exclaimed.
“By George, that’s annoying. By George, that’s mortifying. Never had anything of that kind happen to me before. I’ve left my pocket-book. Hold! Here’s a bill, after all. No, thunder, it’s a receipt.” “Allow me,” said Philip, seeing how seriously the Colonel was annoyed, and taking out his purse. The Gilded Age PDF Book Download
The Colonel protested he couldn’t think of it, and muttered something to the barkeeper about “hanging it up,” but the vender of exhilaration made no sign, and Philip had the privilege of paying the costly shot; Col. Sellers profusely apologizing and claiming the right “next time, next time.”
As soon as Beriah Sellers had bade his friends good night and seen them depart, he did not retire apartments in the Planter’s, but took his way to his lodgings with a friend in a distant part of the city. Harry was the guest of Senator Dilworthy. There was scarcely any good movement in which the Senator was not interested.
His house was open to all the laborers in the field of total abstinence, and much of his time was taken up in attending the meetings of this cause. He had a Bible class in the Sunday school of the church which he attended, and he suggested to Harry that he might take a class during the time he remained in Washington. Mr. Washington Hawkins had a class. The Gilded Age PDF Book Download
Harry asked the Senator if there was a class of young ladies for him to teach, and after that the Senator did not press the subject. Philip, if the truth must be told, was not well satisfied with his western prospects, nor altogether with the people he had fallen in with. The railroad contractors held out large but rather indefinite promises.
Opportunities for a fortune he did not doubt existed in Missouri, but for himself he saw no better means for livelihood than the mastery of the profession he had rather thoughtlessly entered upon. During the summer he had made considerable practical advance in the science of engineering; he had been diligent, and made himself to a certain extent necessary to the work he was engaged on.
The contractors called him into their consultations frequently, as to the character of the country he had been over, and the cost of constructing the road, the nature of the work, etc. You reach your hotel, presently—and here let us draw the curtain of charity—because of course you have gone to the wrong one. The Gilded Age PDF Book Free
You being a stranger, how could you do otherwise? There are a hundred and eighteen bad hotels, and only one good one. The most renowned and popular hotel of them all is perhaps the worst one known to history. It is winter, and night. When you arrived, it was snowing. When you reached the hotel, it was sleeting.
When you went to bed, it was raining. During the night it froze hard, and the wind blew some chimneys down. When you got up in the morning, it was foggy. When you finished your breakfast at ten o’clock and went out, the sunshine was brilliant, the weather balmy and delicious, and the mud and slush deep and all-pervading. You will like the climate when you get used to it.