slapped him familiarly on the shoulder, and asked him if he had chartered the stage for the day. The stranger, now wide awake, responded, ‘Certainly not,’ and at once took the front seat, politely surrendering to us the place of honor and comfort.
We took in our travelling companion at a glance.
A queer, odd-looking fellow he was, dressed in a well worn and ill-fitting suit of bombazine, without vest or cravat, and a twenty-five-cent palm hat on the back of his head.
His very prominant features in repose seemed dull and expressionless.
Regarding him as a good subject for merriment we perpetrated several jokes.
He took them all with the utmost innocence and good-nature, and joined in the laugh, although at his own expense.
At noon we stopped at a wayside hostelry for dinner.
We invited him to eat with us, and he approached the table as if he considered it a great honor.
He sat with about half his person on a small chair, and held his hat under his arm during the meal.
Resuming our journey after dinner, conversation drifted into a discussion of the comet, a subject that was then agitating the scientific world, in which the stranger took the deepest interest.
He made many startling suggestions and asked many questions.
We amazed him with words of learned length and thundering sound.
After an astounding display of wordy pyrotechnics the dazed and bewildered stranger asked: ‘What is going to be the upshot of this comet business?’
I replied that I was not certain, in fact I differed from most ”