From the vapidity of grammar it was now and then a great relaxation to turn to the more agreeable subject of mathematics; and he might often have been seen lying face downwards, stretched out over six feet of grass, figuring out on scraps of paper some problem given for solution by a quizzical store lounger, or endeavoring to prove that, “multiplying the denominator of a fraction divides it, while dividing the denominator multiplies it.”
Rather a poor prospect one is forced to admit for a successful man of business.
At this point in my narrative I am pained to drop from further notice our buoyant and effusive friend Offut.
His business ventures failing to yield the extensive returns he predicted, and too many of his obligations maturing at the same time, he was forced to pay the penalty of commercial delinquency and went to the wall.
He soon disappeared from the village, and the inhabitants thereof never knew whither he went.
In the significant language of Lincoln
he “petered out.”
As late as 1873 I received a letter from Dr. James Hall
, a physician living at St. Dennis, near Baltimore, Maryland
, who, referring to the disappearance of Offut, relates the following reminiscence: “Of what consequence to know or learn more of Offut I cannot imagine; but be assured he turned up after leaving New Salem.
On meeting the name it seemed familiar, but I could not locate him. Finally I fished up from memory that some twenty-five years ago one “Denton Offut
” appeared in Baltimore
, hailing from Kentucky
, advertising himself in the city papers as a verterinary surgeon ”