The Man that Corrupted Hadleyburg and Other Essays and Stories by Twain Mark

The Man that Corrupted Hadleyburg and Other Essays and Stories by Twain Mark

Author:Twain, Mark
Language: eng
Format: epub
Publisher: (Privatkopie)
Published: 2010-02-03T05:00:00+00:00


III

The Major turned out to be an adorable traveling-companion, and young Parrish was charmed with him. His talk was sunshine and rainbows, and lit up the whole region around, and kept it gay and happy and cheerful; and he was full of accommodating ways, and knew all about how to do things, and when to do them, and the best way. So the long journey was a fairy dream for that young lad who had been so lonely and forlorn and friendless so many homesick weeks. At last, when the two travelers were approaching the frontier, Parrish said something about passports; then started, as if recollecting something, and added:

»Why, come to think, I don't remember your bringing my passport away from the consulate. But you did, didn't you?«

»No; it's coming by mail,« said the Major, comfortably.

»C––coming – by – mail!« gasped the lad; and all the dreadful things he had heard about the terrors and disasters of passportless visitors to Russia rose in his frightened mind and turned him white to the lips. »Oh, Major – oh, my goodness, what will become of me! How could you do such a thing?«

The Major laid a soothing hand upon the youth's shoulder and said:

»Now, don't you worry, my boy, don't you worry a bit. I'm taking care of you, and I'm not going to let any harm come to you. The Chief Inspector knows me, and I'll explain to him, and it 'll be all right – you'll see. Now don't you give yourself the least discomfort – I'll fix it all up, easy as nothing.«

Alfred trembled, and felt a great sinking inside, but he did what he could to conceal his misery, and to respond with some show of heart to the Major's kindly pettings and reassurings.

At the frontier he got out and stood on the edge of the great crowd, and waited in deep anxiety while the Major plowed his way through the mass to ›explain to the Chief Inspector.‹ It seemed a cruelly long wait, but at last the Major reappeared. He said, cheerfully, »Damnation, it's a new inspector, and I don't know him!«

Alfred fell up against a pile of trunks, with a despairing, »Oh, dear, dear, I might have known it!« and was slumping limp and helpless to the ground, but the Major gathered him up and seated him on a box, and sat down by him, with a supporting arm around him, and whispered in his ear:

»Don't worry, laddie, don't – it's, going to be all right; you just trust to me. The sub-inspector's as near-sighted as a shad. I watched him, and I know it's so. Now I'll tell you how to do. I'll go and get my passport chalked, then I'll stop right yonder inside the grille where you see those peasants with their packs. You be there, and I'll back up against the grille, and slip my passport to you through the bars, then you tag along after the crowd and hand it in, and trust to Providence and that shad.



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