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Colonel Carter's Christmas and The Romance of an Old-Fashioned Gentleman   By: (1838-1915)

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COLONEL CARTER'S CHRISTMAS

THE ROMANCE OF AN OLD FASHIONED GENTLEMAN

BY

F. HOPKINSON SMITH

ILLUSTRATED BY

F. C. YOHN and A. I. KELLER

CHARLES SCRIBNER'S SONS NEW YORK:::::::::::::::::::::1911

COLONEL CARTER'S CHRISTMAS

COPYRIGHT, 1903, BY CHARLES SCRIBNER'S SONS

THE ROMANCE OF AN OLD FASHIONED GENTLEMAN

COPYRIGHT, 1907, BY CHARLES SCRIBNER'S SONS

[Illustration: Katy dropped her head on his shoulder again.]

To my Readers:

It will be remembered, doubtless, that the chronicles of my very dear friend, Colonel Carter (published some years ago), make mention of but one festival of importance a dinner given at Carter Hall, near Cartersville, Virginia; the Colonel's ancestral home. This dinner, as you already know, was to celebrate two important events the sale to the English syndicate of the coal lands, the exclusive property of the Colonel's beloved aunt, Miss Nancy Carter; and the instantaneous transfer by that generous woman of all the purchase money to the Colonel's slender bank account: a transaction which, to quote his own words as he gallantly drank her health in acknowledgment of the gift, "enabled him to provide for one of the loveliest of her sex she who graces our boa'd and to enrich her declining days not only with all the comforts, but with many of the luxuries she was bawn to enjoy."

Several other festivals, however, did take place: not in the days of the dear Colonel's prosperity, nor yet at Carter Hall, but in his impecunious days in New York, while he was still living in the little house on Bedford Place within a stone's throw of the tall clock tower of Jefferson Market. This house, you will recall, sat back from the street behind a larger and more modern dwelling, its only outlet to the main thoroughfare being through a narrow, grewsome tunnel, lighted during the day by a half moon sawed out in the swinging gate which marked its street entrance and illumined at night by a rusty lantern with dingy glass sides.

All reference to one of these festivals a particular and most important festival was omitted, much to my regret, from my published chronicles, owing to the express commands of the Colonel himself: commands issued not only out of consideration for the feelings of one of the participants a man who had been challenged by him to mortal duel, and therefore his enemy but because on that joyous occasion this same offender was his guest, and so protected by his hospitality.

This man was no less a person than the eminent financier, Mr. P. A. Klutchem, of Klutchem, Skinham & Co., who, you will remember, had in an open office and in the presence of many mutual friends, denounced in unmeasured terms the Cartersville & Warrentown Air Line Railroad an enterprise to which the Virginian had lent his name and which, with the help of his friend Mr. Fitzpatrick, he was then trying to finance. Not content with thus slandering the road itself, characterizing it as "beginning nowhere and ending nowhere," Mr. Klutchem had even gone so far as to attack the good name of its securities, known as the "Garden Spot" Bonds, and to state boldly that he would not "give a yellow dog" for "enough of 'em to paper a church." The Colonel's immediate resentment of this insult; his prompt challenge to Mr. Klutchem to meet him in mortal duel; Mr. Klutchem's refusal and the events which followed, are too well known to you to need further reference here.

The death of this Mr. Klutchem some years ago decided me again to seek the Colonel's permission to lay before my readers a succinct account, first of what led up to this most important celebration, and then some of the details of the celebration itself one of the most delightful, if not the most delightful, of all the many delightful festivals held in the Colonel's cosy quarters on Bedford Place.

My communication drew from Colonel Carter the following characteristic letter:

CARTER HALL, CARTERSVILLE, VA... Continue reading book >>




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