He gasped once or twice, then moved toward the cofgun-box, stood over that Limburger cheese part of a moment, then came back and sat down near me, looking a good deal impressed. After a contemplative pause, he said, indicating the box with a gesture,
Friend of yourn?
Yes, I said with a sigh.
Hes a pretty ripe, aint he!
Nothing further was said for perhaps a couple of minutes, each being busy with his own thoughts; then Thompson said, in a low, awed voice,
Sometimes its uncertain whether theyre really gone or not,seem gone, you knowbody warm, joints limberand so, although you think theyre gone, you dont really know. Ive had cases in my car. Its perfectly awful, becuz you dont know what minute theyll rise up and look at you! Then, after a pause, and slightly lifting his elbow toward the box,But he aint in no trance! No, sir, I go bail for him!
We sat some time, in meditative silence, listening to the wind and the roar of the train; then Thompson said, with a good deal of feeling,
Well-a-well, weve all got to go, they aint no getting around it. Man that is born of woman is of few days and far between, as Scriptur says. Yes, you look at it any way you want to, its awful solemn and curus: they aint nobody can get around it; alls got to gojust everybody, as you may say. One day youre hearty and stronghere he scrambled to his feet and broke a pane and stretched his nose out at it a moment or two, then sat down again while I struggled up and thrust my nose out at the same place, and this we kept on doing every now and thenand next day hes cut down like the grass, and the places which knowed him then knows him no more forever, as Scriptur says. Yesndeedy, its awful solemn and curus; but weve all got to go, one time or another; they aint no getting around it.
There was another long pause; then,
What did he die of?
I said I didnt know.
How long has he ben dead?
It seemed judicious to enlarge the facts to fit the probabilities; so I said,
Two or three days.
But it did no good; for Thompson received it with an injured look which plainly said, Two or three years, you mean. Then he went right along, placidly ignoring my statement, and gave his views at considerable length upon the unwisdom of putting off burials too long. Then he lounged off toward the box, stood a moment, then came back on a sharp trot and visited the broken pane, observing,
Twould a ben a dum sight better, all around, if theyd started him along last summer.
Thompson sat down and buried his face in his red silk handkerchief, and began to slowly sway and rock his body like one who is doing his best to endure the almost unendurable. By this time the fragranceif you may call it fragrancewas just about suffocating, as near as you can come at it. Thompsons face was turning gray; I knew mine hadnt any color left in it. By and by Thompson rested his forehead in his left hand, with his elbow on his knee, and sort of waved his red handkerchief towards the box with his other hand, and said,
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