Story type: Essay
Col. Visscher, of Denver, who is delivering his lecture, “Sixty Minutes in the War,” tells a good story on himself of an episode, or something of that nature, that occurred to him in the days when he was the amanuensis of George D. Prentice.
Visscher, in those days, was a fair-haired young man, with pale blue eyes, and destitute of that wealth of brow and superficial area of polished dome which he now exhibits on the rostrum. He was learning the lesson of life then, and every now and then he would bump up against an octagonal mass of cold-pressed truth of the never-dying variety that seemed to kind of stun and concuss him.
One day Mr. Visscher wandered into a prominent hotel in Louisville, and, observing with surprise and pleasure that “boiled lobster” was one of the delicacies on the bill of fare, he ordered one.
He never had seen lobster, and a rare treat seemed to be in store for him. He breathed in what atmosphere there was in the dining-room, and waited for his bird. At last it was brought in. Mr. Visscher took one hasty look at the great scarlet mass of voluptuous limbs and oceanic nippers, and sighed. The lobster was as large as a door mat, and had a very angry and inflamed appearance. Visscher ordered in a powerful cocktail to give him courage, and then he tried to carve off some of the breast.
The lobster is honery even in death. He is eccentric and trifling. Those who know him best are the first to evade him and shun him. Visscher had failed to straddle the wish bone with his fork properly, and the talented bird of the deep rolling sea slipped out of the platter, waved itself across the horizon twice, and buried itself in the bosom of the eminent and talented young man. The eminent and talented young man took it in his napkin, put it carefully on the table, and went away.
As he passed out, the head waiter said:
“Mr. Visscher, was there anything the matter with your lobster?”
Visscher is a full-blooded Kentuckian, and answered in the courteous dialect of the blue-grass country.
“Anything the matter with my lobster, sah? No, sah. The lobster is very vigorous, sah. If you had asked me how I was, sah, I should have answered you very differently, sah. I am not well at all, sah. If I were as well, and as ruddy, and as active as that lobster, sah, I would live forever, sah. You heah me, sah?
“Why, of course, I am not familiar with the habits of the lobster, sah, and do not know how to kearve the bosom of the bloomin’ peri of the summer sea, but that’s no reason why the inflamed reptile should get up on his hind feet and nestle up to me, sah, in that earnest and forthwith manner, sah.
“I love dumb beasts, sah, and they love me, sah; but when they are dead, sah, and I undertake to kearve them, sah, I desiah, sah, that they should remain as the undertakah left them, sah. You doubtless heah me, sah!”
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