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Buried Treasure
There are many kinds of fools. Now, will everybody please sit still until they are called
upon specifically to rise?
I had been every kind of fool except one. I had expended my patrimony, pretended my
matrimony, played poker, lawn-tennis, and bucket-shops--parted soon with my money in
many ways. But there remained one rule of the wearer of cap and bells that I had not
played. That was the Seeker after Buried Treasure. To few does the delectable furor
come. But of all the would-be followers in the hoof- prints of King Midas none has found
a pursuit so rich in pleasurable promise.
But, going back from my theme a while--as lame pens must do--I was a fool of the
sentimental soft. I saw May Martha Mangum, and was hers. She was eighteen, the color
of the white ivory keys of a new piano, beautiful, and possessed by the exquisite
solemnity and pathetic witchery of an unsophisticated angel doomed to live in a small,
dull, Texas prairie-town. She had a spirit and charm that could have enabled her to pluck
rubies like raspberries from the crown of Belgium or any other sporty kingdom, but she
did not know it, and I did not paint the picture for her.
You see, I wanted May Martha Mangum for to have and to hold. I wanted her to abide
with me, and put my slippers and pipe away every day in places where they cannot be
found of evenings.
May Martha's father was a man hidden behind whiskers and spectacles. He lived for bugs
and butterflies and all insects that fly or crawl or buzz or get down your back or in the
butter. He was an etymologist, or words to that effect. He spent his life seining the air for
flying fish of the June-bug order, and then sticking pins through 'em and calling 'em
He and May Martha were the whole family. He prized her highly as a fine specimen of
the racibus humanus because she saw that he had food at times, and put his clothes on
right side before, and kept his alcohol-bottles filled. Scientists, they say, are apt to be
absent- minded.
There was another besides myself who thought May Martha Mangum one to be desired.
That was Goodloe Banks, a young man just home from college. He had all the
attainments to be found in books--Latin, Greek, philosophy, and especially the higher
branches of mathematics and logic.
If it hadn't been for his habit of pouring out this information and learning on every one
that he addressed, I'd have liked him pretty well. But, even as it was, he and I were, you
would have thought, great pals.