A House-Boat on the Styx by John Kendrick Bangs

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The Project Gutenberg eBook, A House-Boat on the Styx, by John Kendrick

This eBook is for the use of anyone anywhere at no cost and with
almost no restrictions whatsoever. You may copy it, give it away or
re-use it under the terms of the Project Gutenberg License included
with this eBook or online at www.gutenberg.net

Title: A House-Boat on the Styx

Author: John Kendrick Bangs

Release Date: May 12, 2005 [eBook #2618]

Language: English

Character set encoding: ISO-646-US (US-ASCII)


Transcribed from the 1902 Harper and Brothers edition by David Price,
email ccx074@coventry.ac.uk

by John Kendrick Bangs


Charon, the Ferryman of renown, was cruising slowly along the Styx one
pleasant Friday morning not long ago, and as he paddled idly on he
chuckled mildly to himself as he thought of the monopoly in ferriage
which in the course of years he had managed to build up.

"It's a great thing," he said, with a smirk of satisfaction--"it's a
great thing to be the go-between between two states of being; to have the
exclusive franchise to export and import shades from one state to the
other, and withal to have had as clean a record as mine has been.
Valuable as is my franchise, I never corrupted a public official in my
life, and--"

Here Charon stopped his soliloquy and his boat simultaneously. As he
rounded one of the many turns in the river a singular object met his
gaze, and one, too, that filled him with misgiving. It was another
craft, and that was a thing not to be tolerated. Had he, Charon, owned
the exclusive right of way on the Styx all these years to have it
disputed here in the closing decade of the Nineteenth Century? Had not
he dealt satisfactorily with all, whether it was in the line of ferriage
or in the providing of boats for pleasure-trips up the river? Had he not
received expressions of satisfaction, indeed, from the most exclusive
families of Hades with the very select series of picnics he had given at
Charon's Glen Island? No wonder, then, that the queer-looking boat that
met his gaze, moored in a shady nook on the dark side of the river,
filled him with dismay.

"Blow me for a landlubber if I like that!" he said, in a hardly audible
whisper. "And shiver my timbers if I don't find out what she's there
for. If anybody thinks he can run an opposition line to mine on this
river he's mightily mistaken. If it comes to competition, I can carry
shades for nothing and still quaff the B. & G. yellow-label benzine three
times a day without experiencing a financial panic. I'll show 'em a
thing or two if they attempt to rival me. And what a boat! It looks for
all the world like a Florentine barn on a canal-boat."

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