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(1907)

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Summaries

  • A gentleman is seated in his library, engaged in study, when he is interrupted by a messenger boy, who delivers a note which apparently calls him away for a time. Evidently much annoyed by the interruption, he seems to debate whether he shall comply with the message and leave his books or not, but at last hits on a compromise, and putting on his hat and gloves and taking with him the book he was reading, he leaves the room to keep his appointment. Our student friend is seen coming down the steps of his apartment, and, open book in hand, is reading while he walks so as to lose no time unnecessarily; the "domestic worker" is sweeping the steps and a boy with a basket of groceries on his shoulder is going up. Engrossed in his reading and entirely oblivious to his surroundings, he stumbles on the boy and overturns him, the steps becoming a mixture of boy, maid and mixed groceries, through all of which he pursues his way, unmindful of the damage he has caused. A janitor has set out his pail and mop to clean the sidewalk. Into the pail walks our literary friend, still reading and all unheeding, but as he unconsciously takes the pail away with him he is chased by the irate janitor and gets decidedly the worst of the chase which ensues. A photographer is taking a street scene and has just arranged his camera to his liking when the bookworm, still reading, appears around the corner. In a moment nothing is seen but a confused heap of camera, tripod and photographer, from which the bookworm emerges, book in hand and with his eyes riveted on the pages, fails to notice some bricklayers, who are mixing mortar, into which he plunges head over heels, to their disgust and his discomfort. The copper on the beat is having a little flirtation with his lady friend in front of the house where she lives, when the lucky reader comes in sight and blunders into them, upsetting both girl and policeman, for the cop seems disposed to arrest him, but lets him go, warning him very emphatically of what will happen if he catches him again. The warning does him little good and he continues his course, still reading, with the result that he encounters an Italian image-seller, whose tray is knocked off his head and the sidewalk covered with broken images. The Dago demands pay, but not getting it, pelts the bookworm with the fragments. Nothing can cure our student of his habit, and still reading, he bumps into a negro wench with a pail of water, a company of boys playing leap-frog, some girls engaged at blind-man's bluff on the sidewalk, and a couple of Irishmen who are enjoying a can of beer in the interval of their work; but at last his career is at an end. Engrossed in his book, he fails to notice an open coal-hole which yawns at his feet, but steps into it and precipitately disappears from view. Misfortunes never happen singly, and he has hardly fallen when a coal wagon backs up to the sidewalk and begins to discharge its load down the coal-hole and right on the head of our unfortunate friend. Ouch!! Hully Gee!! Help!!! Police!!! And the bookworm is dragged forth, blackened and bruised and hardly recognizable, but his call for police has brought to the spot the copper on the beat whom he had offended before and who promptly takes him into custody, so that he may have time to read at leisure without inconveniencing other people.


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