The Gentleman from Indiana (Chapter 1, page 2 of 11)


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Chapter 1

The social and business energy of Plattville concentrates on the Square.
Here, in summer-time, the gentlemen are wont to lounge from store to store
in their shirt sleeves; and here stood the old, red-brick court-house,
loosely fenced in a shady grove of maple and elm--"slipp'ry ellum"--called
the "Court-House Yard." When the sun grew too hot for the dry-goods box
whittlers in front of the stores around the Square and the occupants of
the chairs in front of the Palace Hotel on the corner, they would go
across and drape themselves over the court-house fence, under the trees,
and leisurely carve there initials on the top board. The farmers hitched
their teams to the fence, for there were usually loafers energetic enough
to shout "Whoa!" if the flies worried the horses beyond patience. In the
yard, amongst the weeds and tall, unkept grass, chickens foraged all day
long; the fence was so low that the most matronly hen flew over with
propriety; and there were gaps that accommodated the passage of itinerant
pigs. Most of the latter, however, preferred the cool wallows of the less
important street corners. Here and there a big dog lay asleep in the
middle of the road, knowing well that the easy-going Samaritan, in his
case, would pass by on the other side.

Only one street attained to the dignity of a name--Main Street, which
formed the north side of the Square. In Carlow County, descriptive
location is usually accomplished by designating the adjacent, as, "Up at
Bardlocks'," "Down by Schofields'," "Right where Hibbards live," "Acrost
from Sol. Tibbs's," or, "Other side of Jones's field." In winter, Main
Street was a series of frozen gorges land hummocks; in fall and spring, a
river of mud; in summer, a continuing dust heap; it was the best street in
Plattville.

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