Friday, February 3, 2017

Cousin Jesse Sparks Teaches Manners to a New Yorker


A True Story of How His Impoliteness Was Rebuked

          Maj. J. W. Sparks, the genial Senator from Rutherford, again comes to the front in an amusing yet tragic episode.

          Two or three nights ago the Major was a passenger on the train bound for Chattanooga, returning to Murfreesboro from a visit to this city. The car was crowded, but Mr. Sparks’ keen eye soon discovered as he progressed along the aisle what he doubtless considered a favorable opening. An individual, who would by some extremists have been considered a hog of the human species, lay spread across two seats, with his luggage on a third.

          “Is this seat engaged?” queried the Major, pointing to the seat upon whose plush covering the stranger’s pedal extremities were extended.

          The stranger answered not a word, but gave a surprised and insolent stare at the questioner.

          The Senator without more delay jerked the seat over, probably severely abrading the stranger’s shin-plasters.

          “By G-d, sir,” yelled the stranger as he violently threw the seat back to its former position and poked a revolver into the Senator’s glowing countenance, “I’m from New York.”

          “And I,” retorted the Senator as he knocked up the New Yorker’s pistol, “am from Texas, more recently from Tennessee.” As he spoke, he shot his right fist into the stranger’s left optic, and knocking him against the window-pane shattered the glass. The stranger’s head went through the opening thus made and the irate Tennessean was about to throw the Yorker out the car when friends persuaded him to desist.

          The train ran into Lavergne and the stranger grabbing his grip and leaving his hat jumped off the platform and evidently fearing mob law disappeared in the darkness. The last view of the gentleman from New York was secured as that individual fled like one of the Major’s razor-backs across the uplands of Rutherford County in the vicinity of Lavergne. He turned up a day later in Chattanooga where he bought a hat and ticket North.

From the Nashville Tennessean (17 November 1889)

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