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Eleven Possible Cases
written by "Stockton, Frank Richard, 1834-1902"
... think I said that it looked as if there had been a cyclone somewhere, and if there had we should in all probability get the accounts of it soon enough. "But, young man," replied the Judge, with his majesterial emphasis, "cyclones do not extend from the fiftieth degree of north latitude to the fortieth degree of south latitude, and vessels are due at San Francisco from Melbourne and Japan." "What, then, other than a storm at sea could have caused a detention of all these vessels?" I asked, and I must have unwittingly betrayed in the tone of my voice, or the expression of my face, that considerate superciliousness with which youth regards the serious notions of mature philosophers, for the Judge, putting his gold spectacles upon his nose, and regarding me over the top of them a moment, said rather severely: "Other than the known and regular phenomena of this planet do not interest young men. If I could answer your question there would be no special interest in the matter." I mention these trivial incidents because, insignificant as they may seem, they were the first ripples of that disaster which was soon enough to overwhelm us all, and to show you what were the only premonitions the world had of the events which were to follow. On June 26, the subject did not occur to me. A hundred other things of far more immediate consequence to me occupied my attention. A young man who is preparing to get married is not apt to take somber views of anything. Nor is he very apt to allow the contumacy of age in his prospective father-in-law to aggravate him. It was a pardonable freak, I thought, in a man who had retired in most respects from the active world, to dogmatize a little about that world now that he judged it through his favorite evening paper. When, therefore, on the night of the 26th, while at the tea-table, the Judge broke out again about the meteorological wave on the Pacific coast, his daughter Kate and I exchanged a rapid but f...

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