Anton Jelinek: MY ANTONIA, Book I, Chapter XV

Self is reading My Antonia in Philadelphia.

A very warm, muggy Philadelphia.

And she’s in a section of My Antonia that takes place in the middle of a hard Nebraska winter.

lol

In Chapter XV we meet a new character, Anton Jelinek, who the narrator, Jim Burden, cannot help admiring for his “frank, manly faith.” Jelinek’s business is to make coffins.

  • “The last time I made one of these, Mrs. Burden,” he said, as he sorted and tried his chisels, “was for a fellow in the Black Tiger mine, up above Silverton, Colorado. The mouth of that mine goes right into the face of the cliff, and they used to put us in a bucket and run us over on a trolley and shoot us into the shaft. The bucket traveled across a box cañon three hundred feet deep, and about a third full of water. Two Swedes had fell out of that bucket once, and hit the water, feet down. If you’ll believe it, they went to work the next day. You can’t kill a Swede. But in my time a little Eyetalian tried the high dive, and it turned out different with him. We was snowed in then, like we are now, and I happened to be the only man in camp that could make a coffin for him. It’s a handy thing to know, when you knock about like I’ve done.”

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.


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