Though he came from a prairie village, Jim had fastidiousness, a natural elegance.All the items of his wardrobe, the "ordinary suit," distinctly glossy at the elbows, and the dark-brown "best suit," were ready-made, with faltering buttons, and seams that betrayed rough ends of thread, but on him they were graceful.You felt that he would belong to any set in the world which he sufficiently admired.There was a romantic flare to his upturned overcoat collar; the darned bottoms of his trousers did not suggest poverty but a careless and amused ease; and his thoroughly commonplace ties hinted of clubs and regiments. You saw only its youthful freshness first, then behind the brightness a taut determination, and his brown eyes were amiably scornful.That’s why Healthgrades is proud to introduce the National Health Index. Title: Elmer Gantry (1927) Author: Sinclair Lewis * A Project Gutenberg of Australia e Book * e Book No.: 0300851Edition: 1 Language: English Character set encoding: HTML--Latin-1(ISO-8859-1)--8 bit Date first posted: May 2003 Date most recently updated: May 2003 This e Book was produced by: Don Lainson [email protected] Gutenberg of Australia e Books are created from printed editions which are in the public domain in Australia, unless a copyright notice is included. The light was dim, completely soothing, coming through fantastic windows such as are found only in churches, saloons, jewelry shops, and other retreats from reality. How much cash would it bring in to quote all that stuff--what the dickens was it now? But still, if his mother claimed she was doing so well with her millinery business and wanted him to be a college graduate, he'd stick by it.He leaned against the bar of the Old Home Sample Room, the most gilded and urbane saloon in Cato, Missouri, and requested the bartender to join him in "The Good Old Summer Time," the waltz of the day. He kept from flunking only because Jim Lefferts drove him to his books. Elmer was astounded that so capable a drinker, a man so deft at "handing a girl a swell spiel and getting her going" should find entertainment in Roman chariots and the unenterprising amours of sweet-peas. To keep him from absolutely breaking under the burden of hearing the professors squeak, he did have the joy of loafing with Jim, illegally smoking the while; he did have researches into the lovability of co-eds and the baker's daughter; he did revere becoming drunk and world-striding.
He tasted one, and murmured foolishly, "'Scuse me." It was the chase, the water. The whisky would certainly be in that other lil sawed-off glass. It tickled his throat and made him feel powerful, and at peace with every one save that fellow--he could not recall who, but it was some one whom he would shortly chastise, and after that float into an Elysium of benevolence. The sour invigorating stench of beer made him feel healthy. He regarded basket-ball and gymnasium antics as light-minded for a football gladiator.
It was not merely that he was a shouter, a pounder on backs, an overwhelming force, so that there was never any refuge of intimacy with him. Except with his widow mother, whom he vaguely worshiped, and with Jim Lefferts, Elmer assumed that he was the center of the universe and that the rest of the system was valuable only as it afforded him help and pleasure. His first year, as the only Freshman who was playing on the college football team, as a large and smiling man who was expected to become a favorite, he was elected president. At class-meetings he cut speakers short, gave the floor only to pretty girls and lads who toadied to him, and roared in the midst of the weightiest debates, "Aw, come on, cut out this chewing the rag and let's get down to business! By scurrying behind trees he managed to come face to face with Elmer on the campus. Now you go roll your hoop, Fissy, and let all the yellow coyotes know that anybody that nominates anybody except Uncle Hell-cat will catch it right where the chicken caught the ax. And if they tell me they didn't know about this, you'll get merry Hail Columbia for not telling 'em. If there's anything but an unanimous vote, you won't do any praying the rest of this year!
" He collected the class-fund by demanding subscriptions as arbitrarily as a Catholic priest assessing his parishoners for a new church. There was a custom that the manager of the Athletic Association should not be a member of any team. He halted, and spoke of football, quantitative chemistry, and the Arkansas spinster who taught German. Desperately, his voice shrill with desire to change the world, Eddie stammered: "Say--say, Hell-cat, you hadn't ought to run for president again. " "Somebody's going to be." "Ah, gee, Elmer, don't run for it. Course all the fellows are crazy about you but--Nobody's ever been president twice. " Eddie remembered how Elmer and Jim had shown a Freshman his place in society by removing all his clothes and leaving him five miles in the country.
Their room was unchanged from the days of the original August Gritzmacher; a room heavy with a vast bed of carved black walnut, thick and perpetually dusty brocade curtains, and black walnut chairs hung with scarves that dangled gilt balls. There was about the place the anxious propriety and all the dead hopes of a second-hand furniture shop.
In this museum, Jim had a surprising and vigorous youthfulness.