Fitz Smythe has gone into spasms of delight over a magnificent hearse (our language is tame, compared to his,) which has just been imported here by one of our undertakers. This "genius of abnormal tastes" is generally gloating over a rape, or a case of incest, or a dismal and mysterious murder, or something of that kind; he is always going into raptures about something that other people shiver at. Now, he looks with a lecherous eye on this gorgeous star-spangled banner bone-wagon, and would become positively frantic with delight if he could only see it in its highest reach of splendor once with a five hundred dollar coffinful of decaying mortality in it. He could not contain his enthusiasm under such thrilling circumstances; he would swing his hat on the street corners and cheer the funeral procession. This fellow must be cramped down a little. He would burst with ecstasy if he could clasp a real, sure-enough body-snatcher to his bosom once, and be permitted to make an item of it. He must be gagged. Otherwise he will seduce some weak patron of the Alta into dying, for the sake of getting the first ride in the pretty hearse.
[published in Early Tales & Sketches, Volume 2, 1864-1865,
University of California Press, 1981, p. 495.]
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