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Synopsis

There are not many who will remember him as Thomas Jefferson Brown. For ten years he had been mildly ashamed of himself, and out of respect for people who were dead, and for a dozen or so who were living, he had the good taste to drop his last name. The fact that it was only Brown didn't matter. "Tack Thomas Jefferson to Brown," he said, "and you've got a name that sticks!" It had an aristocratic sound; and Thomas Jefferson, with the Brown cut off, was still aristocratic, when you came to count the red corpuscles in him. In some sort of way he was related to two dead Presidents, three dead army officers, a living college professor, and a few common people. He was legitimately born to the purple, but fate had sent him off on a curious ricochet in a game all of its own, and changed him from Thomas Jefferson Brown into just plain Thomas Jefferson without the Brown. He was one of those specimens who, when you meet them, somehow make you feel there are a few lost kings of the earth, as well as lost lambs. He was what we called a "first-sighter"—that is, you liked him the instant you looked at him. You knew without further acquaintance that he was a man whom you could trust with your money, your friendship—anything you had. He was big, with a wholesome brown face, blond hair, and gray eyes that seemed always to be laughing and twinkling, even when he was hungry. He carried about with him a load of cheerfulness so big that it was constantly spilling over on other people. There was a time when Thomas Jefferson Brown had little white cards with his name on them. That was when he went to college, and his lungs weren't so good. It was then that some big doctor told him that if he wanted to live to have grandchildren, the best thing for him to do was to "tramp it" for a time—live out of doors, sleep out of doors, do nothing but breathe fresh air and walk. That doctor was Fate, playing his game behind a pair of spectacles and a bumpy forehead. He saved Thomas Jefferson Brown, all right; but he turned him into plain Thomas Jefferson.

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