The Mighty Burke

The Mighty Burke

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The Mighty Burke by Theodore Dreiser

Published:

1911

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The Mighty Burke

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Book Excerpt

ll his collection of workingmen was Jimmie, a dark, mild-eyed, soft-spoken Calabrian who had the shrewdness of a Machiavelli and the pertness of a crow. He lived in the same neighborhood as Burke (he kept all his Italians gathered close about him), and was always the one who was selected to run his family errands for him. On the job, no matter what it might be, Jimmie could never be induced to do hard work. He always had a task of some other kind on hand which he used as an excuse, and, as he was an expert cement-mixer and knew just how to load and unload the tool-car, nothing was ever said to him. If anyone dared to reprove him, he would reply: "Yeh! Yeh! I know-a my biz. I been now with Misha Buck fifteen year. I know-a my biz." If you made any complaint to Burke, he would merely grin and say, "Jimmie's a shrewd one," or, perhaps. ''I'll get ye yet, ye fox;" but more than that nothing was ever done.

One day, however, Jimmie failed to comply with an extraordinary order of Burke's, which produced a mos

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