Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford, The: A Novel (P.S.)
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Jesse James was a fabled outlaw, a charismatic, spiritual, larger-than-life bad man whose bloody exploits captured the imagination and admiration of a nation hungry for antiheroes. Robert Ford was a young upstart torn between dedicated worship and murderous jealousy, the "dirty little coward" who coveted Jesse's legend. The powerful, strange, and unforgettable story of their interweaving paths—and twin destinies that would collide in a rain of blood and betrayal—is a story of America in all her rough, conflicted glory and the myths that made her.
appealing. They were recognized on the seashore, in grand hotel lobbies, in Brooklyn, and were warily accommodated, wisely adjudged, gossiped about as if they were Vanderbilts; they could walk into shops and see the aproned sales clerks cringe, they could jeer at waiters and maids and hackney drivers who would make the ridicule seem jolly, they ate in elegant restaurants with giggling girls who were painted and powdered in the superior fashion of the arrogant rich but who made no efforts at
and his stomach couldn’t always completely capture his food, so their activities were constrained, their nights early, their social engagements were often fraught with illness and regrets. She introduced Jesse to her girlfriends at parties but it seemed all he could do not to nod off over his tea; sometimes she lost him entirely to other rooms and attics where he could browse like an auction bidder. Whereas his own chums delighted him; he sent coded letters to aliases at tavern addresses and was
evening.” Jesse glanced at his brother with concern. “What you need to do is tap some alum onto a dime, cook it with a matchstick, and lick it clean before you partake of your meals. That’s the remedy for dyspepsia. You’ll be cured inside of four days.” “You and your cures.” Frank crossed in front of his brother, jamming his horse, and they turned left on a twin-rutted road and a median strip of grease-smeared, axle-flogged weeds. A great many animals had ganged on the road for a half-mile,
rocking chair, blowing clouds into his manacled fists. Then a man who would later introduce himself as Henry Craig came forward and asked Liddil, “Do you know this man to be Clarence Browler Hite?” Liddil nodded with sorrow; Clarence merely examined a stain of blood on his palm and wiped it on his seat. Craig shouted to Bob, “Mr. Ford?” Bob raised his stare. “Do you identify this man as one of those who committed robbery on the Chicago, Rock Island, and Pacific Railway at Winston, Missouri?”
horse nickered and clicked its bit and its rider dangled his legs off the stirrups and squirmed around with soreness. He turned up his collar and lowered his chin as if the wind was mean and then reined back slightly so that he slipped four feet to the rear and with grim foreboding and fright Charley tried to guess if Jesse’s gun was already out. Greenery was high all around them as they climbed a grade and Charley began the only prayer he knew, getting to the words “my soul to keep” when a comet