It could be true, as cantankerous Andrew Jackson Gillis kept insisting, that he was not the same old boy. "Bossy" Gillis still looked as seedy as Burpee's spring catalogue, and he fitted into the gentle, museum-piece decor of old Newburyport, Mass, like a prime bull at a vegetarians' convention. But the coming of middle age, a wife and a new black bowler had smoothed some of Bossy's sharp edges.

It had been 22 years since he burst into the city hall to punch the mayor of Newburyport flush on the mouth (60 days,...

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