Education: The Colonel Rides Again

Of all the characters in the history of U.S. drama, Colonel Nimrod Wildfire of Kentucky occupies a special place. He claimed to be "half horse, half alligator [and] a touch of the airth-quake." He had "the prettiest sister, fastest horse, and ugliest dog in the deestrict." He could "tote a steam boat up the Mississippi and over the Alleghany mountains." His father could "whip the best man in old Kaintuck, and I can whip my father." All in all, the colonel was a wow back in the 1830s—the literary prototype of the tall-talking frontiersman,...

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