Infomotions, Inc.Peck's Bad Boy with the Cowboys / Peck, George W., 1840-1916



Author: Peck, George W., 1840-1916
Title: Peck's Bad Boy with the Cowboys
Publisher: Project Gutenberg
Tag(s): dad; old groceryman; squaws; carlisle indian; indians; got
Contributor(s): Keller, Arthur Ignatius, 1866-1924 [Illustrator]
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Services: find in a library; evaluate using concordance
Rights: GNU General Public License
Size: 38,415 words (really short) Grade range: 14-16 (college) Readability score: 58 (average)
Identifier: etext6141
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Title: Peck's Bad Boy With the Cowboys

Author: Hon. Geo. W. Peck

Release Date: July, 2004 [EBook #6141]
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[This file was first posted on November 19, 2002]

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Peck's Bad Boy With the Cowboys

[Illustration: "Dog does kinder act as though he had something on
his mind."]

PECK'S BAD BOY WITH THE COWBOYS

BY HON. GEO. W. PECK.

Author of Peck's Bad Boy Abroad, Peck's Bad Boy with the Circus,
etc.

Relating the Amusing Experiences and Laughable Incidents of this
Strenuous American Boy and his Pa while among the Cowboys and
Indians in the Far West. Exciting Hunts and Adventures mingled
with Humorous Situations and Laugh Provoking Events.

FULLY ILLUSTRATED

CHICAGO

JOHN R. STANTON CO.

PUBLISHERS

COPYRIGHT 1905

BY

JOSEPH B. BOWLES

COPYRIGHT 1906

BY

JOSEPH B. BOWLES

COPYRIGHT 1907

BY

THOMPSON & THOMAS

MADE IN U. S. A.




ILLUSTRATIONS.


"Got Any Trailing Dogs?" Frontispiece

Pa Kicked the Dog

The Grizzly Looked as Big as a Brewery Horse

They Gave Pa Three Cheers

The Squaws Seemed to be Worshipping Pa

The Horse Stumbled, Throwing Pa Over His Head and Killing the
Wolf

He Looked Like Moonlight on the Lake

The Chiefs Knees Knocked Together

Pa Only Touched the High Places

A Boy Dinosaurus Reached Out His Neck and Picked Up a Steer

We Were Captured by the Curry's Gang

Pa Told Them About the Wave of Reform

Say to the Engineer--"Charley, Turn Her Off and Stop Her"

One Day the Robbers Came Back From a Raid With Piles of
Greenbacks

Drank to the Health of Their Distinguished Guest

The Robbers Guided Us in the Dark Through the Valley

The Pony Tossed Pa in the Air

Pa Swung His Ax Handle

Pa Was Alive to His Danger

The Buffaloes Licked Pa's Bald Head--Pa Began to Pray

A Couple of Bouncers Took Pa by the Elbows and Fired Him Out

"Dog Does Kinder Act as Though He Had Something on His Mind"

"Jerusalem, But You Are a Sight," Said the Old Groceryman

Dad Said, "Good Shot, Hennery"

"It Rained Bananas and the Dago Came Down on His Head"

"The Farmer Had Grabbed Hold of a Wire Sign Across the Street"

"Hennery, This Attempt on Your Part to Murder Me Was Not the
Success You Expected"

"Dad Sat in the Parlor With a Widow Until the Porter Had to Tell
Him to Cut it Out"

"I Got a Gambler to Look Cross at Dad"

"Dad Was Up On a Limb and the Wild Animals Were Jumping Up to Eat
His Shoes"

"Hennery, I Feel as Though Your Dad Was Not Long For This World"

Dad Among the Cowboys

"Dad Began to Pose as a Regular Old Rough Rider"

Dad On a Bucking Broncho

"That's a Prairie Dog From Texas"

"Dad Heard Something at Night and Rose Up in Bed"

"Dad Stepped On My Prairie Dog and Yelled Murder"

"We Left Under Escort of the Police"

"Arrest That Boy With the Rattlesnake," Said the Groceryman

"Each Oyster Was As Big As a Pie Plate"

Landed With His Head in a Basket of Strictly Fresh Eggs

"You Ought to Have Seen Dad's Short Legs Carry Him to a Tree"

"Studied the Bears for Awhile and Let Dad Yell for the Police"

Come to Present Arms

When the Fireworks Went Off in the Grocery

"Dad Said if Rockefeller Could Raise Hair by the Sunshine Method,
He Could"




CHAPTER I.


The Bad Boy and His Pa Go West--Pa Plans to Be a Dead Ringer for
Buffalo Bill--They Visit an Indian Reservation and Pa Has an
Encounter with a Grizzly Bear.

Well, I never saw such a change in a man as there has been in pa,
since the circus managers gave him a commission to go out west and
hire an entire outfit for a wild west show, regardless of cost, to
be a part of our show next year. He acts like he was a duke,
searching for a rich wife. No country politician that never had
been out of his own county, appointed minister to England, could
put on more style than Pa does.

The first day after the show left us at St. Louis we felt pretty
bum, 'cause we missed the smell of the canvas, and the sawdust,
and the animals, and the indescribable odor that goes with a
circus. We missed the performers, the band, the surging crowds
around the ticket wagon, and the cheers from the seats. It almost
seemed as though there had been a funeral in the family, and we
were sitting around in the cold parlor waiting for the lawyers to
read the will. But in a couple of days Pa got busy, and he hired a
young Indian who was a graduate of Carlisle, as an interpreter,
and a reformed cowboy, to go with us to the cattle ranges, and an
old big game hunter who was to accompany us to the places where we
could find buffalo and grizzly bears. Pa chartered a car to take
us west, and after the Indian and the cowboy and the hunter got
sobered up, on the train, and got the St. Louis ptomaine poison
out of their systems, and we were going through Kansas, Pa got us
all into the smoking compartment.

"Gentlemen," he said, "I want you to know that this expedition is
backed by the wealth of the circus world, and that there is
nothing cheap about it. We are to hire, regardless of expense, the
best riders, the best cattle ropers, and the best everything that
goes with a wild west show. We all know that Buffalo Bill must
soon, in the nature of things, pass away as a feature for shows,
and I have been selected to take the place of Bill in the circus
world, when he cashes in. You may have noticed that I have been
letting my hair and mustache and chin whiskers grow the last few
months, so that next year I will be a dead ringer for Bill. All I
want is some experience as a hero of the plains, as a scout, a
hunter, a scalper of Indians, a rider of wild horses, and a few
things like that, and next year you will see me ride a white horse
up in front of the press seats in our show, take off my broad-
brimmed hat, and wave it at the crowned heads in the boxes, give
the spurs to my horse, and ride away like a cavalier, and the show
will go on, to the music of hand-clapping from the assembled
thousands, see?"

The cowboy looked at pa's stomach, and said: "Well, Mr. Man, if
you are going to blow yourself for a second Buffalo Bill, I am
with you, at the salary agreed upon, till the cows come home, but
you have got to show me that you have got no yellow streak, when
it comes to cutting out steers that are wild and carry long horns,
and you've got to rope 'em, and tie 'em all alone, and hold up
your hands for judgment, in ten seconds."

Pa said he could learn to do it in a week, but the cowman said:
"Not on your life." The hunter said he would be ready to call pa
B. Bill when he could stand up straight, with the paws of a full-
grown grizzly on each of his shoulders, and its face in front of
pa's, if Pa had the nerve to pull a knife and disembowel the bear,
and skin him without help. Pa said that would be right into his
hand, 'cause he use to work in a slaughter house when he was a
boy, and he had waded in gore.

The Indian said he would be ready to salute Pa as Buffalo Bill the
Second, when Pa had an Indian's left hand tangled in his hair, and
a knife in his right hand ready to scalp him, if Pa would look the
Indian in the eye and hypnotize the red man so he would drop the
hair and the knife, turn his back on pa, and invite him to his
wigwam as a guest. Pa said all he asked was a chance to look into
the very soul of the worst Indian that ever stole a horse, and he
would make Mr. Indian penuk, and beg for mercy.

And we all agreed that Pa was a wonder, and then they got out a
pack of cards and played draw poker awhile. Pa had bad luck, and
when the Indian bet a lot of chips, Pa began to look the Indian
in the eye, and the Indian began to quail, and Pa put up all the
chips he had, to bluff the Indian, but Pa took his eye off the
Indian a minute too quick, and the Indian quit quailing, and bet
Pa $70, and Pa called him, and the Indian had four deuces and pa
had a full hand, and the Indian took the money. Pa said that comes
of educating these confounded red devils, at the expense of the
government, and then we all went to bed.

The next morning we were at the station in the far west. We got
off and started for the Indian reservation where the Carlisle
Indian originally came from, and where we were to hire Indians for
our show. We rode about 40 miles in hired buckboards, and just as
the sun was Setting there appeared in the distance an Indian
camp, where smoke ascended from tepees, tents and bark houses.
When the civilized Carlisle Indian jumped up on the front seat of
the buckboard and gave a series of yells that caused pa's bald
head to look ashamed that it had no hair to stand on end, there
came a war whoop from the camp, Indians, squaws, dogs, and
everything that contained a noise letting out yells that made me
sick. The Carlisle Indian began to pull off his citizen clothes of
civilization, and when the horses ran down to the camp in front of
the chief's tent the tribes welcomed the Carlisle prodigal son,
who had removed every evidence of civilization, except a pair of
football pants, and thus he reinstated himself with the affections
of his race, who hugged him for joy.

Pa and the rest of us sat in the buckboard while the Indians began
to feast on something cooking in a shack. We looked at each other
for awhile, not daring to make a noise for fear it would offend
the Indians. Pretty soon an old chief came and called Pa the Great
Father, and called me a pup, and he invited us to come into camp
and partake of the feast.

Well, we were hungry, and the meat certainly tasted good, and the
Carlisle civilized Indian had no business to say it was dog,
'cause no man likes to smoke his pipe of peace with strong tobacco
in a strange pipe, and feel that his stomach is full of dog meat.
But we didn't die, and all the evening the Indians talked about
the brave great father.

It seemed that they were not going to take much stock in pa's
bravery until they had tried him out in Indian fashion. We were
standing in the moonlight surrounded by Indians, and Pa had been
questioned as to his bravery, and Pa said he was brave like
Roosevelt, and he swelled out his chest and looked the part, when
the chief said, pointing to a savage, snarling dog that was
smelling of pa: "Brave man, kick a dog!"

We all told Pa that the Indian wanted Pa to give an exhibition of
his bravery by kicking the dog, and while I could see that Pa had
rather hire a man to kick the dog, he knew that it was up to him
to show his mettle, so he hauled off and gave the dog a kick near
the tail, which seemed to telescope the dog's spine together, and
the dog landed far away. The chief patted Pa on the shoulder and
said: "Great Father, bully good hero. Tomorrow he kill a grizzly,"
and then they let us go to bed, after Pa had explained that if
everything went well he would hire all the chiefs and young braves
for his show.

[Illustration: Pa Kicked the Dog.]

After we got to bed Pa said he was almost sorry he told the chief
that he would take a grizzly bear by one ear, and cuff the other
ear with the flat of his hand, as he didn't know but a wild
grizzly would look upon such conduct differently from our old bear
in the show used to. Any person around the show could slap his
face, or cuff him, or kick him in the slats, and he would act as
though they were doing him a favor. The big game hunter told pa
that there was no danger in hunting a grizzly, as you could scare
him away, if you didn't want to have any truck with him, by waving
your hat and yelling: "Git, Ephraim." He said no grizzly would
stand around a minute if you yelled at him. Pa made up his mind he
would yell all right enough, if we came up to a grizzly.

Well, we didn't sleep much that night, 'cause Pa kept practicing
on his yell to scare a grizzly, for fear he would forget the
words, and when they called us in the morning Pa was the poorest
imitation of a man going out to test his bravery that I ever saw.
While the Indians were getting ready to go out to a canyon and
turn the dogs loose to round up a bear, Pa got a big knife and was
sharpening it, so he could rip the bear from Genesis to
Revelations. After breakfast the chief and the Carlisle Indian,
and the big game hunter, and the cowman and I went out about two
miles, to the mouth of the canyon, where it was very narrow, and
they stationed Pa by a big rock, right where the bear would have
to pass; the rest of us got up on a bench of the canyon, where we
could see Pa be brave, and the young Indians went up about a mile,
and started the dogs. Well, Pa was a sight, as he stood there
waiting for the bear, so he could cuff its ears, and rip it open,
right in sight of the chief, and skin it; but he was nervous, and
we could see that his legs trembled when he heard the dogs bark up
the canyon. I yelled to Pa to think of Teddy Roosevelt, and Daniel
Boone, and Buffalo Bill, and set his teeth so they would not
chatter and scare the bear, but Pa yelled back: "Never you mind, I
will kill my bear in my own way, but you can make up your mind to
have bear meat for supper."

Pretty soon the big game hunter said: "There he comes, sure's you
are born," and we looked up the canyon, and there was something
coming, as big as a load of hay, with bristles sticking up a foot
high on its back, and its mouth was open, and it was loping right
towards pa. Gee, but I was proud of pa, to see him sharpening his
knife on his boot leg, but when the great animal got within about
a block of pa, the great father seemed to have a streak of yellow,
for he dropped his knife and yelled: "Git, Ephraim," in a loud
voice, but Ephraim came right along, and didn't git with any
great suddenness. When the bear got within about four doors of
Pa, he saw the great father, and stood up on his hind legs, and
looked as big as a brewery horse, and he opened his mouth and
said: "Woof," just like that. That was too much for my Pa, who
began to shuck his clothes, and then started on a run towards the
mouth of the canyon. The bear looked around as much as to say:
"Well, what do you think of that?" and we watched Pa sprinting
toward the Indian camp like a scared wolf.

[Illustration: The Grilly Looked as Big as a Brewery Horse.]

The big game hunter put a few bullets in the bear where they
would do the most good, and killed it, and we went down in the
canyon and skinned it, and took the meat and hide to camp, where
we found Pa under a bed in a squaw's tepee, making grand hailing
signs of distress, and trying to tell them about his killing a
bear by letting it run after him, so it would tire itself out and
die of heart failure.

When we found Pa he had come out from under the bed, and was
looking at the hide of the bear to find the place where he hit it
with the knife, as he said he could see that the only chance for
him to kill the bear was to throw the knife at it from a distance,
'cause the bear was four times as big as any bear he had ever
killed. Pa took out a handful of gold pieces and distributed them
among the Indians, and told the Carlisle Indian to explain to the
tribe that the great father had killed the bear by hypnotism, and
they all believed it except the chief, who seemed skeptical, for
he said: "Great father heap brave man like a sheep. Go play seven-
up with squaws." Poor Pa wasn't allowed to talk with the men all
day, 'cause the old chief said he was a squaw man. Pa says they
don't seem to realize that a man can be brave unless he allows
himself to be killed by a bear, but he says he will show them that
a great mind and a great head is better in the end than
foolishness. Now they want Pa to run a footrace with the young
Indians, as the record he made getting to camp ahead of the bear
is better than any time ever made on the reservation.




CHAPTER II.


Indian Chief Compels Bad Boy's Pa to Herd with the Squaws--He
Shows Them How to Make Buckwheat Cakes and Is Kept Making Them a
Week--He Talks to the Squaws About Women's Rights and They
Organize a Strike--Pa's Success in a Wolf Hunt--The Strike is Put
Down and the Indians Prepare to Burn Pa at the Stake.

Since Pa's experience in trying to kill a grizzly by making the
animal chase him and die of heart disease, the chief has made Pa
herd with the squaws, until he can prove that he is a brave man by
some daring deed. The Indians wouldn't speak to him for a long
time, so he decided to teach the squaws how to keep house in a
civilized manner, and he began by trying to show them how to make
buckwheat pancakes, so they could furnish something for the
Indians to eat that does not have to be dug out of a tin can,
which they draw from the Indian agent. Pa found a sack of
buckwheat flour and some baking powder, and mixed up some batter,
and while he was fixing a piece of tin roof for a griddle, the
squaws drank the pancake batter raw, and it made them all sick,
and the chief was going to have Pa burned at the stake, when the
Carlisle Indian who had eaten pancakes at college when he was
training with the football team, told the chief to let up on Pa
and he would give them something to eat that was good, so Pa mixed
some more batter and when the buckwheat pancakes began to bake,
and the odor spread around among the Indians, they all gathered
around, and the way they ate pancakes would paralyze you. They got
some axle grease to spread on the pancakes, and fought with each
other to get the pancakes, and they kept Pa baking pancakes all
day and nearly all night, and then the squaws began to feel
better, and Pa had to bake pancakes for them, and when the flour
gave out the chief sent to the agency for more, and for a week pa
did nothing but make pancakes, but finally the whole tribe got
sick, and Pa had to prescribe raw beef for them, and they began to
get better, and then they wanted Pa to go on a coyote hunt, and
kill a kiota, which is a wolf, by jumping off his horse and taking
the wolf by the neck and choking it to death. Pa said he killed a
tom cat that way once, and he could kill any wolf that ever
walked, so they arranged the hunt Before we went on the hunt pa
sent to Cheyenne for two dozen little folding baby trundlers for
the squaws to wheel the papooses in, 'cause he didn't like to see
them tie the children on their backs and carry them around. Where
the trundlers came Pa showed the squaws how they worked, by
putting a papoose in one of the baby wagons, and pushing it around
the camp, and by gosh, if they didn't make Pa wheel all the babies
in the tribe, for two days, and the Indians turned out and gave
the great father three cheers, but when the squaws wanted to get
in the wagons and be wheeled around, Pa kicked. After teaching the
squaws how to put the children in the wagons and work them, we
went off on  the hunt, and when we came back every squaw had her
papoose in a baby wagon, but instead of wheeling the wagon in
civilised fashion, they slung the wagons, babies and all, on their
backs, and carried the whole thing on their backs. Gee, but that
made Pa hot. He says you can't do anything with a race of people
that haven't got brain enough to imitate. He says monkeys would
know better than to carry baby wagons on their backs. I never
thought that Indians could be jealous, but they are terrors when
the jealousy germ begins to work. There is no doubt but that the
squaws got to thinking a great deal of pa, 'cause he talked with
them, through the Carlisle Indian for an interpreter, and as he
sat on a camp chair and looked like a great white god with a red
nose, and they gathered around him, and he told them stories of
women in the east, and how they dressed and went to parties, and
how the men worked for them that they might live in luxury, and
how they had servants to do their cooking, and maids to dress
them, and carriages to ride in, and lovers to slave for them, it
is not to be wondered at that those poor creatures, who never had
a kind word from their masters, and who were looked upon as lower
than the dogs, should look upon Pa as the grandest man that ever
lived, and I noticed, myself, that they gave him glances of love
and admiration, and when they would snuggle up closer to pa, he
would put his hand on their heads and pat their hair, and look
into their big black eyes sort of tender, and pinch their brown
cheeks, and chuck them under the chin, and tell them that the
great father loved them, and that he hoped the time would come
when every good Indian would look upon his squaw, the mother of
his children, as the greatest boon that could be given to man, and
that the now despised squaw would be placed on a pedestal and
honored by all, and worshiped as she ought to be.

[Illustration: The Squaws Seemed to Be Worshiping Pa.]

That was all right enough, but Pa never ought to have gone so far
as to advise them to strike for their rights, and refuse to be
longer looked upon as beasts of burden, but demand recognition as
equals, and refuse longer to be drudges. I could see that trouble
was brewing, for every squaw insisted on kissing the great father,
and then there came a baneful light in their eyes, and they drew
away together and began to talk excitedly, and Pa said he guessed
they were organizing a woman's rights union. Pa and the Carlisle
Indian and I went out for a stroll in the forest, and were gone an
hour or so, and Pa got tired and he and I went back to camp before
the Carlisle Indian did, and when we got in sight of camp we could
see by the commotion that the squaw strike was on, 'cause the
squaws were talking loud and the Indians were getting their guns
and it looked like war. We crawled up close, and the squaws drew
butcher knives and made a rush on the Indians, and the Indians
weakened, and the squaws tied their hands and feet, and then the
squaws had a war dance, and they told the Indians that they were
now the bosses, and would hereafter run the affairs of the tribe,
like white women did, and that the Indians must do the cooking,
and do the work, while the squaws sat in the tents to be waited
on, and that they would never do another stroke of hard work that
an Indian could do. I never saw such a lot of scared Indians in my
life, but when the squaws put the butcher knives to their necks,
and looked fierce, and grabbed the Indians by the hair and looked
as though they were going to scalp them, the Indians agreed to do
all the work, and just then Pa and I came up, and the squaws
hailed Pa as their deliverer, and they fell on his neck and hugged
him, and they placed a camp chair for him, and put a tiger skin
cloak around him, and a necklace of elk's teeth around his neck,
and all kneeled down and seemed to be worshiping him, while the
Indians looked on in the most hopeless manner, and then the
Carlisle Indian came and said the squaws had made Pa the chief
squaw of the tribe, and that the Indians had agreed to do the work
hereafter. Pa counted the elk teeth on his necklace and figured
that he could sell them for two dollars apiece, and pay the
expenses of the trip. Then the squaws cut the strings that bound
the Indians, and set them to work cooking dinner, and it was awful
the way the spirit seemed to be knocked out of the Indians, just
by a little rising on the part of the downtrodden squaws. The
Indians cooked dinner, and waited on the squaws, and Pa and all of
us whites, and after dinner the squaws ordered the horses and the
squaws and us whites went off on a wolf hunt, with the dogs,
where Pa was to show his bravery to the squaws instead of the
Indians. The squaws gave Pa the old chief's horse, and the best
one in the tribe, and leaving the chief to wash the dishes, and
the Indians to clean up the camp, and clean some fish for supper,
the victorious squaws with Pa at the head, and the rest of us
whites on ponies, went out on the mesa and turned the dogs loose,
and pretty soon they were after a wolf and Pa led out ahead on his
racing pony, cheered by the yells of the squaws, and it was a fine
race for about two miles. Pa and the cowboy and the big game
hunter and I got ahead of the squaws, and after awhile we got up
pretty near to the wolf, and the big game hunter said to pa: "Now,
old man, is your chance to make yourself solid with  the squaws.
We will hold hack and when the dogs get the wolf surrounded you
rush in and kill him or your name's Dennis." Pa said: "You watch
my smoke, and see me eat that wolf alive." So we held up our
horses, and let Pa go ahead. He rode up to the wolf, and I never
saw a man with such luck as Pa had. Just as he got near the wolf
and the animal showed his teeth, Pa tried to steer his horse away
from the savage animal, but the horse stumbled in a prairie dog
hole, and fell right on top of the wolf, crushing the life out of
the animal, and throwing Pa over his head. Pa was stunned, but he
soon came to, and when he realized that the wolf was dead, he
grabbed the animal by the neck with one hand, and by the lower jaw
with the other, and held on to it till the  crowd came up, and
when the squaws saw that Pa had killed the biggest wolf ever seen
on the reservation, by rushing in single handed and choking the
savage animal to death, they gave Pa an ovation that was enough to
turn the head of any man. Us white fellows knew that Pa couldn't
have been hired to go near that wolf until the horse fell on it
and killed it, but we wanted to give Pa a reputation for bravery,
and so we let the squaws compliment Pa and hug him, and make him
think he was a holy terror. So they tied the wolf on the saddle in
front of pa, and we all went back to camp, the squaws shouting for
pa, and telling the Indians how the great white father had
strangled the father of all wolves, and then the Indians served
the fish supper, and all looked  as though there had been a
bloodless revolution, and that the squaws were in charge of the
government, and Pa was "it," but I could see the Carlisle Indian
whispering to the Indians, and it seemed to me I could see signs
of an uprising, and when the Indians had the supper dishes washed,
and all seemed going right, and the squaws were rejoicing at being
emancipated, just as the sun was setting, every Indian pulled out
a bull whip and began to lash the squaws to their tents, and some
young braves grabbed Pa and removed the leopard skin cloak, and
the elk's teeth necklace, and tied his hands and feet, and carried
him into a circle made by the Indians. I asked the Carlisle Indian
what was the matter, and he said, pointing to some wood that had
been piled at the roots of a  tree: "The great white father is
going to be tried for inciting a rebellion among the squaws, and
the chances are that before the sun shall rise tomorrow your old
dad will be broiled, fricasseed and baked to a turn." I went up
to Pa and said: "Gee, dad, but they are going to burn you at the
stake," and Pa called the cowboy, and told him to ride to the
military post and ask for a detail of soldiers to hurry up and put
a stop to it, and then Pa said to me: "Hennery, it may look as
though I was in a tight place, but I place my trust in the squaws
and soldiers," and Pa rolled over to take a nap.

[Illustration: The Horse Stumbled, Throwing Pa Over His Head and
Killing the Wolf]




CHAPTER III.


How the Old Man Subdued the Indians with an Electric Battery and
Phosphorus--He Tries His Hand at Roping a Steer--The Disastrous
Result.

Gee, but I thought Pa was all in when I closed by last letter,
when the Indians had him bound on a board, and had lighted a
fire, and were just going to broil him. Jealousy is bad enough in
a white man, but when an Indian gets jealous of his squaw there is
going to be something doing, and when a whole tribe gets jealous
of one old man, 'cause he has taught the squaws to be independent,
and rise up as one man against the tyranny of their husbands, that
white man is not safe, and as Pa lay there, waiting for the fire
to get hot enough for them to lay him on the coals, I felt almost
like crying, 'cause I didn't want to take pa's remains back home
so scorched that they wouldn't be an ornament to society, so I
went up to pa's couch to get his instructions as to our future
course, when he should be all in.

I said, "Pa, this is the most serious case you have yet mixed up
in. O, wimmen, how you do ruin men who put their trust in you."

Pa winked at me, and said:

"Never you mind me, Hennery. I will come out of this scrape and
have all the Indians on their kpeesan less than an hour, begging
my pardon," and then Pa whispered to me, and I went to pa's valise
and got an electric battery and put it in pa's pocket and
scattered copper wires all around pa's body, and fixed it so pa
could touch a button and turn on a charge of electricity that
would paralyze an elephant, and then I got some matches and took
the phosphorus off and put it all over pa's face and hands and
clothes and as it became dark and the phosphorus began to shine,
Pa was a sight. He looked like moonlight on the lake, and I got
the cowboy and the big game hunter and the educated Indian to get
down on their knees around pa, and chant something that would
sound terrible to the Indians. The only thing in the way of a
chant that all of them could chant was the football tune,
"There'll Be a Hot Time in the Old Town Tonight," and we were
whooping it up over pa's illuminated remains when the Indians came
out to put Pa on the fire, and when they saw the phosphorescent
glow all over him, and, his face looking as though he was at peace
with all the world, and us whites on our knees, making motions and
singing that hot dirge, they all turned pale, and were scared, and
they fell back reverently, and gazed fixedly at poor pa, who was
winking at us, and whispering to us to keep it up, and we did.

The old chief was the first to recover, and he saw that something
had to be done pretty quick, so he talked Indian to some of the
braves, and I slipped away and put some phosphorus all over a
squaw, and she looked like a lightning bug, and told her to go and
fall on pa's remains and yell murder. The Indians had started to
grab Pa and put him  on the fire when Pa turned on the battery
and the big chief got a dose big enough for a whole flock of
Indians, and all who touched Pa got a shock, and they all fell
back and got on their knees, and just then the squaw with the
phosphorus on her system came running out, and she fell across
pa's remains, and she shone so you could read fine print by the
light she gave, and that settled it with the tribe, 'cause they
all laid down flat and were at pa's mercy. Pa pushed the
illuminated squaw away, and went around and put his foot on the
neck of each Indian, in token of his absolute mastery over them,
and then he bade them arise, and he told them he had only done
these things to show them the power of the great father over his
children, and now he would reveal to them his object in coming
amongst them, and that was to engage 20 of the best Indians, and
20 of the best squaws, to join our great show, at an enormous
salary, and be ready in two weeks to take the road. The Indians
were delighted, and began to quarrel about who should go with the
show, and to quiet them Pa said he wanted to shake hands with all
of them, and they lined up, and Pa took the strongest wire
attached to the battery in his pistol pocket, and let it run up
under his coat and down his sleeve, into his right hand, and that
was the way he shook hands with them. I thought I would die
laughing. Pa took a position like a president at a New Year's
reception, and shook hands with the tribe one at a time. The old
chief came first, and Pa grasped his hand tight, and the
chief stood on his toes and his knees knocked together, his teeth
chattered, and he danced a cancan while Pa held on to his hand and
squeezed, but he finally let go and the chief wiped his hand on a
dog, and the dog got some of the electricity and ki yield to beat
the band. Then Pa shook hands with everybody, and they all went
through the same kind of performance, and were scared silly at the
supernatural power Pa seemed to have. The squaws seemed to get
more electricity than the buck Indians, 'cause Pa squeezed harder,
and the way they danced and cut up didoes would make you think
they had been drinking. Finally Pa touched them all with his magic
wand, and then they prepared a feast and celebrated their
engagement to go with the circus, and we packed up and got ready
to go to a cattle round up the next day at a ranch outside the
Indian reservation, where Pa was to engage some cowboys for the
show. As we left the headquarters on the reservation the next
morning all the Indians went with us for a few miles, cheering us,
and Pa waved his hands to them, and said, "bless you, me
children," and looked so wise, and so good, and great that I was
proud of him. The squaws threw kisses at pa, and when we had left
them, and had got out of sight, Pa said, "Those Indians will give
the squaws a walloping when they get back to camp, but who can
blame them for falling in love with the great father?" and then pa
winked, and put spurs to his pony and we rode across the mesa,
looking for other worlds to conquer.

[Illustration: "The Chief's Knees Knocked Together."]

On the way to the ranch where we were to meet the cowboys and
engage enough to make the show a success, the cowboy Pa had along
told Pa that it might be easy enough to fool Indians with the
great father dodge, and the electric battery, and all that, but
when he struck a mess of cowboys he would find a different
proposition, 'cause he couldn't fool cowboys a little bit. He said
if Pa was going to hire cowboys, he had got to be a cowboy
himself, and if he couldn't rope steers he would have to learn,
'cause cowboys, if they were to be led in the show by pa, would
want him to be prepared to rope anything that had four feet. Pa
said while he didn't claim to be an expert, he had done some
roping, and could throw a lasso, and while he didn't always catch
them by the feet, when he tried to, he got the rope over them
somewhere, and if the horse he rode knew its business he
ultimately got his steer, and he would be willing to show the boys
what he could do.

We got to the cow camp in time for dinner, and our cowboy
introduced Pa to the cowboys around the chuck wagon, and told them
Pa was an old cowboy who had traveled the Texas trail years ago,
and was one of the best horsemen in the business, a manager of a
show that was adding a wild west department and wanted to hire 40
or more of the best ropers and riders, at large salaries, to join
the show, and that Pa considered himself the legitimate successor
of Buffalo Bill, and money was no object. Well, the boys were
tickled to meet pa, and some said they had heard of him when he
was roping cattle on the frontier, and that tickled pa, and they
smoked cigarettes, and finally saddled up and began to brand
calves and rope cattle to get them where they belonged, each
different brand of cattle being driven off in a different
direction, and we had the most interesting free show of bucking
horses and roping cattle I ever saw. Pa watched the boys work for
a long time, and complimented them, or criticised them for some
error, until the crazy spirit seemed to get into him, and he
thought he could do it as well as any of the boys, and he told our
cowboy that whenever the boys got tired he would like to get on a
buckskin pony that one of the men was riding, and show that while
a little out of practice he could stand a steer on its head, and
get off his horse and tie the animal in a few seconds beyond the
record time.

I told Pa he better hire a man to do it for him, but he said,
"Hennery, here is where your Pa has got to make good, or these
cowboys won't affiliate. You take my watch and roll, 'cause no one
can tell where a fellow will land when he gets his steer," and I
took pa's valuables and the boys brought up the buckskin horse,
which smelled of Pa and snorted, and didn't seem to want Pa to get
on, but they held the horse by the bridle, and Pa finally got
himself on both sides of the horse, and took the lariat rope off
the pommel of the saddle and began to handle it, kind of awkward,
like a boy with a clothesline. I didn't like the way the cowboys
winked around among themselves and guyed pa, and I told Pa about
it, and tried to get him to give it up, but he said, "When I get
my steer tied, and stand with my foot on his neck, these winking
cowboys will take off their hats to me all right. I am Long Horn
Ike, from the Brazos, and you watch my smoke."

Well, the boys tightened up the cinch on pa's saddle, and pointed
out a rangy black steer in a bunch down on the flat, and told pa
the game was to cut that steer out of the bunch and rope it, and
tie it, and hold up his right hand for the time keeper to record
it. Gee, but Pa spurred the horse and rode into that bunch of
cattle like a whirlwind, and I was proud of him, and he cut out
the black steer all right, and rode up near it, and swung his lariat,
and sent it whizzing through the air, and the noose went out
over the head and neck and fore feet of the steer, and the
horse stopped and set itself back on its haunches, and the
rope got around the belly of the steer, and when the rope became
taut, and the steer ought to have been turned bottom-side
up, the cinch of pa's saddle broke, the saddle came off with pa
hugging his legs around it, and the black steer started due west
for Texas, galloping and bellowing, and you couldn't see Pa and
the saddle for the dust they made following the steer. If Pa had
let go of the saddle, he would have stopped, but he hung to it,
and the rope was tied to the saddle. The buckskin horse, relieved
of the saddle, looked around at the cowboys as much as to say,
"wouldn't that skin you," and went to grazing, the other cattle
looked on as though they would say, "Another tenderfoot gone
wrong," and as the black steer and Pa and the saddle went over a
hill, Pa only touching the high places, the boss cowboy said,
"Come on and help head off the steer, and send a wagon to bring
back the remains of Long Horn Ike from the Brazos," and then I
began to cry for pa.

[Illustration: "Pa Only Touched the High Places."]




CHAPTER IV.


Pa, the Bad Boy and a Band of Cowboys Go in Search of a Live
Dinosaurus--The Expedition is Captured by a Gang of Train Robbers
and Pa is Held for Ransom.

When I saw Pa clinging to the saddle, which had got loose from the
horse that he was riding when he lassoed the black steer around
the belly, and the steer was running away, dragging Pa and the
saddle across the plains, I thought I never would see him alive
again. But the cowboys said they would bring his remains back all
right. When they rode away to capture the steer and release pa, I
stopped crying and laid down under the chuck wagon with the dogs,
to think over what I would do, alone in the world, and I must have
fallen asleep, for the next thing I knew the dogs barked and woke
me up, and I looked off to the south and the cowboys were coming
back with pa's remains on a buckboard.

I went up to the wagon to see if Pa looked natural, and he raised
up, like a corpse coming to, and said: "Hennery, did you notice
how I roped the black steer?" and I said: "Yes, pa, I saw the
whole business, and saw you start south, chasing the steer, armed
only with a saddle, and what is the news from Texas?"

Pa said: "Look-a-here, I don't want to hear any funny business. I
delivered the goods all right, and if the cinch of the saddle had
held out faithful to the end, I would have tied the steer in
record time, but man proposes and the rest you have to leave to
luck. I was out of luck, that is all, but the ride I had across
the prairie has given me some ideas about flying machines that
will be worked into our show next year."

Pa got up off the buckboard and shook himself, and he was just as
well and hearty as ever, and the cowboys got around him, and told
him he was a wonder, and that Buffalo Bill couldn't hold a candle
to him as an all-around rough rider and cowboy combined. So pa
hired about a dozen of the cowboys to go with our show, and then
we went into camp for the night, and the cowboys told of a place
about 20 miles away, where some scientists had a camp, where they
were excavating to dig out petrified bone of animals supposed to
be extinct, like the dinosaurus and the hoday, and Pa wanted to go
there and see about it, and the next day we took half a dozen of
the cowboys Pa had hired, and we rode to the camp.

Gee, but I never believed that such animals ever did exist in this
country, but the scientists had one animal picture that showed the
dinosaurus as he existed when alive, an animal over 70 feet long,
that would weigh as much as a dozen of our largest elephants, with
a neck as long as 15 giraffes, and then they showed us bones of
these animals that they dug out and put together, and the
completed mess of bones showed that the dinosaurus could eat out
of a six-story window, and pa's circus instinct told him that if
he could find such an animal alive, and capture it for the show,
our fortunes would be made.

We stayed there all night, and Pa asked questions about the
probability of there being such animals alive at this day, and the
scientists promptly told Pa these animals only existed ages and
ages ago, when the country was covered with water and was a part
of the ocean, and that the animals lived on the high places, but
when the water receded, and the ocean became a desert, the
dinosaurus died of a broken heart, and all we had to show for it
was these petrified bones.

Pa ought to have believed the scientists, 'cause they know all
about their business, but after the scientists had gone to bed the
cowboys began to string pa. They told him that about a hundred
miles to the north, in a valley in the mountains, the dinosaurus
still existed, alive, and that no man dare go there. One cowboy
said he was herding a bunch of cattle in a valley up there once,
and the bunch got into a drove of dinosauruses, and the first
thing he knew a big dinosaurus reached out his neck and picked
up a steer, raised it in the air about 80 feet, as easy as a derrick
would pick up a dog house, and the dinosaurus swallowed the
steer whole, and the other dinosauruses each swallowed a
steer. The cowboy said before he knew it his whole bunch of
steers was swallowed whole, and they would have swallowed him
and his horse if he hadn't skinned out on a gallop. He said he
could hear the dinosauruses for miles, making a noise like distant
thunder, whether from eating the steers, giving them a pain, or
whether bidding defiance to him and his horse, he never could
make out but he said nothing but money could ever induce him
to go into that valley again.

[Illustration: A Boy Dinosaurus Reached Out His Neck and Picked
Up a Steer.]

Pa asked the other cowboys if they had ever been to that
dinosaurus valley, and they winked at each other and said they had
heard of it, but there was not money enough to hire them to go
there, 'cause they had heard that a man's life was not safe a
minute. Bill, who had told the story, was the only man who had
ever been there, and the only man living that had seen a live
dinosaurus.

Then we turned in, and Pa never slept a wink all night, thinking
of the rare animals, or insects, or reptiles, or whatever they
are, that he expected to land for the show. He whispered to me in
the night and said: "Hennery, I am on the trail of the dinosaurus,
and while I am not prepared to capture one alive, at this time, I
am going to that valley and see the animals alive, and make plans
for their capture, and report to the management of the show. What
do you think about it?"

I told Pa that I thought that cowboy, Bill, was the worst liar
that we had ever run up against, and I knew by studying geography
in school that the dinosaurus was extinct, and had been for
thousands of years. Pa said: "So they say the buffalo is extinct,
but you can find 'em, if you have got the money. Lots of thing are
extinct, till some brave explorer penetrates the fastnesses and
finds them. The mastodon is extinct, according to the
scientists, but they are alive in Alaska. The north pole is
extinct, but some dub in a balloon will find it all right. I tell
you, I am going to see a live dinosaurus, or bust. You hear me?"
and Pa heard them cooking breakfast, and we got up.

Before noon Pa had organized a pack train and hired three cowboys,
and got some diagrams and pictures of dinosauruses from the
scientists, and we started north on the biggest fool expedition
that ever was, but Pa was as earnest and excited as Peary planning
a north pole expedition, and as busy as a boy killing snakes.
After the cowboys and the scientists had tried to get Pa to make
his will before he went, and got the addresses where Pa wanted our
remains sent to in case of our being found dried up on the
prairie, and our bones polished by wolves, we were on the move,
and Pa was so happy you would think he had already found a live
dinosaurus, and had him in a cage.

For four days we rode along up and down foothills, and divides,
and small mountains, and all the time Pa was telling the boys how,
after we had located our dinosauruses, we would go back east and
organize an expedition with derricks and cages as big as a house,
and come back and drive the animals in. And when we got them with
the show people we would run trains hundreds of miles to see the
rarest animals any show ever exhibited to a discriminating public,
and we could charge five dollars for tickets, and people would mob
each other to get up to the ticket wagon. Then the boys would
wink at each other, and tap their foreheads with their fingers,
and look at Pa as though they expected he would break out
violently insane any minute.

Finally we got up on a high ridge, and a beautiful, fertile valley
was unfolded to our view, and Bill, the cowboy who had had his
herd of steers eaten by the dinosaurus, said that was the place,
and he began to shiver like he had the ague. He said he wouldn't
go any farther without another hundred dollars, and Pa asked the
other cowboys if they were afraid, too, and they said they were a
little scared, but for another hundred dollars they would forget
it, forget their families, and go down into the death valley.

Pa paid them the money, and we went down into the valley, and rode
along, expecting to jump a flock of dinosauruses any minute, but
the valley was as still as death, and Pa said to Bill: "Why don't
you bring on your dinosauruses," and Bill said he guessed by the
time we got up to the far end of the valley we would see something
that would make us stand without hitching.

We went on towards where the valley came to a point where there
seemed to be a hole in the side of the mountain, when all of a
sudden four or five gun shots were heard, and four of our horses
dropped dead in their tracks, and about a dozen men come out of
the hole in the wall and told us to hold up our hands, and when we
did so they took our guns away and told us to come in out of the wet.

[Illustration: We Were Captured by the Curry's Gang.]

We went into a cave and found that we had been captured by Curry's
gang of train robbers, who made their headquarters in the hole in
the wall. The leader searched Pa and took all his money, and told
us to make ourselves at home. Pa protested, and said he was an old
showman who had come to the valley looking for the supposed-to-be-
extinct dinosaurus, to capture one for the show, and the leader of
the gang said he was the only dinosaurus there was, but he hadn't
been captured. Then the leader slapped our cowboys on the
shoulders and told them they had done a good job to bring into
camp such a rich old codger as Pa was, and then we found that the
cowboys belonged to Curry's gang, and had roped Pa in in order to
get a ransom.

The leader asked Pa about how much he thought his friends at the
east could raise to get him out, and when Pa found he was in the
hands of bandits, and that the dinosaurus mine was salted, and he
had been made a fool of, he said to me: "Hennery, now, honest,
between man and man, wouldn't this skin you?"

I began to cry and said: "Pa, both of us are skun. How are we
going to get out of this?" and Pa said: "Watch me."




CHAPTER V.


Pa and the Bad Boy Among the Train Robbers--Pa Tries to Persuade
the Head Bandit to Become a Financier--The Bandit Prefers Train
Robbery and Puts Up a Good Argument.

I used to think I would like to be a train robber, and have a nice
gang of boys to do my bidding. I have often pictured my gang
putting a red light on the track and stopping a train laden with
gold, holding a revolver to the head of the engineer, and
compelling him to go and dynamite the express car. Then we would
fill our pockets and haversacks with rolls of bills that would
choke a hippopotamus, and ride away to our shack in the
mountains, divide up the swag, go on a trip to New York, bathe in
champagne, dress like millionaires, go to theaters morning, noon
and night, eat lobster until our stomachs would form an anti-
lobster union, and be so gay the people would think we were young
Vandergoulds. Since Pa and I were captured by the Hole-in-the-Wall
gang I have found that all is not glorious in the train-robbing
and capturing-for-ransom business, and that robbers are never
happy except when a robbery is safely over, and the gang gets good
and drunk.

The first day or two after Pa and I and the traitorous cowboys
were captured, we had a pretty nice time, eating canned stuff and
elk meat, and Pa was kept busy telling the gang of what had
happened in the outside world for several months, as the gang
did not read the daily papers. When they robbed a train they
let the newsboy alone for fear he would get the drop on them.

[Illustration: Pa Told Them About the Wave of Reform.]

Pa told them about the wave of reform that was going over the
country, and how the politicians were taking the railroads and
monopolists by the neck, and shaking them like a terrier would
shake a rat; how the insurance companies that had been for years
tying the policy holders hand and foot, and searching their
pockets for illicit gains had been caught in the act, and how the
presidents and directory were liable to have to serve time in the
penitentiary. Pa told the Hole-in-the-Wall gang all the news until
he got hoarse.

"And how is my old friend Teddy, the rough rider?" asked one of
the gang, who claimed he had gone up to San Juan hill with the
president.

"The president is in fine shape," said pa, "and he is making
friends every day, fighting the trusts, and trying to save the
people from ruin."

"Gee, but what a train robber Teddy would have made, if he had
turned his talents in that direction, instead of wasting his
strenuousness in politics," said the leader of the gang. "I would
give a thousand dollars to see him draw a bead on the engineer of
a fast mail, and make him get down and do the dynamite act, and
then load up the saddle bags and pull out for the Hole-in-the-
Wall. That man has wasted his opportunities, and instead of being
at the head of a gang of robbers, with all the world at his feet,
ready to hold up their hands at the slightest hint, living a life
of freedom in the mountains, there he is doing political stunts,
and wearing boiled clothes, and eating with a fork." And the
bandit sighed for Teddy.

"Well, he will make himself just as famous," said pa, "if he
succeeds in landing the holdup men of Wall street, and compelling
them to disgorge their stealings. But say," said pa, looking the
leader of the bandit gang square in the eyes, "why don't you give
up this bad habit of robbing people with guns, and go back east
and enter some respectable business and make your mark? You are a
born financier, I can see by the way you divide up the increment
when you rob a train. You would shine in the business world. Come
on, go back east with me, and I will use my influence to get you
in among the men who own automobiles and yachts, and drive four-
in-hands. What do you say?"

"No, it is too late," said the leader of the Hole-in-the-Wall gang
of train robbers, with a sigh. "I should be out-classed if I went
into Wall street now. I have got many of the elements in my make
up of the successful financier, and the oil octopus, and if I had
not become a train robber I might have been a successful insurance
president, but I have always been handicapped by a conscience. I
could not rob widows and orphans if I tried. It would give me a
pain that medicine would not cure to know that women and children
were crying for bread because I had robbed them and was living
high on their money. If it wasn't for my conscience I could take
the presidency of a life insurance company, and rob right and
left, equal to any of the crowned heads who are now in the
business. But if I was driving in my automobile and should run
over a poor woman who might be a policy holder, I could not act as
would be expected of me, and look around disdainfully at her
mangled body in the road, and sneer at her rapidly-cooling
remains, and put on steam and skip out with my mask on. I would
want to choke off the snorting, bad-smelling juggernaut and get
out and pick up the dear old soul and try to restore her to
consciousness, which act would cause me to be boycotted by the
automobile murderers' union and I would be a marked man.

"As president of a life insurance company I could not vote myself
a hundred and fifty thousand dollars a year salary, and take it
from fatherless children and widows and retain my self respect.
Out here in the mountains I can occasionally take my boys, when
our funds get low, and ride away to a railroad, and hold up the
choo-choo cars, and take toll, but not of the poor passengers. Who
do we rob? Why the railroads are owned by Standard Oil, and if we
take a few thousand dollars, all Mr. Rockefeller has to do is to
raise the price of kerosene for a day or two and he comes out
even. The express car stuff is all owned by Wall street, and when
we take the contents of a safe, ten thousand or twenty thousand
dollars, the directors of the express company sell stock short in
Wall street and make a million or so to cover the loss by the
bandits of the far west, and pocket the balance. So you see
we are doing them a favor to rob a train, and my conscience
is clear. I am always sorry when an engineer or expressman is
killed, and when such a thing occurs I find out the family and send
money to take care of them, but of late years we never kill anybody,
because the train hands don't resist any more, for they do not
care to die to save Wall street money. Now when I say to an
engineer: 'Charley, turn her off and stop here in the gulch and
take a dynamite stick and go wake up the express fellow by
blowing off the door of his car,' the engineer wipes his hands
on his overalls and says: 'All right, Bill, but don't point that
gun at my head, 'cause it makes me nervous.' He blows up the
express car as a matter of accommodation to me, and the
expressman comes to the door, rubbing his sleepy eyes open and
says: 'It's a wonder you wouldn't let a man get a little rest.
That dinky little safe in the corner hasn't got anything in it to
speak of.' And then we blow up the little safe first, and maybe
find all we want, and we hurry up, so the boys can go on about
their business as quietly as possible. It is all reduced to a
system, now, like running a railroad or pipe lines, and I am
contented with my lot, and there is no strain on my conscience,
as there would be if I was robbing poor instead of the rich. Of
course, there are some things that I would like to have the
government do, like building us a house and furnishing us steam
heat, because these caves are cold and in time will make us
rheumatic, but I can wait another year, when we shall send a
delegate to congress from this district who will look out for our
interests. The Mormons are represented in congress, and I don't
see why we shouldn't be."

[Illustration: I Say to the Engineer--"Charley, Turn Her Off and
Stop Her!"]

"Well, you have got gall, all right," said Pa to the bandit. "You
mean to tell me you had rather pursue your course as a train
robber, away out here in the mountains with no doctor within a
hundred miles of you, and no way to spend your money after you get
it, sleeping nights on the rocks and eating canned stuff you pack
in here after robbing a grocery, than to enter the realms of high
finance and be respected by the people, and be one of the people,
with no price on your head, one of the great body of eighty
million men who rule a country that is the pride of the earth? You
must be daffy," said pa, just as disgusted as he could be.

"Sure, Mike," said the robber. "Everybody here respects me, and
who respects the Wall street high finance and life insurance
robber? Not even their valets. Me one of the people? Ye gods, but
you watch these same people for a few years. You say they run the
government! They and their government are run by Wall street,
which owns the United States senate, body and soul. The people are
pawns on a chess board, moved by the players, and they only talk,
while the Wall street owners act. Let me tell you a story. I once
had a dog trained so that he would lay down and roll over for a
cracker, and would hold a piece of meat on his nose until his
mouth would water and his eyes sparkle, but he would wait for me
to snap my fingers before he would toss the meat in the air with
his nose and snatch it in his mouth, and swallow it whole for fear
I would get it away from him. He would stand on his hind legs and
speak and beg for a bone to be thrown to him so he could catch it.
Do you know, the people of this country remind me of that dog. If
they do not assert themselves and take monopoly, high finance,
insurance robbery, grafting and millionaire and billionaire
ownership of everything that pays by the throat and strangle them
all, and do business themselves instead  of having business done
for them by the money power, they will never get noticed except
when they do their tricks like my old dog. When the time comes
that the people wear collars and are led by chains, and they have
to stand on their hind legs and speak to their rich and arrogant
masters for bones, and hold meat on their noses until Wall street
snaps its fingers, you will want to come out here in the mountains
and live the free life of a train robber with a conscience. What
do you think about it, bub?" said the robber to me.

"Well," says I to him, "you talk like a socialist, or a Democrat,
but you talk all right. If I am one of the people I will do as the
rest do, but I'll be darned if I will get down and roll over for
anybody."




CHAPTER VI.


Pa Plays Surgeon and Earns the Good Will of the Bandits--They Give
Him a Course Dinner--Speeches Follow the Banquet--Pa is Made
Honorary Member of the Band--Pa and the Bad Boy Allowed to Go Free
Without Ransom.

We had the worst and the best two weeks of our lives while
prisoners of the train robbers at the Hole-in-the-Wall, because we
had plenty to eat, and good company, with hunting for game in the
foothills by day, and cinch at night, but the sleeping on the
rocks of the cave, with buffalo robes for beds, was the greatest
of all. Pa got younger every day, but he yearned to be released
and would look for hours down the dinosaurus valley, hoping to see
soldiers or circus men who might hear of our capture, charging
down the opposite hills and up the valley to our rescue, but
nobody ever came, and Pa felt like Robinson Crusoe on the island.

Some times for a couple of days the robbers would go away to rob a
train or a stage coach, and leave us with a few guards, who acted
as though they wanted us to try to escape, so they could shoot us
in the back, but we stayed, and fried bacon and elk meat and
sighed for rescue.

One day the robbers came back from a raid with piles of greenbacks
as big as a bale of hay, and it was evident they had robbed a
train and been resisted, because one man had a bullet in his
thigh, and Pa had to use his knowledge of surgery to dig out the
shot, and he made a big bluff at being a surgeon, and succeeded in
getting the balls out and healing up the sores, so the bandits
thought Pa was great. When he insisted that the leader let him
know how much it would be to ransom us, so we could send to the
circus for money, the leader told Pa he had been such a decent
prisoner, and had been such good company, and had been such a help
in digging the bullets out of the wounded, that the gang was going
to let us go free, without taking a cent from us, but was going to
consider us honorary members of the gang and divide the money they
had secured in the last hold-up with us.

[Illustration: One Day the Robbers Came Back from a Raid with
Piles of Greenbacks.]

Pa said he wanted his liberty, thanked the leader for his kind
words, but he said there was a strong feeling in the east against
truly good people like himself taking tainted money, and while he
would not want to make a comparison between the methods men adopt
to secure tainted money, in business or highway robbery, he hoped
the gang to which he had been elected an honorary member would not
insist on his carrying away any of the tainted money.

"You are all right in theory, old man," said the leader of the
gang, "but this money which might have been tainted when it was
chipped by express from Wall street to the far west, has been
purified by passing through our hands, where it has been carried
over mountain ranges on pack horses, in blizzards, till every
tainted germ has been blown away. Now, we propose to give you a
banquet to-morrow night, at which we shall  all make speeches,
and then you will be provided with horses, supplies and money, and
guided away from here blindfolded, and within 48 hours you will be
free as the birds, and all we ask is that you will never give us
and our hiding place away to Billy Pinkerton. Is it a go?"

Pa said it was a go all right except taking the tainted money, but
he would think it over, and dream over it, and maybe take his
share of the swag, but he wanted to be allowed to return it if,
after calling a meeting of his board of directors, they should
refuse to receive the tainted money. Pa added that the board of
directors of a circus might not be as particular as a church or
college, and he thought he could assure the gang that the money
would not come back to bother them.

The leader of the gang said that would be all right, and for pa
and I and the boys to begin to pack up and get ready to return to
civilization and all its wickedness. We worked all day and played
cinch for hundred dollar bills all the evening, and the next day
arranged for the banquet.

When night came, and the pine knots were lit in the cave, about 15
bandits and Pa and I sat down to a course banquet on the floor of
the cave, and ate and drank for an hour. We had few dishes, except
tin cups and tin plates, but it was a banquet all right. The first
course was soup, served in cans, each man having a can of soup
with a hole in the top, made by driving a nail through the tin,
and we sucked the soup through the hole. The next course was fish,
each man having a  can of sardines, and we ate them with hard
tack. Then we had a game course, consisting of fried elk, and then
a salad of canned baked beans, and coffee with condensed milk, and
a spoonful or two of condensed milk for ice cream. When the
banquet was over the leader of the bandits rapped on the stone
floor of the cave with the butt of his revolver for attention, and
taking a canteen of whisky for a loving cup, he drank to the
health of their distinguished guest, and passed it around, so all
might drink, and then he spoke as follows:

"Fellow Highway Robbers: We have with us to-night one who comes
from the outside world, with all its wickedness, this old man,
simple as a child, and yet foxy as the world goes, this easy mark
who is told that the dinosaurus still exists, and believes it, and
comes to this valley to find it. If some one told him that Adam
and Eve were still alive, and running a stock ranch up in the Big
Horn basin, he would believe it, and if it came to him as a secret
that Solomon in all his glory was placer mining in a distant
valley over the mountains, he would rush off to engage Solomon to
drive a chariot next year in his show. Such an ability to absorb
things that are not so, in a world where all men are suspicious of
each other, should be encouraged. This old man comes to our quiet
valley, where all is peace, and where we are honest, fresh from
the wicked world, where grafting is a science respected by many,
and where the bank robber who gets above a million is seldom
convicted and always respected, while we, who only occasionally
meet a train with a red light and pass the plate, and take up a
slight collection, are looked upon as men who would commit a
crime. Why, gentlemen, our profession is more respectable than
that of the man who is appointed administrator of the estate of
his dead friend, and who blows in the money and lets the widow
and orphan go to the poorhouse, or the officer of a savings bank
who borrows the money of the poor and when they hear that he
is flying high demand their money, and he closes the bank, and
eventually pays seven cents on the dollar, and is looked upon
as a great financier. It has been a pleasure to us to have this
kindly old man visit us, and by his example of the Golden Rule,
to do to others as you would be done by, make us contented with
our lot. We are not the kind of business men who try to ruin the
business of competitors by poisoning their wells, or freezing them
out of business. If any other train robbers want to do business in
our territory, they have the same rights that we have, and the
world is big enough for all to ply their trade. Now I am going to
call upon our friend, Buckskin Bill, my associate in crime, who
was wounded by a misdirected load of buckshot in our latest raid,
which buckshot were so ably removed from his person by our
distinguished friend who is so soon to leave us, "and the leader
again passed the loving cup and gave way to Buckskin Bill, who
said:

[Illustration: Dad among the cowboys.]

"Pals--I do not know if you have ever suspected that before I
joined this bunch I  was steeped in crime, but I must confess to
you that I was a Chicago alderman for one term, during the passage
of the gas franchise and the traction deal, but I trust I have
reformed, because I have led a different life all these years, I
like this free life of the mountains, where what you get in a
hold-up is yours, and you do not have to divide with politicians,
and if you refuse to divide they squeal on you, and you see the
guide board pointing to Joliet. I would not go back to the wicked
life of an alderman, to make a dishonest living by holding up
bills until the agent came around and gave me an envelope, but I
do want to hear from my old pals in the common council, and I
would ask our corpulent friend, who so ably picked the buckshot
out of my remains, when he passes through Chicago to go to the
council chamber and give my benediction to my colleagues, and ask
them to repent before it is too late, and come west and go into
legitimate robbery, far away from the sleuths who are constantly
on their trails. While the lamp continues to burn the vilest
alderman may buy a ticket to the free and healthy west, and we
will give him a welcome. Old man, shake," and Buckskin Bill shook
pa's hand and sat down on his knees, because his wounds were not
healed.

The leader of the gang then called upon Pa for a few remarks, and
Pa said: "Gentlemen, you have done me great honor to make me an
honorary member of your organization, and I shall go away from
here with a feeling that you are the highest type of robbers,
men that it is a pleasure to know, and that you are not
to be mentioned in the same category of the wicked men who rob the
poor right and left, in what we consider civilization in the east.
You only take toll from the great corporations who have plenty,
and your robberies do not bring sorrow and sadness to the poor and
hungry. No matter what inducements may be held out to me in the
future, to join the life insurance robbers, the political robbers,
the great corporations that wring the last dollar from their
victims, I shall always remember, in declining such overtures,
that I am an honorary member of this organization of honest,
straightforward, conscientious hold-up men, who would rob only the
rich and divide with the poor, and I hope some day, if our country
goes to the  dogs, so a respectable man cannot hold office, or do
business on the square, to come back here and become one of you in
fact, and work the game to the limit. If you find you cannot make
it pay out here, come east and I will give you the three-card
monte and the shell game concession with our show next summer,
where you can make a good living out of the jays that patronize
us, and always have a little money left when we get through with
them, which it is a shame for them to be allowed to carry home
after the evening performance. I thank you, gentlemen."

[Illustration: The Robbers Guided Us In the Dark Through the
Valley.]

Then the loving cup was passed, we saddled our horses and the
robbers guided us in the dark through the valley, and out towards
the railroad, pa's saddlebags filled with the tainted money. At
daylight the next morning, when the guides left us, Pa took a big
roll of bills out of his saddlebags and opened it and, by gosh, if
it wasn't a lot of old confederate money that wasn't worth a cent.
Pa used some words that made me sick, and then I cried. So did pa.




CHAPTER VII.


Pa and the Bad Boy Stop Off at a Lively Western Town--Pa Buys
Mining Stock and Takes Part in a Rabbit Drive.

Well, we are on the way back home, after having engaged Indians,
cowboys, rough riders and highway robbers to join our show for
next season. Pa felt real young and kitteny when we cam to the
railroad, after leaving our robber friends at the Hole-in-the-
Wall, far into the mountain country. We came to a lively town on
the railroad, where every other house is a gambling house, and
every other one a plain saloon, and there was great excitement in
the town over our arrival, 'cause there don't very many rich and
prosperous people stop there.

Pa had looked over the money the robbers had given him, to throw
it away, because it was old-fashioned confederate money, when he
found that there was only one bundle of confederate money, and the
rest was all good greenbacks, the bundle of confederate money
probably having been shipped west to some museum, and the robbers
having got hold of it in the dark, brought it along. Pa burned up
the bad money at the hotel, and then he got stuck on the town, and
said he would stay there a few days and rest up, and incidentally
break a few faro banks, by a system, the way the smart alecks
break the bank at Monte Carlo.

I teased Pa to take the first train for home, so we could join the
circus before it closed the season, and he could report to the
managers the result of his business trip to the west, but Pa said
he had heard of a man who had a herd of buffalo on a ranch not far
from that town, and before he returned to the show he was going to
buy a herd of buffalo for the cowboys and Indians to chase around
the wild west show.

I couldn't do anything with pa, so we stayed at that town until pa
got good and ready to go home. He bucked the faro bank some, but
the gamblers soon found he had so much money that he could break
any bank, so they closed up their lay-outs and began to sell pa
mining stock in mines which were fabulously rich if they only had
money to develop them. They salted some mines near town for Pa to
examine, and when he found that they contained gold enough in
every shovelful of dirt to make a man crazy, he bought a whole
lot of stock, and then the gamblers entertained Pa for all that
was out.

They got up dances and fandangos, and Pa was it, sure, and I was
proud of him, cause he did not lose his head. He just acted
dignified, and they thought they were entertaining a distinguished
man. Everything would have gone all right, and we would have got
out with honor, if it hadn't been for the annual rabbit drive that
came off while we were there. Part of the country is irrigated,
and good crops are grown, but the jackrabbits are so numerous that
they come in off the plains adjoining the green spots, at night,
and eat everything in sight, so once a year the people get up a
rabbit drive and go out in the night by the hundred, on
horseback, and surround the country for ten miles or so, and at
daylight ride along towards a corral, where thousands of rabbits
are driven in and slaughtered with clubs. The men ride close
together, with dogs, and no guilty rabbit can escape,

Pa thought it would be a picnic, and so we went along, but pa
wishes that he had let well enough alone and kept out of the
rabbit game. Those natives are full of fun, and on these rabbit
drives they always pick out some man to have fun with, and they
picked out Pa as the victim. We rode along for a couple of hours,
flushing rabbits by the dozen, and they would run along ahead of
us, and multiply, so that when the corral was in sight ahead the
prairie was alive with long eared animals, so the earth seemed to
be moving, and it almost made a man dizzy to look at them.

The hundreds of men on horseback had come in close together from
all sides, and when we were within half a mile of the corral the
crowd stopped at a signal, and the leader told Pa that now was the
time to make a cavalry charge on the rabbits, and he asked Pa if
he was afraid and wanted to go back, and Pa said he had been a
soldier and charged the enemy; had been a politician and had
fought in hot campaigns; had hunted tigers and lions in the
jungle, and rode barebacked in the circus, and gone into lions'
dens, and been married, and he guessed he was not going to show
the white feather chasing jackrabbits. They could sound the bugle
charge as soon as they got ready, and they would find him in the
game till the curtain was rung down.

That was what they wanted Pa to say, so, as pa's horse was tired,
they suggested that he get on to a fresh horse, and Pa said all
right, they couldn't get a horse too fresh for him, and he got on
to a spunky pony, and I noticed that there was no bit in the
pony's mouth, but only a rope around the pony's nose, and I was
afraid something would happen to pa. I told him he and I better
dismount, and climb a mesquite tree and watch the fun from a safe
place.

Pa said: "Not on your life; your Pa is going right amongst the big
game, and is going to make those rabbits think the day of judgment
has arrived. Give me a club."

The leader handed Pa an ax handle, and when we looked ahead
towards the corral where the rabbits had been driven, it seemed as
though there were a million of them, and they were jumping over
each other so it looked as though there was a snow bank of rabbits
four feet thick. When Pa said he was ready a fellow sounded a
bugle, and pa's pony started off on the jump for the corral, and
all the other horses started, and everybody yelled, but they held
back their horses so Pa could have the whole field to himself.

Gee, but I was sorry for pa. His horse rushed right into the
corral amongst the rabbits, and when it got right where the
rabbits were the thickest, the darn horse began to buck, and
tossed Pa in the air just as though he had been thrown up in a
blanket, and he came down on a soft bed of struggling and
scared rabbits, and the other horsemen stopped at the edge of the
corral and watched pa, and I got off my horse and climbed up on a
post of the corral and tried to pick out pa. Then all the hundred
or more dogs were let loose in amongst Pa and the rabbits, and it
was a sight worth going miles to see if it had been somebody else
than Pa that was holding the center of the stage, and all the
crowd laughing at pa, and yelling to him to stand his ground.

[Illustration: The Pony Tossed Pa In the Air.]

Well, Pa swung his ax handle and killed an occasional rabbit, but
there were thousands all around, and Pa seemed to be wading up to
his middle in rabbits, and they would jump all over him, and bunt
him with their heads, and scratch him with their toe-nails, and
the dogs would grab rabbits and shake them, and Pa would
fall down and rabbits would run over him till you couldn't see
Pa at all. Then he would raise up again and maul the animals
with his club, and his clothes were so covered with rabbit hair
that he looked like a big rabbit himself. He lost his hat and looked
as though he was getting exhausted, and then he stopped and
spit on his hands and yelled to the rest of the men, who had
dismounted and were lined up at the edge of the corral, and said:
"You condemned loafers, why don't you come in here and help
us dogs kill off these vermin, cause I don't want to have all
the fun. Come on in, the water is fine," and Pa laughed as though
he was in swimming and wanted the rest of the gang to come in.

[Illustration: Pa Swinging His Ax Handle.]

The crowd thought they had given the distinguished stranger his
inning, and so they all rushed in with clubs and began to kill
rabbits and drive them away from pa. In an hour or so the most of
them were killed, and Pa was so tired he went and sat down on the
ground to rest, and I got down off my perch and went to Pa and
asked him what he thought of this latest experience, and I began
to pick rabbit hairs off pa's clothes.

"I'll tell you what it is, Hennery," said pa, as he breathed hard,
as though he had been running a foot race, "this rabbit drive
reminds me of the way the rich corporations look upon the poor
people, just as we look upon the jackrabbits. We pity a single
jackrabbit, and he runs when he sees us, and seems to say:
'Please, mister, let me alone, and let me nibble around and eat
the stuff  you do not want, and we drive them into a bunch, the
way the rich and mean iron-handed trusts drive the people, and
then we turn in and club them with the ax handle of graft and
greed, and we keep our power over them, if enough are killed off
so we are in the majority, but the jackrabbits that escape the
drive keep on breeding, like the poor people that the trusts try
to exterminate. Some day the jackrabbit and the poor people will
get nerve enough to fight back, and then the jackrabbit and the
poor people will outnumber the men who fight them and kill them,
and they will turn on the cowboys with the clubs, and the trusts
with the big head, and drive those who now pursue them into
corrals on the prairies and into penitentiaries  in the states,
and those who are pig-headed and cruel will get theirs, see?"

I told Pa I thought I could see, though there were rabbit hairs in
my eyes, and then I got Pa to get up and mount his horse, and we
rode back to town with the gang, while the 5,000 rabbit carcasses
were hauled to town in wagons and loaded on the cars.

"Where do you send those jackrabbits?" asked Pa of the leader of
the slayers, as he watched them loading the rabbits.

"To the Chicago packing houses," said the man. "They make the
finest canned chicken you ever et."

"The devil, you say," said pa. "Then we have been working all day
to make packing houses rich. Wouldn't that skin you?"

Then we went to the hotel and I put court-plaster on Pa where the
rabbits had scratched the skin off, and Pa arranged to go out next
day to the ranch where the herd of buffaloes live, to look for
bigger game for the show, though he would like to have a rabbit
drive in the circus ring next year if he could train the rabbits.




CHAPTER VIII.


Pa and the Bad Boy Visit a Buffalo Ranch--Pa Pays for the
Privilege of Killing a Buffalo, but Doesn't Accomplish His
Purpose--He Hires a Herd for the Show Next Year.

This is the last week Pa and I will be in the far west looking for
freaks for the wild west department of our show for next year.
Next week, if Pa lives, we shall be back under the tent, to see
the show close up the season, and shake hands all around with our
old friends, the freaks, the performers, the managers and all of
'em.

It will be a glad day for us, for we have had an awful time out
west. If Pa would only take advice, and travel like a plain,
ordinary citizen, who is willing to learn things, it would be
different, but he wants to show people that he knows it all, and
he wants to pose as the one to give information, and so when he is
taught anything new it jars him. Any man with horse sense would
know that it takes years to learn how to rope steers, and keep
from being tipped off the horse, and run over by a procession of
cows, but because Pa had lassoed hitching posts in his youth, with
a clothes line, with a slip noose in it, he posed among cowboys as
being an expert roper, and where did he land? In the cactus.

He was just meat for the natives to have fun with, and he has sure
been hashed up on this trip. But the worst of all was this trip
to the buffalo ranch, to secure buffaloes for the show, and if I
was in pa's place I would go into retirement, and never look a man
in the face. Pa's idea was that these buffaloes on the ranch were
just as wild as they used to be when they run at large on the
plains. When we got to the ranch at evening, Pa put in the whole
time until it was time to go to bed telling the ranchman and his
hired man what great things he had done killing wild animals, and
what dangerous places he had been in, and what bold things he had
done. He said, while the object of his visit to the ranch was to
buy a herd of buffaloes for the show, the thing he wanted to do,
above all, was to kill a buffalo bull in single-handed combat, and
have the head and horns to ornament his den, and the hide for a
lap robe,  but the ranchmen would be welcome to the meat. He
asked the man who owned the ranch if he might have the privilege,
by paying for it, of killing a buffalo.

The ranchman said he would arrange it all right in the morning,
and Pa and I went to bed. After Pa got to snoring, and killing
buffaloes in his sleep, I could hear the ranchman and his helpers
planning pa's humiliation, and when I tried to tell Pa in the
morning that the crowd were stringing him he got mad at me and
asked me to mind my own business, and that is something I never
could do to save my life.

Well, about daylight we were all out on the veranda, and they gave
Pa instructions about what he was to do. The ranchman said it was
against the state laws to kill buffalo, except in self-defense, so
Pa would have to get in a blind, like the German emperor, and have
the game driven to him. They gave Pa two big revolvers, loaded
with blank cartridges, I know, because I heard them whisper about
it the night before, and they gave him a peck measure of salt and
told him to sneak up to a little shed out in a field and conceal
himself until the game came along, and then open fire, and when
his buffalo fell, mortally wounded, to go out and skin it.

Pa asked what the salt was for, and they told him it was to salt
the hide. Say, I knew that the place they sent Pa to wait for
buffalo was where they salted the animals once a week, and started
to tell pa, but the rancher called me off and told me I could go
with the men and help drive the game to destruction.

We waited until the ranchman had gone out with Pa and got him
nicely concealed, the way they conceal Emperor William when he
slaughters stags, and Pa looked as brave as any emperor as he got
his two big revolvers ready for an emergency. The ranchman told pa
that he had twelve shots in the revolvers, and he better begin
firing when the big bull came over the ridge, on the trail, at the
head of the herd, and as the animal advanced, as he no doubt
would, to keep firing until the whole 12 shots were fired, and
then if the animal was not killed, to use his own judgment as to
what to do, whether to run for the house, or lay down and pretend
to be dead.

Pa said he expected to kill the animal before three shots had been
fired, but if the worst came he could run some, but the ranchman
said if he should run that the whole herd would be apt to stampede
on him and run him down, and he thought Pa better lay down and let
them go by.

Gee, but I pitied Pa when we got out on the prairie and found the
herd. They were as tame as Jersey cows, and the old bull, the
fiercest of the lot, with a head as big as a barrel, came up to
the ranchman and wanted to be scratched, like a big dog, and the
calves and cows came up and licked our hands. It was hard work to
drive them towards pa's blind, 'cause they wanted to be petted,
but the ranchman said as soon as we could get the bull up to the
top of the ridge, so the old man would open fire on him, they
would hurry right along to pa's blind, 'cause they always came
to be salted at the signal of a revolver shot.

[Illustration: Pa Swinging His Ax Handle.]

So we pushed them along up towards the ridge, out of sight of pa,
by punching them, and slapping them on the hams, and finally the
head of the old bull appeared above the ridge on the regular
cattle trail, and not more than ten rods from where Pa was
concealed. Then we heard a shot and we knew Pa was alive to his
danger.

"There she blows," said the ranchman, and then there was another
shot, and by that time the whole herd of about 20 was on the
ridge, and the shots came thick, and the herd started on a trot
for the shed where Pa was, to get their salt. When we had counted
12 shots and knew pa's guns were empty we showed up on the ridge,
and watched pa.

He started to run, with the peck measure of salt, but fell down
and spilled the salt on the grass, and before he could get up the
bull was so near that he dassent run, so he laid down and played
dead, and the buffaloes surrounded him and licked up the salt, and
paid no more attention to him than they would to a log until they
had licked up all the salt. Then the bull began to lick pa's hands
and face, and Pa yelled for help, but we got behind the ridge and
went around towards the ranch, the ranchman telling us that the
animals were perfectly harmless and that as soon as they had
licked pa's face a little they would go off to a water hole to
drink, and then go out and graze.

We left Pa yelling for help, and I guess he was praying some,
'cause once he got on his knees, but a couple of pet buffalo
calves, that one of the rancher's boys drives to a cart, went up
to Pa and began to lick his bald head, and chew his hair.

Well, we got around to the ranch house, where we could, see the
herd, and see Pa trying to push the calves away from being so
familiar, and then the herd all left Pa and went back over the
ridge, and Pa was alone with his empty revolvers and the peck
measure. Pa seemed to be stunned at first, and then we all started
out to rescue him, and he saw us coming, and he came to meet us.

Pa was a sight. His hair was all mussed up, and his face was red
and sore from contact with the rough buffaloes' tongues, and the
salt on their tongues made it smart, and his coat sleeves and
trousers legs had been chewed off by the buffaloes, and he
looked as though he had been through a corn shredder, and
yet he was still brave and noble, and as we got near to him he said:

[Illustration: The Buffaloes Licked Pa's Bald Head--Pa Began to
Pray.]

"Got any trailing dogs?"

"What you want trailing dogs for?" asked the ranchman. "What you
want is a bath. Have any luck this morning buffaloing?"

"Well I guess yes," said pa, as he dropped the peck measure, and
got out a revolver and asked for more cartridges. "I put twelve
bullets into that bull's carcass when he was charging on me, and
how he carried them away is more than I know. Get me some dogs and
a Winchester rifle and I will follow him till he drops in his
tracks. That bull is my meat, you hear me?" and Pa bent over and
looked at his chewed clothes.

"You don't mean to tell me the bull charged on you and didn't kill
you?" said the ranchman, winking at the hired man. "How did you
keep from being gored?"

"Well it takes a pretty smart animal to get the best of me," said
pa, looking wise. "You see, when the bull came over the hill I
gave him a couple of shots, one in the eye and another in the
chest, but he came on, with his other eye flashing fire, and the
hair on his head and on his hump sticking up like a porcupine, and
the whole herd followed, bellowing and fairly shaking the earth,
but I kept my nerve. I shot the bull full of lead, and he tottered
along towards me,  bound to have revenge, but just as he was
going to gore me with his wicked horns I caught hold of the long
hair on his head and yelled "Get out of here, condemn you," and I
looked him in the one eye, like this," and Pa certainly did look
fierce, "and he threw up his head, with me hanging to his hair,
and when I came down I kicked him in the ribs and he gave a grunt
and a mournful bellow, as though he was all in, and was afraid of
me, and went off over the hill, followed by the herd, scared to
death at a man that was not afraid to stand his ground against the
fiercest animal that ever trod the ground. Now, come on and help
me find the carcass." Pa looked as though he meant it.

"Well, you are a wonder," said the ranch-man, looking at Pa in
admiration. "I have seen men before that could lie some, but you
have got Annanias beaten a block. Now we will go to the house and
settle this thing, and I will send my trusty henchmen out henching
after your bull."

Then we went to the house and got dinner, and the men drove up the
buffalo into the barnyard and fed them hay, and we went out and
played with the buffaloes, and Pa found his bull hadn't a scratch
on him, and that he would lean up against Pa and rub against him
just like he was a fencepost.

The ranchman told Pa they had been stringing him, and that the
animals were so tame you could feed them out of your hand, and
that he had been shooting blank cartridges, and the only thing he
regretted was  that Pa would lie so before strangers. Then pa
bought the herd for the show, and next year Pa will show audiences
how he can tame the wildest of the animal kingdom, so they will
eat out of his hand.




CHAPTER IX


The Bad Boy and His Pa Return to the Circus to Find They Have Been
Quite Forgotten--The Fat Lady and the Bearded Woman Give Pa the
Cold Shoulder--Pa Finally Makes Himself Recognized and Attends the
Last Performance of the Season.

We arrived from the far west and struck the show at Indianapolis,
where it was playing its last date of the season, before going to
winter quarters. It was a sad home coming, 'cause the animals and
the performers had forgotten us, and we had to be introduced to
everybody.

We arrived about noon and while I stayed down town to get a shine,
Pa took a street  car and went right up to the lot, and the crowd
was around the ticket wagon getting ready to go in. Pa went up to
the ticket taker at the entrance and said, "hello, Bill," and was
going to push right in, when Bill said that was no good, and there
couldn't any old geezer play the "hello Bill" business on him.

A couple of bouncers took Pa by the elbows and fired him out, and
the crowd laughed at pa, and told him to go and buy a ticket like
a man, and Pa told the bouncers he would discharge them on the
spot. Pa went to the manager's tent and complained that he had
been fired out, and the manager said that was perfectly proper,
unless he had a ticket, and he told Pa to get out. Pa told them
who he was, but they wouldn't believe him. You see pa's face
was all red and sore where the buffaloes had licked him, and
the buffaloes had licked all the hair dye out of his hair and whiskers,
and they were as white as the driven snow. Pa looked 20 years
older than when he went west. While they were arguing about
Pa and examining him to see if he had smallpox, I came up and
Pa saw me and he said, "Hennery, ain't I your pa?" and I said
"you can search me, that's what they always said," and then I
identified pa, and they all shook hands with him, and he
reported about the trip to the west, and what talent he had
engaged for the wild west department for next year. Then we all
went into the tent. I guess everybody was mad and excited, 'cause
the show was going to close, and the salaries stop, as some of
the performers were crying, and everybody was packed up, and all
were paying borrowed money.

[Illustration: A Couple of Bouncers Took Pa by the Elbow and
Fired Him Out.]

Pa went up to the freak's platform and tapping the fat lady on the
shoulder he said, "Hello, you seem to be taking on flesh, now that
the show is going to close, and you ought to have got that flesh
on earlier in the season."

I shall never forget the scene. The fat lady did not recognize pa,
but thought he was just an ordinary old Hoosier trying to take
liberties with her, and she kicked pa's feet out from under him,
and pulled him down across her lap and with her big fat hand she
gave him a few spanks that made Pa see stars, and then cuffed pa's
ears, and let him up. He went over to the bearded woman for
sympathy, asked her how she had got along without him so long; and
she got mad too and swatted Pa with her fist, and yelled for help.
The giant came and was going to break Pa in two, and Pa asked the
giant what it was to him, and he said the bearded woman was his
wife, and that they were married the week before at Toledo. The
giant lifted Pa one with his hind foot, and Pa got down off the
platform, and he told them that was their last season with the
show, when they had no respect for the general manager.

Then they all found out who Pa was, and apologized and tried to
square themselves, but Pa was hot enough to boil over, and we went
off to see the animals.

Say, there wasn't a single animal that would have Pa around. The
zebras kicked at pa, the lions roared and sassed him, the hyenas
snarled and howled, the wolves looked ugly, and the tigers acted
as though they wanted to get him in the cage and tear out his
tenderloin; the elephants wanted to catch Pa and walk on his
frame. The only friends Pa seemed to have was the sacred bull and
cow, who let him come near them, and when they began to lick pa's
hand he remembered his experience with the buffaloes, and he drew
away to the monkey cages. The ourang outang seemed to look on pa
as an equal, and the monkeys treated me like a long lost brother.

It was the saddest home coming I ever participated in, and when
the performance began Pa and I went and sat on the lowest seat
near the ring, and the performers guyed Pa for a Hoosier, and the
lemonade butchers tried to sell Pa lemonade and peanuts, which was
the last hair, until a fakir tried to get Pa to bet on a shell
game, and that was the limit.

Pa got up with a heavy heart, and started to go into the dressing
room, and was arrested by one of the detectives, and put out under
the canvas, and we went down town almost heartbroken, I told Pa to
go to a barber shop and have his hair and whiskers colored black
again, and put on his old checkered vest, and big plug hat, and
two-pound watch chain, and they would all know him. So Pa had his
hair and whiskers colored natural, and dressed up in the old way,
and at evening we went back and stood around the tent, and
everybody took off their hats to him, and when we went into the
show at night everybody was polite, the freaks wanted Pa to sit on
the platform with them, and the animals came off their perch, and
treated Pa like they used to, and he was himself again.

He went around the big tent and watched the last performance of
the season, and complimented the performers, went into the
dressing room and jollied the members of the staff, and when the
performance was over, and the audience had gone, all the managers
and everybody connected with the show gathered in the ring to bid
each other good bye, and make presents to each other. Everybody
made speeches congratulating the management and all who had helped
to make the show a success, and they all joined hands around the
ring and sang "Auld Lang Sine," the animals in the next tent
joining in the chorus.

The lights were lowered, and the canvas-men took down the tents
and loaded them on the cars for home. We went down to the hotel
and the managers listened to the reading of a statement from the
treasurer showing how much money we had made, Pa drew his share of
the profits, and we took a train for home.

At breakfast the next morning in the dining car, going into
Chicago, Pa said to me, "Hennery, we have had the most exciting
five months of my life. The circus business is just like any other
business. If you make good and we are ahead of the game, it is
respectable, but if you run behind and have to deal with the
sheriff, you are suspected of being crooked. Make the people laugh
and forget their troubles, and you are a benefactor, but if your
show is so bad that it makes them kick and find fault, and wish
they had stayed at home, you might as well put crape on the grand
entrance, and go out of the business. The animals in a show are
just like the people we meet in society. If you put on a good
front, and act as though you were the whole thing, they respect
you, and allow you to stay on the earth, but if you are changeable,
and look different from your customary appearance, and come up
to the cage in a frightened manner, they pipe you off and give
you the ha, ha! See? Now we will go home and get acquainted."

"Well, pa," said I, looking him straight in the eye, "where are we going
next?"




CHAPTER X.


The Bad Boy Calls on the Old Groceryman and Gets Acquainted with
His New Dog--Off Again to See America.

The old groceryman was sitting in the old grocery one fine spring
morning looking over his accounts, as they were written on a
quire of brown wrapping paper with a blunt lead pencil, and
wondering where he could go to collect money to pay a note that
was due at the bank at noon on that day. He was looking ten years
older than he did the year before when the Bad Boy had played his
last trick on the old man, and gone abroad to chaperone his sick
father, in a search for health and adventure. The old man had
missed the boy around the grocery, and with no one to keep his
blood circulating, and his temperature occasionally soaring above
the normal, he had failed in health, and had read with mixed
feelings of joy, fear and resentment that the Bad Boy and his dad
had arrived home, and he knew it could not be long before the boy
would blow in, and he was trying to decide whether to meet the boy
cheerfully and with a spirit of resignation, or to meet him with a
club, whether to give him the glad hand, or form himself into a
column of fours to drive him out when he came.

He had accumulated a terrier dog since the boy went away, to be
company for the old singed cat, to hunt rats in the cellar, and to
watch the store nights. The dog was barking down cellar, and the
old man went down the rickety stairs to see what the trouble was,
and while he was down there helping the dog to tree a rat under a
sack of potatoes, the Bad Boy slipped into the store, and finding
the old man absent, he crawled under the counter, curled up on a
cracker box, and began to snore as the old man came up the stairs,
followed by the dog, with a rat in his mouth. The old man heard
the snore, and wondered if he had been entertaining a tramp
unawares, when the dog dropped the rat and rushing behind the
counter began to growl, and grabbed the Bad boy by the seat of his
trousers and gave him a good shaking, while the boy set up a yell
that caused the plaster to fall, and the old man to almost faint
with excitement, and he went to the door to call a policeman,
when the boy kicked the dog off, and raised up from behind the
counter, causing the old cat to raise her back and spit cotton,
and as the old man saw the Bad Boy he leaned against the show case
and a large smile came over his face, and he said: "Gee whiz,
where did you get on?"

"The porter was not in, so I turned in in the first lower berth I
came to," said the Bad Boy, as he jumped over the counter and
grabbed the old man by the arm and shook his hand until it ached.
"Introduce me to your friend, the dog, who seems to have acquired
an appetite for pants," and the Bad Boy got behind the old man and
kicked at the dog, who was barking as though he had a cat on the
fence.

 [Illustration: "Dog Does Kinder Act as Though he Had Something on
His Mind."]

"Get out, Tiger," said the old man, as he pushed the dog away.
"You have got to get used to this young heathen," and he hugged
the bright-looking, well-dressed boy as though he was proud of
him.

"What are good fat rats selling for now?" asked the boy, as his
eye fell on the rat the terrier had brought out of the cellar. "I
did not know you had added a meat market to your grocery. Now, in
Paris the rat business is a very important industry, but I didn't
know the people ate them here. What do you retail them at?"

"O, get out, I don't sell rats," said the old man, indignantly. "I
got this dog for company, in your place, and he has proved himself
more useful than any boy I ever saw. Say, come and sit down by the
stove, and tell me all about your trip, as your letters to me
were not very full of information. How is your father's health?"

"Dad is the healthiest man in America," said the boy, as he handed
the old man a Turkish cigarette, with a piece of cheese under the
tobacco about half an inch from where the old man lighted it with
a match. "Dad is all right, except his back. He slept four nights
with a cork life preserver strapped to, his back, coming over, and
he has got curvature of the spine, but the doctor has strapped a
board to dad's back, and says when his back warps back to fit the
board he will be sound again."

"Say, this is a genuine Turkish cigarette, isn't it," said the old
man, as he puffed away at it, and blew the smoke through his nose.

"I have always wanted to smoke a genuine, imported cigarette. Got
a flavor something like a Welsh rabbit, ain't it?" and the old man
looked at the cigarette where the frying cheese was soaking
through the paper.

"Gee, but I can't go that," and he threw it away and looked sea
sick.

"Turks always take cheese in their cigarettes," said the Bad Boy.
"They get a smoke and food at the same time. But if you feel sick
you can go out in the back yard and I will wait for you."

"No, I will be all right," said the old man, as he got up to wait
on a customer. "Here, try a glass of my cider," and he handed the
boy a dirty glass half filled with cider which the boy drank, and
then looked queer at the old man.

"Tastes like it smells going through the oil belt in Indiana,"
said the boy. "What's in it?"

"Kerosene," said the old man. "The Turks like kerosene in their
cider. They get drink and light, if they touch a match to their
breath. Say, that makes us even. Now, tell me, what country did
you dad get robbed the most in while you were abroad?"

"Well, it was about a stand off," said the boy, as he made a slip
noose on the end of a piece of twine, and was trying to make a
hitch over the bob tail of the groceryman's dog, with an idea of
fastening a tomato can to the string a little later, and turning
the dog loose. "Do you know," said he to the old man, "that I
think it is wrong to cut off a dog's tail, cause when you tie a
tin can to it you feel as though you were taking advantage of a
cripple.

"Well, all the countries we visited robbed dad of all the money he
had, one way of another, sooner or later; even our own country,
when we arrived in New York, took his roll for duty on some little
things he smuggled, but I think the combination of robbers at
Carlsbad stuck together and got the goods off dad in the most
systematic manner. Some way they got news when we arrived, of the
exact amount of money dad had got out of the bank, and before we
had breakfast the fakers had divided it up among themselves, and
each one knew just what was going to be his share, and it was just
like getting a check from home for them. If we were going there
again we would give the money to some particular faker to divide
with the rest, and then take a few swallows of their rotten egg
water, and get out.

"Say, did you ever eat a piece of custard pie made out of stale
eggs? Well, that is just about the same as the Carlsbad water,
only the water is not baked with a raw crust on the bottom. But
the doctor dad consulted was the peach. Dad asked him how much of
the water he ought to drink, and the doctor held a counsel with
himself, and said dad might drink all he could hold, and when dad
asked him how much his charges were he said, 'Oh, wait till you
are cured.' So dad thought he was not going to charge for his
advice, but after we had drank the water for ten days, and dad
was so weak he couldn't brush the flies off his bald spot, we
decided to go to rest cure, and when we had our tickets bought
the doctor attached our baggage, and had a bill against dad for
four hundred and sixty dollars for consultations, operations,
advice, board and borrowed money, and he had a dozen witnesses to
prove every item. Dad paid it, but we are going there once more
with a keg of dynamite for that doctor. But dad thinks he got the
worth of his money.

"You remember before he went away he thought the doctors who
operated on him for that 'pendecitus' left a monkey wrench in him
when they sewed him up. Well, after he began to drink that water
he found iron rust on the towels when he took a bath, and he
believes the monkey wrench was sweat out of him. Say, does your
dog like candy?"

"O, yes, he eats a little," said the grocery-man, and the boy
tossed a piece of candy such as he gave the King of Spain, with
cayenne pepper in it, to the dog, which swallowed it whole, and
the old man said, "Now, I suppose your father is cured, you will
stay at home for awhile, and settle down to decent citizenship,
and take an active part in the affairs of your city and state?
Gee, but what is the matter with the dog?" added the old man, as
the dog jumped up on all fours, looked cross-eyed, and tried to
dig a hole in his stomach with his hind leg.

"O, no, we shall never stay home much more," said the Bad Boy,
getting up on a barrel and pulling his feet up to get away from
the dog, which was beginning to act queer. "You see, dad got
cured all right, of a few diseases that were carrying him off, but
he has taken the 'jumps,' a disease that is incurable. When a man
has the 'jumps' he can't stay long in one place, but his life
after taking the disease is one continual round of packing up and
unpacking. His literature is time cards and railroad guides, and
his meals are largely taken at railroad eating houses, sitting on
a stool, and his sleep is uncertain cat naps. Say, that dog acts
as though the mouthful he took out of my pants under the counter
didn't agree with him," added the boy, as the dog rolled over and
tried to stand on his head.

"Dog does act kinder like he had something on his mind," said the
old man, as he  got out of the dog's way, so he could do his
acrobatic stunt. "Where is your dad going next trip? Seems as
though he would want to stay home long enough to change his
shirt."

"Don't have to change your shirt when you travel," said the boy,
as he slipped an imitation snake into the side pocket of the old
groceryman's sack coat. "We are going to see all the world, now
that we have started in the traveling industry, but our next move
will be chasing ourselves around our own native land. Say, if you
have never been vaccinated against mad dog, you better take
something right now, for that dog is mad, and in about two minutes
he is going to begin to snap at people, and there is no death so
terrible as death from a mad dog  bite. Gee, but I wouldn't be in
your for a million dollars." And the boy stood upon the barrel,
and was beginning to yell "mad dog," when the old man asked what
he could take to make him immune from the bite of a mad dog.

"Eat a bottle of horseradish," said the boy, as he reached over to
the shelves and got a bottle, and pulled the cork. "Eminent
scientists agree that horseradish is the only thing that will get
the system in shape to withstand and throw off the mad dog virus,"
and he handed the old man the bottle and he began to eat it, and
cry, and choke, and the boy got down from the barrel and let the
dog out doors, and he made a bee line for the lake.

"He's a water dog all right," said the boy,  and as a servant
girl came in to buy some soap, and saw the old man eating raw
horseradish and choking and looking apoplectic, she asked what was
the matter with the old man, and a boy said a mad dog just escaped
from the store, and that the old man had shown signs of madness
ever since; the girl gave a yell and rushed out into the world
without her soap. "Let this be a lesson to you to be kind to dumb
animals," said the boy to the old man, as he finished the bottle
of horseradish, and put his hands on his stomach.

"Write to me, won't you?" said the old groceryman, "and may the
fiercest grizzly bear get you, and eat you, condemn you," and the
old man opened the door and pointed to the street.

"Sure," said the Bad Boy. "I will write you but beware of the dog.
Good-bye. You are a good thing. Push yourself along," and the Bad
Boy went out to pack up for another journey.




CHAPTER XI.


The Bad Boy Relates the Automobile Ride He and Dad Had--They Sneak
Out of Town.

"Give me a package of your strongest breakfast food, and a big
onion," said the Bad Boy, as he came into the grocery, looking as
weak as a fever convalescent, "and I want to eat the onion right
now."

"Well, that is a combination, sure enough," said the old
groceryman, as he wrapped a package of breakfast food in a paper
and watched the boy rub half an onion on a salt bag, and eat it
greedily. "What is the matter with you to look so sick, and eat
raw onion before breakfast?"

"Oh, it is this new-fashioned way of living that is killing little
Hennery. When I lived at home before we used to have sassidge and
pancakes for breakfast, roast meat for dinner and cold meat for
supper, and dad was healthy as a tramp, ma could dance a highland
fling, I could play all kinds of games and jump over a high board
fence when anybody was chasing me. Now we have some kind of
breakfast food three times a day because ma reads the advertisements,
and dad is so weak he has to be helped to dress, ma goes moping
around like a fashionable invalid, I am so tired I can't hit a window
with a snowball, and the dog that used to fight cats now wants to lay
in front of the grate and wish he was dead. Gosh, but there ought
to be a law that any man that invents a new breakfast food should
be compelled to eat it. Gee, but that onion gives a man strength."

[Illustration: "Jerusalem, but You Are a Sight," Said the old
Grocery man.]

"I should think so," said the old groceryman, as he took a rag and
set it on fire and let the smoke purify the room. "But I suppose
your folks are like a great many others who have quit eating meat
on account of the meat trust, and are going to die in their tracks
on health food. Is your dad going out today to get the fresh air
and brace up for his next trip?"

"No, dad is going to stay in the house. He wants ma to get him a
female trained nurse, but ma kicks. They had a trained nurse for a
week, once, but ma had one of those little electric flash-lights
that you touch a button and it lights up the room like a burglar
was in the house, and she used to get up in the night and flash
the light into dad's room. Dad always had nervous prostration
after ma flashed the light, and the nurse fainted dead away, so ma
and I are going to do the nursing until dad is strong enough to
travel again, and then he and I skip."

"Where are you going first?" asked the old groceryman, as he
opened the door to let the odor of onion, and burned rag out of
the room. "What kind of treatment do the doctors advise to bring
the old man around so he will be himself again?"

"They want him to go where he can take baths, and gamble, and
attend horse races, and go into fast society, and maybe have a
fight or two so as to stir his blood, and we have decided to take
him first to the hot springs and turn him loose, and we are
packing up now and shall go next week. They tell me that at the
Arkansaw Hot Springs you can get into any kind of a scrape you
want, and you don't have to look around for trouble. It comes to
you. Oh, we won't do a thing down there. I broke the news to dad
last night, and he said that was good enough for him, and he has
packed up his poker chips and some marked cards he used to win
money with from the deacons in the church, and he wants to go as
quick as possible. You will have to excuse me now, for I am going
to take dad out in an automobile after breakfast to give him his
first dose of excitement. I will make dad think that automobiling
is a sport next to fox hunting, and I will drop in this afternoon
and tell you about it," and the Bad Boy took his breakfast food
and went home.

"Jerusalem, but you are a sight," said the groceryman late in the
afternoon, as the bad boy came in with a pair of black goggles
on, his coat torn down the back and his pants ripped up the legs.
"What a time you must have had in the automobile. Did you run over
anybody?"

"Everybody," said the bad boy, as he pinned his trousers leg
together with a safety pin. "There they go now with dad in a milk
wagon. Say, these airships that run on the ground give a man all
the excitement he needs."

"Hurry up and tell me about your automobile ride," said the
groceryman as he brushed off the bad boy's clothes with an old
blacking brush.

"Well, dad said he had never taken a ride in one of the devil
wagons, though he had got a good deal of exercise the last year or
two dodging them on the streets, but he said he was tickled to
death to hear that I was an expert performer, and he would go out
with me, and if he liked the sensation, he would buy one. The
machine I hired was one of those doublets for two persons, one
seat, you know, a runabout. It was a runabout all right. It run
about eighteen miles in fifteen minutes. I got dad tucked in, and
touched her on a raw spot, and we were off. I run her around town
for a while on the streets that had no teams on, and dad was
pleased. He said:

"'Hennery, I like a boy that knows something about machinery, and
who knows what dingus to touch to make his machine do a certain
thing, and I am proud of you.'

"We had to go through the business part of town, and dad looked
around at the people on the streets that he knew, and he swelled
up and tried to look as though he owned a brewery, and told me to
let her out, and I thought if dad could stand it to let her out I
could, so I pulled her open just as one of these station fruit
venders with a hand cart was crossing the street. The cowcatcher
in front caught the hand cart right in the middle and threw it
into the air and it rained bananas and oranges, and the dago came
down on his head and swore in Italian, and dad said, 'Good shot,
Hennery,' and then the machine swung across the street and knocked
the fender off a street car, and then I got her in the road
straight and by gosh I couldn't stop her. Something had got balled
up, and the more I touched things the faster she went. We
frightened four teams and had three runaways, and the air seemed
full of horses rearing up and drivers yelling for us to stop. One
farmer with a load of hay would not give any of the road, and
I guess his hay came in contact with the gasoline tank, for
the hay took fire, his team ran away, and as we went over
the hill I looked back and saw a fire engine trying to catch
up with the red-hot load of hay, and the farmer had grabbed
hold of a wire sign across the street and let the wagon run
out from under him, and they had to take him down with a fire ladder.

[Illustration: "It Rained Bananas and the Dago Came Down on His
Head."]

"We kept going faster, and dad began to get frightened and asked
me to slow up, but I couldn't. We must have got in the country
about eight miles, and dad was getting scared, and his face was
just the color of salt pork, and he said:

"'Hennery, this excursion is going to wind up in a tragedy, and if
I die I want you to have a post-mortem examination made, just to
see if I am right about those doctors leaving that monkey wrench
in me. For heaven's sake make the machine jump that fence, for
here comes a drove of cattle in the road, more'n a hundred horned
steers, and we never can pass them alive.'"

"Gee, but when I saw those cattle ahead and the machine running
away, I tried to pray, and then I steered her towards an old rail
fence that looked as though it was rotten, and then there was a
crash, the air was full of rails, and dad said, 'This is no hurdle
race,' and we landed in a field where there was an old hard snow
bank. She went up on the side, hit the frozen snow, turned a
summersault, the gasoline tank exploded and I didn't remember
anything till some farmers that were spreading manure in the field
turned me over with a pitchfork and asked me who the old dead
man was standing on his head in the snow bank with his plug
hat around his neck. As soon as I came to I went to dad, and
he was just coming out of a trance, and asked him if he didn't
think a little excitement sort of made the sluggish blood circulate,
and he looked at the blood on the snow, and said he thought
there was no doubt about the circulation of his blood.

[Illustration: "The farmer had graced hold of a wire sign across
the street."]

"He got up, got his hat untangled, told the farmers he was obliged
to them for their courtesy and then he called me one side and
said:

"'Hennery, this attempt on your part to murder me was not the
success that you expected, but you keep on and you will get me all
right. Now, as a business man, I want to say we have got to get
out of this town to-night or we will be arrested and sent to the
penitentiary; besides, I will have to pay a thousand dollars
damage at the least calculation. Get me a carriage for home, and
you stay and set this machine on fire and skip back to town in
time for the evening train south, and we will go where the climate
is more genial.'

"Just then the steers we saw in the road came into the field
through the fence we had broken, and when they smelled the blood
they began to paw and beller, and look like they would run at dad,
so the farmers got dad into a milk wagon that was going to town,
and when the wagon started dad was pouring a cup of milk on him
where the gasoline had scorched him when it exploded, and I walked
in town helping the fellows drive the steers, and here I am, alive
and ready to travel at 8 p. m.

[Illustration: "Hennery, This Attempt on Your Part to Murder Me
Was Not the Success You Expected."]

"If my chum comes around tell him I will write him from Hot
Springs and give him the news."

"If that don't beat anything I ever heard of," said the old
grocery man. "I have always been afraid of those automobiles, and
when one of the horns blow I go in the first gate, say my prayers
and wait for it to go by and run over some one farther down the
block. Did your dad say anything about buying an automobile after
he came to?"

"Yes, as I remember it, he said he would see me in h--- first, or
something like that. He remarked, as he got in the milk wagon,
that every man that owned an automobile ought to be examined by an
insanity expert and sent to the penitentiary for letting concealed
weapons carry him.

"Well, good-by, old man," and the bad boy went limping out of the
grocery to go home and tell his mother that he and dad had been
scoring up for the good time they were going to have when they got
out on the road for dad's health.




CHAPTER XII.


The Bad Boy Writes His Chum Not to Get So Gay--Dad's Experience
with the Pecarries.

"Hot Springs, Ark.--My dear old chum: Dad and I got here three
days ago, and have begun to enjoy life. We didn't leave home a
minute too soon, as we would have been arrested for running over
that banana peddler, and for arson in setting a load of hay on
fire and destroying the farmer's pants in our automobile accident.
Ma writes that a policeman and a deputy sheriff have camped on our
front doorstep ever since we left, waiting for dad and I to show
up. Dad wants me to tell you to notify the officers that they can
go plum, as we shall never come back. Tell them we have gone to
Panama, or Mexico, or any old place.

"By the way, kid, I shall have to give you a little fatherly
advice. When dad and I were at the bank getting a wad to travel
with, I asked one of the clerks how it was that the bank dispensed
with your services, after you had been there nearly a year, and
had got your salary up to $60 a month, and were just becoming
worth your salt. He said you got too fresh, that every new
responsibility that was put upon you caused your chest to swell,
and that you walked around as though you were president of the
bank, and that you got ashamed to carry your lunch to the bank, to
eat it in the back room, but went out to a restaurant and ordered
the things to eat that came under the 15-cent list, whether you
liked the food or not, just to show off; and instead of quietly
eating the wholesome lunch your mother put up for you, and being
good natured, you ate the restaurant refuse, and got cross, and
all for style, showing that you had got the big head; and that you
demanded an increase of salary, like a walking delegate, and got
fired, as you ought to have been; and now you are walking on your
uppers, and are ashamed to look into the bank, which you think is
going to fail because you have withdrawn your support. Dad
arranged with the managers to take you back on probation, so you
go and report for duty just as though you had been off on a
vacation, and then you try and have some sense. Dad says you
should get to the bank before you are expected, and stay a little
while after it is time to quit, and don't watch the clock and
get your coat on before it strikes, and don't make a center rush
for the door, as though you were escaping from jail. Let those
above you see that there is not enough for you to do, and that
you are anxious to help all around the place. Look upon a bale of
money just as you would look upon a bale of hay if you were
working in a feed store, and don't look covetous upon a pile of
bills, and wonder how much there is in it, and think how much you
could buy with it if it was yours. It is just a part of the
business, that pile of money is, and it is not your place to brood
over it with venom in your eyes, or some day you will reach out
and take a little, and look guilty, and if they don't find you
out, you will take a bigger slice next time, and go and blow
yourself for clothes as good as the president of the bank wears,
and some night you will open a small bottle of wine, and put your
thumbs in the arm-holes of your vest and imagine you are 'it,'
and when you flash your roll to pay the score, the quiet man at
another table in the saloon, who has been drinking pop, and whom
you were sorry for, he looked so forlorn, will take you into the
police station, and they will search you, and you will break down
and blubber, and then it is all off, and the next day you will be
before a judge, and your broken-hearted mother will be there
trying to convince the judge that somebody must have put the money
in your pocket to ruin you, some one jealous of your great success
as a banker, but the judge will know how you came by the money,
and you will go over the road, your mother goes to the grave, and
your friends will say it is a pity about you.

[Illustration: "Dad Sat in the Parlor with a Widow Until the
Porter Had to Tell Him to Cut It Out."']

"Men who employ boys know that half of them will never amount to
a tinker's dam, a quarter of them will just pass muster, and if
they can't run the place in a year they will find another job, and
two out of the 20 will be what are needed in the business. The boy
who is always looking for another job is the one that never finds
one that suits him. The two boys out of the twenty will seem to
look a little rustier each year as to clothes but their round,
rosy faces will change from year to year, the jaws begin to show
strength, the eyes get to looking through you, and the forehead
seems to expand as the brain gets to working.

"The successful boys out of the bunch remind me of the automatic
repeating rifle, that you put ten cartridges in and pull the
trigger and shoot ten times with your eyes shut, if you want to,
and it hits where you point it. Every time an employer pulls the
trigger on a successful business boy, and a good idea of business
is fired, the recoil puts a new idea into the chamber, and you
pull again, and so on until the magazine of the brainy boy is
emptied, when you load him up again, and he is ready for
business, and the employer wouldn't be without him, and
would not go back to the old-fashioned one-idea boy, that goes off
half-cocked when not pointed at anything in particular, and whose
ideas get stuck in the barrel and have to be pulled out with a
wormer, and primed with borrowed powder, and touched off by the
neighbors, most of whom get powder in their eyes, unless they
look the other way when the useless employee goes off, for
anything in the world. So, chum, you go back to the bank and
become an automatic repeater in business, with ideas to distribute
to others, instead of borrowing ideas, and you will own the bank
some day.

[Illustration: "I Got a Gambler to Look Cross at Dad."]

"Now, kid, you don't want to go peddling this around among the
neighbors, but dad and I are having the time of our lives here,
and since dad has begun to get acquainted with the ladies here at
the hotel, and the millionaire sports, he is getting well, and
acts like old times. He sat in the parlor of the hotel with a
widow the first night until the porter had to tell him to cut it
out. Say, I got asleep three or four times on a lounge in the
parlor, waiting for dad to get to the 'continued in our next' in
talking with that widow about his wealth, and his loneliness since
ma died. He said he didn't know what he was worth, because he
didn't pay any attention to any of his bonds and securities,
except his Standard Oil stock, because the dividends on that stock
came regular and increased a little every quarter.

Gee, but I wanted to tell her that all the interest he had in
Standard Oil was a gallon kerosene can with a potato stuck in the
spout, and when we went to bed I told him that woman's husband was
behind the door of the parlor all the time listening, and he had
a gun in his hip pocket, and would call him out for a duel the
next morning, sure. Dad didn't sleep good that night, and the
next morning I got a gambler to look cross at dad and size him up,
and dad didn't eat any breakfast. After breakfast I had the hotel
stenographer write a challenge to dad, and demand satisfaction for
alienating the affections of his wife, and dad began to get weak
in the knees. He showed me the challenge, and I told him the only
way to do in this climate was to walk around and punch his cane
on the floor, and look mad, and talk loud, and the challenger
would know he was a fiery fighter, and would apologize, and dad
walked around town and through the hotel office most of the day,
fairly frothing at the mouth, and he thinks he has scared the
challenger away, and, as the woman is gone, dad thinks he is a
hero.

"But the worst thing has happened and it will take a week to grow
new skin on dad's legs. He got acquainted with a bunch of men who
were bear hunters and sports, and they talked of the bear shooting
in Arkansas, and dad told about how he had killed tigers, lions,
elephants and things until they thought he was great. Dad never
saw one of those animals except in a menagerie, but when they
suggested that he go with them on a bear hunt, he bit like
a bass, and the whole bunch went off in a buckboard one
morning with guns, lunches, hounds, bottles, and all kinds
of ammunition. They didn't let me go but when the crowd
came back about midnight, and they carried dad up to his
room, and sent for a doctor, one of the horse race men who went
along told me all about it.

[Illustration: "Dad was up on a limb praying, his gun on the
ground and his coattails chewed by the wild pigs."]

"He said they went out in a canebrake and stationed dad on a
runway for bear, and put in the dogs about a mile away in the
swamp, and they left him there for five hours, and when they went
to where he was, there was a drove of wild hogs, or peccaries,
under a tree, and dad was up, on a limb praying, his gun on the
ground; his coat was chewed by the wild pigs, and the wild animals
were jumping up to eat his shoes. The fellows hid behind trees and
listened to dad confess his sins, and pray, and promise to do
better, and be a good man, and when a wild pig would gnash his
teeth and make a jump at him, he would talk swear words at the
pig, and then he would put up his hands and ask forgiveness, and
promise to lead a different life, and say what a fool he was to
be off down here in the sunny south being eaten alive by wild
hogs, when he ought to be home enjoying religion. Just as dad was
about to die there on the limb of a shagbark hickory, the fellows
behind the trees touched off a small dynamite cartridge and threw
it under the tree, and when it exploded the wild hogs ran away,
dad fell off the limb, and he was rescued. He was a sight, for
sure, when they brought him to the hotel; his clothes were torn
off, his stomach lacerated, and when he was stuck together with
plasters, and I was alone with him, he said he was as good a bear
hunter as ever came down the pike, but he never worked in a
slaughter house, and didn't know anything about slaughtering pigs,
and besides, if he ever got out again, and able to use a gun, he
would put that bunch of hunters that took him out in the canbrakes
under the sod. He said while he sat up the tree praying for
strength to endure the ordeal he had a revelation that there
wasn't a bear within a hundred miles, and that those fellows had
the hogs trained to scare visitors to Hot Springs, so they could
be easy to rob. He said one fellow borrowed $50 off him to pay
into the state treasury for wear and tear on the wild hogs. Well,
dad had forgotten about the monkey-wrench in his system, and I
guess we are going to enjoy ourselves here in the old-fashioned
way. Yours all right,

"Hennery."




CHAPTER XIII.


The Bad Boy and His Dad Have Trouble with a New Breakfast Food--
Dad Rides a Bucking Broncho.

San Antonio, Texas.--My Dear Chum: Dad and I left Hot Springs
because the man who kept the hotel where we stopped got prejudiced
against me. I suppose I did carry the thing a little too far. You
see dad has got into this breakfast food habit, and reads all the
advertisements that describe new inventions of breakfast food, and
he has got himself so worked up over the bran mash that he is
losing appetite for anything substantial, and he is getting weak
and nutty. Ma told me when I went away with dad that she wanted
me to try my best to break dad of the breakfast food habit, and I
promised to do it. Say, kid, if you ever expect to succeed in
life, you have got to establish a reputation for keeping your
promises. Truth is mighty, and when anybody can depend upon a boy
to do as he agrees his fortune is made. Dad saw a new breakfast
food advertised in an eastern magazine, and as the hotel people
only kept thirty or forty kinds of mockingbird food for guests,
dad made me go out to the groceries and round up the new kind. I
brought a box to the table at breakfast, and dad fell over himself
to fill his saucer, and then he offered some to eight boarders
that sat at our table. Dad had been bragging for a week about how
he had adopted the breakfast food fad, first for his health, and
then to get even with the beef trust. He had convinced the
boarders at our table that it was a patriotic duty of every
citizen to shut down on eating meat until the criminal meat trust
was ruined.

[Illustration: "Hennery, I Feel as Though Your Dad Was not Very
Long for This World." ]

"The breakfast food I put up on dad was some pulverized cork that
I got at a grocery out of a barrel of California grapes. It looked
exactly like other breakfast food, but you'd a died to see dad and
several invalid Southern colonels, and two women who were at the
table, pour cream on that pulverized cork, and springle sugar on
it, and try to get the pulverized cork to soak up the cream, but
the particles of cork floated on top of the cream, and acted
alive. An old confederate colonel, who had called dad a dam yankee
ever since we had been there, and always acted as though he was on
the point of drawing a gun, took the first mouthful, and after
chewing it a while he swallowed as though his throat was sore, but
he got it down, and ordered a cocktail, and looked mad at dad. Dad
noticed that the others were having difficulty in masticating the
food, and so he pitched in and ate his food and said it was the
finest he ever tasted, but the rest of the crowd only took a
spoonful or two, and et fruit. One woman who is there to be cured
of the habit of betting on the races, got the cork in amongst her
false teeth and it squeaked when she chewed, like pulling a cork
out of a beer bottle. They all seemed to want to please dad, and
so they munched away at the cork, until the woman with the false
teeth had to leave the table, then a colonel went out, and then
all quit the table except dad and I, and by that time dad felt as
though he had swallowed a life preserver, and he said to me:

"'Hennery, either the baths or the climate, or something has upset
me, and I feel as though your dad was not very long for this
world. Before I die I want you to confess to me what that stuff is
that I have been eating, and I can die in peace!'

"I told him that he had wanted a light breakfast, and I though
there was nothing quite so light as cork, and that he was full
clear to the muzzle with pulverized cork, and he couldn't sink any
more when he took a bath. Dad turned pale and we went out in the
office and found that all the people who sat at our table, and ate
breakfast food were in the hands of doctors, and dad went in the
room with them, and each had a doctor, and how they got it out of
them I don't know, as I was busy organizing a strike among the
bell boys. I told them they could double their wages by striking
at exactly at ten o'clock, when all the boarders wanted cocktails
sent to their rooms.

[Illustration: Dad Among the Cowboys.]

"They struck all right, and the breakfast food people had all got
pumped out, and then it came my turn. Dad gave me a licking, the
boarders kicked at me, the landlord ordered me out of the house,
and the striking bell boys who had their places filled in ten
minutes, chased me all over town, and when I got back to the hotel
dad had bought tickets to San Antonio, because the doctor told him
to get out on the prairies and take horseback exercise to shake
the pulverized cork and the monkey-wrench out of his system, and
everybody threw stones at the buss that we rode to the depot in.
Gosh, but I hate a town where genius has no chance against the mob
element. The worst was that woman with the false teeth, because
she lost them somewhere, and had to hold her handkerchief over her
mouth while she called me names when the porter took me by the
collar and the pants and flung me into the buss. Dad told the
porter, when he handed out the regular 'tip,' that he would have
made it large if the porter had taken an axe to me. Dad is getting
so funny he almost makes me laugh.

"Well, kid, we arrived here next day, and got acclimated before
night. Dad bought a wide gray cowboy hat, with a leather strap for
a band, and began to pose as a regular old rough rider, and told
everybody at the hotel that he was going to buy a ranch, and run
for congress. Everybody here is willing a northern man should buy
a ranch, but when he talks about running for Congress they look
sassy at him, but dad can look just as sassy as anybody here. He
told all around that he was a cavalry veteran of the war, and
wanted to get a horse to ride that would stir up his patriotic
instincts and his liver, and all his insides, and a real kind man
steered dad to a livery stable, and I knew by the way the natives
winked at each other that they were going to let him have a horse
that would jounce him all right.

"They saddled up a real nice pony for me, but when they led out
the horse for dad I knew that trouble was coming. The horse was
round shouldered on the back, and when they put the saddle on the
horse humped up and coughed most pitiful, and when they fastened
the cinch the horse groaned and the crowd all laughed, A negro
boy asked me if my old man was ever on a horse before, and when I
told him that dad had eaten horses in the army, the boy said that
horse would eat him, 'cause he was a bucker from Buckersville
in the western part of the state.

[Illustration: "Dad Began to Pose as a Regular Old Rough Rider."]

I told dad the horse was a dangerous bucker, but he tipped his hat
on one side and said he had broken more bucking bronchos than
those Texas livery men ever saw. Dad borrowed a pair of these
Mexican spurs with a wheel in them as big as a silver dollar, and
the men held the horse by the bridle while dad got on, and I must
say he got on like he knew how. He asked which was the road to
Houston, and we started out of town.

"Well, sir, I have been in a good many runaways, and I was filling
a soda fountain once when it exploded, and I have been on a
toboggan when it run into a cow, and I have been to a church
sociable when a boy turned some rats loose, and a terrier went
after them right among the women, but I never was so paralyzed as
I was to see dad and that horse try to stay together. The first
two miles out of town the horse walked, and acted as though it was
going to die, and my pony would get away ahead and have to wait
for dad and the camel to come up. Dad was mad because they gave
him such a slow horse.

"'What are those things on your heels for?' I says to dad. 'Why
don't you run the spokes into his slats?' I said, just to be
sociable.

"'Never you mind me,' says dad. 'After I have looked at the
scenery a while I will open the throttle on this dromedary, and we
will go and visit the Pyramids.'

"I was a little ahead and I did not catch dad in the act of
kicking open the throttle, but I heard something that sounded like
a freight train wreck, and dad and the horse went by me like a
horse race, only that horse was not on the ground half the time,
and he didn't go straight ahead, but just lowered his head between
his legs and jumped in the air and came down stifflegged and then
jumped sideways, and changed ends and did it all over again, all
over the prairie, and dad was a sight. His eyes stuck out, and his
teeth rattled, and every time the horse came down on his feet dad
seemed to get shorter, as though his spine was being telescoped up
into his hat. I think dad would have fallen off the first jump,
only he had rammed the spurs in amongst the horse's ribs, and
couldn't get them out. Gee, but you never saw such actions, unless
you have seen a horse go plum crazy. The horse kept giving dad
new fancy side steps, and jumps until dad yelled to me to get a
gun and shoot him or the horse, and he didn't care which.
I yelled to dad to loosen up on the bridle, and let the horse
run lengthways instead of sideways, and I guess he did,
for the horse lit out for some musquite trees and before I could
get there the horse had run under a limb and scraped dad off, and
when I got there dad was lying under a tree, trying to pray and
swear all to wonst, and his spurs were all blood and hair, and
things a horse wears on the inside of his self, and the horse was
standing not far away, eating grass, and looking at dad. If dad
had had his revolver along he would have killed the horse, but the
horse seemed to know he had been fooling with an unarmed man. I
got dad righted up, and he rode my pony to town, and I had to lead
the bucking horse, and he eat some of the cloth out of my pants.

[Illustration: Dad on a Bucking Broncho.]

"Say, this is a bully place down here; just as quiet and sunshiny
as can be, only dad is in a hospital for a week or so, having
operations on where the horse let him drop once in a while on the
saddle, and the livery man made dad buy the horse 'cause he said
dad had ripped his sides out with the spurs. Dad says we will have
a picnic when he gets out of the hospital. He is going to buy some
dynamite and take the horse out on the prairie and blow him up.
Dad is _so_ fond of dumb animals. I got your letter about
your being in love. Gee, but you can't afford it on your salary.

                "Yours quite truly,
                        "HENNERY."




CHAPTER XIV.


The Bad Boy and his Dad Return from Texas--The Boy Tells the
Groceryman About the Excitement at San Antonio.

The old groceryman sat on an up-turned half bushel measure in
front of the store drying his old-fashioned boots. As he fried the
soles in front of the red hot stove, there was an odor of burnt
leather, but he did not notice it, as the other odors natural to
the dirty old grocery seemed to be in the majority. The door
opened quietly and the old man got up to wait on a possible
customer, when the bald boy rushed in and dropped on the floor the
queerest animal the old man and the cat had ever seen. The cat got
up on the counter on a pile of brown wrapping paper, curved its
back and purmeyowed, and the strange animal jumped into a half
barrel of dried apples and began to dig with all four feet, as
though to make a bed to lie in.

"Take that animalcule, or whatever it is, out of them apples,"
said the old groceryman, picking up a fire-poker. "What is it, and
where did it come from, and when did you get back, and how is your
pa, and why didn't you stay away, and what do you want here
anyway?" and the old man eyed the animal and the bad boy,
expecting to be bitten by one and bilked by the other.

"That's a prairie dog from Texas, if you are not posted in
ornicothology," said the boy, as he took the prairie dog up and
put him on the counter near the cat. "Dad is all right, only we
were driven out of Texas by the board of health."

"I told that pirate chum of yours when he read me your letter,
that you would last in Texas just about a week, and that you would
be shipped home in a box. They are not as tolerant with public
nuisances down south as we are here. But what did you do there to
get the board of health after you?" and the old man pushed the
cat's back down level, and held her tail so she couldn't eat the
prairie dog.

"Well, sir, it was the condemnedest outrage that ever was," said
the boy, as he gave the prairie dog some crackers and cheese. "You
see, dad told me I could pick up some pet animals while I was in
Texas, and I got quite a collection while dad was in the
hospital. Here is one in my pocket," and the boy took a horned
toad out of his pocket, about as big as a soft-shelled crab,
and put it in the old groceryman's hand.

[Illustration: "That's a Prairie Dog from Texas." ]

"Condemn you, don't you put a poisonous reptile in my hand," said
the odd man, as he dropped the ugly-looking toad on the floor, and
got behind the show case, while the boy laughed fit to kill. "Now
tell your story and vamoose, by ginger, or I will ring for the
patrol wagon. You would murder a man in his own house, and laugh
at his spasms."

"O, get out, that toad and this prairie dog are as harmless as
your old cat there," said the boy, as he watched the old man
tremble as though he had jim-jams. "I have got a tarantula and a
diamond-back rattlesnake that will pizen you, though. I'll tell
you about our getting fired out of Texas, if you will stand still
a minute. You see, I had my collection of pets in my room at the
hotel, and I had the bell boys bribed, and the chambermaid would
only come in our room while I was there to watch the pets. The
night dad got back from the hospital, where he went to grow some
new bones and things on his insides, after he rode the bucking
broncho, a man got me the prettiest little animal you ever saw,
sort of white and black, about the size of a cat, and I took it to
the room and put it under the bed in a box the man gave me. Dad
had gone to bed, and was snoring so you could cut it with a
knife."

"Say, you knew that animal was a skunk all the time, now tell me,
didn't you," said the old groceryman. "You was a fool to take it,
when you knew what a skunk will do."

"Yes, I thought it was a skunk, all right," said the boy, "but the
man told me the animal had been vaccinated, and wouldn't ever make
any trouble for any one, and he would warrant it. I thought
a warranted skunk was all right, and so I went to bed in a
cot next to dad's bed. I guess it was about daylight when
skunks want to suck eggs, that he began to scratch the box,
and squeak, and I was afraid it would wake dad up, so I
reached down and took off the cover of the box. From that very
identical moment the trouble began. Dad heard something in the
room and he rose up in bed and the animal sat on the foot of the
bed and looked at dad. Dad said 'scat,' and threw a pillow at my
pet, and then all was chaos. I never exactly smelled chaos, but I
know it when I smell it. O, O, but you'd a dide to see dad. He
turned blue and green, and said, 'Hennery, someone has opened a
jack pot, call for the police!' I rushed for the indicator where
you ring for bell boys, and cocktails, and things, and touched all
the buttons, and then got in bed and pulled a quilt over my head,
and dad went into a closet where my snakes and things were, and
the vaccinated skunk kept on doing the same as he did to dad, and
I though I should die. Dad heard my snake rattle his self in the
box, and he stepped on my prairie dog and yelled murder, and he
got into my box of horned toads, and my young badger scratched
dad's bare feet, and a young eagle I had began to screech, and dad
began to have a fit. He said the air seemed fixed, and he opened
the window, and sat on the window sill in his night shirt, and a
fireman came up a ladder from the outside and turned the hose on
dad, then the police came and broke in the door, and the landlord
was along, and the porter, and all the chambermaids, and
everybody. I had turned in all the alarms there were, and
everybody came quick. The skunk met the policemen halfway, and
saluted them as polite as could be, and they fell back for
reinforcements; dad got into his pants and yelled that he was
stabbed, and I don't know what didn't happen. Finally the
policemen got my skunk under a blanket and walked on him, and he
was squashed, but, by gosh, they can never use that blanket again,
and I told 'em so."

[Illustration: "Dad Heard Something at Night and Rose Up in Bed."]

[Illustration: "Dad Stepped on My Prairie Dog and Yelled Murder."]

"It's a wonder they didn't put a blanket over you and kill you
too," said the old groceryman, as he moved away from the horned
toad, which the boy had placed on the counter. "What did they do
to you then? What way did your dad explain it? How long did you
remain at the hotel after that?"

"We didn't stay hardly any after that," said the boy, as he pushed
the prairie dog along the counter toward the groceryman's cat,
hoping to get them to fighting. "The landlord said we dam yankees
were too strenuous for his climate, and if we didn't get out of
the house in fifteen minutes he would get a gun and see about it,
and he left two policemen to see that we got away. Dad tried to
argue the question with the landlord, after all the windows
had been opened in the house. He said he had come to Texas
for a quiet life, to get away from the climate of the north, but
he had no idea any landlord would turn animals into a gentleman's
room, and he would sue for damages; but the bluff did not work,
and we left San Antonio on a freight train, under escort of the
police, and the board of health. Say, that freight train smelled
like it had a hot box, but nobody suspected us. When we got
most to New Orleans dad said, 'Hennery, I hope this will be
a lesson to you,' and I told him two more such lessons would kill
his little boy dead."

[Illustration: "We Left Under Escort of the Police."]

"What did you do with your clothes?" said the groceryman, as he
snuffed around, as though he thought he could smell something.

"O, we bought new clothes in New Orleans, and let our old ones out
of the window of a hotel with a rope. A man picked them up, and
they sent him to the quarantine for smallpox patients. O, we came
out all right, but it was a close call. Say, I bet this prairie
dog can lick your cat in a holy minute," and the boy pushed the
dog against the cat, said "sik em," and the cat scratched the dog,
the dog yelled and bit the cat, the cat run up the shelves, over
the canned goods, and tipped over some bottles of pickles, and the
old groceryman got crazy, while the boy took his prairie dog under
his arm, and his horned toad in his hand and started to go out.

"I'll drop in some day and have some fun with you," says the boy.

"If you do I will stab you with a cheese knife," said the
groceryman as he picked up the broken glass.




CHAPTER XV.


The Bad Boy's Joke with a Stuffed Rattlesnake--He Tells the Old
Groceryman About his Dad's Morbid Appetite.

The old groceryman was sitting on the counter, with his legs
stretched lengthwise, his heels resting on a sack of flour, and
his back against a pile of wrapping paper, his eyes closed, his
pipe gone out, and the ashes sifting from it on the cat that was
asleep in his lap. He was waiting for a customer to come in and
buy something to start the day's business. He had sprinkled the
floor and swept the dirt up in a corner, and he was sleepy. There
was a crash in front of the door, a barrel of axe handles and
garden tools had been tipped over on the sidewalk, the door
opened with a jerk and closed with a slam, and the bad boy came in
with a long paper bax, perforated with holes, slammed it on the
counter beside the groceryman's legs, and yelled:

"Wake up, Rip Van Winkle, the day of judgment has come, and you
are still buried. You get a move on you or the procession will go
off and leave you. Say, are you afraid of rattlesnakes?" and the
bad boy shook the paper box, when an enormous rattle came from
within, as though a snake had shaken its tail good and plenty.

"Great Scott, boy, I believe you have got a rattlesnake in that
box," and he jumped off the counter and grabbed an iron fire
poker, while the boy got out his knife to cut the string on the
box. "Now, look here, I am suffering from nervous prostration, and
a snake turned loose in this store would settle it with me. I am
at your mercy, but by the holy smoke, if I am bitten by that snake
I will kill you and your old snake. Now take that box out of
here," and the old man picked up a hatchet and got behind a
barrel.

"Well, wouldn't that skin you," said the bad boy, as he sharpened
his knife on a piece of old cheese, and felt of the edge. "Here
you have been telling me for years what a brave man you were, and
how you were not afraid of anything that wore hair, and now you
have fits because a little five-foot rattlesnake, with only ten
rattles on, makes a formal call on you. Gee, but you are a squaw.
Why, there is no danger in the bite of a rattlesnake, since
science has taken the matter up. All you got to do, when a snake
bites you and you begin to turn black, is to drink a couple of
quarts of whisky, and bind a poultice of limberg cheese on the
wound, and go to bed for a week or ten days, and you come out all
right," and the bad boy began to cut the string.

"Now, let up until I wait on these customers," said the old man,
as he went to the door and let in a committee of women who were to
buy some supplies for a church sociable. The women lined up on
each side of the store, looking at the canned things on the
shelves, and the old man was trying to be polite, when the bad boy
opened the box and laid on the floor a stuffed rattlesnake that
was as natural as life, and touched a rattle box in his pocket,
and the trouble began. The women saw the snake curled up, ready to
spring, and they all went through the door at once, tipping over
everything that was loose, and screaming, while the old man, when
he saw the snake, got into the front show window and trembled and
yelled for the police. A policeman rushed in the store and when he
saw the snake he backed out of the door, and the bad boy sat down
on a box and began to eat some raisins out of a box, as though he
was not particularly interested in the commotion.

"Arrest that boy with the snake," said the groceryman.

"Come out of that wid your menagerie," said the policeman, shaking
his club.

[Illustration: "Arrest That Boy with the Rattlesnake," Said the
Groceryman.]

"Come in and get the snake if you want it," said the boy, "I don't
want it any more, anyway," and he took the stuffed snake up by the
head and laid it across his lap, and began to shake the rattles,
and laugh at the groceryman and the policeman, and the crowd that
had collected in front of the store. The policeman came in
laughing, and the old groceryman crawled out of the show window,
and all breathed free again, and finally the policeman went and
drove the crowd away, and went on his beat again, after shaking
his club at the boy; the groceryman, the snake and the cat
remained in the store. The groceryman took a swig out of a bottle
of whisky, to settle his nerves, and the took up his snake and
pushed it towards the cat, which ran up a stepladder and yowled.

"Do you know, I kind of like you," said the old groceryman, as he
went up behind the bad boy and took him by the throat, "and I
think it would be a great thing for the community if I should just
choke you to death. You are worse than a mad dog, and you are
just ruining my business."

"I will give you just ten seconds to take you hand off my neck,"
said the bad boy, pulling out a dollar watch, "and when the time
is up, and you have not let loose of me, I will turn loose a
couple of live snakes I have in my pocket, and some tarantulas,
and you will probably be bitten and swell up like a poisoned pup,
and die under the counter."

"All right, let's be friends," said the old man, as he let go of
the bad boy. "If your parents and the rest of the community can
stand having you around, alive, probably it is my duty to be a
martyr, and stand my share, but you are very trying to the nerves.
By the way, put that confounded stuffed snake in the ice box, and
sit down here and tell me something. I saw your father on the
street yesterday, and he is a sight. His stomach is twice as big
around as it was, and he looks troubled. What has got into him?"

"Well, I'll tell you, dad has got what they call a morbid
appetite. Whatever you do, old skate, don't you ever get a morbid
appetite."

"What is a morbid appetite?" asked the old man; as he peeled a
banana and began to eat it. "I can always eat anything that is
not tied down, but I don't know about this morbid business."

"Scientists say a morbid appetite is one that don't know when it
has got enough. Dad likes good things, but he wants all there is
on the table. Now, at New Orleans, before we came home, dad and I
went in a restaurant to get some oysters, and you know the oysters
there are the biggest in the world. When we got there dad was
hungry, and the thought of raw oysters on the half shell made him
morbid. He had a blue point appetite, and ordered four dozen on
the half shell, for himself, and one dozen for me. Well, you would
have dropped dead in your tracks if you had been there. Six
waiters brought on the five dozen oysters, and each oyster was as
big as a pie plate. Six dozen oysters would cover this floor from
the door to the ice box. Dad almost fainted when he saw them, but
his pride was at stake, and he made up his mind if he didn't eat
them all the waiters would think he was a tenderfoot, and so he
started in. The first oyster was as big as a calf's liver, and
nobody but a sword swallower could ever have got it down. Dad cut
one oyster into quarters, and got away with it, and after a while
he murdered another, and after he had eaten three he wanted to go
home and leave them. Then is the time his little boy got in his
work. I told dad that if he didn't eat all the oysters the waiters
and the people would mob him, that it was a deadly offense to
order oysters and not eat them, and that they would probably kill
us both before we got out of the place. He said, 'Hennery, I don't
like oysters like I used to, and it seems to me I couldn't
eat another one to save my life, but if, as you say, we are
in a country where a man's life is held so cheaply, by the
great horn spoons, I will eat every oyster in the house,
and the Lord have mercy on me.' I told him that was about
the size of it, and he would eat or die, and maybe he would
die anyway, and just then a wicked-looking negro with a
big oyster knife came to the table and looked ugly at dad and
said, 'Have another dozen?' and dad said, 'Yes,' and then he began
to eat as though his life depended on it, and I could hear the
great wads of oysters strike with a dull thud on exposed places
inside of dad, and before he got up from the table he had eaten
them all, and he told the man we would be in again to lunch after
awhile. Dad is the bravest man I ever saw, and don't you forget
it. He would have come out all right, I suppose, and lived, if it
hadn't been for his devilish morbid appetite for travel and
adventure. Quick as we got out of the oyster place dad wanted to
take a steamboat ride down the river to the Eades Jetties at the
mouth of the river, and we went on board, and had a nice ride down
to the mouth. After we had looked over the jetties where Eades
made an artificial canal big enough for the largest ocean steamers
to come up to New Orleans, the passengers wanted the captain to
run the boat outside the bar, into the blue ocean, where the waves
come from. Gee, but I hope I may live long enough to forget the
ride. We hadn't got a boat's length outside the bar before the
boat began to roll and toss, and I held on to dad's hand, and
wished I was dead. I told him my little tummy ached, and I wanted
a lemon. Dad said my little tummy, with its three oysters in it,
was not worth mentioning, and told me to look at him. Talk about
your Mount Pelee, and your Vesuvius, those volcanoes were tame and
uninteresting, compared to dad, leaning over the railing, and
shouting words at the sharks in the water. Why? he just doubled up
like a jack knife, one minute, and then straightened up like an
elephant standing on its hind legs in a circus, the next minute,
and he kept saying, 'Ye-up,' and all the passengers said 'poor
man.' I told them he was not so poor, for he owned a brewery at
home. Dad finally went to sleep with his arm and head over the
rail, and his body hanging limp, down on deck. The boat turned
around and went back into the mouth of the river, and the
passengers were thanking the captain for giving them such a lovely
ride, when I thought I would wake dad up, and so I touched him on
the shoulder and asked him if he didn't want a few dozen more raw
oysters, and he yelled murder, and began to have hydrophobia
again, and bump himself. You know the way people do when they are
dissatisfied with the medicine the doctor gives. Well, we got back
to New Orleans, and dad took a hack to the hotel, and told the
driver not to pass any saloon where there were oyster shells on
the sidewalk. We came home next day. Well, I guess I will get my
snake out of the ice box, and go home and comfort dad. But wait a
minute till that Irishman puts that chunk of ice in the ice box,
and see if he notices the snake." Just then there was a sound as
if a house had fallen, a two hundred pound cake of ice struck the
floor, and the Irishman came running through the grocery with his
ice tongs waving, and yelling, "There's a rattlesnake in yer ice
box, mister, and ye can go to h--l for yer ice." The groceryman
looked at the boy, and the boy looked at the groceryman, the cat
looked at both, the boy took his snake under his arm and went out,
and the old man said:

[Illustration: "Each Oyster Was as Big as a Pie Plate."]

"Well, you are the limit. Call again, and bring an anaconda, and a
man-eating tiger," and he went and scraped up the ice.




CHAPTER XVI.


The Bad Boy Tells the Story of the Bears in Yellowstone Park and
How Brave Dad Was.

The old groceryman was down on his knees, with a wet cloth,
swabbing up something from the floor with one hand, while he held
his nose with the other, his back toward the door, when suddenly
the door opened with a bank, striking the old man in the back,
knocking him over and landing him with his head in a basket of
strictly fresh eggs, breaking at least a dozen of them, and
filling the air with an odor that was unmistakable; and the bad
boy followed the door into the grocery.

"What's your notion of taking a nap, with a basket of stale eggs
for a pillow," said the bad boy, as he took the old man by the arm
and raised him up, and looked at him with a grin that was
tantalizing. "What is it, sewer gas? My, but the board of health
won't do a thing to you if the inspector happens in here. Those
eggs must have been mislaid by a hen that had a diseased mind,"
and the bad boy took a bottle of cologne out of the show case and
began to sprinkle the floor, and squirted some of it on the old
man's clothes.

"Say, do you know I bought those eggs of a man dressed like a
farmer, who came in here yesterday with his pants in his boots,
and smelling as though he had just come out of his cow stable?"
said the old groceryman, as he took a piece of coffee sack and
wiped yellow egg off his whiskers. "And yet they are old enough to
attend caucuses. I tell you that you have got to watch a farmer
the same as you do a crook, or he will get the best of you. And to
think I sold four dozen of those eggs to a church sociable
committee that is going to make ice cream for a celebration to-
night. But what in thunder do you come in here for, like a
toboggin, and knock me all over the floor, into eggs, when you
could come in gently and save a fellow's life; and me a sick man,
too. Ever since that explosion, when we tried to see how they blow
up battleships, I have had nervous prostration, and I am just
about sick of this condemned foolishness. I like to keep posted on
current events, and want to learn how things are going on
outside in the world, and I realize that for an old man to
associate with a bright boy like you keeps him young, but,
by ginger, when I think how you have done me up several
times, I sometimes think I better pick out a boy that is
not so strenuous, so you can tell your Pa I rather he wouldn't
trade here any more, for him to keep you away from here.
It is hard on me, I know, but life is dear to all of us, and the
life insurance company that I am contributing to has notified me
that if I don't quit having you around they will cancel my policy.
Now, you may say farewell, and get out of here forever, and I will
try and pull along with the cat, and such boys as come in here to
be sociable. Go on now," and the old groceryman threw the eggs out
in the alley, and washed his whiskers at the sink.

[Illustration: Landed With His Head in a Basket of Strictly Fresh
Eggs.]

"Oh, I guess not," said the boy, as he sat down on a tin cracker
box and began to eat figs out of a box. "I know something about
the law myself, and if you drive me away, you could be arrested
for breach of promise, and arson, and you would go to the
penitentiary. It was all I could do to make the police believe you
didn't set this old shebang afire to get the insurance, and my
being here has drawn more custom to your store than the quality of
your goods would warrant. No, sir, I stay right here, and advise
with you, and keep you out of trouble. If I went home and told dad
what you said he would fall in a fit, and would sue you for
damages for ruining my reputation, if he didn't come over here
with a club and take it out of your hide. Dad can stand a good
many things, but when anybody insults one of our family, dad gets
violent, and he had rather kill a man than eat. You read about
their finding the body of a man in an alley, with his head
crushed? Well, I don't want to say anything, but it is rumored
that dad was seen near that alley the night before, and that man
chased me once for throwing snow balls at him. We move in good
society, and are looked upon as good citizens, but dad's temper
gets worse every year. Can I stay around here more or less, or do
I have to go out into the world, branded as a criminal, because an
old fool fell into a basket of his own eggs? Say, now, answer up
quick," and the bad boy sharpened a match with a big dirk knife
and picked fig seeds out of his teeth.

"Oh, sugar, no; you don't need to go," said the old groceryman, as
he came up to the boy, wiping the soapsuds off, and trying to
smile. "I was only joshing you, and, honestly, I enjoy you. Life
is a dreary burden when you are away. Somehow I have got so my
blood gets thick, and my appetite fails, when you are away from
town, and when you play some low down trick on me, while I seem
mad at the time, it does me good, starts the circulation, and when
you go away I seem a new man, and laugh, and feel like I had been
off on a vacation, fishing, or something. It was a great mistake
that I did not have a family of boys to keep me mad part of the
time, because a man that never has anything to make him mad is no
good. I envy your dad in having you around constantly to keep his
blood in circulation. I suppose you are responsible for his being,
at his age, as spry as a boy. He told me when he and you got back
from Yellowstone park last summer that the trip did him a world of
good, and that he got so he could climb a tree--just shin right up
like a cat, and that you were the bravest boy he ever saw, said
that you would fight a bear as quick as eat. Such a boy I am proud
to call my friend. What was it about your fighting bears, single-
handed, with no weapon but empty tomato cans? You ought to be in
the history books. Your dad said bravery run in the family."

"Oh, get out. Did dad tell you about that bear story?" said the
bad boy, as he sharpened his knife on his boot. "Well, you'd a
dide right there, if you could have seen dad.

[Illustration: "You Ought to Have Seen Dad's Short Legs Carry Him
to a Tree."]

He is one of these men that is brave sort of intermittent, like
folks have fever. Half the time he is a darn coward, but when you
don't expect it, for instance when the pancakes are burned, or the
steak is raw, and his dyspepsia seems to work just right, he will
flare up and sass the cook, and I don't know of anything braver
than that; but ordinarily he is meek as a lam. I think the stomach
has a good deal to do with a man's bravery. You take a soldier in
battle, and if he is hungry he is full of fight, but you fill him
up with baked beans and things and he is willing to postpone a
fight, and he don't care whether there is any fight at all or not.
I think the trip through Yellowstone park took the tar out of dad.
Those geysers throwing up hot water, apparently right out of the
hot place the preachers tell about, seemed to set him to thinking
that may be he had got nearer h--l, on a railroad pass, than he
had ever expected to get. He told me, one day, when we stood
beside old Faithful geyser, and the hot water belched up into the
air a hundred feet, that all it wanted was for the lid to be taken
off, and h--l would be yawning right there, and he was going to
try to lead a different life, and if he ever got out of that park
alive he should go home and join every church in town, and he
should advise ministers to get the sinners to take a trip to the
park, if they wanted to work religion into them. Dad would wake up
in the night, at the hotels in the park, when a geyser went off
suddenly, and groan, and cross himself, as he had seen religious
people do, and tell me that in a few days more we would be safe
out of the d--n place, and you would never catch him in it again.

"Well, there is one hotel where a lot of bears come out of the
woods in the evening, to eat the garbage that is thrown out from
the hotel. They are wild bears, all right, but they have got so
tame that they come right near folks, and don't do anything but
eat garbage and growl, and fight each other. The cook told me
about it, and said there was no danger, 'cause you could take a
club and scare them into the woods.

"We got to the hotel in the afternoon, and dad went to our room to
say his prayers, and take a nap, and had his supper taken to the
room, and he was so scared at the awful surroundings in the park
that he asked a blessing on the supper, though it was the bummest
supper I ever struck. After dark I told dad we better go out and
take a walk and inspect the scenery, 'cause it was all in the
bill, and if you got a bum supper and didn't get the scenery you
were losing money on the deal. I saw the man emptying the
garbage and I knew the bears would be getting in their work
pretty soon, so I took dad and we walked away off, and he
talked about how God had prepared that park as a warning
to sinners of what was to come, and I knew his system was
sort of running down, and I knew he needed excitement, a
shock or something to make a reaction, so I steered him around
by the garbage pile.

[Illustration: "I Studied the Bears for Awhile and Let Dad Yell
for the Police."]

"Say, before he knew it we were right in the midst of about nine
bears, grizzlies, cinnamon bears, black bears, and all of them
raised up and said, 'Whoof!' and they growled, and, by gosh, just
as quick as I could run this knife into your liver, I missed dad.
He just yelled: 'Hennery, this is the limit, and here is where
your poor old dad sprints for tall timber,' and he made for a
tree, and I yelled: 'Hurry up, dad!' and he said: 'I ain't
walking, am I?' and you ought to have seen his short legs carry
him to the tree, and help him skin up it. I have seen squirrels
climb trees, when a dog was after them, but they were slow
compared to dad. When he got up to a limb he yelled to me to come
on up, as he wanted to give me a few last instructions about
settling his estate, but I told him I was going to play I was
Daniel in the lion's den, so I studied the bears for a while and
let dad yell for the police, and then I picked up an armful of
tomato cans and made a rush for the bears, and yelled and threw
cans at them, and pretty soon every bear went off into the woods,
growling and scrapping with each other, and I told dad to come
down and I would save him at the risk of my life. Dad came down as
quick as he went up, and I took his arm and led him to the hotel,
and when we got to the room he would have collapsed, only I gave
him a big drink of whiskey, and then he braced up and said:
'Hennery, when it comes to big game, you and I are the wonders of
the world. You are brave, and I am discreet, and we make a team
hard to beat.' I told dad he covered himself with glory, but that
he left most of his pants on the tree, but he said he didn't care
for a few pants when he had a boy that was the bravest that ever
came down the pike. When we got home alive he didn't join the
church, but he gave me a gold watch. Well, I'll have to depart,"
and the bad boy went out and left the old groceryman thinking of
the hereafter.




CHAPTER XVII.


The Bad Boy and the Groceryman Illustrate the Russia-Japanese
War--The Bad Boy Tells About Dad's Efforts to Raise Hair by the
"Sunshine" Method.

The old groceryman had a war map spread out on the counter, and
for an hour he had stood up in front of it, reading a morning
paper, with his thumb on Port Arthur, his fingers covering the
positions occupied by the Japanese and Russian forces in
Manchuria, and his face working worse than the face of the Czar
eating a caviar sandwich and ordering troops to the far east, at
the same time shying at dynamite bombs of nihilists. There was a
crash in front of the grocery and the old man jumped behind a
barrel, thinking Port Arthur had been blown up, and the Russian
fleet torpedoed.

"Hello, Matsuma, you young monkey," said the old man, as the bad
boy burst the door open and rushed in with a shovel at shoulder
arms, and came to "present arms" in front of the old man, who came
from behind the barrel and acknowledged the salute. "Say, now
honest did you put that chunk of ice in the stove the day you
skipped out last?"

"Sure Mike!" said the boy, as he ran the shovel under the cat that
was sleeping by the stove, and tossed her into a barrel of dried
apples. "I wanted to demonstrate to you, old Michaelovitski, the
condition of things at Vladivostok, where you candle-eating
Russians are bottled up in the ice, and where we Japanese are
going to make you put on your skates and get away to Siberia. What
are you doing with the map of the seat of war?"

[Illustration: Came to Present Arms.]

"Oh, I was only trying to figure out the plan of campaign, and
find out where the Japanese would go to when they are licked,"
said the old man. "This thing is worrying me. I want to see
Russia win, and I think our government ought to send to them all
the embalmed beef we had left from the war with Spain, but if we
did you monkey Japanese would capture it, and have a military
funeral over it, and go on eating fish and rice. When this country
was in trouble, in 1864, the Russians sent a fleet of warships to
New York and notified all Europe to stand back and look pleasant,
and by the great horn spoons, I am going to stand by Russia or
bust. I would like to be over there at Port Arthur and witness an
explosion of a torpedo under something. Egad, but I glory in the
smell of gunpowder. Now, say, here is Port Arthur, by this barrel
of dried apples, and there is Mushapata, by the ax handle barrel,
see?"

"Well, you and I are just alike," said the boy. "Let's have a sham
battle, right here in the grocery. Get down that can of powder."

"'Taint against the law, is it?" said the old man as he handed
down a tin cannister of powder. "I want excitement, and valuable
information, but I don't want to unduly excite the neighbors."

"Oh, don't worry about the neighbors," said the boy, as he poured
a little powder under the barrel of dried apples. "Now, as you
say, this is Port Arthur. This chest of Oolong tea represents a
Japanese cruiser outside the harbor. This box of codfish
represents a Russian fort, see? and the stove represents a
Russian cruiser. This barrel of ax handles is the Russian army,
entrenched behind the bag of coffee. Now, we put a little powder
under all of thems and lay a train from one to the other, and now
you get out a few of those giant firecrackers you had left over
from last Fourth of July, and a Roman candle, and we can
illustrate the whole business so Alexovitch and Ito would take to
the woods."

"No danger, is there?" said the old groceryman, as he brought out
the fireworks, looking as happy and interested as the bad boy did.
"I want to post myself on war in the far east, but I don't want to
do anything that would occasion remark."

"Oh, remark nothing," said the boy, as he fixed a firecracker
under a barrel of rice, another under a tin can of soda crackers,
and got the Roman candle ready to touch off at the stove. "It
will not make any more fuss than faking a flash-light photograph.
Just a piff--s--s--sis--boom--and there you are, full of information."

"Well, let-er-go-Galiagher," said the old man, sort of reckless
like, as he got behind the cheese box. "Gol darn the expense, when
you want to illustrate your ideas of war."

The boy lit the Roman candle, got behind a barrel of potatoes and
turned the spluttering Roman candle on the giant firecracker under
the stove, and when he saw the fuse of the firecracker was
lighted, he turned the torch on the powder under the barrel of
dried apples, and in a second everything went kiting; the barrel
of dried apples with the cat in it went up to the ceiling, the
stove was blown over the counter, the cheese box and the old
groceryman went with a crash to the back end of the store, the
front windows blew out on the sidewalk, the store was full
of smoke, the old man rushed out the back door with his whiskers
singed and yelled "Fire!" while the bad boy fell out the front
door his eye winkers gone, and his hair singed, the cat got
out with no hair to brag on, and before they could breathe twice
the fire department came clattering up to a hydrant and soon
turned the hose inside the grocery. There was not very much
fire, and after tipping over every barrel and box that had not
been blown skyhigh the firemen gave one last look at the inside
of the grocery, one last squirt at the burned and singed cat, that
had crawled into a bag of cinnamon on the top shelf, and they
went away, leaving the doors and windows open; the crowd
dispersed, and the bad boy went in the front door; peered around
under the counter, pulled the cork out of a bottle of olive oil
 and began to anoint himself where he had been scorched. Hearing
a shuffling of arctic overshoes filled with water, in the back shed,
and a still small voice, saying, "Well, I'll be condemned," he
looked up and saw the red face of the old groceryman peeking
in the back door.

[Illustration: When the Fireworks Went Off in the Grocery.]

"Come in, Alexandroviski, and rub some of this sweet oil on your
countenance, and put some kerosene on your head, where the hair
was. Gee! but you are a sight! Don't you go out anywhere and let a
horse see you, or he will run away."

"Have all the forts and warships come down yet?" said the old man,
looking up toward the ceiling, holding up his elbow to ward off
any possible descending barrel or stove lid. "I now realize the
truth of General Sherman's remark that war is hell. Gosh! how it
smarts where the skin is burnt off.

"Give me some of that salad oil," and the old man sopped the oil on
his face and head, and the boy rubbed his lips and ears, and they
looked at each other and tried to smile, two cracked, and wrinkled
and scorched smiles, across the counter at each other. "Now, you
little Japanese monkey, I hope you are satisfied, after you have
wrecked my store, and fitted me for the hospital, and I want you
to get out of here, and never come back. By ginger, I know when I
have got enough war. They can settle that affair at Mukden, or
Holoyahoo, or any old place. I wash my hands of the whole
business. Git, you Spitz. What did you pour so much powder around
the floor for? All I wanted was a little innocent illustration of
the horrors of war, not an explosion."

"Th--at's what I wanted, too," said the boy, as he looked up on
the top shelf at the cat, that was licking herself where the hair
used to be. "How did I know that powder would burn so quick? Say,
you are unreasonable. Do you think I will go off and leave you to
die here under the counter of bloodpoisoning, like a dog that has
eaten a loaded sausage? Never! I am going to nurse you through
this thing, and bring you out as good as new. I know how you feel
towards me. Dad felt the same way towards me, down in Florida,
the time he got skun. You old people don't seem to appreciate a
boy that tries to teach you useful nollig."

"What about your dad getting skun in Florida? I never heard about
it," said the  old groceryman, as he took a hand mirror and
looked at his burned face.

"Why, that was when we first got down there," said the boy,
looking at the old man and laughing. "Gee! but you would make a
boy laugh if his lips were chapped. You look like a greased pig at
a barbecue. Well, when we struck Florida, and dad got so he could
assimilate high balls, and eat oranges off the trees, like a
giraf, he said he wanted to go fishing, and get tanned up, so we
hired a boat and I rowed while dad fished, I ask him why he didn't
try that new prescription to raise hair on his bald head that I
read of in a magazine, to go bareheaded in the sun. He ask me if
anybody ever raised any hair on a bald head that way, and I told
him about Mr, Rockefeller, who had only one hair on his
head, and he played golf bareheaded and in two weeks had to
have his hair cut with a lawn mower, 'cause it made his brain
ache. Dad said if Rockefeller could raise hair by the sunshine
method he could, and he threw his straw hat overboard, and began
to fish in the sun for fish and hair. Well, you'd a dide to see
dad's head after the blisters began to raise. First, he thought
the blisters was hair, but when we got back to the hotel and he
looked in a glass, he see it wasn't hair worth a cent. His head
and face looked like one of these hippopotamuses, and dad was mad.
If I could have got dad in a side show I could have made a barrel
of money, but he won't never make a show of his self, not even to
make money, he is so proud. There is more proud flesh on dad than
there  is on any man I ever nursed. Well, dad ask me what was
good for blisters, and I told him lime juice was the best thing,
so he sent me to get some limes. They are a little sour thing,
like a lemon, and I told him to cut one in two and soak the juice
on his head and face, and I went to supper, 'cause dad looked so
disreputable he wouldn't go to the dining room. When I bought the
limes the man gave me a green persimmon, and of course dad got the
persimmon instead of the lime, and when I came back to our room
after supper dad was in bed, yelling for a doctor. Say, you know
how a persimmon puckers your mouth up when you eat it? Well, dad
had just sopped himself with persimmon juice, and his head was
puckered up like the hide of an elephant, and his face and
cheeks were drawn around sideways, and wrinkled so I was scart. I
gave him a mirror to look at his self, and when he got one look he
said: 'Hennery, it is all over with your dad, you might just as
well call in a lawyer to take my measure for a will, and an
undertaker to fill me with stuff so I will keep till they get me
home by express, with handles on. What was that you called that
fruit I sopped my head with?' and he groaned like he was at a
revival. Well, I told him he had used the persimmon instead of the
lime juice I told him to, and that I would cure him, so I got a
cake of dog soap and laundered dad, and put on stuff to take the
swelling out, and the next day he began to notice things, it would
have been all right only a chambermaid told somebody the mean old
man with the pretty boy in 471 had the smallpox, and that settled
it. You know in a hotel they are offal sensitive about smallpox,
'cause all the boarders will leave if a man has a pimple on his
self, so they made dad and I go into quarantine in a hen house for
a week, and dad said it was all my fault trying to get him to
raise hair like Rockefeller. Well, I must go home and explain to
ma how I lost my hair and eye-winkers. If I was in your place I
would take a little tar and put it on where your hair was before
the explosion," and the bad boy went out, leaving the old
groceryman drawing some tar out of the barrel, on to a piece of
brown paper, and dabbling it on his head with his finger.

[Illustration: "Dad Said If Rockefeller Could Raise Hair by the
Sunshine Method, He Could."]

END.





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