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´╗┐Title: Billy Whiskers' Adventures
Author: Montgomery, Frances Trego, 1858-1925
Language: English
As this book started as an ASCII text book there are no pictures available.
Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

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    | Transcriber's Note:                                        |
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  [Illustration: They went running off, Button with a big lamb chop
  between his teeth and Stubby with a huge steak, while Billy
  contented himself with a head of lettuce.
  (Page 39)]



BILLY WHISKERS' ADVENTURES

BY

FRANCES TREGO MONTGOMERY

AUTHOR OF "BILLY WHISKERS," "BILLY WHISKERS' KIDS," "BILLY
WHISKERS IN AN AEROPLANE," "BILLY WHISKERS IN CAMP,"
"THE WONDERFUL ELECTRIC ELEPHANT," ETC.

ILLUSTRATED BY PAUL HAWTHORNE

THE SAALFIELD PUBLISHING COMPANY
CHICAGO   AKRON, OHIO   NEW YORK



Copyright, 1920
by
THE SAALFIELD PUBLISHING CO.



CONTENTS


CHAPTER                                                           PAGE
   I. THE CHUMS RETURN TO THE LAND OF THE FREE AND THE BRAVE         7

  II. THE NEW YORK DOG AND CAT CLUB                                 19

 III. AN EXCITING EVENING                                           29

  IV. AN UNEXPECTED SHOWER BATH                                     41

   V. WHAT HAPPENED ON THE FOURTH OF JULY                           49

  VI. BILLY WHISKERS MAKES TROUBLE AT SCHOOL                        65

 VII. BUTTON'S DAY WITH BELLA                                       73

VIII. STUBBY TELLS WHAT HAPPENED TO HIM                             81

  IX. THE CHUMS RUN AWAY                                            93

   X. UP IN A DIRIGIBLE                                            103

  XI. THE OLD CROW CARRIES A MESSAGE TO NANNIE                     113

 XII. BILLY WHISKERS' FAMILY START FOR CHICAGO                     119

XIII. BILLY WHISKERS' FAMILY ARRIVE AT LINCOLN PARK                127

 XIV. THE TWINS ARE LOST                                           133

  XV. THE ELEPHANTS ARE ENRAGED AT THE GOATS                       143

 XVI. A PANTHER ESCAPES FROM THE CAGE                              155



ILLUSTRATIONS

They went running off, Button with a big lamb chop between his
teeth and Stubby with a huge steak, while Billy contented
himself with a head of lettuce.

Billy saw the man raise the mop to come after him.

Billy overtook her and gave her a gentle butt that landed her in
the middle of the bed.

It was Stubby's and Button's frantic efforts to escape that had
caused all the fun and laughter.

"Aren't you ashamed of yourself to take the baby's bottle away
from it!" reproved Nannie.

"Oh, oh! Where did you come from?" wailed one little girl when
the kids jumped out of the shrubbery and grabbed her bag of
popcorn.



_Billy Whiskers' Adventures_


CHAPTER I

THE CHUMS RETURN TO THE LAND OF THE FREE AND THE BRAVE


Billy Whiskers, Stubby and Button sailed by the Goddess of Liberty and
entered New York harbor after being in France ever since our troops
entered the War. They had gone over on one of the troop ships and it
just so happened that they returned on the same ship and with the same
Captain and crew.

They were returning home covered with scars and wounds received while
performing acts of bravery, but what cared they for scars and wounds
so long as they had not lost an eye, ear or leg, and were feeling
perfectly well and strong? To be sure, Billy had lost the tip of his
tail when he was blown up by a bomb, but that did not matter.

You never saw three such happy animals as these were to be able once
again to lay eyes on their beloved country,--the United States of
America, that glorious country of the free and the brave.

"Gee, I feel so happy I could jump out of my skin!" exclaimed Billy
with glowing eyes as the three stood on deck watching the familiar
shores slip by them and the skyscraper buildings grow taller and
taller and taller as they approached them.

"See!" said Billy. "We are about to dock. Now the next thing to settle
is where we are going when we first land."

But the question was settled for them in a most unexpected way. For
before Billy's remark could be answered, all three of them felt ropes
being slipped around their necks, and heard the loud guffaws of three
sturdy sailors as they pulled the ropes tighter, saying, "This is the
time we caught you fellows off your guard!"

"We surely caught you slick as a whistle," remarked one of the
sailors. "And now we have you, we are going to carry out the Captain's
orders and look after you until he hears from France whether we are to
take you back to your regiments when we return with more troops or
keep you here."

"Return to France?" whined Stubby. "Just when we reach home safe and
sound after braving all the terrors of submarines, sunken mines and
dropping bombs? To be captured and sent back is really too much! I
don't feel as if I would survive the disappointment, do you, Billy?"

"Not on your life will I go back!" replied Billy. "Not unless they
take me over dead. For I shall fight to the last drop of my blood
before I submit to being shipped back."

"And so will I," said Button. "I'll scratch their eyes out first. And
from this day forward I shall begin to let my claws grow long and
sharp for that very purpose. I'll see whether or not they take _me_
back!"

"But they haven't started back yet, and 'There's many a slip twixt the
cup and the lip.' We'll have two or three weeks to make a getaway
before they sail as they have to coal the ship before even thinking of
sailing. And if in that time we three can't put our heads together and
think of some way to slip through their fingers, we are pretty stupid
and deserve to be shipped back. Don't pull back or make any fuss,"
counseled Billy, "but just go along with the sailors and watch for a
chance to escape. It may come any minute. And remember if any one of
us sees a chance, he is to take it and not wait for the others. Just
get free and then wait around until the rest of us get loose."

"Seems to me you have a good deal of baaing to do this morning, Mr.
Billy," said the sailor who was holding the rope around Billy's neck
as he stood watching the ship tie up at the dock.

"Guess he must be giving orders to his Chums," replied a second sailor
who had Stubby in charge.

"Seems like it," said the one who held Button. "I expected them to
fight like the very dickens, didn't you?"

[Illustration]

"I surely did," answered the one who had spoken first. "But it is not
too late for them to show fight yet, and I bet all that talking His
Royal Highness, King Billy, has been doing has been orders to his
Chums to fight later on. You just wait and see."

Just then the Captain appeared on deck and ordered the sailors to take
the goat, dog and cat ashore and tie them in the warehouse on the
dock until he could find some place to board them until he heard from
France what to do with them.

"They are too valuable to leave just on the dock. They might get loose
or be stolen. Feed and water them and when I go up to the city I will
look for some trustworthy person to take care of them. By the way,
don't one of you know some one ashore who could house and feed them
until we hear?"

"Aye, aye, sir!" replied one of the sailors. "I have an uncle who
lives close to the docks. He keeps a small, cheap boarding-house for
sailors. He is a very kind-hearted man and fond of pets. I could take
them there and I am sure he would give them the best of care for very
little recompense."

"Just the thing! Just the place for them!" exclaimed the Captain. "You
may take them over there as soon as the gangplank is out. And you two
boys go with him. He might have trouble trying to manage all three
alone. Here is money to pay for the animals and to buy your own
dinners. Tell your Uncle I'll foot the bill before we sail and throw
in an extra dollar or two if he turns them over to me in good shape
when we call for them."

"Aye, aye, sir!" replied the sailor.

"Well, this beats all the good luck I ever heard of," said Billy, "for
we can get away from that boarding-house as easily as a cat laps
cream."

"You are right, we can, and have plenty of time too to lay our plans
as to what we will do when we escape," agreed Button.

"It looks as if we would sleep on feathers and eat fowl," said Stubby.

The three sailors took the three Chums over to the chop-house, where
they were given a hearty welcome by the sailor's uncle. He was so glad
to have his nephew back from the War unhurt that he gladly took in the
animals to please him. And I really think that had his nephew asked
him to let the Chums sleep in his beds instead of in a shed in the
back yard, he would have consented. As it was, Stubby and Button came
near having fits from the amount of meat they ate as the Uncle had
given them the scrapings from the plates, making a pile of beef and
chop bones a foot high. He also gave Billy so many vegetables and so
much juicy fruit that he had cramps all night.

In the morning there was still plenty of food left for their
breakfast, but the Uncle insisted on giving them a fresh supply of
food and water.

"He is a mighty fine old man," said Billy, "and I feel like a villain
planning to run away from him, but we must or run the risk of being
sent back to our regiments in France, and I for one am sick to death
of war."

About ten o'clock in the morning the Uncle and the three sailors came
into the yard to see how the animals were faring, and the sailors
seemed pleased with the way they looked.

"Now we can tell the Captain when we return to the ship that we saw
the animals just before we went to the boat and that they were safe
and sound and in a good home where they will be well cared for until
he hears what to do with them."

"I guess I'll leave the door of the shed open," said the Uncle. "It
will make it more cheerful for them. And I think we had better take
those ropes off their necks as they can't get out of the yard without
going through the house or jumping the fence, and it is much too high
for them to do that."

Little did those sailors and the old man know of the jumping powers of
these three animals or he would never have had them untied. When the
sailors and the old man had disappeared in the house, the three Chums
walked around the yard looking for a loop-hole to crawl through, or
for a weak board Billy might butt down. As for Button, all he had to
do was to run up the fence and jump down on the other side. And did
they but know it, Stubby could do the same stunt as he had watched the
police dogs in Paris run up the side of an eight-foot fence, balance
themselves on the top and leap down on the other side. As for Billy,
when he was ready to go he could jump on top of an old packing box
that stood beside the shed, and from that leap to the roof of the
shed. From there he could spring into the alley. But what bothered
them now was where they should go when they escaped. The city was very
large and it stretched itself out along the banks of the Hudson River
for miles and miles. They wanted to go in that direction, as 'way up
north lived Nannie, Billy's little wife whom he was crazy to see after
his long absence abroad. She was away up in Wisconsin on the dear old
farm and it would take weeks and weeks to reach there if they traveled
by foot all the way. But they expected to steal some rides as they
always did when traveling. Stubby and Button had not a relative in the
world they knew of, but they loved Nannie and all of Billy's family as
if they were their very own blood relations. They had known them for
years and years and had always been very kind to them, especially
Nannie and Daisy, Billy's son's wife, while the Kids, Billy's twin
grandchildren, were their delight.

[Illustration]

The three Chums were lying perfectly still, each engrossed in his own
thoughts and plans as how best to get out of the city when they were
aroused by a loud meow over their heads. Looking up, they saw a big,
striped cat sitting on the fence.

"Good-morning, friends and distinguished travelers!" said the cat. "I
hope I am not disturbing you, but the cats and the dogs of the
neighborhood--and there is a goodly number of them--appointed me the
head of a committee to call upon you and welcome you to our shores."

As the cat had been talking, other cats had been appearing on top of
the fence and now a line of them, all sizes, colors and descriptions,
sat on the top of the fence winking down at the Chums, while through
holes under the fence appeared dogs' heads, as evidently they were too
large of body to crawl through the small holes.

"The canary you see in the cage hanging out of that upper window, and
the parrot in the window of the next house sang and called out to us
this morning that celebrated travelers from the War had just arrived
from overseas and were shut in Grandpa Stubbs' back yard. Every one
around here calls Mr. Stubbs grandpa because he is so kind to little
children and to all animals. We are always glad to hear some things of
the outside world, and when we heard that you were fresh from the war
zone, we determined to make your acquaintance and invite you to speak
and tell us of some of your adventures on the other side. I am
president of the Dog and Cat Information Bureau, and we are holding a
meeting to-night in a big, empty warehouse that has just been finished
for the storage of ammunition. We have a very large membership--five
hundred dogs and cats belonging. Having no newspaper, we meet to
exchange the news of the day. If we did not, we would not know what
was going on in the world outside our city. As it is, we are well
posted for dogs and cats journey here from all over the world to speak
at our meetings and to tell us what is happening in the countries from
which they come. Now I hope all of you will favor us by speaking at
our meeting to-night. It begins at twelve o'clock, and I will come and
escort you to our place of meeting. We start rather late as it is
easier for us to steal away from our homes unmolested at that hour
than at any other. Many of our members are children's pets and can't
get away until they are tucked in bed as they keep such close track of
them."

Billy stood up and bowing to the line of cats on the fence and to the
heads of the dogs under the fence, he began:

"Friends and countrymen, we thank you for your courtesy and kind
invitation to speak before your club this evening. This we will be
pleased to do provided we can escape our host and are not locked in
the shed. But I think I can promise you we will be there for if we
should be shut in the shed, my good strong head can butt down and make
short work of a board or two that would give us access to the alley.
Should we be tied, we can easily chew the rope in two. Consequently I
think you may expect us at the appointed hour if some one will kindly
show us the way to where your meeting is to be held."

Just then Mr. Stubbs opened the back door, and stepped into the yard.

"Bless my soul! I never saw so many dogs and cats in my life. I must
be seeing things, for surely there can't be that many cats and dogs in
this neighborhood." He rubbed his eyes to make sure he had seen a line
of cats sitting on top of the fence and a line of dogs peeping under
the fence. But when he looked again, there was not a single cat or dog
to be seen. The only ones he could discover were Stubby and Button,
both apparently asleep outside the shed door.

"Well, I declare that is the most peculiar thing that ever happened to
me in my life! I distinctly saw dozens of cats and dogs and now I
can't see one. Heigho! My old eyes must be playing tricks with me."
And that was all he thought about it. He had come out to shut the
Chums in the shed, but seeing them all three fast asleep, he decided
to let them sleep on and not shut them in the shed that night.

  [Illustration: Billy saw the man raise the mop to come after him
  (Page 35)]



CHAPTER II

THE NEW YORK DOG AND CAT CLUB


"He really is an accommodating old fellow, isn't he," said Billy, "to
leave us out all night? It will save him a broken shed door, though he
will never know it."

"What time do you suppose it is?" asked Stubby.

"From the height of the moon I should say it must be about half past
ten," answered Button.

"That will give us an hour and a half to think up what we are going to
talk about at the club to-night. What are you going to tell them,
Billy?" said Stubby.

"I really don't know. Guess I will wait for the inspiration of the
moment."

"You better think up something extra exciting. Why not tell them about
the time you were blown out of the trenches and lost a piece of your
tail? Or, better yet, when you broke into the German headquarters and
butted the great Hindenburg himself," advised Button.

"Very well, I will, as probably that would be as interesting as
anything I could recount. What are you two fellows going to relate to
them?"

"I think I shall tell them about our trip on the canal boat in
France," replied Button.

"And I plan to describe to them the Dog Hospital and tell how it was
blown up by the Germans," added Stubby.

"It is quite an idea," said Billy, "their having a club like this. It
keeps them in touch with all that goes on throughout the whole
country. I am quite anxious to see what it is like."

As the hands of the clock in the Ferry station pointed to twelve, they
heard a loud meow and looking up they saw the big cat that had first
appeared to them sitting on the fence.

"Well, friends, here I am! Are you ready to start?"

"All ready!" replied Billy.

"But how are you to get out?"

"We will show you," said Stubby, whereupon Billy hopped up on the
packing box and from it onto the roof of the shed and then jumped down
into the alley.

"Very cleverly done!" commended the cat, whose name, by the way, was
Tiger because he was striped like one. "But what puzzles me is how
your friends are to get out as the jump is too high for them."

"Too high for them, did you say? Nothing is too high for a dog that
has done police duty in France. Listen! Did you not hear something hit
the fence and then the scratch of nails on the boards? Well, that is
my friend Stubby running up the side of the fence. From the sounds,
evidently he did not get enough of a running start and fell back. But
here he comes! See his head appearing over the top?"

In a second Stubby appeared, balancing himself on the ridge of the
fence. The next moment he stood beside them. At the same time Button
also ran down a post of the fence.

"Now we are all here, we'll have to hurry to allow for having to stop
to hide when we see watchmen and strange dogs. Not knowing any of our
members, you will have to be careful not to attack them, thinking they
are enemies. I will give you the password. It is three short, sharp
barks. On seeing another dog, all our members bark this password and
if the dog they bark at does not reply in like manner, they know it is
a stray dog. The cats all give three caterwauls in the same manner."

"Oh," exclaimed Button, "here comes a brute of a bulldog, whose mouth
looks as if it were just watering for the back of a cat. Unless he
gives the password quickly I shall take no chance but run up this
tree. I am willing to tackle almost any dog but a bulldog."

"Bow! Wow! Wow!" barked the bulldog as he approached them.

"Bow! Wow! Wow!" replied Stubby, while Billy baaed, "Baa! Baa! Baa!"
and Button meowed, "Mew! Mew! Mew!"

By this time the bulldog had come up to them and Tiger introduced
them, telling the dog what distinguished friends he was meeting.

[Illustration]

They found him most agreeable and that his looks really belied him,
just as the appearance of many persons does. As they all trotted along
toward the big warehouse down by the dock, Stubby and the bulldog ran
side by side, while Billy and the two cats ran on ahead. Presently
Stubby barked: "Oh, Billy! What do you think? Our new friend here says
he is the full brother of Boozer, the bulldog that belonged to Captain
Percy, and that he was in the Dog Hospital at the same time we were
there, laid up with a broken leg."

"The world is small after all. To think we should meet over here just
after seeing your brother in France!"

"Hiss!" warned Tiger. "No more talking until we are inside the
building. We are approaching the warehouse now and we must not let
the watchmen see us. The only way we can get in is through a window in
the basement that has been left open by mistake. There is a broad
plank running from the window down to the floor that the men use with
their wheelbarrows to carry out the dirt. It makes it very handy to
get out. We all could jump down, but few of our club members can jump
up so high. None of us can jump like Stubby here."

"Bow-wow!" barked the bulldog in a low voice as a man with a lantern
turned into the alley down which they all were running. "Hide quickly
until he passes!"

As the man passed them, they heard him muttering to himself: "I never
saw so many cats and dogs in my life as I have seen to-night in this
alley. I did not know there were so many in the world! And when I get
up to where I saw them they are all gone--disappeared--vamoosed. They
must be the ghosts of the dead and gone dogs and cats that used to
live in the warehouse."

Just then the bulldog, whose name was Buster, sneezed, which so
startled the man that he ran as if he had been shot.

"Nice brave watchmen they have!" said Billy.

"Plague take my nose!" said Buster. "It is so short and stubby that
all the dust gets into it and to save my life I can't help sneezing.
And I always do it at the most inopportune moment."

Just then a whistle sounded, and Tiger said, "We must hurry! There
goes the twelve o'clock whistle at the factory down the river. It is
the signal for the night shift to come on."

[Illustration]

The warehouse being near where they were, in about five minutes they
found themselves entering the low window Buster had spoken about. When
they looked inside, it was pitch dark and as if they were looking into
a coal pit. But their eyes being such that they could see in the dark,
they had no trouble in walking the plank and soon found themselves on
the floor of the cellar. It looked a black square in shape and there
was absolutely nothing in it, Tiger said. Still in the distance they
could see black shapes moving about.

"What in the world is over in that corner?" asked Billy.

"Oh, they are only wharf rats," replied Tiger. "Shall we charge down
on them just for fun?"

"Say we do! But I hate rats as I do poison," said Billy.

"So do I, but they are our natural enemies," answered Tiger.

"Ours too," from Stubby.

"You stand and watch the fun, while we rat haters kill a few,"
suggested Tiger.

"Very well!"

"When I say _three_, all of you run for the bunch and kill as many as
you can," instructed Tiger.

For the next ten minutes you never in all your life heard such
squealing, snarling and snipping of teeth as there was in that cellar.
Two unusually big cats and two dogs all bound to kill rats were
fighting these fierce wharf rats. But what made the battle such a
bloody one was that wharf rats are braver than house rats and will
fight to the death when attacked. Being large, and having long, sharp
teeth, more often than not they get the better of ordinary cats and
dogs that are sicked on them. In less than fifteen minutes hundreds of
rats had been killed, for Buster was a noted rat killer. All he did
was to open his jaws, grab a rat in the middle of its back, give his
head a shake and the rat's back was broken. Then he tossed that rat
aside and served another one likewise.

The rats had all disappeared or else were lying dead in heaps when
Billy heard Stubby give a whine of pain, and turning to discover where
he was, he saw him standing in the midst of a pile of dead rats with
one nearly half as large as himself hanging to his throat under his
jaw. The rat had hold of Stubby in such a way he could not shake him
off, and all the time the rat was sucking his blood.

Billy saw him in a minute and with one bound he was beside Stubby and
had ripped the rat open with his long, sharp horn, which made its
mouth open and set Stubby free.

"Thank you, old fellow, for saving me! I was almost gone when you came
with your timely assistance."

[Illustration]

"I guess we have had enough fun with rats for one night," said Tiger,
"and we better be getting on or we will be late for the opening
exercises."

"I am a perfect mess!" said Stubby in disgust. "See how bloody I am."

"So am I," replied Tiger.

"I too," chimed in Button.

"I tell you what let's do," proposed Stubby. "It won't take five
minutes. Let's run out and take a swim in the river. I can never
appear before a strange audience with my coat looking like this."

"I'll go with you," replied Buster.

"I think," said Button, "I would prefer cleaning my coat by rolling in
that nice clean bank of sand in the corner of the cellar to swimming
in the river."

"I am with you on that proposition," said Tiger. "No water for me when
I can get good, clean sand! After a roll I shall come out as clean and
shining as if I had been sent to the cleaner and run through a vat of
gasoline."

Stubby and Buster went to the river and were soon swimming around and
having great sport in the water as it was nice and warm. But presently
Stubby stopped short and stared ahead of him, and what do you think he
saw but a whole drove of rats swimming out to a big sea-going vessel
that lay at anchor in the harbor.

"Let's go ashore. I've seen all the rats I want to see for a coon's
age. And you can't get me out of here too soon for they may attack
us."

Soon Stubby and Buster, looking as clean as whistles, found Button and
Tiger who also looked spick and span, and the four entered the
clubroom, which was on one of the upper floors and as light as day for
the light from four big electric street lamps came streaming in the
window, lighting the room from corner to corner and making it as
bright as if the lamps were in the room itself. And what a sight was
there! Hundreds of dogs and cats were there sitting on benches
arranged in a semicircle and graduated like the seats in a theater.
For this room had been used as a lecture room to give instructions to
sailors and soldiers before going overseas, and the benches and
platform were just as they had left them.

On the platform, sitting upon their hind legs on chairs one could see
every specie of dog from the Eskimo dog of the North to the tiny
hairless dog of the tropics. There were big dogs, little dogs,
middle-sized dogs, and cats of all sizes, colors and breeds. The
snow-white Angora was there as well as the mangy alley cat. But all
were on an equal at these meetings and there was no quarreling between
aristocrat and the animal with no pedigree. All was harmony there.
Could only the human race be as harmonious as these animals, the
Brotherhood of Man would be established.

One after another the cats and dogs went on the platform and either
told some funny episode that had happened to them or some tragedy that
had occurred where they lived, or else they described the country from
which they had come, and told how the natives lived.



CHAPTER III

AN EXCITING EVENING


The first dog called upon to lecture was an Eskimo dog with bright,
snappy eyes, short, sharply pointed ears, strong legs and a bushy tail
that gave him the appearance of a wolf, especially as his coat was
just the color of that animal. And what more natural, as the Eskimo
dog is the direct descendant of the timber wolf of the North? And
though they may appear docile at times, still they always retain that
half wild, ferocious look and manner.

He was a handsome, alert dog and spoke in quick, short sentences and
to the point. He began by saying:

"I expect that none of you are familiar with the far North, where it
is day six months of the year and night the other six. But though the
sun does not shine, don't think for a moment that we live in pitch
darkness, for the stars and the Northern Lights make our nights most
beautiful. In fact, they are more beautiful and varied than our days.
Instead of the blazing rays of the sun that blind one, we have the
ever varied, many colored rays of the Aurora Borealis, shooting stars
and electrical displays of all kinds that far surpass even your most
elaborate Fourth of July celebrations.

"One moment the sky will be a sea-shell pink, with bars of vivid
green, lavender and purple playing across it, while in the center will
be a misty golden ball as if the sun was trying to shine through. The
next instant all may be pitch darkness until this too is chased away
by another electrical outburst. These go on constantly for the whole
six months until they become so common an occurrence that the
inhabitants pay no more attention to those magnificent displays than
you do to your sun on a summer day.

"Picture to yourself this wonderful sky, against which huge icebergs
are seen, taller than your tallest church steeple, and more beautiful
to look upon with their lacelike frostwork than your most elaborately
carved white marble cathedral. All of this is reflected in detail in
the clear, cold, deep green waters of the Arctic Ocean, where the big
walruses, whales and seals live, to say nothing of the clumsy white
polar bears that sit idly on a cake of ice waiting for an unwary fish
to swim by so he may catch it and make a breakfast on it.

"In round-topped, oven-like mounds made of ice and snow live our
masters, the Eskimos. They live on whale oil, blubber, fish and the
meat of the musk ox, bear and other animals that inhabit the far
North. You dogs and cats who live so far from us in a country where
there are noisy cities cannot imagine the silence of a cityless
country or a land where the only sounds are the crunching of one
iceberg against another or the roar and thunder of a glacier as it
falls to pieces when melted by the sun. This world of ours seems like
a dead world when compared to yours, but underneath this eternal
covering of snow, down deep in the green water of the ocean are
myriads of living, moving creatures as lively as any in your more
sultry climate.

"But I see I am taking up too much time, so will stop and extend an
invitation to one and all of you to come and visit my Land of the
Midnight Sun, and see for yourselves how things look and how we live.
I thank you for your courtesy in listening to my stupid speech," and
bowing low his head he left the platform.

[Illustration]

His speech was followed by loud barks and meows and a great scratching
of claws upon the bare floor.

At last it was Billy's turn to go on the platform. He had just been
introduced to the large audience and had started to speak in the
old-fashioned way by saying, "Friends and fellow countrymen!" when
there was a terrific explosion and the window panes were blown in or
shattered, while through the open windows could be seen vivid red and
yellow lights and columns of black smoke. Every heart in that large
assembly stood still for a moment, then one and all started for the
exit.

"Some one is trying to blow up the docks. We better get out of here
before this building goes up in smoke," said Billy. "All stick
together, though. If we do become separated, come to our back yard."

Bing! Bang! Bang! and the walls of the building they were in began to
tumble around them and the floor crashed in, falling on those that
were in the cellar. As it happened, our friends had not been near the
exit, so were not among the first to get out. This probably saved
their lives as it kept them from being among those in the cellar when
the floor fell.

"I say we take our chance and jump from one of the windows," said
Billy, "before the whole building falls in on us or it blows up."

It was a long way to the ground, but the cats and dogs jumped down on
the heads of the crowd that had gathered, and this broke their fall.
Being very large, Billy could not do this so he ran to another window
and leaped down on a high pile of baled stuff which was nice and soft
on which to alight.

When they were all safely on the ground they made for the back yard of
the chop-house as fast as their legs would carry them. But somehow
they became separated from the bulldog and Tiger, so lost their way
and never again were they able to find the old uncle of the sailor.

They wandered around for the rest of the night looking for a place to
sleep, but they were careful to keep close together so they would not
lose each other.

[Illustration]

About daylight they found themselves on the bank of the Hudson River
opposite a dock where lay a big pleasure boat. No one was astir on it,
so they cautiously crept on board, thinking to get a free ride up the
river. This would give them a lift on their journey north. All three
found good places to hide in different parts of the boat, and they lay
down and fell asleep for they were both tired and sleepy after all the
excitement they had been through.

Billy was awakened by the scrubbing of the decks over his head.

"I can't see why the captains of boats always insist on scrubbing
decks so early in the morning. I guess it is just because they are
afraid the sailors will get fat unless they keep them working from
sun-up to sun-down. I smell bacon cooking, and I just love it, though
I am a goat. I can't get to sleep now that I have once been wakened,
so I think I will go and see if I cannot get some of it to eat."

Billy crept to the head of the stairs that led down into that part of
the boat where the kitchen was located, but just as he was about to
venture down, he saw a sailor coming up. He dodged out on deck, and
ran toward the prow of the boat. Here he spied another flight of
stairs going down into the boat he knew not where. But what cared he?
He would go down and see. They led down into the dining saloon and at
the further end he could see a swinging door through which came the
smell of frying bacon.

"I know the kitchen must be behind those doors. I'll just stick my
nose against one of them and peek in."

Billy was just about to push one of the doors open when bang! came one
of them against his head with such force that it knocked him over. It
also rebounded with such force that it knocked over a sailor who was
carrying a tray of glass tumblers to set on the table. Over went the
man, rolling over and over amidst the broken glass and rattling tin
tray.

[Illustration]

Of course all this racket brought the cook and all the other deck
hands who heard it. The cook still carried the frying pan in his hand,
being too much surprised to set it down when he heard the noise. The
man with mop and pail who had been scrubbing the deck came and also
two or three other deck hands. There they all stood, staring with open
mouths and bulging eyes at Billy, who had risen to his forefeet and
stood surveying the wreck he had made. He still felt a little dazed
but came to his senses in a hurry when he saw the man with the pail
and mop raise the mop to come after him. Before the fellow had taken
two steps, Billy had risen to his hind feet, gave a spring and butted
him straight into his pail, where he stuck fast and could not get up
without the pail sticking to him. Then Billy whirled and hooked the
pan of bacon out of the cook's hands, which sent it flying out the
open window onto the deck. Then he turned and started for the other
two men who were standing there, but they had seen enough and
disappeared while there was yet time. Seeing the coast was clear,
Billy wheeled around and ran out on deck, where he saw Stubby and
Button eating up the bacon that had spilled out of the frying pan as
it went through the window.

"Leave me a slice of that bacon and then run, for we shall have to get
off this boat in double quick time if we expect to save _our_ bacon,"
said Billy, thinking the slang expression very fitting indeed.

"Why, what is up?" asked Stubby.

"Didn't you hear a racket going on in there?"

"No. We just came down from the upper deck."

"Well, take my word for it and vanish before you are hit with a club
or thrown overboard. I'll be with you as soon as I lick up this
grease. Since you have eaten all the bacon I had so much trouble to
get, I am not going to lose this grease anyway."

Splash bang! came water, bucket and all down on Billy's head. Quick as
lightning, Billy jumped through the window through which it had come,
and found himself standing face to face with the cook, who had the
most astonished expression on his face you ever saw when he beheld
Billy coming through the high, small window.

Billy stood on his hind legs and knocked the jaunty little white
cook's cap off the man's head with one of his fore legs before the
cook could defend himself or turn to run. They were in very close
quarters as a ship's kitchen is not the largest room in the world. At
last the cook got up enough courage to strike out at Billy. He
intended to hit the goat in the stomach as he stood towering before
him, but alas! his knuckles hardly touched Billy's stomach when he
found himself flying backwards across the long, narrow room, out
through the opposite door and hit the railing of the boat so hard it
broke and let him fall splash into the water.

[Illustration]

On perceiving this, Billy turned and ran off the boat, and soon found
Stubby and Button, who were waiting for him. When they had gotten far
enough away for safety, they stopped under a large shade tree and had
a good laugh at Billy's recital of how he butted the cook overboard.

"It will do him good," said Button. "I bet it will be the first bath
he has had in weeks."

"Bet so too," agreed Stubby.

"Well, what are we going to do now?" asked Billy. "That bacon has made
me more hungry than ever. The salt in it has just whetted my
appetite."

"Mine too," said Stubby. "I feel as if I could drink the river dry, I
am so thirsty."

"Say we trot along this drive that runs by the river until we come to
some house that has a yard around it, where we can hide until we have
a chance to sneak into the house or stable to see what we can find to
eat," proposed Button.

They had to travel several miles to find such a place for they were
still in the suburbs of New York City and not far enough out for the
summer homes with their beautiful grounds. Once they passed a
roadhouse where they got a drink out of a watering trough for animals
and stole a few mouthfuls of food from some baskets a greengrocer had
left outside the kitchen door. Button and Stubby stole only meat and
went running off, Button with a big lamb chop between his teeth and
Stubby with a huge steak, while Billy contented himself with a head of
lettuce. They were just rounding a bend of the road when they heard an
excited Frenchman calling to them. Turning to look, they saw the
French cook wildly waving his arms at them and calling to them to
bring back his things. But they only kicked up their heels at him and
disappeared from his view around the bend in the road.

"Gee!" exclaimed Stubby, "this steak is the best thing I have had to
eat in a fat goose's age."

"Yum! Yum!" replied Button. "It can't beat this chop for tenderness
and juiciness."

"Nor my head lettuce. It is as sweet as sugar and as cold as ice. I
just dote on cold, crisp lettuce. The colder and more crisp, the
better. But I am afraid that cook will have an apoplectic fit if he
isn't careful, the way he was waving his arms and carrying on.
Excitement such as that is very bad for a fat old cook of forty."

"Hark! I hear an auto coming from the roadhouse. We better get back
farther in the bushes and hide until it passes. They might be after
us," said Stubby.

But they were not pursuers, but only two young fellows chatting and
laughing over the dismay of the cook, for he had called to them that
if they saw a big goat, small dog and black cat to run over them and
kill them dead, dead, dead!



CHAPTER IV

AN UNEXPECTED SHOWER BATH


Just at dusk the next day Billy, Stubby and Button entered a small
town to look for some nice quiet place for them to sleep, for they had
traveled far that day and were tired of being chased by dogs and
stoned by boys. So when they came to a small bungalow on the outskirts
of the town with a cellar door open and no one around to drive them
away, the three stepped in as noiselessly as possible and crept down
the cellar stairs to find a place to hide until the family had gone to
bed. Then they would begin to look about for something to eat for they
expected to find potatoes and probably other vegetables there for
Billy to eat and some kind of cold meat for Stubby and Button, and
perhaps a pie or piece of cake, either of which would be very
acceptable to all of them for they dearly loved sweets of all kinds.

The corners of the cellar were quite dark as by this time the sun had
set, so Billy hid himself in one corner behind a pile of kindling,
while Stubby crawled under the stationary wash tubs and Button curled
himself up on top of a high pile of boxes, from which place he could
see a swinging shelf with a plate of cold meat and boiled potatoes, as
well as an uncut pie and some doughnuts on it. In the opposite corner
of the cellar Billy spied a pile of potatoes and some cabbage and
carrots.

"Well, I declare," exclaimed Button, "if we are not lucky! Here we
find a good supper all laid out that will just suit our different
tastes. Meat and potatoes for Stubby, as well as potatoes, cabbage and
carrots for Billy."

"Hark! I hear some one coming!" warned Stubby. "I do hope whoever it
is, they don't find us and drive us out just when a good supper is in
sight, and also a nice quiet place to sleep."

Clumpety, clump, clumpety, clump, down the stairs came a stupid
looking German girl with a plate of fried chicken in one hand and a
dish of lovely crisp lettuce in the other. These she put on the shelf
and then turned and stumped her way up the stairs again. Then they
heard her locking up for the night, as they thought, but soon she
appeared wearing her hat and went out the side door through which they
had come into the cellar. They all kept very still for a little while,
then Button meowed to Stubby to tell him what he could see on the
shelf for them to eat, and where Billy could find some potatoes and
other vegetables. Stubby crawled out from under the tubs and ran to
where Button said the shelf was, but alas, alack! how was he to get at
the things on the shelf? It was six feet above him and so hung from
the ceiling that there was absolutely no way for him to climb up to
it.

[Illustration]

"Gee whiz! It makes me hungrier than ever to smell all those goodies
and not be able to get at them!"

While Stubby was standing there trying to think out a way to reach
them, Button cautiously climbed down from the boxes onto the shelf and
with his nose and paw poked a big, round potato and a thick slice of
meat off the plate to the floor. As they fell, they hit Stubby on the
nose and made him jump, it was so unexpected, and at first he thought
some one was throwing things at him. While he ate the meat, Button
helped himself to fried chicken and Billy came over and baaed to him
not to be so greedy but to throw him down some lettuce.

"Why don't you go over into that corner and eat those carrots and
other vegetables?" meowed Button.

"Because I am not such a goose as to eat cold, dirty potatoes and
cows' food when I can get my favorite nice, crisp lettuce."

The three ate and ate, for they were very hungry after their long
tramp on the road all day. After Button had pushed all the food onto
the floor he did not want for himself, and had licked the plate, he
said, "I wish I had a nice drink of milk now, to quench my thirst. If
I had that, I could go to sleep and sleep until daylight without
waking, even if a rat chewed my tail and a mouse bit my ear."

"A pail of clean, cool water would please me better," said Billy.

"Me too," said Stubby. "Listen! I hear water running somewhere," he
added.

"It sounds to me as if it were in the kitchen upstairs," said Billy.
"I don't hear any one stirring around up there, so let us go and get a
drink and then turn in for the night."

Billy walked to the cellar stairs and was half way up, while Stubby
and Button were just behind him, when they heard some one exclaim,
"Chester, come quick! Come quick! The water is running in the sink,
and the cellar floor is flooded."

This was followed by the loud laughter of two people.

"Whatever shall we do?" said a girl's distressed voice.

"Get a mop and mop it up!" replied a boy.

"But the mop is in the cellar and I'll get my feet wet if I cross the
floor to go to the cellar. Besides, I have on my best white shoes."

"Where do you keep the broom? That will do."

"Behind the kitchen door usually, but with the house all torn up with
housecleaning, I don't know where it is."

"I'll find it. You stay out of the room so you won't get wet."

"Who ever would have thought that just because I happened to set that
coffee pot over the hole in the sink that it would stop it up so tight
that the water when it overflowed the coffee pot would fill the sink
and make it overflow?"

"No one would," answered the boy. "And here is all this mess just
because we hadn't any sense and tried to cool a bottle of ginger ale
by setting it in the coffee pot and letting the water run on it."

The three listeners on the stairs heard the boy cross the kitchen and
turn off the water. Then they heard him get the broom from behind the
kitchen door.

"Where are you going to sweep the water?" asked the girl.

"Down the cellar stairs! It won't hurt anything down there," and
before Billy, Stubby or Button could move, a deluge of water struck
them full in the face, blinding them and sousing them from the tips of
their noses to the ends of their tails.

This made Button sneeze, and he climbed back to the top of the boxes.
Billy turned on the stairs, but before he could really face about,
another sweep of the broom sent a second deluge on him, and blinded by
water and mad with rage, he rushed up the stairs to escape it. Instead
of getting out of the way, he ran straight into the boy who was
sweeping, which surprised the boy so that he let go the broom handle
and it too flew out of his hands and hit Billy on the head. This made
Billy so angry that he jumped for the boy and butted him straight into
the sink, where he sat down in the overflowing basin. The girl, too
panic-stricken to move, stood in the doorway wringing her hands and
crying, "Don't butt me, Mr. Billy Goat! I didn't do a thing!"

[Illustration]

She looked so funny standing there wringing her hands and calling
Billy Mr. Billy Goat that just for fun Billy thought he would give her
a very little butt into the next room--not enough to hurt her, but
just to frighten her a little. But when she saw him coming toward her,
she screamed and ran. Billy pursued her into a bedroom, where he
overtook her and gave her a gentle butt that landed her in the middle
of a big four-poster bed, after which he turned and trotted off to see
what the boy was doing. He found him floundering in the sink, trying
to get out that he might go to the girl's rescue, but he could not as
his feet would not reach the floor and he could get no grip on himself
in the slippery sink. Just at this crisis the maid came home and
unlocked the outside door at the head of the cellar stairs. With one
bound Billy was at the door the minute it was opened. As he flew by
her, he hit her, knocking her over against the young man who was
seeing her home. He held a watermelon under his arm, on which they
intended to feast, but when Billy struck the girl and she fell against
him, it sent the watermelon flying from under his arm and the three of
them, Billy, the maid and her beau, all fell on the melon. This
squashed it flatter than a pancake and made it explode like a bomb.
While all this was taking place, Stubby and Button made their escape
through the open door and ran down the street to wait for Billy to
join them.

When he came up, all he said was, "Just our luck, to have to lose a
perfectly good lodging place just when we were almost ready to go to
sleep for the night! And just because two young geese could not drink
ginger ale warm instead of cold!"

"But I would not complain if I were you, Billy," said Button, "for we
got a good supper before it happened."

"Sure enough! So we did. I guess I better not complain. One thing, it
is a nice warm night, so it wouldn't be bad to sleep outdoors, and I
see a clump of trees and bushes down by the lake. Let's go down there
and see if we can't find a nice soft mossy bank to sleep on."

So the three trotted off and soon found a soft sandy bank under some
sheltering trees and bushes where they curled themselves up and were
soon fast asleep.



CHAPTER V

WHAT HAPPENED ON THE FOURTH OF JULY


They were awakened at daybreak the next morning by a battered tin
falling on their heads, followed by a shower of pieces of red paper.

All three jumped up and were wide awake in a second for all around
them was the din of battle. For a moment they thought they were back
in France and that a big bombardment was on. But on looking through
the trees under which they had been sleeping, they saw a crowd of boys
shooting off firecrackers and putting bunches of them under barrels
and tin pans.

"This is no place for us!" exclaimed Billy. "I despise the Fourth of
July and its celebration, and this is just what it is. If those boys
see us, it will be all up with us, for if there is one thing boys
love, it is to torture animals on the Fourth by tying bunches of
firecrackers and tin cans on their tails."

"Well, thank goodness, my tail is so short they will have a good time
tying anything on it," exulted Stubby.

"Mine too!" replied Billy.

"But how about mine?" said Button. "It is long enough to tie a whole
string of crackers to it."

While they were talking, the boys started to run in their direction
and came straight toward them. When they were within hearing distance,
the Chums heard them say, "Let's pretend the trees and bushes are a
fort. We'll put a lot of powder around them and blow them up."

"What did I tell you?" said Billy. "There is no safe place for men or
beasts on the Fourth of July if there is a boy within a hundred
miles."

"What shall we do?" asked Stubby. "If we stay here we will be blown up
or maimed for life. And if we run out, the whole pack will probably
set upon us."

"I say we show fight anyway," said Button. "In the first place, they
don't know we are here and in the second we have the advantage of
taking them by surprise. Billy, you can butt them while Stubby bites
their heels and I will run up their backs and scratch the shirts off
their shoulders."

"Good idea, Button!" commended Billy. "You should have been a General,
at least, in the army."

"Oh, stop your fooling and mind when I hiss we all jump out of the
bushes at once and attack our victims. Select the boy you will attack
as they come toward us."

"All right," replied Billy. "I'll attack that big, red-headed boy who
seems to be the leader."

"And I'll go for that snub-nosed, freckled-faced urchin with the
ragged pants, as he seems to be displaying a fine amount of shins at
present," said Stubby.

"Then I'll go for that boy who runs with his head and shoulders down.
It gives me a good expanse of back to scratch," said Button.

On came the boys, whooping and hallooing with all the power of their
lungs. But when they were within twenty feet of the trees and bushes
that concealed our Chums, they jumped out at them. The leader stopped
in his tracks, too dazed and surprised to move at seeing a strange
goat come flying out of the bushes straight toward him with head
lowered to butt. He scarcely had time to know he _was_ surprised when
he was hit in the pit of the stomach and sent sprawling in the sand
fifteen feet away. As he picked himself up he saw a funny sight--a big
boy running straight for the lake with a big, black cat sitting on his
shoulders scratching the shirt off his back. Button never moved, but
stuck to him as the boy swam farther and farther out. At last it
seemed to occur to the boy to dive, which he did and Button, hating
the water as all cats do, jumped for a big rock that was sticking out
of the water. There he sat and meowed for Billy to swim out and carry
him to shore on his back as he had often done before. But Billy was
nowhere in sight. After butting the boy he had disappeared as
completely as if the earth had opened and swallowed him.

As for Stubby, he had chased all the boys up town, first biting one
boy's shins and then attacking another until he had driven them
howling two or three blocks from where they started. When he saw he
had gotten the boys so far away, he stopped chasing them and went back
to see what Billy and Button were doing. But when he reached the old
spot neither Billy nor Button was anywhere in sight. All he could see
was a black object on a rock sticking out of the water. It looked like
some one's wet muff or old coat. He did not know that that same wet
muff was his own beloved Button.

Button was meowing as loudly as he could for Stubby to swim out and
rescue him, but the wind was in the wrong direction to carry his voice
to Stubby. Stubby looked around and even set up a howl, trying to find
out where Billy and Button had gone, but no answering call came back.
He sniffed around but could get no scent of them. Then all of a sudden
he saw a boy come out of the lake and run up the shore. He started
after him on a dead run, thinking that perhaps he would lead him to
some boys who might have captured Billy. He was running with his head
down when all of a sudden he pitched headlong into a dry well. What
was his surprise on opening his eyes after the shock to find himself
staring into Billy Whiskers' eyes!

"How in green gooseberries did _you_ get here?" he asked.

"Same way you did! I took a header and here I am! I have baaed my head
nearly off calling to you and Button to come to my rescue, but not a
sound could I hear. Somehow or other my voice did not seem to carry."

"We certainly are in a pretty pickle! Lost in an abandoned well on a
lake shore with no habitation within a quarter of a mile. This will be
our tomb unless some one chances to pass this way soon. And the
chances are that no one will pass this way for weeks."

"Where can that cat be?" asked Billy. "It sounds to me as if he too
was in a hole or shut up somewhere and cannot get out."

"Yes, where can he be?" echoed Stubby. "First we hear his voice, then
we don't hear it. It sounds a good way off at that. Say, Billy, I
think I see a way out. You stand up on your hind legs and I will run
up your back and see if I can't jump out of this well. It isn't more
than eight feet deep and when you stand up you must be about six or
seven feet tall."

"Yes, I should think I would measure that. But how are you to get room
to get a running start?"

"I can't do that. I shall just have to climb up your leg by pulling
myself, holding onto your hair and digging my claws into your back."

"Thanks! That sounds fine for me, I am sure!"

"Well, isn't it better than staying here and saving your skin and
dying of hunger and thirst?"

"I suppose it is, but when you are out, how do you propose getting me
out, as there will be no one up whose back I can run and jump?"

"Oh, that will be all right! When I am out, I can run and bring some
one to help you out."

"Yes, I know, Mr. Stubby-tail. But do you realize that it is going to
be some job to get a goat of my size out of a deep, narrow hole like
this?"

"To be sure I do! But that can easily be accomplished when once I find
a man to accompany me here to see what is down in this well. Men with
pulleys can soon hoist you out."

"Well, I hope so, for I am getting tired already of being confined
here. Just hear that cat howl now!"

"Listen! I hear voices. He must see some one walking on the beach. I
hear two people talking and they are coming this way! Let's baa and
bark for all we are worth!"

This they did, and a little girl and her father who were walking along
the beach heard the meow of a cat come floating to them across the
water and the baa of a goat and the bark of a dog float to them from
the land on the other side. Still they could see no cat, dog or goat.
All they could discover was a black coat or something like it lying
out on the rocks.

Presently the little girl cried out, "Oh, papa, see! The coat is
moving! It isn't a coat at all, but a _cat_. Did you see its long
tail?"

"Sure enough, it is a cat. Most likely some bad boy has thrown it in
the water with a stone tied to its neck, to try to drown it, but it
has managed to crawl up on the rocks."

"Poor kitty! Let us go get our rowboat and bring it off. Will you,
papa?"

"Yes, dear; if you want to, we will."

On their way to get the boat they passed within a few feet of the
well, and though they heard both Billy's and Stubby's voices they
could see them nowhere, and the wind played sad havoc for it made
their voices sound as if they came from the opposite direction. After
stopping several times and listening without being able to decide
where the animals were, they walked on. Billy and Stubby could hear
their voices die away in the distance.

"Now, Billy, there is a chance lost, so stand up and let me see if I
can't climb up on your back and get out."

It took many trials, but at last by Billy putting his hind legs
against one wall of the well and bracing his forehead against the
opposite wall, Stubby managed to jump on his back and climb to his
head, from where he gave a big leap and landed outside the well.

"Now, Billy, don't worry! I will soon find some one to get you out. If
I don't, I promise you on my sacred word of honor to come back here
and die with you."

It was not a rash promise on Stubby's part for already he had seen
the man and his little daughter rowing out to take Button off the
rocks.

[Illustration]

"Now is my chance," thought he. "Here is a kind-hearted man going to
the rescue of a cat. Why won't he be a good one to come to the aid of
a goat? I'll go down by the shore and wait until they land. Then I
will bark and run up to the well and make such a fuss that they will
follow me to see what is down there."

Button was sitting on the little girl's lap enjoying the petting she
was giving him when he saw Stubby standing on the beach, and he meowed
to him, saying, "Well, old Chum, where have you been? And why didn't
you come to help me off the rocks?"

To which Stubby replied, "Good reason enough! I fell into a well and
only just now got out. And when you land you must help me make this
man go to Billy's rescue."

"Why Billy's rescue? Where is he?" asked Button excitedly.

"Down the well, silly!"

"You said nothing about Billy being down a well, but only mentioned
yourself. How in the world did you both happen to fall down a well?"

"Don't ask so many questions. Just do as I tell you to do now and
after Billy is out I will answer all you wish to ask."

"Papa, this dog and cat must know each other. Just hear how they meow
and bark messages to one another. He is a cute looking little dog, but
this cat is a real beauty. He has such big yellow eyes just like glass
buttons and his fur is so soft and silky. May I keep him for my very
own?"

"Yes, dear, if you want to, for he does not seem to be wanted by
anybody."

The boat had no sooner touched the shore than Stubby began making
friends with the man and his daughter by walking on his hind legs,
turning somersaults and doing all sorts of cute tricks. After he had
done all his show tricks he ran over to where Billy was imprisoned,
and ran round and round the rim of the well, looking in and barking
very loudly. Then he ran back to the man and little girl and taking
hold of the man's trousers leg he began to pull him in the direction
of the well.

"What is the matter with you, you crazy little dog?"

Then Stubby let go his hold and raced back to the well. When he
reached there, he jumped in, hoping this would bring the man and his
daughter to the brink of the well to see what had become of him, and
in trying to find out they would discover Billy.

His plan worked, for he had no sooner disappeared down the well than
Button jumped out of the little girl's arms and ran after Stubby. The
moment he saw Billy and Stubby both down at the bottom of the well, he
too jumped in.

"I declare to goodness there must be some kind of a hole there,
Nellie, and those animals have found something in it to interest them.
We must hurry over and see what it is."

Can't you picture the surprise on their faces when they looked down
the well and discovered a big Billy goat as well as the dog and cat
they had followed?

"Bless my soul, Nellie, if there isn't a big, live goat down there! So
we _did_ hear a goat baa when we thought we did! Poor animal! I wonder
if he was hurt when he fell in, for that is a nasty, deep hole. But
the question now is how in the world are we going to get him out?"

"Yes, that is it," baaed Billy, but of course the man did not
understand what Billy was saying to him.

"Poor thing! He may have been here for days and be nearly dead for
want of food and water. But I guess not as he looks too fat for that.
Nellie, run home and tell Tom to bring a pulley, rope and ladder from
over on the lake where Mr. Stilwell's house used to stand before it
burned."

Nellie was soon back from her errand, bringing her big brother and the
hired man with her.

As Nellie's father turned his back to the well, Billy stood on his
hind feet and Stubby climbed out of the well as he had once before.
When Mr. Noland turned around, there was Stubby frisking around his
feet.

"I'll be switched if here isn't that clever little dog again! How in
the world do you suppose he got out of that well unless spooks boosted
him?"

"Or the goat butted him out. That is more likely," replied his son.

"Now put the ladder down the well, and I'll go down and fasten the
rope around the goat's body while you and Dan fix a brace to put the
pulley on to pull him up," said Mr. Noland, ignoring his son's remark.

The hired man lowered the ladder into the well, but it had scarcely
touched the bottom and found a secure footing when Billy climbed up
the rungs as nimbly as a cat. This act made Mr. Noland's eyes fairly
pop out of his head, while all the rest stood with open mouths. None
of them had ever seen any animal as large as Billy climb a ladder. You
see Billy's old circus stunts stood him in good stead once in a
while. When he traveled with the circus, the clowns had taught him to
climb a ladder halfway to the top of the big circus tent.

"I claim this goat as my own," said Nellie's brother.

"And I the cat!" said Nellie quickly.

"But where do I come in?" said their father. Just then Stubby barked,
and Mr. Noland said, "Well, I'll take the dog and I think I have the
best of the bargain at that, for he can almost talk. If it had not
been for the dog, neither of you would have had a pet. It was he that
led us to this abandoned well."

"You forget, father, that the cat showed you the way too," said
Nellie.

"I think the best thing we can do now is to go home and get some
supper and also give our new-found friends some food. I'll wager that
they are hungry. They must have come a long way, for I never saw any
of them around here before, and I know every dog and cat in the town.
I won't say goat, for no one owns a goat," said Nellie's father.

So it happened that the Chums were given a good supper and beds of
straw in the woodshed and then left to themselves for the night. At
least that is what all of them thought, but the day being the Fourth
of July made a difference for just as they were dropping off to sleep
the stick of a Roman candle fell on the woodshed and burned a hole
through the roof. Some sparks fell down and set fire to the straw on
which the Chums were sleeping and in a few minutes straw, woodshed and
all were in a blaze, and they only escaped with their lives because
they were high jumpers and thus able to escape through the little
window in the side of the shed. Billy was so large that he could not
make it the first time, and he fell back into the fire, but the second
time he went through, taking half the side of the woodshed with him.
His hair was all on fire, but he had sense enough to roll in the sand
and put it out instead of running. If you run when your clothes are on
fire, you only feed the flames breeze you make and the fire burns
faster than ever. When it was all out, Billy went down to the lake and
had a good swim to rid himself of the smell of burnt hair.

[Illustration]

When he came back, he was surprised to see a ring of people
en-circling something that was making them laugh and clap their hands
with delight. When he was near enough to stick his head between the
crowd of people, what do you suppose he saw? There were Stubby and
Button flying round and round, being chased by Fourth of July nigger
chasers or snakes, as some people call this kind of fireworks. They
are funny looking things that when set on fire twist and turn like
live snakes, and no one can tell where they are going next. The
consequences are that they are always surprising one and coming after
them when they least expect it. The crowd had conceived the idea of
making a circle so Stubby and Button could not run away, and then
setting off a lot of these to chase them. It was Stubby's and Button's
frantic efforts to escape that had caused all the fun and laughter.

[Illustration]

"Here is the goat!" called out a lad. "Let's get him in the ring too!"

But instead of getting him in the ring as proposed, that lad found
himself going up in the air like a balloon, one of Billy's mighty
butts having sent him.

This broke up the party and when all had disappeared and the three
friends were alone again, Billy said, "Didn't I _tell_ you the Fourth
of July was a bad day for animals?"



CHAPTER VI

BILLY WHISKERS MAKES TROUBLE AT SCHOOL


The next morning Mr. Noland took Stubby away out into the country with
him in his auto, and Nellie carried Button over to her friend's to
show her the big, fine cat she had found out on the rocks.
Consequently Billy was left alone to amuse himself as best he could.

He wandered around for a while and at last went down to the lake and
took a swim, coming out as clean and white as a fresh bale of cotton.
Then not knowing what to do with himself, he decided to go up into the
town and see how it looked to him. Not being a very large town, he had
no difficulty in locating the main street and then the largest church,
the movie theater and the schoolhouse. As he walked down the street,
he stopped to help himself to a peach here and a plum there at the
different fruit stands, as well as to several bunches of asparagus and
a peck or two of green peas that he saw in baskets outside the grocery
stores.

When he reached the schoolhouse he found it was recess time and all
the children were out in the yard playing tag, leap frog,
crack-the-whip and such games as children always play at school. Billy
stood watching them for some time and as they seemed to be having such
great fun, he thought he would go in and join in a game of
pussy-wants-a-corner he saw four or five girls and boys playing. Much
to the surprise of this group, the first thing they knew a big, white
goat was running from tree to tree to get an empty corner just as they
were doing. At first they were so astonished that they stopped
playing, but soon they went on as Billy kept running from tree to
tree, frisking his little paint brush of a tail and kicking up his
legs with glee. You remember he had lost part of his tail in France in
the war where it was blown off by a bomb which had sent him flying up
in the air.

Presently all the children had stopped their games to watch Billy play
pussy-wants-a-corner. He was just beginning to grow tired of the sport
when the school bell pealed out that recess was over and all the
children ran to form in line to march back to their rooms. Each room
had a separate line of its own. When Billy saw this, he too went and
stood in line. As he knew nothing about the different rooms, he
selected a line in which stood a pretty little girl with yellow hair
hanging in long braids down her back. She was the last one in the
line, and being very busy talking to the little girl just in front of
her, she did not notice that any one was standing behind her.

  [Illustration: Billy overtook her and gave her a gentle butt that
  landed her in the middle of the bed.
  (Page 47)]

"Her hair looks just like straw. It is just the color of it,"
thought Billy. "I wonder if it tastes like it too." And thereupon
he began to chew the end of one of her braids.

"Stop pulling my hair, Jimmy Jones!" she cried, without turning
around. Jimmy Jones and Tommy Green were in the habit of pulling her
hair or giving it a twitch whenever they passed her. So now she took
it for granted it was one of them when Billy pulled it while chewing
on it.

[Illustration]

"Didn't I tell you to stop pulling my hair? I'll tell teacher if you
don't stop this minute!"

Billy did try to stop, but somehow her hair got between his teeth and
he could not let go, much as he wished to do so. Of course the more he
tried the worse it pulled. She turned quickly to slap the tease who
was hurting her. But horror of horrors! She found herself face to face
with the big goat that had been playing with them in the yard. She
was terribly afraid of goats, and had stopped playing when Billy
entered the game and had sat down on the school steps to watch them,
so now she screamed as if she was being killed. This brought a teacher
and some of the big boys to the rescue. By this time Billy was really
pulling very hard in his frantic efforts to get loose, but he was
unconscious that he was doing so. The little girl stood facing him,
which wound her braid around her head and made it pull more than ever.
Then too if she had only stood still, but she kept jumping up and down
and calling out, "Take the nasty old goat away!"

When the teacher arrived, she soon saw what the trouble was and with
the help of some boys she quickly removed the strand of hair from
Billy's teeth, which released the little girl, who fell half fainting
and crying in the teacher's arms.

On being freed, Billy trotted out of the schoolyard mumbling to
himself that he would never try to eat hair again, even if it did look
like straw. He was just about to run out of the school yard when he
saw a boy enter eating a big red apple, with another still larger and
more luscious looking in his hand.

"My, but those apples look good! I must have one, no matter what
happens," thought Billy.

On seeing Billy coming toward him, the boy ran for dear life, trying
to make the school door before Billy could overtake him. He did, but
that was all. Billy had gotten a good whiff of the apples, and that
settled it. He _would_ have one of those apples, even if he had to
chase the boy all over the school. He was hoping the boy would be so
afraid of him that he would throw one of the apples at him. But no
such good luck. Up the stairs ran the boy, trying to reach the room
before Billy could catch him. Close on his heels came Billy. The boy
dodged into his room and tried to shut the door but Billy was too
close on his heels. So he ran around to the far side of the room,
thinking surely the goat would not follow him there. But on came Billy
more determined than ever to have one of those apples. Round the room
they chased each other, with all the scholars standing up in their
seats screaming and laughing and hugely enjoying the chase. By this
time the boy was so afraid that his hair was standing straight up on
end, and he was crying lustily. Had he known it was the apples that
the goat wanted, he would gladly have given up both. He thought, of
course, it was himself Billy wanted to butt. Now the extra large apple
had been for his beloved teacher, and the second time around the room
as the boy reached the platform where she stood, he made a dive for
her and threw his arms around her waist, calling to her to save him,
save him!

[Illustration]

The teacher picked up a bottle of ink, the only thing on the table she
could see to throw at Billy. It hit him on one horn and broke, and the
ink began to run down into his eyes. This made Billy angry, so instead
of chasing the boy, he decided to go for the teacher, butt her, grab
the coveted apple from the boy and make his escape. Up on the platform
he leaped, upsetting chairs as he went and overturning the table
behind which the teacher and the boy had taken refuge. Billy shook the
ink out of his eyes, leaped over the table and chairs, grabbed the
apple out of the boy's hand, brushed against the teacher so hard that
he knocked her over, stepped on her and then left the room.

On the way he ran into the principal of the school who had heard all
the commotion and was coming to see what was causing it. Billy, never
slackening his speed, ran straight into him, and landed the principal
on his back, and as his head touched the floor his wig fell off. This
mortified him so he let Billy go, and thought no more about him. All
his effort was to get his wig on straight before any of the young lady
teachers should see him. For he was very vain and he did not wish any
of them to know he wore a wig. But alas! The more he tried to
straighten it, the more it persisted in turning inside out and back
end foremost. And there he sat with his bald head shining like a
billiard ball when a sweet voice said, "I hope you are not hurt, Mr.
Wheeler!" and looking up he saw standing before him the prettiest
teacher in the whole school, the one above all others he would not
have had see him in such a predicament for a whole year's salary.

"Oh, no, not at all, thank you!" he replied, as his nervous fingers
tried to adjust his wig. He jumped to his feet and walked off as
quickly as he could, trusting his wig was on straight. But when he
reached his office and looked in the mirror, he found it was on hind
side before, and the part at the back of his head when it should have
been on top. From that day the boys nicknamed him Baldpate, though
they took very good care that he never heard them call him that.

As for Billy, he found his delicious looking apple had a false heart
and was worm eaten, so he had had all his trouble for nothing and
gotten a nasty spot of black ink on his snow-white whiskers and hair.

"I guess I'll go back to Mr. Noland's and see if Stubby and Button
have returned," he thought, and as he rounded the corner of the street
on which Mr. Noland's house stood, he saw the auto turn in the other
end of the very short block. Stubby jumped out and when he saw Billy
he ran joyously to meet him, barking as he came, "Oh, Billy, you
should have been with us! I never had more fun in my life. But what
has happened to you? I bet you have been in mischief somewhere.

"Come down by the lake while I try to wash this ink off, and I will
tell you what I have been up to while you were away, and you may tell
me what has happened to you."

So the two of them trotted off toward the lake to recount their
adventures. And as you are interested in the doings of Billy, Stubby
and Button, perhaps you might like me to relate to you in another
chapter what happened to each of them.



CHAPTER VII

BUTTON'S DAY WITH BELLA


Nellie took Button up in her arms and started over to see her best
friend, Kittie Mead. Kittie owned a beautiful white Angora cat named
Bella, who always wore a tiny gold bell tied around her neck with a
blue ribbon.

When Nellie was within calling distance of Kittie's house, she began
to call, "Oh, Kittie, bring your doll carriage here quick! Hurry,
hurry, for this cat is getting heavy!"

Nellie had carried Button in her arms most of the way, as she was
afraid that he would run away if she trusted him to follow her. Now
Button was no lightweight, you must remember, and the farther she
carried him, the heavier he became and the more he slipped through her
arms. So when she called to Kittie most of Button's long body was
dangling around her legs, while she still held on to his neck in such
a manner that the poor cat was nearly strangled.

"Oh, Kittie, don't you hear me? Come, come, come! I can't carry this
cat another minute!"

Luckily for Button, Kittie happened to be playing in the front yard
with her doll and had just put Annabella, her favorite doll, to sleep
in the doll carriage. So when she heard Nellie calling her, she jerked
the sleeping Annabella out of the carriage so quickly it nearly
disjointed her and tossed her on the grass while she started on a dead
run down the garden path to meet the calling Nellie.

When Kittie came up, Nellie let go of Button and he dropped to the
ground and lay like dead for a few minutes. Indeed, the poor cat was
almost choked to death. Before he could recover and jump up and shake
himself together enough to run away, Nellie had picked him up again
and plumped him down in the doll carriage and the two girls began to
talk as they wheeled the carriage toward the house. Nellie was
relating to Kittie all that had happened since she saw her last,
including the coming to her house of the goat, dog and cat, while
Kittie talked so fast Nellie could not answer one question before she
had asked two or three more. But neither of them noticed as all they
wished was to talk, not to listen, anyway.

Button found the soft pillow in the doll carriage very comfortable and
the motion made him sleepy, so he curled himself up a little tighter
and went sound asleep. Had he known what they were planning to do, he
never would have risked that, but would have jumped out and ran away.
For these two little girls were planning to dress him up in doll
clothes and play baby with him! Now that was one thing the dignified,
independent Button could not stand. He had been used to play baby
when a young cat, and he hated it. He had also made a vow that the
very next person who tried to dress him up in doll clothes or any
other clothes would be scratched for their pains.

All the way up the garden path the two girls discussed how they would
dress him as well as what they would put on Bella. Button had been so
sound asleep he had not heard a word. When the children left him
asleep in the carriage to go after the clothes, he awoke and looking
around spied a beautiful big cat with gray eyes looking down at him
from the limb of a tree directly over his head.

"How do you do, Miss Beauty?" meowed Button when he had both eyes open
and his thoughts collected enough to speak.

"I am pretty well. How are you, Mr. Impertinence?" Bella meowed back,
for as you have guessed, this beautiful cat was none other than
Kittie's pet, the belle of all the cats in that neighborhood, Miss
Bella Angora Mead, to give you her full name.

"Come down and rest on this soft cushion beside me where we can talk
without my having to crane my neck to look at you," Button invited.

"No, I can't. You better come up here unless you want to be tortured
by being buttoned into a pink gingham doll dress and having a bonnet
tied on your head. I heard the girls talking over what they were going
to do to you and me, so I ran up here where they could not get at me.
They will never think to look up here but will hunt all over the barn
and wood piles for us, and perhaps even go down cellar, but look up a
tree they never will."

"If that is what is about to happen, I surely will join you, as I
object to being dressed up and having my fur turned the wrong way and
having my ribs crushed by being buttoned into a tight dress."

"Well, if you are coming, hurry along for I hear them in the hall now
and in another minute it will be too late for you to get up in the
tree without them seeing you."

[Illustration]

Button had barely climbed up in the tree and nicely settled beside
Bella when the girls came running out of the house with their arms
full of doll clothes. They went straight to the doll carriage,
expecting of course to find Button asleep there.

"Oh!" exclaimed Nellie when she reached the carriage and found no
Button. "He has run away!"

"He can't have gone far," replied Kittie. "Let's look for him. Perhaps
he saw Bella and is getting acquainted with her. I'll call her and
see."

So the two little girls began to call, "Bella, Bella! Sweetheart,
where are you? Come here! Bella, Bella! Kittie, kittie, kittie!" as
they walked around the yard and then behind the house looking under
every bush and shrub. And all this time the two cats sat and grinned
at them and enjoyed their discomfort very much.

After looking for the cats everywhere, the girls came back to thee
front of the house and sat down by the empty doll carriage, scolding
and telling each other what they would do when they laid hands on
those two cats again. Presently one of the little girls threw herself
back on the grass, her head on her hands, too angry to talk more. Lo
and behold! What did she see but those two cats she had been talking
about sitting quietly side by side on a limb over her head looking
down on her. Yes, and from the expression on their faces she knew they
were laughing at her!

"Nellie, Nellie, look up in the tree over your head and see what you
will see!"

"Oh, you naughty, miserable cats! Come right straight down out of
that tree this minute!"

"Oh, yes, we will be right down when we get good and ready," meowed
Button.

"We are very comfortable up here, so you two better play with your
dolls as we intend to spend the rest of the day up here," meowed
Bella.

"You miserable cats, you! If I had hold of you, I'd pull your tails,
so I would!" called Nellie.

"Better wait until you _do_ get hold of us before you tell what you
will do to us," meowed back Button.

"Let us throw green apples up at them and make them come down,"
suggested Kittie.

"All right. Let's do!"

"They make me laugh," said Button. "Neither one of them could hit the
side of a barn even if they aimed at it. To try to hit us up here is
perfectly ridiculous."

"I bet they hit themselves," meowed Bella. "Here they come with their
aprons full of apples."

The girls began to throw the apples up in the tree but they could not
even throw high enough to hit the limb on which the cats sat. And
presently an apple came down and hit Kittie on the head.

"There! Didn't I tell you they would hit themselves?" said Bella.

Just then Nellie let out a cry and the cats laughed so they nearly
fell off the limb for Kittie in her endeavor to throw high enough had
whirled half way around and as she turned the apple flew out of her
hand before she was ready and it hit Nellie squarely in the back.

"Let's not try to hit them any more," proposed Nellie wisely.

"I know what we can do. We'll go to the orchard and get the long
ladder they are using to pick the cherries, and we'll put it up
against the tree and then climb up after them."

"All right. Let's do!" again agreed Nellie.

Away ran the girls to the orchard and in about ten minutes the cats
saw them tugging away at a long ladder. At last they reached the tree
and after many mishaps succeeded in standing it up against the trunk.
But what was their disappointment to find that it only reached half
way up the tall tree and came nowhere near the limb on which the cats
sat.

"I have it!" cried Nellie. "Let's get the hose and turn it on them.
That will bring them down in a jiffy!"

Off ran the girls once again, the hose was brought and adjusted and
the water turned on. But another disappointment awaited them. The
force was not sufficient to throw the water far enough to reach the
cats.

"Drat those cats!" exclaimed Kittie. "I am getting so mad I just must
lay hands on them or explode!"

"I guess you will have to blow up then, or fly up to reach them," said
Nellie. "The saucy things! Just see how they sit there and purr with
contentment! Yes, I know they are laughing at us all the time!"

"I have it!" called out Kittie. "Give me the hose. I'll carry it up
the ladder as far as it will reach and then I know it will be long
enough for the stream to hit them. Then, my dear cats, we will see who
laughs last! Nellie, turn the water off until I climb up and when I
give the word turn it on again."

Up the ladder climbed Kittie, and sure enough when Nellie turned the
water on it sent a shower that hit Button and nearly knocked him off
the limb, while it also drenched Bella to the skin. She ran along the
limb and tried to climb higher, but when Kittie saw what she was going
to do, she turned the stream full on her and made her climb down the
tree instead of going up. Then she soused Button from the tip of his
nose to the end of his tail, and chased him down the same way. But
when he got halfway down, he jumped and ran for home while Bella ran
toward the barn and hid under it. Thus ended Button's adventure, as he
related it to Stubby and Billy.



CHAPTER VIII

STUBBY TELLS WHAT HAPPENED TO HIM


"Well," said Stubby, "my story isn't much to hear. You will have a
good laugh over it, I suppose, though I can assure you what happened
to me was no laughing matter.

"When we left here, Mr. Noland drove straight out into the country,
and you must know he is a fast and reckless driver. I nearly bounced
out of the car two or three times, for when he comes to a bad place in
the road, instead of driving slowly he puts on more power and goes
through lickety-split. As for turns and curves, I fell over on his lap
every time he went around a corner. But the worst of it is he is very
impatient if there is anything in the road that he can't pass. And it
seemed to me I never saw so many pigs, chickens and slow-going farm
wagons before. He would toot his horn, and the old farmers would not
pay the slightest attention or give him one bit of the road, but just
keep right on in the middle and jog along, giving us their dust. Mr.
Noland would drive up close to their wagons and toot his horn until he
would nearly break it. Then he would try to pass and nearly upset his
machine in the deep ditches that bordered the road. But he always made
it on two wheels, if not on four, and as he passed he would call out
all sorts of things to the stupid old drivers. His favorite
expressions were, 'Say, do you think you own the road?' and 'If you
want to sleep, you better drive your old hayrack and rattling old
bones to the side of the road,' or 'Now take a little of _my_ dust and
see how _you_ like it!' And all the time he was growing madder and
madder.

[Illustration]

"Consequently when we came to some cows with one of them lying
straight across the road and several others blocking the way as they
stood about, I hopped out to drive them out of the way. But an old cow
with a calf instead of running away from me as I supposed she would
do, took after me and I was so busy dodging her that I did not notice
another cow until I ran right into her. And she quickly lowered her
head and hooked me out of the road and over the fence.

  [Illustration: It was Stubby's and Button's frantic efforts to
  escape that had caused all the fun and laughter.
  (Page 62)]

"Now in this field was a flock of sheep quietly sleeping in the
shade of a tree, an old ram with immense horns watching over them. I
landed in the midst of the flock, which woke them up in a hurry and
they jumped up and ran off, frightened almost to pieces at a strange
dog falling in their midst. And the stupid things, instead of waiting
to see if I was going to hurt them or not, all jumped up and ran
baaing in all directions. This probably made the old ram, their
leader, disgusted at them for being so foolish as to be afraid of so
small a dog as I, and equally angry to think they had no more
confidence in his ability to protect them from harm. And as they had
all run off, so he could not vent his spite on them, he took it out on
me and as I was looking for a place to crawl through the barbed wire
fence he came up behind me and kindly butted me over.

"I must have made a funny picture hunting for a place to get through
the fence, all unconscious of the old ram coming toward me and then
being lifted over by a big butt. Anyway, when I landed in the middle
of the road, I heard Mr. Noland laughing as if he would split his
sides. And he called out, 'Excuse me for laughing at you, my little
stubby-tailed dog, but I never saw anything so funny in my life! Hope
you are not hurt, for I should hate to have you hurt when you were
trying to do a favor for me. If another contrary old cow gets in the
road, I'll run into her and boost her off the road myself.' Which he
did later on, and this is what happened.

"He ran his car right into a cow in such a way that she sat on the
bumper of the machine and he pushed her over on the bank. She slipped
and fell back on the car and broke off one of the lamps. My, but he
was mad! He threw stones at her and made me chase her for half a mile,
calling out to me to bite her leg, bite her leg! This I did two or
three times, but I only snipped her a little as I did not care to take
any chances of being kicked sky high after having been butted twice in
quick succession. My sides were still aching from the imprint of the
cow's and the ram's horns.

[Illustration]

"When we were again on the road and going along nicely, Mr. Noland
said, 'Stubby, this seems to be a disastrous drive for us this
morning, doesn't it?' He had scarcely gotten the words out of his
mouth when bang! went a tire. Well, I would not like to repeat what he
said. Now if there is anything he dislikes to do it is to put on a
tire or fuss with the car in any way. He always manages to have either
his son or the hired man do it. But here he was thirty-five miles from
home on a road where few people passed.

"'I bet I haven't any inner tube to put in!' he muttered to himself,
'and even if I have, it is a mean job to fix it. I would run on the
rim but if I do my whole wheel will be ruined. If I wait for some one
to come and help me, I may wait until doomsday as this is a side road
and little traveled.'

"He took off his hat, scratched his head and thought a minute. Then he
climbed the fence at the side of the road and waved to a farmer he saw
plowing in a field half a mile away. After many attempts he succeeded
in attracting the farmer's attention, and he left his horses and came
toward us. When he was within speaking distance, Mr. Noland called
out, 'Mornin', Hiram! I am sorry to bother you, but I am in trouble. I
have a busted inner tube and I can't fix it myself. Could you come and
help me? The two of us can do it in a short time but it is an
everlasting job for one to tackle. If you will help me, I'll give you
a peck of that Golden Bantam seed corn you like so much the next time
you are in town.'

"This corn was something Hiram had long coveted, as Mr. Noland's
Golden Bantam corn is the envy of all the farmers as it is extra fine
for table use. So Hiram jumped over the fence in a jiffy and the two
set to work with a will. In twenty minutes the wheel was fixed and we
were on our way.

"'That delay will make us reach our destination about dinner time, so
we will have to ask them to keep us. I am right glad as Farmer
Greenbush's wife is noted for her guinea pot pies, and perhaps if I
hint around and flatter her, she _might_ make one for our dinner. I'll
just speed up a little until we get to the big Molkie Hill after which
we can't make much time as the road is bad,' said Mr. Noland.

"For the next fifteen minutes we drove as fast as the little Ford
would take us. Soon we were at the foot of the celebrated Molkie Hill.
It is known far and wide as being the steepest and the most difficult
hill for autos to climb for miles and miles around.

"'I'll just take it on a run,' said Mr. Noland to himself, and he put
on full speed and we mounted to within a few feet of the top, when his
engine stopped short and before he could put on his brakes we were
running backwards down that hill at a terrific speed. When he did put
on the brakes we were going so fast they did no good. Instead of him
paying attention to his steering and keeping us in the middle of the
road, he turned his head to see where he was going. I guess he lost
his head and turned the steering wheel the wrong way, for we shot to
one side of the road, hit the corner of the bridge at the bottom of
the hill and turned upside down in the water. We knocked the top off,
but otherwise we did not injure the car in the least."

"What became of you when the car turned over?" asked Button.

"I fell out as it went over and the current of the stream carried me
from under it so I was not hurt. And Mr. Noland escaped too as the
car caught in such a way on some rocks that it kept the body of the
car from crushing him. As I swam out of the stream on the other side
of the bridge, I saw him crawling out from under the wreck."

"Well, I should say you had had a very exciting morning," said Billy.
"And how did you get home at last? I bet you lost your guinea pot pie
though!"

"After Mr. Noland wiped some of the mud and dirt off himself, he sat
on the bank a long time and did not say a word. I was beginning to get
worried and was afraid he was hurt when he pulled out a memorandum
book from his pocket and began to write in it. Presently he tore out a
leaf and called me to come to him.

"'Come here, little dog. I want you to do something for me. I know you
will if I can only make you understand what I want. Understand, only a
very smart dog could do what I am going to ask you to do. Here is a
note I want you to take to the store that is a mile from here over the
top of this hill. You carry it in your mouth--or no, I'll tie it
around your neck in my handkerchief. You take it to the storekeeper
and bark. Then pull at the handkerchief with your teeth. He will think
it is choking you and when he unloosens it he will find my note. After
reading it he will hustle around and come to my rescue, bringing you
back with him.'

"'Well, of all clever stunts to think of, this beats them all,' I
thought.

"He placed the note carefully in the handkerchief and tied it around
my neck. When it was fixed all right, I took a drink of water and
started up the hill, while he called after me, 'Good luck, little dog;
good luck!'

"In less than half an hour I was at the store, as it was easy to find.
As I ran into the store, I found five or six big farmers loafing about
or buying groceries or getting their mail. It was not hard to
distinguish the storekeeper, as he was the only man without a hat and,
besides, he stood behind the counter.

"Gee! It did smell good behind the counter for I was hungry and there
were boxes of gingersnaps, crackers, Bologna sausage and all sorts of
good things there. But I paid no attention to them as I wished to
deliver my message. The storekeeper was a big, good-natured man, and
he nearly stepped on me. In fact, he _did_ nip my toe and I barked
with the pain. This made him first look down and notice me.

"'Heigho! Here is a stray dog. I am sorry I stepped on you, but don't
you know that customers are not allowed behind the counter?'

"Right here I rolled over on my back and began pulling the end of the
handkerchief.

"'Mercy on us! The poor dog is going to have a fit! That handkerchief
must be tied too tight. I'll just untie it. I wonder to whom he
belongs? I thought I knew every dog for miles around.'

"He stooped down, and then, 'Bless my soul, there is something tied up
in this handkerchief! I wonder what it can be?'

"When he found the note and had read it he called to the men in the
store and read it to them.

"'Who brought the note?' asked one man.

"'No _person_ brought it. This little dog carried it folded up in this
handkerchief that was tied around his neck.' And he lifted me to the
counter so all could see me.

"'Who but Noland would have thought of sending word in that way?'
laughed another of the men.

"'Let's get a move on and all go to his rescue,' proposed a third.

"This they agreed to do, and soon five farmers were jogging along,
ropes, pulleys and chains in the bottom of their wagons to help haul
the wrecked car out of the stream.

"I was just about to jump off the counter and follow them when the
storekeeper called out: 'Here, little dog, you must be hungry. Stop
and eat a bite before you go back. You can easily overtake them.'

"He gave me a big lunch of sausage and a handful of crackers with
butter on them, and three or four gingersnaps. I can tell you I
blessed that good-hearted man for giving food to me. So few people
ever seem to think that animals get hungry and thirsty, or they give
them just a little piece of cake--not enough to stay the hunger of a
tiny mouse. I licked up every crumb and wished as I did so that I had
a pocket in my side so I could take Mr. Noland something to eat.

"'Say, little dog, do you suppose you could carry a sandwich or two
back if I tied them on your back instead of around you neck? They
would be too heavy to tie around your neck,' said the storekeeper.

[Illustration]

"I barked and shook my head yes.

"'Well, I declare I believe this dog can almost talk, as well as
understand all that is said to him!'

"Then he made two big sandwiches, one of Swiss cheese and the other of
Bologna sausage, wrapped them in paper and tied them on my back with
string and the handkerchief in which I had brought the note. Then he
set a pan of nice cool water on the counter for me to drink. After
this he put me on the floor by the door, where he stood watching me
until I was out of sight.

"I can tell you Mr. Noland appreciated those sandwiches as much as I
did the luncheon he had given to me. And he said to the farmers who
were helping him, 'There is a good-hearted man and from now on I shall
buy all I can at his store. He deserves to be helped.' To which all
the farmers agreed and one and all said they traded with him
altogether as they had found he never cheated on his weights or gave
short measure.

"With the help of the farmers, the auto was soon up on the road and
hitched to the back of one of the farm wagons that was going our way.
Mr. Noland and I were in another wagon that was going the same way.

"In this manner we reached home just before dark. I tell you what;
give me an auto in preference to a horse! My back fairly ached from
trying to push those slow horses and it took hours to go over the road
we had traveled in minutes by automobile.

"I am pretty tired, so I guess I will bid you both good-by and go to
bed. Au revoir until to-morrow!"

"Not so fast!" said Button. "I am tired too, so I will turn in when
you do."

"I am not feeling any too spry myself," said Billy. "So if you two are
going to bed, I will also."

And presently the three Chums were fast asleep under the trees, living
over again in dreams their experiences of the day.



CHAPTER IX

THE CHUMS RUN AWAY


The next day when Billy, Stubby and Button were resting on the grass
on a side hill, Billy exclaimed in a petulant voice, "Say, fellows, I
am getting tired of this place and I feel that it is time we were
continuing our journey."

"I am exactly of that opinion," said Stubby.

"Anything you fellows plan is all right to me," said Button.

"Then it is agreed we move on," said Billy.

"The sooner the better for me," replied Button, "for I know I am in
for a siege this afternoon when Nellie comes from school. I heard her
ask Kittie to come over and bring Bella, and she said they would have
a tea party under the trees, and make the cats sit in high chairs at
the party, with bibs on their necks, and drink tea. 'Won't it be fun
to see them sit up and drink tea?' she said.

"Now I have attended all the tea parties I want to, so unless we move
on I shall have to find a place to hide all the afternoon."

"What do you say to starting this minute?" asked Billy.

"Say we do!" replied Stubby and Button as with one voice.

"In which direction shall we go?" asked Stubby.

"Toward the north, silly! Always toward the north, where home and
Nannie are!" replied Billy.

"But the lake is north of us here," objected Stubby.

"I know it is, but we will follow its shore until we come to the end
of it and then on north, or get a chance to cross the lake in a boat.
And who knows but what we may come to a railroad track to follow which
will be a short cut? Anyway, let's make for that high hill you see off
there to the north and perhaps when we reach the top of it we can see
a good road to follow."

"Well, here goes!" said Button, and he put his head down and started
on a fast run, Billy and Stubby close at his heels.

They followed the lake shore as far as they could as it was better
traveling there than in the high grass. They also kept as close to the
water's edge as they could and still dodge the waves. Frequently Billy
and Stubby were caught by a wave but they did not care as it only
cooled them off. But Button contented himself by running along the wet
sand out of reach of the waves.

They had gone about half a mile out of town and were still running
along the beach when they came to a sawmill where there were a lot of
men wading in the water up to their knees pushing the logs on to a
narrow endless moving incline that carried them up into the mill where
they would be sawed into lumber.

"Don't they look like big alligators being pushed up that plane to be
killed?" said Billy.

"They really do, but I never thought of that before," replied Stubby.

"They remind me more of cattle being driven into the slaughter pens at
the stockyards," said Button.

"There is something fascinating about watching those big logs being
carried silently up into the mill to be turned into shingles, flooring
and boards of various lengths to be made into furniture," remarked
Billy.

"There surely is. But we can't stand here all day or we won't get far
on our journey."

The three had just started on a run again when they heard a big voice
which they recognized as Mr. Noland's calling to them. He stood on a
tramway that ran from the mill to the boat landing.

"Here, you rascals, where are you going? And what are you doing so far
from home? You'll get lost one of these days if you don't stop
wandering around in a strange town the way you do. Here, come back, I
say! Don't you hear me calling you? I just bet this old mill makes
such a noise they don't hear me!" and he put his hands up to his mouth
and tried to make a megaphone out of them, but it was of no avail. The
Chums kept on at their rapid pace and turned neither to the right nor
to the left, pretending they did not hear him.

After they were out of sight and sound of the mill, they stopped to
rest and to get their breath for they had been running fast.

"I did not know Mr. Noland owned a mill, did you?" Billy asked.

"No. But he seems to own or at least have a hand in everything in that
town, I have observed," said Button.

"I really think they will be sorry when they find we don't come back,"
said Stubby. "One could never find nicer people to live with. But we
are too old travelers to settle down in any one place, no matter how
nice it is. The wanderlust has surely got us by the throat."

"Billy," said Button, "you should go on a lecture tour through the
U.S.A. and relate the different exciting experiences you have had in
the many different countries you have visited."

"How about you and Stubby doing the same thing? You have been with me
nearly everywhere I have been."

"I know, but you have so much more presence than we have and your
voice carries so much further when talking than ours do," said Stubby.

"Just for sport I am going to enumerate some of the things that you
could make into a dandy lecture," said Button. "You could begin with
your experiences in the circus when you were young and before you were
married. Then when you were hunting for the Kids the time they ran
away and were carried off to Constantinople and you thought them dead.
Next, some of the tales you told when you came home from Japan after
being in the war between the Japanese and the Russians, and afterward
how you found yourself down in Mexico. Next you could tell what you
and your friends did along with Billy Junior, and your grandchildren,
to say nothing of the scrapes you were in when you went on that
memorable vacation and left Nannie at home. After that you could make
a whole lecture on your hairbreadth escape in an aeroplane, what you
saw in town and in Panama, on the Mississippi, in the West, at the
World's Exposition in San Francisco, and last but not least in Europe
during our Great War. And then you might end with our escape from
France and the return to America. There would be a wonderful chance
for a series of lectures and I bet before the audience heard them all
their hair would be standing on end and they would be holding their
breath from excitement at your many narrow escapes from death."

"There, Billy," said Stubby, "your life work is laid out for you. You
travel and lecture while Button and I will be your press agents and go
ahead and find a place for you to lecture in all the big cities and
towns. If you did this, then Nannie could travel with you all the
time. And I know you would both like that. Then too you would not grow
so restless as it would keep you on the move all the time, for we
would plan it so that you would give only three lectures in any one
place and then go on to the next."

"The more I think of it, the more the idea appeals to me," said
Button.

"Why not make our journey north into that kind of a trip right now?"
said Stubby. "We could send word to Nannie to journey south to meet
us."

"It _does_ sound rather attractive," admitted Billy.

"Of course it does!" seconded Button. "And you owe it to the poor
untraveled animals to give out some of your experiences to them, to
enliven their humdrum lives and tell them about the outside world.
Just see what a lot of pleasure the Dog and Cat Club give those
stay-at-homes who have never been outside the suburbs of New York
City--and most of them have never ventured ten blocks from where they
were born."

"Hark!" exclaimed Billy. "I hear the most peculiar whistling, whizzing
sound. It sounds up in the clouds, but I can't see a thing."

"It must be an aeroplane then, but I can't see a thing in the sky,"
said Button, but as he spoke a huge dirigible balloon poked its nose
out of a cloud over their heads. It was so directly overhead that they
could see every part of it distinctly.

"Isn't it a whale of a balloon? I never saw as large a one even in
Europe," said Billy.

"Nor I either," said Stubby, full of wonder at its size.

"Look! It is slowly coming to earth. I believe they are going to land
over in that clover field," said Button.

[Illustration]

And sure enough they did. This great big dirigible, the first of its
size to cross the Atlantic Ocean, was landing right before their eyes.

"Let us run over and get as near it as we can," Billy said.

When the monster airship landed, the Chums were not fifty feet away,
and stood taking in everything as it slowly settled to earth.

[Illustration]

Presently little windows and doors were seen to open in its sides and
people came walking out. The Chums went nearer and found out by the
conversation they overheard that they were forced to land as something
was the matter with the machinery. The longer Billy looked, the more
he wanted to see what the dirigible was like on the inside, until at
last his curiosity got the better of him and he walked boldly up to
the balloon and poked his head in one of the doors and gazed in. Not
being driven away, or seeing any one, he stepped in and soon was
exploring the balloon from one end to the other, with both Stubby and
Button at his heels.

"Isn't it wonderful?" said Billy. "Just as cozy and nice as a ship
that sails the sea. Staterooms, lounge, dining saloon, kitchen and
storerooms galore! Let's hide and be carried off with her when she
starts. It is worth being delayed on our journey to have such an
experience."

"Indeed it is!" replied Button.

"Quick, get under that table! I hear some one coming," warned Stubby.

Billy dodged under the table in the dining saloon while Stubby hid
under a chair and Button ran up a curtain and settled himself on the
curtain pole near the ceiling. The person they had heard coming soon
passed through the room, and they came out of their hiding places and
continued their explorations.

Presently they found it difficult to stand on their feet, and looking
from a window they discovered they were slowly rising from the ground.
At the same time they found it was exceedingly hard to stand still and
keep their balance. Before it should grow any worse, they ran back and
hid where they had before, to await further developments.

"I hope if they find us they don't pitch us overboard when they get up
two or three thousand feet," said Stubby.



CHAPTER X

UP IN A DIRIGIBLE


"Help! Oh, help! I must have some air," whined Stubby. "I am getting
seasick!" But neither Billy nor Button heard him as the noise of the
engine and propellers drowned all other sounds in the balloon.

"If there was only a deck I could get out on! I wish I had not come! I
just hate this way of traveling! It is worse than being in an elevator
in a high building and having the car shoot from the bottom floor to
the top in one bound. This thing is worse for it decides to stop,
dropping and then shooting up again without warning, and it runs
upside down and every other way but straight ahead. Oh, oh, oh! I
can't stand it another minute. I must have air!"

So Stubby crawled out from under his chair and climbed up on a long,
narrow window seat directly under an open window and hung out his
head. He could only just reach the window by standing on his hind legs
as he was so short and the window ledge was so far above the seat. As
he looked out he could see the earth fast receding from him. He felt
as if it were the dirigible that was standing still and the earth that
was dropping from them. By this time they were so high in the air
that the fields and forests looked like squares on a checkerboard and
the broad rivers were mere silver threads across it. As for the
churches and houses, they looked like card houses or toy paper
villages. People he could see none; they were too small to be seen
from this height. He became so interested looking that he forgot his
seasickness, and he was very much surprised when they ran into a
raincloud and he felt the raindrops on his face. But what surprised
him most was to see lightning darting all around him and so near it
seemed to go through the dirigible and come out the opposite side. As
for the thunder, you people who have never been up in the clouds and
heard it close at hand have no idea of the terrific noise and of the
terror it causes one.

[Illustration]

By this time the big dirigible was floundering in the stormclouds as a
ship does in a heavy sea, only ten times more so. A dirigible is
lighter than a ship and the wind at this altitude much stronger. It
would catch the balloon up and carry it for miles out of its course on
one of its fierce currents. Then without warning it would suddenly die
down and the big balloon would drop hundreds of feet only to be caught
up by another blast and twirled around or carried up again as the case
might be, while constantly the lightning flashed and the thunder
rolled and our Chums thought the very next gale would double them up
and dash them to their death.

While Stubby was at the window, Billy was having his own troubles. He
had tried to find a better place to hide than under the table and had
come out to do so when an extra hard lurch of the balloon had sent him
headlong the entire length of the dining saloon. He hit his head
against the partition at one end of the room and then was flung back
to the other end again. As the balloon was changing its course every
minute, he could not regain his bearings. One minute the balloon would
be standing almost perpendicularly, climbing to higher altitudes to
try to get above the stormclouds. The next a heavy gust of wind would
drive it back, or the gale would die down altogether and the dirigible
would drop into a pocket of the atmosphere, or, worse yet, would be
twirled around and around like a ship in a whirlpool of water.

Poor Billy went slipping head foremost from one end of the saloon to
the other, sometimes sitting on his tail, at others rolling over and
over until he felt like a jellyfish. But still the storm continued,
and he could not find a place of safety.

As for Button, he had the best of it for when the balloon rolled or
dove, he simply dug his claws further into the curtain pole and hung
on for dear life. Once the dirigible sailed for hundreds of feet
upside down. Button simply dug in deeper and hung upside down too.

The jerking of the dirigible knocked Stubby off the window seat and
for many minutes he had been rolling from one end of the saloon to the
other on one side of the table while Billy took the same journeys on
the other side of the table, only it was not hurting Stubby so much as
it was Billy. He had curled himself into a tight ball which made him
roll easily. He looked like a ball of scraggly worsted. As for Billy,
try as he would he could not curl up in a tight ball as his legs were
too long and his horns much too sharp.

"Oh, my, will this storm ever be over? Why did we ever let our
curiosity get the better of us and entice us to try a ride in this
dangerous thing? No more dirigibles for me if I live to get out of
this one, which I am very much afraid I won't!"

In less than five minutes from the time Billy thus spoke the
dirigible had weathered the storm and was flying in clear blue sky a
thousand feet above the still raging storm. They could still hear the
thunder and see the vivid flashes of lightning.

"Gee! What a place to see the moon and stars," thought Billy. "Now the
danger seems to be over, I wish we would stay away up here until dark
so I could see what the moon and the stars look like when we are so
near them. If we get near enough the moon, I should like to jump off
and make a visit there."

Poor stupid Billy! He knew nothing of the thousands and thousands of
miles between him and the moon, though it might look so very near.

When the dirigible was sailing quietly along, a waiter came in and
began setting the table. He did not see our friends, and went
whistling about his task. What most aroused the Chums' curiosity were
the funny little fences he fastened on the table. Then when everything
was ready, he sprinkled water on the tablecloth until it was quite
wet.

"What in the world is he wetting that perfectly clean cloth for? I
should like to know that," mused Billy. "I'll just watch and see."

Then before the waiter put down his sprinkling can, he took a plate
and set it on the cloth to see if it was wet enough to keep the plate
from slipping if the dirigible tipped or rolled to one side. Finding
it was wet enough, he left the saloon and came back with a tray of
goblets. These he fitted in holes made for them in the little railing
that ran around the whole table.

"Well, I never!" exclaimed Billy. "Did you ever see anything as slick
as that? Now the people won't have their plates or goblets slip into
their laps as they eat. I wonder who ever thought of that scheme
first. I should like to see how the kitchen looks. It must be as tiny
as those on the Pullman cars. And I bet they have some new fandangled
contraptions to keep the boilers of hot stuff and the frying pans from
slipping off the stove when cooking. I'd go and try to get a peek at
it but I'm afraid of being discovered and thrown overboard."

At this moment the waiter returned with a tray of spoons, knives and
forks. As the swinging door closed behind him, he found himself facing
a rolling ball of string coming straight toward him. As it reached his
feet, he stepped to one side and the ball hit the door with such force
that it flew open and the ball of string rolled through.

The waiter was so astonished that he braced himself against the
partition while trying to catch his breath. As he stood there staring,
he happened to glance up and there clinging to the curtain pole he saw
a big, black cat staring back at him with wide open yellow eyes. This
was too much for that waiter. He dropped the tray of silver and fled
to the kitchen, but as the swinging door flew open to let him through,
he bumped into the cook, who was in turn fleeing from the ball of
string or worsted that was rolling around his kitchen floor, giving
forth yelps like a dog. The two men clung to each other, their hair
standing straight on end, and their knees knocking together.

[Illustration]

As they stood thus, one of the officers of the dirigible having heard
the racket as the silver fell to the floor, came in the saloon from
the other end to discover what the trouble might be. Just then the
craft gave a lurch which sent the folds of the tablecloth swinging out
so that it disclosed Billy hiding underneath. The officer stared,
wiped his eyes, and then stared some more. At this moment Billy
decided to come out and go through the door the officer was holding
open.

When the officer saw a big, white goat rising from under the table he
was so frightened that his legs shook together and he pulled the door
shut. By this time Billy had up too much speed to slow down, so when
his head hit the door he simply went through it as if it had been made
of paper.

The noise of the splintering door brought the officer to his senses,
and he called for help, but no one heard him. He was about to go to
see where everybody was when the swinging door to the kitchen flew
open and in rolled a yelping ball of string. At the same moment he
spied Button staring down at him. He simply turned and fled to his
berth, where he covered up his head so he could not see things, for he
was fully convinced he was seeing things not of flesh and blood.

When Stubby in his mad rolling came to the door Billy had butted
through, he bounded through the hole as a rubber ball might, and went
bounding down the long narrow passage until he came up against a wall
in a dark closet, as he supposed. But in reality he had rolled through
an open door into the stateroom of the officer who had fled from
Button and Billy, and had Stubby only known it at that very moment he
was under his berth.

While all this had been taking place, the dirigible was fast
descending toward its home hangar and in a few minutes they would be
down to the earth again. And it was a good thing for the Chums that
they were for when Billy was discovered by the Captain he ordered him
thrown overboard with the dog and the cat. But if you think it an easy
matter to catch as big and strong a goat as Billy with the fighting
propensities he had and two lively animals like Stubby and Button, you
are badly mistaken.

Two or three aviators tried to corner him and tie him up so they
could pitch him overboard, but he butted and kicked so they could not
lay hands on him. No more hands could be spared from the crew to help,
as it required all the rest to manage the ship. Stubby and Button also
put up a stiff fight as the men chased them all over the dirigible
from under chairs and tables in this stateroom and that, where they
upset things generally as the aviators tried to hit them with brooms,
mops and whatever came handy.

[Illustration]

While this was going on, the dirigible had quietly glided into its
hangar and was quickly being tied up. An aviator was chasing Stubby
with a long-handled brush when a man on the outside opened a door in
the side of the dirigible just as Stubby was passing and quick as a
wink he took advantage of it and jumped out, much to the surprise of
the man who had opened it. After him came Button and Billy, and when
the Chums' feet touched terra firma again they lost no time in leaving
that aviation field. When they had found a nice, quiet, safe place to
rest and were reviewing this last adventure, Billy said, "No more
dirigibles for me! I never want even to see one again!"

"Nor I!" said Stubby. "I am one mass of black and blue bruises from
hitting the furniture and door jambs as I rolled from one end of that
long saloon to the other."

"And I still feel sick from hanging with my head down so long when
that old dirigible traveled upside down," declared Button.



CHAPTER XI

THE OLD CROW CARRIES A MESSAGE TO NANNIE


After the Chums had rested and had a bath in a nearby lake, they lay
down in a nice shady place to plan what they would do next.

"I think the first thing I should do," said Billy, "is to send a
message to Nannie that the three of us are alive and well and are on
our way to the old farm, and to ask her, Billy Junior, Daisy and the
Twins to start for Chicago, where we will meet them in Lincoln Park as
soon as we get there. It will take them as long to come the short
distance from Fon du Lac to Chicago as it will take us to travel all
the way from New York State, as they will have to travel slower,
having the Twins with them. Besides, Nannie is not so young as she was
and cannot stand the hardships of a hurried trip. I don't believe
there is a carrier pigeon within a hundred miles of here to take my
message, so I think I shall have to entrust it to the crows. There are
crows in every State, and they are very reliable messengers and travel
fast. One crow need not go all the way. One can carry it to the border
of New York State, say, and there give it to another crow in
Pennsylvania, and so on until it reaches my people in Fon du Lac,
Wisconsin. If they get to Lincoln Park before we do, it is a fine
place to wait as they can visit with the wild animals and get all the
grass they want to eat in the Park, and all the water they want to
drink and bathing too in Lake Michigan, which is on the east side of
the Park. Now you fellows keep your eyes open for crows."

"I don't think we will see any around here," said Stubby, "as there is
nothing they like to eat on the shores of this lake. We better find
some cornfield, as we shall be sure to find plenty of crows there."

[Illustration]

So the three got up and trotted along until they came to a cornfield.
And sure enough, the first thing they saw was a big, black crow
sitting on a scarecrow as unafraid as if it had been a tree. On seeing
this, Billy exclaimed,

"That is the crow for me! He has no fear and will let nothing turn
him from his way. I am going to ask him to carry the message."

  [Illustration: "Aren't you ashamed of yourself to take the baby's
  bottle away from it!" reproved Nannie
  (Page 128)]

Saying this, Billy jumped the fence that encircled the cornfield, and
approached the crow.

Crows not being afraid of animals, the old fellow on the scarecrow did
not stir as Billy approached, but when he was within twenty feet of
him, the crow cawed out:

"Well, I never! If this isn't my old friend Billy Whiskers! And how do
you come to be away down East, when I met you away out West years
ago?"

"You don't mean to tell me that you are Black Wings, that saucy dandy
who carried a message for me once from Salt Lake City, Utah, to Fon du
Lac, Wisconsin?" gasped Billy.

"I surely do! I am that very crow, only no longer young or dandified."

"From your looks I should say the world had treated you fine," said
Billy.

"Look who is here--Stubby and Button, the same traveling companions
you had with you in the West!" exclaimed the crow in astonishment.

"Fellows, hurry your bones and see who is here," baaed Billy to Stubby
and Button.

"Don't tell me it is Black Wings!" barked Stubby, while Button
meowed, "You have grown portly since I saw you last, and are much more
eatable looking than you were then, though you looked very good to me
that day I was starving and tried to catch you to eat." And they all
laughed, for once Button had nearly caught Black Wings, but he proved
too quick for the half starved cat and flew up in a cactus plant and
cawed and scolded Button. Afterwards they became good friends, and
Black Wings carried a message to Nannie telling her that Billy, Stubby
and Button would be back at the old farm on Billy's birthday. They had
met the crow on the desert near Salt Lake City, and he had flown over
them and showed them where there was an oasis on the desert, affording
food and water that was not alkaline. After which he carried the
message straight to Nannie without a relay as he was going East and
said he would as soon go to the old farm as anywhere else.

"I should be delighted to carry another message for you. I always like
to do a friend a favor when I can. Besides, I should enjoy seeing your
sweet wife, handsome son and cunning grandchildren again. I shall
never forget the rousing party they gave me, and the amount of corn I
ate that night. I really ate so much I thought my skin would burst.
Now what is the message you wish me to take this time? And I suppose
you are in a tearing hurry as you usually are?"

"No; this time I am in no hurry at all, as there will be plenty of
time for you to go there and get back before we can possibly reach
Chicago. All I wish you to do is to go to the farm you went to before
and tell Nannie that we three Chums have returned from the War safe
and sound and without losing an eye or a leg, and for her to meet us
in Chicago. Ask her too to bring as many of the family with her as she
can induce to come, and for them to meet us in Lincoln Park as it is
the safest and most comfortable place I can think of for them to wait
for us. And also tell her to allow a month for us to get there as we
might be captured and shut up somewhere for a time. But it will be
only for a time; no one could keep us long."

"Now if you fellows would like, I can show you an easy road to travel
that will take you to Chicago by the shortest and quickest route. Do
you see that line of telegraph poles the other side of this field?
Well, just follow them until you come to the first town. When you get
there, leave them and follow the railroad. It will take you straight
into Chicago, but be careful you don't get on a side track when going
through some of the cities and towns where many railroads meet. All
the way along you will find good friends and farmhouses where you can
rest and get something to eat. I see a man with a gun coming this way.
He has not seen us yet, but he soon will, so I guess we better say
good-by and separate."

Bing, bing, bang! and a shot went clear through the crown of the old
straw hat on the scarecrow where the crow had just been sitting.



CHAPTER XII

BILLY WHISKERS' FAMILY START FOR CHICAGO


Two weeks from the time the old crow took the message from Billy, he
delivered it to Nannie early one morning when she had just awakened
from a sound sleep on the top of a straw stack. It was her usual
resting place, for from this vantage point she could get a view of all
the country roundabout as the stack stood on the top of a high hill.
Here she spent most of her time night and day when Billy was away,
looking for him to return. From here she could see not only the
country roads, but also the railroad as well as the meadows and
woodland. Consequently from whichever direction Billy might come she
would be the first to see him. It was from this very lookout she had
seen him when he returned from his western trip, from his Panama
expedition and from across the ocean and far-away Constantinople. You
must not forget that Billy was a traveled goat.

This particular morning she awoke at sunrise, but seeing a heavy mist
hid the sun, she tried to go to sleep again as it foretold a hot day.
But just as she was dropping off to sleep, she heard a crow caw
directly over her head, and she thought it queer that the crows would
be stirring so early. Again she closed her eyes to sleep, but the call
was repeated and it sounded so much nearer than at first that she
opened her eyes once more. Lo and behold! directly in front of her on
a dead limb of a tree sat a big, black crow.

"Don't you know me, Mrs. Billy Whiskers?" cawed he.

[Illustration]

"It isn't--it _can't_ be our old friend and messenger Black Wings!"

"That is just who it is! You have good eyes, Mrs. Whiskers, to
recognize me after all these years, especially as they say I have
grown stouter."

"That you surely have, but any one having once seen your sharp, shrewd
eyes would never forget them or the saucy turn of your head. You can't
be here to give me another message from my beloved husband, can you?"

"That is just my business--to deliver a message from him, to tell you
that he, Stubby and Button are all well and happy and, best of all,
that none of them lost so much as an eye or a leg in the War. Which is
quite remarkable, I think, as they were in the thick of the fight more
than once, and were also torpedoed by a submarine. But just wait until
you see them! They themselves will tell you about their war
experiences."

"Oh, how happy you have made me, Mr. Black Wings, by bringing me the
message that the husband I adore is safe and sound and in this country
once again! I don't believe I can ever stand it to have him go away
from me again. I have died a thousand deaths in imagining him wounded
and left to die on the battlefield, or, worse yet, blown to atoms by a
shell. Come with me while I tell Billy Junior and Daisy the good
news."

And Nannie slipped off the straw stack and went to where Billy Junior,
his wife Daisy, and their Twins were asleep at the foot of a haystack
in the barnyard.

"Why, mother! Are you ill?" asked Billy Junior when he awoke and saw
her standing over him.

"No, dear. But I have such good news for you that I could not wait for
you to awaken, but had to come and tell you. Hurry and get your eyes
open and see who is here!"

"Not father, surely?"

"No; but an old friend who has brought news of him."

Billy Junior rubbed his face against his fore leg to get the sleep out
of his eyes, so he could see who was there. At first he looked and
looked, but he saw no one. He was looking on the ground, and Black
Wings was perched on the tongue of an old farm wagon not ten feet
away. When he saw the blank expression on Billy Junior's face, he
cawed to show him where he was.

"Black Wings!" Billy exclaimed when he saw him. "How glad I am to see
you once again! You should be called White Wings instead of Black
Wings as you always bring such bright, cheerful news. Mother says you
have good news for us. I can guess that it must be from father."

"You are right; it is. He is sound and well, and is coming to see you
just as fast as his four legs can carry him. And Stubby and Button are
with him. He sent me on ahead to tell you that he would like to have
you, your mother, wife and the Twins join him in Chicago. You will
have plenty of time to get there as they are away down East yet, in
the state of New York. But though they are farther away from Chicago
than you are, they can travel faster than you can, having the Twins
with you."

"But how shall we ever be able to find him in such a large city as
Chicago?" asked Nannie.

"He has instructed me to tell you to meet him in Lincoln Park, for
should you arrive first, that will be an interesting place to wait as
there are all the wild animals to talk to and plenty of good green
grass in the Park to eat, and cool, clear water to drink as it borders
on Lake Michigan."

"What are you talking about?" asked one of the Twins. "Going on a
journey? We want to go too!"

"We both want to go!" piped up the other Twin. "We haven't been off
this old stupid farm for ages, and I am crazy to go on a journey and
talk to all the little lambs and goats along the road."

"Keep still, children! Don't you see Mr. Black Wings is telling us
what Grandfather wants us to do?"

"Oh, I bet it is something bully if _he_ is planning it," said one
Twin.

"Bet your sweet life it is!" chimed in the other.

"Children, how many times must I tell you not to use such language?"
said their mother. "If you don't behave, we will leave you at home."

"You can't do that. Grandfather told you to bring us and he would be
disappointed if you did not."

"Hush! Don't be impertinent!"

"You have all been to Chicago so will know the way," remarked Black
Wings.

Just then a rooster flew up on the wagon to crow that it was daylight
and time for all the barnyard animals and fowls to be up and licking
their coats or preening their feathers, which is what they do each
morning instead of washing their faces as little boys and girls do.

"Mr. Chanticleer," called Nannie, "won't you crow out an invitation to
all the animals and fowls to come to the spring at the foot of the
barnyard as soon as they are up, to meet Mr. Black Wings? He has just
come with a message from Billy, my husband, that he has landed in
America safe and sound and is on his way here with our old friends
Stubby and Button."

[Illustration]

"With pleasure. Mrs. Whiskers! And I will crow my loudest and longest,
for nothing in this world would give me more happiness than to welcome
our old chum and friend back to the farm."

"Mother," said Mr. Winters, the owner of the farm, "that rooster will
split his throat if he doesn't stop crowing so loud and long. He
doesn't generally keep it up so long. If he continues to crow like
that in the mornings when I wish to sleep, we will roast him for
Sunday dinner."

About an hour later when Mr. Winters went to the farmyard, as he did
each morning, to take a look around before breakfast, he was surprised
to see all the animals congregated around the spring. Even the pigs,
chickens, ducks and turkeys were there.

"Strange they should all be so thirsty this morning," he pondered. "If
I had given them salt last night, I might have thought it was that but
they haven't had any for days. Heigho! there goes an old crow, the
first I have seen around here for ages."

When the animals saw Mr. Winters they all separated and wandered off
in a careless manner. As soon as Mr. Winters had returned to the
house, you could have seen, had you been looking, three big goats and
two young ones hurrying down the lane that led from the barnyard to
the main road to Chicago, with a big, black crow flying over them.



CHAPTER XIII

BILLY WHISKERS' FAMILY ARRIVE AT LINCOLN PARK


After numerous hardships and accidents of all kinds, the Billy
Whiskers family arrived in Lincoln Park. The first thing they did was
to go straight to the bathing beach to wash the stains of travel off
their coats before visiting the animals.

They reached the Park three days before Billy could possibly have
gotten there, and they were proposing to pass the time until his
arrival by sightseeing and talking to the animals in the cages, but
they came near being captured and shut up the very first day they were
there. It happened in this way.

When they reached the beach there were only a few people in the water
and lying on the sand, as it was too early in the day for the crowd,
though those who were there made up in noise and fun for those who
were not.

The lifeguards were lazily lounging in their boat away from shore when
they heard an angry scream from some woman in the water. They thought
some one must be annoying her, but on looking up they saw her swimming
for shore as fast as she could go, while on the sand stood three
black goats and two white ones beside a two-year-old baby lying on a
shawl, kicking and screaming. Over it stood a small goat with the
baby's bottle dangling from its mouth as it chewed the rubber tubing,
while the other young goat was eating some sweet cakes it had found in
a bag, and one of the old goats was licking the baby's forehead. That
was Daisy, the Twins' mother. She meant no harm as this was her way of
kissing the sweet little baby. Daisy loved babies and she thought this
would quiet this little child. Billy Junior tried to get the bottle
away from the Twin to give back to the baby so it would not cry.

"Aren't you ashamed of yourself to take the baby's bottle away from
it!" reproved Nannie.

"But I was thirsty and wanted a drink of milk!"

"Never mind if you did. You should not take it away from a tiny baby."

"He isn't _very_ tiny! Just hear how he yells!"

By this time the baby's mother had reached the spot and was throwing
stones and sand at the goats while she tried to pacify the baby.

As the goats saw the lifeboat head for the shore, they thought they
better disappear, knowing that the minute the men beached the boat
they would be after them. So they raced into the Park and hid
themselves behind some lilac bushes. Daisy said:

"I really don't see why you children don't behave. You have done
nothing but get into mischief and cause us trouble ever since we left
home. I wish we had not brought you! Any one would think you never had
any bringing up. And now to try to take a sweet little baby's dinner
away from it! I am ashamed of you! Besides, now none of us can take a
bath on that nice sandy beach. We shall have to find another place,
which won't be very easy since the lifeguards have seen us."

[Illustration]

"I know where there is a nice little lake, mamma," piped up one Twin.
"I saw it as we came along--right over there where you see that high
bridge."

"Very well. We will all go over there for I feel very dirty and tired.
It will both clean us and rest us to have a nice cool bath."

So the goats all trotted over to one of the lagoons in the Park which
the Twins had called a lake, and they plunged into the water. They had
a fine time and enjoyed themselves, much to the discomfort of some
stately swans that were greatly upset to have strange goats come
dashing into their private place. They began to hiss, which set all
the ducks to quacking and the sea lions to barking. This commotion
soon brought a park guard to the spot to see what was the matter. When
he discovered a lot of goats in the water he walked down to the edge
of the pond and began to wave his club and shout at them.

"Hear the old goose!" said one of the Twins. "He is shooing at us! I
guess he thinks we are a kind of duck!"

"Let's baa at him, and tell him what an old goose he is," said the
other.

When the goats did not leave the water or pay any attention to him,
the guard began throwing stones at them. At last one hit Billy Junior
on the head. This was too much for him. The guard might throw stones
all he wished, but hitting Billy Junior with them was quite another
thing. He wheeled and swam for shore, going straight for the guard,
who stood still, not knowing Billy Junior was bent on butting him.

  [Illustration: Oh, oh! Where did you come from? wailed one little
  girl when the kids jumped out of the shrubbery and grabbed her bag
  of popcorn
  (Page 141)]

Indeed Billy Junior did butt the guard so hard he sent him flying over
the high iron fence that surrounded the sea lions' pool and rock cave
where they lived. He fell kersplash into the water, astride a papa sea
lion as he went swimming round and round his rock home. When the lion
felt something alight on his back, he dove to the bottom of the pool
in a flash, taking the guard with him. But no human being could stick
on the back of a slippery sea lion, and the guard soon came up to the
surface of the water blowing and spouting like a porpoise.

[Illustration]

The goats did not wait to see what became of the guard but ran and hid
themselves under the approach of one of the Park bridges.



CHAPTER XIV

THE TWINS ARE LOST


Early the next morning before the crowds of people began to come to
the Park, the goats had a fine time visiting all the animals, going up
one path and down another and in one animal house and out another
until they came to the lions' cages. These roaring, ferocious beasts
with their glaring yellow eyes, tawny manes, big red mouths and
gleaming teeth frightened the Twins nearly into spasms and they ran
away from the family so fast that their mother could not follow them.
They dodged under this bush and that, around curves in the paths and
behind the animal cages so quickly that she gave up the chase and came
back to get their father to help her.

"They have gone and we can't catch up to them now," said he. "Stay
here and go with us a bit and when we have seen all the animals we
wish to see, I'll look for them. They will be frightened after a while
when they find they are alone, and begin to hunt us," said their
father.

So Billy Junior, Daisy and Nannie walked leisurely from cage to cage,
saying a word here and a word there to all the animals and birds they
saw. And this is how it happened that the Twins found themselves alone
in the Park.

"Gee! I hope those big beasts don't break out of their cage and come
after us! We would only make one mouthful for them and I bet they like
tender kid meat at that!" shuddered one Twin.

"Don't even mention it!" said the other. "I can feel my bones crunch
in their big mouths and see them lick their chops after they have
eaten us."

"Where shall we go now? We can do as we please all day if we just keep
out of sight of the family."

"We'll keep our eyes open for them, never mind, and if we see them
coming, we will hide. I wonder what is in that big cage over there? I
see something flying from one side to the other but it doesn't look
like a bird. Let's go see what it is."

So they trotted off and soon found themselves in front of the monkeys'
cage.

"Oh, look, look! Aren't they the funniest looking things you ever saw?
They have faces like a baby or an old man and tails like a cat!"

"See that big one away up in that perch holding a little teeny, tiny
one in its arms just as a woman holds a baby!"

"One of them has its tail sticking out of the cage. Wait until I go
pinch it with my teeth and see what it will do."

Cautiously the little mischief crept up to where the big monkey was
sitting with his back to them, tail swinging outside the cage. But the
Twin pinched it harder than he meant to, and the next thing he knew
his head was being banged against the bars of the cage and the monkey
was trying to pull him through the bars by his short horns.

[Illustration]

The only thing that really saved the Twin was that his horns were
short and slippery and the monkey could not hold on to them. Seeing
this, he let go to grab hold of the kid's ears, but he was not quick
enough, for just as he let go one horn the kid gave a lurch and fell
to the ground. It took but a second for him to regain his feet and baa
for his brother. But what was his dismay to see his brother running
down the path like mad, trying to shake off a tiny monkey that was
sitting on his back!

While one Twin had been biting the big monkey's tail, the other had
been watching a baby monkey squeeze itself between the bars of the
cage and escape. But he never would have watched had he known what
that little monkey intended doing when he got out. It was this: to get
a ride on the kid's back, for it had no sooner slipped through the
bars of the cage than it made a bound and landed on the kid's back. As
its claws dug into his flesh, he kicked and butted to shake it off,
but it only clung the tighter.

[Illustration]

"You'll stick to my back in spite of me, will you? Well, we'll _see_!"
and off the kid started for a duck pond near by. He was in the water
and swimming for the opposite shore before the monkey realized what
had happened. He could not jump off now as he did not know whether he
could swim or not, this being the first time he had ever been near
water. He did not know that all animals can swim by instinct.

He chattered and called in monkey language for the ducks and the
geese to save him, but they were much too busy saving themselves from
this stranger in their pond to give him any help, and they flew
squawking in all directions. At last after the kid had dived two or
three times and the monkey had come up with his eyes and mouth full of
water, he decided to jump onto the back of one of the geese or swans
when he got near enough one. Just then a stately swan that had refused
to be frightened or even disturbed by the entrance of the kid in his
particular pond sailed majestically by with his head up, neck curved
and wings slightly raised to show them off to the very best advantage.

"That is a good safe place for me," thought the little monkey. "I'll
jump and sit on that swan's back between his wings. They will shelter
me and keep me from falling off."

As the swan approached the kid, it hissed a warning for him to get out
of the pond. His second hiss died in his throat with surprise when the
monkey landed on his back. At first the swan was too much taken back
to do anything but sail on by the kid, but when he had collected his
senses, he tipped himself upside down with head and half his body
under water, and remained in this position so long that the monkey
fell off and had to swim for shore.

When he came out of the water, he happened to come out beside the kid,
who stood shaking himself. He stopped in a hurry when he saw the half
drowned little monkey coming out of the pond looking more like a
drowned rat than a monkey. He did not wait to give himself another
shake, but dove into the water and swam for the place where he had
first entered the pond, and there he found his Twin awaiting him,
laughing as if his sides would split.

[Illustration]

"Come along! We must hurry away from here before we have hissing geese
and quacking ducks bring the guards down on us. I smell sweet peas!
Let's go eat some. I just love the blossoms--they are sweet as honey."

People driving along the parkway thought it strange that the Park
commissioners would allow goats to run loose through the flower beds
and pull the sweet peas off their trellises. Had they driven by a few
minutes later they would have enjoyed the fun of seeing a big fat
guard as broad as he was long, a long handled rake in his hand,
trying to drive two innocent looking kids out of those very same
flower beds.

[Illustration]

They were too spry for him, however, and when he drove them out of one
bed they simply ran into another and stood eating until he was again
within striking distance of them. Then they would scamper away and
begin on another bed. They did this until the man was so angry that
his face was as red as a turkey cock's, while his breath came in
gasps. At last he tripped over the hose and fell sprawling in a puddle
of water. This, however, gave him an idea, and he determined to turn
the water on the kids. Up he got and without looking to see if they
were still there, he turned the hose where they had stood but a second
before. But alas! the stream of water hit his best girl who was
walking between two of the flower beds pushing a baby carriage. The
kids were nowhere in sight!

"Oh, Rosy, Rosy, forgive me, forgive me! I thought you was a goat!"

"So I look like a goat, do I, you miserable old clumsy fellow, you!
Take that--and that--and that!" as she struck him over the head with
one of the baby pillows, and then began to cry. Blinded by her tears,
she pushed the baby carriage right over the flower beds, heedless of
where she was walking, sobbing, "He thought I was a goat! I don't look
like a goat, I don't! Boo hoo hoo!"

By this time the gardener had collected his wits enough to go to her
and explain. The last the kids saw of them as they bounded away, he
had his arm around her and was loving her, much to the amusement of
passersby.

"I smell something good," said one of the Twins.

"So do I! Let's go see what it is."

"It comes from over by that big red brick building."

They trotted over and found it came from a popcorn wagon.

"Yum, yum! It is popcorn with butter and salt on it!"

"Oh, I just love it, don't you?"

"Yes, but I like it best with chocolate on it. Wait until the man who
owns the stand is not looking and then we will run up and grab a bag."

"I know a safer plan. Here come two little girls with bags in their
hands. One has a bag with buttered corn in it and the other has one
with chocolate poured over the corn. I saw the man fixing it for them.
We will hide behind these bushes and when they are opposite us we
will jump out, grab the bags and run. Which girl do you think has the
buttered corn and which the chocolate?"

"The girl with the pink bow has the buttered corn, so you take her
bag, while I go for the other one."

"Oh, oh! You horrid things! Where did you come from?" wailed one
little girl when the kids jumped out of the shrubbery at her and
grabbed her bag of chocolate popcorn.

The other little girl held onto her bag and began to run, holding it
high above her head, but she squeezed the bag so tightly that it broke
and the corn scattered on the ground. Then the kid quickly gathered up
a great mouthful and ran off.

The little girl went wailing to a park policeman and told him her
troubles and the kids saw him turn and run toward them. They raced
off, chewing the paper bags as they ran, seeking a good place to hide,
which they found in a thick clump of lilac bushes. After devouring the
very last bit of paper that had either butter or chocolate sticking to
it, they fell asleep. And here they were found by the night watchman
who carried them off and shut them in a pen with some Angora goats
from across the sea.



CHAPTER XV

THE ELEPHANTS ARE ENRAGED AT THE GOATS


Billy Junior, Daisy and Nannie visited the cages of all the animals,
and gave no more thought to the runaway Twins until hour after hour
went by and the Twins did not come back. Neither had they seen them
playing in the Park and Daisy began to grow nervous about them. At
last she said to her husband,

"Billy, I can't stand this suspense any longer. I am beginning to fear
that something has happened to the Twins. You know they might have
wandered over to the lake and been drowned. You and Nannie may go on
calling on the different animals, but I am going to hunt for the
kids."

"You are quite right," said Nannie. "I have been uneasy about them for
some time, but did not like to mention it for fear of alarming you. We
will go with you and help hunt for them."

"Yes," agreed Billy Junior, "it is high time we were finding them.
There is no knowing what they might do, they are so daring and
mischievous. We'll outline a systematic plan for the hunt. Each one
will go in a different direction and scour all the paths in that
section of the Park, looking around every cage that we see. Then when
the clock strikes twelve we will meet in front of the yard where the
elephants are kept."

Billy Junior went to the south, Nannie to the east and Daisy to the
north.

Every step Daisy took, she grew more worried, and when she passed a
cage of ferocious tigers and panthers who she knew lived on kid meat,
she shivered to think that perhaps they were licking their chops
because they had just finished eating one of her darlings who in some
way might have squeezed between the iron bars of their cage.

On, on she went, her knees knocking together from fear and fatigue,
when she thought she heard their voices calling, "Mamma! Mamma!"

She hastened in the direction from which the sound came and there,
sure enough, shut up in a yard with other goats she saw her two
darling babies. There was no mistaking them as they were the
handsomest kids you ever saw, one being white as snow like Daisy and
the other black as night like its father, Billy Junior.

"Oh, my darlings, my darlings!" she called when she saw them, and both
kids came running to the fence to be kissed on the ends of their saucy
little noses which they stuck through the bars of the iron fence.
"Where have you been and how does it come you are shut up here?"

"Oh, mamma, get us out for we are afraid of that big, horrid black
goat over there with the great horns. He said if we did not stop
calling for you, he would hook us over the moon with his big horn."

"Who said they would hook you?" asked Billy Junior, who had just come
up to the fence with Nannie.

"That old fellow over there asleep by the house," said one Twin.

"I should like to see him try to do it. If he did, he would see
himself flying over the moon," said Billy angrily.

While the goats had been talking to the kids, several men with rakes
and pitchforks in their hands had come up behind them and formed in a
semicircle. Hearing a crunching of the gravel on the walk behind him,
Billy looked around and knew in a second that they were trapped. There
was no use of trying to fight men armed with pitchforks, so when they
began to drive them toward an open gate that led into the pen where
the kids were, Daisy, Nannie and Billy Junior showed no fight, but
went quietly as lambs. After the men had left, Billy Junior said,

"Well, this is a pretty how-de-do! Here we are locked up and father
coming to see us after being away two years. Now we can't greet him
except through the bars of a fence! It really is too bad. We should
have had sense enough to leave the kids at home, knowing as we do how
mischievous they are."

They were shut in this pen three days and were growing heartily sick
of the monotony of walking around their small yard in the daytime and
being shut in a stuffy little room at night with the other goats who
paid little attention to them.

"If that fence were not so very high, I could jump it," said Billy
Junior. "But should I try and fail, I might fall back on the long,
sharp spikes and hang there."

"Or if only the bars were not so close together, we would starve
ourselves and squeeze through," remarked Daisy.

"Or dig under," suggested Nannie, "if the bars did not go down into
the ground so far."

"Oh my, oh my, oh me! Isn't this life awful, with nothing to do but
wander around this old yard where the grass is all tramped down and
burnt by the hot sun, with people walking by and looking at you all
the time? Only an occasional kind-hearted person gives you a peanut or
the core of an apple," grumbled Billy Junior.

"I wish your father were here," said Nannie. "When everything looked
hopeless, he always found a way out."

"So do we wish he was here," chimed in Daisy and Billy Junior.

"Mercy sakes alive!" exclaimed Daisy the next moment. "See where those
kids are! In the elephant yard!" and she jumped to her feet and ran to
the fence which separated the yard where the goats were confined from
that of the elephants. "How did you two get over there?" she asked
severely. "Come straight out of that yard! The elephants may not like
kids and kill you."

"You are perfectly correct, madame," said an elephant. "I dislike
goats of all kinds, and so would you if in my place. Forced to live
month in and month out next to a goat pen where the disagreeable odor
all goats have is carried to my nostrils until I am sick from it and
cannot eat is far from pleasant."

"Did I hear you say," said Billy Junior, stepping up beside his wife,
"that you do not like the smell of goats?"

[Illustration]

"That is exactly what I _did_ say," replied the elephant. "And I will
repeat it if you wish me to do so."

"Oh, don't take the trouble! Saying it once is enough. But allow me to
inform you that the odor of a goat is as sweet to the nostrils as
roses and lilies compared to the odor from an elephant. That
resembles the smell from a garbage pile!"

Now Billy Junior had done it! The elephant became enraged and tried to
break down the fence between them. When he found he could not do this,
he trumpeted and pawed the earth, throwing great clods of dirt all
over them.

"Come out of there! Come out of there!" called Daisy to the kids. "He
will kill you!"

But the Twins could not get out as the elephant was between them and
the hole through which they had crawled. Seeing them, he charged but
he was so big and they so small that they simply ran between his legs
when he tried to catch them up with his trunk.

Daisy, Nannie and Billy Junior all stood panic-stricken at the chances
the kids took. First they would run under his body from side to side,
then between his hind legs. Had he moved a foot, they would have been
crushed between his great legs. There being two of them and both so
small and frisky, they confused the beast so he did not think as
quickly as usual. He had been out of the jungle for years where he had
had to think fast, and now he found himself rusty and unable to cope
with frisky little pests like these two kids.

"I'll fix them," he said to himself, and he walked over to where his
tub of drinking water stood, and filled his trunk. Then he charged
down on the Twins where they stood in one corner, waiting to see what
he would do next. The little rascals were enjoying the rage of the
elephant very much and were not afraid of him at all as they thought
they could trust to their wits to save themselves.

The elephant walked up to within five feet of them. Then he stopped
and squirted the water at them with such force that it knocked one of
them over when it hit him broadside. The other kid it blinded so he
could not see where to run. Then they heard a bellow of rage and pain.
Shaking the water from their eyes, they saw a big white goat run under
the elephant's stomach and scratch the skin with his short horns so
badly that it made the monster cry out with pain and turn to see what
had attacked him so suddenly. When he faced about whom should he see
but old Billy Whiskers himself in front of him. At the same moment he
felt a cat on his back and a dog snapping at his heels.

But what had changed the enraged elephant so quickly? For now he was
as docile as a lamb, and the kids saw him go up to Billy and wind his
trunk around Billy's beard and playfully pull it, at the same time
saying,

"Billy Whiskers! My old friend Billy Whiskers of the circus! Where by
all that is wonderful did you come from? I supposed you were dead long
ago."

Elephants live to be over a hundred years old, but goats not so long,
and as it had been many years since these two had traveled and
performed in the same circus, the elephant had taken it for granted
that Billy was dead.

"Excuse me a minute until I throw out these smelly young kids. I can't
stand their odor," said the elephant.

"If you don't mind, I will put them out myself, as I think I can do it
more gently than you could, and I happen to have an interest in those
particular kids as they are my well beloved grandchildren whom I have
not seen for two years," replied Billy.

[Illustration]

"Your grandchildren!" exclaimed the elephant. "I beg your pardon. Had
I known they were related to you in the most distant manner, I would
not have harmed a hair of their skin. I do hope you will forgive me!"

"Certainly I will forgive you. And perhaps they were annoying you and
deserved being punished, for as I remember them they were pretty
mischievous kids."

"Take after their grandfather, eh?" said the elephant.

"I guess so," said Billy.

"Baa, baa, baa!" came a voice as sweet as music to Billy's ears and
turning he saw his darling wife looking through the fence.

"How did you get shut in there?" he asked. "I'll be with you in a
minute!" But though he looked and looked he could find no opening
leading into the yard where Nannie was confined. He had gotten into
the elephant's yard by jumping through an open window in the
elephant's house and running out the door that led to the yard, and
Stubby and Button had followed him. Billy had recognized the kids, and
seeing them in danger he had not stopped to figure how they got there,
but had rushed to their rescue immediately. He and Stubby and Button
had just arrived in the Park after their long journey from New York
State, and were looking for the family when they chanced to turn a
corner in the path and came upon this scene.

The kids slipped back into the goat yard the way they had left it,
while Billy, Stubby and Button stood and talked to Nannie, the fence
between them.

"Oh, if I could only find a way to get over into your yard," baaed
Billy to Nannie.

"I have it!" said the elephant. "I can get you all over there if you
don't mind being dropped a few feet."

"Certainly we don't, but how are you going to do it?"

"I'll just pick you up with my trunk and drop you on the other side of
the fence."

"You can't do it," said Billy. "I am too heavy."

"Indeed, I _can_ do it! I guess you are no heavier than the mahogany
logs I used to lift and put in high piles when I lived in Siam. Come
here and let me try."

The elephant encircled Billy's body with his trunk and lifted him up
from the ground and over the fence as easily as if he had been a
feather. When he had raised Billy to the top of the fence, he unwound
his trunk and dropped him over into the next yard where his family
awaited him.

[Illustration]

When the elephant turned to get Stubby and Button to put them over the
same way, he found they had crawled through the hole the kids had
used.

Such a smelling of noses, and licking of faces you never saw as when
the Billy Whiskers family and their friends were once again reunited
after this long separation while Billy had been in the war in Europe.

"Isn't it too bad, my dear," said Nannie, "that we are all shut up in
this yard with no hopes of getting out? And I was just saying to Daisy
that if you were here, you would soon find a way to secure our
freedom."

"And I shall, my dear. I shall just wait until the keeper comes in
through the gate to look after the goats. Then I shall either butt him
over as he comes in or butt down the gate when he takes the padlock
and chain off. Anyhow, I shall find a way to get us out of here very
soon, I am sure. Now we will think only of the present and enjoy every
minute of being together. What fine kids the Twins have grown to be!
But I imagine they are just as mischievous as ever."

"Can you wonder at it when you stop to consider who their father and
grandfather are?" said Nannie.

"Gracious! What can be causing all that commotion over in the farther
corner of the yard, I wonder?" said Daisy.

"Where are the Twins?" asked Billy Junior.

"I don't know," answered their mother.

"Then I guess you will find that they are at the bottom of the fracas
over there. I'll go see," said their father, and off he trotted to
find out if the kids were in mischief.

Presently he came back, driving both kids before him. But what had
happened to them? They were as dirty as dirty could be and both were
crying.

"Oh, my precious darlings!" exclaimed Daisy. "Who has been hurting
you?"

"No one has been hurting them. They need a good spanking! Where do you
think I found them? In the middle of a ring of Angora goats, having a
fight with two kids about their own size. It would have been all right
to have had a boxing match, but they did not play fair. They lost
their tempers and when they got the other kids down, they hooked and
tramped them unmercifully. I don't like that! They must fight fair and
keep to the rules of boxing, and not beat up their adversaries when
they are down."

"Come here, kids," said their grandfather. "If you will promise to be
good all the rest of the day, I will tell you a story of the Great War
and of some of the things that happened to Uncle Stubby and Uncle
Button and myself when fighting in the army."



CHAPTER XVI

A PANTHER ESCAPES FROM THE CAGE


The Billy Whiskers family as well as all the Angora goats were
enjoying themselves listening to Billy, Stubby and Button tell war
stories, when they noticed great excitement among the people in the
Park, who began running in all directions, screaming as they ran.

"What can the matter be?" they asked one another. "I'll go over by the
fence that leads along the walk," suggested Billy, "and listen and see
if I cannot find out what is frightening the people so. Something
important must have happened for they all look so scared and
palefaced."

[Illustration]

All the larger goats went with Billy, while the mothers and young
Nannies stayed behind.

"Where are the kids?" called out Daisy. "They were here just a minute
ago."

"I guess they have gone with their father and grandfather," replied
Nannie.

"I shall have to go after them then for they are sure to get into
trouble, and besides I want them with me if anything happens."

[Illustration]

"Yes, bring them back, and I will look after one and not let him out
of my sight a moment, while you look out for the other."

"You stay here," commanded Stubby, who had not yet joined the crowd by
the fence. "I'll bring them both back."

And presently they saw Stubby driving the two kids in front of him. If
they tried to turn back, he snapped at their heels, and if they tried
to separate, he grabbed them by the neck and made them march straight
to where their mother and grandmother were waiting.

The Twins were crying and pleading to go back. "Uncle Stubby, do let
us go back! We want to see the escaped panther! We never saw one!"
they said.

"Escaped panther, did I hear them say?" Daisy asked Stubby.

"Yes. One of the largest panthers has escaped. When his keeper opened
the cage door to put in a bucket of water, he opened the door a little
wider than usual, and the panther that was lying on a ledge in the
upper part of the cage leaped for the opening, hit the door which
threw it still wider and he escaped. The keeper had enough presence of
mind to slam the door shut as the mate awoke from a nap and also made
for the door. When she found herself shut in and her mate gone, she
made such a row she has upset all the animals. Anything like this
always excites the animals and makes them roar and slash around in
their cages trying to break through to freedom too.

"And now I want to tell you to be most watchful. For panthers are fond
of goats and sheep--they like them best of all meats. They may smell
goats and come over here to eat a kid or two," and Stubby looked
straight at the kids, his face very sober, trying to frighten them so
they would keep close to their mother and not run away again.

By this time men were running all over the Park with loaded pistols
and guns in their hands, while others carried pitchforks and ropes to
try to lasso the panther for they really wished to capture him alive
if they could.

Mothers with children hurried out of the Park, and soon few people
could be seen except the Park guards and the men who were hunting the
loose beast. It was about four o'clock when the escape was made and at
dusk they had not found him yet. The animals quieted down when they
were given their supper, forgetting that one of their number had
gained the much-desired freedom. All but the panther's mate. She
refused to be comforted, but snarled and showed her teeth when any one
went near her cage.

[Illustration]

It was just that hour between twilight and darkness when shapes can
still be distinguished moving about that Billy chanced to look up in
the big tree that stood near the fence of the goat yard. He thought he
saw two yellow balls of fire about the size of big marbles shining up
among the leaves in the tree. As he looked, they seemed to move slowly
toward him. Then looking more closely, he made out the outline of a
big panther crouching on the limb ready to spring down on the
unsuspecting Angoras peacefully sleeping directly under the limb the
beast was on.

Billy gave the alarm, but too late. The panther had made a spring and
landed on the back of a young Angora goat and was now devouring it
greedily, while all the rest of the goats ran over to where Billy and
his family stood in an opposite corner of the yard.

[Illustration]

"All of you big goats with horns get ready to fight," commanded Billy,
"for the minute that panther has devoured that victim, he will come
over here for another nice young, juicy goat."

"Oh, my darlings! He will pick them out," wailed Daisy, "because they
are the very youngest and will make the most tender eating."

"Don't cry, Daisy. He hasn't gotten them yet, and he won't while I am
alive," said Billy Whiskers.

"Nor while I breathe either!" exclaimed Billy Junior, not to be
outdone.

When the panther had finished his meal, he stood up, looked around,
licked his chops, switched his tail, and called for his mate to come
and join him in the feast. But that call was his undoing. His mate
could not get out of her cage, but the panther's keeper recognized his
voice and hastily calling some men and guards, he started to find the
panther by going in the direction of the call. As the moon had come up
in full glory, they had no trouble in locating him.

They found him none too soon, for just as they appeared at the fence,
the panther started toward the goats to select another victim. He had
his eye on one of the Twins, that Billy Whiskers could see. Brave as
could be, Billy walked out of the herd and straight at the panther,
intending to try to drive him away at least, but he knew it would be
almost impossible as these beasts are strong, as quick as a cat and
are bloodthirsty fighters.

When Billy Junior saw his father advancing on the panther, he too left
the herd and walked out by Billy. Then Stubby and Button followed.
This in no way frightened the panther. He still advanced on them,
crouching as he came and ready to spring at any moment.

Billy Senior whispered, "We must make a rush at him or he will spring
over our heads and we can't reach him. When I say three, spring at him
prepared to rip him open with your horns. I will do the same. We can't
both miss him. And, Stubby, you go for his neck, and, Button, you try
to scratch his eyes out, so he can't see where to jump. One, two--"

But what had happened? The panther was jerked back off his feet and
lay sprawling on his back, his feet in the air. This is what had
occurred:

The men had come up to the yard behind the panther and goats so none
of the animals had seen them. The man with the lasso had climbed the
fence and thrown it, catching the panther around the neck just as he
was about to spring, while the other men stood with pistols aimed and
ready to fire did the lasso fail to go around the panther's neck and
pull him back in time to save the goats.

"Gee! Those two goats and that dog and cat had nerve to face that
beast," said one of the men. "I should like to own them for pets."

"So should I," replied one of the others. "Let us get that panther out
of their yard and then give the goats a rousing good supper to show we
admire bravery in animals as well as in people."

So it happened that the men all came back carrying bunches of clover
and other things they thought the goats would like to eat.

When they dragged the panther out they closed the gate, but neglected
to close it tightly. They had no sooner gotten out of sight than Billy
said, "Now is our chance for freedom. The gate can easily be pushed
open far enough for us to squeeze through."

He told the Angora goats about it, but they had been in captivity so
long they did not yearn for freedom, as they had no homes to go to.
Besides, they were well treated where they were and so they decided to
go out into the Park and roam around a little, but not to run away.

"Well, we are all going to make our escape and skedaddle for home. So
good-by to you all!"

[Illustration]

"Here is wishing you and your family a safe and happy journey,"
bleated the leader of the Angora flock.

"The same to you and yours!" baaed Billy as he, his family and friends
filed out the gate and started on a run toward their old home in Fon
du Lac, Wisconsin.


THE END

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