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Title: On a Donkey's Hurricane Deck - A Tempestous Voyage of Four Thousand and Ninety-Six Miles - Across the American Continent on a Burro, in 340 Days and - 2 Hours
Author: Woodward, R. Pitcher
Language: English
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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 NOTE:

Original spelling and grammar has been mostly retained, with some
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book is a bit haphazard. Some corrections have been made.

More details about corrections and changes are provided in the
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       *       *       *       *       *


[Illustration: _R. Pitcher Woodward at his journey's end._]


       *       *       *       *       *



  ON A DONKEY'S HURRICANE DECK


  A Tempestuous Voyage of Four
  Thousand and Ninety-Six Miles
  Across the American Continent on
  a Burro, in 340 Days and 2 Hours

  STARTING WITHOUT A DOLLAR AND
  EARNING MY WAY

  BY

  R. PITCHER WOODWARD
  (PYTHAGORAS POD)

  AUTHOR OF

  "TRAINS THAT MET IN THE BLIZZARD"

  Containing Thirty-nine Pictures from
  Photographs Taken "en Voyage".


  1902

  I. H. BLANCHARD CO., PUBLISHERS

  NEW YORK



  COPYRIGHT, 1902,

  BY

  R. PITCHER WOODWARD

  [Illustration]

       *       *       *       *       *



CONTENTS.


PART I.

      I.   Madison Square to Yonkers             11

     II.   Donkey's many ailments                19

    III.   Polishing shoes at Vassar             27

     IV.   An even trade no robbery              35

      V.   The donkey on skates                  42

     VI.   Mac held for ransom                   51

    VII.   I mop the hotel floor                 60

   VIII.   Footpads fire upon us                 68

     IX.   In a haymow below zero                74

      X.   An asinine snowball                   83

     XI.   One bore is enough                    90

    XII.   At a country dance                    98

   XIII.   A peculiar, cold day                 105

    XIV.   I bargain for eggs                   111

     XV.   Gypsy girl tells fortune             116

    XVI.   All the devils are here              123

   XVII.   Darkest hour before dawn             132

  XVIII.   Champagne avenue, Chicago            142


PART II.

BY PYE POD AND MAC A'RONY.

    XIX.   Donk causes a sensation              153

     XX.   A donkey for Alderman                158

    XXI.   A donkey without a father            169

   XXII.   Rat trap and donkey's tail           173

  XXIII.   Mac crosses the Mississippi          178

   XXIV.   Pod hires a valet                    183

    XXV.   Done by a horsetrader                190

   XXVI.   Pod under arrest                     197

  XXVII.   Adventure in a sleeping bag          208

 XXVIII.   Mayor rides Mac A'Rony               213

   XXIX.   Across the Missouri in wheelbarrow   219

    XXX.   Pod in insane asylum                 224

   XXXI.   Narrow escape in quicksand           237

  XXXII.   At Buffalo Bill's ranch              243

 XXXIII.   Fourth of July in the desert         250

  XXXIV.   Bitten by a rattler                  253

   XXXV.   Havoc in a cyclone                   260

  XXXVI.   Two pretty dairy maids               265

 XXXVII.   Donks climb Pike's Peak              273

XXXVIII.   Sights in Cripple Creek              280

  XXXIX.   Baby girl named for Pod              287

     XL.   Treed by a silvertip bear            293

    XLI.   Nearly drowned in the Rockies        304

   XLII.   Donkey shoots the chutes             309

  XLIII.   Paint sign with donk's tail          319

   XLIV.   Swim two rivers in Utah              326

    XLV.   Initiated to Mormon faith            339

   XLVI.   Typewriting on a donkey              343

  XLVII.   Pod kissed by sweet sixteen          348

 XLVIII.   Last drop in the canteen             352

   XLIX.   How donkey pulls a tooth             364

      L.   Encounter with two desperadoes       369

     LI.   Donk, boy and dried apples           380

    LII.   Lost in Nevada desert                385

   LIII.   A frightful ghost dance              393

    LIV.   Across Sierras in deep snow          400

     LV.   All down a toboggan slide            409

    LVI. 'Frisco at last, we win!               415



LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS.


(Portrait) The traveler at the journey's end.

"I bade my friends farewell."

"We consumed a half hour in the gigantic task."

"I found the captive drinking with other jackasses."

"We tramped tired and footsore into the village."

"Mac could draw my luggage instead of carrying it."

"Mac's little legs would get stuck."

"Mac supervised the work."

"The only time I got ahead of him."

"I scrutinized his hat inquisitively."

"He accused me of attempting suicide."

"We made slow headway to the Mississippi.

"In this way I crossed that bridge of size."

"And I saw the streak of daylight."

"Mac was so slow that his shadow beat him to town."

"Over the Platte bridge, after blindfolding them."

"I killed my first rattlesnake."

"That was the town of Korty."

"Climbing Pike's Peak."

"He had caught a nice mess of trout."

"Trail through the timber."

"Independence Pass; one of the loftiest of the Continental
  Divide."

"Trail to Florisant."

"Two days of hard climbing to cross Western Pass."

"Through thickets, tangled roots and fallen trees."

"To swim and float on Salt Lake."

"Skull Valley desert, we stopped to feed and rest."

"The last and only drop."

"Just finished lunch when the possé arrived."

"Coonskin and I took shelter behind our donkeys."

"Through Devil's Gate, their panniers scraped the walls
  of the rocky gateway."

"Fired their revolvers in the air."

"Some Piute Indians who had camped close by."

"Playing Solitaire on Damfino's broad back."

"Began to plow snow toward Placerville.

"The cattle passed us, after we donks had broken the
  trail."

"Across on the exclusive Solano."

"I pointed toward the goal."

"The ferry approach in 'Frisco was choked with a
  rabble."

       *       *       *       *       *



PROLOGUE.


This is as true a story of my "voyage" as I am capable of writing.
Besides the newspaper accounts, two magazine articles, illustrated
on this subject have been published, the only ones contributed by
me, and they hardly outlined the trip. I have left out a hundred
interesting incidents and culled and edited until I am tired, in
order to condense this volume to convenient size. On the other
hand, notable adventures only recalled by my photographs have been
cheated of a mention, because the donkey ate my notes--he ate
everything in sight, and did not discriminate between a comic
circus poster and a tragic diary.

Ever since completing the trip, I have promised this book "next
month," but owing to the checkered career of the MS. with
ninety-seven publishers (all of whom declared that the book should be
brought out at once, but they lacked the nerve to publish it), I
am only now able to fulfil my promises. This is no romance. When I
did not walk with the donkey or carry him, he carried me the whole
four thousand and ninety-six miles, which includes the distance
traveled when he balked and backed.

With my two cameras I secured six hundred pictures descriptive of
the journey across eleven states, through the four seasons, during
that long, long year; only by them and my diary am I brought to
realize it is not a wild, weird dream. Now it is over, I sometimes
smile over things recalled which, when they happened, found
me as serious as the donk--grave in the superlative degree--and
thought-less people and those who never even crossed the plains by train
may style my experience a mere outing or "picnic." General Fremont
and other distinguished pioneers emphasize in their writings the
pleasures of their overland trips. They, as did the emigrants of
the '40s and '50s, set out in spring time from the Missouri or the
Mississippi in companies, with money, wagons, cattle and supplies,
and with one-third of the continent already behind them. The
Indians and big game of the prairies provided excitement that
lent a charm to the undertaking; it is dull monotony that kills.

I started four days before winter, practically without money, to
support, from earnings only, myself and dumb partner from New York
city to San Francisco.

It required twelve weeks to traverse the Empire State, through a
severe season when and where I suffered the most. The delightful
part of the journey was while crossing the Rockies. Instead of
taking the shortest cut, I had to consider the towns where I might
best make expenses, to look for the best roads and desert trails
by springs. Three times when lost I traveled far out of my course,
once twenty miles into a mountain forest.

It is only five days across by rail. Have you traveled it--in
summer? How monotonous grew those seas of alkali, sand (rock
waste), cacti and sage as the hours lengthened into days! Yet with
comfortable beds, shade, meals served, cool drinks, and books to
read, at times feeling yourself speeding through the air a
mile to,the minute, you wearied of the "voyage." Five days!
Multiply them into weeks, then into months, double and add five
weeks--forty-nine weeks! Fancy yourself for such a period on a slow
burro which walks half your natural pace, and so small that if you wear
roller skates while in the saddle you may ease the animal; ride one mile
astride; when you feel about to split, ride the second mile
side-ways; when your back feels ready to break, ride the third
mile Turkish fashion; by this time your legs are benumbed and your
feet asleep, so walk a mile and carry the jackass; you will
thereby quiet your nerves, rest your bones, and make better time.

If ever you are tempted to ride a donkey overland, REFRAIN. Rather
creep across backwards on your hands and knees, or circumnavigate
the globe in a washtub. If you still persist, why, ride a donkey
twenty miles in a pouring rain, then follow your own judgment. If
you wish my donkey's advice, I will introduce him. His head is
longer than his ears, which was not the case when he set out with
me.

  R. P. W.

[Illustration: "_I bade my friends farewell._"]

       *       *       *       *       *



PART 1.


       *       *       *       *       *



On a Donkey's Hurricane Deck



CHAPTER I.

    By this hand, thou think'st me as far
  in the devil's book as thou and Falstaff,
  for obduracy and persistency. Let the
  end try the man.
                  --_Shakespeare._


A noisy, curious, gaping multitude was crowded about the Bartholdi
Hotel, New York. It was just after the noon hour on Friday,
November 27, 1896, the day on which I was to start on my long and
memorable journey across the continent on a donkey. The corridors
were filled with interested guests, the reception room held about
a hundred of my friends who had come to bid me God-speed, and less
than a hundred thousand people choked Madison Square and the
streets leading into it.

I had agreed with a friend to forfeit to him five thousand
dollars, in case I should fail to make a donkey trip from New York
to San Francisco in three hundred and forty-one days, under the
following conditions:

Start from New York City, without a dollar in pocket and without
begging, borrowing, or stealing, procure a donkey, and, riding or
leading the beast, earn my way across the continent to San
Francisco, and register at its leading hotel within the schedule
time. I must cover the whole distance with a donkey by road or
trail only; announce in a prominent newspaper of New York my
start, at least twenty-four hours in advance, and mention the
hour, day, and starting point. Seated on a donkey, I must parade
on portions of Broadway, Fourteenth and Twenty-third Streets,
Fifth, Madison, and West End Avenues; both the donkey and I must
wear spectacles, and I a frock-coat and "plug" hat, but, the
latter to be discarded at pleasure when once across the
Mississippi River, the coat to be worn to San Francisco.

I slyly suggested the two most absurd conditions, believing it
would be easier to earn my way in the rôle of a comedian than in
the garb of a serious-thinking, imposed-upon mortal. I reasoned
that I should have to live on sensation and notoriety, and,
perhaps, keep from starving by employing my wits. These
reflections I kept to myself. My "friend" chuckled amusedly,
doubtless picturing in his mind the circus I was about to provide.

Without delay I began the preparations for the asinine journey.
After much troublesome searching, I managed with the help of
Hennessy, a stable-keeper, and Dr. Moore, a veterinary surgeon, to
secure an option on a small donkey at James Flanagan's sale
stables. Macaroni was the animal's name, and the price to be paid
was $25. Then I got our coachman to go among his friends to see if
he could get hold of a coat--a Prince Albert--and stove-pipe hat.
He succeeded admirably, and when I had ordered spectacles for
myself and the donkey, I was ready for the trip. I reached the
hotel on the appointed day at one o'clock, borrowed the donkey for
my official start, sent him back to the stables, then went to the
Reception Room. Among my friends awaiting were my "friend," the
landlord of the hotel, a photographer who had taken a picture of
me seated on the donkey a few days before, and had come to deliver
the photos; and my attorney, for the Chief of Police had refused
me a permit to parade on the streets, and threatened my arrest if
I proved to be a public nuisance. I borrowed a pen and bottle of
ink, and, after bowing a greeting to my friends assembled, set to
work putting my autograph on the pictures, which I offered for
sale at twenty-five cents.

Bless my suspenders, and how they went! I made up my mind that we
"two donkeys" would many times have greater difficulty in
obtaining quarters before I reached my destination. For an hour
the fist of Pye Pod swung a powerful quill and inscribed on each
photograph a name that would go into his-story. Silver jingled on
the table; the anxious hands of the crowding patrons got mixed in
the shuffle, and some got two pictures and others got none; the
ink flew about recklessly, and there were no blotters at hand; my
heart thumped, and I was so excited that I kissed by mistake an
indignant girl friend in place of my sister; and finally stole my
sister's lace handkerchief, instead of that of a sweetheart, but
which, however, I failed to discover till six months afterward;
and still I lacked the requisite sum.

I now had twenty-four dollars, but I needed at least forty-one.
Although I had made a five-dollar payment to Flanagan, that money
came from my private purse and must be redeemed and returned;
besides, I must pay $12 to the photographer for the 200 photos
delivered to me, and $4 more to the blacksmith's representative
for shoeing the donkey.

"I will lend you all the money you want," said the president of
one of my clubs; and my "friend's" ears and eyes were directed
upon me.

"I cannot beg, borrow, or accept gratuities," I exclaimed, firmly;
"I propose to fulfill the terms of my wager to the letter, and
when I accomplish it, be able to make a sworn statement to that
effect."

Just then I heard a newsboy calling, "EXTRA--ALL ABOUT THE GREAT
DONKEY RIDE."

At once I dispatched a friend with money to purchase the papers,
while I followed him to the hotel exit, where I stationed myself
in full view of the crowd and drew from my pocket a blue lead
pencil, ready for a new task. The papers secured and brought to
me, I scribbled my name on them and offered them for a dime
apiece.

"I have no time to make change, so give me the amount you wish to
pay," I said to the eager purchasers. In fifteen minutes I had
enough dimes and quarters and fifty-cent pieces to enable me to
square my accounts and send for my donkey.

In the course of a half hour, Macaroni was induced by sundry
persuasions to invade the noisy precinct of Madison Square and
come up to the hotel door; and, with a small surplus of cash in
pocket, I bade my friends farewell and got into the saddle.

Amid a deafening "tiger" from the multitude, the "lion" of the
hour majestically proceeded down Broadway to Fourteenth Street;
and the most sensational parade New York had ever witnessed had
begun.

My lazy steed barely crawled; he stopped every rod or two, and
generally in front of a car or other vehicle. It was an event for
the street gamins, and, had they not trailed close behind us
through the city and given Mac occasional goads and twists of the
tail, I doubt if I could have reached Harlem by midnight. It was a
terrible ride, and I often have wondered since how I escaped with
my neck.

Passing down Fourteenth Street, we turned up Fifth Avenue, crossed
Madison Square, paraded Madison Avenue to Thirty-third Street, turned to
the left over to Fifth Avenue and passed the Waldorf-Astoria,
followed Forty-second Street to the Boulevard, and up the avenue to
Seventy-second Street, and then up West End Avenue, past my "friend's"
residence. There I was stopped by a member of the mounted police, and,
to my surprise, was tendered a Loving-cup Reception by my "friend's"
pretty daughter, who, with a number of our mutual friends, welcomed me
while her father was at his office expecting a telegram that Pye Pod had
given up his trip.

All drank to the pilgrim's progress. Wines, flowers and ice cream,
tears, and best wishes, all contributed to the happy function,
while out of doors, an incident happened that caused me to rush to
my donkey's side. It seems that, in looking through his green
glasses, he mistook the iron picket screen that guarded a young
and hopeful shade tree for some kind of verdant fodder, and
destroyed a couple of teeth. The incident threw a damper on the
reception, so I made my adieux, and resumed my fated journey with
a heart still hopeful, yet heavier than it ever felt before.

It was 7 P. M. when Mac and I stopped at the Minot Hotel, Harlem,
and registered for the night. Among my several callers that
evening was a Professor of a Riding Academy who claimed to have
ridden horseback from ocean to ocean a few years previous and
within several feet of his death after losing several horses; and
he described to me the perils of my prospective trip, the
boundless, waterless deserts and snow-covered mountains, the
tornadoes and tarantulas, and the untamed Indians, and ferocious
prairie dogs, and begged me to give up the journey. Dear old
Professor, how often on that voyage on the hurricane deck of my
donkey, did I indulge in grievous meditation on the wisdom of your
advice!

I simply thanked the gentleman for his tender concern about my
welfare, and sold him a chromo for a quarter.

After a bath, I enjoyed a delicate sleep, and next day set out in
a dripping rain for Yonkers, over twenty miles away, with less
than a dollar in pocket. I had only sold enough pictures on the
way to Harlem to defray my hotel bill, as a stringent city
ordinance prohibited it without a license, and I had difficulty in
avoiding the vigilant police.

But, although fortune and the weather frowned on me, I ground my
teeth and headed for the Golden Gate.

Trailing up Seventh Avenue, I gradually left the busy metropolis
to my rear and entered a more open country. Some urchins of the
suburbs tagged behind us meddlesomely, and finally a Dutch vixen
hit Macaroni with a potato, almost causing me to leave the saddle.
That paradox of asininity chased the potato, and ate it. He,
doubtlessly, feared lest the missile might strike him again, and
decided it best to put it out of the way.

At 2 P. M. I had crossed McComb's Dam Bridge, and at five I
crossed another of the same description. It was low and narrow,
and Mac was so afraid of the water that I had to blindfold him to
get him across. Shortly after occurred our first disaster.

On nearing a little hamlet that had reached the horse-car stage of
progress a counterfeit breeze sprang up which soon developed into
a howling hurricane, as a huge beer wagon filled with dragons, or
flagons of vile spirits wheeled down upon us. They wanted to scare
the jackass, and they did. The wagon wheels got into the car
tracks, and when the wagon turned out for us the wheels slid, and
hit my partner in the vicinity of his tail, sprinkling us
broadcast over a quarter acre of ground. I carried out a friend's
prediction by traveling some distance on my face; I say this
without vanity. When I sat upright, I saw Macaroni still turning
headsprings. My repeating rifle stuck in the soft earth erect,
dressed in my long-tail coat and plug hat, a veritable scarecrow,
while the soil was well sown with rifle cartridges.

It took us a half hour to get again under way. With a degree of
patience that would have overtaxed Job himself, I collected my
belongings, dragged my beast of burden to Yonkers, and anchored
him in front of a hotel. It was only eight; I had thought it
nearly morning.

The genial landlord received me kindly, but said I had arrived at
a bad season. The town was financially dead, the factories had
shut down, and a thousand stomachs were empty. I corrected him;
there were a thousand and one, and, ascertaining the shortest
route to the dining-room, I gave him proof that I was right.

After supper I felt in good spirits. I had sold sufficient chromos
on the way from Harlem to land here with five dollars in pocket,
and soon after my arrival, one man bought all the pictures I had
left, seven of them, for which he paid two dollars. So, although
weary in body, I retired that Saturday night with some sense of
relief in knowing I possessed the funds to keep myself and partner
over the Sabbath.

A general inspection of my donkey next morning revealed the fact that he
was badly "stove up," and the probability that I would be detained in
consequence several days. If I ever had the blues, I had them then. A
veterinary, Dr. Skitt, was summoned; he bandaged two legs, covered
twenty square inches of donkey with court-plaster, and strapped a new
boot on the animal's off fore leg. On returning to the hotel, I notified
the landlord that I should be his guest very likely several days on
account of my steed's crippled condition; I said I proposed to give a
lecture Tuesday evening to defray my extra expense, and asked him if I
could have the dining room for the purpose.

"Can you fill the hall?" asked the proprietor.

"Full as a kit of mackerel."

"But I have only a hundred chairs," he apologized.

"Hire two hundred of an undertaker," I suggested, "and I will
defray all other expenses of the funeral."

It was a go. I then worded a handbill and hurried with it to a
printer.



CHAPTER II.

    I sow all sorts of seeds, and get no great
  harvest from any of them. I'm cursed with
  susceptibility in every direction, and effective
  faculty in none.
                       --_Mill on the Floss._


A shower of paper flakes fell upon the amazed citizens of Yonkers
like an unseasonable snow-storm, and every flake contained the
announcement:

  TO=NIGHT! TO=NIGHT! TO=NIGHT!

  G---- HOUSE DINING=HALL

  Only chance to hear

  The Greatest of Modern Travelers

  PYTHAGORAS POD

  Who left New York without a dollar, to eat his way to San
  Francisco, within one year,

  WILL RELATE 100 HAIR=BREADTH ESCAPES

  Lassoing elephants in India; hunting chamois with sling-shots
  in the Alps; perils of an ostrich ride through the great African
  desert; and a kangaroo hop across Australia--THE BIGGEST
  HOP ON RECORD.

         *       *       *       *       *

  Gleanings from the Press.

  "His stories will make a hyena laugh."--_New York Bombast._

  "Pye Pod is nothing more than a cake of sugar boiled down from the
  syrup of Lawrence Stearne, Dean Swift, Cervantes, Artemus Ward, and
  Josh Billings."--_Chicago Tornado._

         *       *       *       *       *

  EVERY MAN AND WOMAN

  who has Thirty cents to throw away, should put one in a Yonkers
  Bank and Twenty-nine in the pocket of the donkey traveler.

         *       *       *       *       *

  TICKETS, $0.29. TICKETS, TWENTY=NINE CENTS

         *       *       *       *       *

  YONKERS APPEAL POWER PRINT

Even Macaroni lent a hoof, and was led by a boy through the
streets, bearing a pasteboard sandwich which reached from ears to
tail. The residents of Mistletoe Avenue gazed at the ridiculous
spectacle, indignantly at first; but on the return trip they
crowded in open door-ways and regarded the procession of beast and
tagging boys, as much as to say, "We must go and hear the donkey
lecture."

Macaroni had quite recovered; his exercise did him good. My
lecture promised to be a huge success. The Tuesday Morning Squib
and the Evening Sunrise contained alluring advertisements of the
event sure to puncture an epoch in my life.

When the hour arrived, the populace, I was secretly informed, with
twenty-nine cents in one hand and their lives in the other crowded
about the hotel and called loudly for admittance.

My hands trembled, my hair throbbed, and my heart leaped in the
ecstacy that comes with one's first great triumph, while I stood
in the butler's pantry waiting for a friend to introduce me--to
bid me enter the stage--the first stage of lunacy. When I issued
forth, I was so excited I could not distinguish the audience from
so many chairs. Having agreed to divide the receipts with my host
for the use of his house, my visions of wealth got confused with
my words, and I talked for an hour with all the eloquence and
enthusiasm I could muster,--though I should have said less to a
smaller house,--and with a sore throat retired to the refreshment
room, followed by my press agent from Brooklyn. The "Doctor"
handed me just twenty-nine cents. My audience had consisted of
three persons: the landlord, the head-waiter, and the Dago printer
whom I owed three dollars.

Reverses are like children's diseases. If they come too late in
life, they go hard with us; and if too early, they may visit us
again.

I was not totally bankrupt. Not willing to begin a "three ball"
business at the very outset, I resolved to rise at dawn and sell
enough chromos to that unappreciative community to pay my bills,
if I had to sell them at cost. I set to work. By one o'clock I had
visited every shop, store and Chinese laundry, and was talking
hoarsely to a corner grocer who, seated on a keg of mackerel,
sampling limburger cheese, grinned with satisfaction at his
fortified position and swore like a skipper. I offered a picture
for fifteen cents, but the reduction in price did not disturb his
physical equilibrium.

"I vant not a peakture at any price," he affirmed.

"I lack fifteen cents of the amount of my hotel bill," I urged; "I
am in dire straits."

His reply was weak, but the cheese was strong enough to help him
out. My mental magazine had but a single charge left, and I fired
it. "Isn't it worth fifteen cents to know a fool when you see
one?"

"Ye-e-es, I dink it ess," answered Sweitzer Edam, "and eef you
vill write it on the peakture I'll buy it." I made the sale.

Then after calling on the Mayor, who received me cordially,
swapped autographs, and asked to see my partner, I saddled my
animal and led him to the hotel for my traps.

"You aren't going before dinner?" the proprietor asked; "it's
ready now."

"I'm flat broke--can't afford to eat," I returned sadly.

"Then come in and have a meal on me," said he. "A man who has
worked as you have to square with his landlord shan't leave my
hotel hungry." I yielded.

My trip to Tarrytown was accomplished on my own legs. Macaroni
refused to budge unless somebody led him. The whole town turned
out to see us; it was an event for the hotel. That evening I was
asked to McCarty's Show, at the Theatre, paying thirty-five cents
admission; I learned that the "Dutch treat" was in vogue when too
late for my pride to let me decline the invitation. Next day, at
noon, I set out for Sing Sing, now called Ossining, about seven
miles away.

My steed, that was really not half a steed, seemed to be gradually
recovering from the doubt that an endless journey had been mapped
out for him, and kept me watching and prodding him constantly. On
one occasion he drove through a gap in a fence; on another, he
scraped through a hedge and relieved himself of my Winchester,
coat and saddle-bags, for which he immediately expressed regret.
At length, he balked; and I sat down by the road-side a half hour
before he showed readiness to go.

While there meditating upon my trials, a pedestrian stopped and
listened to my sixteen complaints. He seemed much amused, and
suggested that if I would hang a penny before the donkey's nose he
might follow the cent. A practical idea at once came to mind, and
when, soon afterward, we reached a farm house, I put my idea to
the test. I purchased some apples, and suspended one from a bough
secured to the saddle and reaching over the donkey's head. The
scheme worked admirably. Mac pursued the bobbing, swinging fruit
at such a speed that he was nearly winded when we reached town,
having manipulated his short legs to the velocity of two and
one-third miles an hour.

We reached town shortly after five. The village is nicely situated
high on the banks of the Hudson, and some of its residents have a
beautiful view of the river, while others see nothing more
picturesque than a stone wall. Sing Sing, to use the more
familiar name, is the seat of an extensive prison, patronized by
sojourners from all parts of the world and heavily endowed, being
backed by the wealth of the State.

A local organization, the Sing Sing Steamer Company, invited me to
its monthly dinner that evening, and, to my surprise and
gratitude, purchased with a sealed envelope one of "our" pictures
for the club rooms. I don't think it a good custom to buy a pig in
a poke, but this time the pig was fat and healthy, and I found
myself several dollars richer.

Next morning I bought a revolver, for, as I had to employ the
larger part of the day in making sales and working my wits in a
multitude of ways to keep my ship from stranding and the crew from
starving, I was often compelled to travel long into the night and
required some more handy weapon than a rifle for defence against
pirates.

The newspapers generally heralded my coming, often greatly
magnifying my successes, and I felt that the hard times, which the
country at large was suffering, made such a thing as a hold-up not
only possible but imminent any night.

Having received an invitation to visit the State Prison, I set out
in the forenoon to find it, and a policeman (a very proper person,
by the way), guided me to that famous hostelry. Macaroni also was
invited, but the affrighted animal declined to enter the prison
gates. Whether he thought he saw a drove of zebras, or was
repelled by a guilty conscience, I know not, but, falling back in
a sitting posture, he threw his ears forward and brayed loudly.

On entering the office, the secretary rose from his chair and
seized me. "Professor," he said, "you are my prisoner for an
hour; come this way and I will present you to the warden."

We left the room and walked over to that official's desk.

"Mr. Warden," said the secretary, "Allow me to introduce Professor
Pythagoras Pod, the illustrious donkey-traveler, who is eating his
way across the continent."

"Show the gentleman to the dining-room, and give him a plate of
soup," said the warden hospitably; then, squeezing my fingers, he
waived me to the chief keeper of the prison. The warden noted my
hesitancy in leaving, and asked if there was anything in
particular he could do for me.

"Will you allow me to sit in the electric chair?" I asked.

"Ye-e-es," he replied politely, but apparently startled, "although
I consider you are already having capital punishment for your
asinine undertaking;" and turning to the keeper, he said, "Give
him fifty thousand volts; nothing less will phase a man of his
nerve." I thanked him.

With faltering step I entered the solemncholy chamber. A colored
prisoner was to follow me a day later. Little he knew that he would sit
in the same chair Pod sat in the previous day. The keeper said
everything was in readiness for turning on the current that has the
power to drift a soul from this world to another in the twinkling of an
eye. The battery had been thoroughly tested,--and detested, too. In less
than thirty seconds from the time an ordinary prisoner enters a door of
this world he enters the door of another; but, Pod, being a man of
extraordinary nerve, walked out the door he entered. When I climbed into
that terrible chair, I held my breath. The keeper said it required only
a certain number of volts to kill a man; that fifty thousand, such as
the warden had suggested for my pleasure, would not so much as singe a
hair of my head. If I survived the first shock, I would have something
to boast; as it would be abusing a confidence to describe the sensations
of electrocution, I must not do so.

On returning to the office the warden congratulated me, and said I
had earned my freedom. He even presented me a plaster of Paris
ornament,--made by a prisoner who had never seen Paris,--and a
package of prison-made tobacco, which I might chew, or eschew, as
I liked. While I appreciated these gifts, how much more I should
have valued a battery of electrical currents to administer to my
donkey.

Crowds assembled to view our exit from town at two o'clock. We
reached Croton, some six miles beyond, about dusk. As we
approached the bridge crossing of the Croton River, I saw a duck
and thought I would test my marksmanship with a revolver. My
drowsy steed had nearly reached the center of the bridge when I
banged at the innocent hell-diver. A compound disaster followed
the shot as the frightened jackass shied to the left and dashed
through the iron frame-work, tail over ears into the river,
scraping me out of the saddle, but dropping me, fortunately, on
the bridge. I managed, however, to get the duck; the donk got the
ducking. It was a marvel that he didn't drown; from the way he
brayed, I judged he was of the same opinion.

Long after dark we arrived in Peekskill. Throughout the day the
weather was threatening, and I tramped the last three miles in the
rain. I had donned my mackintosh and slung my overcoat across the
saddle, and was pacing ahead of Mac, with reins in hand, coaxing
the stubborn beast on, when suddenly he jumped. I turned just in
time to discover in the darkness two men, one of whom was
suspiciously near to the donkey. I told them civilly to walk
ahead, as they excited my animal.

"That's none of our business," one of them remarked; "we'll walk
where we d--d please."

"Not this time," I said, as I got the drop on them with my new
shooting-iron; and I marched the ruffians into town. The sneaks
probably wanted my overcoat. Before we were fairly in town I
dismissed them, and advised them thereafter to cultivate civility
toward travelers.

It was Friday night. I called upon the Mayor, and engaged the Town
Hall for a lecture, resolved to try my luck again in that line.
Alas! my second reverse! This time it was a too impromptu affair.

Sunday I rested, but Monday, when everything augured bright for
the week, I was shocked to find Macaroni ill. At once I summoned a
doctor, a dentist, and a veterinary surgeon for a consultation,
and breathlessly awaited the verdict.

"Your jackass has a complication of diseases," said the vet;
"among them influenza, bots, and hives."

"He has the measles," pronounced the doctor.

"He is teething," insisted the dentist.

This was too much; with a troubled brow and an empty stomach I
went to breakfast, and left the doctors to fight it out.



CHAPTER III.

  Little drops of water,
    Little grains of dirt,
  Make the roads so muddy
    Donk won't take a spurt.
        --_Dogeared Doggerels--Pod._


Never before had I encountered such a disagreeable road. While I
tramped over the highlands from Peekskill to Fishkill Landing,
Macaroni barely crawled. He kept me constantly in the fear that he
would lie down and roll, and finally he did so, selecting a mud
puddle. I was told donkeys fairly dote on dust, and that a roll
will invigorate them more than will a measure of grain. But mine
was different to other donkeys.

Before leaving Peekskill, Dr. Shook said Mac showed symptoms of
mud fever, although the tendency lay strongly toward phlebitus,
farcy, and poll-evil. He even warned me that I might expect
epizootic to set in any day.

To urge Mac on to Newburgh in one day necessitated my start, at
day-break. We reached the Fishkill ferry at half-past eight,
covering the twenty-mile journey in fifteen hours. The highland
road was rough where the mud had dried. Steep and rocky summits
stood out, bold and barren, save where occasional bunches of young
cedars huddled among the denuded trees.

Finally I saw a small structure, through whose open windows
could be heard a chorus of youthful voices intoning.
"The--dog--caught--the--pig--by--the--yer." It was a school house. I
remembered that song of my boyhood; I thought it would be interesting
to drop in, and forthwith rapped on the door. Meanwhile, Mac stuck his
head in the window, causing a deafening chime of cries within. A painful
silence followed. I waited patiently for admittance; then I opened the
door. The room was deserted, the exit at the opposite end wide open, I
crossed the floor and looked out to discover the teacher and two dozen
young ones scurrying up the mountain through the scant woods. I called
to them, but they ran the faster. Wonder what they thought they saw?

With every mile's advance we penetrated more deeply the mountain
wilderness. Before long Macaroni began to slow up. Again I had
recourse to the scheme of suspending an apple over his head. The
beast increased his speed at once, making a lunge at the
unobtainable, and chasing it with rapid stride. He evidently had
never read the story about the boy who pursued a rainbow, and
unlike that boy, was stupid enough to be fooled twice. A few miles
beyond I answered some inquiries of a woman out driving, and sold
her a photo. I had no sooner stopped with the article in hand than
I was startled with the sound of gagging behind, and turning, I
beheld the donkey wrenching in the throes of strangulation. Having
lowered the apple to the ground, he had swallowed it, together
with the string and half the bough. I withdrew the "intrusions"
with difficulty, and returned to the woman who had fainted. I had
no restoratives; but I had once resuscitated a Jew with a novel
expedient, and determined to try the same plan in this case.

"These pictures are fifteen cents each, although I sometimes get
twenty-five for one," I said somewhat forcibly; "don't trouble
yourself, madam, trust me with your pocket-book, I will--." At
once the woman awoke, and counting out the lesser amount
mentioned, pulled on the reins and drove away. Let me grasp the
hand of that man who can beat a woman at a bargain!

When passing through Cold Spring, I was startled by the booming of
cannon at West Point, just across the river. I had not expected
such honors. So overawed was I by the salute that I forgot to
count the guns, but presume there were twenty-one. Far above and
behind the group of academic buildings still frowned old Fort
Putnam, deploring its shameful neglect, and casting envious
glances at the modern Observatory below and the newer buildings
lower down. Every mile of the beautiful Hudson recalled to mind
happy memories of my own school days, which made my present ordeal
doubly distressing.

When night lowered her sombre shades, my thoughts took flight to
more distant scenes. My heart and brain grew weary, and I forgot
for a time that my bones were lame and my feet sore from walking,
walking, walking on an endless journey, with no perceptible
evidence of approaching nearer to the goal. At length, the Albany
night boat steamed past us, its myriad lights dancing on the
ruffled waters, or revealing a jolly group of passengers on deck.
The air was painfully quiet; and when the song, "Oh, Where is My
Wandering Boy To-night," floated over to me in answer to
Macaroni's bray, I found consolation in the thought that perhaps
some of the tourists recognized my outfit in the dark, and pitied
me.

I had by this time discovered mountain climbing to be a donkey's
leading card. He may loiter on the flat, but he will make you hump
when it comes to steep ascents. The night was mild for that season
of the year, and becoming considerably heated, I doffed my
overcoat and spread it over the saddle on my mackintosh. When we
were descending the hill on the other side, I dismounted and led
Mac with the bridle reins, but kept a good watch on the coats.
After a while, however, I became so absorbed in thought that I
neglected my duty, and, finally, when I did turn to inspect them
they were missing. It gave me the worst fright I had experienced
since leaving New York.

Staking Mac to a gooseberry bush, I immediately retraced my steps
a mile or more through an Egyptian darkness before I found the
garments lying securely in the mud. On my return to the bush I was
alarmed not to find the donkey. That "phenomenon" had eaten that
prickly shrub to the roots and fled either down the road to
Fishkill or through the woods. I started out for town on a run.
Imagine my astonishment to find Mac patiently standing in front of
the ferry. The boat had landed her passengers; and had the donkey
not taken the precaution to anticipate me, we should have had to
remain on that side of the river for the night. As it was, the
ferry waited for Mac's rider--thanks to the considerate pilot.

Newburgh! I recognized her by her streets at an angle of 45
degrees. Mac took to the place hugely. I stopped at a small
combination hotel and restaurant, where roast turkey and pumpkin
pie decorated the windows, and made arrangements for the night.

When about to leave, I was visited by a delegation from the local
militia who, for a fair consideration, induced us both to remain
over and referee a game of basket ball that evening at the armory.
Mac did not accept very gracefully, and had to be coerced. What I
knew about the game wouldn't tax a baby's mind, but that didn't
matter. It proved to be an event for the regiment, for Pod, and
for Macaroni.

Next day I found my donkey's maladies increasing. They had already
tripled in number since leaving Peekskill; and, to think, I had
arrived at Newburg just two days too late to secure a sound
animal.

I pushed on to Poughkeepsie.

Upon arriving at that university city I was pleased to find the
inhabitants not quite so slow as the appearance of the place would
indicate. The city has of late years become the Henley of America.
It is the seat of Eastman's business college, as well as a very
progressive college for girls--Vassar. The residents generally drop
three letters in spelling the name of their proud city, and make it
Po'keepsie. There were four good points I liked about the place,
and that was one of them; the other three were, the Mayor, the
Vassar girls, and a newspaper reporter who, for a consideration,
engaged Mac and me to appear at the theatre in an amateur play.

It was to be a new stage in our travels. The urchin who led the
donkey about the streets proudly bore in one hand a standard
inscribed: "KEEP YOUR EYES ON THE DONKEY;" and those who obeyed
saw printed on a canvas blanket gracefully draped over Mac's back
the startling announcement: "WILL APPEAR TO-NIGHT IN HOGAN'S
ALLEY, AT KIRCHNER'S HALL." I believe Mac paraded the city utterly
oblivious of the interest he created.

I had promised to have my donkey at the Hall at five sharp. There
were two staircases for him to climb, and I had not contemplated
the enormity of the task before me. We tugged on his halter; we
set three dogs barking at his heels; but the only time he stirred
was when he removed the dogs. He just braced himself well against
the curb, and brayed until he had called the audience to the show
two hours ahead of time. After a while two strong policemen took a
hand with me in a three-handed game, and turned over a jack.
Finally, four more men assisting, the beast was carried upstairs
and into the theatre, where he was forced to walk a plank on to
the stage. Then I fed and watered him, and combing his fur the
right way, left him to the melancholy contemplation of his
position.

When we returned an hour later, he was still as immovable as a
statue. The stage manager directed me to ride the donkey out from
behind the scenery at a given signal; so I began to practice with
him. I cannot describe all that happened the next hour. By seven
o'clock Mac was fairly broken, and everything looked promising.

The house was crowded; only a portion of the attendance of the
fair held in connection with the play, down stairs, could find
seats; and the performance was to be repeated. One part of the
play, however, not on the program, could not be reproduced.
Apparently no attempts had ever been made to convert Mac to
religion, for when the Salvation Army entered the scene, banging
drums and clashing cymbals, the terrified jack began to back
toward the footlights. The stage manager, fearing lest the beast
might back off the stage, dropped the curtain. But that didn't
check Mac; he backed against the curtain and under it, and dropped
plumb into the audience, making five "laps" in a second, his best
time to date. One fat man, over-burdened, crashed through his
chair. Fortunately nobody was seriously injured, but several had
spasms, and more than one girl crawled over the backs of the seats
in terror. "Such doings," as a paper stated next day, "were never
known before in this town in the annals of donkeys--four-legged or
two-legged either."

As soon as the excitement was over, Mac was assisted on to the
stage, and the play was twice repeated, all three performances
before crowded houses.

While returning Mac to his stable I heard the bray of a donkey,
and resolved next day to look him up. Then I sent a message to a
young lady friend at Vassar, and wrote my weekly story for the
papers.

I frequently refer to my Vassar friends, but I doubt if they ever
mention me. I had written one that I would polish two dozen pairs
of Vassar shoes at the rate of fifty cents a pair, either on, or
off. Allowing me two minutes for each pair and half a minute for
making change, I believed I could polish to the queen's taste some
forty-eight pairs in two hours. My proposal was accepted. The hour
set was 5:00 A. M., while the teachers would be dreaming about the
binomial formula, blue light, and turnips. And I was expected to
polish the shoes on the foot.

Accordingly, I was aroused from slumber at four, and practiced on
the stove legs for a full half-hour, to get polishing down to a
science. Then I took the trolley car to the hedge fence, stole in
through the stately gate, and took the time of the huge clock
above the entrance. Then I took my own time. I had four minutes to
spare, and knew Vassar girls were anything but slow.

"The days of chivalry are not gone," says George Eliot,
"notwithstanding Burke's grand dirge over them; they live still in
that far-off worship paid by many a youth and man to the woman of
whom he never dreams that he shall touch so much as her little
finger or the hem of her robe." I had no sooner placed my chair at
the right marble staircase than I heard the rustle of skirts,
immediately followed by a bevy of charming girls stealing down the
steps on tip-toe, all a-giggle and a-smile, balancing their supple
forms with outstretched arms, and enlivening the early dawn with
the mischief beaming from their eyes. "Good morning," they said,
as each in turn shook hands with me. I was inspired to hug every
one of them, but dared not show the lack of polish.

Raising my hat, I said softly, "Shine," and number one mounted the
throne, soon to be "daubed" a queen. Bless me! wasn't she pretty!
As she gaily lifted her skirts to give my brushes a free swing, a
perfect pair of ankles burst into view, daintily imprisoned in
black silk hose, and--well, I naturally was excited. Blacking flew
like the mud did when the beer wagon bumped against Mac, and a
brush flopped out of my hand through a colored window, letting in
more light, for it was still quite dusky. It seemed to be
impossible for the young lady to keep her feet in place on the
block, and not until she suggested I should hold her boot in place
did I begin to polish to my credit. After that no girl could keep
her feet stationary unless I held her foot with one hand and
polished with the other. "Next," and another winsome creature took
the chair, and poured fifty pennies into my hand. I took it for
granted that she was some copper king's daughter.

I worked so hard that I was soon perspiring. After finishing a
dozen pair, when about to polish the second shoe on number
thirteen, someone claimed she heard a professor reading Volapuk.
At once there was a scurry, and a rustle of skirts. Number
thirteen kicked over the blacking accidental, and fled with one
shoe unpolished; but that odd shoe did just as good service as any
of the rest. The whole bevy of girls vanished before I had time to
collect my senses, my chair, and my brushes, and chase myself
away. When once started, I ran to beat the cars, and reached the
hotel in time for breakfast, the richer by six dollars and a lace
handkerchief.

Come to think of it, what an extr'ordinary adventure that was for
a modest and dignified traveler with a donkey! I wondered, as I
sipped my coffee, what the Principal said when she discovered so
many neat-looking shoes.



CHAPTER IV.

    Shame on the world! said I to myself. Did we but
  love each other as this poor soul loved his ass, 'twould
  be something.
              --_Sentimental Journey_--_Stearne._


An empty heart is like an empty barrel conveniently located;
nobody will dare to gamble on the first thing to be thrown into
it: and a full heart, like a barrel of fruit, must be sorted
frequently, lest a bit of blemish corrupt the whole.

My heart was as full of Macaroni from New York to Po'keepsie as my
stomach once had been from Milan to Naples. I first fancied my
donkey, next admired him, suddenly became conscious of a growing
contempt for him, and finally pity, now that the time for parting
with him had come. Having depended entirely upon the stupid beast
for companionship, he really had become a pet. Often he had
offended and vexed me beyond seeming pardon; on the other hand, he
had afforded me amusement during my lonesome hours, often causing
me to laugh outright at his antics. But, in order to complete my
journey on time, I felt I must avail myself of the first
opportunity to exchange him for a livelier steed. It was my Vassar
friend who told me about Dr. Jackson and his precocious donkey;
she claimed the animal often displayed human intelligence.

With some difficulty I found the doctor's residence; when,
introducing myself and acquainting him with my errand, he put on
his hat and took me to the barn. Behold! the cutest little donkey
I ever saw. He was a sleek, slender creature of blush color, with
an intelligent but roguish countenance, and with cropped ears
which gave him a semblance to a deer. The doctor said the animal
was hardly three years old. His hoofs were very small, so tiny
that he might have stepped into an after-dinner cup and not
damaged more than your appetite for coffee.

"What do you call the little fellow?" I asked.

"Mac A'Rony," said the doctor.

The coincidence made me smile. "That, too, is my donkey's name," I
declared, somewhat to his astonishment. He then spelled his
animal's name, showing that there was as much difference between
the names as between the donkeys, between patrician and plebeian.
He said that Mac A'Rony was the lineal descendant of an ancient
and honorable family of Irish asses; whereas, I believed Macaroni
could boast of no more distinguished heritage than that of Italian
peasantry. The doctor even harbored the suspicion that his donkey
must be a descendant of Balaam's famous ass.

"His bluish coat is a reflection of the blue blood in his veins,"
observed the doctor; and I was made to feel of the same opinion.

I coveted that donkey, but had little hope of securing it, as my
means were so limited. Imagine my astonishment when the doctor
proposed that we make an even exchange of animals.

"If your overland journey continues to be as notable as it is thus
far," said he, "I should like to possess the first donkey you
used."

I dared not believe my ears.

"But you have not seen my donkey," I reminded him.

"I will accept your representation of the animal," he replied. The
bargain made, we parted. An hour later Macaroni was in the
doctor's barn, and Mac A'Rony in the livery stable. The greatest
objection I had to my new companion was his youth. The fastidious
appetite of this Irish gentleman demanded bread, and other table
fare; he actually stuck up his nose at oats and hay. What would he
do should we get stranded! I might live a whole day on three milk
punches which I could pay for with photos, but experience had
taught me it required many punches to keep a donkey moving.

When about to depart, I was disconcerted to discover the doctor's
boy riding his new possession down the street toward the hotel.
Macaroni seemed to realize we were to part forever. There was a
sad, depressed look in his eyes; his brows knitted, and his nose
wept, as he brayed "When shall we three meet again." I felt a pang
in my heart, and turning my eyes from him, headed Mac A'Rony for
the West.

Shortly afterward, I was stopped by a blacksmith who recognized
Mac and asked to shoe him, saying he would do it for a picture,
seeing it was I. Of course, I was delighted, and leaving the
donkey in his custody, dropped in a restaurant and lunched; after
which I bought Mac a loaf of graham bread.

The kind-hearted blacksmith had several horses waiting to be shod,
and it was nearly night when Mac A'Rony ceased to be a "bare-foot
boy." I remained in Po'keepsie over night, and early next day,
Friday, set out for Kingston. But that quadruped traveled so fast
that he tired out after going a few miles, and I had to put up at
a little inn at Staatsburg for the night. Had it not been that I
sold next day a number of photos at princely villas on the way, I
should have had trouble to keep from starving. No remittance had
come from the papers as yet, and lecturing was out of the question
at that time. I had written to several soap, sarsaparilla,
tobacco and pill companies for a contract to advertise their
stuffs by distributing circulars, or samples, or displaying a sign
from my donkey's back, but thus far had received no favorable
replies.

At length the blue summits of the Catskills loomed against an
azure sky in the west, and I caught occasional glimpses of
Kingston and Rondout, the twin cities, nestling in the foothills
by the Hudson.

At three o'clock we crossed the ferry, and soon afterward arrived
at the Mansion House, Kingston. The landlord received us with
gracious hospitality, but I, having lost so much time by accident
and other misfortune, only tarried for the night, and hastened on
up the valley.

The days were perceptibly shorter while we traveled in the shadow
of the Catskills. The roads were so heavy, and the recent cold I
had contracted so stiff and uncomfortable, that I decided at seven
o'clock to spend the night at a German road-house. Landlord
Schoentag gave us soft beds, in spite of his hard name, and his
spouse was kind enough to make me a hot brandy and a foot bath. I
drank the one; Mac cheated me of the other. I retired early under
a pile of bedding as thick as it was short, and soon found myself
in a terrible sweat. This was not due alone to the comfortables,
but to a party of convivial young people, who thrummed on a
discordant piano, and sang, and danced till daylight, their
hilarity causing Mac in the stable sundry vocal selections, such
as should have disturbed the spirit of Rip Van Winkle, eight miles
away.

Monday we pushed on toward Saugerties. But for a delay at Soaper's
Creek Bridge, we should have reached Catskill before dark. Mac
A'Rony stopped stock still at the bridge approach, and neither the
eloquence of gad nor gab moved him an inch. I petted him and
patted him; I stroked his ears and I rubbed his nose; and then I
asked him point blank what ailed him.

"You big fool, can't you see that sign up there?" he retorted, as
he eyed me squarely. It was fully sixty seconds before I realized
that the animal had actually spoken; then I looked up and read the
sign hanging from the iron girder overhead, "Ten dollars fine for
riding or driving over this bridge faster than a walk." I must say
I greatly appreciated Mac's consideration for my pocket-book, but
his obduracy struck me as being not a little absurd, since he had
not yet demonstrated to me that he could go faster than a walk,
even on a level and unimpeded road. All I could do was to sit down
on a stone and, like Macawber, wait for something to turn up. It
seemed ages before a farmer came along with a ton of hay; he was
kind enough to slide off the load and assist me to carry the
donkey across the bridge.

The night was spent in Catskill. Smith's Hotel was swarming with
busy grangers, generally good-hearted, garrulous characters, whose
society lightened the tedium of two days, while I nursed my cold
and weaned Mac. We reached Athens, a village eight miles to the
north, Wednesday noon, but being somewhat rusty in Greek, I
ferried the river to Hudson. A light snow had fallen; the wind was
sharp shod, and traveled forty miles an hour.

A small German hotel opened its doors to us, and I persuaded Mac
to ascend the low stoop and venture half his length indoors; the
landlord aided me at the helm and we managed to anchor my "craft"
out of range of the storm, though we couldn't get it across the
bar. Mac lay down in a heap, and I called for port, to find none
in stock. Suddenly, a man in shirt sleeves hastily entered with a
pitcher in hand, and before he could check himself, went sprawling
over the frightened beast, smashing the pitcher and setting Mac
to braying. The man hurriedly collected himself, glanced at the
strange-looking quadruped, and not stopping for beer, fled in
dismay. When the storm had abated somewhat, we started for
Kinderhook.

Late in the afternoon we trailed into a thrifty little town where
I found stock port in Stockport. Here the cheery aspect of the
Brookside Hotel tempted me to remain over night, and doctor the
severe cold in my chest. This tavern, the pride of the village,
was said to be the oldest on the old "post road" from New York to
Albany. So comfortable was the hotel that I hesitated long before
accepting a cordial invitation, extended to me through his
coachman, to be the guest of the wealthiest resident of the town.
I was driven over to the home of Mr. Van ----, and the affable
gentleman introduced me to his family, before driving me to his
father's residence. The old gentleman was enthusiastic in his
reception of the donkey traveler, and after doping me with some
delicious cider, reluctantly allowed his son to keep me for the
night.

After a month of "roughing it," my happy affiliation with those
refined and cultured people acted like a healing balm to my
wearied heart. Many and many a time thereafter on the tiresome,
lonesome trail did my memory recall that pleasant evening. The
daughters entertained me with music and song, the parents brought
out refreshments, and, at last, with a hot foot-bath, and a hotter
mustard leaf on my chest, I retired.

Next morning, Georgie, the little son, rushed into my chamber
calling, "Get up, you people, the pancakes are getting cold!"

"All right," I answered meekly.

"Oh!" the little fellow gasped with astonishment, as he beheld Pod
tucked neck-deep in eider-down. "I--I--I thought you was the
girls."

[Illustration: "_We consumed a half hour in the gigantic task._"]

[Illustration: "_I found the captive drinking with other
jackasses._"]

The boy had retired early the evening before, quite ignorant of
the fact that the eccentric traveler was delegated to snooze in
his sisters' bedroom.

Through the happy agency of conversation Mr. Van---- and I
discovered a mutual friendship. The family, somewhat to my
embarrassment, insisted upon purchasing pictures galore, and after
breakfast and a little music in the glow of a blazing fireplace, I
donned my overcoat and made my adieux.

How chill and heartless that December morning was! The wind blew
my plug hat off to begin with, and, as I was driven to the
Brookside Inn, had the courage to try to freeze my face. A half
hour later Mac and Pod were marching to Kinderhook.



CHAPTER V.

    Of all conceivable journeys, this promised to be the most
  tedious. I tried to tell myself it was a lovely day; I tried
  to charm my foreboding spirit with tobacco; but I had a vision
  ever present to me of the long, long roads, up hill and down
  dale, and a pair of figures ever infinitesimally moving, foot
  by foot, a yard to the minute, and, like things enchanted in a
  nightmare, approaching no nearer to the goal.
     --_Travels with a Donkey_--_R. L. Stevenson._


Kinderhook! I promised myself to visit the seminary, so popular in
the early '60's, and commune with the spirits of those charming
old-fashioned girls of whom mother had often spoken.

After dining at the Kinderhook Hotel, I looked it up, and found it
to be then the village academy.

The cold in my chest pained more than ever; I began to fear
pneumonia. The landlord's wife said she would be a mother to me.
Whew! If she made it as warm for her "old man" as she did for me,
I pity and congratulate him in one breath. She prepared a mustard
sitz-bath (my feet had suffered two already) powerful enough, she
declared, to force cold-blisters on my hair; she slapped mustard
leaves on my chest and back; she gave me spirits of camphor for my
lips, witch-hazel for my eyes, a pork bandage for my neck, and
liberal doses of aconite, quinine, whiskey and rum. Then she
innocently asked if I could think of any other place my cold, when
fairly on the run, would be likely to settle. Being unable to
answer, I called on a physician.

"The landlady has fixed you up admirably," said he; "I cannot
benefit you further, unless I advise you to shave off your hair
when the blisters have settled on it, to prevent the cold's
return."

I expressed my gratitude for his kind assurances, and to my
surprise, though he had an electric battery in his room, he
refused to charge me.

Without loss of time, I set out and walked two miles to the old
homestead of President Martin Van Buren, that stood back from the
road behind a group of ancient pines which sighed dolefully as I
passed.

The family living there received me kindly, and showed me the
library, parlors and hall; the old Dutch wall-paper, picturing
ancient hunts, watch-towers, and pastoral scenes, recalled a
pleasant sojourn in Holland. A Wagoner family living in the next
house asked me to dinner, and I "et" with them.

"I once knew a Van Wagoner," I said; "they were fine people."

"Our family were originally of that name," Mr. Wagoner replied.
"They dropped the Van some time ago."

Mac A'Rony said he had never heard of Vans being dropped from
Wagoners, but had often seen wagoners dropped from vans.

I next crossed the bridge spanning the creek just out of town,
where, it is said, Washington Irving conceived the story of the
headless horseman.

President Van Buren gave a ball to some statesmen, and Irving was
invited. Some wag among the guests rigged up a dummy on a horse,
and let the animal loose to give the author a scare. Wash never
lost an opportunity to make a good story, and he made use of the
idea.

Mary Ann and Lucretia Van Buren, two aged spinsters, were all who
remained of the illustrious family. I called on Mary Ann when
Lucretia was absent, and won her favor so quickly that she
presented me with a little oil painting which had been in the
family over a hundred years.

Close by stood the old brick house, formerly a fort, built with
brick brought from Holland. One brick was carved "1623." I saw the
house where General Burgoyne is said to have dined, after which I
visited Van Buren's grave.

We slept that night in North Chatham, traveling out of the direct
route to give the weak-kneed donkey as level a road as possible.
We had now been boon companions one week; it seemed a month.

Next day, we passed a rickety barn in which two horses were
engaged at a huge tread-wheel, with the dual object of threshing
corn-stalks and of keeping their ears warm. My ears were almost
frozen; whereas Mac claimed his were as warm as toast. My comrade
had the advantage over me in being able, as he expressed it, to
wiggle his ears and keep the blood circulating.

I stopped at a shanty near, and asked leave to warm myself, and
begged a newspaper to put in my breast. A poverty-stricken but
hospitable man welcomed me, and politely took my hat and stuck it
on a pitcher of milk. The humble habitation contained two rooms,
one store room, the other the living room. The latter was
furnished with a square table, now set for the mid-day meal, two
beds, a stove which was exerting every effort to boil some ancient
pork and frozen cabbage to a state of "doneness," four chairs, and
a wash-tub. The housewife was washing clothes while her "old man"
acted as cook. A dog reclined on the store-room floor watching a
saw-horse. There was not such bric-a-brac visible; a five-year-old
calendar and two or three unframed chromos hung on the walls, and
when I arose to go I discovered behind me a cracked mirror and a
comb that needed dentistry. I was surprised when the woman handed
me the desired paper; I should not have accused any of them of
being able to read.

"Wall, yer kin see haow all classes of folks lives eny haow," the
matron observed, as she screwed her face out of shape in her
anxiety to wring the last drop of suds out of a twisted garment.

"Yes," I returned, rising and reaching for my hat, "but how my
donkey and I can manage to live to reach 'Frisco interests me
more." And politely declining a hunk of pork rind and black bread
offered me for a pocket lunch, much to the gratification of the
house cat, I sallied forth into the biting blast, knocked several
icicles from Mac A'Rony's whiskers, and headed for the state
capital.

Further on we tarried a few moments to exchange a word or two with
an inquisitive hayseed, who planted himself in the road before us,
and stretched forth a brawny hand for both of us to shake.

"Yer th' feller what's goin' to Fran Sanfrisco, hain't yer?" the
old man questioned, bracing himself against the boisterous gale.

"Yep," I replied laconically. And at once Mac, yielding to a
mighty gust of wind, dashed past the animate obstruction, dragging
his master with him.

"Whar be th' biggest crops this year?" he called after us; and
Mac, assuming the question was put to him, shouted, "In ostriches.
Some of them weigh several stone." As I looked back from the hill,
I saw the statuesque figure still gaping at us behind a long,
frost-colored beard.

The roads to fame and to the capitol are hilly. Fame seemed to be
more easily reached in slippery weather than the capitol in dry.
Albany had just experienced a heavy rain, and the roads had
frozen. We set out Monday morning to pay our respects to the
Governor, the Mayor and other shining lights. When half way up the
ascent to the capitol, Mac A'Rony slipped off his feet and slid to
the bottom of the hill. Of course, I stayed with him; in a moment
we had won fame. The excited populace thronged about us, and the
reporters hauled out their paper and pencils. One toboggan slide
satisfied Mac, and I was compelled to return him to the stable and
go alone.

The Governor was in his chair of state when I arrived at the
Executive Chamber. The rumor that the odd traveler, Pye Pod, was
in the ante-chamber brought a smile to his lips, which he still
wore when he rose to grasp my hand, relishing the humor which I
had failed to taste.

"Don't you find it pretty cold traveling these days?" the Governor
inquired, as he sat down to write in my autograph album.

"Rather," said I. The Governor chuckled, wished me good luck on my
journey and commended me for my pluck. Then I was ushered through
the magnificent capitol.

After lunching with an aunt, I visited the Mayor. He, like other
notable men, received me graciously and wished me joy, prosperity
and health.

Tuesday I hustled early and late to earn a dollar above the
expenses of my sojourn in the up-hill city. Wednesday morning I
received a small check, the first remittance from the papers. It
was only two days before Christmas. The Holiday season seemed to
have absorbed all the money in circulation. The snow now lay six
inches deep on the level; it had snowed all night and was snowing
still. I greatly needed a pair of felt boots with rubber
overshoes, but couldn't afford the outlay. So I wrapped strips of
gunnysacks round my shoes and trouser legs, bought a pair of
earlaps, and saddling my donkey, started for Schenectady,
seventeen miles away.

People had cautioned me that donkeys were afraid of snow. I was
most agreeably surprised to find Mac A'Rony an exception to the
rule; but in another respect, he puzzled me very much. For five
days he had not been known to drink, and I concluded that, like an
orchid, he slaked his thirst by sucking the juice out of the
atmosphere. When I ushered him into the snow, he rubbed his nose
in it, and tasted it to satisfy himself that it wasn't sugar, and
then majestically waded through, as if it were so much dust.

And so, with less than two dollars in pocket and some fifty photos
in my saddle-bags, I urged my donkey through the blinding gale to
a road-house, four miles out of Albany, where tethering him to a
huge icicle under a low-roofed shed, I went into the tavern to
toast my hands and feet, and to warm my inner self.

A few moments later found us fighting the elements again. And
though we stopped at fully a dozen houses on that day's journey, we
reached Schenectady soon after dark, with my face black and blue
from the snowballs Mac rolled with his hoofs and slung at me (he
claimed, unintentionally). Both of us were in prime condition to
appreciate a hot supper and a soft, warm bed. After seeing my
comrade safely sheltered in the hotel barn and leaving instructions
with the stable-keeper to lock the door, I spent a pleasant hour
with the other hotel guests, who gathered about to hear my story,
and to give me all kinds of valuable and worthless advice on
traveling with a donkey.

What happened that night may be better understood by reading the
following page from my diary:

"It is midnight, halfway between Christmas eve and Christmas
morning. For the last three hours I have been looking all over
town for Mac. I went to the stable at nine o'clock to fill his
stockings, and lo! he was missing. Where he can possibly be and
how he got there is beyond my power of conception. I found the
lock in the barn door unbroken, but scratched about the keyhole,
as if it had been picked. The landlord and the stableman are of
the opinion that Union College boys have stolen the donkey and
hidden him, just for mischief. In my rambles I failed to detect a
sign of any student. A squad of volunteers from among the hotel
guests, armed to the teeth and carrying lanterns, were kind enough
to go with me donkey hunting, but nothing more than a few ominous
traces of Mac's stubborn resistance did we discover. A tuft of
donkey hair and a gory human tooth were picked off the barn floor,
and also, just outside, a section of the seat of a man's trousers,
all of which indicates that the donkey is the unwilling prisoner
of a band of wags.

"Going down Fifth Street to Union, we detected Mac's little
foot-prints and a college society pin. Just beyond, I found
another lock of hair, this time human, indicating some football
fiend had parted with a portion of his mane. A torn cravat, a
finger of a kid glove, and a piece of human flesh resembling part
of a nose, were noted by different members of the posse. Thence
on, we traced with much difficulty my donkey's hoof-marks a mile
or more into the suburbs, where we lost them. It was then 11:30 P.
M. A concensus of opinion resulted in the verdict that at that
point the animal had been put in a sleigh and drawn to some hiding
place and that further search that night was useless. I am now
going to retire, and trust to luck for Mac A'Rony's safe return
to-morrow."

When I went to breakfast Christmas morning, I amused myself while
my order was being filled by perusing the Schenectady "Daily
Tantrims." You may imagine my astonishment upon reading the
following:


             GRAND OPENING
       Of the Canal Skating Rink.
  Greatest Social Function of the Season.
      COLLEGE BOYS AND SOCIETY THERE.
          A Donkey on Skates.

    "Those who were not 'let in' to the private ball given at the
  new Canal Ice Rink on Christmas Eve by the Union boys who
  remained here over night to enjoy the Holidays, missed a rare
  and novel entertainment. It proved to be a side-splitting as
  well as an ice-breaking affair. Carefully laid plans were
  successfully carried out, and the diminutive donkey belonging to
  the quixotic traveler, Prof. Pythagoras Pod, became the guest of
  honor at the first rink party of the season. The jackass seemed
  to relish the sport immensely. Two pairs of skates were securely
  buckled on his feet and, declining the proffered assistance, at
  once the precocious tyro struck out in four several directions
  at once, coming down on the not over thick ice kothump! on his
  Antartic pole, deluging four propositions of Euclid, seven
  principles of unnatural philosophy, and three dozen young men
  and women.

    All would have gone well had the jack not been so conceited.
  He, just like an ass, thought he knew it all. If he ever cut any
  ice in his life he did it then. Being of a generous disposition,
  he made ample accommodations for a crowd who, like his asinine
  self, came out for a skate and were hardly prepared for a
  baptism.

    Pandemonium reigned. There were several narrow escapes from
  drowning; even Mac A'Rony barely averted a sublime decease, and
  bellowed like a freight engine. However, as he was the only
  donkey of the whole party that piloted himself to terra firma
  without assistance, he deserves much more praise than the fools
  that were so unwarrantably thoughtless as to imperil a hundred
  precious lives in their selfishness to have a good time at the
  expense of an humble beast.

    As soon as the panic had subsided, a new rink was cleared
  further down the canal, where the Christmas fete was prolonged
  to a late hour. The terrified animal was here supported on two
  parallel bars held by strong men; and he promised to remain
  upright henceforth. To say the least, his frantic efforts to do
  the "pigeon wing" on the star-spangled firmament nearly capsized
  his pall-bearers. Guards had been posted at various points to
  apprise the practical jokers, if the donkey's master should come
  uninvited on the scene, but it seems that, by crafty, foxy
  methods, the Professor had been led by false scent to the
  suburbs. So the fun continued.

    After the ball was over, Mac A'Rony was returned in safety to
  his stall. The little fellow appeared to be the nimbler from his
  cold-water plunge, and was so elated over his extraordinary
  exploits that he brayed all the way to his quarters."

As soon as I heard Mac I rushed out to the barn bare-headed, and
threw my arms round his neck. I found the little fellow joyously
rummaging in four huge stockings filled with corn bread, molasses
cake, mince pie, carrots, and apple-sauce. "I had a h--l of a time
last night," was all he said.



CHAPTER VI.

  Christmas day is a merry day
    For all good lads and lassies,
  But dull and lorn for th' fellow born
    To ride or drive jackasses.

  --_Old Song._


Yuletide afforded me few pleasures. How I was to bridge the gulf
of penury and want of the Holiday season caused me much concern.
Lacking the funds to pay my hotel and stable bills, I canvassed
the town and sold a few pictures before church time. I wished to
attend Christmas service, but lacked the nerve. My grotesque
attire might have inspired the preacher.

I had worn holes in all my socks, and not having the price of a new
pair, retired to my room to darn them. It was the first darning of that
sort I ever did; when I had finished, I darned my luck, the hard times,
and many things not down on the calendar. I pictured to my mind's eye
the pleasures of Christmastide, of which I had cheated myself; but it
was no time to brood over might-have-beens. I would start for the next
town that morning. I felt a constant anxiety for Mac A'Rony's safety,
and shouldn't feel easy until we were out of the college district.

We reached Amsterdam in time for Christmas dinner. I will not give
the bill of fare; it wouldn't whet your appetite. The following day
was almost as dull as Christmas. In the morning I was fortunate
enough to receive in advance two dollars for distributing calendars
to the farmers on my way to the next town, and employed the
afternoon repairing saddle-bags.

The snow lay deep, the weather was windy and chill, and my donkey
slower than axle grease; so I tarried over night and heard Sabbath
bells.

Sunday evening saw us comfortably quartered in the little village
of Fonda, a few miles' journey. While supping I learned that a
German newspaper reporter, who claimed to be walking across the
continent on a $750 wager, was a guest at another hotel. He came
into town shortly after dark, and, unable to pay for a bed, was
permitted to sleep on a bench, where my informant saw him. By the
terms of his bet, the fellow was not allowed to beg, but could
accept the earth, if offered him.

My sympathies were aroused, and I called on him after supper. He
told his story, showed me papers, and a book signed by the
railroad station agents on his route--for he had "hit the ties"
all the way--and expressed much anxiety about covering the
remaining 184 miles to New York in six days.

The young man looked emaciated, his shoes were literally worn out.
His one meal that day had been a cup of coffee and a roll. He
hadn't slept in a bed since leaving Detroit, where he earned his
last money, five dollars. Pod's tender heart was touched. Although
the more affluent donkey traveler possessed but a dollar and sixty
cents, he gave his brother globe-trotter a dollar, a hot supper
and bed, and would have paid for a stimulating drink had not the
hotel-keeper been inspired to treat the two.

Next morning some commercial travelers, having learned of Pod's
generosity, purchased a pair of shoes for the pedestrian. The
delighted fellow departed at an early hour, expressing his
sanguine belief that he would win his wager.

I had to hustle that morning to settle accounts, and it was eleven
o'clock before Mac and I departed. I had only a nickel in pocket.
That day we both went without lunch. It was long after dark and
past supper time when we arrived in Fort Plain, and a half hour
later before we reached the hotel. The town was illuminated with
electric arc lights, which always throw vivid shadows, and Mac
A'Rony had a desperate encounter with another donkey in the snow.
He reared, and pitched, and cavorted, and bolted; he wound me up
in the reins, and then bunked into me--I was in his way all the
time--and finally rushed down a side street, dragging me after
him. I had to lead the rampant animal through several unlighted
streets round the village to get him to the stable. It was the
first time I had presented myself at a strange hotel without my
asinine credentials. When I registered, the incredulous proprietor
went to the barn for Mac's own statement before believing me the
famous man I claimed to be.

That evening a committee from the Bohemian Club invited me to a
concert given under the auspices of the Fort Plain Band. I went,
and enjoyed it. At its conclusion, I was asked to talk to a
phonograph, the invention of the president of the Club. Having
once addressed an audience of chairs, I could not object to talk
to a funnel. I addressed the emptiness thereof with all the
eloquence I could muster, then listened while the phonograph tried
to repeat my words. It was simply awful. Had the machine been
togged out in night shirt, mask and lighted candle, and shot off
such a lingo in a dark alley, I should have thought it my own
spook and fled in terror.

When I reached Little Falls my stock of photos was exhausted,
and, but for a stroke of good luck, I fear I could not have paid
my bills. Mac A'Rony agreed to carry a sign extolling the virtues
of a one-price clothier, and that brought us a few dollars, which
we divided.

It was late when we started for Herkimer, a town twelve miles
away. The mud greatly impeded our progress and, suddenly, just
before dark, when five miles to town, we came to a long, covered,
wooden bridge. Then there was trouble. Mac obstinately refused to
enter the dark tunnel. I coaxed him with an apple to follow me; I
prodded him; I turned him about and tried to back him through; but
he would not budge. I went behind and pushed him; and vexed beyond
reason, I finally whipped him; all without avail. What could I do?
I sat down and thought. No sound of an approaching vehicle greeted
my ear, but I saw a house down the road. I decided to hitch my
obdurate beast to the fence and seek assistance. As I approached
the house the seductive aroma of frying steak told me it was
supper hour. In response to my knock a rural-looking man came out
and eyed me curiously, while chewing vigorously. Indoors I could
hear somebody drinking out of a saucer.

"Excuse me for interrupting," I said politely; "but my jackass----"

"Yer what?"

"My jackass! I am bound for California with one, and am stuck out
there by the bridge. I came to ask your assistance." The man
swallowed.

"In a hole, eh? Wall, I reckon you've come ter th' right place fer
help."

"No, I'm not in a hole exactly--that's just the trouble. My animal
abhors holes; he refuses to enter the covered bridge."

"Wall, I swan! can't yer lick him through?" the farmer asked.

"As impossible," said I, "as to lick a camel through the eye of a
needle."

"I want ter know. Come in," he said; and turning to the hired man,
added, "John, let's give th' feller a lift."

The men donned wraps and boots, and, with an old wheelbarrow,
followed me down the slushy road to the beastly eye-sore of my
existence.

To describe our efforts to get that donkey through the bridge
would tire you as much as those efforts tired me. Mac squirmed and
kicked and bit; he would not be carried by hand; so the
wheelbarrow was employed. He was too large for the vehicle, and
lapped over the edges. We consumed a half hour in the gigantic
task of wheeling Mac across that bridge.

"By gum, young feller!" exclaimed the exhausted farmer, as he
dropped the heavy live weight. "Do yer haster go through this kind
of business every bridge yer come ter?" I explained that I usually
met with difficulties at bridges, but had never encountered a
covered one before. Then I thanked the good Samaritans for their
kindness, and prodded Mac to town.

We arrived in Herkimer late. Directly after supper I canvassed the
stores, and worked till ten o'clock selling pictures.

We seemed to create quite a sensation. When about to retire, I
learned that my donkey was stolen; I was told local bandits held
him for ransom. I was greatly provoked, and rushed about the
streets, making inquiries until, at length, a street loafer
whispered that he would tell me where my animal was, if I "would
blow him to a drink." I agreed. Then the man "in the know" piloted
me to a bar-room several blocks away, where I was astonished to
find the captive drinking with several other jackasses. He was the
only one not disconcerted by my appearance, and even had the
audacity to stick his nose up at the bar-keeper and bray.

I engaged men to assist me convey the inebriate to the stable as
quickly as possible, and ordered an extra padlock to be snapped on
the door. Next morning I found my partner in a surprisingly sober
condition.

Resuming my pilgrimage, I made brief stops at Ilion and Frankfort,
and arrived in Utica shortly after dark on the last day of the
leap year. The hotel corridors swarmed with inquisitive guests who
had been apprised of my coming. The jovial proprietor gave us a
hearty welcome, and, ordering several porters to lead Mac into the
office, called loudly, to the amusement of all, "Front! Give the
donkeys the best double room in the house."

"Slow traveling for a LEAP year," I remarked to the clerk.

"Oh, that reminds me, Mr. Pod," said he; "here's a letter for
you--just came a few minutes ago."

I settled my weary frame in a rocker and read it. It was actually
an invitation to a Leap Year Ball, given under the auspices of the
society girls of Manicure Hall. The card was printed, but on its
margin were inscribed in a purely feminine hand a few choice words
urging me to come in my traveling habit. It struck me that it
might be my only chance to get engaged for eight long years, so I
washed and brushed and polished, and turned up at the ball-room at
a late but nevertheless fashionable hour.

[Illustration: "_We tramped tired and footsore into the village._"]

The ball was the most brilliant function it had been my pleasure
to attend since the days of my freedom. Caesar! what charming
girls! Were they really charming! or was it because I had been a
recluse so long that most anybody wearing dresses fascinated my
starved optics? Before advancing a rod into the hall, I
received a proposal; within an hour I had a dozen. The dance, the
supper, the defective lights, and the kisses in the dark, the
midnight alarm, and the New Year's bells, all fulfilled their
offices delightfully in turn--all, except the leave-taking of the
old year, which groaned over the effects of bad salad, and gave up
the ghost.

I devoted the afternoon to a delightful nap; I was worn out.
Saturday I called upon the genial Mayor, who paid me liberally for
a photo and subscribed to my donkey book. Sunday I set out with
Mac for Rome.

I was told all the roads were in bad condition, and was advised to
take the tow-path of the Erie Canal. After two hours of tramping
and groping in the darkness, we came to a suburban street; soon
after I was directed to a tavern, and quartered myself for the
night.

A number of commercial men had prophesied I would not make my
expenses in Rome, but I did. It was an all-day job, however, and
another night was fairly upon me before I started for Oneida,
sixteen miles away.

We had not gone far, when we came to an old-fashioned toll-gate, where I
expected to be made to contribute to the county's good-road fund. I felt
loath to do so, for nowhere else on my journey had we found the highway
in such a disreputable condition. I told Mac to keep his mouth shut, and
we stealthily walked through the gate, hoping not to be observed; but no
sooner done than the keeper issued from his shanty and welcomed me back.
He wished to talk with me, he said. His boy had preceded me from town
and given his father glowing accounts of the donkey traveler. So
interested were the toll-gate keeper and his family in the welfare of
Pod and Mac that they not only waived the toll, but gave us a pressing
invitation to remain with them over night. The generosity of that man's
big, honest heart stood out in such happy contrast with the miserly
county administration and my own penury that I gratified the man's
desire, in a measure, and hitching Mac A'Rony, followed my host into his
dwelling, where I allowed myself to share his frugal board. It was
certainly such a home where either a Don Quixote or a Pythagoras Pod
might feel himself a distinguished guest. The wife brewed tea, and
spread the table with black bread and doubtfully wholesome cakes, while
the children climbed on my knees and heard with rapture my tales of
adventure.

When it was time to go the keeper, having learned from his son
that I sold the pictures "to live on," begged me with tears to
accept a quarter for the one I gave him, saying that he had a
fair-sized garden besides the pittance he received for performing
the duties of his humble office, whereas I had to depend on
Providence for the keeping of myself and comrade on our long trip
"round the world."

So Mac and I, thanking the good people for their kindnesses--for
Mac's ever-acute appetite had not been overlooked by the
thoughtful hostess--strode on in mud and darkness, slipping,
spattering, and mumbling unintelligible and impolite words, and
hoping against hope soon to arrive at some comfortable haven of
rest.

A mile beyond we were greeted with loud applause issuing from a
huge building to our left, which I took to be a girl's seminary,
but which Mac insisted was a slaughter house. To be distinguished
in the dark and tendered such an ovation quite tickled my vanity;
but my less-conceited partner only brayed and trembled in the fear
of being chased by a mad pig with its throat cut. When we had
passed to a safe distance, I met a farmer in a wagon, and asked
him the name of the illuminated building.

"The Rome State Insane Asylum," said the man.

At length, a dense mist gathered; then it began to sprinkle. I
could scarcely distinguish Mac in the darkness. The road was
tortuous, one vast river bed of mud, as untenable as quicksand. We
first ran against a barbed-wire fence on one side, and a rail
fence on the other, and finally, I plunged over boot-tops in a
sluice, and might have drowned had I not held the reins and been
pulled out by my unintentionally heroic comrade. My boots were new
and didn't leak, and the mud and water remained in them.

If ever there was a moment on that overland "voyage" when I felt
in prime condition to give it up, it was there and then. Still we
struggled onward, and a few hundred yards ahead I discovered the
faint light of a farm house, where I stopped to ask the distance
to the next place we could secure shelter.

"'Bout four mile, I should jedge," said the farmer. I guessed as
much, but it gave me a chance to sigh.

"Mercy! None nearer?" Just then Mac coughed, and approached.

"Nope. But wait! Be you the gentleman bound fer 'Frisco with a
mule?"

"Verily so," I returned, while my partner brayed indignantly at
being called a mule.

"Wall, what's it wuth to take you both in fer the night and feed
ye?" the man asked, avariciously.

"Oh, about seventy-five cents."

"Come back," said he; "I just walked from the railroad station a
mile and a half in the mud, and lost my overshoes, and kin
sympathize with ye."

My donkey was comfortably stabled, watered and fed, and I ushered
into a cozy room, where my host brought me dry garments and
slippers, and gave me a hot supper. Truly, I thought, the darkest
hour is just before dawn.



CHAPTER VII.

  I pass like night from land to land,
    I have strange power of speech;
  So soon as e'er his face I see,
  I know the man that must hear me,
    To him my tale I teach.

  --_Rime of the Ancient Mariner._


Having the funds to tide over a couple of days, I set out early
next morning for Syracuse. At 11:00 P. M. we tramped tired and
foot-sore into the village of Fayetteville, having traveled twenty
miles, the longest day's journey yet made.

My donkey was fagged out. The stable men could hardly get him into
his stall; but Mac had great recuperative power, and was so frisky
in the morning that we resumed the march to the Salt City. It was
still some distance to the city when an incident happened to mar
the pleasure of our peaceful walk. In passing a large dairy farm,
Mac's grotesque figure excited either the admiration or the
contempt of an ugly-looking bull, which left a small bunch of
cattle in the field and trotted along the dilapidated fence. His
actions were frightfully menacing, and I urged Mac to a faster
gait. Suddenly the bull broke through the fence, bellowing, and
made for us, head down.

My first thought was to save Mac's life. The leather-rimmed
goggles he wore placed him at a disadvantage, aside from the fact
that the road was icy and denied us a secure footing. Then, too,
Mac carried seventy-five pounds burden, including my grip, the
saddle and rifle. I was wholly unprepared for the bull; my
revolver was unloaded, I having made it a rule to withdraw the
cartridges every morning. As the brute lunged at my donkey, I
struck Mac with my whip and wheeled him about with the reins in
time to dodge the enemy. Recovering himself, the enraged bull made
another lunge at my spry partner, and still another, the third
time scraping off a tuft of hair with one of his horns. I could
only assist Mac with the reins while striking the bull over the
face with the cutting rawhide. I yelled for help. A quarter mile
away stood a farm house, and in front of it two men gawking at our
"circus," indifferent to our peril.

I never was more active than during those awful moments; Mac
afterward said he never was so busy in all his life. So rapidly
did we three pirouette, the bull after Mac, the donkey after me,
and I after the bull, that the two human statues in the distance
must have taxed their optics to distinguish which was which. So
dizzy did I become that I wheeled Mac round and started in the
opposite direction, the enemy bellowing, I calling, and the donkey
braying to beat a fire-boat whistle. Finally, I heard the glad
sound of approaching wheels from up the road, and at a glance saw
a horse and buggy. As it came nearer, I distinguished a woman
driving, and my heart sank. Surely she would not have the courage
to venture into our very midst; she must soon turn round. A man
might drive to our aid.

Still we three kept busy, until the rig wheeled down upon us, the
prancing horse so distracting the bull that he shied to the
opposite side, and, forgetting us, set out on a trot after the
receding vehicle, lowing vexatiously. I held my breath. Soon we
collected our senses and hustled on until the enemy was lost to
view. There are many who would call our rescue a marvel; Mac said
it was just our "luck;" but I thought it miraculous.

A prominent hotel in Syracuse welcomed me as its honored guest,
and crowds cheered us to the door. I had consumed six weeks
traveling from New York, a distance of 340 miles, although by rail
the mileage shrinks to 303.

It was Friday, January 8. I was tendered a private box at the
theatre that evening, and the following day Mac and I appeared on
the stage between acts, at both the matinee and evening
performances, I receiving five dollars for each appearance.
Saturday I devoted to business; and was invited to the Elks'
entertainment in the evening. At noon on Monday we headed for
Auburn.

A heavy snow accompanied a fall of the mercury. Great drifts had
formed during the night, reaching anywhere from inches to feet,
and from yard to yard. My spirits were low. The first eight miles
to Camillus were covered in four hours. After a good rest and poor
fodder, we strode on over the white and solitary road seven more
miles to Elbridge, where, at eight o'clock, I registered at a cozy
hostelry, and ordered that Mac be cared for and my supper at once
be prepared. Then I hastened to canvass the stores, disposing of
three photos at fifteen cents apiece. My over-night expenses would
be a dollar and a half; I lacked forty-five cents of the amount.
But that did not disconcert me. The hotel was composed of bricks,
and its proprietor was one of them: a jovial Grand Army man who
wore a big soft hat, and a blue coat with brass buttons. His
cranium was chock full of entertaining reminiscence, too.

At that time, men were engaged with mule-teams hauling stone for
repairing the canal, and the hotel was filled with an incongruous
lot of teamsters and laborers. Judging by their roguish remarks,
it would be wise of me to place my donkey under lock and key; but
when I hinted it to my host, he assured me my fears were
unwarranted.

I was assigned a large chamber on the main floor, next to the
dining room. There was no lock to the door; I complained about it.
"Nobody will molest you," said my host. I soon fell to sleep. Long
before daylight I was awakened by the juggling of plates and
cutlery, and the racking of a stove. It was impossible to sleep
during such a hubub, so I proposed to smoke. Rising from bed and
groping in darkness, I hunted for the electric light button
hanging from the ceiling, but had proceeded only a few steps when,
suddenly, I fell headlong over a huge, hairy substance, which
moved and yawned.

Hamlet's ghost! Was this really midwinter's night dream? I sat on
the floor for a moment to set my dislocated big toe on the off
foot, then staggered timorously to my feet, found the cord, and
turned on the light. Could I believe my eyes? There lay Mac
A'Rony. He gazed at me in mute bewilderment and blinked like an
owl, then presently rose to the occasion, brayed, and charged at
the donkey in the mirror. It was enough to awaken the whole
village when the excited animal rushed around the room with the
mirror frame for a collar, vaulting chairs, bed, and table, and
exerting his best efforts to kick holes in the walls and ceiling.

"What in damnation is the racket!" yelled the proprietor, as he
came running to my room. I thought to disarm him by being the
first to complain, for I expected some harsh invectives to be
hurled my way.

"You said I should not be molested!" I said indignantly, standing
on a mantle shelf in my night shirt.

"Well! It's the first time my house was ever turned into a
stable," retorted the erstwhile jovial Grand Army man.

"And it's the first time I ever was made to room with a jackass,"
I returned, in a rage.

By this time Mac had stuck a foot in the frame-collar in trying to
clear the stove, and had fallen. I quickly leaped from my perch,
and my now more conciliating host helped to disengage the beast
from his wooden harness, and give him a forcible exit. Then we
dressed, and set to work clearing the room. Of course, the cook
rushed in to have her say; otherwise, that hotel was suspiciously
quiet, considering what had happened.

When I went to breakfast the landlord met me with a smile; it
surprised and pleased me. I concluded that the practical jokers
had settled everything to his satisfaction. My table mates were
unusually uncommunicative; their conversation hung mournfully on
the weather. My breakfast finished, I went to my host and informed
him of the state of my finances.

"Two mule-drivers were discharged last night," he observed. "I
could have got you a job if you had told me in time."

Right here an aged townsman came in, stamping the snow off his
boots, unwound a great tippet from his neck, and regarding the
clay-besmeared floor, delivered his opinion to the landlord.

"Gol blast me! If I run a house a lookin' like this, I'd close up
and go out of the business," the granger remarked, with a critical
eye to the floor and a wink at me.

"I agree with you," said I; "Price ought to pay a quarter to have
the floor cleaned.

"It would be worth twice that sum to me to see you clean it," he
returned, humorously.

"It's a bargain!" so saying, I pulled off my coat, and called for
a mop and a pail of hot water.

The landlord seemed to regard the incident as a good joke; so did
Pye Pod. Rolling up my trousers and shirt sleeves, I fell to work.
The old man fled to spread the news, as soon as he saw I was in
earnest. My first sweep with the old mop shattered it; the
landlord lost no time procuring a new one. Then I went at it as
though it were my special line of trade, and so deeply absorbed
was I in the novel undertaking that less than half of the
population of the village filed into the room without my comment.
There were men and women, young and old and middling, and children
bound for school; all around, backing against the walls and
windows, commenting, laughing, and joking; while I just mopped,
and with new jokes helped make merry, for I felt that was an
experience of a lifetime for all of us.

A pretty girl snapped a kodak at me; she took fifteen orders for
pictures within a minute. I was gratified to see all enjoy
themselves. Still I kept mopping, and watched the clock to see how
much time was left before school. MY time was coming; I wanted
everybody to hear my story. They didn't know a thing about me or
Mac A'Rony, except through newspaper reports, which are not always
reliable. Finally, I dropped my mop and straightened up to rest my
lame back.

"Does that suit you?" I asked the landlord.

"A handsomer job was never done this floor," said he; "you have
earned your money."

Every one evidently wished to see me paid. As I received the cash,
I whispered to my host to hand me the key to the door, expressing
my purpose with a sly wink, which he hardly interpreted. The
silver jingled with the brass in my hands, and I went to the door
and locked it. Then walking to the desk, I turned, faced my
audience without a blush, bowed low, and said:

"Ladies and gentlemen, and children of Elbridge;" then gave a
brief account of my travels from New York. My words pleased, and
were greeted with laughter. But they had not heard my peroration.

"We rarely appreciate anything that costs us nothing," I began my
conclusion. "In New York, a show such as I have just provided
would cost at least a dollar and a half for orchestra chairs and
fifty cents for the family circle; this seems to be the family
circle. Now, to save the bother of printing tickets and posters,
we admitted you to the show without delaying you at the door in
the frosty air, and one and all, old and young, must pay me five
cents before you leave this room. The door is locked, and I hold
the key. Those of you ladies who left your purses on the piano can
borrow of your gentlemen friends, who, doubtless, will be ready to
help you out of your dilemma. Some of you may demur, and complain
of hard times, but said excuses will not hold with me; I carry
hard times with me whither I go on my long journey, whereas you
have yours only in one place. As soon as all have paid me, the
door will be unlocked, and not until. I thank you for your
unsolicited audience, and trust that the next time we meet the
circumstances will be as happy for us all as they have been this
January morning."

My speech must have been forceful, for the nickels poured into my
hat. As each individual paid I motioned him or her to the opposite
side of the room, to guard against humbugging. The landlord had to
come to the financial relief of a few, but the door was opened in
time for school, and everybody departed with evident good feeling.

My host was the most astonished of all, and, with a hearty grip of
the hand, predicted that I would reach my destination. Without
delay I settled my account with him, saddled Mac A'Rony, and with
$2.80 to the good started for Auburn. The last denizen of the
village to bid me God-speed was the philanthropist who unwittingly
procured me my "bill" for the hotel show, and then filled my purse
for me.



CHAPTER VIII.

    An attempted assassination! I cried in excited tones.
  One of the boldest ever heard of, and right here, too, in
  the shadow of this palace devoted to commerce and peace.
                          --_A Soldier of Manhattan._


Soon after reaching Auburn, I received a theatre manager who
called to engage Mac and me to appear at the Opera House. We
signed with him, and the first evening we made such a decided hit
that we were engaged for a re-appearance; I received ten dollars
for both performances and the privilege to sell photos at the
door, which netted me a considerable sum.

Auburn is the seat of a State Prison and a Theological Seminary.
Avoiding the former, I set out to visit the seminary. The students
were cordial, and showed me about the buildings, among them being
Willard Chapel, which they called the handsomest in America.

I was unable to leave until just before noon. Tramping without
dinner went against the donkey's grain even more literally than it
did mine. About 2 o'clock I was passing through Aurelius, when a
farmer invited me to take lunch with him. I accepted, and enjoyed
the repast and the visit with the hospitable agriculturist and his
wife. He gave me a card to a California friend, and hoped I would
visit him and present his regards. This pleasant delay upset my
calculations; I did not reach Cayuga until dusk.

The lake was frozen, but the sun had somewhat melted the ice
during the past two days. I was cautioned not to venture across
with the donkey, for, if he should slip, both of us would go
through the ice. This was a great disappointment, for it compelled
me to follow the tow-path some five miles round the edge of the
lake through the dreaded Montezuma Swamp, in order to reach Seneca
Falls. It was long after dark when we left the swamp and entered
the shadow of a rocky ridge. A half mile further, I discerned the
distant electric lights of the town. To our left was the canal,
and to the right, the rocky barrier, while ahead, beside the
tow-path, shone an arc light suspended from one of several poles
which extended in a line to town.

I was tramping along at Mac's head when, suddenly, a man stepped
from behind the pole and ordered me to throw up my hands. Although
excited, I still had the presence of mind to jump behind my
donkey. Instantly the highwayman fired at me. Then I fired to show
I was armed and ready to defend myself; and at once a shot came
from the rocks, a little to my rear. Turning my head, I saw what
appeared to be a cave, where presumably the second man was hiding.
But just as I turned my head, a second shot from the man in front
knocked off my plug hat; and then came a shot from the rocks. Now,
fully realizing my peril between two fires, I aimed my revolver at
the man in the road some thirty feet away, and fired to cripple
him. I apparently succeeded, for the fellow cried, "God! I'm hit!"
and fell in the snow-covered road, resting on one elbow, and
pressing his hand to his right breast.

Not sure, however, that the man was not feigning, I shot into the
cave, from which at once issued the other footpad, who ran down
the tow-path. Then I picked up my hat and passed by the prostrate
man, keeping my revolver trained upon him, and hurried on toward
Seneca Falls.

A quarter of a mile beyond I came to Lock House No. 6. My story
greatly excited the quiet household. Hibbard, the keeper, with a
lantern helped me examine Mac to see if he was wounded; then we
were generously cared for. After drinking a cup of tea and
toasting my feet awhile at the fire, I made my departure.

On reaching Seneca Falls, I called on the chief of police; he
being absent, I saw the Mayor, who told me that I did only my duty
by shooting in self-defense. Then I went back to the hotel where,
in the crowd of excited people anxious to hear my story, were
reporters eager to gather the facts of the affair.

Next day Hibbard reported that at 2 o'clock in the morning he had
heard a buggy pass his house toward the scene of the shooting,
and, although he laid awake until daylight, did not hear it
return. He said it was the first vehicle in years to traverse the
tow-path at such a late hour, and believed the injured footpad had
been rescued by his confederate and driven away.

After lunch I left for Waterloo, where I found its main
thoroughfare so choked with people to see me that I could not get
Mac through. They hailed me as a hero, and shouted my name and
Mac's until they were hoarse, and purchased all my photographs at
twice the regular price. Finally, we resumed our journey, and
arrived in Geneva long after dark.

Geneva is the seat of Hobart College. One of the societies invited
me to a spread at its fraternity house; and, while I was there,
Mac was stolen from the stable, of which I was not informed until
evening. In view of the fact that a cow had recently been lodged
in the college library, I shouldered my Winchester and set out on
the war-path after breakfast, accompanied by the Chief of the Fire
Department.

We had searched the dormitories and cellars of the college
buildings and were going to the gymnasium, when I discovered Mac
standing in the snow, eating thistles. It had been a cold and
stormy night; he was covered with snow, and icicles hung from his
under jaw. Yet the donkey uttered no complaint, merely saying,
"The boys didn't do a thing to me last night." I learned from a
professor that Mac had been found in a recitation room describing
impossible theorems and eating chalk, and that the janitor and two
professors had their hands full carrying the donkey down two
staircases and out of doors.

Although it was biting cold and the mercury had fallen to the zero
point, I could not afford to tarry longer. After lunch we set out
in a blinding snow-storm and tramped on to Phelps, where we
stopped for supper and an hour's rest. At first Mac had shown no
ill-effects of his recent exposure, but now he coughed. Having
made but eight miles that day, I resolved to brave the storm four
miles further, and reached Clifton Springs at ten o'clock. There I
obtained comfortable lodgings for myself and partner.

Next day the venerable director of the Sanitarium invited me to be
his guest, and kindly permitted me to lecture to the patients of
his fashionable hostelry for a silver offering. Of course, I
accepted. My "heart to heart" talk seemed to tickle the large
audience, but when the porter brought back my hat with only two
dollars in it I was disappointed. I had expected a contribution
commensurate with the encores. When I paid the porter 25 cents for
his services, I dropped my spectacles and broke the glasses. A new
pair would cost me $1.75. That made accounts even.

"Reminds me of the colored preacher," observed the director with
good humor; "somebody passed his hat to the congregation and
returned it empty. 'Well,' said the parson, 'I'm thankful to de
Lawd to get my hat back." The story was apt, but it did not
console me.

While at the Sanitarium I sold many photographs, and judging the
patients to be affluent, doubled the regular price. Before our
departure, Mac showed symptoms of rheumatism. A doctor suggested
that an electri-thermal bath would make a new animal of him. "It
won't cost you a cent," said he. I arranged for the treatment at
once. It required several attendants to get the fellow in the
electric chair, where they secured him with straps; and then the
doctor administered the electricity. While the electric wand was
rubbed over his legs and body, the frightened donkey brayed and
twisted and squirmed, and threatened to upset the chair, causing
much merriment.

Well, Mac's professional treatment made him a new donkey. He
traveled more quickly than ever before, and almost out-tramped his
master.

Near the Springs is a farm-house where resided, at that time, a
sister of Stephen A. Douglas. I called to see her, and was
cordially received. She was 86 years of age, her left arm
paralyzed, and her eyesight very dim.

Tramping on, we came to Shortsville, where we stopped for dinner.
Supper was eaten at Victor, and at eight, Mac and I set out for
Pittsford, the wind and snow blowing furiously in our faces. The
night was intensely dark. Somewhere past ten, I passed two tramps
on the highway, but only they and the passing trains broke the
monotony of the journey.

It must have been eleven when the road joined another at right
angles; I was puzzled then whether to turn to the left or to the
right. I stamped my half frozen feet, as we halted in the biting
wind until, presently, through the falling snow, I saw a distant
light, and hurried for it. Farmers usually retired early; but on
arriving at the cozy house, I found a party of young people
dancing, playing cards, and eating refreshments. A kind-faced
woman greeted me at the door, and asked me in. When I introduced
myself, and inquired my way, the astonishment of the whole party
told me plainly I was considered an honored guest, transient
indeed though I was.

"Well, I declare, we've read about you lots;" said the hostess.
"Won't you sit down and have some ice cream and cake?"

"I smell coffee," I remarked, frankly; "if I may be treated to a
little of that, I shall be grateful; but as for ice cream, I feel
it a little unseasonable this evening. And as I rubbed my ears
vigorously, the girls laughed and said, Ain't he plucky!"

It was hard, indeed, to break away from this jolly party; I don't
know how long I should have tarried if Mac had not called to me.
His bray was the signal for a stampede to the porch; all forgot
refreshments and dancing in their eagerness to see the famous
donkey. They simply lionized him. The girls carried cake and pie
and ice cream to him, and one offered him a fried egg, which he
declined. When we said our adieux the shivering group gave us a
hearty cheer and God-speed, then rushed indoors, leaving the
dejected pilgrims to the cold consolation of the snow, wind and
darkness of a winter's night.



CHAPTER IX.

    In the first lighted house there was a woman who
  would not open to me....

    Modestine was led away by a layman to the stables, and
  I and my pack were received into our Lady of the Snows.
                           --_Travels with a Donkey._


Having been directed on the road to Pittsford, a town seven miles
beyond, we tramped wearily on, battling with the elements as best
we could until midnight, when almost numb with cold, I resolved to
seek refuge in a small hamlet we were nearing, called Bushnell
Basin. I was told it contained a tavern which would accommodate
us, in an emergency. But it was so dark when we reached Bushnell
that I could not see the Basin. Its dozen dusky-looking shanties
seemed to be deserted, and when I saw a boy crossing the road I
was too surprised to hail him. Mac brayed, and the lad stopped. I
asked him where the hotel was. He directed me toward a dim light,
and disappeared. We pushed on, but the light was extinguished
before we could reach the house. I called loudly to the landlord
to let me in; I rapped on the door desperately, and repeated my
yells. A dog in the house barked savagely; then Mac began to bray,
and I wondered that nobody entered a protest against such a
disturbance. At length, a squeaky female voice called from an
upstairs window:

"Who be ye?"

"A man," I answered, civilly.

"What kind of a man?"

"A gentleman," I said, with emphasis.

"What's that thing yer got with ye?"

I was afraid she'd catch cold in the opened window, if she was in
her nightdress, but I replied in a voice of a siren, "A jackass."

"Can't let ye in--no room for shows here--next town," fell the
frozen words on my benumbed ears.

Then the woman sneezed, and closed the window. Mac A'Rony seemed
to comprehend the situation, but offered no remedy. I would have
covered the three miles to Pittsford, but the donkey was fagged
out, and could barely drag his legs. Where were we to find shelter
at such a time and place?

Retracing our steps a short distance, I caught the sound of
pounding, as of a hammer. Soon I heard the sawing of a board, and
the saw's enraged voice when it struck a knot. Saved! I thought,
as I walked in the direction whence the sound emanated. The snow
lay ten inches deep; old Boreas shook the trees, and whistled
round the quivering hovels; and I was so chilled and vexed that,
if another person had dared to ask me what kind of a man I was, I
would have measured somebody for a coffin.

Finally, I came to the house, through whose window I discerned a
lighted candle in a back room. I rapped on the door. The sawing
continued; so did my rapping. Then the sawing ceased, and the door
was opened by a swarthy, heavy bearded man who extended me a
kindly "Good evenin'." I introduced myself, and pleaded my case.

"Come in where it's warm," he said; and following him to the
stove, I explained my situation.

"We ain't got much accommodation for ye," he apologized, "but I
can't leave ye and yer pet out in the cold. This is my wife," and
the man introduced me. Then he censured the landlady of the
tavern for not admitting me, saying she ought to have her license
revoked, "If you'd been a loafing vagabond and drunkard, she'd
taken ye in quick enough," said my sympathetic host; "but as ye
was a gentleman she was embarrassed to know how to treat ye." From
which I gathered that he did know how, and would prove it. He
explained that the front part of the building was a store; the
rear portion was divided into two small rooms,--a kitchen and a
sleeping room. The second floor was utilized as a hay-loft,
wherein was stored Hungarian hay for his horse, which he said he
kept "in a shed 'cross the road yonder."

"Now, if ye'll lend me a hand," he suggested, "we'll make room for
yer mule in the shed, and my wife'll get ye something to eat. Then
we'll see where we kin tuck ye comfortable till mornin'."

I pulled on my mittens and followed the man into the biting wind
with a warmer and cheerier heart, and, acquainting Mac with the
good news, proceeded to assist my host to transfer a huge woodpile
in order to obtain the side of a hen roost lying underneath it,
with which to construct a partition in the shed to preserve peace
between horse and donkey.

By one o'clock Mac was stabled and I in prime condition to enjoy
any kind of a meal. The good wife had fried me three eggs, and
brewed me a pot of tea, and sawed off several slices of home-made
bread, for which I blessed her in my heart and paid her a
compliment by eating it all.

The repast over, I chatted a while with my friends and smoked;
then said if they were ready to retire, I was. A roughly made
staircase reached from the kitchen floor over the cook-stove to a
trap-door in the ceiling, and up those stairs I followed my host,
he with candle in hand, I with a quilt which I feared the kind
people had robbed from their own bed. Great gaps yawned in the
roof and sides of the loft, through which the wind whistled
coldly. The hay was covered with snow in places and the
thermometer must have been far below zero. But I stuck my legs in
the hay, and pulled a woolen nightshirt over my traveling clothes,
and tucked the quilt round my body, and put on my hat and earlaps,
and soon was as snug as a bug in a rug, and slept soundly.

I arose early with the family, joined them at breakfast, paid my
host liberally, and started with Mac for Pittsford. There we were
welcomed by a party of young men who had expected to give us a
fitting reception the evening before. They claimed that, had they
known where we were, they would have rescued us with a bob-sleigh.
I did not tarry with them, but tramped on to Rochester, and
arrived there at 3:30 P. M., having covered thirty-five miles
since the previous morning.

We spent two days in the Flour City. An old business acquaintance
arranged for Mac A'Rony to pose in the show window of a clothing
store, for which I received five dollars. Although it was
dreadfully cold and the wind blew a gale, Mac attracted every
pedestrian on the street.

I called on "Rattlesnake Pete," the proprietor of a well-known
curiosity shop, who wanted to buy my bullet-riddled hat, but I
declined to part with it at any reasonable price; then I called on
the Mayor. He received me cordially, laughed when I related my
adventures, and subscribed to my book.

Rochester is the seat of a Theological Seminary, and several
breweries. Near by is the celebrated Genesee Falls, where Sam
Patch leaped to his death. Many old friends called on me during my
sojourn, among them a physician, who gave me a neat little case of
medicines, such as he believed would be most needed in emergency
on such a journey; and while being entertained at a club, I was
presented with a fine sombrero.

In spite of the frigid gale which had been raging three days, and
of the dire predictions of the Western Union bulletins, I started
with Mac for Spencerport at 12:30, right after lunch. The village
lay twelve miles distant. The biting wind swept across the level
meadows, laden with icy dust from the frozen crust of the snow,
and cut into our faces. Five times were Mac and I welcomed into
houses to warm, but we reached the village an hour and a half
after dark with only my ears frost-bitten, and soon were
comfortably quartered for the night. Next morning we started for
Brockport, eight miles further on, by the tow-path, which we
followed.

The wind was blowing forty miles an hour, and the mercury fell
below zero. Every now and then we had to turn our backs to the
gale to catch our breath. Mac's face was literally encased in ice;
I rubbed my ears and cheeks constantly to prevent their freezing.
Only two or three sleighs were out, and the drivers of these were
wrapped so thoroughly in robes and mufflers that I could not
distinguish male from female. Still determined not to retreat to
town, I urged my little thoroughbred on, and soon we were called
into a house and permitted to thaw out.

On this occasion Mac, to his own astonishment, as well as that of
the kind lady of the house, stuck his frosted snoot into a pot of
boiling beans on the stove, for which unprecedented behavior I
duly apologized.

Eight more times both of us were taken into hospitable homes and
inns to warm before reaching Brockport at eight in the evening,
more dead than alive. My nose and ears were now frost-bitten. The
towns-people, hearing of our arrival, flocked into the hotel to
chat with me, or went to the stable to see Mac A'Rony.

Wednesday I resumed the journey, resolved that nothing save
physical incapacity should deter me; now was the time to harden
myself to exposure, and prepare me for greater trials later on.
But before leaving, I purchased a small hand-sled, and improvised
rope-traces by which Mac could draw my luggage instead of carrying
it. Besides, this novel sort of vehicle would attract attention; I
realized that we must depend for a living more upon sensation than
upon our virtues. The next thing essential was a collar for the
donkey, and I had to make it. But to make the stubborn beast
understand I wished him to draw the sled, that he wasn't hitched
to stand, was the greatest difficulty I had. Finally, he caught
on, and marched along through the streets quite respectably.

Beyond the town we met with some deep snowdrifts lying across the
road, and Mac's little legs would get stuck, or he would pretend
they were, and I would have to dig the fellow out with my rifle.
Again, while leading the stubborn animal in order to make better
time in the opposing wind, I would suddenly hear a grating,
scraping sound to the rear, and looking around would find the sled
overturned with its burden. After several such upsets, I cut a
bough from a tree, whittled a toothpick point to it, and prodded
Mac to proper speed, while I walked behind and with a string
steadied the top-heavy load of freight. Then, this difficulty
remedied, Mac, with seeming rascality, would cross and recross the
ridge of ice and snow in the center of the road, as if he couldn't
make up his mind which of the beaten tracks to follow, or disliked
the monotony of a single trail, every time upsetting the sled.
During that long and frigid day's tramp but one human being passed
me, and he was in a sleigh. He recognized my outfit, for he called
to me encouragingly, "Stick to it, Pod; you'll win yet!"

Late in the afternoon a man hailed me from the door of a
farm-house, "Come in and warm, and have a drink of cider." Now, if
there was one thing in the world that tickled my palate, it was
sweet cider, and I accepted a glass.

"Wouldn't your pard have a drink?" asked the generous man.

"Presume he would, if you offered it," I replied. "I never knew
him to refuse any kind of a beverage, though this cider is pretty
hard."

The farmer brought out a milk-pan; and that donkey drained the
pan.

"Shall I give him some more?" asked the big-hearted soul. Mac
stuck out his nose in mute response, so I said yes, provided he
would not be robbing himself; it would probably put new vigor in
the fatigued animal, and super-induce more speed.

"Got barrels of it, friend, barrels of it," said the Good
Samaritan, who refilled the pan which Mac again drained. Then
thanking the farmer, I steered my donkey on over the ice-bound
highway.

[Illustration: "_Mac could draw my luggage instead of carrying
it._"]

[Illustration: "_Mac's little legs would get stuck._"]

We had not proceeded a mile when I observed that Mac did not walk
as firmly as he had; his course was decidedly zig-zag. Finally I
left my station at the sled and guided him by the bit. Now he
staggered more than ever; then it dawned on me that the cider had
gone to his head. In less than five minutes more I regretted
having met that liberal-hearted farmer, possessing barrels of hard
cider. Suddenly the drunken donkey fell down in the snow, and,
instead of attempting to rise, he tried to stand on his head. Not
succeeding in that, he made an effort to sit up, and toppled over
backwards. All this time he brayed ecstatically, as if in the
seventh heaven. Next he began to roll, and tangled himself in the
rope traces, and tumbled the sled and gladstone bag about the
snow as though it were rubbish. Fearing lest he would break my
rifle and cameras, I tried to unbuckle them from the saddle while
the scapegrace was in the throes of delirium tremens, and got
tangled up with him in the ropes. In trying to free myself, I was
accidentally kicked over in the snow. And in that ridiculous and
awkward fix I was found by a jovial farmer, who drove up in a
sleigh. He soon helped me out of my scrape, and laughed me into
good humor, kindly consenting to take charge of my luggage and
send a bob-sleigh after the drunkard as soon as he reached his
house, a mile beyond.

There I waited for the relief committee and the wrecking sleigh to
arrive. To say I was the maddest of mortals doesn't half express
it. At length two strong men with my help succeeded in depositing
Mac on the bob; and he was conveyed to the barn and there placed
behind the bars, bedded and fed, and left to sober up, while I,
his outraged master, was hospitably entertained over night by my
charitable benefactor.

We were now at Rich's Corners, some four miles from Albion. My
good host provided me with such warm apparel as I hadn't with me,
and when bed-time came, I was trundled into a downy bed where I
dreamed all night about drunken jackasses.

By breakfast time I had recovered my good spirits. I insisted on
baking the buckwheat cakes, and not until all the family were
apparently filled with the flapjacks which I tossed in the air to
their amusement did I sit down to the table to eat.

Breakfast over, I joined my host in a smoke, then donned my wraps
for the day's journey. When we men returned from the barn with the
reformed donkey, a number of the neighboring farmers had
assembled with their families on the porch to see the overland
pilgrims. I snapped my camera on the group, said "Go on, Mac," to
my remorseful partner, and soon was plodding toward Albion.



CHAPTER X.

    Strange to see what delight we married people have
  to see these poor fools decoyed into our condition, every
  man and woman gazing and smiling at them.
                                  --_Samuel Pepys' Diary._


We did not reach Albion until noon. So numerous were the
snow-drifts that we made only a mile an hour. Old Boreas might
have been a little more considerate and brushed the snow along the
fences instead of piling it across our path. That morning I dug
Mac out of a dozen snow-drifts.

Albion looked to be a pretty place. Besides many attractive homes,
it possesses the celebrated Pullman Memorial Church, a High
School, and a woman's reformatory. But I did not visit those
interesting places. Being a high churchman, the church was too low
for me; not being up in the classics, the high school was too high
for me; and believing women to be terrestrial angels, I did not
wish to be convinced that my judgment was wrong by investigating a
female reformatory. I put up at a comfortable hotel, where I was
told that the relentless storm would likely imprison me several
days, and found cozy quarters for Mac A'Rony. The day after my
arrival, a neighboring farmer took me sleigh-riding into the
country to dine with him and his mother, his fleet horse having
once conveyed him and his father from Dakota to Albion, 1,600
miles, in thirty-six days. When I told Mac about it, he turned a
deaf ear, lay down, and groaned a groan of incredulity. Ex-Consul
Dean Currie invited me to spend an evening with him and his
family, and took me to call on the Mayor, who received me
cordially and offered me the use of the Town Hall for a lecture. I
accepted, and addressed a well-filled house; my receipts far
exceeding my expenses in town.

The coziest place during these three stormy days, I found to be an
easy chair by the great stove in the hotel office, where I whiled
away most of my time. There, throughout the wintry days and
evenings, assembled the guests of the house and many convivial
spirits from town, to hear the biggest lie, or to relate the most
ridiculous yarn.

At one of those gatherings, I met an interesting character
Sylvenus Reynolds. Although he was eighty-four years old, he
appeared as young and agile as most men of half his years. He
attributed his longevity to active out-of-door life. Judging from
his talk, one would have thought him to be the greatest traveler
living; but, because he was denied the gift of a scribe, he would
probably die like the heroes of the country churchyard, "unknown
to fortune and to fame." He had tramped and lived by his rifle
from Puget Sound to Terra Del Fuego, and was the first white man
to cross the Andes from Chili to Brazil.

Once in the jungles of India he and a lion and a tiger all met
unexpectedly, and, while the three were determining which two
should become partners, the tiger made a spring at Sylvenus, and
just when his gun missed fire and he thought it all up with him,
the lion leaped in the air, caught the tiger by the neck, and
killed it. He said after that he never could be induced to take
the life of a lion, "the kindest and gentlest of wild beasts."

But I must tell about his famous jump across the Lock at Lockport,
at that time 14-1/2 feet wide. The event was well advertised.
Temporary toll-gates were established, and ten cents levied on
such individual passing through to the "show." Over eight hundred
and eighty-eight dollars were collected for the jumper. The jump
was successful, and Syl got the pot. The narrative closed with a
discussion--and another jump.

"That wasn't such a mighty big jump," remarked a listener. "I know
several fellows who can jump to beat 14-1/2 feet."

"I'll bet a dollar with any or all the men present," said I, "that
not one of you can stand still on this floor and jump 7 feet."

I had ten takers. The money was deposited with the proprietor; the
house was thrown into great excitement. The ten jumps were made.
But the judges agreed with Pod that the jumpers failed to STAND
STILL and jump, and so handed me the money. Naturally, the
jumpers, being in a jumping mood, wanted to jump on me next, but
they finally conciliated, and regarded me thereafter with
suspicion.

Although the roads were reported impassable, we departed for
Medina on Sunday morning, and, the day following, hastened on
toward Lockport. When yet two miles to town, after traveling
sixteen miles, a boy ran after us in the darkness and persuaded me
to return to his house, as his Pa wished me to be his guest over
night; so we did not reach Lockport until eleven next morning. I
no sooner stabled Mac than I boarded the train for Buffalo in
quest of a theatre engagement; failing in that, I returned to
enjoy a stroke of good luck in the form of an engagement for Mac
and me to appear on a vaudeville stage in Lockport, which netted
me a few honest dollars.

At six o'clock Thursday morning we were off for Buffalo, a
twenty-six mile journey. Only once did we stop, when I unsaddled
for our mid-day meal at Stormville, Mammoth snow-drifts were piled
against the fences and across the roads which, melting, gave way
under my donkey's weight, frequently imprisoning his slim legs.

We reached a school-house near the village of Williamsville just
as the scholars were dismissed for their nooning, and were
immediately set upon by a laughing, shouting, questioning bevy of
frolicsome children, who made merry sport of my partner's
predicament; he was stuck in a snow-drift. If Mac had exerted
himself a little, he might have climbed out, but he was tired,
unusually obstinate, and naturally lazy, and so preferred to await
developments.

One precocious genius in the crowd suggested rolling the donkey
into a snowball, and rolling him to town. That was the signal for
a general hurrah. I shook my head disapprovingly, but, on thinking
it over, decided to try the novel plan.

"Come on, boys," I said. And then with peals of merriment and
youthful energy which I never saw equalled, the whole lot soon
packed the snow about the patient animal, until only his head and
tail were left exposed; then I gave the word "heave to," and the
asinine snowball began to turn slowly on its axis, and made a
complete revolution. The donkey brayed with laughter; but before
he had rolled a dozen times he stopped braying and began kicking,
or rather made futile efforts to kick. A dozen more revolutions
and he complained of dizziness, but the children only pushed and
rolled with renewed energy. Larger and larger the snowball grew,
until finally we had to stop and scale off sufficient snow to
enable the good work to go on. And presently it did go on, and we
rolled the asinine snowball into town amid the cheers and laughter
of the children, the frightful brays of protestation from the
imprisoned donkey, and the dumb consternation of the villagers.

Mac, when liberated, rose at once, only to topple over on his
head. He claimed the earth was turning around, which was true
enough, although not the way the donkey meant. He was too dizzy to
stand for some time; each effort resulted in a comical physical
collapse, that set the villagers shrieking with laughter. This was
a good time for me to profit by Mac's generous entertainment, and
while telling the assembled crowd all about our travels, I sold
photos by the dozen. The people opened their pockets liberally,
and before they could recover from the effects of the sensation
Mac had caused, we pilgrims were hurrying out of town, over an
easier road to Buffalo.

In consequence of the snowball affair and several other delays, we
did not reach the city until after dark. Having traveled seventeen
miles since lunch, we were ravenously hungry. Buffalo presented a
beautiful sight, with her myriad lights gleaming on the snow. Down
Main street, I espied a patent night-lunch wagon standing by the
curb, and hitching Mac to the hind axle, I went in for a bite.
Suddenly I became conscious that the vehicle was moving, and made
a hasty exit, to discover I had traveled several blocks in the
lunch wagon.

The hard travel Mac had been subjected to for the past week
necessitated his having a long rest before resuming the journey.
The morning after our arrival in Buffalo, my aristocratic donkey
was made the honored guest of the Palace Stables, a large and
handsome brick building. Mac's box stall was on the third floor,
and could be reached either by an inclined run-way, or an
elevator. The donkey being unaccustomed to such extravaganzas as
elevators, chose the inclined plane, and even then he put on such
airs that it required the united efforts of a half dozen
stablemen to escort him to his apartment. Once there, he was feted
like a nobleman.

I, too, was lavishly entertained. But of all the courtesies
extended me the most interesting was the invitation to stand up
with a young Italian wedding party in the City Hall, where the
Mayor, who sent for me, tied the knot. His Honor did the sacred
office bravely--until the conclusion, when he flunked completely.
I'll explain.

Casimo Mazzette and Rosino Lodico were dago peasants, born in
Palermo, Sicily. The groom was tall and proud and embarrassed,
although ten years the senior of his eighteen-year-old bride, who
was too coy to meet his gaze. She at first took Pod for a
preacher, engaged to prompt the Mayor. According to the custom of
their native heath, they simply joined hands, instead of using a
wedding-ring,--a very sensible idea, for hard times. The pretty
ceremony over, the bewitching female benedict looked at the Mayor,
and moved toward him, and raised her face, but the embarrassed
Mayor withdrew, to the astonishment of everyone, explaining that
he was married to a jealous woman, and asked me to kiss the bride
for him. He preferred to do the honors by proxy. So, without
comment or hesitation, I stepped up to the pretty dago, placed my
arm around her to avoid danger of making a bungle of the first
kiss I ever gave a woman, drew her face to mine, and kissed her
squarely on her ruby lips. She looked so happy that I was about to
repeat the act, but her husband stepped between us. The pair shook
hands with the Mayor and his clerical-looking assistant, who
wished them lots of luck and "dagoettes," and then the blushing
bride fled with her devoted swain out of the hall.

Next day I accepted for Mac an invitation to a phonograph
exhibition in the Ellicott Building. We both attended and were
richer for it. The room was well-filled with men and women who
eagerly awaited the advertised show. When the manager courteously
asked what was the donkey's favorite style of music I explained
that, as he was a slow animal, he probably preferred lively music.
At once the "yellow kid" held the tubes to the donkey's ears;
those sensitive organs indicated his delight by each alternatively
flapping forward and backward; but, suddenly, as they were thrown
forward together, the jackass kicked an incandescent light globe
above into flying fragments. Women screamed and fell into the arms
of the men for protection.

"You said the donkey was gentle," said the manager, angrily.

"So he is," I returned.

"Then how do you account for such high kicking?"

"Struck a discord, I presume," I said. "What music is in that
machine?"

The clerk answered. "The first p-p-piece was the "Darkey's Dream,""
said he, with slight impediment of speech, "but the s-s-second was
"Schneider's Band.""

"Who wouldn't kick!" I exclaimed. Due apologies were in order, and
confidence was restored, and an hour later we two departed with
the donkey's earnings and the well wishes of all.



CHAPTER XI.

ASININE TABLE OF MEASUREMENT.

  Nine square inches make one foot,
  Four all-around feet make one jackass,
  One cross jackass makes three kicks,
  Two hard kicks make one corpse;
  Corpse, kicks, jackass, feet--
  How many doggies do we meet?
               --_Dogeared Doggerels._


From which table we may safely conclude there is one dog less in
the world, and that, estimating him by his kicks, Mac is a jackass
and a half.

If I had kept a complete record of the breeds, sorts, colors, and
conditions of the canines, the pups and curs we met with on the
road from New York, I might have compiled a book larger than
Trow's New York City Directory, which still would exclude the
mongrels and all unclassified "wags" and "barks" of the country
sausage-districts.

From a financial point of view, I was disappointed with our
four-days' sojourn in Buffalo, but Mac and I were rested, and the
weather was milder. The winds from Lake Erie had swept the snow
off the roads against the fences where it didn't belong, so that
my partner had to drag the sled out of Buffalo over a dry and
rutty highway. There were, however, several places where the
elements had shown a grudge against the farmers by piling huge
snow drifts across the road to impede their travel and maliciously
blowing the white spread from the fields of winter wheat which
required its protecting warmth.

Directly on reaching Hamburg, we were taken in charge by a Mr.
Kopp (Mac had predicted a cop would have us before long), and
given a warm reception. On the way to Eaton's Corners, six miles
beyond, I undertook to earn fifty cents in an extraordinary
manner; some might call it a hoggish manner. A farmer hailed me
from a barnyard, and asked if he could sell me a boar.

"Boar!" I exclaimed, almost losing my breath; and I added: "No,
sir; one boar is enough."

"Well, then, do yer want to make a half dollar?" he called.

"Course I do--more than anxious," I answered.

"Then jes' help me drag this 'ere hog ter town most; Squire Birge
has bought it, and I've agreed ter deliver it or bust."

"Let's see it," I said. "Don't know much about hogs, but I'll know
more, I guess, when I see yours."

I followed the man, Mac tagging close behind. Behold! A docile
looking hog of mastodon dimensions was conveying the contents of a
corn crib to its inner self. I walked around the beast several
times to count his good points, and closed the bargain.

An end of a rope was fastened to the hog's hind foot, and the
other end wound round the pommel of the saddle. Then I gave the
infuriated donkey the whip. A tug of war followed; presently the
rope snapped, and donkey and hog were hurled in opposite
directions, both turning somersaults. Luckily my rifle escaped
injury. The hog lost the kink in his tail; he looked mad, and with
his vicious stares, frightened Mac half to death. Finally the rope
was again adjusted, and an exciting scene ensued. The velocity of
the vibrations of that hog's roped foot, trying to kick loose, put
electricity to shame. When the donkey eased up a little, the boar
showed its true character by starting for the barn, pulling Mac
after him; while, on the other hand, when the hog stopped for
wind, the donkey would make a dive for town and drag him until he
also had to pause for breath. So those obdurate beasts worked
rather than played at cross-purposes for half an hour before I
forfeited my contract and proceeded on over the frozen road.

We reached Angola by seven, and Farnham at ten o'clock. There we
were comfortably quartered; Mac was rubbed with liniment, fed and
watered, while I, too late for supper, retired with an empty
stomach.

The Lake Shore road threads some thrifty-looking towns. The
country was dotted with neatly painted barns and cozy houses,
surrounded by energetic windmills and inert live-stock, while
denuded vineyards laced the frosted shores for miles about. We
lunched at Silver Creek, where a burly denizen tried to sell me a
big dog, which, he claimed, would tear an ox into pieces. The
price named was $5. Neither man nor dog made an impression on me.

When I finally drew rein in Dunkirk, at 7:30 P. M., the hotel was
alive with commercial men who quickly surrounded us. In ten
minutes I sold enough chromos to pay our expenses over night and
purchase a new breast-band for Mac.

Prior to February 12, Lincoln's Birthday, I traveled so rapidly
(even with a donkey), that events somewhat confused me; following
the shore of Lake Erie, I visited a dozen towns or more, sometimes
several in a single day.

I had no sooner disfigured the guest register of the New Hotel,
Fredonia, with my odd signature than I discovered the illustrious
name of Geo. W. Cable on the line above mine. It seemed a strange
coincidence that two such famous men as Cable and Pod should be so
unexpectedly crowded together in that little book, in a little
inn, in that town. Natural enough and pursuant to the Law of
Affinities, I immediately sent my card to the celebrated author,
who at once invited the eccentric traveler to his room. Mr. Cable
had been reclining, having just arrived by train. He gave me a
complimentary ticket to his lecture, that evening, which I placed
in my pocket, and later gave to the hotel clerk for discounting my
bill.

"What a pretty place this must be in summer," was the author's
initiatory remark, while twisting a yawn into a smile.

"Yes, indeed," I answered, and stretched my legs.

"And how do you stand the journey."

"Oh, fairly well; getting in better condition every day."

"You are a slender man, Professor, but I assume, very wiry, like
the cables."

The conversation continued until I felt the strain, and I
presently shook hands, and wishing him a full house, departed. The
author-lecturer is a little under stature; he wore a genial smile
and frock coat; his eyes were as bright as duplex burners; and he
shook hands just as other people do.

It was long after dark when we travelers ambled into Brockton and
put up for the night.

Mac and I had passed the day in the village of Ripley. The Raines
Law did not seem to have a salutary effect on that section of the
State. I met on the road that afternoon a tall, lank, tipsy
fellow, carrying a long muzzle-loader gun. He stopped me, and said
he was a Westerner, a half-breed, and fifty years old. "Been out
shootin' mavericks," he said importantly. "Same gun (hic) had in
th' Rockies. I'm gentle, though--gentle as a kitten." I was
charmed to know he was not hostile, said "So long," and hurried
on.

Sunday was Valentine's Day. I received a few doubtfully
appropriate souvenirs, but did not discover the name of a single
friend in the batch. Before leaving Ripley I was presented with a
large and handsome dog, a cross between the bloodhound and the
mastiff, a pup weighing 98 pounds, which I named Donkeyota. The
generous donor was a Mr. W. W. Rickenbrode, who accompanied me
some distance to assist me in handling the huge animal, in case of
emergency. He had no sooner bade me good-bye than I feared lest I
should not be able to make another mile that day. The wind blew a
hurricane. While passing a cemetery, I took a snap-shot of square
grave-stones, which photograph shows them rolling in that driving
gale. It was the most wonderful demonstration of the wind's power
I ever witnessed.

Shortly afterward, in descending a steep and icy road into a gully
the sled with its burden ran against my donkey's heels, upset him,
and carried him half way down the hill. In my anxiety and haste to
assist Mac, and hold on to my hat, I dropped the dog's chain, and
away he went kiting down hill after the sled; and I needed four
hands. To my surprise, the dog, Don, seemed to enjoy the
entertainment, and instead of fleeing back to Ripley, rolled in
the snow and barked in glee.

We reached the Half Way House, Harbor Creek, after dark. Next
morning after breakfast the landlord's little daughter came
rushing into the house to impart the thrilling news that John,
their horse, had a little colt; and, enthusiastically leading us
to the stable, she pointed to my donkey and said, "There! see?"
Mac A'Rony turned his head and regarded the little one with a
comical expression on his countenance, as much as to say, "If I
brayed, you'd think me a Colt's revolver."

Upon entering the city of Erie, Pa., the Transfer Company sent an
invitation to Mac A'Rony and Donkeyota to be its guests; I sought
a leading hotel, and busied myself with my newspaper article.
Tuesday, late in the day, we started for Fairview, twelve miles
beyond. We passed many jolly sleighing parties, some of whom
stopped to chat with me, and share with me refreshments, and
purchase my chromos; and one sleigh load promised to entertain me
royally at the hotel. They kept their word, and after refreshments
and an hour's rest, we resumed the journey in the light of the
full moon, arriving at Girard by 9:30. Next morning, the village
constable arrested my attention and persuaded me to act as
auctioneer at a vendue; by which deal I made some money. I worded
the hand-bill as follows:

                      AUCTION SALE.
                Monday, February 15th, 1897.
      The farm of Jeremy Shimm, its buildings, live-stock,
      farming utensils and implements, its crops
  and its woodland, its weals and its woes, including the
      following named articles and belongings, will
      be sold under hammer this day at 10 a. m.:
      Barns and sheds, and other stable articles,
      pens and pig-pens, hen-roosts, dog-kennels,
      house and smoke-house, step-ladders, dove-cotes,
      buggies, wagons, traps and rat-traps, plows,
  sows, cows, bow-wows, hay-mows, sleds, beds, sheds, drills,
      wills and mills, wagon-jacks and boot-jacks,
      yoke of oxen, yolk of eggs, horse-clippers,
      sheep-shears, horse-rakes, garden-rakes, cradles,
      corn-cribs and baby-cribs, cultivators, lawn
      mowers, corn-shellers, chickens and coops, roosters
      and weathercocks, swine, wine, harrows, wheel-
  barrows, bows-and-arrows, stoves, work horses, sawhorses,
      axles and axle-grease, axes, cider, carpets,
      tables, chairs, wares, trees, bees, cheese, etc.
          By orders of the TOWN CONSTABLE,
                      Hank Kilheffer,
              Pythagoras Pod, Auctioneer.

The dodgers were speedily printed and circulated in all
directions--sown broadcast, as it were--and, it being a windy
day, they flew like scudding snow-flakes over every farm for miles
around.

A great throng assembled to witness the extraordinary event, and
to take advantage of bargains with the traveler-auctioneer, who,
mounted on a pile of wood, with plug hat in hand, yelled at the
top of his voice and finally disposed of the rubbish. The art of
auctioneering seemed to come to me by inspiration, and the
enthusiastic farmers and towns-people swarmed around me, eager to
secure a trophy of the notable sale.

"Three superb harrows are now to be sold, and will be sold, if I
have to buy them myself--seventy-two tooth, thirty-six tooth and
false tooth harrows; harrows with wisdom teeth, eye teeth and
grinders, will grind up the soil and corn-stubble in a harrowing
manner, and cultivate the acquaintance of the earth better than
any other kinds made. How much am I offered?" As I yelled, I felt
that I had strained my voice.

"One dollar," called a granger to set the ball rolling.

"One dollar, one dollar, one dollar--going one dollar--gone one
dollar--to the bow-legged gentleman over there, with albino
eyebrows"--"THIS WAY, SIR!" I shouted. "Constable, please take his
name, and chain him to the wood pile."

In this manner it didn't take me long to dispose of the farm,
including the soil four thousand miles deep, and the air
forty-five miles high. I finished the ordeal by noon, was paid my
fee, and then discourteously told that I had realized several
hundred dollars less from the sale than the constable himself
could have done. Still every purchaser admitted he was more than
satisfied with my generous conduct, shook my hand, bought a
chromo and expressed the desire to meet me again. And that was a
thing that does not happen always in connection with vendues.



CHAPTER XII.

        I do love these ancient ruins.
  We never tread upon them but we set
  Our foot upon some reverend history.

  --_Duchess of Malfy._


I did not tarry long in Girard, but spent the night in West
Springfield. Thursday morning I escaped from the Keystone into the
Buckeye State, eating dinner in Conneaut. As the sleighing had
disappeared, I shipped my little sled home, as a relic of the
trip, and packed my grip in the saddle, as of old.

After a short rest in Ashtabula, we climbed a hill by the South
Ridge road, where I got a fine view of the city, and soon lost
ourselves in the darkness.

Presently a farmer drove up in a rickety wagon and began to coax
me to accept of his hospitality for the night. He deftly explained
that he would care for me and my animals until after breakfast for
fifty cents.

I decided to avail myself of the invitation, and Mac congratulated
me on my display of good sense. I, too, slapped myself on the
shoulder; I was ready to sup and go right to bed. In a short time
both donk and dog were comfortably stabled, and I was introduced
to the family. The noises from the lighted kitchen had faintly
intimated to me the sort of den into which I was allured. It
contained the noisiest lot of children that ever blessed a
household.

"Are these all yours?" I inquired, politely.

"Nope," answered Mr. Cornbin. "Ye see, this 'ere's sort of a half-way
house;" the man smiled, and poked some cheap tobacco into his corn-cob
pipe. "There's goin' to be a dance down to Plimton's to-night and all
our friends from around 've fetched in their babies for George
Buck--he's our hired man--to take care of. Like to dance, eh? Better go
'long--fine women going ter be there--here's plug, if ye want a
chew--no? That's smokin' terbaccer on the table by yer. We're plain
folks, but you're welcome to the best we've got."

Mrs. C. prepared me a supper which went right to the spot. She
advised me to go to the dance, by all means. I had made up my mind
to that as soon as the word "dance" was mentioned; the "kids"
would have driven me crazy in short order, had I remained with
Buck.

One by one the mothers of the hilarious "brats" came in; then we
all got our wraps on. I expected, of course, we were going to
ride, but no, the whole party walked. My hostess took her own babe
with her. She would leave the hired man in charge of her
neighbors' children, but was too wise to entrust her own child
with him and the lamp.

When we reached our destination I was introduced to four grangers
playing "seven up," and told to make myself comfortable. "Choose
your woman, Professor," said Mr. Cornbin, "an' show 'em how you
kin manage yer feet on a waxed floor."

Sure enough, the floor was waxed. The garret was converted into a
veritable ball-room. Two rows of upright scantling crossed in the
center of the room and propped the snow-laden roof, and through
these uprights, some twenty inches apart, glided the blue jeans
and overalls, calico and cambric skirts, with as much energy and
pride as might be squeezed out of a city cotillion. The fiddlers
and caller were mounted on a board platform at one end of the
"hall." They sawed away and shouted, and wore out more enthusiasm,
catgut and shoe-leather than I ever saw wasted in the same length
of time.

There were all sorts of dances and dancers. I myself tackled the
Virginia reel, Lancers, Quadrille, Caledonia, Polka, Hornpipe, Mazourka,
a Spanish dance, the Irish Washwoman, and several others. The favorite
music was "Pussy in the Rainbarrel;" it served for a half dozen
different dances. I never liked the music--a sort of windpipe or bagpipe
which allowed no breathing-spell from start to finish. In my second
dance I went off my feet, my head caught under the sloping roof, and the
floor master had to knock my "pins" from under me to get me loose.

There was one pretty girl there, and I tried to engage her for a
dance, but every time I approached her she shied away; at last,
she got used to my odd appearance, and allowed me to clasp her to
my bosom in a waltz. Just as we got started, the dance closed, and
the caller shouted to choose partners for a square dance. My
pretty partner agreed to dance it with me; I could see several of
her admirers looking "daggers" at me.

"Forward; right and left!" sounded the call. "Lead yer partners
round the outside!"

I thought the caller meant the outside of the house, and started
down stairs, but was soon stopped, and the call explained to me.

"Alaman left!--grand right and left!--half way and back--change
partners, and four ladies salute!--balance again and swing the
opposite lady!"

That succession of calls completely demoralized me. I got all
mixed up, and soon found myself clasping an upright instead of
somebody's partner, and concluded my part by violently sitting on
the floor. After that I contented myself with looking on.

Although the two prettiest features of the ball--the Minuette and
the St. Vitus Dance--had not yet taken place, I felt more than
satisfied, and bidding my friends good morning, set out for the
Cornbin domicile.

After a late breakfast of tea, bread, salt pork and fried
potatoes, I started for Geneva.

All through New York State people had supposed on seeing me that
"Uncle Tom's Cabin" had "busted," and that Marks, the lawyer, was
homeward bound with his mule. In Ohio, the curious countrymen
inquired if I was on my way to join Maine's Circus, at its winter
quarters, Geneva. Mac, as well as I, was quite sensitive over
these inquiries. Through the driving snow-storm we managed to
reach a hotel where, after a noon meal, I led my animals on to
Madison.

When a half mile yet to the village we passed the Old Woman's
Home, which I visited the following morning, Sunday. The man who
planned it was a genius. The rooms of the commodious building were
fitted up to suit the whims of the most fastidious fossils of
second childhood. Paintings and plaster bas-reliefs of old women
knitting, washing false teeth, and sewing, decorated the walls.
Sewing baskets, crazy quilts, dolls, and paper soldiers were
strewn about the rooms. The most novel of all departments was the
dental and hirsute Check Room, where the old ladies checked their
false teeth, wigs, cork legs, etc., when they happened in disuse.
A little brass ring containing a number is given the owner of the
article to be checked, so that it may be preserved in good
condition, and not get lost. Incidents are cited where very old
women, during intervals of temporary aberration, have got their
checks mixed and tried to wear an extra set of teeth, or an
additional wig; and it is said that once a woman with two normal
legs endeavored to hook on a cork leg. But when we consider the
great age of the inmates, such cases are quite pardonable.

From the next town, Painesville, we went to the home of President
Garfield. Mr. R----, who had the care of the handsome residence,
invited me in to rest, and sup. I was shown all of the beautiful
and interesting rooms. In the spacious hall hung a large
photograph of Milan Cathedral, and in the upstairs hall, a
portrait of Washington and an engraving of Lincoln. In the
General's favorite study, I was permitted to sit in the large easy
chairs where he had found comfort after his mental labors and
inspiration for his speeches and debates, and regarded the
bric-a-brac and furniture with more awe and reverence than I had
ever felt upon visiting the homes of the great.

Two miles beyond Mentor is Kirtland, once a thriving Mormon camp.
It is situated at considerable distance from the direct route to
Cleveland, and it took us over a distressingly muddy road, and
through such intense darkness that I soon lost my bearings. Seeing
the gleam of a lamp in a window, I went up to the house to inquire
the way to the tavern. The owner insisted on our being his guests,
and I felt very grateful. My animals were assigned to a shed, and
I was invited to a hot supper, which my good hostess hastily
prepared.

I soon discovered that I was among spiritualists, as well as
Latter Day Saints. My Host, Mr. J----, was an elderly man, and
well informed. He said much about Joseph Smith. He himself was
born in Kirtland some eighty years back, and had often listened to
the preachings of the founder of Mormonism. In those days Kirtland
contained about 2,000 inhabitants; but all that remained of the
town are two stores, a shop, and a dozen or so little houses, half
of which I found to be occupied by itinerant preachers of the
"Latter Day Saints."

My host said he firmly believed in Spiritualism, and dwelt at
length on communication between the material and spiritual world.
Finally he strode to my chair and felt of my cranium.

"Why Prof.," said he enthusiastically, "you are a medium yourself.
All you require is a little study of the science. Spiritualism is
merely the science of materialism." I shivered audibly.

"And do you mean to tell me," I said, "that you believe honestly
you can see the ghost, or the spirit of the departed?"

"I know it," Mr. J---- returned, emphatically. "I have FELT the
spirit of the departed. One night at a seance I saw my little
step-daughter who had been dead many years. I heard her call to me
"papa." She put her arms round my neck, and kissed me on the lips.
Then she disappeared. Of course, I know it! I saw her, I heard
her, I felt her; isn't that proof enough?"

I told my host that he was certainly convinced, but I wasn't. I
then bade him and his wife good night, and was ushered to my
chamber. There I pulled the clothes over my head, and tried to
attribute my shivers to the cold.

When I awoke next morning and searched in my grip for my razor and
found in place of it a "Toledo Blade," I began to suspect some
supernatural being had robbed me.

Before leaving Kirtland my host persuaded me to be shown the
famous Temple and the house in which the Prophet, Joseph Smith,
lived. The Temple of the Latter Day Saints there standing, is
probably the only church of three stories in the country. I
climbed to the tower that surmounts it, and got a fine view of
the spot where once stood the house of Brigham Young. The
arrangement of the inner temple was quite novel. At both
extremities of the main hall, or nave, was a series of four rows
of white-painted seats, lettered in gilt to represent the several
orders of the Priests of Melchizedek. Long rows of rings hung from
the ceiling, crossing each other in places, from which were once
suspended curtains to divide the nave into rooms for the sessions
of the different orders, and in the white square pillars might
still be seen the rollers and pulleys with which the curtains were
drawn.

Said Mr. J----, "I have heard Joseph Smith shout from that pulpit
and tell how the Mormons would yet build a temple still larger, to
answer their future needs, and some day in the future another one
a mile square; that they were the chosen people, and would send
missionaries to convert all Europe, after which they proposed to
sweep in America to a man. Soon after that proclamation he moved
West with a large following. There they reorganized, and the new
order assumed the title of 'The Latter Day Saints.'"

Traveling that day was most disheartening in more ways than one.
The roads were awful, my exchequer extremely low. Fortunately, on
the way to Willoughby a farmer offered to feed me and my partner,
provided we would help him saw some wood.

Mac supervised the work. After we sawed off a section of a log,
the farmer handed me the axe, but soon took it from me, saying
that I couldn't chop any better than I could saw. Then we ate.

[Illustration: "_Mac supervised the work._"]

[Illustration: "_Only time I got ahead of him._"]



CHAPTER XIII.

    As Bud bestrode the donkey the cheers of the throng rose, but
  above the tumult he could hear the North End jeering at him.

    --_Much Pomp and Several Circumstances._


From Willoughby we went to Cleveland. My route through the
beautiful city lay along one of the finest residence streets in
America--the famous Euclid avenue.

From there we marched to Superior street, where cheers greeted us
on every hand. The papers had heralded my advent, and as in the
other towns and cities, the newspaper artists had taxed their
imaginations to picture Pod and Mac.

We two were engaged to appear at the Star Theatre Wednesday
evening, and when I rode out on to the stage the house shook with
laughter and cheers. I made a short address and announced that I
would sell photos of Mac A'Rony and his master at the door.

That theatre put me way ahead financially. Thursday morning I
called on the Mayor, Mark Hanna and Senator Garfield, and added
the autographs of all three to my album. Mr. Garfield invited me
to attend the weekly dinner and reception of the "Beer and
Skittles Club," that evening. I went and enjoyed myself.

Next day I reached the village of Bedford by 7:00 P. M., only
making thirteen miles; and the following night I put up at a cozy
inn at Cuyahoga Falls. We three had covered eighteen miles that
day; it seemed twice the distance. I was almost frozen. All day I
held my once frost-bitten nose in my woolen mittens, and my ears
were wrapped in a silk muffler. In the morning a man hailed me:
"Cold day!"

"Yes, pretty chilly," I returned, politely.

A half mile on a farmer opened the door and yelled:

"Pretty cold, hain't it, Professor?"

"You bet," said Pod, icily.

Some distance further a fat German drove by in a gig and said: "It
vash cold--don't it?"

"'Course it's cold!" I answered, acridly.

A mile beyond two men reminded me it was a very wintry day.

Then a woman drove past and tossed me the comforting reminder:
"Don't you find it awfully cold?" I did not reply to the last two.

Twenty minutes later a boy, from a cozy home, yelled to me. I had
passed to some distance, and did not understand. It sounded like,
"Won't you come in and warm, and have lunch," I hesitated a moment
in the biting wind, then retraced my steps and called to the lad:
"What's that you said?"

"It's a cold day!" yelled the scamp.

I was mad enough to unload my Winchester. But I didn't; I only
tucked my half-frozen nose in my mits, rubbed my ears, and
continued my journey, like an ice-covered volcano. A mile beyond a
wagon with a family in it passed me, and the man said, "Cold, my
friend." At dusk a farmer inquired, "Hasn't it been a pretty
frigid day?" The human volcano was now ready to burst. So when a
man and woman warmly clad drove by in a buggy, with top up, I
resolved to get even. I shouted several times before the rig
stopped. A fur-clad head stuck out to one side, and a male voice
called: "Can't hear ye; come nearer." I ambled up, put a foot on
the hub of a wheel, and said, "I simply want to say, it's a cold
day."

"You--!----!!------!!!--------!!!!"

As soon as he had finished, I said, by way of civil explanation:
"My dear sir, do you know, a hundred people have stopped me to-day
and told me it is cold. I have tramped nearly twenty miles without
stopping to warm or eat; and I resolved to let the next fellow
have the same dose I have been taking half-hourly all day. Now, if
you are satisfied that it is a cold day, I will bid you good
night."

With this I returned to my companions, somewhat warmer physically,
but cooler in spirit.

The hotel in Cuyahoga Falls received us most hospitably; I never
shall forget the kindnesses of its landlady. The village dates
back to pioneer days. It is built on the hunting grounds of the
old Cuyahoga Indians.

Monday, March 1st, at 12:30 P. M., we arrived in Canton.

The citizens expected my arrival, and Market street teemed with
excitement. In front of two hotels, a block apart, stood their
proprietors waving hats and arms, and calling to me to be their
guest. I was puzzled to know which invitation to accept. While
deliberating, one of the landlords approached, and taking my arm,
led me to his comfortable hostelry, where he royally entertained
me and my animals.

The pageant that celebrated the departure of William McKinley to
the seat of Government was a fair estimate of the regard in which
his fellow-citizens held him. Canton did him honor. I witnessed
the leave-taking at his house, his ride to the train in the coach
drawn by four greys under escort of a band, and heard him deliver
his farewell address from the rear platform of his private car.

I spent Wednesday night in Massillon, and next morning returned to
Canton, to take some interior photographs of McKinley's home. I
was successful, beyond my hopes and expectations, securing fine
pictures of his study and parlor. The President's inauguration at
Washington called forth a deafening demonstration. Cannon boomed,
steam whistles shrieked, and the citizens shouted and hurrahed,
and I was glad Mac was not with me to add his salute.

I returned to Massillon, and at 4:00 P. M., set out for Dalton over the
muddiest, stickiest red-clay roads I ever encountered. I saw a
meadow-lark on the first of March; this day I heard blue-birds and
robins singing gaily. It looked as though spring had come to stay.

I expected that day to reach Dalton, only eight miles distant, but
the mud prevented me. I put my foot in it--the genuine red and
yellow mixture of real Ohio clay. It was so deep, and sticky, and
liberally diluted with thawed frost that once I was compelled to
crawl along the top of a rail fence two hundred feet and more, and
drag my jackass. At dusk I had covered only three miles. Then I
sought lodgings. A store loomed into view shortly; I was elated.
According to the sign over the entrance, the younger generation
was the ruling power. It read: "Hezekiah Brimley and Father." I
made for Hez. He said the town hadn't reached the hotel stage of
development yet, but that he would gladly take me in, provided I'd
sleep with his clerk in the garret.

I found the store full of loungers, who patronized the chairs,
soap and starch boxes, mackerel kits and counter, forming a silent
circle round a towering stove in the center. The village treasurer
wore a "boiled shirt" and brass collar-buttons, but no collar or
coat. His companions were generally attired in flannel shirts of
different hues and patterns, plush caps, which might be formed
into several shapes and styles, and felt boots encased in heavy
overshoes. These rural men eyed me with suspicion until I
mentioned Mac A'Rony. Then there was a rush to the door. As it
swung open, in leaped my great dog; at once the crowd surged back
to the stove.

"Does yer dorg bite?" came several queries in a bunch.

"No," I said. "He has killed a bull, chewed up a ram, made Thanks-giving
mince-meat of several dogs, chased a pig up a tree, and only this
morning ate two chickens and a duck and chased a farmer into his hay
loft. But he doesn't bite."

My statement had a sensational effect on the assembly, who, one by
one, sneaked out of the door, leaving Hez and his odd guest alone.
As soon as the junior member, Hez's father, came in, Hez took my
animals to the shed and fed them, and told me to help myself to
the best in the store. "Ye know what ye want; I don't."

Hez said he was sorry he was just out of butter and bread. I was
sorry, too. Wishing a light supper, I selected one yeast cake
(warranted 104 per cent. pure), a pint of corned oysters (light
weight), some crackers, and leaf lard, to take the place of
butter, and a cake of bitter chocolate. I left a few things
unmolested; such as soap, cornstarch, cloves, baking-powder and
stove-polish.

My assorted supper went down all right until I tackled the
chocolate. Chocolate is a favorite beverage of mine; besides, I
wanted a hot drink. To be good, chocolate must be well dissolved.
No pot was to be had, save a flower-pot with a hole in the bottom.
A great idea popped into my head. I would drink chocolate on the
instalment plan. Did you ever try it? If not, don't let your
curiosity get the better of you.

Chocolate belongs to the bean family, and the bean is a very
treacherous thing--chocolate bean, castor-oil bean, pork-bean, and
all kinds. I first ate the cake of chocolate, then some sugar,
and drank two dippersful of hot water,--then shook myself. That
mixture might suit my stomach, I thought, but it doesn't delight
my palate. I felt I had eaten a heavy meal unwittingly, and sat
down to digest it. I hadn't sat long before I felt myself
swelling. Something within was sizzling and brewing and steaming;
gas and steam choked me. I was sure there was going to be a
demonstration in my honor that I had not bargained for. The yeast
cake came to mind; then I knew the cause. My body grew warm, and
finally I was so hot that I had to go to the garret and take a
cold bath; after which I excused myself to the clerk, and went to
bed, and dreamed I was being cremated alive.

Next morning, on invitation of the superintendent, I visited the
Pocock Coal Mine, situated close by, and had an enjoyable trip
through its subterranean passages.



CHAPTER XIV.

  This day Dame Nature seemed in love:
  The lusty sap began to move;
  Fresh juice did stir th' embracing Vines,
  _And birds had drawn their Valentines_.

                            --_The Complete Angler._


It was noon when I started for Dalton, three miles away, and night
before we arrived there. The mud oozed into my overshoes, and I
made Mac carry me and my grip. I delivered a lecture, whose
receipts about defrayed my expenses, and was presented a pair of
rubber boots by a man frank enough to admit the boots didn't fit
him.

We spent the Sabbath in Wooster. While strolling down its main
street with my dog, I suddenly came upon a captive coyote, which
defied Don, who ran off in a fright. That monster canine fell
considerably in my estimation. I wondered what he would do when
our camps on the plains were surrounded with a hundred of these
yelping beasts.

Wooster, rather a pretty town, is the seat of a university. The
word "seat" reminds me that I needed a pair of trousers. The rainy
season had set in, and I wanted a reserve pair. Otherwise, when my
only pair got soaked I must go to bed until they dried. I walked
into a Jewish clothier's, and, selecting a pair of corduroys,
inquired, "How much?"

"Two dollahs ond a hollaf," said the merchant. He informed me that
in Mansfield the same "pants" would cost $3, in Fort Wayne $5, in
Chicago $7, etc. I said that according to his way of reckoning I
could have purchased the same kind of trousers in Dalton for $2,
in Massillon for $1, and in Canton for a song. My argument
staggered him, but he soon recovered, and showed me a great
colored picture, representing a pair of corduroys, one leg chained
to an elephant, the other hooked to a locomotive, and both powers
working in opposite directions to part those wonderful trousers.

"Just vot you vant vor riding a jockoss; can't bull abart; vy, my
dear sir, it's a bargain." That was a strong argument; I bought
the "pants."

Passing on through Jeromeville and Mifflin, we reached Mansfield,
the home of Senator Sherman; and sixteen miles beyond Galion. That
lovely spring day, with the birds chirping merrily in the trees,
my pilgrimage seemed unusually irksome. Next day was my birthday,
and I resolved to make it a holiday.

I enjoyed a day of recreation, so did my donkey and dog, and in
the evening delivered a lecture on my travels before a campaign
league at its club house.

On Friday morning I started for the town of Marion, twenty-six
miles away. Many citizens of Galion assembled to see us off. Mac
and Don were impatient for the journey, and amused the crowd by
pulling each other's whiskers. I had boasted of having trained Mac
A'Rony to follow me. When I set out with a wave of my hat and a
beckon to my partner, he responded promptly, and for some distance
verified my boasts. He never before had acted so tractable.
Suddenly, a cheer sounded in the distance, and, turning, I beheld
that asinine rascal making back to town on a hop-skip-and-jump.
How the crowd did yell! It was a circus for them. Mac certainly
had rested too long and eaten too many oats. The only time I got
ahead of him was when I photographed him. I did not upbraid him,
but when I readjusted my scattered belongings and whirled the whip
over his head, he moved forward with utmost humility.

At Caledonia, I took advantage of the farmers' market day and sold
a large number of photos at a good price. I could not appear
anywhere on the street without some rural stranger stopping me to
shake hands and purchase a chromo. Saturday evening I lectured to
a crowded house.

It was 4:30 P. M. Sunday before I started to Kenton, twenty-seven
miles beyond. When nearly there, I passed a small farm whose rural
incumbent came to the fence to question me.

"Goin' ter show to-night?" he inquired.

"Nope," I answered, and kept Mac A'Rony moving.

"Hold a minute!--Be ye travelin' er goin' somewhere?" the man
persisted, as he leaned over the fence-rail. He interested me.

"When you see people walking," I returned, bringing my donkey to
halt, "you can take it for granted, they are going somewhere."

The lonesome-looking farmer was the first I had met who was
neither busy at work nor whittling. Gray locks fell wantonly over
his ears. His faded coat, blue overalls and felt boots exhibited
signs of a persistent conflict with farm implements, hooking cows,
kicking horses, and a rich clayey soil. A cow and two hogs eyed my
donkey and dog with contempt through the bars of the barnyard
fence. I observed that all the buildings, including the house,
were of logs. The man, judging from his property, didn't have a
dollar in the world, but had great expectations. He asked if I had
any books to sell. I had one, a copy of a volume I had published,
several of which I had sold on my journey at a good price. I had
lost fifteen valuable minutes talking with the man, and resolved
to get even. While wondering what I could take in exchange for the
book, a hen cackled.

"Certainly. I have a book to sell," I said.

"How much is it?"

"Dollar and a half."

"I'd buy it," said the farmer, longingly, "but I hain't got the
price."

"Have you got any eggs?" I asked.

"Dozens of 'em. How many kin ye suck at a sittin'?"

"I don't wish to suck them; I want them to sell," I replied. "How
much do you ask a dozen?"

"Six cents," he answered.

"Well," I said, "I will trade the book for ten dozen. Is that a
bargain? It looks like a cinch for you."

"I meant a book about yer travels t' San Francisco," he explained,
as he looked far away.

"Well, that's just what it is," I returned, bound to make a sale,
or die in the attempt. "Tells all about them: how robbers shot at
me in York State, bull chased me down a well in Pennsylvania, dog
worried me up a tree in Illinois, cowboys rescued me from Indians
in the Rocky Mountains, grizzly bear hugged--"

"Whew," ejaculated the man. "Thet's what I want. Ye got yer book
aout purty soon. Wait till I go and fetch th' eggs." And the
apparently ignorant man disappeared, soon to re-appear with a
paper sack full of hen fruit.

"Fresh?" I inquired, as I tied the fragile bundle to the saddle-horn.

"Couldn't be fresher," was the positive answer. "Some laid terday,
some yisterday, but most on 'em ter-morrer." Then observing my
arched brows, he added, "Yaas--yer thunk I was a know-nuthin', and
I let yer think so, 'cause yer need 'couragement. And I say
agin, most on 'em was laid ter-morrer, and th' best on 'em is
rooster eggs."

I delivered the book, feeling the farmer had somewhat the better
of me after all, and came to the conclusion that because a man
looks primitive, and lives in primitive style, he is not
necessarily of primitive intellect.

Mac joined in a pleasant adieu to Mr. Bosh, and we sauntered on,
I, behind, deeply absorbed in thought. We hadn't proceeded a half
mile, however, before Mac shied at a bunch of hay, and ran plumb
against a rail-fence; in a jiffy that jackass looked like an
egg-nog. There is no word coined to express my eggs-ass-peration.

When I caught the scapegrace, it required a half hour to make him
and the saddle look the least respectable. I stopped at the next
farm house, where a windmill supplied me with the water to wash
the outfit, and I signed a pledge never to have anything to do
with shell games of any kind. They always get the better of you.



CHAPTER XV.

    Every one who has petted a favorite donkey will remember many
  traits of its mental capacities; for, as in the case of the
  domestic fool, there is far more knavery than folly about the
  creature.--_Wood's Natural History._


It was a sunny spring day when I arrived in Kenton. After supper
with a young physician, on his invitation, I retired, and next day
set out for Ada, a village sixteen miles away. Toward evening,
being tired and almost without funds, I sat down to converse with
a farmer who was husking corn. He soon became interested in my
trip, and said if I would help him husk awhile he would feed me
and my animals. I gladly consented; Mac A'Rony and Don lent their
assistance, the donkey soon losing his appetite. After a delicious
supper with the farmer's family, I hastened on, reaching Ada long
after dark.

Ada is the seat of a Normal School, which is the seat of a large
number of other seats. Everybody seemed to be much concerned about
the great fistic bout to take place in Carson City that day; the
17th of March. It was "St. Patrick's Day in the morning," with the
weather threatening, when I started for Lima. My coat was
decorated with cabbage and lettuce leaves and paper imitations of
shamrock, and I looked like an animated vegetable garden. Finally
it rained; and the road became a mire.

I had just finished a heated argument on the Carson fight, and
began to question the story of how St. Patrick drove the snakes
out of Ireland, when I suddenly found myself on the ground. And I
saw the streak of daylight Mac threatened to kick into my brain.

An old man tried to drive a colt past my strange-looking outfit. I
called to him to hold his horse by the bit until I could lead my
donkey into the field. But no, he could handle the colt, or any
other horse, and I should mind my own business. On the rig came a
few yards nearer, when in the twinkling of an eye the colt whirled
and upset the buggy with its boastful driver. The man was not
hurt; but somewhat dazed. Several farmers soon arrived and were
loud in their abuse, saying Mac and I had no right on the highway.
It was an effort for the donkey to keep his mouth shut. I replied,
civilly, that I was sorry the thing occurred, and explained how I
had warned the stranger.

Then I whipped up my unjustly abused partner, and left the old man
pulling his beard thoughtfully in the midst of the sympathetic
group. All day I strode far in advance of my donkey and led
untrained, untamed, and frightened horses past.

Next day being stormy, I devoted the morning to writing my
newspaper article and answering some urgent letters; then, failing
to arrange for a lecture, I left Lima for Delphos, and tramped
fifteen miles in mud and rain without lunch.

We spent Saturday night in Van Wert, and Sunday afternoon resumed
the journey in sunshine, people crowding their front windows and
doorways to see us leave town. We had not proceeded far when I met
an odd trio who had run half a mile across lots to speak to me.
One boy had a twisted foot; another, a hand minus five or six
fingers; and the third acknowledged that as soon as he caught
sight of us he lost his head. Considering their crippled
condition, I thought they deserved credit for such activity.

It was eight miles to Convoy. There was no bottom to the road.
Seeking a footing along the fence, I ground innumerable land crabs
into the mud, while the peepers in the swampy clearings piped
their dismal music. At dusk we waded into the village where a
curious throng awaited the sensation of the day. And there we
spent the night.

The nearer I approached the Indiana border, the more impoverished
appeared the farms and their struggling proprietors. Every other
farm-house was the primitive log-cabin, and the barns and
outbuildings generally tallied with the house.

A thunderstorm awoke me at day-break; the prospect for my day's
tramp was most dismal. After walking six miles, I stopped to talk
with a party of gypsies, in camp. Presently a black-eyed gypsy
girl issued from a heap of bedding under a tree, and inquired if
Mac A'Rony was an ostrich. Her heavy jet-black hair fell in a mass
over her shoulders, and her sparkling eyes did their level best to
enchant me, as she asked to tell my fortune.

"How much?" I asked.

Her grizzled sire said fifty cents; the daughter corrected him,
saying one dollar. That was too steep for me. I gave Mac the rein
and proceeded some distance when the girl called to me, "Twenty-five
cents! Come back!" This was an alluring proposition, and I
returned. At once dismissing the bystanders, she reached over the
fence for my hand, told me to place a quarter in it, then to close
and open it. I no sooner obeyed than the coin disappeared, and the
gypsy began in a charming manner, as follows:

"That line shows you will live to a good old age. You are to enjoy
your best days in the future. Understand me? If your pocket was
as big as your heart you would make many others happy. Understand
me?" She surely must mean creditors, I thought. "Yes," I answered.

"Shows it in your face," said she. "You have for a long time
disliked your business" (that was no lie), "and want to change it.
Understand me? You make friends easily, and wherever you go you
are invited to come again. Understand me?" I nodded. "Shows it in
your face." I began to think she was reading my countenance
instead of my hand.

"Are you married?" she asked. "No, but want to be," I replied.

"Shows it in your face," said she. "A widow lady is in love with
you. She has written you, and you will get her letter soon. Her
name is Sarah. Understand me?"

"I do not," said I; "I know but one woman named Sarah. Heaven help
me if she is after me!"

"Shut your hand now, and make a wish," said the girl.

I did as she bade, and wished long and hard.

"Now open," said she. Her black eyes seemed to pierce my very
soul. "You wish to make fame and fortune. Understand me?"

"True, I do," I said to her; that's just what every man wishes, I
said to myself. Then she continued:

"You will make fame and fortune in the business you are now in.
Shows it in your face." I wasn't satisfied with that prediction; I
preferred the fortune to be in my pocket.

"A kiss is awaiting you from a black-haired girl within two weeks'
time. She loves you. A lot of girls want you, but they can't have
you. Understand me?"

"I confess that I don't quite," I answered. "But I wish those poor
girls did." And I looked real serious.

"Shows it in your face," she repeated. That fortune teller
puzzled me. The quarter's worth of seance at an end, I plodded on
toward the Hoosier country with my mute comrades, wondering how
much of the fortune would come true.

Soon afterward we got out of the mud area and came to a hard,
smooth, broken-stone road. I stopped my donkey and sat down to
take off my rubber boots. Just when I got the first shoe on, Mac
began to move down the level turnpike. I called, "Whoa, Mac! Huh!!
You long-eared Mephisto!" The jackass paid no heed, but galloped
on, shaking his head and kicking up his heels merrily with the dog
in front of him, barking as if he enjoyed Mac's practical joke. By
this time I was speeding after the runaway, a boot on one foot, a
shoe on the other, and chased a half mile before I caught him.
Then I led him back for my footgear.

Two miles beyond we again struck mud, thick and deep. Observing a
little mound covered with long dried grass, I sat down again to
change my footgear. Mac turned and eyed me mischievously, and
wobbled his ears, then nodded to Don. I was so absorbed with the
idea that he intended to lead me another chase that I failed to
hear an ominous sound emanating from underneath my seat. Not until
something seemed to burn me did I rise to the occasion, and light
out, this time stocking foot, but making less speed through the
black and sticky highway than on my former run.

Something less than a million bees swarmed about my head. I ran!
Oh, how I ran! And I would be running still, perhaps, had not a
farmer seen me and knocked down the swarm with a section of a rail
fence. I was quite out of breath. The hero had only spared my life
for future tortures.

[Illustration: "_I scrutinized his hat inquisitively._"]

After considerable search, I found boots and shoes, but failed to
see either dog or donkey. Putting on my boots, I hung my shoes on
the fence, and set out on the trail of the fugitives, which
appeared to have gone into the brush. I waded into the thicket,
calling Don all the time, and at last was rewarded. He leaped at
me delightedly, and barked, and tugged at my trouser legs, and
piloted me to the terrified donkey which I found tangled in a mass
of wild raspberry bushes, his head tucked between his forelegs,
and his back doubled up like a cat at bay. There were no bees on
Mac.

That was a hot experience, for a raw March day. I plodded on
through the mire to the house, whose proprietor had come to my
rescue. The dooryard was filled with hives.

"Regular bee ranch," I remarked, pleasantly, though I burned
uncomfortably.

"Yas. Right smart business," the man returned.

"You're right; bees do a smart business."

"Lived on 'em nigh ten years."

"You must find them a hot diet!" I said. "I lived on a nest of
them less than half a minute and nearly burned up."

"I reckon so," he replied with a chuckle. "I saw yer scorchin'."

It was 2:30 P. M. when we crossed the state line. The first sight
that greeted my eyes in Indiana was a flock of Ohio geese just
ahead of us, being driven by a hoosier.

"Fine drove of geese you've got there," I said to the man.

"Yaw," he answered. "But Ohio geese is peculiar. Gooses won't run
with th' ganders."

"No?" I queried. "What's the reason they won't?"

"Wall, jest th' way they's built. Won't run--jest fly, er waddle."

"What most all geese do, don't they?" I asked, much amused.

"Yaw," reiterated the hoosier, grinning; "jest fly, or waddle."



CHAPTER XVI.

    Get money; still get money, boy, no matter by what
  means.--_Ben Jonson._


Indiana swamps, woodland, corn fields and log cabins were not
unlike those of Ohio. On arriving in New Haven two hours after
dark, I was quite tired out, and I think my companions were, too.
We had tramped all day without dinner over a road alternately hard
and muddy. I would have stopped to rest at a small place called
Zulu, but the name sounded so cannibalistic that I looked to my
firearms and hurried past.

Next day I registered in Fort Wayne. After calling on the genial
Mayor, I set out to inspect the city and see what my chances were,
for I found the outlook for my delivering a lecture discouraging,
and, although for several days I had barely made expenses, did not
attempt money-making there.

Fort Wayne is notable for its great car-shops and the Indiana
School for the Feeble Minded. In the morning I boarded a car and
rode a mile and a half out of town to the latter. The large
building of brick and terra cotta, viewed in its expansive setting
of well-groomed lawn and gay parterres, presented a picture of
architectural beauty.

The superintendent welcomed me cordially, although it was not
visitors' day, and graciously showed me through the interesting
institution. Its neatness, the clock-work regularity with which
the several departments are conducted, and the great variety and
detail of the mode of instruction given the 550 idiotic inmates
were a revelation to me. Many of the advanced scholars were making
and mending their clothes and bedding; something I couldn't do, I
fear. The idiots are carefully attended day and night. Never
before did I see a natural-born bald-headed person. Here was one,
a funny-looking girl, and I was told she had several brothers,
sisters, parents, uncles and aunts, all bald from birth--a
distinguished family indeed. I wondered whether her disappointment
was as great as that of Pye Pod, who once possessed a head of
hair, then lost it. I have heard it said people who never had
money know not its value, and presume its so with their heirs.

For mortals deprived of reason the place is surprisingly quiet.
The halls are tiled, the floors of the rooms are waxed, and all
are so slippery that the inmates are unable to romp, which is
probably the reason for such stillness. Whenever they gain sense
enough to be boisterous like sane and healthy children, they
instantly fall on their craniums on the polished floor and are
rendered insensible.

I was interested in a group of little girls who were being taught
a game. One wee child with a big head--bigger than I had ever been
accredited with--was sitting in an invalid's chair with her head
resting in an iron prop, because it was too heavy for one body to
support in those hard times, and seated around in ordinary chairs
were epileptic, paralytic, cross-grained idiots, etc., so far
advanced toward health and sanity by careful training as to play a
game.

While the great object of this school is to provide the
unfortunates with a comfortable home and prevent intermarriage, a
few are graduated every year and transferred to the large farm
owned by the institution. I heard the Feeble Minded Brass Band
play; its music I thought quite equal to that of many normal bands
I had heard. The birthdays of great men (excepting that of
Pythagoras Pod), are celebrated, and birthday parties given.

The superintendent drove me back to town and urged me to fetch my
donkey out to entertain the idiots, and invited me to dine with
him. So not telling Mac about the place, I rode him to the Home,
where I found my host and his assistants ready to receive us.

"Shylock there will assist you," said the superintendent, pointing
to a hump-backed inmate.

When we got Mac to the hall entrance the circus began. Two
attendants helped Shylock boost the donkey while I guided his
head, and we managed to pitch the beast headlong into the slippery
hall, where he landed three times in succession--first, on his
knees and heels, second, on his tail, and third, on his back. I
think he imagined he was on ice, for he lay perfectly still,
afraid to move.

The hall floor was cleared, but a bunch of idiotic heads stuck out
of every doorway, and peals of hyenish laughter reverberated
through the building. Finally we got Mac on all fours, and I rode
him slowly down the hall amid the hysterical shouts and screams of
the physically strong, if feeble-minded children, and talking,
yelling and commanding attendants, all of which so frightened my
sensitive mount that he squatted down on the floor, rolled over on
his side, and brayed. Did you ever hear an ass bray in any
confined space? It is awful! These unmanageable pupils and their
overtaxed preceptors fairly went mad, while Mac yelled, "Hell is
empty, and all the devils are here!"

The hall was now a swarming, uncontrollable mass of unbridled
lunacy in human mould; romping, tumbling, fainting, and taxing the
united strength and strategy of the surprised officials to bring
order out of chaos. The jackass went into a veritable fit, kicked
the plaster off the walls, shattered an incandescent light globe,
nearly rolled on top of an idiot who took him for a pussy cat, and
brayed himself hoarse. Suddenly he leaped to his feet and ran
akiting down the tiled hall floor until it turned; then he tried
to turn, and flopping off his feet, came down on his vertebræ. As
soon as we could get him out of doors, I handed him over to
Shylock and went into dinner with the laughing superintendent. I
never want another experience like that. The disappointing feature
about the show was that probably not one idiot would remember it
over to the next day.

The following morning my party set out over a black muddy road.
Thrifty looking farm-houses, many of them of brick, were scattered
along our route, and sheep and cattle basked in the sunshine on
the south side of strawstacks, often attracting wistful glances
from my long-eared partner. Arriving at Churubusco, I put up at a
comfortable hotel near the railroad where the noisy passing trains
kept me awake most of the night, and resumed the journey next day,
after lunch.

Some four miles beyond the village we came to a new iron bridge,
without its approaches filled in. No workmen were about. A single
two-by-twelve plank was stretched from the bank to the bridge at
both ends to enable people to cross, but evidently quadrupeds were
supposed to ford or swim the stream. I tarried some moments
thinking what best to do, when presently a countryman happened by,
and helped me carry a plank from the roadside to widen the bridge
approach for my donkey to walk.

What an ass Mac was! He attempted to walk the planks sideways, and
consequently fell into the deep miry hole, almost into the stream.
I feared he had broken his back, but he escaped injury. The farmer
helped me uncinch the saddle and get Mac up the steep bank on to
the road; then we transferred the plank at the other end of the
bridge to that end and made a three-plank foot-bridge. Finally we
got Mac on to the bridge proper, and by transferring the three
planks to the other end I managed to overcome the obstacle, and
proceeded on the journey, after the loss of two hours. My hat had
anticipated the animal into the hole and was flattened by his
weight; thereafter it supported a gable roof.

Two hours after dark we came to a barn that looked roomy and airy,
and as the next town beyond Wolf Lake was so far away, I concluded
we might as well take possession of it for the night. The barn
door wasn't locked, so I led my animals in, and struck a match. No
horses were visible, but a box stall contained a cow and a calf.
Prowling about with lighted matches, I discovered a buck sheep,
hiding behind his wool in fear of my big dog. I found a measure of
grain for Mac and assigned Don to a pile of hay near the door,
then tucked myself in some straw and drew my mackintosh over my
shoulders, prepared for a night's rest.

I was almost asleep when the calf bawled; again when on the brink
of Lethe, the sheep bleated. Suddenly my restless donkey kicked a
board off the side of the barn and set Don to barking. I yelled,
"Shut up!" Again the dog barked. The next second he made a leap in
the dark, followed by a loud commotion, and at once the atmosphere
indicated plainly what kind of an animal the dog was after. I
couldn't get out of the door without running the lines, which
seemed perilous indeed. Mac kicked and brayed as he never had
before, and my dog was running round the barn trying to get away
from the atmosphere or something. And I was as busy as the rest
endeavoring to bury myself in the straw. Presently the dog and
the buck sheep went to settling some misunderstanding, fighting
like demons. The cow and calf then began to bellow in a discordant
duet, and fearing lest any moment the cow would break the bars of
her stall and enter the general fray, I dug all the harder in the
straw. All at once, amid the obscured exciting scene and above the
tumult, I detected an agonizing groan, and suspected Don was
squeezing the life out of the sheep or the calf or the nuisance;
but when it was all over and I heard the victim gasping in its
death throes, it was plain that my dog had shaken all the strength
out of our unwelcomed guest.

It was impossible for me to go asleep in that great, airy barn. I
crawled out of the straw, and got my donkey out of doors as
quickly as possible. As for Don, I felt indifferent about his
joining our company, if he proposed to be familiar. On over the
deserted highway we groped our way; the dog sneezing, coughing and
rolling by the roadside, the half-suffocated jackass breathing
hard and braying faintly for more air, and I soliloquizing
vociferously about the existence of useless creatures.

The wind blowing head on, I kept some distance ahead of Mac, and
threw mud and stones at the dog, which now seemed particularly
fond of his master, and continued my tirade against such obnoxious
things as we had lately run against.

"Every creature has some redeeming virtue," Mac A'Rony remarked
after a while. "Above all things, don't belittle the skunk; he's
the best financier in the world. He could go into the Stock
Exchange and bull the market with one scent, and all the members
together couldn't bear it." Mac was ever doling out to me
unwelcome philosophy under trying circumstances.

We reached Ligonier, a fine little town eleven miles away, the
next day in time for one o'clock dinner. Since entering Indiana I
had not made expenses; and my little reserve fund was vanishing. I
had been told that Ligonier was a moneyed town, and its people
liberal; so I tried to secure a hall for a lecture, but failing, I
spoke my piece in the street. Fully two hundred persons assembled
to hear me, and encored enthusiastically. I concluded with passing
my hat and collecting 32 cents. I talked again three hours later
on the same spot, and was rewarded with a contribution of three
cents. I think that collection for a lecture is a record-breaker.

Goshen was reached next day by 5 P. M. The Scripture speaks of
Goshen as the land "flowing with milk and honey," but as I have
been told, I am somewhat rusty on Biblical history. At any rate, I
looked forward to replenish my depleted exchequer here, if I had
to resort to extreme measures. Before retiring, I made up my mind
I was going to be awfully disappointed with Goshen. The people of
the section of country I had threaded from the Ohio boundary were
incredulous, superstitious, penurious and suspicious, and those
characteristics seemed to reach their superlative in that
particular town.

Monday dawned still and sunny--an ideal day for hanging out
clothes, but not shingles. I hung out mine, nevertheless; it was
essential to Mac's welfare and to mine, to say nothing of the
dog's.

A drummer showed deep interest in my pilgrimage, and I asked him
how he made out with his business. I had failed signally. He said
he was glad I spoke to him on the subject, and drew me aside.

"See all the thrifty-looking wagon-teams hitched on the two sides
of the Court House Square?" said he; "See those squads of grangers
standing around waiting for something to turn up? Well, every
stranger is looked upon with suspicion. If he attempts to drum up
a new business among these fossils, he is immediately branded a
'fake.' After I had made two unsuccessful trips to this section, I
vowed I would make the third one a success. A fake article sold by
a first-class imitation drummer would just about catch these
people. And ever since that day I have been unloading on them, and
reaping a big harvest. Do you see the moral?"

I said I did, and thanked him. After lunch, during which I was
accredited extremely thoughtful, I drew my friend aside and
whispered, "I have it. I'll buy some axle-grease, and mix it with
sweet oil, and sell it for eye salve!" The drummer eyed me as he
might a wonderful character, felt of my head, and said I'd win
out. At once I went to a drug-store for some pill boxes, blank
labels and perfume, and to a hardware store for axle-grease and
sweet oil; then retired to my hotel room, and mixed my "Eye
Elixir."

As soon as my magic healing wares were ready to put on the market,
I hunted up a sore-eyed tramp I had seen on the street that day,
and promising him a percentage of my receipts, got him to assist
me to get even with the folks he, too, had a grudge against. When
I was fairly started on my eloquent talk about the virtues of "Eye
Elixir," the tramp walked up with the quarter I had given him, and
asked for "another box," saying to the crowd, he'd been looking
for me all over the country and was glad to find me, for his eyes
being almost well from using the first box began to get worse when
he had no more salve, which was the only thing that ever helped
his sore eyes. He said, if he could afford it, he would lay in a
lot of it for future use, not knowing where he could get any more.
Then a boy stepped up and bought a box, and an old woman bought
two boxes, and the sales proceeded so fast when once started that
I soon sold out, and took in $7, selling twenty-seven boxes of
"Eye Elixir" besides the box I had sold to the tramp. I paid him
one dollar for his services, with which he was delighted. This
left me a net profit, after deducting the cost of making the
salve, of $4.90, paying my expenses in town and leaving me a small
balance. Then I cleared out of Goshen as quickly as possible. Oh,
Shakespeare, how truthfully you said, "What fools these mortals
be!"

I resolved that when I should return East I would go by ship
around the Horn, or by train across the Isthmus, or else choose a
trans-continental route which would give that section, honied and
milked by Pye Pod, a wide berth.



CHAPTER XVII.

  Yankee Doodle came to town,
    Riding on a pony,
  Stuck a feather in his cap,
    And called him "Mac A'Rony."
                                --_Old Ballad._


A county poor-house on the road to Elkhart attracted my notice
when I was about to pass it by. My outfit was recognized by a man
raking the front lawn, and he urged me to visit the institution;
so, thinking I might devote a quarter-hour to the cause of
self-education, I tied Mac in the yard, and was shown through the
dirtiest and most uninteresting building I ever inspected.

Old, lazy-looking men, with empty heads in full hands, lounged
about on benches, and several others in the hospital ward seemed
to be trying harder to die than to live. One wrinkled but
round-faced wench, with a soiled bandage round her ears and forehead,
was smoking a well-seasoned pipe in the kitchen while stirring
mush. I was glad to see the house prison empty. Five minutes
indoors sufficed me; and, bidding my escort a hasty adieu, I
piloted Mac on to Elkhart.

Arriving in the city, I at once procured a license to sell
pictures on the curb, a precaution I had been timely advised to
take, and one that was rarely necessary on that trip. Then, before
going to eat and to rest my tired bones, I led the donkey to a
prominent corner in the business center and began to sell. I had
disposed of two photos only, when a policeman with unusual
pomposity ordered me away, but I continued to make sales and, as
he was about to take me in custody, shook my license in his face,
causing much merriment to the crowd.

Soon the cheering attracted the Mayor to the scene, and he, to my
surprise, not only bought a chromo, but paid me for the privilege
of riding Mac A'Rony. The jack reluctantly consenting, his Honor
got into the saddle and rode down the half-choked thoroughfare a
block and back amid thunderous applause.

The profits from my sales did not meet my expenses, including the
cost of license, so I hurried on to Mishawaka, where, after supper
I delivered a street lecture, passed my hat and collected 24
cents. I would yet be stranded in Indiana, at that rate. Mac
advised me to leave town at once, and we made for South Bend at
dark, reaching that city by ten o'clock. And there with only $6.50
in pocket, I put up at a small hotel and tossed in bed half the
night, wondering how I should save myself.

"The darkest hour is just before dawn," and it was about that time
when I recollected having received, a few days before my
pilgrimage began, a letter from a Mr. Adams, of Chicago, extending
me an invitation to be his guest, should I pass through that city.
It was one of many letters received at the time, which I had not
answered. I now regretted my negligence, but nevertheless, next
morning, with due apologies I wired him to expect me on a certain
train, and planned for a week's absence.

The lenient hotel proprietor agreed to take care of my animals as
security for my hotel and stable bill; then I purchased a return
ticket for emergency, and boarded the train for the Windy City,
trusting to a dollar and a half, to my wits, and to "luck" to
carry me through.

As I stepped off the train in Chicago, a stranger grasped my hand
and gave me a most cordial greeting.

"Laying for me, eh?--first man I meet a confidence man," I
muttered inwardly. But he was extremely courteous, and offered to
carry my saddle-bags.

"No, sir," I said, politely. "I've carried them twelve hundred
miles, and can carry them three thousand more."

"Pod is your name, all right;" the stranger continued, half in
inquiry, half in surprise, I thought, as we walked out of the
railroad station.

"You bet it is," I said, emphatically. "Just because you've plenty
of wind out here you needn't think it can blow away my name."

"Well," said he, cheerfully, "Our wind is said to be the best
brewed in all this country. It may not be strong enough to blow
away pods, but I'll wager it can blow the pease out of 'em so far
you never can find them." The man's facetiousness interested me;
it bespoke his nerve.

"Tell me, Mister," I said, after walking several blocks, "where
are you taking me, anyhow?"

"Oh, just three blocks more, then we take a cable," said my
escort, as he made another futile grab for my countryfied luggage.
When on the car, this confidence man had the confidence to
introduce me to a pal, as the New York gentleman and scholar,
Professor Pye Pod, who was surveying a trans-continental turnpike
from the observation platform of a jackass.

"I want to know!" exclaimed bunco man number two; and suddenly, a
new light affecting to dawn on his brain, he added, as if to
disarm my suspicions, "I see. I see. I have it now. You are the
journalist I've read about,--said to be well fixed--first visit to
Chicago?"

"Not much," I returned. "Been here dozens of times. Can't say I'm
well fixed, though, with only a dollar and a half to my name."

At this stage of the dialogue, I saw a police station. "Come with
me," I said, "I want to procure a license. Then we'll have a
'smile.'"

And, to my utter surprise and gratification, both men stepped off
the car and followed me like faithful dogs into the police
station.

"Where's the Chief of Police?" I inquired of a man in uniform, who
stepped toward me.

"Right here before you," was the answer.

"Well, arrest these bunco-steerers," I said, dropping my
odd-looking luggage and laying a hand on each man's shoulder. I never
saw greater astonishment and embarrassment than was expressed by
these two confidence men at being so easily trapped by their
"Uncle Rube."

"This man met me at the train when my depot came in," I continued,
excitedly, in _lapsus linguæ_. "He knew my name, business, and
previous condition of fortune, and put me on a car where he
introduced this pal of his, and if I hadn't been forwarned against
such fellows by my Uncle Hiram, and caught on to the game, I would
have been robbed by this time and chucked into the sewer."

This was enough for the Chief. He seized each man by the collar.
Instantly the first man found his tongue and tried to explain
matters, and finally did so, to the satisfaction of all concerned.
But what a surprise party for Pye Pod!

"Well! well!! well!!!" I exclaimed, my heart thumping like a
pile-driver, as I realized my embarrassing predicament. "Who would
have thought it? Mr. Adams, of course! My dear sir, how stupid of
me! I have wronged you and your friend unmercifully. When I
telegraphed you (the Chief here loosened his hold on the men) I
never thought you would attempt to meet me at the train, let alone
have time to. Your address of 131609 Wellington avenue, I supposed
must be near to the State line; Chicago has grown so. Couldn't
conceive how you could reach the depot before to-morrow."

Of course, it was "up to me" to treat. So I left my saddle-bags,
and going to a cigar store, purchased a dime's worth of cheroots,
and did myself nobly by the chief and the confidence men, whose
faces were bloated and red on my return. Then my forgiving host
took me to his distant home, where, after dinner, we enjoyed a
smoke--of his own cigars--and a hearty laugh over my exceptional
initiation to Chicago life.

While smoking and chatting, my host happened to mention a big mass
meeting to be held that evening at Lincoln Turner Hall. The doors
were to be opened at eight o'clock. It was now seven-thirty. At
once I explained my financial stress, and told him that the object
of my advance trip by train was to try to make enough money to
continue my donkey journey. Adams suggested that, that being the
case, we should attend the meeting, by all means; so we hurried
off.

Arriving at the hall, my host introduced me to an officer of the
league, who escorted us both to seats on the platform with a
number of vice-presidents and their wives and mothers-in-law.
After several orators had spoken, among them being Carter
Harrison, soon to be elected Mayor of Chicago, the chairman
reminded the audience of Pythagoras Pod and his celebrated donkey,
Mac A'Rony, of whom they had read, saying that the meeting was
honored with the Professor's presence; then he introduced me,
after having said I needed no introduction.

It was five minutes before I could hear myself speak, and, not
being there for that purpose, I didn't say much. But my speech
seemed to tickle the audience, and when I had concluded, the
chairman suggested that my histrionic plug hat be passed around
the hall, on the inside, so it was; and, do you believe, it was
returned to me with more wealth than I had possessed before, at
any one time on my pilgrimage.

The two days following were busy ones. I contracted for the
manufacture of a quantity of buttons, containing the picture of
Pye Pod on his donkey, and arranged for the meeting with the
manager of a large patent medicine concern on my return to the
city with Mac A'Rony. Then, after a day's rest, I returned Sunday
evening to South Bend, Ind., to find my donkey and dog well and
delighted to see me, but myself suffering, for the first, with
malaria.

I had a severe chill on reaching the hotel, and all night long I
rolled and tossed with a fever. This was doubtless the result of
my evening travels through the swamps and lowlands of the Hoosier
State. At midnight, I sent a bell-boy for quinine, and by feeding
on the medicine liberally, for several hours, I broke up the fever
by morning; but still my bones ached. I had no appetite and was in
no form to travel. At noon I forced down a little soup, paid my
bills, and set out for New Carlisle, walking the whole distance,
fourteen miles, by sunset. Mac was so slow that his shadow beat
him to town. My muscles and joints still ached, and I passed
another sleepless night. Next day I pushed on to La Porte,
fourteen miles further, and went to bed feeling a wreck. But as
the chills and fever failed to return, I enjoyed sleep.

My Chicago trip was a boon to me. I gave no thought to
money-making for the present. Wednesday morning, feeling in better
spirits, I started for Valparaiso, and covered the twenty-two
miles on foot by dark, and relished a hearty supper. Thus far the
week had been cold and damp and cloudy. The roads, where they were
not muddy, were very sandy, and Mac and I made slow headway.

The following night was spent in Hobart, where I was entertained
at an amusing, though distressing cock-fight, and all day Friday I
tramped or waded in sand six inches deep to the next town,
Hammond, where I passed a restless night, in spite of my now
restored health. In the morning I learned that the state line runs
not only through the town, but also, the very house and bedroom I
occupied. My bed was directly on the line, and somehow, any
position I got in brought that line across some part of my body.

Dull monotony and bad weather distinguished the next day's
journey; a rainstorm met us half way to Chicago, and wet us all
the way. But on Palm Sunday, we progressed under more genial
skies. I observed many pacific, law-abiding people with
prayer-books, bottles and shot-guns, either on their way to
church, to a fishing-stream, or to the woods; and we came upon a
tandem bicycle party, the machine broken down, the young man and
woman apparently broken up. She sat on a stone against a telegraph
pole with chin in her hands, watching the gallant fellow, who was
at her feet, on his knee caps with a monkey wrench in his hands,
trying to repair damages.

From South Chicago we passed into Stony Island Boulevard and the
Midway Plaisance of the World's Fair of '93. The remaining Art
building arched its brows at my curious outfit, and an endless
chain of bicycles and carriages conveyed past us an inquisitive
and gaping multitude, many of whom altered their plans to follow
us into the city proper. It was six o'clock when we reached
Thirty-fourth street and I found a suitable stable for my animals.
Then affectionately patting Don's head and rubbing Mac's nose, I
left them and sauntered up the avenue, heaving a sigh of infinite
relief over my hard-earned triumph.

As I trended the streets of that wide-awake metropolis toward its
business center, I was stopped many times by truant messenger boys
and idle street gamins, who seemed surprisingly solicitous about
the physical condition of my hat.

"Mister, this way to a hat store." "If you want to buy a new hat,
I'll take you to a hatter." "This way, Mister, I know a place to
get a hat cheap." "Say, Mister, I kin get yer a hat fer nothin'."

Why should I wish a new hat? I asked myself indignantly. True,
mine had seen better days, but it was worth more to me now than a
hundred new hats. "Yes, yes, you dear old weather-beaten tile," I
apostrophized as I strode on with a deaf ear to my inquisitors,
"you are of royal stuff, for you have triumphed over many wars and
dissensions and still wear a crown! The plebeian hats who
calumniate you, although fresh from a band-box, are common
compared with you; they are jealous of your exploits and envy you
your faithful friend."

"Vividly do I recall our desperate encounters with the mad bull,
the hailstorms and other warring elements; and that winter's
night when you forgot your personal safety and made a noble
self-sacrifice by receiving the assailant's bullet intended for me;
and, again, the day the awkward jackass tried to yank me off the
plank foot-bridge underneath him in his fall, when you threw your
own lean frame down on to the bank in place of me and received the
weight which would have mashed me to death, but which only
squeezed the wind out of you. Why do all the idle clerks gaze at
you so longingly from the shop-windows? Because they covet you as
a drawing card to disdaining shoppers. I am proud of you. Rest in
peace."

I spent the night with friend Adams, on his invitation. Monday
morning I kept my appointment with the patent medicine man. He
received me cordially, evidently aware of the boon I might be to
his business should I enter his employ, and in order that he might
better discuss my proposition and its possibilities, he invited me
some miles into the country for a couple of days' outing at a
mineral spring resort.

A stylish coach and four met us at the train, and wheeled us over
a pretty rolling country, in the glow of the setting sun, to the
cozy hotel-sanitarium, which was brilliantly illuminated and whose
doors were open to welcome us.

And in less than twenty minutes, Pod made of his Apollo form a
companion piece to "Diana Bathing."

The water then sold at fifty cents a gallon and there were two
hundred gallons in my tub. Think of it! I had read about beautiful
actresses and heiresses taking milk baths and champagne baths and
Rochelle salts baths, but that $100 bath of mine in pure lithia
water would have put all those pretty bathing women to the blush.
But when, in my enthusiasm, I so told my generous host, he spoiled
all my beautiful delusions at once by saying quite mechanically,
"Oh, two hundred gallons for a bath is nothing unusual; it's only
the overflow."

Next morning he asked me if I would like a magno-mud bath. "Sir?"
I interrogated, gravely. "If you had dragged and pushed and
carried a stubborn, cantankerous donkey through four hundred miles
of red and yellow Ohio mud, and two hundred miles of blue and
black Indiana mud, not to mention some six hundred miles of New
York and Pennsylvania mud of various hues and conditions, the
overflows of December, January and February; if you had bathed in
mud, waded in mud, soaked in mud and cursed in mud for nearly
five months, and I were to put such a delicate question to you,
your sensibilities would be shocked, your nerves paralyzed, your
reason ossified."

My host apologized and withdrew the invitation; then with great
wisdom and forethought, he introduced me to the physician, Dr.
Tanner, the highest authority on fasting, and renowned for his
having fasted forty days. I considered this the luckiest meeting
of my whole journey. He took quite a fancy to me and gave me
valuable instructions and prescriptions for fasting any period
from one to forty days; but I was disappointed not to be
enlightened on how to go several days without water.

That morning my host made me a liberal proposition to advertise
his medicines, he guaranteeing to pay me a regular weekly stipend
during the remainder of my pilgrimage to the Golden Gate, and,
free of all charges, to provide me with all the photographs of my
asinine outfit that I could sell en route. I signed the contract.
Then we returned to Chicago.



CHAPTER XVIII.

    The whole duty of man is to be a mother.--_Jerome K. Jerome._


One week of gamboling in sporty, wide-awake Chicago, and of
high-life on the top floor of the Auditorium, put me in fine
fettle to resume travel. My second morning at the popular hotel I
indited this note to an Eastern friend; "Breakfasted to-day on the
roof, got a shine in the cellar, and met everybody half way."

For nearly five months, through severe winter and early spring
weather, I had hustled as I never had before to make ends meet;
now I had swum the Hellespont to a prosperous shore, the remainder
of my long, slow journey looked more enticing. Several valuable
and useful articles were presented to me by wealthy admirers in
the Windy City, who also dined me, took me to the theatre and
entertained me in other ways.

One evening I was pleasantly surprised to be escorted to a
champagne dinner given by my friend Williams, of the Union News
Company of New York, to several prominent business men of the
West. When the sumptuous repast was well under way he unpinned
from the lapel of my coat a button containing a photo of Pod
seated on Mac, and paid me a five dollar bill for it; and,
learning I had a stock of buttons in pocket, the other guests
followed suit. Such wholesale generosity was as overwhelming as my
gratitude.

The man with whom I contracted to advertise gave me a donkey,
which I named Cheese, to go with Mac A'Rony. And so delighted was
Mac with this new comrade to share his burdens that, on my
approval, he agreed henceforth to contribute to the papers every
other letter on our travels to the coast, and so enable me to
devote more time to bread-winning.

Easter morning I found a blue hen's egg at my plate. I was pleased
with the remembrance and had the clerk place it in my letter-box.
When I called at noon for my mail, I was told the egg had visited
most all of the letter boxes, each guest in turn having disclaimed
it; so, when at six o'clock I called for the egg to take it to my
room for safe keeping, and was handed instead a parcel that
smelled of chicken, I was not surprised; however, upon opening it,
I could not conceal my astonishment.

"Mr. Pod," said the clerk, gravely, "the egg was handled so much
that it naturally hatched. Certainly you are not surprised?"

"Not surprised that it hatched," I returned, to be reasonable,
"but this is fried chicken, and the egg was boiled."

My Easter dinner with friends on Champlain avenue made me realize
somewhat the stupor a boa-constrictor experiences after having
swallowed an ox. My friend Bob B---- urged me to make his home my
transitory abode, arguing that perhaps while at the hotel I was
cheated of needed rest by yielding too much to entertainment by
well-meaning acquaintances. He gave me a key to the house, showed
me my room, and told me to drop in any time, day or night, and
make myself at home.

Having promised to call on an elderly gentleman who had been very
kind to me, I spent that evening with his family. Before leaving I
had made great friends with his little granddaughter, and promised
to call again and bring her some candy. "I want circus candy, the
kind with rings around it," she explained, drawing imaginary
circles round her finger.

When I reached my hotel the clerk said several gentlemen were
waiting to see me. I was sleepy; besides, I felt I had caught cold
and should doctor it at once. Explaining to the clerk that I was
indisposed and begged to be excused to my callers, I slipped out
of the door and hurried to a drug store. "A good drink of calisaya
will fix you," said the drug clerk, who explained it was well
charged with quinine, but failed to mention it was also well
charged with alcohol. I drank two glasses of it, then boarded a
car for Champlain avenue.

Before reaching my destination I fell asleep. But the conductor
was thoughtful enough to awaken me and assist me to alight. I was
so dizzy from sleepiness, I couldn't walk straight. I soon got my
bearings, though, and reached Bob's house by experiencing
sensations of treading a moving sidewalk, promenading a steamer
deck in a high sea, and circumnavigating a crystal maze.

I found the door-knob but not the key-hole. We had been having
damp weather, and I reasoned that perhaps the key-hole had shrunk
shut. I searched my pockets for matches, and found enough wooden
toothpicks to kindle my wrath. While I was fuming, a policeman
came to my relief.

"Who be you, young feller?" he interrogated.

"Pyth (hic) thagoras Pod," I answered, civilly; and offering him
the key, added, "Won't you open the (hic) door for me?"

"You don't live here, then," said the cop.

"I know (hic) it," I admitted. "Just visiting friends."

"Are you sure you know where you are at?" he queried, sternly.

[Illustration: "_He accused me of attempting suicide._"]

[Illustration: "_We made slow headway to the Mississippi._"]

"No (hic), I'm not sure," I said feebly, "but I think I'm on
Champlain avenue."

"More like champagne," he returned, sourly. "What's the number of
the house?"

"I forget it," I answered, "I know the house (hic), though, when I
see it."

"I think you came here for business," said the officer. "You
better come with me." And he locked his arm in mine.

"Let me ring (hic) up the folks," I pleaded. "They'll identify
me." The cop stopped, hesitated, and, doubtlessly deeming prudence
the better part of valor, "let." When I took my thumb off the
electric button the household must have thought Chicago burning
again. I heard Bob tumble half way down stairs; and, when he
opened the door and identified me and saw me stagger in, he took
another tumble. The third was taken by the disappointed cop, who
hurried off to his proper beat.

Conscious of my inebriated condition, I was much embarrassed that
my friend should find me in such a state at that late hour. He
asked me no questions, and I told him no lies. When he had assisted
me to bed, he turned out the gas, which likely I should have blown
out, and left me to prayerful meditation. My late propensity to
sleep had vanished. My brain was a whirling wilderness. The more I
thought about that temperance drink of calisaya, the less respect I
had for the principles of prohibition. I scored temperance
societies, darned Salvation Armies, and cursed the birth of
Matthews, who invented the soda fountain. Before long I was in a
sweat. The red beverage was evidently breaking up my cold, but that
wasn't all. It broke me up; it had broken the slumbers of my host;
I was sure it had broken up my good reputation for sobriety.

I was too nervous to sleep. Thinks I, "A hot bath will just fix
me. I'll get up and take one."

I rose and hunted for matches, but couldn't find any. Piece by
piece, I scraped several ornaments off the mantel to the floor,
one bronze Mozart statuette doing some effective work on my big
toe that I had intended a chiropodist to do. Next I fell over a
center-table, and upset a glass vase on the floor, which broke its
neck; then I tumbled over a rocker and wondered that I didn't
break mine. Still bent upon reaching the bath room, I bent my nose
against an opened closet door. I was mad. At last, finding the
exit of my chamber, I groped my way into the hall, then hesitated.
I thought I remembered the location of the bath room; I was under
the impression my bedroom was on the third floor. In reaching for
the balusters, I almost lost my balance. My head still whirling
like a dancing Dervish. Slowly and dizzily I felt my way down
stairs until I came to a door--the bath room door, I supposed. I
opened it gently, groped my way in, and put my bare foot on a
napkin-ring, which proceeded to roll away, landing me flat on the
floor. Then the folding door swung to with a bang. I feared my
friends would think burglars were in the house.

But I found the tub all right. I turned the faucets, and was
pleased to have both run cold water, for I burned as with a fever.
But, when I started to climb into the tub, I found I had either
grown shorter in stature, or the tub had been raised. Perhaps it
was managed by automatic machinery. I knew nothing about
machinery; so with great effort I climbed up and into the tub, but
found greater difficulty to get all of me in it. I reasoned that
the dimensions of the contracted bath-tub must be all right, but
the expansions of my head were wrong; I was intoxicated by a
temperance drink, and had heard that it was the worst kind to get
tipsy on. I made another heroic effort to jam my body into the
tub, but some of me would always lap over the edges. I reasoned
that, if I were sober, there would surely be room for three to
swim comfortably about that bathtub. Cold water ran from the
faucets for some time and I was considerably cooled off, when,
suddenly, one faucet began to run hot water. Instead of turning
off the water, in my excitement I tried to climb out of the tub,
but was wedged so tightly in it a hasty escape was impracticable,
and before I fell out on the floor my left leg was scalded. There
were no pillows where I dropped, so the next moment the door swung
open and the gleam of a lighted match shone in my face. I saw my
host, with countenance as white as his nightshirt, suddenly assume
a rosy hue, then I heard him giggle. I was glad he saw some humor
in it, for I failed to. In one hand he held an old army musket,
and I told him not to shoot. Sitting on the floor, I now saw
plainly that it was the butler's pantry and not the bath room, and
that I had taken a bath in the sink.

Bob, on gaining my room, put some salve on my scald, and wound my
limb with the first handkerchief he came across, and I was soon
fast asleep.

Next morning I remembered my promise to buy some candy for my
little friend and visited a confectioner. It was a big store, and
three salesladies tried to wait upon me.

"I wish the spiral-striped peppermint, kind of circus candy," I
explained. "It's for a little tot I am fond of."

"I understand," said the girl, "but we haven't it,--but wait a
minute."

Before I realized what she meant, she had dashed out the door,
presumably to the store two doors away. I was sorry she took such
trouble to please a poor patron. Soon she reappeared with a
crystal jar of the long stick candy I desired, and dumping a pound
of it on the scales, inquired, "How much do you wish?"

"Oh, one stick will do," I said. "She's a delicate child; I don't
want to make her sick."

The girl almost dropped the jar. Then recovering her mental
equilibrium, she asked, while refilling the jar from the scales:

"Will you take it with you, or have it sent?"

I blinked. "Take it with me, I guess," was my reply. As she
wrapped the stick of candy, I reached in my pocket for the penny.
Then I felt weak; I hadn't a cent.

"I-I-I-I declare!" I exclaimed. "I left all my money with the
hotel clerk; I'll be back directly."

And out I rushed into the street where there was more air. By the
time I got to the hotel and back I was willing to buy five pounds
of candy. I no sooner entered the store than the girl, with a
smothered smile, said, "We sent the candy to the hotel." Now I was
embarrassed. "What hotel?" I inquired.

"Why, the Auditorium!" she giggled. "You're Mr. Pye Pod, aren't
you? The proprietor said so, and appreciating your immense
purchase, desired to spare you all the inconvenience possible."

I heard laughter in the office as I closed the door behind me. I
dreaded to face the hotel clerk. As I strolled up street, I
thought what a poor mother I would make even to one little child,
and tried to fancy the awful strain on Washington to be such a
good father to his whole country.

There was one thing that worried me generally when my meals were
over; my hat. I feared I should lose it. The hat boy, clever as he
was, by mistake might give it to another. Always when he handed it
to me I stopped to examine it carefully, to make sure it wasn't
one of the stylish tiles which had presumed to associate with it
on the rack. It was customary for me to question the custodian of
hats in this manner: "Is this my hat?" "Are you sure it is?"

When, Tuesday evening, my odd-looking stove-pipe was handed me, I
examined it incredulously, eyed the colored man, then stepping in
front of a natty-groomed gentleman of fifty, who had just received
his latest Dunlap from the custodian, I scrutinized his hat
inquisitively, then my own, and eyed him inquiringly, as much as
to say, "Are you sure our hats have not become exchanged?" The
dignified guest did not take kindly to my manner. He frowned, even
looked savage. The darkey seemed to think it funny, and laughed in
his hand, with back turned. I accompanied the old gentleman down
in the elevator, to the office, where we picked our teeth.

Then I addressed the clerk in injured tones: "I have a complaint
to make."

"Let's have it," said the genial Harry.

"That black, blue-brown hat custodian at the dining room is
forever getting my tile mixed with those of other guests. I hate
to make a fuss, but----"

"You are quite right, Mr. Pod," said the clerk, seriously, "A
first-class hotel should not tolerate such inefficiency in a
trusted employee. I'll discharge the fellow at once."

I stepped away, contented, and lighted my cigar.

Then the stately gentleman addressed the clerk: "Who in ---- is
that fellow? He's off his trolley! He thought this hat of mine was
his, and that rusty antediluvian, dilapidated specimen he wears
was mine. What's his name?"

"Why, Professor Pythagoras Pod, of course. Didn't you recognize
him? Everybody knows him. He knows his hat, too, and don't you
forget it. Offer him fifty dollars for his old tile, and see how
quickly he'll refuse it." The outraged dignitary shrank into his
clothes, and, with a wry glance in my direction, walked away. The
custodian of hats kept his job, but I never saw the stylish
gentleman again.



PART TWO.

By PYE POD AND MAC A'RONY.

  "Do you believe the whale swallowed Jonah?"
  "No."
  "And don't you believe Balaam's ass spoke to him?"
  "Yes; I believe that."
  "Why?"
  "Because so many asses speak to me every day."



CHAPTER XIX.

BY MAC A'RONY.

Days are but the pulse-beats of immortal time.--_Sparks from Iron
Shoes--Mac A'Rony._


It was the twenty-tooth of April. The inclement weather, which had
rained supreme for forty hours, suddenly abdicated in favor of the
presumptive sun and genial air apparent which ruled gloriously for
some six hundred and nine minutes. Save that it lacked the odor of
new-mown hay, it was a day fashioned after a donkey's own heart.
However, a yard of fresh grass painted green would have satisfied
my taste better than did the golden sun rays and the transparent
air.

At ten o'clock Pye Pod, D. D. (donkey driver), sauntered off to do
an errand, and then hastened to the stables to saddle and pack his
two noble and fractious partners, Cheese and myself. I believe my
erudite collaborator has already introduced to you my long-eared
comrade.

Such a load as we were to carry! Of course, I got the worst of the
bargain in which I had no voice. Said my master, as he rubbed my
nose, "Mac, old boy, since you have become hardened to the trip by
reason of your thirteen hundred mile creep (I nabbed at him
vexedly), I'll just let you shoulder the two boxes." And, with
nerve incarnate, the unbalanced Professor balanced on my back what
seemed to me two one-ton cases of pig-iron. I believed my time had
come. Even the unsophisticated Cheese, whispered to me nervously,
"Our coffins, Mac, sure as Balaam!" and resumed the mastication of
timothy hay, as if it were his last meal.

The pack-saddles were tightly cinched to us. Every time Pod pulled
on the ropes under my belly I grunted as if in pain, although it
only tickled me, and gnawed a half inch off the oaken manger in
seeming agony; so, while he imagined he was squeezing all the
breath out of me, I had still enough left to inflate a balloon.

That's how I fooled Pod. All this time he was talking to himself.
He vowed that he would get even with a certain officious
policeman, who had daily gloried in the exercise of his authority,
by ordering him to lead his "confounded jackass" away from the
front portal of the hotel, where crowds of curious people always
gathered around us and blocked the way. His soliloquy grew louder
and more fiery every moment. Even Cheese lifted his snoot out of
the haymow and, tilting his left ear, whispered, "Say, Mac, our
master must have some unholy motive in mind. Hold on to your wind.
Don't let him lace those lockers on you, as a squaw would bind a
pappoose to her back, for you may want to kick 'em off. Pod's
daft."

Well, that suspicious jack's most grotesque foreboding was soon
realized. Everything went well until we were nearly opposite the
great double portal of the hotel, when, suddenly, I felt the
saddle slipping round my girth. Another second and I was flat on
my back, jerked high off my feet on top of the boxes. For a moment
I could not realize the undignified posture I was in. Being roped
securely to the boxes, all I could do was to kick at the flying
sparrows, and bray as only a frightened donkey can.

Crowds quickly assembled. Excitement ran high. Cheese, instead of
raising a hoof in my defense, dropped his ears and looked
complacently on my animated heap like a country gawk. The hotel
guests rushed out bare-headed, some of them fresh from the cafe
with tripe and ice cream in hand, and wild-eyed pedestrians
flocked to the scene of my troubles. Don barked excitedly and kept
the throng back. The coolest one of the outfit was Pod. He stood
quietly by, grinning and bowing to the open-air audience, as if he
were the bandmaster and I the band.

I now recollected Cheese's advice, and chided myself for having
expanded my lungs at the packing. The thought was vexing to one in
my position. Immediate relief looked hopeless. Scared half to
death, I brayed myself hoarse before a would-be liberator wedged
through the crowd and order Pod to clear the thoroughfare. He was
that pompous policeman. He eyed Pod severely, and glancing at my
up-turned face, inquired:

"What's in them there boxes, Mister?"

"Pills," said Pod, "just pills," and with his usual suavity added,
"A very dainty but effective cathartic, the best remedy in the
world for a morbid patrolman. I know you feel out of sorts, Mr.
Cop, but the contents of one of these boxes taken internally will
make you imagine you are not only the chief of the Chicago police
but the Mayor of the city and the President of the United States
combined."

The Professor then handed the man a small box, and proceeded to
free me. And, do you know, I choked Michigan Boulevard for an hour
before I was got "right side up with care."

We next moved on to the Columbus Statue, which then stood in a
barren spot between the road and the lake shore, where a
photographer waited to take some rare views of our outfit. The
bombastic policeman ordered us off the grass, although there was
nothing but gravel in sight. Cheese was raving mad and so annoyed
by the cop's impertinence that he boldly made a bluff at eating
the sculptured stone wreath off the statue, just to worry him.

"Mac A'Rony, please keep your ears still for one moment, will
you?" said the photographer, as he took hold of my flaps and
pushed them forward, adding, "Now keep them there."

As he let go they flew back into a natural position like blades of
whalebone. Next he twisted my nose almost out of shape, and
addressed me as if I were a lady. "Now, smile gently--there!" Such
a grin as I gave! The instant he removed the black cloth from the
camera, a familiar lump came up in my throat, and I brayed. My
efforts to restrain myself joggled my ears out of gear and
completely shook the smile off my face. But I was "took," body and
bra'in's, with the whole outfit.

How I shudder, when I gaze upon those photographs; my drooping
eyes, and my lazy body--all taken together made a picture so
perfectly asinine that one can almost detect the bray leaving my
mouth. I have always been ashamed of that picture of real life.
Like all donkeys, I was disappointed because my photo did not
flatter me. Besides, my master's eagerness to keep his contract to
advertise a patent medicine led him to drape Don in a gray
blanket, on which, "Throw physic to the dogs," was brilliantly
embroidered--words which helped make Shakespeare immortal, but
caused Don to blush.

It was a long jaunt to Illinois street. Several times my burden
threatened to come off. And once I almost made a free distribution
of pills by falling in front of an electric car, which was brought
to a stand only six inches from me.

I caused a sensation, to say the least. And when Cheese brayed in
terror, a multitude flocked to the scene. The passengers were
thrown out of their seats, some of them pitched off the front
platform on the top of me, and screamed with fright.

Pod, of course, flew into a rage. He accused me of attempting
suicide; but Cheese loyally defended me and said, "Such a load of
medicine is enough to prostrate a herd of elephants."

Soon afterward, on turning a corner, the wind blew Pod's hat off,
and it went flying under the wheels of a cable car which
completely ironed the curl out of the hat rim on one side, and
gathered a crowd on the other.

"Managing one jackass is a difficult job, but controlling two is
impossible," I heard Pod mutter, as he slapped his plug on his
bald pate.

Although it was only five miles to Garfield Park as the crow
flies, it was ten by the course we took. At that place we were not
overfed, and soon after leaving we encountered an electric hail
storm. Volley after volley of round shot ripped open Pod's
ill-fated tile, and his spleen broke loose again. "I'm glad this day's
most ended!" he thundered. His remark seemed to solicit sympathy,
so I answered gravely, "My worthy master, remember that days are
but the pulse-beats of immortal time. You should cherish each as
you do every heart throb." My philosophic words silenced him for a
moment. Then, as if I might warp the wearisome hour by a mute
tongue, I lay back my tail and ears till they were parallel with
the road, and landed my cargo in Oak Park before six.

There was no hotel in sight, but as it was not yet dark, Pod was
enabled to find a barn, adjoining a saloon, and there he stalled
us, fed and watered us, and said good night.



CHAPTER XX.

BY PYE POD.

  Full in the midst the polish'd table shines,
  And the bright goblets, rich with generous wines;
  Now each partakes the feast, the wine prepares,
  Portions the food, and each the portion shares;
  Nor till the rage of thirst and hunger ceased
  To the high host approached the sagacious guest.
                                --_Homer's Odyssey._


I left my embryo caravan in Oak Park for the night, and returned
to the Auditorium Hotel. The clerk greeted me with, "Well! well!"
grasped my outstretched hand, and with a smile said, "I thought
your picturesqueness had left us for good." Then, pulling a pen
out of the vegetable pen-stand which squinted "How to do?" with
one remaining eye, he handed it to me.

"I'm a hard customer to get rid of," I remarked; "could not get
out of the city entirely this day, though I've traveled miles--jacks
at Oak Park--saloon barn, best I could find--no hotel--got
to eat and sleep, you know." And having said this, I walked
majestically to the "lift."

"Seventh floor?" queried the elevator boy.

"No--dining room," I corrected, patting my stomach fondly.

"Pretty late for feed, guess," observed the lad discouragingly, as
we began to rise.

"There's a banquet on now," continued the lad.

"Great Balaam! I am late!" I exclaimed. "I've been a week saving
my appetite for this dinner. Let 'er slide kid--there!" and I
hurried to the dining-room.

I knocked persistently against the locked doors, while savory
odors drifted through the keyhole, and was soon admitted by the
assistant head-waiter. I smile now as I recall that watermelon
grin, when the darkey yawned like a coalbin in expression of his
greeting.

"I'm somewhat embarrassed, Jim, to appear so tardy," I began, "I
had about decided to deny myself the honor and pleasure of the
event. You see, my friends are all togged out in their pigeon-tails,
while--just look at me."

"Why, Mistah 'Tagras, shuah dey will be glad to--"

"Yes, yes, I know they would be more pleased to see me in my odd
regulation clothes; but no, not this time, Jim; close your
scuttle--mum's the word. Just let me eat in this snug corner
where I can hear the strains of the orchestra, out of reach of
their stale jokes. Fetch on the viands." As I concluded I pressed
a coin into the mahogany hand, and took from my coat a button
containing Mac's and Pod's photo, and gave it to the delighted
darkey.

There was novelty in this strange situation. It was the only feast
I remembered ever having attended uninvited.

Across the spacious hall, obscured by Japanese screens, sat the
garrulous banqueters, blissfully ignorant of my presence, while I,
a famished and jaded nomad, sat comfortably drinking in the liquid
music of the serenade and inflating my gastronomical pipes with
terrapin, squab, robin's eggs, salads and other dainties galore.

Presently I was served with something more mellifluous than music,
as Jim appeared with a bottle of that familiar sparkling liquid,
which is proverbially wrapped in cobwebs and frost, in a pail of
ice, and said: "Believe yo' sayed Mumm, Sah--be dis yo' taste,
Mistah 'Tagras?" My eyes eloquently expressed my sentiments. Oh,
what a nerve tissue a donkey journey does create! As I quaffed the
soul-stirring nectar, I thought of Mac A'Rony--how he would have
relished a quart of that sterling brand!--and then poured a bumper
for him and drank it to his very good health.

When I had finished, I called the waiter and said, with visible
effort: "Jim, I wish--hic--you would tell th' bandmaster (here Jim
poked a napkin into his mouth), that a tardy guest--hic--heartily
requests the pat--patriotic--hic tune Macaroni's come to town. Go,
Jim, that's a good girl." And Jim went.

That waiter was the cleverest darkey I ever came across. We all
well know that one trait of a thoroughbred darkey is the faculty
for invention. Imagine my surprise when the fellow returned with a
gentleman in full dress and introduced me. I, expecting to catch
something different, failed to catch his name.

My new acquaintance seemed to feel highly honored with the
presentation. He appeared a bit staggered, though, and with
difficulty found my wandering hand. Taking my arm, he escorted and
introduced me to the convivial assembly as the distinguished guest
of the evening--"though somewhat belated, nevertheless his genial
presence duly appreciated."

When he mentioned the name of Professor Pythagoras Pod such
applause issued from the unsteady occupants of the hundred chairs
that I, thinking it my courteous duty to join in the encore,
clapped my hands vigorously. This seemed to provoke great
merriment. The laughter and clapping grew louder and louder, until
hands and throats were inadequate to express the jubilant spirits
of the banqueters, and they began to stamp their feet. Finally
all arose, threw in the air imaginary hats, broke glasses of wine,
and, in fact, I don't know what would have happened if the manager
had not entered the scene.

Finally, some one called, "Speech! Speech! A speech from Mr. Pod!"
I tried to respond. I didn't believe the guests knew who I was,
other than a pod of some sort. The hotel manager did, but he had
gone. I therefore decided not to reveal my identity; I would act
the invited guest I was taken to be.

I did not speak long. What I said was ostensibly so appropriate,
so pointed, so witty, so apropos, that the frequent cries of
"Hear! Hear!" told me I had made a hit, and it was time to stop. I
have no recollection of what I said on that momentous occasion,
but I apologized for the abruptness of my departure on the plea
that I had six more banquets to attend that evening, whereas I had
but one stomach.

Wild cheers and handclapping greeted my speech. When quiet was
restored I offered the following toast, asking all to rise with
filled goblets:

  Hic--here's to the man, boys, here's to the man
  Who--hic--has the sagacity, gall, and who can
  Partake of the bless--hics--of earth, though unbidden,
  Without revealing the jack--hic--he has ridden;
  Here's to--hic--his pocket and here's to--hic--his purse--
  May Balaam shed tears when--hic--he rides in a hearse.

With a concerted "Bravo!" all drank my health. Then, hat in hand,
I followed a very tortuous route out and to the elevator, and soon
afterward found the keyhole of my chamber door, and retired.

I did not feel well in the morning, but nevertheless journeyed to
Oak Park at an early hour.

What a surprise awaited me at the barn! The air was dense with
the odor of beer. I had hardly anticipated trouble brewing;
nothing was so foreign to my thoughts as the possibility of
finding two asinine inebriates and a "jagged" canine instead of
the sober company I left the evening before.

But there they lay, both donkeys paralyzed, panting and
blear-eyed. An overturned beer keg swam in the deluge of froth
that flooded the floor. Mac must have pulled the bung out of the
keg. The fellow looked guilty enough, but, when I recalled my own
recent dissipation, I didn't have the heart to upbraid him.

I was perplexed. What could I do? To resume my pilgrimage that
morning was out of the question. I felt in my bones that as soon
as the saloonkeeper learned of the calamity, I, Pythagoras Pod,
would have to pay damages. Such I could not well afford. Why not
go to the man and enter a complaint against him for harboring
knock-out drops, and consequently causing my valuable animals
ruination of mind, physique and moral character?

A capital idea! No sooner thought than done. The man was
speechless.

"Why!" I exclaimed, pounding my fist hard down on the oaken bar,
"think of it! a day's delay may lose me my five thousand dollar
wager. THINK OF IT, MAN! FIVE THOUSAND DOLLARS!!" I would have
said more, but I noticed the Hibernian was knocked completely out
of the metaphorical ring by my unequivocal utterances. His
blanched countenance showed that his conscience smote him. He
paced the barroom floor like a leopard trying to get away from his
spots. Presently he stopped, and, thrusting his fingers through
his goatee, looked out in time to witness Mac A'Rony turn a
headspring from the barn door.

"Begorry!" he exclaimed, "if Oi hod that mule, Oi'd ruun 'im for
alderman of the Tinth Ward. Shure, and it's phure air and wather
the bye's votin fer. It's this Oi'm sayin', Misther Pod, Oi'll
give ye twinty-foive bones fer th' brute in his prisent condishun;
Oi will that, ond call it shquare."

Mac certainly was acting very compromisingly. But I explained to
the Irishman no reasonable sum could purchase that particular
donkey, and, furthermore, that twenty-five dollars would barely
satisfy my claims.

The exclamation of "Holy Mither!" checked me for the moment, and
as the man looked barnward he added, elequently shaking his fists,
"Oi'm dommed, if th' shcapegrace ain't mixin' dhrinks!" Here Mr.
Rooney and I rushed out in the nick of time to prevent my crazy
jack from tapping a whiskey barrel standing in the shed adjoining
the barn.

"Misther Pod, a curse on me soul if Oi would ruun th' bladherscat
fer doorkeeper oof th' pinnytinsury! Here's tin dollars, tear th'
likes oof it in two and rhuun ond buy a bhromo seltzer, and sober
th' toper oop at wance." I took the proffered note, and had gone
but a hundred feet when the Irishman called to me, "Hold on;
before yez lave fer th' sphace of a mooment moind thet ye puts a
muzzle on th' asrophoid rephrobate with th' bobtail ears, ond
shpring a toime lock on th' crethur."

The animals having been dosed, I was about to question myself
"What next?" when my host said cordially, "Shure, ond yez will
feed with us. Yez may keep th' change from th' shinphlaster ond
good luck in sthore fer yez. Now, coom on to grub, ond lave th'
brutes alone. They'll be afther havin' their sea legs soon." And
Pat succeeded in conciliating me, and escorted me to the house.

By one o'clock my disgraceful donkeys answered to roll-call, and
with touching humility submitted to be saddled.

With such disappointing interpositions of Fate the Golden Gate
seemed to be a decade removed. For a while, the donks were
wavering and their pedals unreliable; but after the first hour
they meandered along quite acceptably. As Mac was slow to
recuperate, I rode Cheese. He was surprisingly sure of foot,
whereas Mac, swell-headed, drowsy-eyed and swaying, couldn't have
walked a straight line a yard wide, unless it was a yard of grass.
He walked with a suspicious tread, like one venturing on ice which
threatened his death bath any moment. When the afternoon was well
advanced Cheese showed symptoms of lameness in his nigh fore-leg,
as I had feared, in consequence of his late circus. We passed
Maywood and Elmhurst as we followed the main-traveled road. I was
compelled to dismount and lead my cripple four miles to Lombard.
Such was my luck in the State of Illinois.

It was after dark, the second day out of Chicago, and still we had
traveled but twenty miles. To think--that munificent gift, Cheese,
was already an invalid on my hands! I summoned a veterinary
surgeon, and listened to his diagnosis with solicitous attention.
"Only a strain of the shoulder muscles," said he; "must have
run-hop-skip-and-jumped to get such a strain--does he ever play
golf? Will require a full week's rest." The doctor rendered his
professional opinion with the air of a metropolitan specialist
prescribing a trip to Europe for some delicate society belle.

Next morning I rode in company with a good fellow two miles into
the country, where I purchased a very long-eared, shapeless
donkey, of a good character, and quickly rode him bare-back to
town. Then I sold my cripple at auction in the public square.

The cumbersome pack-boxes, which the sturdy Mac A'Rony had borne
without a murmur, I also sold to pay the doctor's bill.

The following day saw me in the town of Wheaton, whose reputed
beauty I failed to appreciate in a pouring rain. I remained there
over Saturday night and Sunday.

The clipping of Cheese II on Monday morning proved to be an
exhibition well worth witnessing--at a safe distance. That "model"
character turned out to have the temper of a vixen. First, a rope
was twisted round his nose, then his four legs were tied securely
together, and finally six strong men held him down on the floor to
permit the finishing touches to his vibrating limbs, while
carefully avoiding the finishing touches to their lives.

Instantly the half dozen assistants were sent sprawling across the
floor in all directions, while the stable dog chased an imaginary
bird into space and landed in a poultry yard. The frightened
donkey was mad, or had a fit. On the other hand, Mac, in the noisy
excitement, pumped his bronchial organs to their utmost capacity,
and Don joined in the chorus, till any passer-by might easily have
mistaken the barn for a slaughter house. Finally, the unruly
subject was got under control, and in time released on bail (of
hay). I verily believe that the electricity generated by that
clipped donkey, if stored, could have propelled a trolley for
twenty-four hours.

During the ensuing week, the villages of Geneva, Elberon, Maple
Park and Courtland in turn greeted me with the usual curiosity and
concern, and I was spared to enter De Kalb on Wednesday evening,
after a most distressing adventure. When we had proceeded about
two miles beyond Courtland, I unchained my dog for a short
sportive recess. I rode Mac, and about three feet to our right
ambled Cheese, a chain connecting his bit with my saddlehorn. My
little troop was peacefully traversing the smooth country road
when suddenly Don came bounding down the highway, chasing a little
red calf, the dog barking gleefully, the calf bellowing with
fright. Drawing my revolver, I fired to distract Don's attention;
but without avail. A few moments later, as I was aiming at a flock
of black birds, I heard the ominous clatter of hoofs rapidly
approaching us from the rear, accompanied by a deep, hoarse
mooing, which clearly emanated from a calf of mature years.
Imagine my feelings when, turning in my seat, I beheld an enraged
cow racing with Don in a bee line for me, the dog in the lead
going a mile a minute, the bovine a mile and a quarter. It was the
first I had known Don to flee from a foe. His eye now protruded,
his tongue hung out a-foam, and his tail lay back straight like an
arrow.

As I remember, the dog passed under the chain connecting my
donkeys, and instantly with the force of a locomotive something
alive plunged in our midst, striking the chain. How many double
somersaults I turned I know not. How many minutes we remained in
the dusty road overturned in a heap I can only estimate from the
distance the lucky dog must have traveled to get out of sight so
soon.

My first mental reflection was that the cow must be the calf's
mother; my second thought was to save my life. I managed somehow
to crawl out from under the animated heap, and then surveyed the
situation. The cow's horns were fast in the chain and one of her
feet in the saddle gear; and she tossed her head savagely, every
time lifting one donkey or the other bodily off the ground and
dropping him in a heap in the dust. She kicked and bellowed,
until, finally breaking loose minus a horn, she made for me head
down, innocent as I was.

I didn't stop to argue, but lit out for the barbed wire fence with
that outraged mother at my heels. I have heard you can tell how
fast a man thinks by the way he eats. You could have told how fast
I thought by the way I ran. Over the fence I leaped, leaving my
long coat-tail hanging from the top strand of wire. The cow,
blinded with rage, made a lunge at the piece of cloth only to
lacerate her head on the barbs; then she jumped the fence and took
after me, tail in air, and foam dripping from her mouth.

A small tree stood by the roadside not far distant, and I cleared
the fence again and made for it. Although not an expert at
climbing, I shinned aloft like a squirrel, and for a moment
expected the bovine to follow. She reared on her haunches, and
pawed furiously at the swaying branches; then, backing several
feet, she charged headlong against the sapling, almost dislocating
every bone of my body and every hair of my head.

All but shaken out of the tree-top, I contrived to gather in my
legs and to wind them round the slender trunk. Then I reached for
my revolvers. My Colt 44 was missing, but with my Smith & Wesson
32, I peppered that cow, until I shot away a section of her tail,
and sent her off in a cloud of dust--like a howling, raging
cyclone--in the direction of her calf.

I waited a while before venturing down to look for my animals, now
conspicuous for their absence. Darkness had settled on the scene.
Groping my way up the road, I soon stumbled over a pair of boots,
further on a camera, and a hundred yards beyond my Winchester
rifle, minus its holster.

Still no sign of donkeys or dog. I stopped at a farm house and
inquired: "Have you seen two jackasses strolling this way?"

The agriculturist pulled his goatee as he surveyed me from foot to
crown, and replied: "No, I hain't seen TWO jackasses STROLLIN'
this way, but a WHOLE HERD of 'em came tearing past my barnyard
a-kitin' about an hour ago, skeerin' the cattle I was a-milkin'
into fits. Why! the brayin' and takin's on of the wild beasts
caused a stampede of my hull gol-darned dairy. What be ye at
a-pesterin' round these parts with a herd of wild jackasses?"

My response was terse, and was given before the man had finished.
I hurried on, making inquiries at other farmhouses before I found
my fugitive caravan huddling together in a corral, a mile beyond.
My dog was with them, but no cows or calves.

Borrowing a lantern and two halters, I retraced my steps down the
highway, my unwilling animals in tow, and resaddled and packed
them as best I could; then I returned the loan and hastened to
town.

[Illustration: "_In this way I crossed that bridge of size._"]

[Illustration: "_I saw the streak of daylight._"]

[Illustration: "_So slow that his shadow beat him to town._"]



CHAPTER XXI.

BY MAC A'RONY.

    An uneducated person, seeing a picture of a donkey in a field,
  sees only a donkey in a field, however well it may be painted,
  and I fancy very exceptional ability would be required to make
  any of us think a gray donkey sublime, or believe an ordinary
  field to be one of Elysian.--_Ideala--Sarah Grand._


There will be many converts to the Darwinian Theory by the time I
have taken Pythagoras Pod to his destination. They are recruiting
all along the line.

The Professor's street lecture in De Kalb in a mist was punctuated
with effusive allusions to his "obstreperous asses," which epithet
only strengthened our ill-feeling toward him, and furnished a new
incentive for Cheese's rascality. When Pod reached the middle of
an elegant burst of rhetoric, that animal, true to asinine
instinct, pushed a hind foot against the orator's stomach and
brought the speech to a finish. The afflicted one was tenderly
borne away, I know not whither, but Cheese whispered probably to a
blacksmith's where a bellows could be had with which to pump wind
into the vacuum.

The following day, my master having come to, it was decreed that
Cheese and I be taken to a smith's to have our corns pared, and
our shoes repaired. Whenever Pod has an idle moment--thank Balaam
he hasn't many!--he amuses himself by torturing a donkey. Shoes
are a nuisance, especially new shoes, and I would much rather go
barefoot as do country boys and girls.

The blacksmith, an expert cobbler, shook hands with us, with
special deference to Cheese, who was to have the new footgear,
then informed my master that if we jacks would treat him with
respect he would do what was right, but if not, he would inflict
on him what he himself had received from us. I overheard Pod
mutter as he departed that he was sure that villain Cheese was
going to kick him by proxy.

When Pod returned, that incorrigible donkey had both smiths in a
corner, and was kicking knots out of the walls. Soon that shop
appeared as if constructed of perforated cardboard, and the two
men as if they were worsted. Both men were saved, however, by Pod,
who ran to a bakery for some cakes with which he completely
subjugated the murderous brute, and enabled the men to complete
the work.

All next day we labored through mud, which made my feet feel good,
but spoiled the looks of our new shoes. That day the Professor
bought a new donkey.

"Sell him cheap, sound as a dye," said the man. Perhaps this was
the truth, but he was the funniest donkey I ever set eyes on. His
face resembled a poodle dog's, except that it was longer, and he
appeared to be a combination of crosses between South American
llama, Rocky Mountain sheep, baby camel, and muley cow, with only
a sprinkling of donkey blood. After this freak was roped to my
saddle and we had proceeded a little way, I asked, "Excuse me,
friend, but what stock did you descend from?"

"Why, live stock," said the simpleton.

The rest of us hid our faces; but I persisted, "Who's your father?"

"I never had a father," he returned. "If I did, he never showed up
in my lifetime. As for my mother, she kicked the tenderloins out
of a farmer's thoroughbred pig, in consequence of which I was left
to shift for myself, so you can't call me a shiftless fellow."

Well, the poor fellow ain't quite as bad off as Topsy, I thought--she
had neither father nor mother.

For a week back Cheese had been complaining of a weak foot, which
explains why Pod desired an emergency donkey. The heavy roads
would have taxed a dray horse. But by shifting the burden from
Cheese and myself to the new acquisition we were able to make
better time with less effort.

The sun was hot, and Poodle's long coat dripped with perspiration.
Before long, we were stopped in front of a house, where a man was
cutting the grass with a lawn-mower.

"Hay, there, Mister!" Pod shouted; "will you loan me that machine
a moment? I'll remunerate you handsomely for the kindness."

The farmer just shouldered that machine and fetched it down to the
roadside. Then my master dismounted, and whispering to the granger
something I couldn't understand, to my utter astonishment
deliberately pushed that lawn-mower almost the whole length of
that donkey's back.

I recall the incident so vividly. First sounded the noisy swish of
the mower, next the fragrant air was hazy with flying hair, hat,
man and mowing machine. A moment of painful silence followed, when
suddenly a clatter from the roof of the house indicated that the
jackass had promptly returned the machine to its owner.

Poor Pod, it looked as if he were no mower. The farmer laid him
gently on the grass, where he finally awoke, and with the aid of
hard cider and a fanning machine was restored. Three miles beyond
he caught the refractory jack that meant only to harm the
machine, he said, and not the man, and securing a slipnoose to
Poodle's tail, roped him to my saddle; next he tied Cheese to my
tail, and leaping aboard his new expedient led the way.

All at once Poodle espied two donkeys grazing in a field. "I must
say a farewell to my sweethearts before leaving," he protested,
braying and making a dash for the fence, dragging me after him. I
often wonder if he had any feeling left in his tail after that;
for while it pained me to drag Cheese, it must have caused Poodle
more pain to tow us two by resorting to such a sensitive extreme.
Had not the fence been a thorn hedge, I verily believe that that
"Samson" would have dragged us across lots to his sweethearts. I
never saw Pod so enraged.

On nearer approach to Rochelle, we stopped in front of a house
where Pod purchased a drink of milk of a woman who was passing
milk cans to a man in a wagon. Neither the man nor the woman asked
a question, much to my surprise, until we had proceeded some
distance, when to prevent a tragedy, nature asserted herself and
impelled the woman to call out: "Say, what be them thar animiles
ye-ve got, stranger?"

"Two are camels, and one is a dromedary," Pod yelled.

"Dromedary!" The woman exclaimed; and, to the man, added, "That's
a new sort of dairy I never heered tell of. Did you, Hank?"



CHAPTER XXII.

BY PYE POD.

    "By my faith, Signor Don Quixote," quoth the duchess, "that
  must not be; you shall be served by four of my damsels, all
  beautiful as roses." "To me," answered Don Quixote, "they will
  not be as roses, but even as thorns pricking me to the very
  soul; they must in nowise enter my chamber."--_Don Quixote._


From Rochelle to the Mississippi I found the people more
conservative, but interesting subjects for character study. The
topography of the country varied but little. Snipe, quail, doves
and meadow larks were prevalent. The pesty pocket-gophers were as
shy of my fire-arms as of the farmers' dogs; one might shoot a
dozen of them only to see the spry little fellows drop dead into
their "home-made" graves. I have seen hundreds of them sitting
upright on as many mounds, immovable as sticks, but pop! and they
vanished.

Crossing this one-time prairie state, I recalled pictures of
prairie fires in my school-books, and easily imagined the terror
of the droves of wild horses and buffalo, fleeing before the
leaping flames.

This seemed to be a contented section, and contentment is a great
thing. Although no woodland was visible, I saw occasional clusters
of "pussy willows," and groups of shade-trees embowering a house,
above which the shaft of an aeromotor towered like a sentinel,
asserting the homestead rights. When the windwheels were in
motion, they created a noise which only an expert linguist could
distinguish from the vernacular of a guinea hen.

Here and there bunches of cattle browsed in the meadows behind
barbed-wire fences and thorn hedges; and long corn-cribs, often
full to overflowing, had rewarded most every farmer.

About dark, May first, my small caravan ambled into the village of
Ashton, and my bugle blasts aroused the nodding inhabitants
sufficiently to give me a fair audience for a lecture. The Germans
predominated, and to them May-day festivals are indispensable.
Boys and girls celebrate by hanging May-baskets on door knobs, and
a few wags, who resemble frogs, in that a half dozen make you
think they are a million, shower corn, sand and bird shot at
windows equal to a Kansas hail-storm.

The celebration that night seemed to be directed at my particular
window. The racket had almost soothed me to sleep, when suddenly a
rag doll loaded with shot came smashing through the blinds and
landed on my bed. My patience overtaxed, I arose and resorted to
free trade by exporting to the street a piece of crockery, and a
chair, not to mention a few roasted invectives. I would have
folded my bedstead and sent it sailing after them, but the
disturbance of the peace and the pieces ceased together.

While at breakfast I wondered if any tricks had been played on my
animals. I was quite sure of it before reaching the stable. The
livery keeper came hobbling up on one foot and a crutch, with his
face done up in fly-paper, and a bandage around his head.

"What's up?" I asked.

"Jacks got the spasms."

"You mean spavins," I corrected, innocently enough.

"Guess I ought to know the difference 'tween spasms and spavins,"
he returned, sourly. "Those d---- mules o' yourn kicked out
petitions, hollared, and had such fits last night that they
scared all the mice and rats outen the haymow."

"What kind of petitions?" I asked, remembering I had been tempted
to issue a petition on my own account.

"What kind d'y, 'spose? Wooden petitions," said he. "And when I
crawled out o' bed and went to the stalls to see what ailed
'em----"

"Ailed the petitions?" I interrupted, excitedly.

"Naw, the mules,--something like a thousand rats and mice ran over
my bare feet. I thought the barn must be afire, and I jumped so
the lantern fell outen my hand and broke, and I had to feel my way
in the dark."

"You ought to know better than to feel around strange donkeys,
night or day," said I, reprovingly.

"It wasn't th' feelin' of 'em what broke me up so," said he.
"'Twas the kindlin' wood they piled up again me."

I did not discuss further the circumstances; I was quite
satisfied, since we had grievances in common. While settling my
bill, I noticed Mac gaze at the ceiling, so I glanced upward, too,
and at once saw hanging to a nail on a cross-beam a circular
rat-trap, bent almost flat, and containing two dead rodents. That
solved the mystery. On recovering the trap, we found it sprinkled
with donkey hair, and sheep twine, which was proof enough that
some young villain had fastened a cage full of rats to Mac
A'Rony's tail, he being the most amiable of the donkeys. There is
nothing like the mysterious to frighten a dumb brute, and when
that donkey heard strange noises and felt mysterious movements
about his hind legs, he didn't wait for an explanation. Good-bye,
rats!

Although the day dawned clear, dark clouds began early to bank in
the Southwest, and before I could reach the next town I was
drenched by a heavy shower. But I was fortunate in selling Cheese
II, my weak-footed jack, for seven dollars to the village
butcher, who, while in Ashton, had generously fed my dog.

Wet to my skin, I took refuge in a German tavern managed by a
widow with five comely daughters. All were kind and responsive to
my wants, and brought to my room a varied assortment of house
pets, literature, and cheese, not omitting a bottle of beer, for
my entertainment and refreshment, while I remained in bed
enveloped in comforters, waiting for my only suit of clothes to
dry by the kitchen fire. Meanwhile I became almost asphyxiated
from the gas generated by the Limburger cheese which had already
smothered two hearty slices of bread. The next day I spent in
Dixon, and the following day in Sterling, situated on Rock River.
From my bedroom window I had a charming view of the dam falls and
the iron bridge which spans the stream. My sojourn in both these
towns was profitable.

It was a hot and dusty ride to Morrison, where I found a brass
band serenading a leading citizen. "This won't do," said I; and
making Mac bray, I blew my bugle, and at once turned the tide of
popularity in our favor. The fickle crowd soon gathered and
cheered me to the hotel, while the jilted band had the brass to
march down the street past me, blowing itself with might and main
until lost to view, not once thinking that distance lent
enchantment to my ear. Next day we made slow headway to the
Mississippi.

As I approached the "Father of Waters" the land, as well as my
donkeys, were more rolling. Several times when wading through a
pool of dust, Cheese III, alias Poodle, would suddenly stop,
circle about, kneel and roll with all the paraphernalia he was
carrying. Then my steed would follow suit, before I could get out
of the saddle.

Thirteen miles from Morrison lay the village of Fulton, on the
banks of the Mississippi, and it was 4:30 P. M. before we arrived
at the big high bridge. The bridge approach on each side of the
river crosses a broad stretch of lowlands which at certain seasons
is inundated. My donkeys refused to pass the toll-gate, although I
had paid the toll. I demanded of Mac an explanation. He maintained
silence, as did Cheese, and neither of them would budge. A squad
of laborers, amused at my plight, asserted their donkey nature by
imitating an ass's bray, and so perfect was the imitation that my
animals took them for donkeys disguised in human apparel, and
joined in the awful chorus. Presently a timid woman following us
with a terpsichorean horse called to me and gesticulated wildly. I
feared a runaway and was at a loss to know how to urge my contrary
animals on, but before long a double dray team came to my
assistance. The teamster roped Mac to the rear axle of his wagon,
cracked his whip, and drove on, dragging the obdurate donkey on
his haunches across the bridge, while Cheese crept closely behind
in fear and trembling.

When I had crossed the Mississippi it was exactly seventeen
minutes past five.

As we wended our way into Clinton, Ia., cheers greeted us from
every quarter. "The streets were rife with people pacing restless
up and down;" but soon all footsteps followed in one direction, to
the Reviere House, where I took advantage of the favorable
circumstances to make a speech, and to dispose of a host of my
chromos.

I had traveled thirteen hundred and sixty miles, about one-third
of the distance by trail from New York to San Francisco, and had
consumed one hundred and sixty days; and there was left me only
one hundred and eighty-one days in which to accomplish the
remaining two-thirds of my journey.



CHAPTER XXIII.

BY MAC A'RONY.

    Hell is paved with good intentions.--_Samuel Johnson._


How the Professor ever landed that lop-sided, dilapidated tile of
his on the west bank of the Mississippi without a bottle of
fish-glue is beyond me.

The wind gave our whole outfit a good blowing up for not crossing
the bridge earlier in the day, and Pod had to handle the hat as
carefully as an umbrella to prevent it's turning inside out.

Except at such times, we donks were the only ones to get a
"blowing;" the threats Pod used to coerce us across that lofty
bridge and his final cruel expedient of having a double team drag
me with a rope around my neck were enough to drive one to suicide.

"We must reach Iowa to-day," said he. "You show absolutely no
interest whatever in the next state; but I'll convert you." I
protested until I was hoarse. Said I, "When you take into
consideration all the different animals that came out of the
ark,--monkey, parrot, man and ass,--and the results of several
thousand years of study and research, how many believe in any
other state? Only one. Man. There are a few horses and dogs and
cats and, occasionally, a white rat, that enjoy heaven on earth,
but we jackasses are always catching----! The last word of my
peroration was spilled, as my master whacked me over the ears with
his black-snake whip and knocked all the theological and
theosophical considerations out of my head.

"Get along, there, Mac," he shouted, "and quit your everlasting
braying;" and as the horses started, I "got," to save my neck.

When we reached the middle of the bridge and I was over my
dizziness, I slackened my neck rope and followed the wagon more
willingly, but my fetlocks bled from scraping on the rough planks
and my rich aristocratic blood painted a faint red trail behind
us. It was a hot day; I burned as with a fever, and wanted a
drink.

"And they call this the 'Father of Waters,'" my master
soliloquized, as he watched the sluggish current creep under the
bridge.

"What do they call the father of beer?" I asked, facetiously, for
I was mad.

"Mac," said Pod, "you have brought me back to earth. Let us hurry
to town."

When we were on Iowa soil, the Prof. tied his "stove-pipe" over my
ears with a green ribbon, and added insult to injury by making me
parade into Clinton in that condition before all the genteel
donkeys along the road.

We stopped at the post-office, and Pod read on the way to the
hotel portions of two letters, one informing him that his sombrero
was at the express office, the other casting aspersions on my
race. "Yes, I did promise to meet you at the Mississippi and
accompany you across the plains," the letter ran, "but really, old
man, after reading your articles, I have concluded that I want
nothing to do with a jackass."

Pod seemed disappointed and, handing the envelope to me, said,
"Here, Mac, what do you think of it?" I greedily devoured the
contents without a murmur, and the Professor galloped into the
express office.

"Do you realize that you have swallowed a postage stamp?" Cheese
asked, gravely, after I had stowed away the morsels of paper.

"Most assuredly," I said, smacking my lips, "and hereafter you can
look upon me as a sort of internal revenue collector."

But now Pod appeared under cover of a broad-brimmed hat, looking
frightfully cowboyish. That evening the sombrero so completely
unbalanced his head that he sauntered up the street armed to the
teeth, and attempted to "hold up" an Indian cigar sign, to the
amusement and terror of passing pedestrians. Later on, he became
more rational, and gave a street lecture.

Friday, May seventh, was a lucky day for Pod and me. Friday is
Pod's and the seventh of the month is mine,--with a few
exceptions; hence, the Prof, has on an average of four and a half
to my one.

His first errand in Clinton was an act of courtesy. He called on
Mr. Gobble, the genial Mayor, and obtained one of his quills to
embellish the autograph album which was destined to furnish me a
delectable repast, unless Pod should find a gold cure to destroy
my appetite for stationery.

His second errand was to place an order for panniers to be made
after his own designs, for they would soon be needed; and his
third, to call at the stable and superintend a tonsorial artist
clip Cheese III after the devil's designs. The circus had begun
when he arrived. There, tangled in straps and ropes, lay the
frightened subject on the stable floor, kicking, while several men
were performing rare feats of tumbling. Pod was indignant.

"Is it necessary to pile on the donkey in that fashion?" he
inquired, starting up a ladder to the loft.

"I reckon so, squire," said the clipper, rubbing his bruised arm;
"we tied the brute t' auger-holes in the floor, but he yanked the
holes plumb out o' the boards, and we bored 'em in agin. Then he
brayed, and strained, and pulled out the holes agin. What's he
been livin' on? Indian turnips?"

Pulled the holes out of the floor! Such an astonishing statement
was enough to warp a donkey's credulity. But the operation was
finished at last, and Pod returned to the hotel to answer some
letters, one of which seemed to tickle him very much. It was from
a farmer in the neighborhood, and I'll quote it word for word.

            CORNVILLE HOLLOW, IOWA, May 6, 1897.
  Prof. Pithygors Pod, Eskire, M. D.:
    Illustrious Sir:--My wife has give me unexpeckted
  opertunety ter do ye the grate onner of namin our latest
  and last kid after ye and if ye cum this here way ye will
  see a namesake ye will be prowd of. Times are not so
  good with us of late but hope they air with you wishing
  you a socksessfull jurny I remane Yours fraternally
                                       CY SUMAC.

I did not see Pod's reply, but I took him to the post office to
purchase a ninety-nine cent money order, which he mailed to Cy,
and overheard him say that was all the money he had when he
started and no man had a right to think he was any richer now, and
hoped naming children after him wasn't going to become a fad.

On our way to the hotel a little girl, walking with her papa,
expressed the wish to ride on my back. Pod overheard her, and
jumping off, placed the little one in the saddle, and led me down
the street.

Pod is never safe without a chaperone. He had no more than got his
land legs than a monstrous colored woman, whose avoirdupois was
out of proportion to her energy, and with shoes that made him
keep his distance, stepped in his way, and with a grin half the
width of an adult watermelon asked him if he was "shully dat
wonderful traveler Pye-tag-o-rastus w'at was chasin' a mule roun
de world."

For a second Pod was somewhat colored, too; but he laughed, and
said he believed he was the gentleman. Then the old mammy held out
a great black hand, with knotted fingers, looking more like an
elephant's foot than anything else, and asked if she might have
the honor to walk a piece with him. The Professor took the
proffered hand, and the pair sauntered on down town, and were soon
lost in the crowd.



CHAPTER XXIV.

BY PYE POD.

    "Why, Toby's nought but a mongrel; there's nought to look at
  in her." But I says to him, "Why, what are you yoursen but a
  mongrel? There wasn't much pickin' o' YOUR feyther an' mother,
  to look at you." Not but what I like a bit o' breed myself, but
  I can't abide to see one cur grinnin' at another.--_Mill on the
  Floss._


The good old black mammy, who made my acquaintance on the street,
called upon me at the hotel to present me with a little dog. I
thanked her, and told her that one dog was all I could take care
of; whereupon she argued that I should visit the Indian
Reservation at Tama City, and if I presented a dog to the Chief
that I would be royally received. A good idea; I wondered it had
not occurred to me. I accepted the dog.

An hour later I came near being arrested for promoting a dog fight
in defiance of the law. Don was generous, however, and left a
little of the cur for the Indian Chief, but next morning the sight
of a bandaged and plastered dog being dragged behind my outfit was
gruesome indeed.

This is how I managed the dogs. I chained Don to one end of an
eight-foot pole, and the mongrel to the other, so that the dogs
could not get closer than four feet. Then I chained Don to the
saddle-horn.

I hoped to reach the town of DeWitt before dark. Everything went
smoothly and I was congratulating myself on getting out of the
city without a mishap, when, suddenly, both dogs leaped to the
opposite side of my donkey in the effort to reach a cat basking
in the sun. The pole yoke caught Mac's hind legs and upset us,
almost causing a runaway. This and other incidents delayed me many
hours. On arriving at the village tavern, "The Farmers' Home," I
was agreeably surprised to find the landlord not so much out of
spirits as I. A "night cap," then to bed.

Next day I rode sixteen miles, through the beautiful farming
country to Wheatland. Nature was arrayed in Sabbath attire, and no
sermon could have inpressed me more than the pure, sweet voicings
of God's creation. Graceful turtle-doves, always in pairs, flitted
in mid-air; bevies of quail whistled in the meadows and ditches;
flying-squirrels, half winged, half jumped from tree to tree; and
coy Norwegian girls scampered indoors as my "mountain canaries"
now and then joined in a carol.

Just before entering town a gay cotton-tail rabbit shied at my
pistol ball, allowing the ball to graze a calf grazing in the
field beyond, to wing a pigeon on a barn further on, and
eventually to announce my advent to the towns-folk in a most
singular manner.

When I arrived, the church bell was faintly tolling, and a crowd
of people were staring wild-eyed at the belfry tower. I inquired
of a countryman what was up.

"Blamed if I know," said the sexton; "I was jest settin' down to
feed, when sudden I heard a sharp clang of the church bell.
Sounded like it was hit with a hammer. Whole hour before church,
and the doors are locked. Now I'd like to know what sot that bell
to chantin'."

"Go up and find out," I said.

"Not on yer life," he replied. "You may think us folks
superstitious--well, we are. Lots of queer things happen in this
town."

When I reached the privacy of my room, I did a good deal of
thinking; but whichever way I reasoned I arrived at one
conclusion. My pistol ball must have struck the bell after calling
on the calf and the pigeon. It was merely a chant's shot.

The landlord of the Siegmund Hotel did not venture close enough to
shake hands.

"Doos them dogs bite--yes?" he asked from the veranda.

"No," I answered, "they won't bite you and me, but they are very
fond of each other."

Don looked up at me appealingly, as if he thought he had been
persecuted. When the donkeys and the mongrel were in the barn, I
turned Don loose. He was tickled, and ran round the barn three
times, jumped over the hen-coop, upset the landlord, and then
chased the house cat so that it climbed to the top of the hotel
chimney. Most extraordinary dog; no common pastime satisfied him.

The hilly country I was now entering made it necessary for me to
walk half the time, as a precaution against wearing out my
animals. But the air was sweet with lilac, tulip, violet and apple
blossoms; blue and red and yellow birds serenaded me as I passed,
all making me feel somewhat repaid for my winter hardships.

The main street of Mechanicsville was beautifully shaded, and
along the road-side was a tempting pasture for ruminating animals.
As I rode along and admired the scenes, I recalled a sentence from
the Scriptures: "Whatsoever cheweth the cud that shall ye eat." To
the right, in the cool shade, reclined a gentle-eyed cow, chewing
her cud; to the left, at the base of a magnificent tree, sat a
pretty bloomer girl beside her bicycle, also chewing. I was
puzzled.

On reaching Mount Vernon, I discovered, after diligent inquiries,
that Washington had never been there, dead or alive. Cornell
College, for boys and girls, distinguishes the place as a seat of
learning, and the students showed an abnormal appetite for
knowledge by purchasing my books and photos. A few miles west I
crossed a ridge of wooded hills, descended into a lovely vale,
crossed Cedar River, and drew rein at Bertram, a mountain town
consisting of a railroad station, side track, tavern, store, and
two to three houses.

From Bertram we mounted another and still higher ridge, from the
summit of which I could see the great verdant valley, and, winding
about it, a spiral cloud of smoke from the busy city of Cedar
Rapids, where I arrived at six o'clock.

That evening, after a lapse of nine years, I met my old friend,
Steve D----, who once had tramped Switzerland with me. After I had
explained the cause of my unique pilgrimage and each had given an
account of himself, he planned for me a pleasant two days'
sojourn, and suggested it was time I had a useful traveling
companion. As I moved westward, the towns would be farther apart
and I would have to camp often on the highway. The services of an
able and trusty man would save me much time. Steve said he would
try to find him.

Cedar Rapids contains some of the largest oatmeal factories in the
country. I met through my friend several pleasant people, dined
with his family, and was tendered a spread at the Grand Hotel, to
which a few of his friends were invited. Meanwhile I found the man
I was looking for.

He was about twenty, had been night porter in a hotel, and was
well recommended. Twice I refused him because of his apparent
inexperience in "roughing it," but I was won over by his
persistence at the third call. He said his name was "Coonskin,"
and Wisconsin the State of his nativity. His attainments were
something extraordinary. He could sling a Saratoga trunk into a
first story window; had painted the highest church steeples, and
broken the wildest horses; could skin all kinds of game, and, with
equal facility, could "skin the cat;" in fact, he had made an
enviable record in athletics, and had won several championships
for sprints. He could swim like a frog, and, as for shooting, his
comrades couldn't touch him with any kind of a gun. He was never
ill, and had stood all kinds of exposures from hanging all night
on a church steeple after his ladder had fallen, to riding on the
trucks of a baggage car, as the result of the disbanding of a
theatre troupe.

This Coonskin was a wonderful combination of resources; he was the
very man I wanted. He wished to go with me for fun and experience,
and was perfectly satisfied if I would defray his expenses. I took
Coonskin at once to make the acquaintance of Mac, Cheese, Don, and
the mongrel, and to be assigned to his duties.

At nine o'clock the morning of our departure, he called at the
hotel with a small bundle done up in a red handkerchief, and
wearing a new pair of shoes.

"What have you in that bundle?" I asked.

"Everything."

"Extra suit of clothes?"

"Yep--and patches for emergency."

"Extra shoes already broken to your feet?"

"Yep--and chloride-of-lime and extra socks."

"Brush and comb and tooth brush?"

"Yep--and corn plasters and curry-comb."

"Extra suit of underwear and handkerchiefs?"

"Yep. Pajandrums, too."

I smiled in astonishment, so small was the bundle. "Well done,"
said I, "after this you shall do all my packing."

I was gratified to note Coonskin's quick perception, his alertness
to obey, and his capacity for memorizing. He did not have to be
told a thing more than three times before understanding it, and
his lively interest in my welfare manifested itself at the start.
When I went to the stable at eleven o'clock, I found he had added
to my itinerant kennel a bull terrier, which took to Don as fondly
as Don had taken to the mongrel. I remonstrated.

"The more dogs you offer the Indian Chief, the bigger time he will
give you," said my valet. "Better keep the terrier; I'll preserve
harmony."

Glad to shift some of my responsibilities to the broad shoulders
of this young genius, I returned to the hotel and dressed for
luncheon.

You may imagine how my heart was set aflutter when luncheon over,
my valet rapped on the door and, venturing a foot in the room,
said, with the courtliness of a Sancho Panza, "Your highness'
donkeys and dogs are at the door."

My guests were as much amused as I, and accompanied me to the
street, where a crowd had assembled. I shall never forget the
expression on my old friend's face when he saw the dogs yoked
together. A second pole had been brought into use, and, Don and
the mongrel having become reconciled, the bull terrier was made a
sort of pivot round which revolved the other two, a mean dog
between two extremes.

Coonskin said at first he had made the little mongrel act as the
pivotal dog, but he had no sooner left the animals than Don and
Towser swung round and clinched in pugilistic style, and, had it
not been for the efficacy of the stable hose, with all hands at
the pump, the mongrel would have soon been converted into sausage.

It was nineteen miles to the village of Norway; we did not arrive
there till eleven at night. Once or twice on the way Coonskin was
prevailed upon to relieve me in the saddle for a couple of miles;
but although his new shoes were paining him, as I could see from
his gait, he was too "game" to admit it, and whenever I asked him
to ride, protested that walking wasn't a circumstance with him. He
would rather walk than eat.

We found Norway asleep. After assisting Coonskin to stable the
donks and secure the dogs, I perused a newspaper while my young
neophyte went out to smoke. When he limped in, I noticed his coat
pocket bulged with something he would conceal. I did not question
him. But before retiring, I opened his door to give him orders for
the morrow, and found him dressing his feet with Indian ointment,
which he admitted he had procured from the village druggist. He
had with difficulty aroused the man from slumber, in consequence
of which he was made to pay double price for his cure. Coonskin
was somewhat embarrassed, but I praised his pluck in glowing
terms, and put him at ease. Next day he was ready to take advice,
by wearing his old shoes and riding most of the journey.



CHAPTER XXV.

BY MAC A'RONY.

  What made Balaam celebrated as an astronomer?
  He found an ass-to-roid.--_Old Conundrum._


I had heard about the chilly climate of Norway, and was not
surprised when we donks met with a cold reception. We had plenty
of hay but no grain. Next morning the landlord said that he
expected some oats soon after our departure.

Pod had walked the last three miles, and warming up, had strapped
his vest to the saddle, where I found it next morning. Peaking out
of a pocket was a crisp five dollar greenback.

Now, a donkey likes anything that's green. I never had eaten a
vest. But I determined to tackle this somewhat tough corduroy
"steak," and made a fair breakfast on it, not to speak of its
garnishes of green money, lead pencils, and a scented lace
handkerchief, the one my master had long carried in the left
inside pocket. Save for the fact that I got a few sharp bones of a
pocket-comb in my teeth, and a page of court-plaster stuck in my
throat, I relished the repast.

But not so the Professor. When he had searched some time for the
vest, he looked at me. As luck would happen, I had left sufficient
circumstantial evidence on the saddle to convict most any donkey,
but no one in particular. However, I suppose I looked guilty, and
my past record was against me. Pod was speechless a moment, then
he made up for lost time, and said that he believed a jackass
would devour a house and lot if he had the chance.

"I don't know about a house," I replied, "but I know I could eat a
lot if it were set before me." Then I caught it!

By nine o'clock the clouds having dispersed, we started for
Blairstown.

The Iowa farms were pleasing to my eye. Horses and cattle were
cropping the juicy grass, hogs were shelling corn or taking
mud-baths, fowls of all kinds were engaged in athletic sports
trying to add some new feather to their plumage, and occasional
bunches of sheep were standing in barnyards and corrals with wool
pulled over their eyes, not knowing what to do with themselves. It
looked like a Garden of Eden, where donkeys were excluded.

Finally we met a farmer with a team of lazy horses. Pod asked him
if a donkey was a known quantity in those parts, and was told that
a man by the name of K----, living near the next town, owned two
that he had been trying to give away. A mile beyond, we met a man
in a one-horse gig, who had a word to say, too. One donkey knows
another when he meets him.

"Your name is K----?" Pod inquired.

"That's the name I always went by," said the black-eyed, black-hearted
man. I did not like his looks; I felt it in my bones that
Pod was going to be "done" by him. When a man or donkey is over
anxious to acquire something, he is pretty sure to make a blunder.
On being catechised, the man said his business was "hoss tradin'
some, farmin' some, and various some."

"Hear you've got a donkey for sale," Pod observed.

"Nope," said K----, "but I've got two of 'em. Sell both er none."

"I was told you have tried to give them away," said Pod.

The "hoss trader" threw one leg over the other, spat tobacco juice
in Don's eyes so he couldn't see all that might a-cur, raked
timothy seed out of his whiskers, and inquired, "Who was tellin'
ye that?"

"The fellow didn't give his name," answered Pod, "and I wouldn't
undertake to describe his physical geography, but I could locate
him if I wished to."

"If I could lay my hands on him, I'd dislocate him," said K----,
snapping his eyes.

When my master told about his travels, the Iowan became
interested, and showed signs of weakening on his ultimatum.
Meanwhile, I discovered the subjects of the discussion grazing in
a meadow, and brayed them a courteous "how to do," thus calling
Pod's attention to them.

The hoss trader was sharp enough to see it, and his animal
instinct told him that vanity was Pod's weak point; so he opened
up with a little blarney.

"Now, Mr. Pod, I'm fair t' say I've sort o' takin' a likin' to ye,
and I want to help ye along. I'll sell both my donkeys for ten
dollars, er one for five and trade the other for one of your'n.
Jest let your partner here run across the field and drive 'em
over. I want ye to see 'em."

Coonskin went, and K---- continued: "They're two as fine-lookin'
jennies as ye'll run across in many a day, both healthy and
strong--not too young--not too old--often plow with 'em--kind and
gentle--boy rides 'em everywhere--fast, too, but no danger runnin'
away. Why, they're twice the size o' your'n, and 'll carry double
the load."

"I'm more than satisfied with my donkeys" (very flattering to
Cheese and myself), Pod affirmed, "and only require one more. If I
am suited with one of your donkeys, I am willing to pay five
dollars for it, but I will not trade one of mine, nor will I
purchase both of yours."

By this time the animals arrived. They were certainly big enough,
and as for the danger of their running away, they didn't act as if
they could run ten feet if charged with a thousand volts of
electricity. The farmer said he was bound to make a satisfactory
deal with Pod somehow, and that if he wasn't convinced by the time
we reached his house that both animals weren't superior to either
of his (an absurdity on the face of it), then he would consider
some other proposition.

When we reached the house, Cheese and I were generously fed, and
Pod and Coonskin invited into dinner. Then K---- chased his donks
around the yard, and felt them all over, and finally hoodwinked my
master to buy one, and trade the other for Cheese. I could have
kicked the daylight out of that man.

When K---- was on his way to town with his five dollars, Pod came
to the stable. My new companions were crabbed old spinsters, and
raised some objections to going with me.

"Where are you bound?" one asked.

"San Francisco," said I, "but I don't know where that is any more
than do you. Guess it's land's end." Then I told them how far I
had come, and that Pod said only a few days before that the
journey had only begun; also, that he expected we donks would fall
off some before long, from which I inferred the fall would be
gradual and the horrors of death prolonged.

It was enough to frighten the wits out of any old maid, and it
took a pitchfork, two hoe-handles and a crowbar to get those
donkeys out of the gate. Then one of them balked, kicked, threw
Coonskin, broke her halter, and ran back into the yard. She could
run after all.

That was enough for Pod. He rode me back into the yard, and told
Coonskin to fetch Cheese out of the barn. And it didn't take him
long to shift the blanket from that gray spinster to my old chum.

"You just tell your dad when he returns," said Pod to K----'s
son, "that I don't intend to put up with any such game. He grossly
misrepresented that donkey; it would take a week to travel a mile
with her. As I have paid him for the other one, she belongs to me
and I shall push her along with the outfit. But this animal," and
he pointed to Cheese, "is mine yet awhile. Good-bye."

"Do as you like," K----, Jr., replied. "I know nothin' 'bout yer
agreement."

We covered the first mile in slow time. Coonskin's new steed was
forever stopping, and straying out of the road to eat grass. The
young man wore himself out keeping her moving by rapping her with
the flat side of a hatchet. This big, brown jenny was made of the
right stuff, but evidently lacked training and experience.

We were yet a half mile to Blairstown when a young woman and a
child drove toward us with a skittish horse. It acted as though it
had never seen a donkey. It pricked up its ears, and snorted, and,
so help me Balaam! in a jiffy that buggy was on its side, the
girls on the ground, and the horse running to beat a cyclone.
Luckily, the girls escaped injury. My master was as frightened as
he was chivalrous, and assisting the girls to their feet, invited
them to ride us donkeys to town; which kind offer was respectfully
declined.

On our arrival, Pod took us to a blacksmith's to have the new
donkey's fore feet measured for a pair of shoes. The smith seemed
to be much taken with me, and said I had the smallest feet of all
the gentlemen donks he ever met. The remark so tickled my vanity
that I nibbled at his coat tail, whereupon he turned to me and
inquired, "What kind of a donkey are you? Chinese?"

"Not much," said I, indignantly, "My name is Irishy, and I always
supposed I was a thoroughbred Irish ass, but I'm beginning to
believe I'm a roamin' donkey, after all."

I could see that Pod expected trouble from some quarter, but none
of us knew just where the lightning would strike. The next
village, Luzerne, lay fifteen miles to the west. My lady companion
did not carry herself too gracefully, nor her rider, either. She
was broad and flat across the hips, and, as Coonskin did not
possess a saddle, he found it more comfortable to sit far back on
her where he could get a good swing of the fence rail he
substituted for a whip.

We were ambling peacefully along the dusty road late in the
afternoon, when Pod broke the silence with a word to his valet.

"Well, Coonskin," said he, "what 're you going to call your
donkey?"

"Damfino," said Coonskin; and he added, with a drawl, "Git ap."

"You ought to have found a suitable name by this time."

"I HAVE named her," emphasized the young man.

"Good!" shouted the Professor. "Let's have it then."

"Damfino," yelled Coonskin, with a wild swing of the fence rail.

Pod's face turned on its axis with a puzzled expression, as his
eyes regarded the hopeful pioneer. Said he, "See here, young man,
I know not whether my ears deceive me, or you are not up on my
dialect; you say you have named the donkey, yet, when I ask the
name, your answer implies a contradiction. Again, what is her
name?"

Coonskin drew a long breath, and said loud enough to be heard a
mile away, "Damfino."

As the fellow uttered the word, I dropped to the joke and,
stopping in the road, brayed till my sides ached.

A new light now came into the Professor's eyes, and he smiled.
"Damfino, then, is the lady's angelic name," said he resignedly.
"It's odd, it's not inappropriate. Let it stand."

"Very well," returned Coonskin, "I will proceed with the
ceremony." And letting the fence rail fall on his steed's rear
quarter, he added, "In the name of the great and only Balaam, I
christen thee Damfino." It was an interesting event. Thenceforth
Cheese and I resolved to be more choice in our language and
decorous in our manners in Miss Damfino's presence; and we lived
up to our pledge two hours before Cheese called Don and the
bull-terrier bad names for accidentally upsetting Miss Damfino
with their yoke, and I kicked the tired and panting mongrel in the
neighborhood of its pants.



CHAPTER XXVI.

BY PYE POD.

                        Thou hast described
  A hot friend cooling.
                             --_Julius Cæsar._


It was nine o'clock in the evening. While we were chatting with
the landlord of the only tavern in Luzerne, a portly, smooth-looking
individual entered the room. He was clad in a great fur
ulster and top boots. After a familiar "hello" to the landlord, he
eyed me searchingly, and added, "Your name is Pod, ain't it?"

I said, "I believe so; yours is what, don't it?"

Evidently not pleased with my expression, he instantly struck an
attitude, or something equally hard, and announced, "I'm the
sheriff of Borden County, and have come for a jack belonging to
Mr. K----."

"Jack?" I interrogated; "boot-jack, apple-jack--"

"Just plain jack," interrupted the officer.

"Well," I replied, carelessly, "I have no jack belonging to Mr.
K----, but I have the jenny he sold me for five dollars. Mr. K----
imposed upon me, and if he will refund the money, I will be only
too glad to return his hundred-year old mule."

Here K---- himself entered. He stormed about, and said that I told
only a section of the truth.

The sheriff gave his client a look, which quelled his ire for a
moment, then, turning to me, said: "You talk reasonably enough,
Mr. Pod, and doubtless mean right, but Mr. K---- has sworn out a
warrant for your arrest; and if you don't want trouble and a
double-jointed advertisement just turn over to K---- the jack he
claims, and send your man back for the gray jenny."

It may not seem strange that I was converted to the officer's way
of thinking.

"Take the donkey you claim," I said to K----, "you have the
advantage of me. I haven't time to fight my case in the courts."

My black-bearded adversary now calmed his temper; his victory must
have tasted sweet. I calculated the cost of the warrant and the
sheriff's services to be at least ten dollars, since the officer
had sacrificed angling for posse duty; although he was prevented
from catching fish, there was a nice mess for me.

With reluctant equanimity the man who had wished to help me along
explained that he had boasted of having acquired one of Pye Pod's
noted donkeys, but when he found I had outwitted him, he swore
vengeance.

On the other hand, the officer had conducted himself as a gentleman.

"Here, Coonskin," said the officer, "take this dollar and fetch us
a pail of beer;" and, turning to me, added, "we must drown ill
feeling amongst us, for when you come this way again, we'll show
you how to catch fish."

By one o'clock next day Coonskin, weary, hungry, and morose, had
managed to steer his slow "craft" into Luzerne and to moor it in
front of the tavern barn. That closed the interesting event.

On our way to Tama City I was greeted by a member of assembly, who
tendered me an invitation from the Mayor to dine with them that
day. Lounging about the shop doors and strolling the streets, on
our arrival in Tama, were many stately, still proud redskins, who,
when they espied me with the wealth of canines collected on my
way, shied off the scent for "fire-water" and dogged my trail to
the hotel.

After dinner with the Mayor and Assemblyman, I escorted them to
the stable to discover Mac A'Rony devouring a new hair-cushioned
carriage seat. At once the Mayor wanted to buy that donkey
outright, head and seat, for a round sum.

On expressing my intention to visit the Indian Reservation, some
three miles away, his Honor gave me letters of introduction to the
Indian Teacher and the Indian Instructor in agriculture. There
lived the Sac and Fox tribe of the Musquaques. I was told that
they were one of the most primitive tribes in the States, holding
on to the primeval, and often evil, customs of feeding on dog
soup, indulging in various kinds of dances, living in teepees, or
wickey-ups, and wearing bears' teeth, eagles' claws, scalps, skins
and moccasins. As you know, I had long hoped to be welcomed as
their guest. I was tired and weary of the care of my dog pack, and
wished to present it bodly, save Don, to the Chief.

About two o'clock we saddled and packed. When ready to start, a
diminutive bicyclist, mud-bespattered and perspiring from a hot
century run, he affirmed, wheeled up to the stable and, almost
before catching his breath, introduced himself to me.

"My name is Barley Korker," said he, "de champion lightest-weight
wheelman in de United States, weighin' jest sixty-eight pounds.
I'm jest troo wid a trip from New York in one month and tirty-two
days. My bicycle was giv me by de Cormorant Club of Phil'delfia.
De Bourbon Club of Chowchow Wheelman of Pittsburg put up five
hundred dollars 'gainst de wall dat I couldn't go all de way to
San Francisco and git dere. On de way I hears of de great donkey
traveler, Professor Pod, so I says, I'll jest catch up wid him,
and mebbe he'll take me 'long wid him."

I at once made the little fellow a proposition, which he accepted;
if he would wheel ahead of my caravan every day, carrying a small
flagstaff with a streamer containing the words, "Official Courier
to Pye Pod," I would, as long as he gave satisfaction, defray his
traveling expenses. Barley was delighted. He forthwith purchased a
piece of plum-colored silk and a bit of white silk for letters,
needles and thread, and, having once been a tailor by trade, when
we went into camp that night said that he would make a beautiful
streamer, one I would be proud of. He promised to have it
completed in a couple of days.

I had not more than finished my business with my courier, when a
rustic-looking boy rode up on a white donkey, and called to me,
"Want ter trade?"

"Not anxious," I returned, but showed no signs of a desire to
flee.

"Trade with yer, if you give me five dollars to boot," said the
enterprising lad.

I recalled how I had been swindled recently in a trade, and
resolved to make a deal with that boy by hook or by crook.

"Do you suppose I would think of trading this thoroughbred Irish
ass that has gone around the world for your common beast, just
because mine is tired from fast and long traveling, and yours is
fresh?" I saw I had made an impression; the lad dismounted, and
examined Cheese IV, critically.

"I hain't no money to-day," said the boy, "but if you'll give me
two dollars to boot I'll trade."

[Illustration: "_I killed my first rattlesnake._"]

[Illustration: "_That was the town._"]

[Illustration: "_Over the Platte ... after blindfolding them._"]

"What! do you want the earth?" I exclaimed. "Only before dinner
I paid two dollars to have this donkey shod. I don't intend to pay
two dollars more to shoe your animal."

The lad replied "All right," and galloped away, but had only gone
a short distance when I hailed him. He came back without
hesitation, and I then concluded a bargain. It was agreed that a
blacksmith should take the new shoes off Cheese and put them on
his donkey, and that I should pay him three dollars to boot. An
hour later Cheese V was shod, bridled and saddled, and that
afternoon became Coonskin's mount, Damfino carrying the principal
portion of our luggage, and Mac A'Rony his master.

My party reached the Reservation in time for me to meet the Indian
teacher before he left school, my courier having wheeled ahead to
announce my coming.

I was greeted warmly when I presented the Mayor's letter, was
shown some of the lodges of the tribe, and made acquainted with a
few of the foremost braves of the camp. The teacher was an
admirable interpreter, and the Indians grunted approvingly at
meeting such a noted personage as Professor Pye Pod.

A fat old buck named Ne-tah-twy-tuck (old one), on being
presented, extended me his hand, muttering, "How do?" His grip
almost mashed my fingers.

"Much dog," he observed, eyeing my pack with doubtful admiration.

"Yes, too much," I replied; "I want to visit Me-tah-ah-qua, your
great chief, and give him a heap of dogs." The Indian grinned
majestically, while his teacher turned his head to control his
risibles.

"Make pleasant?" the redskin grunted, and shook his head
disapprovingly. "Me-tah-ah-qua say no dog good--old--make tough
soup." And the brave pinched one of the mongrels, causing such a
ky-eying that my interpreter feared it would put the whole camp on
the war-path.

Presently an Indian boy notified the teacher that the chief had
heard of Mr. Pod's arrival, and wished him to dine with him at his
lodge. I accepted, and the boy departed; and soon afterward
Coonskin and I were escorted to the chief's wigwam, taking my dog
pack with me.

Me-tah-ah-qua met us with a grunt, rubbed my nose against his
until it became lopsided, and likewise greeted Coonskin.

Then the chief waved us into the wigwam. He seated me on his
right, and Coonskin on his left, while opposite to me he placed
his disenchanting daughter of forty-five summers. Opposite the
chief sat his first councilman, Muck-qua-push-e-too (young one),
and at my right, at the entrance of the tent in full view of the
host was seated our Government interpreter, seemingly much amused
by the event. I lost no time in presenting my dogs to the chief,
who in broken sentences, half Indian, half English, accepted the
munificent gift in befitting words.

The spread consisted of a wolf skin, and on it rested a large flat
stone on which to stand the kettle of soup when ready.

For some moments the chief regarded me searchingly, then said,
"Me-tah-ah-qua wants--big donk man to live with him--and marry--his
only daughter--Ne-nah-too-too. Me-tah-ah-qua will give--him a
bow and a quiver of arrows--three seasoned pipes--five ponies--a
new wicky-up--two red blankets--a deer skin--bag full of dogs'
teeth--fifteen scalps taken by his father."

The chief left off abruptly, as if for my answer, but I shook my
head thoughtfully, and the chief continued:

"If you--will marry my daughter (here the chief glanced at me,
then let his eyes dwell fondly on that aged belle of forty-five
summers), Me-tah-ah-qua will make--you chief of his tribe--before
he goes to--the Happy Hunting Grounds. He will call--your first
born Chicky-pow-wow-wake-up."

I was never more embarrassed, and eyed the damsel of forty-five
summers, trying to persuade myself that she was beautiful and
rich, and still shook my head. The old chief, seeing his
inducements were not alluring, motioned to his councilman to pass
the pipe of peace. After we had all taken a puff at it, the kettle
of dog soup was set before us, and we all dipped in our ladles,
the chief first, and began to eat.

When I first looked into that caldron of bouillon, I could see in
my mind's eye, all kinds and conditions of dog staring at me, and
almost fancied I could hear them barking. The soup wasn't bad,
after all; it reminded me of Limburger cheese, in that it tasted
better than it smelled. But Coonskin and I, and even our
interpreter, ate sparingly (I use the word "ate," because there
was so much meat in it). I learned from the teacher that the whole
kettleful of soup was extracted from one small spaniel. "Dog
gone!" I sighed.

The feast at an end, I thanked the chief for the honor conferred
upon me, shook hands with his daughter, and departed. Barley
Korker, Mac A'Rony and the rest of the party welcomed me with
glee, and soon we were marching over the hill toward the house of
the Indian farmer.

In front of a wigwam sat the chief's squaw, an old, wrinkled and
parched woman of a hundred and five winters, weaving a flat mat; a
little way off two Indian boys were filling pails with sand,
making believe they were at Coney Island; and still beyond I saw
two squaws carrying huge bundles of faggots for the wigwam fires,
round which sat the lazy bucks, smoking.

A half-mile further on we met the Indian Farmer, and I presented
my letter of introduction. He extended me a glad hand, and invited
us all to supper, and on the way to his house, enlightened me
about Indian farming, and the results of our Government's efforts
to civilize the savage tribes. The Reservation contains 2,800
acres of woodland and arable soil.

After supper on bread and milk with the farmer, we travelers made
our beds of hay and horse-blankets in the barn, and then followed
the trail half way back to the Indian village, until we came to a
house, where I discovered in the darkness its rustic incumbent
leaning on the fence, smoking. There we lay down on the dry sod,
lit our pipes, and listened for the first sound of the Indian drum
beats which, the farmer told us, we would soon hear; that was the
night for an Assembly dance, and the first drum beat was to
assemble the tribe to its nocturnal orgie.

As I reclined on the grass in the starlight that mild May evening,
my mind recalling the harrowing tales of the early settlers of the
West, the first sound of the drum beat sent a thrill through my
frame. I mentally counted the weapons comprising the arsenal in
our belts; and even Don crept closer to me and rubbed his face
against mine. After a few moments' interim the drum again beat,
but for a longer period, sounding something like the army long-roll,
only more weird. The farmer said this was the signal for the
dance to begin, so we strolled leisurely down the hill trail
through the woods to the grotesque scene.

A circular corral, fenced with three or four strands of wire,
surrounded a pole driven slantingly in the ground, and from the
pole was suspended a very bright lantern. Already within the
enclosure could be seen the dusky forms of the Musquaques, some of
them grouped in a sitting posture, crosslegged, in the center of
the corral, beating a large shallow drum resting on the ground;
while maneuvring fantastically about them were four agile reds,
clad in loose-fitting, bright-colored robes, feathers, moccasins
and sleighbells, dancing, and pow-wowing frightfully.

Finally we drew closer to the scene, and then an educated Indian,
named Sam Lincoln, welcomed us into the enclosure. He said he was
a graduate of the Carlisle Indian School of Pennsylvania, and
greeted us in the true American style, but he still loved the
primitive customs of his people. We sat on the ground against the
fence, and occasionally one or another of the dancers would put a
pinch of tobacco into the hand of Sam, seated next to me.

"What was that he just gave you?" I asked of the Indian.

"He give pleasant of tobacco," said Sam. "Show good feeling--Indian
not steal--leave things around--Indian no take--Indian honest."
By that sign of distributing tobacco among his fellows, the
tamed savage promises fair play among his tribe.

The men alone danced. Before long, the squaws, one by one, came
into the ring from various quarters with pappooses bound on their
backs in shawls or robes, and squatted in a circle just behind the
drummers. As the dancers became fatigued, I noticed that they
would exchange places with the spectators, most of whom were in
dancing rig. Sam Lincoln, after a time, excused himself politely
and asked me to sit on his coat, reminding me should I leave
before his return not to forget to leave the strap he loaned me to
tie my dog to a post.

The weird proceedings were all too exciting for Don, and it was
all I could do to prevent his making mince-meat out of the dancers
and prowling squaws. The whoops and pow-wowing and yells were
thrilling enough to frighten even a man "tenderfoot."

Toward midnight speech-making began. The drummers stopped beating
the drum, and an old patriarch walked from the fence toward the
center group, and stood behind the squaws a moment in silence.
Presently he softly uttered something that sounded like a prayer,
to which all the dusky auditors responded feelingly at the close
in a monosyllable not unlike "Amen." Then the drum-beating and
dancing was resumed, continuing some moments, to be followed by
another prayer.

At last, a great pipe was put through a series of mysterious
calisthenics, and passed around among the drummers.

At midnight the full, round moon rose above the wooded hills, and
cast a broad, silvery sash across the ring, illuminating the weird
and grotesque scene. Now a squaw entered with a large earthen jar
and passed it around to all the Indians, the bucks first. I was
ignorant of its contents, as it was not passed to me and my white
comrades. Fatigued from travel, I finally rested my head on Don's
warm body, and went to sleep; and it must have been near one
o'clock when Coonskin awoke me. Then we three, accompanied by my
dog, started for the barn to lay ourselves out for a few hours'
repose. I shall never forget that night.

Sam Lincoln said that several members of the tribe, a few weeks
previous, had gone to visit another branch of the tribe in
Wisconsin, in the absence of which a "meeting dance" was held
every fourth night, when the Indians appealed to the Great Father
for their safe return. Sam told me that in all their various dances
a different drum was beaten--there was one each respectively for
the snake dance, ghost dance, wolf dance, buffalo dance, peace
dance, war dance, meeting dance, etc. The drum for the meeting
dance, Sam pronounced beautiful, and "much nice"--"seven dollars
fifty cents worth of quarters on it--all silver on drum--fine
drum--much cost." The Indians valued their drums, evidently, more
than any other of their possessions.

We rested well that night in our haymow bed, although the rats
kept the dog busy till morning, so Barley said; he was the only
one of us three who failed to sleep soundly. We rose in good
season, and traveled five miles to Mountour, Barley Korker
wheeling on in advance to order breakfast. He proved himself a
good financier on this, his first, mission as Pod's official
courier, and pleasantly surprised me by having bargained for three
twenty-five cent breakfasts for fifty cents.

Before reaching Marshalltown, we met with a terrific thunderstorm,
and rode up to the hotel at six o'clock in a drenched condition.



CHAPTER XXVII.

BY MAC A'RONY.

    What the devil was the good of a she-ass, if she couldn't
  carry a sleeping bag and a few necessities?--_Stevenson._


Our sojourn in Marshalltown was brief. Before leaving, my master
purchased cooking utensils, so that he would not be compelled to
travel more than he ought to in a day to reach a town; now he
could cook his own meals. After going into camp the first night,
Pod fetched out the cooking tools, and having saved up a huge
appetite, went to work to get a fine supper.

"Hello! Coonskin," said he, "what do you think? We've plenty of
frying pans, but nothing to fry--never once thought of buying
grub." And three more disappointed, famished individuals I never
saw. But when to get even they ate double their usual breakfast
next morning and were charged accordingly, Pod was enraged.

We trailed through State Center, Nevada, and Ames to Boone,
arriving at midnight, May 22d; and continued on next day to Grand
Junction, where a farmer invited the men to sleep in his kitchen.
Instead of accepting, they shared with us donks the comforts of
the barn, where, after a supper, cooked at a safe distance from
the hay-stack, Pod received a delegation of gay young chaps from
town. They brought all kinds of prohibition drinks and eatables;
the popping of corks kept me awake until a late hour. And when I
complained, all I got was an invoice of corn on the ear.

The Mayor of Jefferson, during our stop, presented Pod with a
heavy shillalah that was intended as an ornament, but several
times later, persuaded to do business. The Irishman, also, as a
compliment to my ancestry, invited us all to dinner. After passing
through Scranton and Glidden, two or three interesting incidents
occurred on the road to Carroll. One night we were caught in a
shower that seemed to settle down to business for the night.
Coonskin thought he saw a barn in a meadow, so Pod sent him to
investigate. He came back soon and said it was only a double
corn-crib, built so a wagon could drive between, under a roof. All
three thought it was just the thing; it was better than tramping
through rain and mud. So we broke through the fence, and soon were
unpacked and fed all the corn we could eat. The men made their bed
in one of the big cribs of corn, the best they could with their
scant blankets, and went to sleep. Pod told me that wasn't the
first night he had spent in a crib. And I shouldn't wonder if that
were so. I said I preferred corn on the ear to corn on the feet.

It was a funny sight before the men arose. There happened to be
several holes in the inner wall, and the men had twisted and
turned about so much during the night in their dreams and to get
the ears comfortably filled into their backs, that it resulted in
Pod's head sticking out of one hole, Coonskin's foot out of
another, and Barley's seat plugging another. When Pod awoke, his
head was red as a beet; he found his feet higher than his head,
Damfino having pulled the corn out of the hole during the night.
So much did we donks eat that, before starting on the day's
journey, our stomachs ached and doubled us all up.

Then a ridiculous sort of runaway happened. A fat Irishwoman tried
to drive a gentle horse past our party. The pet stuck up his ears
and stopped a hundred feet away; Pod called to the courageous
driver to wait, and that he would send his man to lead the horse
past us. But the woman yelled back that she could manage her own
horse; so she whipped him on. To the left was a marsh deep from
the heavy rains; and the frightened horse made a dash through it,
but he hadn't run far before he stuck knee-deep, right beside us.
The horse snorted and plunged, and tried to get away, but it was
no "go." He burst the traces, and the frantic driver hollered so
that I almost "busted" too.

"Don't move your feet an inch, or you'll go over," Pod cautioned
the woman, but she took it as a personal offense, and said her
feet were all right.

"Help me and Oi'll pay yez!" she implored.

So Coonskin waded in and, tying the reins around the broken
traces, led the horse on to dry land at a safe distance. Then he
held out a hand for his pay.

"Phwat do yez want, ye poppinjay?" said the ingrate.

"You promised to pay me if I would help you," replied the valet,
soberly.

"Ah, gwan, yez crazy loot!" she exclaimed. "Dishpose of thim
hathenish jackasses, ond yez will have money ond th' rishpect of
the community."

Coonskin was watersoaked up to his waist. But before he could get
to a hotel to change his clothes, our little courier met us coming
into town, and inquired, "Hev yuse been havin' a fallin' out wid
de crazy mule?"

"Not by a blank sight," retorted the valet, in ill humor. He felt
like scaring Barley, and he did. "Two women met us down the road a
way driving a fractious horse--horse got frightened at donks--ran
away--upset wagon--both women killed--expect sheriff and posse
after us with shot guns. You weren't in the muss and are safe.
Here's my mother's address."

To say the fellow was scared half to death doesn't express it. It
was his business to gather information and pace our party out of
every town on the best road to the next. On this occasion he took
us out on the longest road to Carroll, saying he had paced us on
that road to elude pursuit.

"Dey's method in my madness, Mr. Pod," said the excited fellow,
leaping off his wheel, to better explain matters. "If de whole
blamed country's after yuse, do yuse tink I was goin' to let yuse
be catched if I could help it? We sticks togedder, we do, tru
t'ick an' thin, an' when de sheriff t'inks he is chasin' yuse one
way, we's chasin' ourselves de udder way, see?" And our courier
looked heroic. Pod said he was grateful, and slyly winked to
Coonskin, who turned his head and grinned.

At Carroll, Pod purchased some canvas for a sleeping-bag. He said
he was tired of sleeping in barns and corn-cribs and such, and if
he had a bed of his own, he would be independent. Barley sewed up
the canvas for him, to save expense, and we left town with the
patent bed.

Of course, the men were anxious to put the thing into service.
About nine o'clock, the three crawled in and soon went to sleep.
The bagful of humanity rested on the sloping roadside where the
grass was thick, their heads being at the higher end, their feet
at the lower.

We donks were up bright and early the next morning eating
thistles, when, suddenly, I heard Miss Damfino giggling. She
nodded toward the sleeping-bag, and I saw a funny sight. The seam
at the foot of the bag had been ripped by the weight of the three
bodies sliding down against it, and now six legs were sticking
out clear up to the knees, the feet turned skyward in all
directions. In a lumber wagon opposite, a farmer sat taking in the
curious sight with a phiz that would make a monkey laugh. One
couldn't tell who or what was in that bag, except for human legs.
Miss Damfino was so convulsed with merriment she just lay down and
rolled.

Now it happened that Cheese V was a droll wag, and chock full of
innocent mischief, so as soon as his eyes lighted on that row of
awkward-looking feet, he quietly strolled over to the sleeping-bag
and commenced to lick the bare soles of those sensitive pedals. In
a minute the peaceful bed looked as if hit by a cyclone. Such
yells, I had never before heard. The men's heads were down so far
in the bag that the terrified fellows didn't know which end to
crawl out of first, so tried both ends at once; and, slap bang me!
if that bag full of live things didn't begin rolling and hopping
about the highway like a sackful of oats. One could have heard the
hollaring a mile off. I laughed so hard I thought I'd die, and
Cheese, Damfino and Don were weak from the strain of their
risibles long afterward. The farmer almost rolled off the seat,
but finally he pacified his excited horse, got down, and caught
the animated bag before it jumped the fence, ripped it open, and
pulled out the dazed men. For the life of me, I thought at one
time the bag would reach the creek across the field, and drown the
men. Cheese escaped detection for his practical joke, and I, from
the way Pod leered at me all day, knew that I got all the blame.



CHAPTER XXVIII.

BY PYE POD.

  If I know'd a donkey wot wouldn't go
  To see Mrs. Jarley's wax-work show,
  Do you think I'd wollop him?
  Oh, no, no! Then run to Jarley's----
                          --_Old Curiosity Shop._


Dennison was still and peaceful when, at nine in the evening, we
trailed up to its leading hotel, after a long and tiresome day's
walk, for, to relieve Cheese and Mac A'Rony, Coonskin and I had
journeyed half the distance on foot. But we left next day in good
season for Arion, taking it slowly, as Cheese was noticeably lame;
he had stumbled in the darkness the evening before. At Arion, so
aggravated was his injury, that I tarried a whole day, for I
appraised him a valued animal.

When I resumed the pilgrimage, I took it slowly, and relieved the
animal from any burden more than his saddle. Coonskin and I took
turns riding Mac, who was as chipper and strong as ever. He
gloried in his health and vigor, and found amusement in chaffing
his unfortunate comrade.

The eve of May thirtieth was spent in camp a few miles from
Woodbine. The following morning, when we were still two miles from
town, my courier, who had preceded us, wheeled back in company
with an old, white-haired man leading three white Esquimaux dogs.
The stranger managed his sportive pets with one hand, and carried
a basket of apples in the other; and, introducing himself and
shaking hands, he presented me with the delicious russet fruit,
and welcomed me to his home in the distance as his guest for the
holiday, a pleasure I was compelled to deny myself, for lack of
time.

According to his own account, he was a hermit and lived in the
society of his canine companions, as he had the greater part of
his seventy-five years. Content to subsist on the product of his
little thirty-six acre farm, he denied himself the use of any
portion of a small fortune of $15,000 in gold which, he claimed,
he had buried somewhere outside of that state; nobody had ever
helped him to a cent, and he resolved that no one should enjoy a
dollar of his money.

I put up at the Columbia Hotel, Woodbine, a pretty brick hostelry,
and, after an enjoyable lounge in the parlor, we all went out to
see the military and civic parade, in keeping with the usual
Memorial day custom.

The band assembled from all quarters and kinds of quarters--doors,
windows, cellars, barns, corn-cribs, hay-stacks, hencoops,
smoke-houses, etc., and without delay began tuning instruments. Their
uniforms challenged imitation. No two were dressed alike. Every
horn was different; they tried to outvoice each other, when,
suddenly, the bass drum banged away and upset the equilibrium of
the horns, until the snare drums and cymbals interfered as
peacemakers. At last, after much strain of nerve tissue, the
medley of musical tools settled down to a good, sensible patriotic
tune, which held sway for fifteen minutes.

But the procession that followed the band beggared description. The
band acted as leaders, the Grand Army followed as pointers, then
trailed the wheelers--carriages filled with citizens and farmers.
There were democrat wagons, side-bar buggies, buckboards, carts,
gigs, surreys, hayricks, baby carriages, wheelbarrows, goat carts,
and velocipedes. Pedestrians then fell into line, and brought up
the rear. To cap the climax, a big, fat man with inflated chest
galloped past on a faded, wind-broken horse, and exhorted the
excitable celebrators to strictly obey orders. "Remember,
citizens," he yelled, "let us take care not to have any accident
to-day, for we are not used to 'em here!" The procession had begun
slowly to move forward, when suddenly the command was given to
halt, and the bangity-bang, clapity-clap, rip-slap of wagon tongue
against wagon boxes sounded like freight cars when the engine
clamps on the brakes.

The firearms carried looked as if they had been loaned by some
museum for the event. They were muskets, match-locks, flint-locks,
and minus-locks; Winchesters, Remingtons, Ballards, Floberts,
Sharps, Springfields; shot-guns, muzzle-loaders and breach-loaders;
blunderbusses; carbines, bean-shooters, sling-shots and
cross-guns--a most formidable looking arsenal. Such a pageant!

When the procession arrived at the cemetery, the hearse, filled
with flowers, stopped in front of a newly made grave. Then the
undertaker in black clothes and red cap, seated beside the driver
in blue coat, white trousers and stovepipe hat, banged a bass drum
in his lap with an Indian club, as each floral piece was placed on
the several soldiers' graves.

Presently my attention was directed to a new excavation, before
which solemnly stood Coonskin, as immovable and statuesque as a
marble slab; and soon I observed an aged woman approach, bend
toward the human statue, and read the pathetic epitaph on his
back: "Take Blank's cathartic pills and keep healthy."

"Poor boy!" she exclaimed, sorrowfully, "a pity to have died so
young."

That was too much for Coonskin, who instantly resumed
consciousness, and wheeled about, as the frightened mourner
gasped, "Bless my stars, alive!" When Mac took in the situation he
brayed with merriment, almost shaking me out of the saddle.

The interesting proceedings concluded with a volley fired over a
grave, and at once bird shot, buck shot, salt pork, hickory nuts,
marbles, acorns, beans, and pebbles rained about us frightfully.
When the firing was through, I assisted a quack doctor probe for a
number one duck shot in Barley's shoulder and an acorn in
Coonskin's leg. As I mounted my terrified donkey, I noticed the
old woman had fainted. Bending over her was a gallant fellow
countryman trying to fan her back to life with his broad-brimmed
hat, while exposing patched trousers to an admiring crowd. As soon
as she came to, we started for the hotel, congratulating ourselves
on our narrow escape.

Next day we set out for Logan. Our arrival was signaled by an
assembly of townspeople, headed by their Mayor, who greeted me
cordially and asked to ride the celebrated donkey. He rode Mac up
and down the central street before the cheering throng, as had the
Mayors of other towns we had visited. Then I delivered a lecture
on my travels, on a corner of the business street, after which
Coonskin, who had lately received his banjo-guitar from home,
accompanied me with my mandolin, recently purchased, as we gave a
short serenade of music and song that made everybody sad and wish
we would depart.

The morrow was the first of June; I welcomed summer joyfully.
Missouri Valley was reached in the afternoon, and there, with my
dog chained in the cellar of a hotel and the three donkeys
stabled, we men retired and slept the sleep of the just.

The further I journeyed, the more primitive and squatty were both
dwelling and store in small places, and the architecture reached
the superlative of simplicity on the plains; but I observed more
of a passion for flower gardens and shrubbery evinced west of the
Mississippi than east.

The great bluffs characterizing the banks of the Missouri now
loomed up, verdant and picturesque, after the genial showers and
sunshine of spring. Every turn in the road presented a different
kaleidoscopic effect to the landscape. Wild roses lined the
roadside as we passed in review with our hats trimmed with
blossoms, and songbirds caroled sweet melodies from early morn
till eventide. Pure springs and wells were ever within reach, and
the farmers treated us to brimming bowls of sweet milk and
buttermilk. One day, after imbibing freely from a barrel of
buttermilk, standing against the porch, where I was chatting with
the housewife, I was astonished to see a calf walk up to the
barrel and drink. After that I lost my appetite for buttermilk.

All through Iowa were droves or bunches of white-faced cattle, the
predominating breed. I was told that the white-faced cattle make
the best beef, which seemed to sustain the theory early advanced
by the Indians, that pale-faces made the best roasts.

During the last few days, I noted a happy change in Damfino's
demeanor, and a marked improvement in Cheese's tender feet.
Damfino traveled faster and more smoothly, her long ears swinging
back and forth with every stride like pendulums of a clock and
apparently assisting her to walk to regular time.

Just as we were trailing out of Crescent City, a woman presented
me with a large bouquet of flowers.

I had intended to travel ten miles that lovely June night, but
when some five miles from town, on observing an inviting grassy
lot, I decided to go into camp. We let our donkeys roam at will
and graze, and spread our sleeping-bag under an apple-tree; then,
with Don on guard and with the gleaming stars beaming on us
through the boughs, we enjoyed a delightful sleep. At dawn we were
awakened by the owner of the property, a short, crabbed
individual, who lifted a dirty face above the top fence-rail and
called, "Git out," to us.

I was awfully sleepy and dozed on luxuriously. After a while he again
hailed us, now from the opposite quarter, but still on the outside of
the enclosure, where I could see him eyeing disapprovingly my huge
dog. Finally we induced him to come into our camp, on the promise
that our dog wouldn't molest him, and even invited him to breakfast
with us. When we departed he was in good spirits. He said he lived
"over in that house yonder all alone," because he couldn't afford to
live "together." Of course, we understood. He informed me that we
were following the old Mormon trail to Council Bluffs, where
Mormonism and bigamy flourished for a season before the historic band
of pilgrims crossed the Missouri in 1848. Thursday, June third, my
donkeys ambled into Council Bluffs.



CHAPTER XXIX.

BY MAC A'RONY.

    He was mounted upon a mule, which he rode gineta fashion, and
  behind him, by the duke's order, was led his Dapple, adorned
  with shining trappings of silk, which so delighted Sancho that
  every now and then he turned his head to look upon him, and
  thought himself so happy that he would not have exchanged
  conditions with the Emperor of Germany.--_Don Quixote._


The city of Council Bluffs is four miles from the Missouri River,
and takes its name as many people do, from both sides of the
house. Council comes from the old Mormon councils formerly held
there, and Bluffs is borrowed from the bluffs on which the city is
built.

Often such things are handed down for many generations; the Mayor
seemed to be constructed on the bluff order. He had the consummate
cheek to tell my master he wasn't allowed to sell photographs
without procuring a license, and thought he had squelched him, but
he almost fell out of his chair when Pod nonchalantly pulled out a
fifty dollar bill and said, "Just make out a license at once."
Then he went to work and did a land-office business, taking more
money out of the town than the Mayor could put into it in a year's
time.

Next morning Miss Damfino went shopping, coming back with a brand
new pair of shoes. She said she saw lots of donkeys shopping, and
began to distribute to a stableful of equine and asinine gossips
such a lot of scandal that I was ashamed of her. She had also
discovered the startling fact that there was one more river to
cross. "Furthermore," said she, "our highfaluting, aristocratic,
literary genius, Mac A'Rony, is to enjoy the distinction of
crossing the great Missouri River Bridge in a wheelbarrow." This
caused me to collapse. I fell on my knees and preyed on the bed of
yellow straw, and brayed aloud for spirituous support, but all I
got was a bucket of water. An hour afterward I was saddled for the
show. I had experienced riding in a wheelbarrow before, and did
not like the idea, but said nothing.

Sure enough, when we arrived at the bridge, there stood a
wheelbarrow, just brought by a wagon from the Bluffs. I eyed the
vehicle disdainfully. That was the same kind of carriage that a
man once went to London with to fetch a wife home in, and now, as
a fitting jubilee memorial of that historic event, I, a
respectable scion of an ancient race, was to be toted across a
bridge into a great city in this outlandish vehicle, to the cheers
and jeers of a multitude. The event was heralded in the morning
papers of both Council Bluffs and Omaha; I saw Pod reading about
it on the way.

At the bridge, I was at once unsaddled, and my luggage distributed
equally between Cheese and Damfino. The quilts and blankets were
folded in the wheelbarrow, and with the help of two men Pod and
Coonskin lifted me into the one-wheeled carriage, where I was
strapped and roped so securely I couldn't budge without upsetting.
Pod wheeled me a short way first, then Coonskin relieved him; in
this way I crossed that bridge of size. When half way, I thought I
would be easier if I turned over, for it was an awful long bridge;
in a minute I was on the bridge proper, the wheelbarrow on the top
of me, improper. Wasn't Pod mad though! A street-car line crossed
the bridge, and cars full of curious passengers were passing
continually, having paid extra, I reckoned, to see the circus. I
had to be untied, and again deposited in the wheelbarrow, and do
you believe, those human jackasses didn't have sense enough to lay
me on my other side. Then another distressing circumstance
happened soon after. I could see the street at the Omaha terminus
jammed with people as on a Fourth of July, but that didn't matter;
a horse-fly buzzed around me a minute prospecting, and suddenly
made his camp-fire on my left hip. Soon the fire burned like fury,
and I not able to stand it, made one super-asinine effort, ripped
and tore, and upset myself and Pod, who was wheeling me. Then the
crowd cheered louder than ever. Some boy with a large voice
yelled, "Hurrah for Mac A'Rony!" and three cheers were given.

"I think he'll walk the rest of the way, Coonskin," said Pod,
referring to me. "Save us the trouble of fixing him in the
wheelbarrow again."

Thinks I, I'll just get even with the Professor at once, and I lay
down as if I were in a barnyard for the night. It didn't take
those men long to put me in the wheelbarrow again, I tell you.
This time Pod didn't seem to care whether I was all in or not. My
tail caught in the spokes of the wheel, and wound up so quickly
that I was nearly pulled out on the bridge. The wheelbarrow came
to such a sudden stop that Pod fell all over me. At first I
thought I had lost my tail by the roots. It was sore long after.
Couldn't switch off flies with it, and had to kick at them, and
ten times out of nine I'd miss the fly and kick my long-legged
rider in the leg or foot, whereupon I would catch it with whip and
spur.

At length we crossed the bridge, and there I was dumped; then I
had a good roll in the dust, just to show there was no hard
feeling; after which a host of inquisitive spectators followed us
to the Paxton Hotel in Omaha, where we were to have a two days'
rest.

Good fortune began to fall before us now like manna from the sky.
The first morsel came in the manner of a proposition for Pod and
me to pose in front of a leading apothecary's shop in the business
center, and extol the virtues of fruit frappe, and incidentally
his perfumed soaps, insect powders, and dog-biscuits, in
consideration of several dollars in silver. The frappe clause of
the contract was most agreeably cool and delectable for that
summer season, and the sample doses of the various ices to which
Cheese and I, not to mention Pod, were treated, furnished rare
sport for an appreciative audience. The cheerful proprietor,
recognizing my blue blood, attempted to feed me with a long,
silver spoon; I so admired the spoon that with my teeth I stamped
it with our family crest.

As the demand for frappe increased, the brass-buttoned society
began to gather from the four points of the compass, and finally
attempted to arrest Pod for blocking the thoroughfare; and, but
for the timely arrival of the druggist, there would have been a
riot. Coonskin had two guns in his belt, and Pod declared he would
not be taken alive.

On this occasion, besides the money received from the druggist,
Coonskin sold many chromos, for the wily Professor was far-seeing
enough to work in considerable nonsense about his travels, and got
even the police so interested that several cops wedged through the
gang and purchased souvenirs. We made a pretty fair street show.
All were there but Miss Damfino, who felt indisposed and remained
indoors.

One of our severest crosses (some folks think the ass has only one
cross, and that on its shoulders), was experienced a few miles
southwest of the city, where we donks refused to walk a narrow
plank over a shattered bridge, and were forced to ford the
stream.



CHAPTER XXX.

BY PYE POD.

  We may live without poetry, music and art;
  We may live without conscience, and live without heart;
  We may live without friends; we may live without books;
  But civilized man cannot live without cooks.   --_Lucile._


It was my good fortune to obtain in Omaha a most adaptable teepee
tent, a triangular canvas bag, as it were. One man could put it up
in a minute. This waterproof tent had a canvas floor stoutly sewn
to the sides, and when the door was tied shut neither sand, water,
nor reptile could invade its sacred precincts; mosquito netting
across the two small windows kept out all kinds of insects. Three
could sleep in it comfortably, besides allowing ample room for
luggage and supplies; and the tent with its folding poles only
weighed thirty pounds. This extra baggage was added to Damfino's
pack, for she was large and strong, and by this time in good
traveling fettle.

I could now thoroughly enjoy the outdoor life of the West, with
its fresh and fragrant air; after sleeping a few nights under the
stars, only some imperative emergency could induce me to spend a
night indoors. Although my two attendants were not companions of
choice they were fairly good company, but my courier unconsciously
furnished entertainment for Coonskin and myself. He had such an
absurd dialect--he said he had learned it in an eastern factory
where Irish, Germans, and Swedes, and other nationalities were
employed--and his gullibility was a constant challenge for
practical jokes.

One day at supper, an idea of putting up a game on Barley came to
mind.

"It's a pity we haven't blue beetle sauce for our quail,
Coonskin," I said, giving my valet a sly wink, and he, suspecting
I had some joke in mind, took up the argument.

"You bet," was his response. "Seen hundreds of beetles to-day."

Barley eyed Coonskin, then me, and satisfied that we were serious,
queried, "Do yuse mean wese kin make sauce of de blue beetles what
wese see in de road?"

"Why," I said, as with astonishment, "haven't you ever heard of it
before? Man, they pay a steep price for blue beetles at
Delmonico's. Only the wealthy enjoy such a luxury."

"The dandiest stuff I ever et on broiled birds of any kind,"
seconded my valet cleverly. The repast over, my courier was
convinced of the surpassing virtues of blue-beetle sauce.

Next day the bettles came out thicker than ever. With enthusiasm,
I dismounted, and began to fill my emptied purse with the insects,
and Coonskin followed suit by filling a handkerchief, exclaiming:
"By the very old Ned! Gather 'em all; we'll have a treat for the
gods."

Up to this, Barley kept on his wheel within talking distance, but
now he leaped off and made a dive in the dust with his hat, as if
he had trapped a butterfly. "Remember, man," I called to him,
"there should be seventeen in every family; bag every one of
them."

"Here's fourteen Ise got, guess dey's one family, but can't see no
more; besides my handkerchief's full. Has yus got a sock yuse kin
lend me?" I said I had, and then he came to get the sock. His
trousers pockets were filled with the strong smelling beetles.

Suddenly, he dived for a whole entomological tribe almost under
Mac's feet; had the donkey not leaped over him, we all would have
been hurt.

We lunched in a small village where I purchased peppermint oil for
flavoring the sauce. That night, I made a concoction that would
only satisfy a Siwash appetite. We had bagged two dozen quail and
doves, so we had plenty of game, and an abundance of beetles; the
next thing in order was a heap of fun.

After frying our potatoes, gun oil, peppermint oil, pink tooth-powder,
butter milk, lemon juice, and beetles were stirred in the
frying pan, and when it began to sizzle and steam, Barley was put
in charge and cautioned to keep stirring it. I thought, when he
looked at the repelling mess and inhaled a little of those bug
aromas, he would smell the joke, but he didn't. He kept on
stirring, and smacked his lips, and finally said that it looked
done. I decided to bring the joke to an end. Going to the fence
ostensibly to tie more securely the donkeys, Coonskin loosened
Damfino's rope while I seated myself at our table, and called,
"Supper is ready." At once that grinning youth chased the freed
donkey plumb into our fire, and so surprised was my courier that
he never knew whether Damfino or Coonskin kicked over the pan, and
robbed us of the rarest delicacy on record.

I stormed about like a madman, and blamed both attendants, then
went at the hot broiled birds inwardly delighted with the success
of the joke. Barley never was the wiser. The following day,
several times, he told me we were passing lots of beetles, but he
wasn't going to spend his time catching them to be wasted.

Something followed the game supper which more fully explains my
courier's displeasure. By oversight, one of the socks of bugs was
left untied; the result was, beetles ran the tent all night.
Barley claimed he found a beetle in his windpipe. Coonskin spent
the night lighting matches and hunting the pests. I myself
smothered a score of more in my pillow. That experience closed my
calendar for practical jokes.

On to Lincoln was now the watchword. While still five or six miles
from the city, a donkey and cart hove in sight, both gayly
decorated with flags and bunting. The driver said he had been sent
from Lincoln by a prominent citizen to escort me and my party into
the city.

Barley had been busy stirring up the populace, so when I rode
majestically up to the leading hotel on Mac A'Rony, I found a
crowd of representative citizens there to give me a befitting
greeting. As soon as my donkeys were anchored, a tall, fat, jovial
member of the medical profession, advancing with outstretched
hand, welcomed me to the city.

"Mr. Pod," said he, smiling all over, "I'm Dr. E---- and am at
your service. I shall take pleasure in doing what I can to make
your sojourn a pleasant memory."

The first thing the Doctor did was to take me to the Executive
Mansion. We found the Governor absent, but easily traced him to a
local sanitarium, where my escort found him on a couch, wrapped in
swaddling clothes, apparently secure from all intruders but the
genial Doctor himself. He had just finished a Turkish bath, but he
sent the Doctor for me at once.

"We meet under difficulties," was his Excellency's smiling
greeting. "I'm trying to knock out an attack of rheumatism."

"True enough," I acknowledged, extending my hand, "both of us are
flat on our backs."

Gov. Holcomb then wrote some hieroglyphics in my autograph album,
and expressed the hope that I would not find it as hot on the
desert as I did in that room.

Our next stop was at a soda fountain. Then we visited a leading
clothier--where I procured a contract to direct, with Mac's
assistance, the public's attention to alluring bargains in its
show-windows. For this I received a five dollar note.

My first evening in town was pleasantly spent in the company of
Mrs. Bryan, who, on learning that I was in town, invited me to
call.

I remained in the last evening to rest, while Coonskin and Barley
took a trip to Burlington Beach, a famous local watering place.

"Wese taught, yuse see," said my little courier, in the morning,
"dat it was something like Coney Island; so it's bein' only ten
cents round trip dare, wese takes de trolley an' goes down.

"Well, yuse oughter seen de place. Before wese gets dare it begins
to smell--why, Coney Island ain't in it fer smells. Den wese gets
off de cars and shuffles our feet across a long wooden bridge over
on to a island, where dare was a dance hall and lots of girls of
all kinds and canal boats, and dongolas, and drinks, and
beers--talk of beers!--say, wese had a tank dat high fer a nickel. Yuse
see, de beach is on a island in a counterfeit lake, made of salt
wells and sand, but day ain't no oysters, ner clams, ner crabs,
day's nothin' but bad smells--but say, yuse oughter seen de
lobsters crawlin' round wid dere sweethearts on dere arms! Say,
dem peoples t'ought dey was havin' a big time. Gee, I wished day
could see once Coney Island!"

We had not journeyed far beyond Lincoln Park before we approached
the State Asylum for the Acute Insane. From the beginning of my
pilgrimage, I had kept a sharp lookout for Insane Asylums, always
passing them after dark, but Mac argued that the public had by
this time found me harmless, and advised me to call. So I did.

"A patient has arrived," some one called to an attendant. I was
startled, but soon recovered my equilibrium, when I observed
several doctors and nurses rush out of doors to a carriage at the
porch. The lunatic having been safely deposited in one of the
wards, the Superintendent then welcomed me, and persuaded me to
accept his invitation to visit and inspect the institution.

There was only one department that interested me. I had no sooner
entered the kitchen than my omnivorous eye caught the pie-ocine
stratum of a well-developed pie, and my curiosity led me to
inquire if it were made by a lunatic.

"Why, most certainly, Professor!" exclaimed the Superintendent.
"What's the matter with it?"

"As far as appearances go, I think it's all right--doesn't look
different from any other pie I've seen and eaten. Shouldn't think
a crazy man could make a decent pie, though; did he do it all
alone, without anybody watching him?"

"Oh no, we employ a sane cook to supervise the cooking," explained
the officer, much to my satisfaction. "Will you have a piece?" he
asked.

"Y-y-y-y-yes," I said incredulously, "if you are sure there is no
danger of insanity being transferred to me by such a delectable
agency."

The head cook then butchered the great pie into quarters, and the
Superintendent said, "Help yourself, boys."

I gathered up the juicy quarter, and saying, "My good sir, you
have heard of dog eat dog, you shall now witness Pye eat pie." I
proceeded to devour it. I couldn't recollect ever having eaten
better pie; I was almost prompted to ask the cook to slaughter
another, but, instead, carried the remaining quarter out to Mac
A'Rony.

When we had left the asylum, I could not help but remark the
scrutiny with which each man regarded the other.

At length we went into camp near a farm house, where we certainly
acquitted ourselves in a manner to arouse the suspicions of any
sane observer. We put our sleeping-bag on the ground outside of
the tent, built a fire close to the tent on the windward side
while a strong breeze was blowing, cooked creamed potatoes in the
coffee pot, and steeped tea in the frying pan; and Coonskin tied
all three donkeys and the dog to a small sapling by their tails. I
felt sure that insanity was breaking out in our party in an
aggravated form, and congratulated Cheese, Damfino and Don for not
having eaten infected pie.

Camp Lunatic, as we called it was visited by the owner of the
farm, a hospitable German, who had a large family. He gave us a
generous donation of corn-cobs for fuel, milk, butter, fresh eggs,
and water, then introduced his wife and children. I asked him how
he came to have such a large family. He explained that he had a
large farm and couldn't afford hired help, and he thought the best
way to remedy the difficulty was to rear boys to help him. He
looked hopeful, although he had eight girls, no boys.

Supper over, the farmer conferred on me every possible honor, even
letting me hold his youngest girl, a child of ten months. He said,
enthusiastically, he was going to name his boy after me; the wife
smiled heroically.

To cap the climax, I was asked to write my name in the big family
Bible. The book was in German. My host opened it to a blank page,
and, without comment, I inscribed my name underneath the strangely
printed heading--Gestorben, thus pleasing the whole family.

When we reached our tent, Barley began to find fault with me.
"What for did yuse want to write your name on de Gestorben page?"
he asked seriously. "Dat means bad luck, dat does."

"And why?" I inquired, puzzled.

"Gestorben is German and means death, yuse crazy loon!" he
returned. "It's de lunatic pie dat's workin' already; wese all
goin' crazy."

Next day was hot. In the afternoon my party rested three hours in
the shade of a peach orchard, where we were treated to ice cream
by the kind lady of the house close by. It was about 105 miles
from Lincoln to Hastings, and we covered it in five days.

Threading the villages of Exeter, Crete, Friend, and Dorchester,
we arrived in Grafton, where I caught my courier in a dishonest
trick, and discharged him.

The party reached Hastings Thursday, June 17, where I purchased a
saddle for Coonskin. Detained by a thunderstorm, we passed a
miserable night in close quarters. Next morning, Mac pranced about
like a circus donkey, and trailed to Kearney in a manner almost to
wind his fellows.

Before leaving Hastings, the Superintendent of the Asylum for the
Chronic Insane, three miles out of town, telephoned me to stop and
dine with him. On this occasion I rode into the asylum grounds
without hesitation or nervousness.

"You must earn your grub, according to contract, Professor," said
the Superintendent, when the greetings were over, pointing to a
wood-pile in the rear of the building. As soon as I fairly began
to comply with the suggestion his young lady secretary, the
daughter of a deceased and much esteemed congressman, trained a
camera on me and the axe and secured a picture.

I was then notified I had more than earned my dinner, and was
escorted into the family dining-room, where an enjoyable repast
was accorded me, after which, some twenty wardens and matrons
purchased photos at double price. Then I resumed the journey with
more heartfelt blessings than had been expressed to me on similar
occasions.

The trail was superb. But an intensely hot spell followed, and
made all of us perspire. Two days of hard travel brought us to the
old Government Reservation of Ft. Kearney, established by Gen.
Fremont on his historic overland trip to California in pioneer
days.

The fort has long since been abandoned. There the Mormons camped
for a short period after leaving Council Bluffs.

Next evening, I made my camp on the site of the notorious Dirty
Woman's Ranch of early days, and spent a Sunday in delightful rest
and recreation in the shade of the grove of wide-spreading elms
and cotton-woods that sighed mournfully over the deserted scene.

[Illustration: "_Trail through the timber._"]

[Illustration: "_He had caught a nice mess._"]

[Illustration: "_Climbing Pike's Peak._"]

We crossed the long, low bridge over the Platte, early in the
morning. It required nearly an hour and all our wits and energies
to get the donkeys across, even after blindfolding them. And when
my party ambled into Kearney, that sultry, dusty June day, grimy
with dirt and perspiring, we all were in ripe condition for a
swim. The little city looked to be about the size of Hastings, but
did not show the same enterprise and thrift. In fact, the
inhabitants ventured out in the broiling sun with an excusable
lack of animation, and seemer to show no more interest in their
local affairs than they did in Pye Pod's pilgrimage. It was here I
first saw worn the Japanese straw helmet. It served as a most
comfortable and effective sun-shade, and purchasing a couple, we
donned them at once.

Kearney is said to be the half-way point, by rail, between New
York and San Francisco. My diary, however, showed I had covered
fully two thousand miles of my overland journey; I had consumed
227 days, with only one hundred and thirty-four days left me, the
prospects of accomplishing the "feat" in schedule time looked
dubious enough.

The great Watson Ranch, when my donkey party arrived, was
experiencing its busiest season. But, while the male representatives
were in the fields, the good matron in charge of the house made us
welcome and treated us to cheering bowls of bread and milk. When Mr.
Watson, Jr., arrived, he showed us about the place and enlightened
me about alfalfa, of which he had over a thousand acres sown; fifty
hired hands were busy harvesting it.

For a week or two we had, for the most part, been trailing through
the perfumed prairies at an invigorating altitude ranging from two
thousand to nearly three thousand feet, inhaling the fresh, pure
air, gazing on the flower-carpeted earth, and enjoying a constant
shifting of panoramic scenes of browsing herds, and bevies of
birds, and occasional glimpses of the winding Platte and the sand
dunes beyond.

The cities and villages, that formed knots in the thread of our
travels on the plains, came into view like the incoming ships from
the sea. At first one spied a white church-steeple in the distance
like a pointed stake in the earth only a mile away, but soon the
chimneys and roofs and finally door-yard fences would come into
view, then what we thought a village, nearby, proved to be, as we
journeyed onward, a town of much greater size seven or eight miles
beyond the point of calculation. The crossbars on the telegraph
poles, along the straight and level tracks of the Union Pacific,
formed in the eye's dim perspective a needle, as they seemed to
meet with the rails on the horizon. Little bunches of trees,
scattered miles apart and then overtopped by the spinning wheel of
an air motor, indicated the site of a ranch-house where we might
procure water. The trail ahead became lost in a sea of flowers and
grasses.

From time to time, as I dismounted to ease myself and little steed
I picked from the stirrups a half dozen kinds of flowers, ensnared
as my feet brushed through the grasses. Great beds of blood-red
marshmallows; natural parterres of the wax-like blooms of the
prickly pear; scattering stems of the flowery thistle with white
corollas as large as tulips; and wild roses and daisies of all
shades and colors--the white and pink, and the white wild roses
being the first I ever saw; these with varicolored flowers of all
descriptions were woven into the prairie grasses and likened the
far-reaching plain to a great Wilton carpet enrolled from the mesa
to the river.

Some of the sunsets were gorgeous. At times, the western sky
glowed like a prairie fire; and the sunrises were not less
magnificent. Sometimes, we were overtaken by severe electric
storms, and obliged to pitch the tent in a hurry. When the
lightning illuminates the plains at night, the trees and the
distant towns are brought into fantastic relief against the
darkness, like the shifting pictures of a stereopticon.

A flash of lightning to the right reveals a church or school-house,
to the left, a bunch of cattle chewing the cud or grazing,
ahead of us, a ranch house, and, sometimes, to the rear, a pack of
cowardly coyotes, at a safe distance, either following my caravan,
or out on a forage hunt.

Often, as the trains swept by, the engineers would salute with a
deafening blast of whistles, frightening the donkeys and
entertaining the passengers. Some of the prairie towns which look
large on the map have entirely disappeared. In one case, I found
more dead citizens in the cemetery than live ones in the village.
Frequently, as a means of diversion, I left the saddle to visit
these white-chimney villages of the dead. Such might be considered
a grave sort of amusement, but really some of the gravestones
contained interesting epitaphs. In one instance the following
caught my eye:

  "God saw best from us to sever
    Darling Michael, whom we love;
  He has gone from us forever,
    To the happy realms above."

Imagine the shock to my sobered senses on reading these lines cut
on a white-washed wooden slab, close by:

  "Here lays Ezekiel Dolder,
      Who died from a jolt in the shoulder;
  He tried to shoot snipe
  While lighting his pipe,
      And now underneath his bones moulder."

Just below the heartrending epitaph appeared in bold letters the
satisfactory statement--"This monument is pade fer."

On the lonely plains, miles from habitation, a single grave fenced
in with barbed wire in a circular corral, I discovered a mate to
the preceding epitaph, which illustrates the utter abandon with
which the rugged, dashing "bronco buster" regards the perils of
riding a bucking wild horse.

  "Here is buried my bronco, Ah Sam,
  Beside me--I don't give a damn!
    While bucking he killed me;
    On this spot he spilled me,
  And now the devil's I am."

Sometime before parting with my courier, unknown to him we pitched
camp one dark night in a graveyard. Barley was an early riser,
and, as we know, as superstitious as he was gullible. He was the
first out of the tent at dawn. Suddenly he rushed back,
exclaiming: "De Resurrection has came, fellows, an' wese de first
livin' on earth agin." And with terror in his eyes and voice,
dragged Coonskin and me to see a strange sight indeed. There, some
forty feet from the tent, stood a towering crucifix with a figure
of the Saviour, life size, looking down upon us, while about us
were tablets and mounds: the scene was so still and solemn no
wonder that my awestricken courier thought the world had come to
an end.

On the 24th of June, after a hot and dusty trail across an arid
waste, where only occasional patches of buffalo grass and cacti
matted the earth in the place of the long prairie grass and
flowers we were tramping in a few days before, my weary troop,
jaded and hungry entered the little village of Overton.



CHAPTER XXXI.

BY MAC A'RONY.

    And the ass turned out of the way, and went into the field;
  and Balaam smote the ass, to turn her into the way.--_Book of
  Numbers._


Shortly after reaching Overton, I took Pod with Coonskin and Don
to pay our respects to Towserville, a large dog town so closely
situated to Overton as to inspire a rivalry far more serious than
that existing between Minneapolis and St. Paul. Overtonians
complained of repeated raids made by prairie dogs of Towserville
on their chickens and gardens. On the other hand, the Towser
"villians" repudiated the calumny, then fled in confusion from the
charge of shotguns and rifles.

As our party approached with guns trained for a complimentary
salute, I saw his honor, the Mayor, seated in his hallway. The
roof of his mound towered above the other habitations, and was
undoubtedly the City Hall. Copying after New York, each burrow in
Towserville had a representative in the City Council.

I'm sure we would have been welcomed cordially, had not Don wanted
to be first to shake the Mayor's paw; his honor abruptly excused
himself to avoid a scene, and his fellow townsdogs likewise, with
the result that the above dogtown population rushed in and slammed
the doors in our faces. The Professor was embarrassed. He had no
visiting cards, so decided to leave at each door a sample box of
cathartic pills; and a careful distribution was made.

Next morning as we passed Towserville, his dogcellency, the Mayor,
his alderdogs and towndogs looked regretful of their slight to us,
as each stood at his door or sat with his housekeeper, the owl, on
the roof of his dwelling, nodding and waving at us. Others,
however, were prostrate, either from remorse or Pod's magnanimity.

Sometime about noon, we approached the shallow current of the
Platte, where we were unpacked and fed. We donks were almost
roasted from the sun's scorching rays. Close by was a deep well,
but no bucket in which to draw water. So Coonskin hitched a syrup
can to the rope and drew water for Pod and himself. Soon a drove
of cattle, accompanied by two ranchmen and a boy, came down to the
river to drink with us donks, just to show there was no hard
feeling. The lad laid down to drink from the stream.

"Here, boy, come and have a drink of cold water!" Pod called.
"That ain't fit to drink."

"Fitter'n that well water," answered the lad.

Said Pod: "I'd like to know the reason."

"Well," replied the lad, approaching, "I dropped a dead jackrabbit
in the well a week ago."

Somehow the men had drunk so much of that cool well-water they
hadn't room for dinner; too cool water I guess aint' good for one
when heated. After the dishes were washed, Pod took off everything
but his socks and collar-button, and wrote his newspaper letter,
while Coonskin went prospecting. Pretty soon the latter returned
with a sand turtle and, hitching it up in a rope harness, said he
was going to keep it for a pet. He named it Bill. He said it would
make a fine center-piece for the table; it would keep the Buffalo
gnats and mosquitos and flies off the victuals, and if tied at the
tent door no centipede or tarantula would dare enter. Pod thought
it a good scheme. So, when we packed up, Bill was put in one of my
saddle bags, without my knowing it. All new luggage was generally
tied on to Damfino; I supposed the turtle was.

After going a couple miles, I felt something mysterious crawling
on my back. I looked around, but my master was in the way; so I up
and kicked with all my might, determined to scatter that crawling
thing to the four winds, but, instead, threw Pod completely over
my head. Then I ran pell-mell down the desert trail, kicking and
braying, with that terrible something gnawing my hair and bouncing
and flopping with every jump I made. I ran fast and thought fast,
and that thing stuck fast. Suddenly, I stopped, laid down, and
tried to roll on it. This I couldn't do, on account of the saddle
horn. But while I was still trying, the rest of the party came up,
and solved the mystery by capturing the turtle, Bill; then they
chained him on Damfino, and our outfit moved on peacefully for
several miles, the men talking merrily. Said Pod, "Hitting the
trail on the plains in summer isn't as comfortable as driving a
city ice-wagon.

"Not much," Coonskin returned; "but the donkeys and dog have their
woes, too."

"Verily so," confirmed the Professor. "For instance, there's
Damfino; she thinks she's awfully persecuted. Being a female, she
doesn't have much to say. But how about Mac? Doesn't he do more
kicking than all the rest put together?"

"Oh, well," Coonskin answered, "you see Mac regards himself a
pioneer and all the others mere tenderfeet."

I couldn't help grinning at the simple debate. The fact of the
case was, our caravan had been growing larger with every day's
travel. New articles were continually added. Cheese and I
generally carried the men; but to our saddles were hung guns,
revolvers, cameras, and the lantern, not to mention a bundle of
blankets; all of which, added to the burden of our thoughts, a
nagging whip and a pair of spurs, and a million and one buffalo
gnats, mastodon mosquitos, and other kindergarten birds of prey,
tended to make us lose our mental equilibrium a dozen times a day.
In my case, there was a lump of avoirdupois in the saddle ranging
between 150 and 160 pounds. Sometimes Pod would get out of his
seat and walk a mile or two, to relieve me. With Cheese it was
much the same. But that old spinster, Damfino, bore a burden,
increasing daily. She was large and strong, and couldn't
appreciate fine sentiments, or fine stuffs either, even
complaining of sand in the wind, and coughed and snorted
continually. Her sawbuck saddle corset was laced tightly around
her robust bust, and to this unhealthsome vesture were hung on
both sides large canvas panniers, packed with canned goods,
medicines, salves, ink, cow-bells, vegetables, ham and bacon,
vinegar, old shoes, toilet articles, including currycomb, clothes,
soap, flour, salt, baking-powder, cheese, coffee, tea, kerosine
oil, matches, cooking tools, ammunition, folding kitchen range,
and two dozen et ceteras. On top and lopping over the panniers
were roped the tent and tent-poles, folding beds, canteens,
musical instruments, axe, and axle-grease, five iron picket-pins,
packages of photos (for sale), a tin wash basin, two tin pails,
extra ropes, a half dozen paper pads, and a dozen more et ceteras.

Beneath all that burden, she ambled along without a murmur,
swinging her ears to help her outwalk the rest, except Don, who
kept up a dog-trot.

A ranchman gave Pod some new potatoes one day (half of which I
yanked out of the tent door at night and devoured), and in reply
to his habitual inquiry, "Where'll we stow 'em?" Coonskin said,
"On Damfino, of course." When some canned goods were added to the
list of poisons, my master was puzzled. "Strap 'em on Damfino,"
advised Coonskin. Pod bought some canteens. "Where'll we put
these?" he asked. "Oh, hang 'em on Damfino somewhere," said the
wise "Sancho." One day a large package of chromos came, and the
Professor was discouraged. "How the d--l can we carry these?" he
asked with bewilderment.

"Why," ejaculated the valet chuckling, "right on Damfino." Just
then that silent old maid looked at the men; and I saw blood in
her eye.

Picture if you can our party trailing along the banks of the
Platte that bright June afternoon. A few miles away loomed the
cacti-covered sand-dunes, and between them and the river stared
the desert of glistening alkali, sprinkled with cacti and sage,
where an occasional steer was scratching an existence--and
mosquito bites. We came to a muddy irrigation ditch, where the
water had leaked out. Across it was an alfalfa field, and beyond
that an adobe ranch house. We donks thought the mud in the ditch
was stiff; the green field looked tempting. Damfino whispered that
she would make a bolt for the field, if we would follow; and we
said we would. At once she shied into the ditch, and the next
minute was knee-deep in quicksand, and still sinking. Cheese and I
stood riveted to the trail, while the men just gaped at Damfino
with open mouths. Damfino, thinking she would soon be out of
sight, brayed as she never brayed before.

When Pod got his senses he yelled, "Let's pull her out!"

"What with? Every rope and strap's on Damfino," said the truthful
valet, running around like a head with the chicken cut off.
Coonskin tried to reach a rope and, losing his balance, put a foot
in the quicksand. Then, all excited, he attempted to pull his foot
out, and got them both in. The Professor tried to reach a
bridle-rein to his comrade, and went sprawling across the ditch on
his corduroys and whiskers, his arms elbow-deep in the mire. This
put Don in a panic. Seeing his master sinking, he grabbed his
boots and pulled them off. Then he fastened his teeth in Pod's
trousers, and I expected to see them come off too, but s' help me
Balaam! the dog only pulled off one trouser leg, when Coonskin
managed to free himself by crawling over Pod's corduroy road to
dry land, and saved the day! At once, with a bridle-rein, the
valet roped the Professor's feet and pulled him out, after which
both men fastened the reins to Damfino's pack and tied the other
ends to the saddles of Cheese and myself. Then that she-ass, wet
and gray as a rat, with her burden, was dragged out of the ditch
into the trail. Well, that quicksand pulled all the bad nature out
of her, and she went a long time before she was tempted to leave
the trail again.

The men looked grateful as they wiped the brine from their faces,
and Pod remarked, "That was a narrow escape for all of us. Our
donkey party came within two of going ass-under, sure."



CHAPTER XXXII.

BY PYE POD.

    It has come about that now, to many a Royal Society, the
  Creation of a World is little more mysterious than the cooking
  of a dumpling; concerning which last, indeed, there have been
  minds to whom the question, _How the apples_ were got in,
  presented difficulties.--_Sartor Resartus._


It was noon at Big Springs, the last village on the Union Pacific
Railroad in Nebraska, when I sat down to write in my dairy. I had
just finished a combination breakfast and dinner, warranted to
kill any appetite and keep it dead for twelve hours. Consequently
I wrote under great pressure.

Since striking Camp Coyote, I had shot prairie dogs, owls,
jack-rabbits, and gophers innumerable, but on Wednesday, June 30,
I killed my first rattlesnake. It was not the first we had seen,
but the first to lie in our path. I wanted to shoot it's head off,
but instead of it losing its head, I lost mine, and severed its
vertebræ. The snake was three feet five, and possessed eight
rattles and a button. Cookskin suggested that the button might
come in handy in many ways. "You know, Pod, you are always losing
buttons."

These dreaded reptiles abound on the plains, particularly in
dogtowns, where they can dine on superfluous baby-dogs when
families become too large. Three sorts of creatures, including the
owl--animal, bird, and reptile--bunk together companionably, but
have quarrels of their own, doubtless, like mankind in domestic
affairs. At that season the South Platte was drained for
irrigation in Colorado. I was riding peaceably along, watching its
morbid current and the gray hills beyond, when suddenly my valet
yelled to me, "Look out, Pod, a rattler ahead!"

Coonskin was riding Cheese, who leaped to one side, but my own
steed, blinded by his spectacle-frames, walked on and stepped over
the coiled snake, which struck at my leg. Fortunately my canvas
legging protected me from the reptile's fangs, which glanced off,
letting him fall in the trail. Instantly I turned in my saddle and
ended its miserable existence.

The report of my revolver attracted some cowboys, who galloped up
on their rope horses and accompanied us to their adobe house a few
miles beyond. It was five in the afternoon, the day was hot, and
our journey long and dusty. They were a jolly lot. Thir ranch was
a square sod structure, without a floor, and sparingly furnished,
but cool and comfortable.

"We'll have hot biscuit for supper," said one of the cowboys.

"So you like cooking," I remarked; "I pride myself on the
dumplings I make, and my flapjacks are marvels of construction."

"Hang together well, I suppose," observed the cook, smiling and
piling buffalo chips in the stove.

"I haven't tasted dumplings since I visited the World's Fair,"
said another.

"Well," declared the first speaker, "my tenderfoot friend, your
oven will soon be hot, and the flour, soda, shortening, and apples
are on the shelf. Anything else you need, ask for it."

I was in a bad fix; I remembered the parrot that got into trouble
with the bull-terrier by talking too much.

"It requires a long time to steam dumplings; it will delay
supper," I protested.

"We shan't turn you out, if it takes you all night, but we'll
shoot the enamel off your front teeth if you don't make them apple
dumplings, and do your best," said a cowboy.

"All right, boys, I'll try my luck, and you can save time by
helping."

"Sure," all replied.

"Fetch me the shortening," I called.

"Right before your eyes," said one.

"Blamed if I can see it," I explained. The fellow put his hands on
a cake of greasy-looking substance.

"That's soap," I said, remonstrating, with a chuckle.

"All we use for shortening," apologized the cook; "don't see much
butter or lard out on this here desert."

I fell to with a will. Before long my dough was mixed. As I rolled
it out with a tin can, I directed a cowboy to put in the apples
and roll up the dough. Soon the dumplings were in the steamer, and
the cook began to prepare other eatables for the meal. Then, my
duty done, I watched two fellows throw the lariat, and shoot the
fly specks off Coonskin's hat in midair.

At last, five hearty eaters sat down to dinner. The cook's hot
biscuits, potatoes, bacon, eggs and coffee were delicious, and I
devoured them greedily. But in the middle of our repast I turned
my head in time to detect the cook meddling with the dumplings.

"Shouldn't take off the cover till they're done," I shouted;
"makes 'em heavy."

"Didn't take it off--lifted itself off," explained the man,
regarding me first, then the steamer. "Man alive, the dumplings
are as big as cabbages."

"And 'tain't more'n likely they've got their growth yet," said
Coonskin, who examined the wonders.

"Gracious!" I exclaimed. "How many apples did you cram into each
dumpling?"

"Only fifteen or twenty," the cook returned; "awfully small, you
know."

"That explains the size of them," said I. "You've got a half dozen
whole apples in each dumpling, and a peck or more in the steamer.
Don't you know dried fruit swells?"

"But how am I to keep the lid on the steamer," asked the hungry
cook, wistfully eying the disappearing meal.

"Sit on it, you crazy loon," suggested a companion.

And the fellow did. Presently there was a deafening report, and
the cook was lifted off the steamer, while dumplings flew in every
direction, striking the ceiling, and then, from heaviness,
dropping on the floor. One broke my plate into a dozen pieces.
Another hot and saucy dumpling shot through the bursted side of
the steamer, hitting one of the cowboys in the eye.

"Just my luck," I said; "they would have been as light as a
feather."

"Light!" exclaimed the injured fellow with a handkerchief against
his scalded optic. "It was the heaviest thing that ever hit me,
let me tell you, and I've been punching cattle seven years."

When the excitement was over, and we had found sufficient grub to
complete our meal, all assembled in the cool outer air, where
Coonskin and I entertained with our musical instruments until
bedtime.

Next morning, on my suggestion, a cowboy threw his lariat round my
body good-naturedly and pulled me over, but before I could right
myself Don took three bounds and pulled the fellow down by the
shoulder, frightening one and all. I shouted so loudly to the dog
that I was hoarse for a week. That demonstration of Don's loyalty
was a revelation to me. The man was not injured, although his coat
was torn.

The lack of energy and enterprise of the town of the western
plains was both surprising and amusing. I expected a package of
photos at Willow Island. When I called for it I was informed that
the railroad station had burned a few months before, and that
their express stopped at Cozad, which I had passed through. So I
wrote to have the package forwarded to a station farther west.

Gothenburg, the next town, was in a decline, the reaction of a
boom. A traveler approaching it expects to find a business center.
Many stores and dwellings were of brick, but whole rows were
vacant at the time. The soothing melody of the squalling infant
was only a memory to the village druggist; the itinerant butcher
and milkman had ceased their daily rounds; and all that was left
to distinguish the half-deserted village from the desert was an
occasional swallow that went down the parched mouth of a chimney.
There is another town characteristic of the plains. I had a letter
to post at Paxton, but forgot it; some miles beyond, a ranchman
whom we met said I would find a post-office at Korty, five miles
further on. After traveling two hours, we could see no vestige of
a village anywhere. Don ran ahead to the top of every sand hill
and stood on his hind feet to have the first peep at the
mysterious town. I came to the conclusion the ranchman had said
twenty-five miles instead of five. Finally the trail approached
the railroad.

"I see the town of Korty!" my valet exclaimed.

"Where?" I asked.

"There. Plain as day. Can't you see it?" he asked, pointing
straight ahead.

"I must confess I can't," I replied. "Let me look over your
finger." Then I saw it. It wasn't one hundred feet away. A single
white-painted post stood beside the track, and on it was nailed a
cross-bar, lettered in bold type, "Korty;" underneath was a
letter-box. That was the town. There was no section house, no
water tank, no break in the wire fence, and there being, of
course, no general delivery window in the "post-office," I did not
ask for my mail.

On the way to North Platte, we passed the site of old Ft.
McPherson, where Buffalo Bill, the celebrated scout, once lived
and won his fame and title by providing buffalo meat for the
Government, and also the site of a notorious Pawnee village, now
called Pawnee Springs. We reached North Platte, situated at the
confluence of the North and South Platte rivers, which form the
great River Platte, Saturday afternoon, and spent Sunday in a
manner to meet the approval of the most pious.

That first evening I lectured from a large dry-goods box on a
prominent corner.

Sunday afternoon an old friend and classmate drove me into the
country to the famous "Scout's Rest Ranch," the estate of Mr. Cody
(Buffalo Bill), where I saw a herd of buffalo and a cornfield of
500 acres.

"There is quite a contrast between your cornfield and mine," I
said to the manager.

"How big a cornfield have you?"

"Just a small one," I replied. "One acher on each big toe."

"I see, only sufficient for your own use," came the response;
"your 'stock in' trade, as it were." Then the ranchman purchased a
photo, and we two grown-up school boys drove back to town, in
time to escape a thunder shower.

The country between North Platte and Julesburg is a desolate and
barren region. Occasionally we could see a ranch house, sometimes
cattle grazing on I knew not what. There was plenty of alkali
grass in the bottom lands of the Platte, and further back on the
mesa, patches of the short and nutritious buffalo grass, half
seared by the scorching sun. The railway stations, with one or two
exceptions, consisted of water tanks and section houses, where
water could be procured. At Ogalala we met a train-load of
Christian Endeavorers, and had a chance to quench our thirst.



CHAPTER XXXIII.

BY MAC A'RONY.

                What a thrice double ass
  Was I, to take this drunkard for a god,
  And worship this dull fool!            --_Tempest._


Where and how to celebrate the Fourth of July greatly concerned
Pye Pod. The third was spent in Julesburg, a town in Colorado, two
miles west of the boundary line; as Sunday was the Fourth, we
naturally expected a lively programme for Saturday.

We were disappointed. Everybody had gone off on an excursion, and
Julesburg was dead. So my master, realizing the long journey
before us, inquired as to the possibility of obtaining an extra
donkey, and was told of one, some six miles from town. He rode in
a buggy to a ranch right after lunch and brought back the
prettiest damsel I ever saw. Her name was Skates; Pod said he so
named her because she ran all the way and beat his pride-broken,
wind-broken horse into town. I gave Skates a loving smile, but she
gave me a look, which said, "Keep your distance, young feller." So
I did. But I lost my heart to that girl then and there.

Pod noticed my leaning toward Skates, and asked me my intentions.
I frankly told him. "But what nonsense for a youth of four years,"
he remarked. "Mac, be patient; wait until you are of age, at
least."

Time was precious, and we could not tarry. That afternoon we set
out for Sterling, sixty miles into the desert, where, it was
said, there would be a big time on the fifth.

Monday dawned cloudy and threatening, as is usual with celebration
days. The tent door was open, and Skates and I were looking in, I
waiting for a chance to pull a bag of eatables out of the tent for
her.

"What is your programme for to-day?" Pod asked his valet.

No answer. The question was repeated; still no response. Then my
master turned drowsily on his pillow, and beheld Coonskin with
bloodshot eyes and the only whiskey bottle clasped lovingly to his
breast. The valet wanted to say something, but his lips refused to
speak. It was evident that his celebration had begun the night
before. Pod sat up and rubbed his eyes to make sure he was not
dreaming, and then asked the fellow why he drank all the emergency
whiskey.

"R-r-r-r-r-r-r-rat-schnake bite-bite-bited me--d--drank whisky
t'shave life," stammered the youth. "H-h-h-hic-have shome, Prof."

Pod looked mad. He up and dressed, and mixed soda and water and
lemon juice, and made Coonskin drink it. Soon the tipsy fellow
tried to dress, but finally gave it up and went to sleep. Two
hours later he awoke quite sober, and came out to where Pod was
currying me for the celebration, and showed him his programme. I
haven't space to give it in full.

One feature was an obstacle race, the prize for the winner being a
quart bottle of snake-bit (whiskey). Coonskin said, as his excuse
for drinking the whiskey, that he was certain of winning the race,
but afraid the bottle might be broken before the event. Pod
thought that reasonable enough, and forgave him; but he told me
confidentially that he didn't know what he should do if he were
bitten by a rattlesnake without whiskey at hand. I suggested, in
such event, he should point a revolver at Coonskin's garret, where
his brains ought to have been, and make him suck out the poison.

The obstacle race began at eleven in the morning. The start was
made from the tent door; the course and conditions were as
follows:

Run to the fifth fence-post down the trail, alongside the railroad
track; crawl through the barbed-wire fence four times between
different posts on the way back to the tent, without tearing
clothes; creep through the legs of the little portable table
(purchased in Julesburg) without rolling off an egg resting on it;
run a hundred yards and unpicket one of the donkeys and ride it
round the tent three times with a spoon in hand, holding an egg;
ride the donk back to his picket-pin and crawl between its hind
legs without disturbing the animal's equilibrium; stand in the
tent door and shoot some hair off one of the donkey's tails
without touching the tail proper; then lead that donkey to the
tent and hitch him to the turtle, Bill. Cheating, if detected,
forfeited the prize.

Well, while there were two starters, there was only one finisher.
It seems that Coonskin shot a piece off Cheese's tail (improper,
the donk said), and, in consequence, man and donk disappeared over
the horizon, without leaving their future address or the date for
their return.

Coonskin rode Cheese into camp after dark. Then he rubbed
axle-grease on Cheese's sensitive part, and prepared the delayed
dinner. Next came fire-works--Roman candles, firecrackers, and
pin-wheels--after which both men retired, fancying they had the
jolliest Fourth ever witnessed by man or donkey in the history of
the Colorado desert.



CHAPTER XXXIV.

BY PYE POD.

    Sancho Panza hastened to his master's help as fast as his ass
  could go, and when he came up he found the knight unable to
  stir, such a shock had Rosinante given him in the fall.--_Don
  Quixote._


The casualty, which terminated our celebration on the fifth,
seemed to portend bad luck. The metaphorical lightning first
struck me. We struck camp, that hot July day, before the sun was
an hour high, and a mile beyond trailed through a dog-town
reservation. I had long been desirous of securing a prairie dog to
have mounted; as a rule one can pick off these shy creatures only
at long rifle range. This morning, stealing up behind a cornfield,
I wounded a dog, then dropping my gun, ran to catch him before he
could escape into his hole. Crawling through a barbed-wire fence
without afterward appearing in dishabille is considered by a
tenderfoot the feat of feats. Before I reached the hole half
undressed the dog had tumbled into it. He must have made a
mistake, however, for out the fellow came, and made for another
hole. I grabbed him, but instantly dropped him, for he tried to
bite me. Then, like a shot, he dived into the second hole, and I
thrust my arm in to pull him out. But my hand came out quite as
fast as it went in. It was bitten; and at the mouth of the hole I
now detected for the first time the tail of a rattlesnake. That
was an awful moment, What should I do? My whiskey was gone; I had
no antidote for the poison. I rushed to where Coonskin was
waiting with my outfit.

"Make for the house!" he exclaimed.

A ranch house stood some two miles away, but not a soul was in
sight. Still, that seemed to be my only salvation; I realized a
painful death was the only alternative. With a hundred other
thoughts rushing into my head, I ran toward the distant house.
Coonskin began picketing the donkeys, and promised to follow.

While racing madly through the cacti and sage, I thought of my
past, from three months upward. Just when I had reached an
episode, which almost ended my reckless career at the age of ten,
I heard the sound of galloping hoofs, and, a moment later, a young
woman reined her steed at my side, dismounted and gave me her
horse.

"Into the saddle, quick, man!" she cried. "Mother has turpentine
and whiskey. The horse will take the fence and ditch. Pull
leather, stick to the saddle, never mind the stirrups!" and to the
horse--"Git home, Topsy!--Run for your life, old girl!" Like a
flash, the big mare sped forward with the velocity of the wind.

To pull leather, in the parlance of the cowboy, means to grip the
saddle with the hands. For a cow-puncher to pull leather is deemed
disgraceful; for Pod, it was excusable. Although the mare fairly
flew, she did not travel half fast enough to suit me. With reins
round the saddle-horn, I gripped the saddle with my left hand and
sucked the bite on my right, but suddenly the mare took a
hop-skip-and-jump over the fence and ditch; fell to her knees, and
threw me over her head.

When I sat up, I saw a woman in the door of the house, yet a half
mile away, no doubt, wondering how a maniac happened to be on her
daughter's steed. The next moment, Coonskin arived all out of
breath, and assisted me to the house. Before we could fully
explain the situation, the good woman disappeared, soon to return
with a bottle of turpentine, which she turned nozzle down over the
snake bite, while my valet poured whiskey down my throat.

They say it takes a long time and much whiskey to affect one
bitten by a rattler, but this case seemed to be an exception; in a
few moments, my head was going round, and I prostrate on a couch.
My kind nurse looked curiously at the turpentine, and finally said
it was queer it didn't turn green, as it should in the case of a
rattle-snake bite.

A half hour passed and still there was no change. Then when I
repeated my story of how the thing happened, she grinned, and said
she guessed it was the prairie dog and not the snake that bit me,
after all. I was so dead drunk when the daughter came that she
glanced at me and asked in a whisper, "Is he dead?"

"No," said the mother, "and he ain't going to die. We've been
trying to cure dog bite with 'snake bit', and I reckon it'll take
a week or more to sober the man up."

Then the daughter began to get a meal, and Coonskin went after my
outfit, on the good woman's suggestion, to fetch my animals to the
corral.

It was not until morning that I was fit to sit my saddle; but I
made the effort, and after thanking my hostesses and insisting on
paying for the turpentine, we said good-bye.

Mid-day travel, in the Colorado desert at that season, was
enervating in the extreme. Our straw helmets, being supported by a
skeleton crown, allowed a free circulation of air over and about
the head; also a free circulation of buffalo gnats, blue flies,
mosquitos, flying ants, grasshoppers, and everything else that
hadn't an excuse for living. Everything seemed to be free in that
country.

The sunrays beat down mercilessly on the sandy plain, and every
live thing seemed to be in search of shade or water. Once, while
crossing the dry and cracked bed of a stream, I saw a rabbit,
almost dying of thirst, and I put an end to its agony with my
six-shooter. In the narrow bars of shade cast by the fence posts
along the railroad, could be seen occasional birds, standing on
the hot sand, immovable, with bills wide open, panting from the
excessive heat.

We reached Sterling late that night, after a twenty-eight mile
journey. The town looked dull. Everybody complained of the hottest
weather for years. It occurred to me that an awning would add
greatly to our comfort, so I bought the canvas, and had one made.
Henceforth we would travel at night, and sleep as much as possible
in the day beneath the awning. I also purchased a light folding
chair, which, with our table and stove, could easily be carried on
Skates, the new donkey.

We pitched camp eight miles from town, near a sod house and well.
On the way the donkeys became obstreperous, and before they were
under control, our only lantern was smashed. This stroke of bad
luck was the forerunner of other misfortunes.

As I fell on my hard bed, expecting to have a delightful rest, I
voiced a righteous yell of pain, and leaped out of doors. I was a
fair imitation of a porcupine. Coonskin had carelessly pitched the
tent on a bed of cacti. The astonished fellow made profuse
apologies, and set to the task of picking the cactus spears out of
me by the flare of lighted matches. But for a week I suffered the
sensations of sleeping on pins and needles.

The turtle, Bill, deserves some notice. He was put in the center
of a table at meal time to catch flies, but all that stupid turtle
did was to scrape them off his head by drawing it under his shell.
He disdained the carnivorous diet. Millions of insects swarmed
about the table, where before only thousands had gathered,
attracted, doubtless, by Bill. They literally covered our food and
all we could safely eat was flapjacks. Holding a fork against the
mouth, we could with lips and tongue draw a flapjack in through
the tines, by which delicate operation all flies and other insects
were scraped off; and in course of time a fairly good meal was
conveyed to our stomachs. Of course, one's success depended upon
the strength of the flapjacks. Most of them stood the strain.

The afternoon of July 11, we saw Long's Peak, the first spur of
the Rocky Mountains, in view. The following evening we rode into
Fort Morgan. Journeying on, to escape the heat of the day, we came
at midnight to where several trails crossed, and were puzzled
which to take.

"Put the responsibility on the donkeys," I finally suggested.
"They've great instinct."

"Good idea," commented my valet; "I've often heard of horses
taking lost hunters out of the woods." So giving the word, my
caravan resumed the march in the darkness, and went into camp
about four in the morning. When I arose about noon, I was
surprised to find ourselves on the outskirts of a village. I
called Coonskin, with a feeling of suspicion dawning in my mind.

"The blasted town looks familiar," said my valet.

About that time a cowboy rode up, and I asked him the name of the
town.

"Fort Morgan," he answered. "Have you fellows lost anything?"
Coonskin and I eyed each other, then both gazed thoughtfully at
the jackasses.

I was provoked about the loss of that night's journey; to think of
our following our donkey's ears round an imaginary race-course in
the desert, some twenty odd miles, was not conducive to a good
temper. Many well-meaning persons had advised me to carry a
compass. Some day, some night, they said, I would stray from the
trail. I resolved to purchase such an instrument immediately on
reaching Denver.

We spent the afternoon enjoying the luxuries of our new awning and
camp chairs; I writing my article for the press, Coonskin reading
a thrilling dime novel.

"This is life," remarked my napping valet, as he rolled over on
his pillow.

"You bet," I replied; "we know who we are."

"I suppose there are lots of folks who don't know, Prof," he
returned; "but they'll find out before we reach 'Frisco."

"But Coonskin," I asked, looking up from my writing, "do you know
where we are?"

I had no sooner put the question than a whirlwind swept down upon
the camp and scattered everything broadcast. Tent, awning, table,
chairs, ink and writing pad, packing cases, and articles of all
kinds, not to mention dog, donkeys, and men chased each other over
the cacti and sand; the tent half inflated, rolled over in the
scudding wind like a balloon.

"No, I don't," said Coonskin, gaining a sitting posture a rod from
where I stood on my head, some hundred yards from our original
camp.

"What are you talking about?--are you wandering?" I asked.

"I think the whole shooting-match has been wandering some," said
he, picking the sand out of his eyes.

It was long before we collected our belongings. I never found my
letter for the press.

Just before sunset we took up the march across the broad, rolling
plains, which grew tiresome to look upon before darkness set in.
But occasionally a hand-car with its sloop-rigged sails set to the
wind would speed over the rails in the distance, like a cat-boat
before a gale, and break the monotony of the scene. This mode of
travel appears to be characteristic of the Western plains alone.

We saw innumerable buffalo wallows, great depressions in the sand
where the vast herds of buffalo in the early days wallowed in the
cool earth for salt, and to escape the heat and pestering gnats.
In most cases these "wallows" are covered with cacti and other
desert verdure, and are apt to upset the unwary traveler after
dark, unless he keeps to the beaten trail.

At a little before sunset we arrived at the great D. Horse Ranch,
where we watered our animals and accepted the ranchman's
invitation to supper.



CHAPTER XXXV.

BY MAC A'RONY.

    That is the idea; for Juliet's a dear, sweet, mere child of a
  girl, you know, and she don't bray like a jackass.--_Huckleberry
  Finn._


We did not tarry at the D. Horse Ranch, but later on pitched camp
near a sheep ranch run by a Mexican, who met us with a grunt that
nobody understood.

"Gee! how I wish I could speak Spanish!" remarked Pod, facing the
squatty ranchman. It was comical to watch Coonskin's puzzled face.
"I once studied Spanish, but why didn't I master it! Just two
words can I remember: "porque"--why, and "manana"--to-morrow. But
how can they help me? To utter them would be to ask, why
to-morrow? And there would be no sense in that."

"But it might convey the idea," I interrupted, "that either you
know more than you looked to know, or appeared to know more than
you do know; and that would be something."

My master did not answer, but when the Mexican came around again,
he said to him, "Porque manana?" The Mexican laughed--who could
blame him--and said something about Espanola, a young lady I never
heard tell of, and invited us all to the corral, except the men,
who followed him to the house. Nothing like Mexican hospitality
when one understands the language as Pod did.

At first the Mexican did not comprehend that we all were thirsty.
The Professor asked for a drink in many varieties of expression,
concluding with a desperate "Porque Manana?" at the same time
pointing to the well. The Mexican grinned, and replied in a peculiar
vernacular, and handed him a huge tin cup. Pod next inquired the
right trail to Brighton in many artistic demonstrations of verbal
inflection and gesticular design, and wound up with a heroic "Porque
Manana." The mystified sheep herder shook his head quizzically, and
began to pour out a whole tubful of liquid linguistics which my
pedantic master drained to the dregs without discovering their
meaning; then he shook hands with the gracious host and gave the
word to "hit the trail."

"Mighty lucky you understood Spanish, Mr. Pod," Coonskin remarked,
when we were some distance from the house. "I'd give a farm to
speak it like you."

That tickled Pod's vanity, and he told his flattering valet that
Spanish could not be learned in a day, but perhaps sometime he
would give him a few lessons, just to prepare him for an
emergency.

That night we donks were picketed to a rickety, barbed-wire fence,
and the men pitched the tent close by, cooked, and went to bed
early. Seldom had been so much care taken to prevent my getting
wound up in the rope so I couldn't eat or lie down. In the morning
there was a surprise for everybody. S' help me Balaam! if there
wasn't a circus, then I never saw one. We donks were completely
tangled in the dismantled wire fence, and cutting up capers to
beat a side-show. I kept my eye peeled on the tent door for an
hour. Finally Pod came out, took in the situation at a glance, and
then sat down on a cactus, for less than a fraction of a second,
to laugh.

I was proud of the rôle I played in that matinée. There I was,
with a fence post wired to each of my legs, which raised my feet
off the ground, walking about on veritable stilts, and close
behind me followed Cheese and Skates with a post yoking their
necks together, like oxen, while Damfino was rolling over and
over, unmindful of the cacti, as if our extraordinary sport were
for her special entertainment. We were quiet, until Cheese
suddenly opened his mouth and brayed with glee. I told him to shut
up. Says I, "Pod will think we got in this fix on purpose, and
give us Hail Columbia."

Pod looked worried. He said he wondered how they could dismount
that giraffe--meaning me, no doubt--without breaking his legs. I
didn't feel comfortable so far above the earth, the atmosphere was
chilly, and the rarified air made me dizzy; but that remark
frightened me. The trick was, at last, accomplished. Coonskin held
my fore-stilts, while Pod braced his feet, and with a violent push
threw me over on my side on a pile of blankets and pillows. Well,
let me tell you, my donkey friends, it required two hours to free
us from the fence-posts and wire. After that, both men busied
themselves like Red Cross Nurses. (Skates said they were cross
nurses of some sort), and bandaged up our cuts and scratches,
then, after breakfast, they saddled and packed us for the day's
journey. I never want another experience like that.

On Thursday night, I think (I ate up Pod's only calendar), we
again wandered from the trail, and about two o'clock camped near a
cottonwood tree which seemed to indicate we were near water.
Although I was awfully dry, I had to wait till morning. It was
pleasant to be lulled to sleep by the rustling of leaves (and it
was consoling to know something besides us donks had to rustle),
yet there we were in the boundless desert. Don's barking awoke us
early. A ranchman rode up and said we would find plenty of water
yonder at the well, the only water for many miles around; then he
rode away.

There was one long row of cottonwood trees hundreds of feet apart,
stretching for a mile or two across the desert, as if planted by
birds fifty years ago.

Pod took us empty donks and canteens over to the well. That was
the novelest thing I ever saw; and the water was the coolest I
ever tasted. An iron wheel turned in a cog and drove a piston-rod
down a deep well, the power being furnished by a meek-looking
horse which walked round the pump in circus fashion, thinking he
was the whole show, and pulled a sort of walking-beam that turned
the cog-wheel. There the ranchman and his big small boy rode every
morning many miles from home to pump water for their cattle, which
ate (they evidently had eaten everything in sight) during the day,
and chewed their cud at night in the cottonwood shade.

That morning, when several miles nearer our goal, a stiff wind
introduced itself and increased in velocity until such speed was
attained that the men had to stop traveling and tie the whole
outfit to the picket-pins driven in the ground. That gale beat the
tornado on the shore of Lake Erie, and the cyclone near Sterling.
We donks had to lie down with our backs to the wind, for Damfino,
not thinking, lay the other way at first, and the wind blew into
her mouth so fast she swelled up twice her natural size. She was
so full of air that she arose and turned around, before being able
to lie down again.

Pod said it was a good time to write his letter for the paper. So
he hitched his shoulders to ropes tied to picket-pins about five
feet apart, and sat in a camp-stool, and, facing the gale, laid
his writing pad on the wind, and finished his article in fine
style.

When I asked him how the wind could be so strong as to brace up
both the pad and his story, he said he was writing in a lighter
vein than usual.

We were in sight of Brighton next morning when a strange accident
happened to Pod. We were approaching a field of grain on an
irrigated ranch when, suddenly, he was struck on the head by a
mastodon grasshopper and knocked senseless out of the saddle. At
once Don chased the creature and headed him off, while Coonskin
lassoed him and bound him on Damfino. We took the wonder to
Denver. There Pod put the thing in a bottle of alcohol, but it
hadn't been there more than a half hour when it kicked out the
bottom, and almost upset a street car in trying to escape. Again
the grasshopper was captured, then poisoned and skinned, and the
bones were expressed to the Smithsonian Museum.

About one o'clock we left the line of the B. & M. railroad, and
cut across the plain six miles to the Union Pacific, which we had
left on the previous week. Then we began to descend into the
verdant valley of the Platte. Great fields of grain waved in the
breeze on either hand. The song of the reaper was cheering, the
glistening snow on the distant Rockies, cooling.

At last our caravan ambled into Brighton. It impressed me as a
pretty town; after crossing a two hundred mile desert, I was in
condition to compliment any sort of a place. That night we
traveled ten miles and camped near the Nine Mile House, where,
next morning, we were disappointed not to obtain breakfast.

Beautiful, far-famed Denver loomed up on the distant plain. The
smoke from her smelters curled on high, a dusky sign of
prosperity. We breakfasted three miles nearer the city, and at two
P. M. our picturesque outfit strode up Seventeenth street and
anchored in front of the Albany Hotel. Denver at last!



CHAPTER XXXVI.

BY PYE POD.

    At the head of the procession strode the four heralds.
  Silently they marched, in silence the populace received them.
  The spectacle reminded very old men of the day the great Axaya
  was born in mournful pomp to Chapultepec.--_The Fair God._


When I had taken a bird's-eye view of Denver, and visited many of
its handsome streets and buildings, and met its hospitable
citizens, I dubbed it one of the most attractive cities.

One of the first to greet me was a member of the Jacksonian Club,
who invited me to attend a lawn party to be given at the home of a
fellow member. The grounds were illuminated with Japanese lanterns
and a platform was erected for speech-making, while indoors were
served refreshments. In the midst of the pleasant proceedings a
gentle rain frightened everybody into the house, where dancing
closed the festivities. Of course, every pretty girl wanted to
dance with Pod.

Sunday seemed to be the accepted day for sight-seeing. The "Seeing
Denver" car (electric) made two twenty-five mile trips a day,
threading the more attractive portions of the city and suburbs and
giving the passengers a splendid idea of the beauties and
possibilities of Denver. Each car was manned by a director, who
clearly described all points of interest en route.

Finally, the car was stopped on the heights overlooking Clear
Creek Valley, where, in 1858, Gregory, a North Carolina
prospector, discovered gold in quartz and proved his theory that
all placer ore came from a mother lode. People in the East,
hearing that gold could be found here in quartz, hurried to the
spot, resolved to be contented if they could only find it in
pints. While many were disappointed, within a year one hundred and
seventy quartz mills were erected, and in 1860 Colorado's gold
output amounted to $4,000,000.

The Colorado farmer raises everything in the fruit and vegetable
line that can be produced in the East. Through the system of
irrigation the soil is brought to such a state of production that
one farmer near Denver was reaping a revenue of $5,000 a year from
a twenty-acre plot.

"One of our best crops is tomatoes," said our guide, with the view
of enlightening some possible investor. "There, you can see in the
distance, is one of our largest canneries. It cans tomatoes only.
All the tomatoes they can are raised around Denver, and all the
tomatoes not consumed in the city are sent to this cannery to be
canned. They raise all they can and what they can't raise they
can't can. They eat all they can, and all they can't eat they can.
Moreover, all they can't can they eat, and what they eat they
can't can. All canned tomatoes they can and cannot eat they ship
to those who can't visit Denver to eat all they can. If you can
visit the cannery and see them can all they can and eat what they
can't can, and can't eat a can yourselves, you then only can
understand why it is they can't eat what they can and can't can
what they eat. Can you not?" When he had finished three women
cried.

Later on the journey the car was stopped in a different quarter of
the suburbs, where several got off to pluck wild flowers. In the
course of our tour many attractive buildings were pointed out,
among them the Consumptive's Home, erected by philanthropists of
the East, and the several smelting mills, one of which boasts of a
chimney four hundred feet in height, the tallest on the continent.
While the ladies were gathering wild flowers I was persuaded to
perpetrate a practical joke suggested by two jovial Johnny Bulls.
I had become quite chatty with their party. They had the
impression that I was a cowboy, and when they discovered their
error they proposed I should jostle a fellow countryman of theirs
as soon as they could decoy him off the car, they claiming that he
still believed me a real cow-puncher out for a holiday. They said
it was his first trip to America, and that he had frequently
expressed a curiosity to see one of those wild men of the plains.
On promises of their support in case of offense being taken, I
chuckled and awaited my chance.

Presently the man was persuaded to pick a wild rose, and as he was
about to pass me I backed roughly against him, almost sending him
off his feet. When he had regained his equilibrium and was on the
point of rebuking me, I turned furiously upon him: "Say, you
foreign tenderfoot," I said, "you got a preemption on the whole
earth? If so, just fence it in. Don't yer brush me that way agin,
or I'll show yer how we trim moustaches out in this country when
our razors ain't sharp. Understand?"

As I uttered these words I put my hand on my hip-pocket. My
sombrero was tilted, and the attitude I struck would have amused
any real cowboy. The astonished Englishman, red in the face, edged
away in silence and eyed me narrowly.

"Turn your lamps the other way, or I'll shoot off yer eyebrows!" I
shouted.

At once the innocent butt of our ungentlemanly joke ventured to
apologize for the carelessness that was not his, when a peal of
laughter from behind told plainly that the joke was off. I turned
to see everybody in a fit of laughter; I now began to feel
embarrassed, and had not my confederate immediately explained the
case and introduced me to their imposed-upon comrade, I certainly
would have felt very awkward. As it was, the tourist laughed
heartily at the joke, complimented me on my art in acting and gave
me a cordial handshake. At our journey's end I was introduced to
all the ladies, and induced to pose for their cameras, after which
I departed with the well-wishes of all.

I must not overlook an amusing incident of the trip. One of the
passengers was an Irishman, who caused much merriment by a stroke
of wit, or a blunder, just as the car stopped in front of the City
Hall.

"This lovely park which you see," said the director, "has been
brought to its present beautiful condition by levying a tax of one
mill on all property owners. The burden, you see, was light for
each person, and just to all."

"Light was it!" the Emerald-Islander exclaimed. "Begorry! mills
must be dom plintiful in these parts, whin every mon is willin' to
give uup a mill for an interist in a parruk. Be dad! it must ha'
been rough on th' mon that owned but one mill. It was thot!"
Whereupon our erudite guide politely dissertated on the great
difference in mills, to the amusement of the English party and the
Hibernian's satisfaction.

Before leaving Denver I found it advisable to add considerable to
my traveling equipment. I ordered a tin canteen from my own
design, to hold a gallon of water, and within it was fashioned a
receptacle for holding two pounds of butter. Its value was
constantly appreciated when crossing the deserts where we were
enabled to carry butter, and an extra quantity of drinking water
which was kept cool by wrapping the canteen with cloth and canvas
and keeping them in a moist condition. I also purchased a large
basket-covered demijohn of port wine (for medicinal purposes), an
extra pack-saddle and camp supplies.

Although that altitude of 5,000 feet was quite invigorating, the
sun at that season was unusually warm, and I intended to enjoy as
much camp life as possible. We took a southerly course towards
Pike's Peak, threading the villages of Littleton, Castle Rock,
Sedalia and Monument, and the city of Colorado Springs. The scenic
beauties of Colorado became more manifest every day.

Sunday afternoon I observed in the southwest a dark cloud draw a
threatening hood over that giant discovery of 1806 by Col. Zebulon
M. Pike, and I decided to camp in the vicinity of a dairy ranch.
Anticipating a shower, I rode Skates, my fastest donkey, to the
house with canteen and pail, leaving Coonskin to unpack, pitch
tent, and build a wood-pile under shelter.

On approaching the house, I detected a pretty dairymaid in the
doorway. I endeavored to dismount from my asinine steed with
grace, but the picture so unbalanced me that I caught a foot in a
stirrup and fell heels over appetite on the ground at my charmer's
very feet, much to my embarrassment and her amusement.

"Can you spare me a quart of milk, Miss?" I inquired, lifting my
hat. She smiled. Then, fearing lest I might have created the
impression of begging, I asked; "can you sell some? I mean to pay
for it, of course."

My words seemed to break her spell, and she replied sweetly, "We
have two kinds--cream and skimmed milk." And her eyes sparkled. I
caught my breath and gave her a chance to lose hers. "Per-per-perhaps
you might mix the two safely--mightn't you?" I now felt
the crisis coming, and twisted myself nervously. The maid laughed.
It quieted my nerves.

"But," she returned, "you see, the cream is all engaged, and--and
I would not like to sell you the skimmed milk, because--because we
feed that to the hogs."

I smiled now and tried to answer. "Well, what is good enough for
hogs ought--," and I hesitated, feeling I was getting things
twisted; but she came to the rescue nobly.

"What you mean is, what is good enough for you ought to be good
enough for hogs, eh?"

"Thank you," I said. "What you say goes," and I handed her the
pail, which she accepted with a shy courtesy.

As she hurried to the spring house, I watched her admiringly until
foosteps behind caused me to turn around. Behold! there was
another young lady, tall and becomingly gowned, even prettier than
the other. The softness of her brown, lustrous eyes bespoke the
tenderness in her nature. Even Don interpreted this when she
patted his head and observed: "What a nice dog you have!"

The expression "nice dog" was very familiar to Don, and they were
no sooner uttered than the huge dog arose to the occasion by
planting his fore-paws against the lady's breast and attempting to
steal a kiss.

The shock would have upset her completely if I had not caught her
in my arms. It was therefore under somewhat embarrassing
circumstances that the dairy maid witnessed the embrace--embarrassing
to all save the dog. Explanations will only make
matters worse, I thought, so I took the pail and kept mum, though
I know I looked anything but innocent.

Business over, we conversed until it began to sprinkle, and then,
after accepting the ladies' invitation to spend the evening with
them, I cantered back to camp.

"I feared you had gone on to 'Frisco," said Coonskin; "I'm dying
for a drink of water."

Indeed, I had forgotten to fill the canteen--all on account of
those charming girls. "I declare, Coonskin," I explained, "I had
such a time persuading the folks to sell me a little milk that I
never thought of water. I'll hurry back for it." And not giving my
companion time to anticipate me, or stopping to mount a donkey, I
did the errand on foot.

That evening we passed a pleasant hour with "wine, women and
song," and departed with another invitation to a fish and game
dinner next day, if I would tarry and provide trout and birds. Of
course, I tarried. Coonskin accompanied me into the canyon next
morning with rod and line, and in the afternoon with gun and bag.
By five he had caught a nice mess of trout and I had shot a young
jack-rabbit.

It was a delicious repast that was served us by those New England
girls. We ate fish till their tails stuck out of our mouths. The
bread tasted like angel's food, and the beans were well done, in
spite of the fact it required a whole day to cook beans in that
altitude.

I smacked my lips and said to myself: "I'll eat heartily now, for
it'll be long before I'll get another dinner like this."

On the way to the Springs next day I suggested to Coonskin that we
climb the Peak and see the sun rise.

"Why, is sunrise up there any finer than it is down here?" he
inquired.

I thought he was making a mental calculation of the number of
steps, and labored breaths, and obsolete words the ascent would
require.

"Certainly," I said, "the reflections to be seen from that
altitude are more beautiful and varied than from the plains."

"They're more beautiful perhaps, but I've been riding a mule over
three months now, and my reflections are about as varied as
anything could make 'em."

My donkey party reached Colorado Springs in time for dinner.
[Illustration: "_Independence Pass ... one of the loftiest of the
Continental Divide._"]

[Illustration: "_Trail to Florisant._"]

[Illustration: "_Two days of hard climbing to cross Western
Pass._"]



CHAPTER XXXVII.

BY MAC A'RONY.

    The Professor, scorning to waste shoe leather and economize
  francs, began the ascent on a mule steered by a woman holding on
  to the beast's tail.--_Easter on the Riviera._


A curious proceeding held my rapt attention as we neared
Petersburg, a suburb of Denver. At the terminus of a horse-car
line I observed a car approaching us down-grade, with a horse on
its rear platform. As soon as the car stopped at the station the
horse stepped off on a platform and took his place in front of the
car, ready to haul it up-grade again and earn another ride. I did
not have the chance to ask the horse how he enjoyed it, but I
would willingly have exchanged places with him.

Next morning, to my surprise, Coonskin was the first to rise. Our
camp was near Littleton, on the banks of a small stream, and here
at early dawn that ambitious youth gathered a panful of glittering
wet sand, and rushed into the tent with it, almost out of breath.

"Look here, Pod!" he called, excitedly, "see the strike I've made!
The river bottom is yellow with gold!"

Then I heard Pod say, "Rich, I should say! Funny this placer
hasn't been discovered before now."

"Let's file a claim," said Coonskin, "we can make a million in six
months."

"Let's!" the Professor exclaimed. As soon as breakfast was over
both tenderfeet were trying their luck at panning gold. A cabin
stood not far away, and presently there issued from it an old man
who approached the argonauts, and sat on a log to watch them.

"Your first experience at placer mining?" the stranger observed.

"For an instant both men looked confused. I could see that
Coonskin didn't want to reveal his newly discovered fortune by the
way he dumped his sand and said nothing. But Pod held on to a
frying-pan full of sand with one hand, and reached for his
revolver with the other to defend his claim.

"Well, boys," observed the native, laughing, "you're goin' through
jest what all tenderfeet do when they first strike these
parts--try to wash gold dust out of mica. All the streams out here
're filled with them glist'ning particles, but recollect, boys,
all what glitters ain't gold. That you've got's called 'fool's
gold.'"

It was plain that Pod was disappointed, but the stranger gave him
some good advice, and a large Colorado diamond for a keepsake,
then strolled away, leaving two sadder but wiser men.

The road to Colorado Springs was a popular thoroughfare for
bicyclists. Saturday afternoon, as we donks began the ascent of a
long, steep, and winding incline, a din of voices and a whir of
wheels suddenly sounded ahead, and a party of fifty or more young
men and women in gala attire came speeding down toward us. As
quickly as possible we donks turned out to the right. I think the
bicyclists must have been English, for they steered to the left.
In a minute "it was all off."

It happened that the leader of the wheel brigade saw us donks too
late and tried to save himself by turning suddenly to his right.
Result: Tire off and man off. Sequel: A wild rough-and-tumble
conglomeration of sexes, as his followers mixed up with our party.
Bicycles, donkeys, men, women, lunch baskets, packs, hats,
petticoats and cameras were distributed in all directions. The
cries and shrieks of the bruised and frightened together with the
confusion of the wreckage so terrified us donks that as soon as we
could pick ourselves up we reared on our haunches, and cavorted,
and brayed, and so help me Balaam! it was the worst mix-up I was
ever in.

When every man had assisted some one else's girl to her
equilibrium, a council of war assembled to adjust grievances and
repair machines; but the proceedings did not interest the
Professor, for he hustled us donks up hill and out of sight as
quickly as possible. The din of voices soon sounded in the
distance like a swarm of yellow-jackets.

Colorado City was a gambling resort lying between Colorado Springs
and Manitou. Our stop there was all too brief. While Pod and
Coonskin were at feed we donks stole down-street to watch a
"play." That was the time I regretted having eaten the five dollar
bill back in Iowa, for three times in succession the roulette ball
dropped on my colors, and by compounding the principal and
interest each time I could have made a beautiful scoop which might
have given us donks a high old time.

Thence onward Pike's Peak was the chief topic of discussion. To
begin with, Pike's Peak is the largest mountain of its size in the
world. Cats can't live ten minutes on the summit before going
crazy, and dogs even lose their bark at the timber-line. I
concurred with Pod that it would be a big feat to climb the Peak.
On the other hand, Cheese and Skates demurred from our opinion.
Skates positively declined to leave the stable, and Cheese backed
her up by putting both fore feet in the manger. Damfino stood by
Pod and me. She argued that when one has climbed to an elevation
of 14,147 feet above sea-level he is likely to feel a blamed sight
nearer heaven than he is ever apt to be again. The result was that
Damfino and I alone accompanied the men on that adventuresome
trip.

Everything went well until we struck the cog track in Engleman's
Canyon. It was the first experience for us donks in "hitting the
ties." I did not fancy the route at all. But Pod, having seen a
boy ride a native burro up the track, resolved to do no less. The
first half mile was not steep, and the men rode us donks; but when
we caught up with a party of men and women making the ascent, an
ambitious boy grabbed my tail and allowed me the privilege of
dragging him a hundred yards before the Prof discovered him, and
dismounted. How I thanked the boy for his thoughtfulness.

Damfino lagged behind. She had changed her mind. The consequence
was, we donks were driven ahead, and Coonskin no sooner hit
Damfino a whack with the butt of his six-shooter, then she began
to pace so fast none of us could keep up with her. When we came to
the steep 25 per cent. grade the men were winded; not so we donks.
The men called to us, but we would not listen. They threw stones
at us, and we quickened our gait. The men couldn't run up-grade to
save their lives, whereas mountain climbing finds a donkey in his
true element. "Ain't this fun!" exclaimed Damfino. "Never had such
a picnic!" I added. Well, Pod walked half the way from New York
and prided himself on walking, and Coonskin had won medals for
sprinting: so it looked to us a huge joke, and we just brayed.

The next instant a locomotive bell sounded ahead, and I saw a
train approaching from round a bend. We felt that we had the right
of way, and were much put out when the train refused to stop. We
would not get off the track; it would be contrary to the nature of
first-class donkeys to do such a thing.

Say, what wonderfully powerful things steam engines are! We got it
in our heads that we could stop the train, if we didn't push it
off the track. You just ought to have seen us pitch headlong down
the bank of the canyon into the foaming torrent. It was a mighty
plunge we made, I can tell you. Before we rose to the surface the
car stopped, and many of the passengers got off. The banks of the
pool were so steep we couldn't climb out, and we had to swim and
tread water to keep from drowning. Damfino brayed like a lunatic,
I spouted like a geyser, and great excitement reigned among the
tourists.

Evidently "nothing was doing" for our immediate relief. The
engineer was loudly refreshing Pod's memory that he had no right
on the railroad bed with his donkeys, and the female passengers
gesticulated wildly and condoled with Damfino and me for the deep
predicament we were in. One facetious fellow asked if we jackasses
were Baptists, and the Professor told him he didn't know what
denomination we formerly adhered to, but he believed that we were
skeptics now.

Presently our masters began search for ropes and straps. Alas! all
of them had been left behind. I was now through with coughing, but
still weak and out of breath, while Damfino pumped logarithms of
abuse at the cog train and exhorted me to keep swimming--advice
entirely unnecessary. Finally the car steamed down to Manitou, and
the sympathetic occupants called back that they would send aid.

Coonskin was first to come to his senses. Said he, "I can run,
I'll run to the village for help;" and away he went to beat the
cars. This expedient awoke the Prof.'s dormant mind to an idea,
and he began to roll rocks into the Pool. At the same time he
yelled something at us, but I couldn't wait to listen, for I
ducked under water in the nick of time to dodge a half-ton
boulder. It came within an inch of knocking all the bad character
out of Damfino's head, and completely submerged us both. After
that Pod was more careful, and instead of rolling one giant stone
he sent two middle-weights down the bank in a manner to make us
dive. I concluded Pod had gone daft.

"For Balaam's sake! what you trying to do up----" I brayed loudly,
but scarcely finished when I came within an ace of "passing in my
chips," as a gigantic pebble of the first water whizzed between
our heads. Pod called back, "I'm lifting the bottom of the pool so
you two can crawl out." I was astonished at such inventive
faculty. A wonder we donks survived to tell it. Rolling stones may
gather no moss, but they need a lot of looking after.

It seemed hours before Coonskin returned. By this time I had found
a footing so I could rest with my head out of water.

"Why were you gone so long?" Pod asked, as he sat himself on a
rail to rest his windpipe.

"Well," said the winded man, adjusting a lariat, "I hunted all
over Manitou before I found the superintendent of the waterworks."

"But what on earth did you want of him?"

"I told him of the fix of our donks, and asked him to change the
course of the stream till we could get them out of the pool."

"You idiot! And what did he say?"

"Oh, he was civil enough; said he, 'If you would like to have the
mountain moved a little to one side I will have it put on
jackscrews without delay."

Now it nettled me to listen to such nonsense while Damfino and I
were refrigerating in ice water, and I brayed to the jester above:
"Say there, you old fool, if you had only thought to have him pump
the water out of the canyon above us you might have furnished a
little dry humor that we would have appreciated."

The lariat was found to be of little service, but soon a couple of
tourists arrived on the scene and assisted the two with their
contract to raise the devil, as well as the bed of the torrent,
and, at length, to extricate us water-soaked donks from our
unhappy predicament. Then we were taken to the stable, rubbed
down, and put to bed.



CHAPTER XXXVIII.

BY PYE POD.

    It is the property of great men to rise to the height of great
  events.--_Victor Hugo._


The city of Colorado Springs possesses many attractions, and is
growing in population and wealth. Here is a good-sized collection
of pretty homes, built on wide and well-shaded streets, where
reside beside the health hunter of independent means the mining
king, the wealthy ranch owner, the Eastern capitalist, and the
English tourist or speculator.

Friday morning we entered that picturesque Swisslike hamlet of
Manitou with flying colors. The summer tourists were either
lounging on the broad verandas of the hotels or assembling for
burro trips to the Garden of the Gods and other famous retreats in
the mountains.

Coonskin and I rode our favorite mounts to the principal hotels,
Hiawatha Gardens and the iron and soda springs, at which several
places I delivered lectures to the amused tourists and reaped a
small harvest.

The Garden of the Gods is some distance from town, the popular
drive being fourteen miles from start to finish. To ride our slow
steeds there would mean a sacrifice of a day's time. So after much
prospecting, I bargained with a garrulous but genial guide to
drive us with his team to the Garden and Glen Eyre for the sum of
$2.

What a gay old ride that was, in a cushion-seated carriage! I'll
bet there wasn't one square inch of the seat that I didn't cover
before I got back. Some way I couldn't seem to get in a
comfortable position. The driver-guide was very accommodating and
offered to go back to put a saddle on the seat for me to ride in,
if I would but say the word.

The Garden of the Gods is a picturesque and grotesque natural
park, the rock formations of red and white sandstone resembling
roughly most every bird and beast and human character imaginable.
In fact, one old pioneer whom we met insisted that the place is
the original Garden of Eden, and that when Adam and Eve were
caught eating the sour apple, God caused the earth to cough,
whereupon it threw up mountains of mud and petrified many fine
specimens of the menagerie. The mountaineer struck me as something
so unique in his make-up and mental get-up that I bribed him to
accompany me and explain those wonderful exhibits of the earth's
first zoo. "Now there is Punch and Judy," he said; "most folks
take them as sech."

"I suppose you make out they are the stone mummies of Adam and
Eve?" I interrogated, showing effusive interest.

"Our first parents, sure's you are born," he returned with
conviction. "And there yender is th' old washerwoman what done up
Eve's laundry."

"But," I argued, "the Scripture says Eve didn't wear clothes, so
she couldn't have had any washing."

The man coughed.--"Well, my young man," said he, "I've lived a
good many year and in a heap of places and seen a lot of females
come inter the world, or seen 'em soon after they did come, and I
never yet saw one come in dressed, but yer kin bet yer last
two-bit piece, from what I knows of women, it didn't take Eve more
time than she needed to catch her breath to change her 'mother
Eve' fer a 'mother Hubbard."

Then the pioneer pointed out the "Kissing Camels," the "Seal" and
"Bear," and the "Baggage-room."

"Are there any petrified elephants in this menagerie?" I asked.
"I'm fond of big exhibitions."

"N-n-no, they ain't no elifants here," said he with a jerk of the
head. "Yer see when the mud was coughed up, they got so fast they
left some of their trunks. That's them in the Baggage-room
yender." And he ha-hahed over this poor joke.

As we passed successively the "Buffalo's head," the "old Scotchman,"
the "Porcupine," the "Ant Eater," the "old man's wine cellar" and
the "Egyptian Sphinx" my guide enlightened us on geology, botany and
mineralogy far beyond my powers of understanding, but not desiring
to reveal my ignorance, I listened attentively, and now and then
gasped: "Well, I never!" "I do declare!" "Would you believe it!" and
"Gracious sakes alive!"

The "Gateway" to the famous park lies between two giant towering
rocks three to four hundred feet in height, and further on the
"Balancing Rock," a mammoth mass of sandstone, appears to be on
the verge of a fall. Before leaving the park with its myriad
curiosities, I called upon the "fat man" who runs a bar,
restaurant, curiosity shop and miniature zoo. There lying in a box
partially covered was a sculptured figure of a Digger Indian,
which some enterprising mortal must have buried, unearthed, and
sold to the hoodwinked man, for genuine petrified aboriginal meat.

Rainbow Falls, Grand Caverns, William's Canyon, Cave of the Winds
and Cheyenne Mountain Drive all had their peculiar attractions. On
Cheyenne Mountain is the original grave of Helen Hunt Jackson,
author of "Ramona."

It was about midnight when, with a small lunch in an improvised
knapsack and revolvers in our belts, Coonskin and I began the ascent
of Pike's Peak, the first attempt to do it having been so summarily
defeated. By 1 a. m. we were well up Engleman's Canyon and with the
aid of a lantern we surveyed the wild and steep cog track with about
the same pleasure one feels in descending a deep mine with a lighted
candle. Higher and higher as we rose toward the starlit heavens we
found it more difficult to breathe and easier to freeze. At times
the grade was so steep that we had to creep on our hands and knees
to prevent sliding backward to Manitou. The so-called beautiful Lake
Moraine looked disenchantingly black and icy, and the timber line,
still far above us, seemed as elusive as a rainbow. We had to stop
frequently to rest our knees and to breathe, for air up there was at
a premium. Later on we built a fire of railroad ties and ate our
lunch.

By four o'clock we overtook others striving to make the
climb--men, women and small boys, whose chief aim in life
evidently was to climb Pike's Peak. Some of them had started
twelve hours before; others had been twenty-four hours climbing
seven miles, and from the questions they put to us were doubtless
under the impression there was an error in the guide books and
that they had already tramped fifty miles from Manitou.

The sunrise effects from the Peak are marvelous, but Uncle Sol
appeared to have as hard work in rising mornings as we travelers.
The sunrise looked as uncertain as our arrival on the summit.
Once, we tarried to speculate on our chances of reaching the
opposite side of Manitou in time to witness the event, then
resumed tramping and creeping, puffing and blowing and snorting,
and venting our wrath on Mr. Pike for discovering the peak, and
made the turn to find the sun as tardy as ever, with no apparent
inclination to rise.

One old man we overtook told me he had been "nigh on to twenty
year" climbing Pike's Peak, and hadn't climbed it yet. That gave
me courage. I wouldn't back out. It looked as if there were only
one more turn to make, when, about half way around, three
shivering maidens sitting on a rock asked me most pathetically if
I had seen any kindling wood about. My heart was touched! I
replied that I had not, but would try to find some.

I built a fire, and the girls were real nice to me, and insisted
that I share their cheese sandwiches.

On arriving at the summit I was just in time to see the most
dazzlingly beautiful sunrise to be witnessed on earth.

Arriving on the board walk in front of the Summit House I saw
Coonskin thawing in the sun, fast asleep. Inside the house a young
man lay on a sofa in a swoon, for want of air. There is a golden
opportunity for some enterprising man to transport barrels of air
to an airtight building on the Peak, and sell it to patrons for a
dollar a pint. A hundred gallons could have been sold that
morning--I would have bought fifty myself.

Wandering aimlessly and weakly, as if from that tired feeling,
about the house and rocky-looking grounds, were several dozen
mountain-climbers, shaking hands with themselves for having seen
the sunrise, or examining the crater of the extinct volcano, or
discussing the mysterious ingredients of their coffee cups in the
only restaurant, which small concoctions cost fifteen cents each.
I haven't said what was in the cups; it was supposed to be coffee.
I bought a cup, and forgetting that I had drunk it, bought
another, and still I didn't make out what it was. Then I purchased
another, and after I had finished four cups began to have a
suspicion of coffee. It cost me sixty cents.

After resting an hour we started back to Manitou. It was two p. m.
before the foot-sore Pod and his lung-sore valet managed to get to
their hotel. In less than an hour both became rational, and agreed
that the first of them to mention Pike's Peak should instantly be
deprived of breath.

To those who boast of their ability to grow fat on beautiful
scenery I heartily commend the trail through Ute Pass, Divide,
Cripple Creek, South Park, Leadville and Aspen to Glenwood
Springs, crossing Western and Independence Passes. First
proceeding up Ute Canyon along the banks of the turbulent stream
and in the shadow of the towering cliffs, often in view and in
hearing of the trains on the Colorado Midland, we passed the
summer retreats of Cascade and Green Mountain Falls, at which
places the tourists flocked from hotels, cottages and tents to
talk with Pod and Mac A'Rony.

Only a brief stop was made at Divide to enable me to replenish my
larder; then we hustled on toward the famous mining camp.

Early every afternoon a thunder shower drenched our party. Once or
twice the thunder in advance warned us so we could pitch tent and
crawl under shelter. Thus our travels in that region were impeded.

Three miles beyond Gillette we climbed to Altman, said to be the
highest incorporated town in the United States, some 11,300 feet
above the sea. It rests literally on the summit and hangs down
over the mountain sides secure enough whenever and wherever there
is a prospect hole with sufficient gold in it to serve the miners
a foothold and check their sliding further. The high altitude of
the district makes it especially undesirable for women, causing
nervous troubles. Even the male population are more or less
excitable, and when prospectors think they have made a strike some
of them run about like lunatics.

From Altman we took a tortuous trail, threading Goldfield,
Independence, Victor and Anaconda. The mountains about are
honeycombed with prospect holes--or graves they might be properly
called, for many of them contain buried hopes. From a distance
they look like prairie-dog towns, but occasional shaft-houses and
gallows-frames rise here and there to give character to the mining
region, while several railroad and electric car lines wind about
the hills and gulches.

Many of the cabins in these towns are built of logs; the streets
look to have been surveyed by cows rather than engineers. As a
rule, there is no symmetry to the thoroughfares--up hill and down
hill, crooking and winding, crossing and converging, in a manner
to puzzle a resident of a year. The situation of most of the
habitations seems to have been governed by the location of the
claim of each house owner. This great camp got its name from two
circumstances occurring when the locality was known for no other
virtue than a grazing place for cattle. One day on the banks of
the creek that trickled through the present site of Cripple Creek
a man broke his leg, and the following day a cowboy was thrown
from his bronco and had his arm broken. Some one, seeing both
accidents, said: "I reckon we'd better call this place Cripple
Creek." So the noted camp was christened.



CHAPTER XXXIX.

BY MAC A'RONY.

    You do ill to teach the child such words; he teaches him to
  kick, and to hack, which they'll do fast enough of themselves;
  and to call horum;--fye upon you!--_Merry Wives of Windsor._


Frequently since crossing the Mississippi Pod had received letters
from proud parents informing him that they had named their latest
boy after him. At that time in Cripple Creek, several boys ranging
from a day to six weeks old, whose destinies were thought to be
promising, were afflicted with my master's ponderous name.

A little green-eyed Irish girl, five days old, was named
Pythagorina Podina Mulgarry. The happy father called personally on
Pod and asked him to act as godfather at the baptismal service,
Sunday afternoon. The impressive ceremony took place at the cabin
of Miss Pythagorina, as the aged grandmother wished to witness it.
Pod said he was somewhat embarrassed about attending, since he had
forgotten almost all his Latin, but he arranged with one of the
pall bearers to give him nudges and kicks when it was expected of
him to make a response, and so he got through fairly well--better
than the kid did. He said the babe was an unruly child, and kicked
so frantically when the priest took her in his arms that two
flatirons were tied to its feet to keep them down. It was simply
nervousness, because the high altitude affected the child's
nerves. So when the priest was handed the tiny thing in swaddling
clothes and held it over the barrel that served as the font, the
poor girl was frightened and squirmed, and suddenly slipped out of
the priest's arms into the barrel and sank out of sight. There was
great excitement and surprise because the flatirons didn't float,
and the undertaker, or what you call 'em, overturned the barrel of
water and set everybody afloat, drenching the sponsors and guests.

Pod said the scene was without a parallel; he was soaked to his
equator; the half-christened, half-drowned Pythagorina Podina was
picked up from the flood with a tablespoon, and the ceremony
finished; then she was rolled on the barrel to get all the water
out of her, and put to bed with hot flatirons at her feet to
prevent croup and mumps. Then the wake broke up. I don't believe
the child understood a word that the priest said; Pod didn't.

That night he got up a fine supper, and invited some old friends.
He bought a big porterhouse steak, thick and tender, and
personally broiled it on his patent folding stove. Just when
everything was on the table and the guests were finding stones and
tin plates to sit on, Don, not having had a thing to eat for an
hour, coolly pulled the hot steak off the platter and dropped it
on the ground. Pod didn't say anything, though, but just forked it
on to the platter and scraped off some dry grass and a sliver and
a bug, and carved it up and generously put it on the ladies'
plates. The ladies looked at the dog, and then at Pod, not knowing
which to thank, then feeling sensitive about accepting the best
part of the steak, insisted upon Pod's having one of their pieces
and Coonskin the other; and both men being kind and gallant
accepted the compliment, and all fell to eating. But the guests
didn't eat much. They said they had just had dinner. You could see
plainly from their appetites that they were telling the truth.
After supper Don feasted on the tougher parts of the steak, and we
donks were fed the scraps of potatoes and bread and tin tomato and
peach cans. When the banquet was over the guests went home.

Pod devoted Monday morning to business, and took in a good stock
of supplies, and after lunch we set out on the trail to Florisant,
about twenty miles away. About six o'clock we went into camp on
the margin of a famous petrified forest. Pod objected at first,
because of the scarcity of fire-wood.

"Lots of petrified wood chips lying around," I remarked; "and
they'll last. Ordinary wood burns up too fast."

"Bright idea!" exclaimed Pod. And Coonskin went to work gathering
petrified wood for the supper fire. "The only trouble will be in
starting the fire," said Pod. "Just as soon as it's once going, it
ought to burn smoothly enough--might pour coal oil on the chips.
What do you say, Coonskin?"

Coonskin's opinion didn't benefit Pod much. His hard-wood fire
wasn't very satisfactory, but with some dry brush the men got the
meal under way. Next morning we visited the noted petrified stump,
measuring upwards of forty-five feet in circumference. Several
saws were imbedded in it, for many futile attempts had been made
to take off some slices for the Denver Exposition. It has been
estimated by various ornithologists, botanists and entomologists
that the stump is millions of years old. I think they were
guessing at it, for I couldn't see the rings, and even if I had
seen them with a telescope a fellow couldn't live long enough to
count them.

We journeyed until ten at night, stopping at Florisant only a few
minutes to buy a crate of peaches. Several times I had a
suspicion that we had been misdirected. When we came to the end of
a narrow wood-road I was sure of it. We went into camp, and before
breakfast a timberman called on us.

"You kin trail through the timber to Pemberton," said he to Pod,
"and then cut through to Fairplay, er you kin go back the way ye
came."

"What do you say?" Pod inquired, turning to Coonskin.

"I think best to go through the woods," said the valet.

So we were headed for the timber. Our tramp through the forest I
cannot soon forget. Up and down the rocky heights, through
thickets of quaking asp and pine, tangled roots and fallen trees,
we climbed and panted and coughed and brayed for some four miles,
when we stopped to rest and realized we were lost. Coonskin said
he was an experienced woodman, and would blaze the trees so we
would get out again. Wonderful! the amount of learning he had
gleaned from dime novels. He lagged behind to do the blazing; and
pretty soon I smelt smoke. The Professor snuffed.

"Smells as if the woods were on fire somewhere," hinted Pod.

"Look behind you; they are!" I exclaimed. And Pod caught that
erudite valet-back-woodsman in the act of setting a tree on fire
with oil and matches. Fortunately for us the wind wasn't blowing
strong, but we had to change our course some, and hustle faster,
for the blazing trail chased us. Coonskin learned a new lesson,
and turned down the corner of the page so he'd recollect it. After
Pod had explained the meaning of the word "blaze" in this case,
the fellow was more put out than the fire.

At length we struck a trail which led to a couple of cabins in
the canyon. A board sign informed us it was simply Turkey Creek. I
couldn't see any turkeys, but there was good pasturage around. The
hot trip through the timber made us all hungry.

It was three o'clock when we donks were picketed and allowed to
graze. Then Coonskin went fishing. He said he had seen some trout
in the stream; by supper time he had caught a nice mess. Pod said
he would fry the fish, and went at it so enthusiastically that he
forgot to put the bag of corn meal back in its place. After the
meal was over, he began to look around for the bag. It was nowhere
to be found; I had eaten the corn meal and bag. It was comical how
those two men puzzled their brains about that missing commodity.
When Coonskin detected some meal stamped in the ground, Pod
pointed at me and said, "That's the thief, there."

Next morning, Coonskin was the first to return from fishing, and
looked much excited. When Pod returned he told him he had seen
huge bear tracks; he was going bear-hunting. Pod laughed at him.

"Now let me tell you," said the boy, "we aren't likely to get any
big game on this trip if we are looking and gunning for it. That
was my experience in the woods of Wisconsin. The men at the
saw-mill said we should see bear in this forest, but where are
they? It's my opinion if we loiter around this here canyon a day
without guns we will see a bear pretty soon. A silvertip would be
a boon to you, Prof; its skin would fetch fifty dollars or more.
Let's look for bear."

"What would you do if you saw a bear?" Pod asked.

"Well, now leave that to me," said Coonskin. "In the first place,
it would be worth a hairbreadth escape to see one wild; I've only
seen bears in circuses, or traveling chained to Italians; in the
second place, I can run. I've plenty of medals for sprinting, but
if I saw a real bear I could beat all records."

Pod looked at me and I looked at Pod; I hadn't anything to say on
the subject; it didn't interest me as much as it did Coonskin. Pod
went fishing that afternoon with a gun, and took the whole arsenal
along with him, including the axe.

Somewhere about five o'clock Pod came into camp with a good mess
of trout. After cleaning the fish, he took off his guns, and laid
down on the grass, and wondered if that crazy valet had run across
any more bear tracks. He wasn't there long when, suddenly, I heard
yells issuing from the canyon down stream round the bend. The
shouting sounded nearer every second, and I soon distinguished
Coonskin's voice. Pod got up from the ground excitedly.

"Coonskin's in trouble, plain enough," said Pod aloud to himself,
"I must run to his aid." So he started on a trot down stream to
the bend, and then quickly turned, falling all over himself, and
ran toward the cabins faster than I ever saw him run before or
since. And immediately Coonskin came flying into view with the
biggest bear at his heels I ever want to see.

That sight paralyzed me; I couldn't get on to my feet for a minute
or two, then I broke the rope and kited up the canyon a hundred
yards, where behind a tree I waited to see the interesting
finish.



CHAPTER XL.

BY PYE POD.

  Who dared touch the wild bear's skin
  Ye slumbered on while life was in?   --_Scott._


How fast a man can run when he knows he's got to win a race! There
was one time in my life when "can't" was an obsolete word in my
vocabulary. It was when that silvertip granted Coonskin's chief
desire in the field of adventure.

"Shoot him! Shoot him!" cried the angler, as he fairly flew past
me, headed for the first cabin.

But I had neither time nor gun to shoot; when I heard bruin at my
heels I switched off to the left and ran three times around the
second cabin before I realized the bear had taken a stronger fancy
to my comrade. It seems he had chased Coonskin around the cabin
several times, until the man dived in the door and head first out
of the window. Bruin followed in, but remained. He smelled the
fragrant peaches.

Coonskin, however, under the impression that bruin was still after
him, ran twice around the cabin before he climbed a tree.

Meanwhile, I, having climbed a tree close to the cabin, descended
to the cabin roof. I knew silvertips couldn't climb trees, so I
felt safe. The sudden shuffle of my feet on the gravel-covered
roof disturbed the peace of the present incumbent, and out he
came, rose on his haunches and looked about to see what was up. I
was immovable. Back into the cabin went brother Bruin, and began
to break up things, generally.

Then followed a few moments of dreadful silence. Not a sound
issued from Coonskin's tree; he was probably trying to recover his
breath and reason. Night soon fell upon us; it gets dark early in
the canyons, and the mercury falls fast. I was chilly, for I
shivered frightfully. The blankets and guns were on the ground
just outside the cabin.

"Let's flip a coin to see which of us goes down for a gun,"
suggested Coonskin from his tree. But I did not take him
seriously.

"Don't you wish you had taken the fish-line off your rod?" he
added; "you could fish up a blanket and keep from freezing."

"By jingo!" I exclaimed, "I have my line, and I'll try it."

At once I fashioned a fish-pole out of a pine bough, and after
much patience secured the only blanket within reach. Then winding
it around myself, I lay as snug as possible, but couldn't go to
sleep. That was the longest night I ever experienced. How long we
should be kept off the earth, was an unpleasant speculation. Once
I called to Coonskin not to go to sleep and tumble out of the
tree, but he answered that he was so stuck up with pitch he
couldn't fall.

Our hopes were low, when, suddenly, about seven o'clock, from the
canyon below appeared a man in the rough garb of a mountaineer,
with a rifle across his shoulder and a hunting knife in his belt.
As he was about to pass I hailed him.

The hunter stopped, looked my way, approached to within a few feet
of the cabin, and said a cheery "Good morning." I responded in a
mood still more cheery.

"What you doin' up there--smoking? Had breakfast, I reckon."

"No, haven't cooked yet this morning," I returned.

"Glad t' hear that--haven' et yet myself. Got 'nough to go round?"
he asked, shifting a cud of tobacco from one side to the other.

"Don't know about that," I said. "You'll have to ask the
boss--he's inside."

As the rugged looking huntsman approached the cabin door, I held
my breath, but I rose to my feet when I actually saw the hunter's
hat rise on his uplifted hair as he looked into the cabin door.
With the quickness and coolness that come to one habituated to
solitary life in the wilds, he put his Sharp's rifle to his
shoulder, aimed and fired. There was a second report, followed by
a tremendous thud, and the sound of something within struggling
for life and vengeance. The hunter had no sooner fired than he
dodged, and stood ready for a second charge; but that was not
needed.

"Come down," he said to me with a grim smile. "I'm boss here now."

I slid off the roof, and Coonskin, to the man's surprise, appeared
from his lofty perch; then we introduced ourselves. While I
thanked the hunter for his kind offices and welcomed him to
breakfast, Coonskin began to prepare the meal. Our guest explained
that he was a bee-hunter.

"When the bear meets the bee-hunter searchin' for a bee tree,
brother Bruin says, 'Ahem! Excuse me, but I'm workin' this 'ere
side of the trail, you just take t'other side.' Then the
bee-hunter says: 'Pardon, my friend, Mr. Bear, but I'm workin'
both sides of this particular trail, just throw up your paws.'"

The bee-hunter chuckled over the practical joke played on him,
and said as it came from a tenderfoot he'd take it in good part;
but if it had been a backwoodsman that played such a game he'd
settle with the bear and the man in the same fashion. His words
and manner startled me.

The bee-hunter rose from the log and drawing his knife, dropped on
his knee, and began to skin the bear as if he thought he owned it.

"You needn't bother about skinning it for us," I said, "we're
quite satisfied that you killed it."

The man eyed me. "This bear belongs to me, if ye want to know," he
said.

"How is it your bear?" Coonskin asked, when he came to announce
breakfast. "You shot it, but in our cabin."

"That don't make no difference, and I don't intend arguing the
question," came the positive retort; "I say he's mine--who says he
hain't?"

I suddenly felt a bee in my bonnet. "The 'ayes' have it," I said.

That stopped the debate, but I could see blood in Coonskin's eye
when he ushered us to breakfast. Before we had finished, my nervy
valet asked our guest if he played poker. "Ya-a-as, some," the
hunter drawled. "If there's money in it, I'll jine ye in a game."

[Illustration: "_Through thickets, tangled roots and fallen
trees._"]

What could Coonskin have in mind, to challenge this rough
mountaineer to a game of cards? He had often boasted of his skill
at poker. Now he cleared the table and brought forth the cards he
had carried way from Iowa, and motioning the bee-hunter to a seat,
the two cut for the deal. From my seat, beside Coonskin, I
discovered a little round mirror hanging on the wall behind the
hunter opposite; it was the one my valet had purchased in Denver.
Where he sat he could see the hunter's hand reflected in the
glass. I felt if he were detected in this underhand game it
would go ill with both of us; so put both revolvers in my belt,
and kept mum. That was an interesting game.

"Lend me some change," said Coonskin. I threw him my bag of
silver. Then he added: "Pod, you count out the matches here for
chips and act as banker." So I was drawn into the game. The first
few hands were very ordinary, and caused no excitement. But
finally the bee-hunter, arched his eyebrows; I knew he must have a
fine hand or a bluff, in store for his tenderfoot opponent. He bet
heavily, but Coonskin raised the ante every time. Suddenly what
had been in Coonskin's mind all the time was revealed. "Lend me
fifty dollars," said he to me, and to the bee-hunter added: "I'll
lay this roll of bills against the bear skin, and call you."

"I'll go ye," said the bee-hunter. When both men lay down their
hands, I had taken down the mirror and hid it in my pocket.

"Beaten by four jacks! I be d----d!" the outraged mountaineer
exclaimed, pounding his fist on the table and regarding his four
ten-spots with grim disfavor. Coonskin grinned from ear to ear as
he swept in the money. Said he, "Mac A'Rony, Cheese, Damfino and
Skates--I swear by them every time. Whenever I get that hand I'm
billed to win."

"So yer travelin' on them jacks," remarked the defeated partner.

"No, not exactly," Coonskin returned as he rose from his seat.
"The jacks I'm traveling with are out doors; these are their
tin-types."

The bee-hunter looked chagrined enough, but he took the thing as a
matter of course, apparently never dreaming that he had been
actually buncoed by a boy tenderfoot. Presently he rose, and
shouldering his rifle, made his departure without thanking us for
our hospitality. I hoped sincerely he would find his bee tree, and
harvest a rich reward. I told Coonskin he was a brick. He accepted
his winnings modestly, and fell to finishing the task of skinning
the bear. It was a fine skin. After salting it, and wrapping it in
gunnysacks, I packed our luggage while Coonskin saddled the
donkeys.

Shortly after noon we reached the road that was already familiar
to us, and five hours later arrived in Florisant.

It was sundown when we went into camp. I had lost three days, but
I had been fully compensated by the pleasures of angling and
bear-hunting.

Next day we were off for Leadville in good season. My animals
seemed to be in fine traveling form; by sunset we arrived in South
Park. It was Saturday. There we enjoyed the hospitality of a
deserted, floorless cabin, where, sheltered from the wind, we
could eat without swallowing an inordinate amount of sand. Close
by was a fine spring, so we resolved to remain until Sunday
afternoon. We were awakened at dawn by a bevy of magpies perched
on the tent; Coonskin was so annoyed that he crept to the door and
shot the chief disturber, in spite of the bad luck promised him by
a popular legend.

South Park is one of three great preserves in Colorado. There once
roamed buffalo, deer, elk, antelope and wolves, while on the
mountains bordering the valley were quantities of mountain sheep.
A few deer, sheep and bear are said to be still found in that
section. Coyotes are heard nightly, and the evening we trailed out
of the Park a traveler with a prairie schooner said he had seen
two gray wolves.

Our afternoon trip through the Park was a painful one. Mosquitoes
attacked us from every quarter, and it was mosquito netting,
pennyroyal and kerosene alone that saved our lives. When we
consider that Mosquito Pass, the highest pass of the Rockies,
13,700 feet, was named after a mosquito we may derive some idea of
the size of the insect.

It was late in the night, when, after brief stops at two sheep
ranches run by Mexicans, and another at a small settlement, we
entered the canyon. It required two days of hard climbing to cross
Western Pass. The snow-capped peaks of the range looked grand and
beautiful, and the noisy streams in the canyons leading from the
summit on both sides were stocked with trout.

The morning we trailed out of the canyon into the Arkansas Valley
was clear and lovely. After traveling some distance up the valley,
the smoke of the Leadville smelters burst into view, and a mile
beyond the city itself could be seen nestling against the towering
mountains.

This famous mining camp gave us royal welcome. The report in the
papers that Pye Pod would lecture that evening drew an enthusiastic
throng, applauding and crowding closely about the donkeys, all
eager for the chromos that Coonskin sold while I talked.

Next morning we crossed the valley and pitched camp on the banks
of Twin Lake, two lovely sheets of water at the mouth of the
canyon leading to Independence Pass.

This pass is one of the loftiest of the Continental Divide--that
snowy range from which the rivers of Western America flow east or
west through undisputed domains. Trailing up, the ascent gradually
became very precipitous and the trail a severe trial. Over this
pass, climbed the overland stages and freighting wagons with their
four and eight-horse teams. It was, in ante-railroad days, a
popular route, and the now deserted cabins of Independence once
composed a lively mining camp. Although the trail was kept in good
order, yet wagons and teams frequently toppled over the narrow
trail, and mules, horses and passengers met their death on the
rocks below.

We men walked to relieve our animals and arrived at the summit at
sundown. Looking backward, for six or seven miles the view
surpassed in grandeur any scene of the kind I had ever viewed. The
stream appeared to be spun from liquid fleece from the mountain
sides, and tumbled and foamed over the rocks and fallen trees in
its bed until it looked like a strand of wool in a hundred snarls.

While resting, a heavy snow squall descended, and drove us on
across the pass into the western canyon for shelter. This canyon
surpassed in grandeur and size the other. Knowing our sure-footed
steeds would keep the trail much better than we, Coonskin and I
got in the saddle, but more than once I nearly went over Mac's
head.

When we had proceeded only a mile below the summit, the trail
became particularly narrow and rocky. To the right, protruded from
the bank a great boulder, and to the left sloped a deep and sheer
precipice, to which only the roots and stumps of trees could
cling. Here my valet dismounted; I should have done likewise. Mac
considered a moment whether or not to descend further, then made a
sudden dive, shying from the declivity and striking the rock on
our right, and was jarred off his feet, falling with me over the
edge of the trail.

Down and over we rolled toward the yawning gulf some forty feet
before we caught on a stump and stopped. That was a dreadful
moment for me. For a time I lay still, not daring to excite Mac.

Carefully I extricated myself from my perilous position, and held
my donkey's head down till Coonskin got the ropes from Damfino's
pack and came to my relief. In time the other three donkeys pulled
Mac A'Rony up on to the trail.

We pitched camp and Sunday morning continued down the trail, which
soon presented difficulties still more discouraging. The numerous
springs had necessitated corduroy roads often hundreds of feet in
extent. But these had been so long in general disuse that the logs
had rotted away in places.

Frequently Coonskin and I dismounted and repaired the corduroy
breaches, with fallen trees, thereby losing much time. By dark my
outfit had made but three miles. In the darkness of evening we
came to the empty cabins of old Independence, whose single
inhabitant called to us from his doorway as we passed.

At last we arrived at an old-time stage-house. It was now
temporarily tenanted by fishermen from Aspen, who asked us to
spend the night with them. I accepted; soon my animals were
feeding on the fresh grass bordering a spring nearby, and Coonskin
and I seated at the hot repast our hosts had quickly provided.

The house was large, with a high roof and a dirt floor. A great
fire blazed in the center, lending comfort to the cozy quarters.
The anglers had spread their blankets in one end of the shack, and
we pitched our tent in the other and soon fell to sleep, while the
fishermen likely continued to swap "lies" till a late hour. The
last remarks I heard almost made me cry.

"I don't think it would do for me to go to hell, pa," said the lad
of the party.

"Why?" queried the sire.

"Oh," said the boy, "the light would hurt my eyes so, I couldn't
sleep."

Getting an early morning start, we trailed down and out of the
long canyon into Roaring Fork Valley, and at four o'clock arrived
in Aspen, a famous silver camp of early days. A crowd soon
gathered, and I had no sooner announced a street lecture for that
evening than the news began to spread all over town. Here supplies
must be bought, some business transacted under my advertising
contract, and Mac shod. For the first time that jackass kicked the
blacksmith. When I reprimanded him, he claimed the man had pounded
a nail in his hoof almost to the knee, and added, for the smith's
benefit, "Shoe an ass with ass's shoes, but set them with horse
sense." Which I thought sound philosophy.

At the appointed hour and place for my lecture the street was
choked with an eager audience. Coonskin had been instructed to
have the donkey there, saddled and packed, by eight sharp. They
failed to appear. So impetuous and enthusiastic were the crowding,
cheering citizens that I mounted a block and began to talk.
Suddenly, I was interrupted by a shout, "The donkeys are
coming," and at once the crowd became so hilarious that I had
to cease speaking till my outfit arrived. "Mac A'Rony!--Mac
A'Rony!--Damfino!--Cheese!" echoed and re-echoed, as a number of boys
ran to meet the donks. It occurred to me that Coonskin might soon have
his hands full, so I hastened to his side. But, ere I arrived my
handsome Colt's revolver was stolen from its holster, buckled to
Mac's saddle horn. As Coonskin was riding Cheese and trailing the
others he could not guard against the theft, but I blamed him for
not heeding my instructions always to leave the guns at my
headquarters. It was the only article lost by theft on my
journey. The four marshals on duty hoped to recover the revolver,
and forward it to me, but I never received it.

When I had finished my lecture, Judge S---- passed his hat and
handed me a liberal collection. And as my outfit trailed out of
town toward Roaring Fork, a young man wheeled up with us and gave
me a silver nugget scarf pin. In Aspen, as in Leadville, I
disposed of many photos.

It was a fine evening. I was promised a smooth trail through to
Glenwood Springs. We were to travel ten miles that night, and
hence would need to sleep late next day. So I advised Coonskin to
set the alarm clock, just purchased, for ten a. m.



CHAPTER XLI.

BY MAC A'RONY.

    And riding down the bank, he spurred into the water.--_The
  Fair God._


When, at the conclusion of Pod's Aspen lecture, he gave the signal
for our outfit to "move on," I breathed a sigh of relief. I abhor
crowds; I despise shoemakers. They say that an ingrown nail is
painful; an inpounded nail is worse. Pod said he wouldn't care if
I had lockjaw; for then I'd have to keep my mouth shut.

"You ordered Bridget to call us at eight in the morning, didn't
you?" Pod asked of his valet, when we were a mile out of town.

"I did that," Coonskin replied. Who could Bridget be? Surely the
turtle, Bill, hadn't changed his name. I'd hate to have him pull
me out of bed.

"Have the men got a woman stowed away in their luggage?" queried
Cheese; "I hear 'em talking of some biddy."

"It's scandalous!" exclaimed Miss Damfino, and Miss Skates said
she thought so, too. These words were hardly spoken when, about
eight o'clock, we were strolling peacefully down the trail along
the high bank of Roaring Fork River in the darkness, something
with a shrill voice suddenly began to scream and kick up a
terrible racket in one of my saddle bags, electrifying my whole
being. Was Pod bewitched? Or was some demon upon me? I asked both
questions at once, and not waiting for an answer, ran through the
darkness blind with terror. Ears back, tail out straight, and legs
spinning, I failed to see the trail, or hear my master's "Whoas!"
I only thought the devil was after me, and flew through the air
like a meteor. Soon the trail turned to the right, but I kept on
straight ahead, and suddenly tumbled, tail over ears, down the
steep bank into the rushing river, my master still holding on to
reins and saddle horn. How deep I dived I can't say. The dampness
poured into my ears and mouth and drowned my thoughts, and just
when I had begun to think of my past life, I came to the surface
with that demon still yelling and clinging to the saddle or to
Pod. Then a terrific jerk on my bit brought me to my senses, and I
swam to the nearest shore. It was a long, hard pull. Pod clung to
me as though I were a life buoy, and when I climbed on to the bank
out of breath, the screaming demon chased me half way up to the
trail.

Pod's mouth was a flame of fire, but aimed more at Coonskin than
at me. Reckon he thought me too wet to burn.

The whole outfit, including dog and turtle, awaited us with bated
breath.

"We've found out who Bridget is," said Cheese, laughing.

"To the devil with Bridget!" I retorted. "What in the name of
Balaam was that after us?"

"The new alarm clock, you fool," replied Cheese.

I was too full for utterance--too full of water. The Professor was
a sight, even in the darkness. Never saw him so mad.

"Didn't you know that if at six o'clock you set the alarm for
eight in the morning, it would ring at eight in the evening?" he
vociferated, wildly gesticulating at his scared and speechless
attendant.

Cautiously through the darkness we proceeded for a couple of
miles, Pod walking to prevent taking cold, he said. Then we were
steered to an old cedar stump, where we camped. Bridget's alarming
voice had made a fearful impression upon me. Several times on the
way to camp I imagined a demon was after me, and shied into the
sage. Why, I've seen roosters and hens chase all over a half acre
lot and jump a fence after losing their heads, simply from
nervousness.

The cedar stump was set ablaze, and as soon as Pod had pitched the
tent, he began walking around it dressed in his only suit of
clothes, trying to get thoroughly dry. He was not in a good mood
to talk with, so I kept aloof.

Next morning the valley and the mountains hemming it in revealed a
beautiful and bountiful nature. Although alfalfa seemed to be the
chief crop, fields of wheat and oats waved in the breeze. It was
August; the harvest had hardly begun. The vendure on the mountains
was not less lavish in its rare autumnal tintings than were the
internal colorings of the hills with metals--copper, lead, silver
and gold. Now the trail would hug the river so closely I could
hear the roaring flood, and again the current would sink beyond
reach of ear or eye, suddenly to burst upon us later.

The sun grew hotter with every hour's travel; the trail became
more dusty; the prickly sage looked more browned and withered.

One evening, under the screen of darkness, the men pitched camp
conveniently near to an alfalfa field, hay-stack, and potato
cellar. The sage, while much seared by the sun, was yet too young
and green to burn, so when Coonskin dropped two large boards in
front of the tent Pod was elated. The fellow said he had unroofed
a tater cellar. In view of the shady deed, Pod kindled the fire on
the shady side of the tent and proceeded to cook the supper. We
hadn't time to make our escape next morning before we heard the
rattle of a wagon approaching. Presently a team of horses, driven
by a short, morose-looking, black-whiskered farmer, stopped right
in front of camp. Instinct told me he was the owner of the
property we had "squatted on" and intended to make trouble. Pod
was seldom embarrassed, but when so he appealed to Coonskin's wit
and gall for the desired relief. The man climbed out of the wagon
and walked toward the tent, until he saw Don, and stopped short.

Coonskin winked slyly at Pod and me under his hat-brim, and said
to our caller, "Walk right in, sir, and make yourself miserable;
the dog won't hurt you;" then Pod said a "Good morning" sweet and
juicy. The stranger's sharp eyes surveyed the remaining board and
the cremation ashes of the departed, and nodded sourly.

I was now saddled, and Coonskin was buckling on his belt with
revolvers and hunting knife. Said he to our guest, "This traveling
round the world on a bet ain't what it's cracked up to be."

"Reckon not," returned the stranger. And he asked, "Big bet."

"N-o-o, only fifteen thousand dollars."

The stranger grunted, as he mentally appraised the value of his
lumber, and then regarded the men as if he wanted to put a price
on their heads.

"Wouldn't been so bad," Coonskin resumed, "If one of our original
party hadn't got scalped by Esquimaux when crossing the Arabian
Desert."

"I want ter know!" the stranger exclaimed. "How did it happen?"
As he spoke, he sat down near the board and whittled a stick, now
and then eyeing Coonskin with overdue interest.

"Well, you see," the valet began, "we were trailing on the desert
at night, because the sun in India is so hot, when he suddenly
hailed what we took to be a caravan. But instead of one outfit,
there were three, all of 'em enemies of each and tother--Hottentots,
Spaniards, and Solomon Islanders, all at lagerheads. Say, weren't
we in a nice mess!"

"'Pears so," the farmer ejaculated, with wrapt phiz.

"At once all tried to capture us," Coonskin continued, "but pretty
soon fell to fighting among themselves; and that'e how we escaped.
But Jack got shot." Coonskin looked as if he had lost his last
friend.

"Poor Jack," muttered Prof., shaking his head sorrowfully.

I saw plainly the story had touched the stranger's heart. "Purty
sad, wasn't it boys?" he commented. "Didn't ye have no shootin'
irons along?" he asked.

"Should say we did--a whole battery," said the valet. "We shot
several of the black demons (here waxing excited as he recalled
the harrowing spectacle), but what was a thousand of them compared
with one Jack!" And Coonskin tickled me in the ribs.

"Ner a hundred Jacks," returned the farmer absentmindedly, and
looking thoughtful. Then Pod said it was time to be going, and
offered to pay the farmer for the board he had much enjoyed; but
the latter said he "didn't want no pay," and, after offering Pod
and Coonskin his plug of tobacco, clambered into his wagon and
drove off.

Then we made for Glenwood Springs.



CHAPTER XLII.

BY PYE POD.

  You may nail it on the pailing as a mighty risky plan
  To set your judgment on the clothes that cover up a man;
  It's a risky piece of business, for you'll often come across
  A fifty-dollar saddle on a twenty-dollar hoss.   --_Old Saw._


We reached Glenwood Springs the week of the annual races, and I
piloted my outfit to a prominent corner in town. At once a crowd
gathered. After making a few remarks about my trip and promising a
lecture before leaving town, I inquired for the leading hotel.

"The Colorado," answered a chorus. Then a man in shirtsleeves,
sombrero, and high boots edged to my side, and whispered, "Prof,
there's a dollar house t'other end of town. The tax is five
dollars a day at the Colorado."

"How much can I make at the dollar house?" I asked.

My informant shrank into his clothes. "I don't believe you can
make your salt," he answered.

I left my outfit, and rode Mac to the post office. I had not been
indoors long before I heard loud cheers and laughter in the
street. I rushed out, thinking somebody was making sport with my
donkey, and was surprised to see Don leading by the reins that
incorrigible flirt, Mac A'Rony, up-street toward the post office.
He had strolled to the next corner to make the acquaintance of a
prepossessing donk of the opposite sex, and my faithful dog,
conscious of his responsibilities, was doing his duty.

The town is situated on the east bank of the Grand River; across,
some distance from the water, stands the Hotel Colorado. An iron
bridge spans the stream, and across it I led my caravan to the
hotel in time for dinner. As I dismounted, the guests on the
veranda hurried to the railing and whispered to one another; I
paid no heed, but, giving my valet instructions to care for my
animals, hurried in. The clerk extended his hand in greeting.

"Just on time," said he. "Lunch is awaiting you."

I shall never forget the sensation I caused when I entered the
dining room. A sweeping glance detected every eye upon me. I sat
at the nearest table opposite two dudes who almost choked to death
when I reached for the menu card. Even the pretty waitresses
stopped as if struck. One of the poor girls dropped a tray of
dishes. Every countenance said plainly, "How did it drift in?"
Several pretty girls at the next table, seasonably gowned in silks
and muslins, whispered and giggled audibly.

Presently the dudes considered there wasn't room for us three at
the table, and changed their seats so precipitately that one of
them stumbled over the legs of his chair and broke his fall by
first breaking a cup. As they now faced the pretty girls, their
prospect was more inviting, if not picturesque. My hair and beard
were long, one of my coat-sleeves threatened to come off with the
slightest cough or sneeze; I looked like one who had experienced
hardship and rough traveling.

This is a treat, I thought, as I divided my interest between the
diners opposite and my menu card. I was famished. The waitresses
kept aloof from me.

Suddenly my ear caught the words spoken by one of the dudes, "He
acts as if he owned the dining room, and had first bid on the
hotel." I smiled. Just then I felt a hand on my shoulder, and
recognized the head-waiter, who, a moment before, had left the
room probably to see the hotel clerk. He was all smiles, as he
asked if I was being waited upon. I said I was not.

"I-I-I beg your humble pardon," he stammered, and off he danced. The
next minute a half dozen waitresses were assailing me for my order.
Finally I was lavishly served; then there was dissatisfaction at the
next table. The dudes began to complain because that "hobo" received
every attention while they were neglected.

Having received an invitation to the races, I did not tarry longer
than necessary. I was sure things would be different when I
returned for dinner. And such a change as there was! I was
assigned to a table at which was a bevy of girls and two or three
gentlemen. My seat had evidently been reserved for me by request.
I didn't have to wait for the waitresses to pass me things, the
girls did that. I was treated like a hero, and almost embarrassed
with attentions. When I retired to dress for the ball given in my
honor by the young women of Glenwood, I fell in a chair and
laughed till my sides ached. What fun the study of human nature
does afford!

The evening paper stated that the famous donkey traveler,
Professor Pythagoras Pod would be the guest of the evening, and
was expected to appear in traveling clothes, spurs, and belt guns.
And so I attired myself, arriving at the hall at eight-thirty, and
was at once introduced to one and all of the fair gathering. I
danced myself completely out. When supper was announced I was
glad. Had I traveled thirty miles that day I couldn't have felt
more fatigued. It was almost eleven o'clock when I set out for my
hotel.

One of the attractions at the Colorado is the great out-of-doors
natatorium, between the river and the hotel. I had hardly crossed
the bridge when I heard Mac's bray issuing from that quarter. The
darkness and thick foliage obscured the view, but I heard
splashing of water, and laughter, and another wild bray, and
concluded some mischief was on the boards among the college
students who were guests of the hotel. Quickening my pace, I stole
through the shrubbery to the reservoir, and beheld a sight to
cause me fright. There was a high chute beside the natatorium, and
a staircase for the bathers to climb to the top "to shoot the
chutes." There, almost at the top of the stairs, was my misused
donkey, being carried to the source of the water raceway by
several young men, the donkey braying and kicking frantically, the
men struggling in the throes of smothered laughter as well as with
their asinine burden. By the time I had collected my senses, Mac
was deposited on the platform.

"Heigh, there!" I yelled at the top of my voice. "Drop that
donkey, you ruffians!" They dropped him. And down he came,
tobogganing over the slippery, watery chute, over and over, and
landing in the pond, flat on his back. It didn't take long for Mac
to finish his bath. When he rose to the surface he snorted and
brayed louder than ever, and in swimming about to find a place he
could climb out he chased every bather on to land. One of the men
got a rope, and, several others assisting, pulled the frightened
animal out. Without stopping to discuss the affair, I led Mac to
his corral.

The following morning a committee persuaded me to deliver a
lecture to the guests of the hotel. A notice was posted,
announcing Pod's lecture to be delivered at 2 p. m. on the broad
veranda in front of the hotel office.

I talked in my happiest vein. The interest manifested by my fair
auditors would have inspired any lecturer.

[Illustration: "_And floated on Salt Lake._"]

[Illustration: "_Skull Valley desert; we stopped to feed and
rest._"]

I concluded with these words: "It is very gratifying for me to
know so many are interested in Mac A'Rony's welfare. I hope to
take him through with me to the Pacific. I do not like it to
appear that I, while a guest of the hotel, am taking undue
advantage of its privileges, but if there are any among you who
desire a souvenir of our novel trip I have a few pictures which
may be procured at twenty-five cents each. I now formally bid you
all adieu."

The souvenirs went like hot cakes. Presently a sweet girl who had
purchased three pictures, with beaming eyes and a winsome smile,
asked, "Oh, Mr. Pod, won't you please put your autograph on these
photos?"

"Certainly," I replied, "but each signature will cost twenty-five
cents extra." I said it, just to see how it would take.

"Of course, I'll be glad to pay for the autographs," the maid
returned, and handed me the photos to sign. And I was kept busy
signing pictures until my hand ached.

My last afternoon in Glenwood was a busy one. I decided to heed
the admonitions of many Westerners I had met, to avoid the Green
River desert, a barren waste of shifting sands, utterly devoid of
water, stretching a hundred and thirty miles and more, and,
instead, to trail northwesterly via Meeker, White River, and the
Ute Reservation. On the Meeker route I was promised fair grazing
and ample water supply every twenty or thirty miles of the
distance to the Mormon City.

It was five in the p. m. when Coonskin brought my caravan to the
hotel, and saluting me, said, "Professor, your donkeys are ready
and packed for the journey." The guests of the hotel, with few
exceptions, were assembled to witness the start, and my dog in
appreciation of the compliment strode grandly among the ladies
and kissed their hands, and I believe bade every one an
affectionate farewell.

I thought this a good time, for once on my trip, to put on stylish
"airs." I had never called upon Coonskin to exercise the duties of
a valet, in the strictest sense. As soon as he buckled the guns on
the saddles, I dropped my ragged canvas leggings at his feet, put
forth a foot, and gave him a significant look. Immediately the
gallant "Sancho" knelt down on one knee and proceeded to lace the
leggings on me, creating much amusement. I then made a short
farewell address, got into Mac A'Rony's saddle, and gave the word
to start. Such a cheer as arose from the ladies that lined the
veranda! I'll bet there wasn't one who would have missed the event
for a five dollar note.

Hugging the Grand River (the only hugging I had done in that
section) until after dark, we trailed through the sage until ten
o'clock, when, discovering a fair grazing place, I ordered camp.

My donkeys had just rested two days, so next day, the 28th day of
August, I made them trail fast and far, in spite of the heat. It
was five o'clock when we pitched camp near the Scott Ranch.

I had observed a cow and several hens about the ranch. If I
couldn't get milk, I might still obtain fresh eggs, and vice
versa. Not waiting to unpack for a can, I set out for the house
and knocked at the back door.

"Come in," called a female voice.

I entered the kitchen with hat in hand and politely said, "How to
do?" The sober-faced housewife did not pause in her duties as she
welcomed me to be seated.

"I came to purchase some milk and eggs," I said presently.

"Ain't got no eggs er milk to spare jest now," she replied; "cows
all dried up." My face reflected my disappointment.

"Are all your hens dry also?" I asked, as the woman deluged a big
white cochin with a pan of dish-water.

"That one ain't," she returned, smiling at her play on a word and
a hen. The incident, trifling as it was, served to break the
"ice." I introduced myself and explained my journey; the woman was
interested; she had read about me. She told me to make myself "at
home," and, admitting that one cow still gave milk and she could
spare me a little, she went to the creamery. When she handed me a
pail of milk, I offered to pay for it, and persuaded her to sell
me a loaf of bread. But I had hardly started for camp with my
precious purchases than I was surrounded by a swarm of yellow-jackets
which proceeded to alight on the rim of the pail and my
hand. I dropped the milk instantly, if not sooner. The woman's
exclamation of indignation embarrassed me. I explained and
apologized, while my kind "hostess" tried to convince me of the
docility of those yellow-jackets; from her account one might
suppose they were merely a dwarf species of canary birds. But
finally she forgave my indiscretion, refilled the pail, and
handing it to me, told me the insects were perfectly harmless, and
were not known to sting anybody, unless they were harmed. I
thanked the woman for her exceptional generosity and rare treatise
on "insectology" and again started for my tent, resolved to
preserve that milk at any cost. But I soon wavered from my
resolve; the pail wavered, too. I couldn't change it from one hand
to the other fast enough to elude those docile yellow-jackets.
Then I hit upon a new idea; it looked practical enough. I spilled
some milk on the ground, and after weaning many hornets from the
pail, I lifted the latter, covered it with my hat, and made for
camp.

Now once in a while a babe is found hard to wean; the same may be
said of a yellow-jacket. One buzzing fellow, doubtless young and
feeble, and being tired from long flight, sat on my bald pate to
rest, there to die a violent death. On that spot, although his
remains were removed, was soon reared a monumental mound, sacred
to his memory. I yelled before I remembered it was not manly to do
such a thing, and the good madam hastening to my aid, if not
relief, carried the pail of milk to my tent, also bringing with
her a can of jam. Her kind, forgiving disposition mentally
paralyzed me. My own unprecedented conduct almost made me hang my
sore head with shame.

We men dined on bread and milk, and at seven o'clock struck out
for Meeker. We had passed through the village of Newcastle when
some fifteen miles from the Springs; and there were invited into a
peach orchard to delight our palates with some delicious fruit,
but no other village did we thread on our route to White River.

The last twenty miles of the journey led us across a series of
divides, mesas or benches, variously called, and between these
miniature watersheds trickled occasional rivulets which either
lost themselves in the parched soil, or struggled on till they
joined with a larger stream to reach a river. As the tired eye
wanders over this sun-scorched wilderness, strewn with what
appears to be volcanic matter, he imagines he sees on the black,
rock-strewn butes the craters of long-extinct volcanos, which the
ravages of time and the elements have almost leveled. And over
these charred piles and the intervening plains of white and yellow
sage one sometimes sees a solitary horse or steer standing
bewildered, as if before impending doom, or else trending by
animal instinct some tortuous, obscured trail to a hidden spring.

Meeker takes its name from a family, massacred by the Indians in
the 70's. Four or five hundred inhabitants to-day compose this
quiet and now law-abiding community, whose chief pursuits appear
to be the pursuit of wild steers, horses, fish and game. White
River flows past the town on its picturesque way to the Grand, the
latter further on joining forces with the Green to form the
Colorado.

The hills about Meeker abound with large game--mountain lions,
bear, bobcats, and, when the snow comes, deer and elk. I was
informed from authentic sources that in early winter the deer are
driven by the snow down the river in to Grand Junction valley in
such numbers that ranchmen have had to stand guard over haystacks
with guns and pitchforks. One woman told me with modest candor
that she had actually seen her husband catch and hold a deer in
his arms.

After leaving Meeker the scenic views from the trail down and
along White River for seventy miles are magnificent and imposing.
Rising sheer and bold from the west bank of this deep stream, is a
lofty ridge of brown and barren mountains, whose mural crests of
red and yellow sandstone and limestone formed in my imagination
the walls and watch-towers of castles of a prehistoric race, while
the placid river at their base appeared to be a mighty moat to
protect the towering battlements from menacing foe.

White River City lies some twenty miles south of Meeker. It has
great possibilities. If another house were erected there, and it
domiciled as many people as the one habitation then standing did,
the population of the place would be increased 100 per cent. Even
a part of that house was converted into a post office and a
general store. About twenty-five miles from White River City is
Angora, another town containing a single house. We arrived at
sunset. The proprietor of this goat ranch invited me to pitch camp
on his meadow lot, where my animals could find some feed, and
treated me to a leg of goat. He possessed a herd of about two
hundred Angoras, and derived his chief livelihood from their hair,
hides, and "mutton," as he called it. I found the meat sweet and
tender; it was hard to distinguish it from lamb; possibly because
I had forgotten how lamb tasted. My host visited my camp-fire and
entertained me with many interesting tales of adventure.

Occasional gardens and fields of alfalfa are seen on the east
bank, all due to irrigation. Great water-wheels, turned by the
river current, raise cans of water ten feet and more and empty
them in troughs, so conveying the water to ditches.

Ranchmen had cautioned me to give Rangely, the next settlement, a
"wide berth." I was told it was a den of outlaws and desperate
cowboys, who lived by "rustling" cattle and rebranding them,
hunting mavericks, (unbranded calves) and following other
nefarious pursuits. Instead of frightening me away, these accounts
interested me.

At four in the afternoon we came to a trail branching and leading
to a large log house a half mile away. That was Rangely; and we
headed for it.



CHAPTER XLIII.

BY MAC A'RONY.

                      I'll say of it
  It tutors nature: artificial strife
  Lives in these touches, livelier than life.
                             --_Timon of Athens._


Pod was always looking for trouble. The fellow who courts trouble
finds it sooner or later. I brayed myself hoarse trying to
persuade my reckless master to give Rangely a wide berth. He
couldn't think of it. He was anxious to meet real wild-and-woolly-west
cowboys of the old-time style; he didn't fear the worst of 'em.

"Hit the trail, there, Mac," he said, spurring me
toward the hotbed of cowboy rascality. Arriving at the
house-saloon-store-city-hall-business-headquarters of Rangely, the dozen
rough-looking men lounging about swaggered toward us, pleased-like and
curious.

"Prospectin'?" one inquired.

"N-o-o-o," Pod drawled; "just traveling." That was the time in
Pod's life when he ought to have lied. Then he explained where he
was from, and where he was bound, but did not say that he was a
darn fool. The cowboys grunted, or nodded, or smiled, some winked
to each other, and one of 'em nudged another in the ribs;
everything they did had a deep meaning. I began to tremble for
Pod. Would they shoot at his heels and make him dance? Or make him
ride a bucking bronco? Or what?

"Better feed yer jacks, Mister," said one; "ye'll find grain in
th' shed yender." Pod seemed to be as delighted as we donks.

"The Prof is going to catch it soon," Cheese observed.

"Serve him right," added Damfino.

Coonskin left us to feed and walked to the house with Pod. Soon
afterward they returned with a cowboy, who said I had a good
shape, asked my weight, and inquired if I was sound in body and
mind; then he questioned Coonskin.

"What did you do fer yer salt 'fore ye jined th' outfit?"

"I was night porter in a hotel," was the reply.

"What was ye doin' 'fore that?"

"Railroading some."

"And 'fore that?"

"Painting."

"Paintin' what?"

"Church steeples."

"Golly! yer jest th' man we're lookin' fer."

Coonskin didn't quite understand them, but he did later.

"Bridle this 'ere jack," said the cowboy, meaning me. Coonskin
bridled me and rode to the joint. I didn't think anything would
happen to me. Several more cowboys had just come in from the
range, and soon every man of the gang was busy. I now noticed one
fellow mixing red paint; three or four were making two ladders;
another one appeared with an armful of blankets; and another with
ropes, and presently a cowboy climbed one of the ladders to the
roof. Something was doing, sure. Pod seemed interested, but didn't
say anything. Coonskin looked as if he saw his finish. I giggled.

Suddenly came a surprise. One cowboy wrapped the blankets round my
body, while another bound them on with lariats; another trimmed
my tail with a pair of sheepshears. Then ropes were fastened to my
body and the other ends thrown to the men on the roof. Next the
ropes were slung round the two chimneys at both ends of the roof,
and thrown to the gang below. At once the cowboys grabbed hold and
pulled, and I rose in the air, until my head bunked against the
eaves. There I dangled and swung and kicked and brayed. Never was
so scared in all my life. Splinters flew as I kicked holes in the
house, and knocked off a section of the eaves. The cowboys howled,
they thought it so funny. But the real circus began when Pod was
commanded to mount a ladder with a pail of red paint, and using my
tail for a brush, paint the name "R A N G E L Y" on that house.
Coonskin was made to climb the other ladder with another pail of
paint, and, he being a professional painter, with a real paint
brush go over Pod's lettering to make a decent job of it.

Well, I had seen Pod mad, but never as mad as he was then. He
grabbed my tail and started to paint a big letter R, when I up and
kicked the pail out of his hands and sent red paint flying all
over half the cowboys; not satisfied with this, I put a few more
holes in the house, and finally hit the ladder and spilled Pod on
the ground. The cowboys thought that was fun, too; some were so
tickled they fired off their revolvers. Here Coonskin was told to
divide his paint with Pod, and the painting was continued on the
letter A.

The Prof worked as well as he could with such a nervous paint
brush, now and then dodging my heels. I admit I didn't know what I
was doing, when suddenly I struck my master in the stomach, and
made him get down from the ladder. But the sign had to be
finished. Up the ladder again Pod climbed like a man, the cowboys
pulled on the ropes, dragging me along so that my tail could be
brought to where the next letter should be. Then Pod started on
the fourth letter, G. By this time the men were tugging on the
ropes to keep me in position for the painter's convenience.
Finally the men backed from the house and pulled me away from its
side, and Pod turned me about till I hung the other end to, and
began the fifth letter, E.

Now I could see the sign. It was up hill. I knew it wouldn't suit
those cowboys, and I expected it would have to be painted over. It
wasn't Pod's fault, it wasn't mine. As I was gradually pulled
along the eaves the higher I was raised, because there was no
pulley on the rope. But now that I was turned about, I was swung
back some, and the E had to be painted below the level of the
first four letters. L and Y followed each other up hill, until,
just as the job was finished, I hit the pail a crack with my right
foot and sprinkled two more cowboys. The crowd made sport of them,
and I think, after all, those cowboys fared worse than we three
painters. Then I was lowered to the earth.

To my surprise, the cowboys liked the sign immensely. One
pronounced it artistic, another said it was odd and people would
notice it, and several agreed that it was the best job of its kind
they ever saw. Pod didn't seem to be tickled over this flattery,
but Coonskin was puffed up with pride, and when one fellow told
him he ought to have stuck to painting, he acknowledged that he
should have done so.

When the two started down the ladders the cowboys called: "Hold on
there, we want a speech." So the Prof made a speech. Both men were
then escorted indoors and the barkeeper mixed a high-ball in a
pail and sent it out to me. I was "loony" for hours afterwards.

I never want another experience like that. Pod said afterward it
was his first and last painting. He thought the cowboys might have
shot a pipe out of his mouth, but he hadn't thought they could
condescend to such a low trick as to make him paint a sign with
his donkey's tail. The cowboys wanted us to spend the night with
them, but Pod replied that he couldn't tarry, but he said he was
much obliged for all their courtesies. About dark we said
good-bye, and pretending we would travel ten miles that evening,
pitched camp near a bridge crossing White River, one or two miles
from Rangely. At dawn the men were out after sage hens. They saw
several, but couldn't get a shot at the shy creatures.

We started early and traveled over a desolate wilderness of sage
and greasewood in a torturing sun, and were unpacked at one
o'clock for an hour's rest. Sometimes the trail led through deep
channels in the hard-baked sand for several hundred yards, where
we were obscured from view. These channels wound about through the
desert and mesa, as if they might be the beds of dried-up rivers;
and they were often so narrow that had we met a wagon either our
outfit or the vehicle would have had to turn back. We came across
quantities of skeletons and skulls of horses and cattle and wild
animals, but I failed to see any donkey's bones. Don was glad when
in these cuts, for he managed there to keep in the shade, while
trailing in the open he was ever trotting ahead to hide under a
bush where three-fourths of him was exposed to the sun.

Toward the middle of the afternoon we crossed the backbone of the
plateau, at an altitude of seven thousand feet, and met a wagon
with four horses, bound for Leadville with honey. The driver said
he was from Vernal, some sixty miles to the west. Pod thought
honey would go well with hot cakes for supper, and after some
coaxing got the freighter to break a case and sell him a half
dozen boxes. Then the question arose, how could he safely carry
the honey?

"Good idee not to put all your eggs in one basket," Coonskin
remarked. Pod said he wouldn't. He tucked one box in a saddle-bag,
another in a roll of blankets strapped behind his valet's saddle,
another in a bag of supplies on Skates, and the last two he packed
carefully in the canvas awning. The men conversed and smoked
awhile, when the stranger happened to mention that he sometimes
dealt in hides. Here was the chance the men were waiting for. The
bearskin Skates had carried from Turkey Creek belonged to the
poker-player, but he promised half what he should get for it to
Pod, if he would let the donks carry it till disposed of. The man
said he was willing to give $60 for a fine silvertip skin, so
Coonskin unpacked. The stranger was more pleased with it than he
would admit, and hemmed and hawed some about the price, but
finally paid the $60, and we moved on.

It was six o'clock, and the sun was sinking behind the distant
plain when the buildings of the K ranch loomed in the distance.
The sound of galloping horses approaching us from behind caused me
to look around, and I beheld two Indians with guns in hand,
yelling and gesticulating wildly as they leaned over their ponies'
necks, spurring hard to catch up with us. When Pod and Coonskin
saw the Indians after them, they got ready to throw up their
hands. Their faces were as chalky as an alkali desert.

"Have you seen any cattle branded U. S.?" one of the wild men
inquired. Pod said he hadn't.

"Where you from?" questioned the half-breed. Pod said: "White
River country."

"Ah, we just from there--been hunting up stolen cattle," the
half-breed replied. "Found them, but fellows wouldn't give them
up. We've done our duty; the fort must deal with them now."

Pod asked what fort, and was told Fort Duchesne, some seventy
miles away. We learned that two companies of colored troops of the
U. S. army were stationed there. The Indians never touched us.



CHAPTER XLIV.

BY PYE POD.

    "Dost not hear the neighing of horses, the blare of the
  trumpets, the beating of the drums?"

    "I hear nothing," said Sancho, "but a great bleating of ewes
  and wethers." And this was true, for the two flocks had now come
  up near them.--_Don Quixote._


The great K ranch welcomed us just before dark. My animals were
generously fed, and we men soon joined the Indian policemen at
supper in the house.

When, next morning, the foreman saw us pack the donkeys, he
expressed surprise at my traveling with such a luxurious camp
outfit. The folding table and chairs, awning, many blankets and
other articles were condemned as disgraceful by this experienced
plainsman; so, my sensibilities being shocked by such a criticism,
I abandoned a hundred pounds of luggage, giving the table, chairs
and superfluous blankets to the ranchman, and selling him the
awning; then we resumed the journey.

Green River was twenty-five miles to the west. The journey was
even more monotonous than that of the previous day. The powdered
alkali rose in our faces and penetrated our eyes and throats,
compelling us almost constantly to sip from our canteens, wrapped
in wet cloths to keep the water cool. Frequently my dog would jump
at the larger canteens in the panniers and bark for a drink. I
loved to watch him lie down in the narrow shade of a donkey, and,
resting his chin on the rim of the basin, slowly lap the frugal
measure of water I was able to spare him.

We reached Green River by five, and waited until the ferryman
awoke from his daydream to guide the flat-boat across the stream
for us. He charged me only two dollars. I thought it very decent
of him, as the river was too deep to be forded and he controlled
the only ferry; our only alternative was to swim this treacherous
stream. Several overland travelers with prairie schooners were in
camp on the opposite shore, eastward bound.

I paid a dollar to graze my animals in an alfalfa field for the
night, but when we left for Vernal next morning every donkey had
the stomach-ache. They grunted and groaned on the march until
noontime, and deplored their gluttony with sundry brays that were
grating on the nerves.

Vernal is a veritable oasis in a desert, nestling in a broad and
fertile valley, which, irrigated from the numerous springs in the
mountains forming a rampart round it, is a garden of vivid green.
Farmhouses dot the orchards and meadows everywhere, and the
village itself is splendidly shaded. Honey is a leading industry;
one can see bee-hives in almost every door yard.

After a good supper with a stranger who offered his hospitality,
we two strolled about the flower-scented streets in the cool
evening air, until we retired to a downy bed in his apartment that
made me wish my trip at an end. Here were no mosquitoes. The
fruits of this valley are prolific and delicious, and haven't a
blemish; the water is pure, and the climate healthful and
exhilarating; surely Vernal received its name from Nature.

The frontier post, Fort Duchesne, lay twenty-eight miles to the
south, across a desert waste. A few miles beyond Vernal we
entered the Uintah Indian Reservation. Further on we saw the
shacks and teepees of the Utes, and once we passed a party of this
treacherous tribe on their ponies. Apparently taking us for
desperadoes, they veered off to some distance in the sage and gave
us a "wide berth." The strength and humility of their little
steeds was surprising. Several of them carried four and five
people, the buck sometimes with a boy in front of him and his
squaw astride behind him with a papoose strapped to her back, and
a boy or girl behind her. When they saw Damfino with her towering
pack they, too, perhaps, did some wondering.

We crossed the bridge spanning the Uintah River just before
sunset, and reached the guardhouse of the fort just as the bugle
sounded retreat parade. To my surprise and delight the officer of
the day, Lieut. Horne, was adjutant and chief commissary, and
better still, an old classmate. And when, after parade, I saw the
popular officer crossing the parade ground to meet me, I wondered
if the changes wrought in our appearance by the lapse of thirteen
years would make us both unrecognizable. Our meeting was amusing.
The orderly ushered me into the officer's presence, and I advanced
and grasped my old friend's hand in a manner to convince him that
I knew him; but while we shook hands vigorously and playfully
punched each other in the shoulders, the puzzled man could not
speak my name.

"You old fool! Don't you know me?" I asked, still shaking his
hand.

"You disgraceful old vagabond! Of course I know you; but blast me
if I can place you," he returned grinning all over. "Who are you
for heaven's sake? Where 're you from, and how did you get here?
Speak, man! Relieve me of suspense, if you don't want to get shot
by a colored regiment of United States troopers."

"Why," I asked, "is it possible that you do not recollect your old
classmate; the famous pillow fight at S--'s Hotel? The mock fight
with our old chum, Mike H--n, in my room, when you frightened the
boy from West Virginia half to death with--?"

"Pod! Blast me, if it ain't Pod!" exclaimed the Lieutenant. "Well,
well, if this doesn't beat me. Sit down and tell me about it. I am
glad to see you. But you do look rough. Prospecting? Or fighting
Indians? Or what?"

I explained. My animals, I said, were waiting outside in the care
of my valet. Horne rose in astonishment.

"Traveling overland with a valet!" he exclaimed. "You are a
beautiful looking swell. I have often read about you, but, blast
me! if I ever once suspected it was my old chum making the famous
trip. Show me the jackasses." Forthwith I escorted the laughing
Lieutenant out and presented Mac A'Rony.

I spent two enjoyable days at Fort Duchesne, as the guest of my
friend. One of the first to call upon me was the genial Colonel
commanding. He asked me to lecture to the residents of the post.
Accordingly, I gave my talk that evening to a large audience, and
at its conclusion I was introduced to many ladies and officers of
the post and afterwards entertained at the army club.

The following day, at one o'clock, my outfit was ready to start.
The donkeys were in fine fettle, and Don frisked about gayly,
eager for the journey. My friend regretted I could not spend a
month with him, and tucked a package in my saddle-bag by which to
remember him, and many officers and ladies joined with him in
wishing me God-speed. Then we waved an adieu and climbed the
long, sage-covered mesa, toward Heber City, a hundred and
thirty-mile march without a habitation in view.

Fort Duchesne was still in sight when a hailstorm struck us. The
donkeys were compelled to close their eyes and turn their backs to
the fearful charges of the merciless elements, while we men pulled
our hats over our eyes, put our hands in our pockets, and crouched
under our animals; still we were severely bruised, and our necks
and arms were black and blue. When the hail ceased, the leaden
clouds poured down a cold rain, which beat in our faces and
greatly impeded travel. The trail was soon converted into a
veritable torrent; the sand or rock-waste soil softened into mire
many inches deep, causing the stubbornly faithful burros to slip
and stumble and labor as they never did before.

We had journeyed only sixteen miles when, at eight o'clock, we
pitched camp on the banks of the swollen Lake Fork River. The
night was black. What a nasty predicament! No bottom to the soil
anywhere; the mud and water reached to my boot-tops. Before
unpacking we cut sage brush and trampled it into a large square
bed two feet deep, on which to place our packs. Then, picketing
the animals, we tried to kindle a fire with water-soaked brush
sprinkled with coal oil; but failed. Soon a ranchman arrived
leading his horse, and said he had almost lost his steed while
fording the river and narrowly escaped drowning. He joined us in a
cold supper of canned meat and corn, whiskey and water, then rode
away in the pouring rain.

Our bed that night was anything but inviting. We could not pitch
the tent. The soaked sage and the rain saturated our canvas
sleeping-bag and dampened our clothing. How I regretted having
disposed of those "superfluous" blankets at the K ranch. We were
not only wet, but cold, rolled in two blankets and a quilt. When
I awoke in the morning I even wrung the water out of the underwear
I had slept in, and, also, my trousers and coat before I could get
them on, and then in the still pouring rain ate a cold breakfast,
saddled, packed, and resumed the trip.

That day we made twenty miles, and "ran" as terrible a gauntlet of
thunderbolts as I ever witnessed. Next day it became necessary to
swim Lake Fork. Mac said it was his Rubicon as well as mine.

The current was swift, and roared and foamed like a mountain
torrent. My donkeys, brought to the water's edge, reared and
wheeled and rushed intractably into the willows, scraping off
their packs on the miry banks; it required a half hour to replace
and securely cinch the luggage on the beasts so that it might not
be washed away. Then, with stout willow goads and howling
invectives, we drove the braying animals into the flood and
followed them, fording or swimming across the river. Cheese was
carried down stream and almost drowned.

Gaining the nether bank we tramped through storm and mire all day,
making eighteen miles, and after dark camped with the party of a
prairie schooner at the foot of a hill, where we found seasoned
cedar stumps for fuel, and built a roaring fire. The soil there
was more solid, the land gently sloping, and we pitched the tent
near the wagon and fire, staked the donkeys, and joined hands with
our chance acquaintances to provide the evening meal. The good
woman of the party gave us a pie, a can of beef and a loaf of
bread; these luxuries, together with boiled potatoes and hot
coffee, put our bodies in prime condition for a sound night's
sleep in wet garments and bedding. My provisions were not only
quite spoiled by the rain and river water, but were insufficient
to last us through.

Rising early, we breakfasted in the rain, and traveled only
fifteen miles, swimming the Duchesne River once and fording it
twice that day. The stream was somewhat deeper than Lake Fork, but
the current less swift, and at every crossing my donkeys rebelled.
Soon after the last fording, the sun broke through the clouds, and
gave us an opportunity to dry ourselves and freight. A patch of
wild meadow enabled my animals to fill their empty stomachs with
grass, while some giant sage brush soon dried in the broiling sun,
allowing us to spread our blankets and soaked apparel thereon. We
unpacked, and cooked, and when our clothes were dry enough to feel
comfortable and shrunken enough hardly to be got on, we resumed
the march. Our supplies were in a mess. Our only can of coal oil
was broken, and the contents had seasoned every eatable not
canned. The forgotten boxes of honey had been smashed, and
everything was gummed with it; every pack smelled like a bee-hive.
The honey I rolled in our underwear, diluted with the water of the
several fords, had permeated the raiment so thoroughly that now
the heat of our bodies began to warm it up, and my clothes were
soon glued to my skin.

That night we camped on Current Creek, after fording the stream. A
bear appeared, but scampered grunting into the thicket, my dog not
inclined to give chase. Once I was awakened by the cry of a
mountain lion, and Coonskin said the yelps of wolves kept the dog
growling and snarling half the night through.

It appeared that we were experiencing the fall equinox. Wearily
traveling through another day of rain, we camped for the night
near a bunch of dwarf cedars. Now the rain ceased for a couple of
hours, and enabled us to kindle a fire and cook before lightning
played on every hand and the rain descended again. Our largest
canteen leaked from some accident it had received, and our
surprise and despair on discovering the emptied receptacle may be
imagined. What should we do for drinking water? I had not more
than asked the question than my eye discerned several small basins
in the table rocks close by. These basins were filled, but were so
shallow that only by dipping the water with a saucer could we
obtain a two-quart can of the precious liquid; next morning we
secured another frugal supply for the ensuing day's journey.

Our luggage was placed under two cedars for protection from the
storm. During the night we were awakened by the terrific crash of
a thunderbolt, which struck so near as to shock us. In the morning
I saw that one of the trees had been struck. But our packs were
uninjured, save the whiskey bottle, which was broken and its
precious contents lost. Thus the sympathy existing between "Jersey
lightning" and Utah lightning. Another day's tramp over a muddy
trail, and a night camp on another roaring stream, Red Creek; our
supplies quite exhausted, we boiled some onions and ate them with
the last of our honey. I felt as if I were eating diphtheria
medicine. Next morning we breakfasted on a turkey buzzard shot by
Coonskin, and that afternoon my jaded caravan crossed the summit
of the plateau, and descended into the beautiful Strawberry Valley
in the glow of a gorgeous sunset. Soon after, we met two
sheep-herders on horseback, looking for two comrades, and, when
crossing the broad, verdant valley, we saw two great flocks of
sheep, one grazing up the valley, the other down. We camped near
Strawberry Creek. The four sheep-herders rode up presently and
having a wagon full of supplies, said if I would lend them my
tent-poles they would string up a lamb and divide. I gladly
consented. Two of the herders rode off to mill up the flocks for
the night, while the other two butchered a sheep, built a fire and
cooked.

If the scene of that highland camp could have been painted with
true color and detail, it certainly would have made the artist
famous. A few feet from the flaming fire stood my tent-poles like
a tripod, and from their apex was suspended, head down, a fat
mutton; on bended knee with hunting knife in hand, one of the
herders was taking its woolly pelt. The coffee-pot and frying-pan
were on the fire with a kettle of boiling potatoes, and, while the
shepherd-cook was preparing bread for my Dutch oven, two herders
gathered sage for a reserve supply of fuel.

Some fifty feet way the horses were picketed, and across the
stream the donkeys grazed on the juicy grass, untethered but none
the less secure in the novel corral of twenty thousand sheep which
the faithful shepherd dogs promised to keep milled round us all
throughout the black, chilly night. The camp-fire sent flashlight
beams on the surrounding scene, and etched weird pictures on the
darkness. The silhouetted heads and backs of the horses and
donkeys moved fantastically against the starry sky like animated
mountain peaks on the distant horizon; the vast field of wool
encompassing us and the bleating of its contented life seemed like
the troubled waters of some highland lake imprisoning us on its
one small island; and away across the vale and again just above us
towered the barrier of mountains against the sparkling heavens,
forming banks and pillows for stray clouds to sleep upon.

At a late hour we hungry men sat down to a tasty supper of fried
mutton, potatoes, hot bread and coffee. The air soon rang with
laughter. Later when we brought forth our companionable pipes and
began story-telling round the cozy fire, I felt a delight which
seemed a full compensation for the hardships we had suffered
during the last week. Suddenly the cry of a mountain lion set the
collies barking, but the report of a herder's rifle silenced the
prowler and sent him back, no doubt, into the hills. The lions and
wolves are a constant menace to the flocks in that popular valley.

It was midnight when we retired. Storm-clouds had gathered and
shut out the light of the stars; it looked and felt like snow. The
shepherds, learning that we travelers were short of bedding,
brought us two heavy woolen blankets; so we rolled ourselves
together and were soon asleep, and in the morning awoke, covered
with snow an inch deep. By seven o'clock we were ready to resume
our journey and the shepherds had saddled their mounts for their
day's duties.

Trailing out of the valley, and through Daniel's Canyon, we
traveled some twenty-five miles down to the lowlands, and at nine
in the evening pitched camp near where, next morning, we
discovered a ranchhouse and haystack.

Heber City lay five miles away; arriving there we were royally
entertained.

Friday we started for Provo. The trail lay through a picturesque
canyon, along the bank of Provo River, where the mountains rose
sheer and barren to a great height on either hand. Numerous
waterfalls pour their loveliness over steep declivities; patches
of crimson and yellow verdure showed in the crevices of the gray
summits; and now and then a terraced vineyard or orchard or an
irrigation ditch, hugging the steep slopes, indicated a
habitation was hidden somewhere near in leafy bower or
vine-covered trellis. Once we crossed the river on a new iron
bridge replacing an old stone structure which avalanches had
demolished.

Passing the night in Provo, I rode Skates six miles to
Springville, through a beautiful, verdant valley, where rows of
poplars lined the fields and orchards, reminding one of Normandy.
There I was greeted by a newspaper editor and a school principal,
the latter inviting me to dinner.

Returning to Provo I found my outfit ready for trail. Making a
brief stop in Lehi, we reached Pleasant Grove about eight, and
camped in a peach orchard adjoining a hotel. The landlord welcomed
us to a hot supper, in spite of the late hour, then offered us a
downy bed, which we declined, preferring the pure, crisp outer
air.

I boarded the early morning train for Salt Lake City to attend
Sunday service at the Tabernacle and hear the famous organ and
choir. Coonskin remained behind to care for our animals.

Without my donkeys to identify me, my rough, unkempt and most
eccentric person caused a sensation at the Mormon capital. I kept
aloof from everybody, and nobody was inquisitive enough to inquire
my name, errand, and previous condition of servitude. I strolled
about the beautiful city, and then went to church.

[Illustration: "_The last and only drop._"]

[Illustration: "_Just finished lunch when the posse arrived._"]

An usher with a charitable heart led me half way down the aisle to
a pew in the midst of that fashionable congregation. Every one was
dressed better than Pod. But I did not feel ill at ease; on the
contrary, I felt at home. A great many true churchmen and
churchwomen should have kept their eyes on their hymnals instead
of watching me try to chant "I want to be a Mormon and with the
Mormons stand." Presently my sensitive nerves were irritated by
successive coughing across the aisle. I looked to see what kind of
a mortal was suffering so, and beheld a vision of loveliness!
Instantly I remembered a small box of cough drops in my pocket,
and felt it my duty as a gentleman to summon the courage to cross
the aisle and offer the soothing remedy. Soon with palpitating
heart and crimson face, I stepped with quaking limbs across the
aisle and reached the box to the fair cougher.

I remember her look, as she lifted the lid of the--empty box. I
knew plenty of people in my lifetime who had fainted; I regretted
never having taken lessons from them.

My head reeled, the Tabernacle was going round, and with
difficulty I retreated to the pew in front of my hat, which I
looked for, but couldn't find. I needed fresh air, I wanted to go
out. Strange to say the lady stopped coughing. It was the shock
that cured her, but the congregation were not aware of that. Some
of them saw her look into the mysterious pasteboard box and turn
red-beet color, and cease her convulsions. That was why several
spoke to me, and asked if I were a magician, or healer, as they
had read of such people. When I had once escaped into the airy
street, I wondered how that box became emptied; then, suddenly, I
recollected that, before retiring the night before, Coonskin asked
if I had some cough drops left, and helped himself.

After dinner I felt better. I visited the Jubilee Museum, where
was exhibited an interesting collection of Mormon relics of
pioneer days, and then took a car for Fort Douglas, about three
miles from the city on the mountain side, and was invited to tea
with an officer of the post, my old friend Lieut. K----n.

It was late when I reached Pleasant Grove. The following day my
party covered nearly twenty-five miles, and about two o'clock on
the succeeding afternoon marched into the Mormon capital. There a
well known pioneer made a speech and welcomed me to the city; and
after I had responded in fitting words, he presented me to leading
citizens, among them bishops, presidents and elders of the Mormon
church. The presiding bishop, an affable old gentleman, asked the
privilege of caring for my animals at the Tithing House; another
prominent citizen invited me to be his guest. I declined the
latter kindness, preferring to be a free lance and to make the
most of my sojourn. I was next introduced to Governor Wells.

That same evening Coonskin and I were invited to the theater, and
next day, besides delivering many lectures, I contracted with
S---- & Company, prominent silversmiths, to make a full set of
silver shoes for Mac A'Rony, to be sent to Oakland, Cal., and
there to be set for his triumphant entry into San Francisco.



CHAPTER XLV.

BY MAC A'RONY.

    O, that he were here to write me down an ass! but, masters,
  remember that I am an ass; though it be not written down, yet
  forget not that I am made an ass.--_Much Ado About Nothing._


My sojourn in the famous Mormon Capital was too short for my
taste. I shall remember it as long as I have bra'in's. I am proud
to say that I was initiated into the Mormon faith and took unto
myself no less than eleven wives; and I would have outrivaled
Brigham Young in connubial conquests if Pye Pod had not bribed the
Elders and put an end to my marital ambitions.

While a guest at the Tithing House, I found it well stored with
asinine and equine luxuries. The Bishop and many charming lasses
brought me bread, cake, apples and jam, and some genial fellow of
a convivial turn tapped a bottle of rum punches. After imbibing a
few "balls," I was quite ready to tipple Cheese, Damfino and
Skates, and right here let me say, that of all skates I ever knew
or heard about, the last named takes the palm as an artist in
"high-jinks." While she gave a clever exhibition of an inebriated
athlete, the rest of us donks lay stupidly on a bunch of hay,
which was one-tenth of some Mormon's harvest, and reveled in day
dreams.

Skates had reached that stage of her circus where she was
burlesquing a Shetland pony cavorting on two legs, when Coonskin
announced it was time to start. None of us stirred, except Skates.
She showed the man how superbly she could pirouette on her left
legs around the corral; then, suddenly, she toppled over in front
of him, and reached for the bottle lying at his feet. Coonskin
grabbed the bottle, smelt of it, eyed each one of us distrustfully,
flung it over the fence, and prodded us all on to our feet. You can
bet he had a hard job to keep two of us standing, let alone all
four of us. He looked disgusted, turned on his heel, and made for
the gate at once.

When Coonskin returned, he bore a pail of water in each hand.
Indeed, the forgiving old soul, I thought, is going to refresh us
and wash that dull, brown taste out of our mouths. Staggering to
my feet, I advanced to meet him. Damfino and Cheese were almost
dead to the world, but Skates made for the man on a lop-sided
trot, arriving at one pail just as I reached the other. Into the
liquid we dipped our nozzles, and as quickly jerked them out. What
strange tasting water!

"Water from a mineral spring," observed Skates. "No, it's a
bromo-seltzer," said I. Then each drank about a fourth of a
pailful, and would have drunk more, but Coonskin snatched the
pails away, and, it seems, transposed them.

Again we fell to drinking. But, so help me Balaam! soon something
began to boil and sizzle inside of me. I thought I had swallowed a
school of swordfish, but immediately a geyser raged within, and,
like a shot, spouted out of my mouth, spraying Coonskin's face;
and almost simultaneously Skates played another fountain in the
man's eyes.

"Seidlitz powders!" I gasped, trying to catch my breath, which
seemed to have left me forever. And didn't that man curse the
whole race of jackasses! Dropping the pails, he ran for a pump.

Presently Coonskin returned. "You infernal scapegraces!" he
exclaimed, as he eyed me and picked up the pails.

My recent experience had quite restored me to a rational donkey,
and, remembering that "a soft word turneth away wrath," I said,
"You are too eager to fix the blame on an innocent creature,
Master Coonskin. The recent episode which was so distasteful to us
three, and most exasperating to you, points a good moral. Never
become so absorbed in the virtues of a cure that you are blind to
its possible effect upon your patient."

The man left us, shaking his head and talking to himself, and
administered the dose to Damfino and Cheese.

When Coonskin first visited us it was eleven o'clock. Damfino did
not sound eight brays to announce the sun's meridian and the hour
for barley, but we donks were considered sober enough to be packed
by one o'clock, although in poor condition to travel. It was an
effort for me to walk, an impossibility to walk straight. My
asinine comrades grunted and groaned from nausea, and Cheese
complained that we had been cheated of our mid-day meal.

When we arrived at the Hotel, Pod had just finished his luncheon.
Damfino looked into the hotel portal and brayed. Then Pod came out,
got into my saddle, and amid great applause from the assembled
citizens, piloted our caravan down the broad thoroughfare, out of
the lovely poplared streets and hospitable, home-lined avenues,
past orchard and field and cottage and windmill, over the road to
Garfield Beach, on "that mysterious inland sea," a few miles from
the city. Once or twice, as I wabbled across the level and
luxuriant valley, I turned my head for "one last, lingering look
behind," though I confess I did so timorously, with a feeling
intermixed with superstitious foreboding, as I recalled the story
of how Lot's wife turned into a pillar of salt. It suggested
itself to my reason that if there was one spot on earth indigenous
to such a dire transformation it was right in that Salt Lake
valley.

There, above and behind us, and across the majestic towers of the
Temple, lay Fort Douglas, the gem frontier post of America, its
white painted fences and barns glistened like meerschaum in the
sunshine, with lovely drives and walks, and smooth-cut foliage,
and sleek-broomed lawns of emerald, and fountains (not charged
with seidlitz), and blooming flowers. And beyond towered the
rugged, snow-crowned summits of the "eternal barrier" which holds
the fort below, and guards with loving care the "Land of Promise"
and that so-called "modern Zion" at their feet, like a dog guards
his bone when threatening elements are wagging his way.

We arrived at Utah's Coney Island, Garfield Beach, late in the
middle of the afternoon. This famed resort, named after the martyr
President who was the victim of an assassin, is a very pleasant
retreat on the lake shore. It is accessible by railroad train,
horse and buggy, or donkey engine, although few people accept the
latter mode of conveyance, as Pod did, I observed.

Pod stopped to swim and float on Salt Lake. Then we went on and
brought up at a delicious fresh-water well, in front of the
Spencer Ranch-house, where I led my asinine quartette in the song
of the "Old Oaken Bucket." An audience at once gathered. Mr. S----
invited us all to tarry for the night, and when the Prof.
accepted, we donks gave three "tigers" and a kick, which struck
the ranch dog as being most extraordinary. Landing on the other
side of the fence, he yelped himself into the house without
further assistance.



CHAPTER XLVI.

BY PYE POD.

    There are braying men in the world, as well as braying asses;
  for what's loud and senseless talking and swearing any other
  than braying?--_Sir Roger L'Estrange._


We set out early from Spencer ranch, refreshed by a good night's
sleep. The weather was mild, but the trail dusty, and the country
uninteresting. I found Tooele to be a sociable town that, from
appearances, subsisted mainly on sympathy and fruit. Some of its
denizens own outlying ranches or fruit-farms, and the remainder,
those who don't, have sympathy for those who do. There appears,
however, betwixt these two outcropping extremes to be ample means
with which to provide the more modest comforts of life--wives and
children: for such are known to exist, under any conditions, all
over the world.

No sooner had I entered the village, than a gentle-eyed siren
coyly approached, and said her papa wished me to put my jacks in
his stable. While I was trying to please that man, a squatty youth
scraped across the road in his elder brother's breeches to say
that his mother would like to have me spend the night at her
house. "Sociable people all right," my valet remarked, while I
said to the boy, "Kid, you run and tell your good mother that I
have a man with me, and, if she can accommodate us both, I will be
glad to compensate her liberally for the hospitality."

But these Mormon _beaux esprits_, while followers of the Prophet,
reverence old Bacchus as though he were Young.

As soon as my animals were provided for, Coonskin and I were
called to supper and greeted at the gate by Mr. and Mrs. Noah and
the children. I was hungry and tired. It occurred to me that in
all probability my hosts had drawn heavily on their larder to
provide a generous repast, and would yet have to pluck all their
drakes and ganders before they could make our beds down.

That evening, on venturing in the street, I was held up by a jolly
party, armed with two kegs of beer, a barrel of sandwiches, and a
number of mandolins and guitars. In front of my donkey's quarters
was a spacious, grass-grown area, where they spread their feast;
there I met my fête. The serenade, if not the banquet, was in
honor of the whole party, biped and quadruped. Although my dog
whined at the harmony to frighten the performers, Mac and Damfino
applauded the classic selections vociferously, while all four
donks availed themselves of standing-room only, rest their chins
on the top corral rail, and audibly discussed the exercises.

As soon as my entertainers departed, Coonskin and I sought our
hostess. It was a beautiful September night. No air was astir. The
sky was darkly clear and the myriad stars were winking with
insomnia.

Startled from sound sleep at early dawn by a blast from a "busted"
fish-horn, I rolled out of bed in the presence of Noah, instead of
Gabriel, as I was frightened to expect.

The next thing was to wash and dress. A half vinegar barrel stood
at the back door abrim with water. I was told it was soft, but I
found it hard enough to wash in. A few feathers floated on the
surface, and the soft water looked like soft soap. Old Noah was
one ahead of me and dipped in. His wife, sons, and dog made their
ablutions in turn, while the Shanghai hens and a pet magpie had
doubtless rinsed their fowl beaks in it.

I watched the exhibition reflectively, and, concluding it would
not show proper respect to appear at table before taking a dip,
and that more than likely I should have to drink worse water
before I had crossed the desert, I ducked my head, paddled my
fins, then dried them in the sun, for I couldn't "go" that towel.
The scrambled pigs' feet at breakfast was a new dish to this
epicure, though my versatile valet observed with an inflated
appetite, that he had often made pigs' feet scramble back in
Wisconsin.

In spite of a late start, we reached Stockton before noon. My
first duty was to hunt up an opulent resident, whom I had met at
the soiree in Tooele, and who had promised me a burro.

We at once unpacked the donkeys, to give them a restful nooning,
and piled the luggage in front of a store. It was here that my
philanthropic friend found me smoking. At once, he sent a lad to
chase up a good, strong burro to make good his promise; next he
offered me the freedom of the town.

"I'm kind of tired, my good sir," I said gratefully,
"but--how--how far is the town."

The donor of Coxey blinked his eyes and felt of his goatee, then,
straightening back, said, "Not fer, it's right here. Can't you see
it all round ye? Ye didn't cal'luate ter find a New Yirk er New
Orlins, did ye? This is jest plain unadulterated Stockton, and
it's glad ter welcome ye. Now, if ye're trim ter go about a piece,
I'll guide ye."

"Thanks, awfully," I replied, rising. "Take me to a smith the
first thing; I want all my donks' feet examined and put in
condition for the desert."

Then leaving an order for supplies at the store, I had Coonskin
ride my new burro to the blacksmith.

After a two-and-a-half-hour sojourn in Stockton, my caravan was
wending its way to the next and last town we would visit in Utah,
St. Johns. The next after that would be one hundred and
seventy-five miles away. Here and there along the trail a
ranchman's shack stood alone, the glistening window panes flashing
like a lighthouse tower in that sea of sage. An occasional horse
or steer would loom above the brush; once or twice a jackrabbit
bounded across the trail, or a weary buzzard careened in the air
overhead, as though figuring for me a fatal horoscope.

I was silent a long time before Coonskin reminded me that I had
neglected my weekly letter to the papers.

Said he, "It's a good time to cultivate the acquaintance of
Samantha Jane, that typewriter you got at Salt Lake."

"Can't you suggest something more sensible?" I replied. "How can I
manage the machine while riding a jackass?"

"Easy enough," said Coonskin. "Lash it on Damfino, and seat
yourself as you would to play solitaire."

Great idea! The neglected typewriter was at once introduced to my
party for the first time, and secured in a comfortable position on
the broad-backed donkey. Then I seated myself vis-à-vis, and
opened up a somewhat spirited conversation on the journey.

It was not with the best of grace that Samantha Jane consented to
be my amanuensis. She held the sheet of paper very mechanically,
and appeared utterly devoid of animation. I first tried to date my
letter. I shot my finger at the S key and struck the L just as
Damfino nabbed at a sage bush. I'll correct the spelling afterward
I thought, and tried to hit the letter E, but rapped A full in
the face. "Don't joggle so!" I yelled at my steed, and, drawing a
bead on P, literally knocked down Z, as Damfino stubbed her toe.
Next, in vexation, I shot at T quite recklessly, and punched Y's
face close by. The effort had overtaxed me, and snatching the
paper from my typewriter, read aloud L-A-Z-Y. Mac grinned from ear
to ear, and Coonskin laughed loudly. The donkey remarked that
practice is a good remedy for incompetence, even if it does not
cultivate patience.

Again and again I tried to write the abbreviation "Sept.," but at
length called "Coonskin, I'm going to discharge this typewriter,
and stow her away till we get to Eureka."

"Your courtship is amusing. Keep it up, you'll understand each
other in time," he replied.

"I have my doubts," brayed Mac, "when she won't even let him make
a date with her."

I resolved to begin the letter anew, and to write at least a
paragraph, date or no date. This is how it looked when I had
finished.

  "Talo hab$ getoch-Tho forntnigs ate erut%wsot
  pirowigs og owhym, dyl swelboka swice, bomblastnig
  wisj thu cleg pry) wet dnpenting tresgd wobm -&a
  wihng rubpint dor a Togues Cruop; % ro mi Noty gni-
  leek befort dajosty ga eht5 safey haschimb she boj o rew
  laim$."

It was extremely encouraging, to find but four correctly-spelled
and distinctly English words in all that jumble of dialects. I
thought it a good paragraph to practice on, and would have tried
it over, but Coonskin called to me that we were approaching town
and, from appearances, the villagers were going to give us a
hearty welcome. So I stopped Damfino, and hastily tucked Samantha
Jane away in time to avoid a scandal.



CHAPTER XLVII.

BY MAC A'RONY.

    Very good; well kissed! an excellent courtesy.--_Othello._


By the time our caravan reached St. Johns, Pye Pod was bewailing
his failure to discover the key to his typewriter's character, the
non-production of his newspaper letter, and the forfeiture of the
check it would have brought him; besides, he was borrowing trouble
by deploring his prospective desert journey ere it had begun.

"What a sleepy old hamlet in which to bid farewell to earth!" he
muttered dejectedly, as we passed the first house. "I'll bet 13 to
1 that there isn't a soul in the whole settlement to welcome us.
The great and only Pythagoras Pod, D. D. (donkey driver), passeth
through with his stately train and entereth the seared and thorny
purgatory of the desert without the perfume of a single rose to
waft to him its balm of comforting sympathy."

Suddenly a happy cheer greeted our ears in the distance. The sound
was sweetly feminine, and Pod said that to his sensitive ear the
angelic chimes swelled and died and softly returned, like the
tender notes of the nightingale in an echo vale. (Pod is often
swelled by the divine inflatus). At this time not a soul beyond
our outfit was visible, but soon we discovered in the foreground
of a kennel-shaped schoolhouse a bevy of girls, all clad in white
and garnished with flowers and delicate vines. As we drove near,
the whole band of pretty maidens, led by the tallest of them,
approached and surrounded us. I knew not whether Pod was
frightened or elated; he fell off my back in an effort to dismount
gracefully.

The pretty chieftess made a bow, and looked at the sky, and played
nervously with her skirt, and turned side-ways, and finally began
to intone her "Him of the Asinine Pilgrimage."

"Noble and valorous courtier," she began softly--and a donk of the
party brayed, "Speak louder!"--"we daughters of St. Johns, Queen
of the Desert, come to greet you with kind and admiring hearts."
(Coxey brayed boisterously, "Here, Here!") "We hail your brilliant
achievement, as the planets hail the sun"--("What a Venus that
middle one," I confided to Pod)--"Your courage, your fortitude,
your manly sacrifice of the associations of your nativity and of
the affectionate kisses of dear ones left behind you. These, we
deem, should be recognized. Therefore, having learned that you and
your stately caravan were coming by this highway and that your
trusty charger, Mac A'Rony, was still standing faithfully by you"
(I bowed at the compliment)--"and your poultroon of long-eared
cavalry"--"For Balaam's sake! What's that she calls us?" I
questioned my mute master. "She means 'Platoon,' not 'poultroon,'"
he explained--"St. Johns has befittingly chosen the flowers of her
desert garden--thirteen comely virgins--to be presented to you on
this momentous occasion. And so, in honor of your famous
exploits," continued the chieftess, composedly, "we now come to
meet the lion fearlessly in his desert haunts. Here, take these
flowers" (she handed Pod a bunch) "and wear them. They will prove a
talisman to conduct you and your party in safety to the farther
desert shore." And with the most exalted, sweet-scented nerve Pod
accepted the bokay. He smelled of it, and examined it, and then
disappointedly yet courageously replied: "I see no tulips among
the flowers, and I love two-lips so much."

"Indeed? Well, then you shall not be disappointed," said the
pretty speaker; and, s'help me Balaam! If that girl didn't step
forward and give my surprised master her two lips. And every one
of the dozen others, except the last one, gave hers too, or drown
me in an alkali pond. The last girl sensibly boxed his ears. Pod
just kissed every mouth of them, from the eldest to the youngest,
save the one. The touching ceremonies over, I rather expected my
master to respond eloquently in a few well-chosen words, but he
was speechless. "Speech!" cried Cheese, and every donkey of us
repeated, "Speech, Speech!" Then Pod found his tongue and began:

"Beautiful and spicy sage-flowers," he bungled; and the maidens'
sweet faces colored,--"I am completely overcome with this splendid
ovation. As frogs dive into a crystal pool, you have disturbed the
morbid surface of my present feelings with radiating ripples which
shall widen and cease to fade into oblivion only when I shall have
reached the desert's opposite strand. The honey you have left on
my lips shall sweeten my ertswhile bitter hours, and the milk of
your human kindness will quench my thirst when the last drop in my
canteen has evaporated. Now I must bid you all a fond and
affectionate farewell."

At once the silver-tongued orator went down the line again,
kissing each and every one of the dozen he had sampled before;
then he got into my saddle. The thirteen foolish virgins backed
sorrowfully against the barbed wire fence with handkerchiefs to
their eyes; the blushing, crimson sun hid his phiz behind the
distant mountains; a dumb weathercock tried to crow as he tucked
himself to roost on a neighboring barn; and our caravan moved on
toward the desert waste.

"A complete triumph," remarked the Professor, swelled with pride;
"but for that eldest prude who slapped my face."

"The incident points a moral," I returned. "Don't attempt to pet
every cat that purrs."



CHAPTER XLVIII.

BY PYE POD.

              The lottery of my destiny
  Bars me the right of voluntary choosing.
                                  --_Shakespeare._


Rocky Mountain canaries were singing their lullabys and Bridget
(the clock) had just called eleven o'clock when the house of St.
Joer loomed in the darkness. A hush was upon it and all the
out-buildings. Though nobody greeted me, still I knew where I was
by the odd-looking arch over the corral gate. Mr. St. Joer was at
the soiree in Tooele, and had made me promise to tarry with him a
night before braving the desert; so we camped in the corral. We
were awakened early by the genial ranchman, and escorted in to
breakfast with him and a guest, a young man from Salt Lake City,
who had just ridden horseback from Granite Mountain, where he had
been inspecting some lead mines.

It was a treat for me to sit again at a meal not cooked by myself;
all four of us ate with genuine relish. The stranger was about
thirty, of light complexion, tall and slender, and was dressed in
a nobby riding-suit, with leather leggings and spurs.

"If you take the Granite Mt. trail to Redding Springs," suggested
my host, turning to the young engineer for his indorsement--"but
no, that's too risky," he corrected.

"Save forty miles and more," commented the engineer. "I can give
the Professor a diagram of the desert and all the trails to
Fedora Spring in Granite Mt.; the trail from there to Redding is
not confusing, I understand."

I said I would take the risk to save forty miles, a two days'
journey. My first intention had been to go south of the desert by
Fish Springs, the route generally traveled by emigrant schooners.

Three hours later, we were climbing the rocky summit of the range
that hid the great desert beyond, and threading the jagged
causeway called the Devil's Gate.

They rose sheer and craggy high above us--immutable witnesses of
that sundering catastrophe of nature when the earth's mighty
convulsions of a prehistoric age converted an obstacle into a
convenient pass. When out on the western side and I beheld the
broad expanse of sun-tanned desert reaching from that sage mottled
slope to the parallel-stretch of mesa, some twenty miles away, the
intervening Skull Valley lost for me its legendary terrors. But it
was a forlorn-looking prospect; only two things made up the
perfect picture of a despised Nature--alkali and sage.

About noon, when we had proceeded some distance into the Skull
Valley desert, we stopped to feed and rest an hour before resuming
the march. As we seemed to have abundance of water and provisions,
this glaring solitude with such a lugubrious name caused me no
dread sensations, for when supplied with the necessities of life,
it is difficult for one to realize the dying man's agonies of
starvation or thirst.

By six we had crossed Skull Valley. The last mile of trail wound
up a slight grade to a grassy bench, where stood a low-roofed, log
shack; it was the deserted Scribner's Ranch. A few moment's
reconnoitering resulted in our finding the spring.

Then we unpacked and picketed the animals, excepting Mac A'Rony,
who was usually allowed to roam at will; for when tied, he was
forever tangling himself in a snarl that required time and
patience to unravel.

Our tent was pitched a hundred feet from the shack, whose dusky
contour, wrapped in the sombre veil of night, on the mesa above us
and against the sparkling firmament, looked cold and repelling
indeed.

Day had advanced two hours when we awoke. The broad desert to the
west gleamed at white heat. While I cooked breakfast, Coonskin
saddled the animals, to save time; then, the meal over, we quickly
packed and started for the scorching sands. The trail was as hot
and level as a fire-brick floor. As far as the eye could reach in
three directions, the blue, curved dome of heaven and the
glistening desert met in a gaseous haze, hiding the horizon, but
in time, far to the west, as we proceeded gradually, rose a
bluish-gray pyramid, which we know to be Granite Mountain; while,
to the rear, the distant hills, where stood the deserted cabin,
looked to be mere dust-heaps at the base of Nature's architecture--the
towering rocks of the Cedar Mountains through which we trailed
the morning before.

Every few minutes we had to tap our canteens; the powdered alkali
dust rose in our faces and swelled our eyes and tongues; no amount
of water would alleviate our pangs of thirst. Besides, the
evaporation of the water in our cloth-wrapped canteens and
basket-covered demijohn was frightfully great; I feared lest the
supply would not last us through to Fedora Spring. I gave Don
frequent drinks, yet his eyes were blood-shot and his tongue hung
out foaming and swollen. As a precaution against any sudden freak
of madness on his part, I held my revolver in readiness to
dispatch the dear fellow should it become necessary.

On the other hand, my donkeys strode along quietly, without
complaint or seeming discomfort, as if in their native element.

Not a living thing could we see beyond our caravan. No jack-rabbits
ventured into the desert; no more would a water-spaniel
breast a scalding sea. The only living thing we met with in that
gigantic kiln was a horned toad, which was existing as a hermit
and was apparently content. We captured it, and Coonskin named it
Job, because the horns which covered it looked like the extinct
craters of once boiling boils. Our water was vanishing so rapidly
by noon that I decided not to tarry for lunch and rest, but to
hasten to the spring; but at five, when the sun was nearer the
horizon and evaporation less, I ordered a dry camp, and the
donkeys were unpacked and grained with the last of the barley
generously presented by St. Joer. We men lunched on cold meat and
crackers and canned fruit, and sparing draughts of warm water;
after which we reclined and smoked until the sun set. Then we
repacked before darkness set in to confuse us. How the donkeys did
enjoy rolling in the alkali! When they had finished their dry
ablutions they looked like negroes who had been hit with a bag of
flour.

Just before resuming the march, we men poured a few drops of
citric acid into our two quart canteens, whose tepid water was
only an aggravation of our thirst; the acid made it palatable.
Soon afterward I discovered our great error. The acid so worked on
the tin that the water became, in time, unfit to drink; fearing
lest it would poison us, we both had to throw the precious liquid
away.

About mid-way that afternoon I saw my first mirage. It was simply
magnificent, wonderful! A snow-crowned mountain rose out of the
desert, and on top of it, turned bottom-side up, rested its
counterpart, both phantom peaks remaining a while immovable; then
they appeared to crush into each other and dissolve. The spectacle
was bewildering. Like mammoth icebergs in a glistening sea, they
seemed to melt and leave on the arid waste a great lake of crystal
water. At sundown they reappeared with still grander effect.

The sun threw a crimson, fiery mantle over the under mountain,
which produced the effect of flowing lava down its snow-white
slope to a flame-red lake on the desert, while above, on the upper
mountain, reflected and danced shadows of rose-color and pink, as
if reflected from flames within the crater of a volcano
underneath. Then, as the sun sank below the horizon, the upper
mountain gradually rose toward the zenith and opened wider, like a
great fan, tinted with all the colors of a rainbow, until it faded
into radiating webs of gossamer, and disappeared.

One other time we saw plainly the skeletons of a man and a horse
glistening several hundred feet from the trail, but I was too
incredulous to put faith in the old proverb, "Seeing is
believing," and passed on. Just before dark the huge Granite
Mountain looked to be only a couple of miles away. Still we
traveled till midnight before we passed the edge of the dusky
pile, so deceiving are distances in that rarified air.

The evening in that cooling oven of baked sand and alkali was
oppressively long, dull and wearisome. Every trail branching
toward Granite Mountain had to be checked off my diagram, for we
had seen no sign-board. True, the heavens lent a little cheer with
their sparkling lights, but the temperature fell from far above
the 100 degree mark to 70 degrees by eight o'clock, and to 48
degrees before we pitched camp. We had passed three trails not on
the diagram, and I began nervously to speculate whether the
sign-board had been taken by some overland voyager for fuel and
we had passed the trail to Fedora Spring.

The clock pointed to one. A few moments later a well-beaten trail
curved southward toward the towering pyramid of rock. I called a
halt to reason with my man on the advisability of following it.

"We'll chance it," I said; and we trailed toward the mountain.
Narrower, rockier and steeper grew the trail for two miles, before
I discerned the sloping sides of the canyon we were in, when I
ordered camp. The donkeys were securely picketed to the roots of
giant sage with our longest ropes, to enable them to find sleeping
places among the rocks; I knew they must be very thirsty, and
would try to break away in search of water. Then we made our bed
in the trail, and with lantern went to find the spring; but we
searched in vain and returned to our camp-fire discouraged.
Evidently we had taken a wood-trail into a dry canyon.

Only half a two-quart canteen of water was left us. We ate a cold
lunch, and drank sparingly; after which I took charge of the
canteen for the night. Coonskin remonstrated at once, saying he
was thirsty. I said I was, too, and that when I should drink, he
could, but not otherwise. We were in desperate circumstances, and
I must exercise my authority. So we crawled into our blankets, on
the hard and narrow trail under the glittering canopy of heaven,
and were soon asleep. But, before lying down, with a realizing
sense that we were lost and without the water to keep us alive
half the distance either to Skull Valley or to Redding Springs, I
knelt in fervent prayer to God to guide us out of that awful
wilderness to water in time to save us from the death that seemed
to be in store for us on the morrow. The beaming planets, also
voyagers on a limitless sea of mystery and doubt, looked down,
cold and unsympathetic. Coonskin was first asleep; when I was
sure, by his breathing, I quietly rose and gave my faithful dog a
few drops of water in the wash basin. He was grateful indeed, and
tried to be content; he seemed to realize the situation, and
licking my cheek, lay down close to my side.

The sun shone over the walls of the canyon and awoke us
frightfully late. We stretched and yawned. Now, I thought, if I
had only taken Mac's suggestion to lay in a store of carrots and
turnips, the water in the vegetables would have sufficed in
emergency, and the donkeys had feed.

As my hopeful outfit tramped and slipped and tumbled down to the
shining plain, I almost felt I could see my finish on that
sun-scorched lime-hued gridiron which faded away into a gaseous
nothingness in three directions. When we came to the main desert
trail, I halted my caravan to debate with my despondent valet as
to what would be the wisest move. Should we go east or west?

"Flip a penny," said Coonskin, "Heads, west; tails, east!" and he
at once threw the coin whirling in the air, and caught it, tails
up.

"West we have been traveling, and west we shall continue to go," I
said positively; and gave the command to move on, adding: "If we
fail to discover the sign-board after passing beyond the mountain,
then we'll come back and search to the east."

We had proceeded a mile and a half when Coonskin went crazy, or
had a fit, and I emptied the canteen in his mouth. This revived
him. He had partially undressed and was trying his best to
frighten me and the dog. The sun beat down furiously; the sky
wasn't the only thing that looked blue. I raised the canteen to my
lips and drained it of the last and only drop. My tongue hung out
swollen, and my palate and throat burned. Another half mile, and I
should have despaired, when, suddenly, a small white board, nailed
to a short stake, loomed up ahead of us. I knew intuitively it
marked the branch trail to the coveted spring. No two happier
mortals ever lived than Coonskin and I. We threw our hats in the
air; we shouted, and hurrahed, and sang; and turned handsprings
and somersaults on the white, dusty floor of the desert. An hour
later my little caravan had climbed the canyon to its fountain,
and there we men fell on our stomachs with my dog, under the heels
of the five donkeys which crowded about the cool, delicious
waters, and drank until seized by the collar and dragged away from
the spring by a man and boy.

Near by stood prairie schooners, and some yards beyond were their
horses, nibbling on the tops of sage brush. The party was bound
east, and did us a kindness by preventing our drinking to excess
in our condition.

The man was kind enough to caution me before departing to mark
well the sky and the wind, for should we be caught in a rain in
that dreaded Red Desert, whose soil is so tenacious, we would
"pass in our chips" without doubt.

At one o'clock we struck out. The afternoon's march was just as
tedious, and uncomfortably hot, and thirst-provoking as that of
the previous day. But, with the exception of a fright we received
late in the day when a few drops of rain fell from a passing
cloud, there was nothing to mar the serenity of the journey to
Redding Springs. The long-traveled trail was worn to a depth of
twenty inches and more for many miles. We men, especially I, had
to sit our animals Turkish-fashion to avoid being drawn out of the
saddles by our dragging feet. The march after sunset to two in the
morning was the most wearisome. Finally, when we were still three
or four miles to Redding, I heard a dog bark ahead in the
darkness, and thought we were almost there. Yet we traveled an
hour and a half before the buildings of the ranch loomed in the
darkness. Soon we had supped, and were wrapped in slumber.

Redding Springs is a great oasis in the Salt Lake Desert. Three
springs, varying from fifty to one hundred and fifty feet in
diameter, overflow the reeded banks and irrigate a wide area of
what otherwise might be an arid spot. An Italian owns this
cattle-ranch and grows most of the necessities of life; he
seemingly is content, though far removed from the cheerful and
busy world. He believed that two of the springs were bottomless,
and had some subterranean outlet. A steer once attempted to swim
across one pond, and was drawn under by the suction and never seen
again. To prove the Italian's theory, these two ponds, or springs,
contained fish whose blindness indicates they must have lived in
underground channels where eyesight was not required, soon losing
their optics altogether.

Mac A'Rony observed, when I had related to him the dago's story
that in all probability the steer had undertaken an underground
voyage to join a herd of sea-cows in the Pacific.

Our much-needed day of rest was a delightful one.

It was a twenty-eight mile journey to Deep Creek. My outfit was in
readiness to start at 7 a. m. next day. The nine miles across the
sage-covered plain to the mountains was accomplished in a little
over three hours; then my animals began slowly to climb the ascent
over a rough but well-beaten trail.

By carrying out the directions given me by the Italian, at ten
that night my fatigued caravan was straggling along the western
slope of the broad-shouldered Deep Creek range. The sky was
clouded, the air heavy with mist; a shower was imminent. I
strained my eyes to ferret out a habitation of some sort from
among the distant and faintly twinkling lights, but when I had
selected one for our objective point and gone a hundred yards or
so, it suddenly went out, and I had to single out another one.
Again we were disappointed. Evidently it was the bed-time hour;
soon all the lights would be extinguished.

Presently rain began to fall. I took it as a timely warning, and
ordered camp. We pitched our tent in the trail, the only place in
which we could spread our bed, and crawled under cover just as the
rain poured down with a vengeance.

We had not more than closed our eyes than Don uttered a growl of
warning, and I heard the sound of galloping hoofs approaching. I
sat up. Then I heard the trampling of sage to one side of the
trail, and looking out, saw a man on horseback. "Hello there! Who
be you? Travelin' er goin' somewhere?" called a voice. I liked the
tone; the words were genial, even cheery. When I answered, he gave
us an urgent invitation to pack up and go on with him to his cabin
a half mile distant, as his guests until the storm abated.

"I thought you were drunken Injuns at first," said he. "Not common
for white men to camp in the trail. My horse was so frightened he
nearly spilt me, shying into the chaparral."

I laughed good-naturedly, and promised to arrive at his house in
time for breakfast, explaining that it would not be worth our
while to dress and pack in the rain, since we were perfectly
comfortable. Soon a hush fell upon the scene, and the beating rain
on the canvas lulled us sweetly to sleep.

When we arose in the morning, everything was dripping and a
furious gale blowing. The rain appeared to be over, but no sooner
had we packed up than down again it came. We hustled our animals
up the muddy incline, and soon rode into the door-yard of the only
cabin on the trail, and commenced unpacking. Soon our midnight
acquaintance, Murray, and his chum, an old man who went by the
cognomen of Uncle Tom, came out and welcomed us; both our hosts
were effusive in their hospitality. One stabled and fed the
donkeys, and the other ushered us into the cabin where we were
provided with dry raiment and a hot breakfast. The fire in the
stove roared in triumph and scorn at the scudding rain and wind
without, while I smiled in gratitude.

The men brought us books and tobacco, and couldn't do enough for
us. The storm soon assumed the character of a hurricane; and I
tried to fancy my little party struggling in the throes of those
merciless elements to make headway across the valley and up the
western mesa. The gale waged all day and night, but on the
following morning the sky was clear and the wind had died
considerably. It was a relief to get out of the stuffy house into
the free and open air. I took the axe and exercised myself with
chopping wood for an hour, which display of energy greatly pleased
Uncle Tom, who, I assumed, provided the fuel for the camp.

Murray was to start at eight on a round-up; so I resumed my
pilgrimage at the same time. Before good-byes were said he
presented me with a fine hair rope, braided with his own hands, as
a souvenir of the happy occasion. The place to find large hearts
is out on the western plains!

Nine o'clock saw us trampling sage in a short cut down the slope
toward a small group of log houses, designated as Deep Creek. The
frontier store was kept by an Irishman, but bossed by his wife,
who tried to impress me with her importance. Adjoining it stood
another old shack, and projecting from its front eves was a small
signboard on which was the following startling announcement:

          1st. class dentestry
  All kinds dun cheap. Horses a specilty.
            Wimen prefured.
        TERMS  CASH  or  credit.

I was amused at the novelty of this dentist's shingle; so was Mac
A'Rony.

"Poor Damfino!" he ejaculated presently, as I rubbed his nose.
"Can't you help her out of her suffering? The poor girl has had a
toothache for two days."

"Most assuredly I will," I said. "Why didn't you inform me
before?" And forthwith I ferreted out the frontier tooth-doctor.
He, resurrected from his prolonged lethargy, hunted up a
dust-covered tool-chest, and followed me impetuously to his
asinine patient.



CHAPTER XLIX.

BY MAC A'RONY.

  Of all tales 'tis the saddest--and more sad
  Because it makes us smile.                 --_Byron._


Contrary to the old saw, "Misery loves company," Damfino wished to
be alone. She said she wanted to cry, but couldn't. She had the
sympathy of us all. Only those who have suffered can appreciate
the sufferings of others. I never shall forget my profanity and
the pain that prompted it when the too considerate Prof. consented
to my electric bath.

And now, with the same kind motives oozing out of his face, he
introduced the sage brush dentist to Damfino. Dr. Arrowroot
dropped his toolchest and seizing his patient by the upper jaw
with his left hand and by the lower jaw with his right, said:
"Open up, madam," and proceeded to examine her molars.

"Locate the claim, Doc?" an on-looker asked, facetiously.

The doctor said he did, but no sooner began to dig than he was
ejected. Then the tooth-doctor called for volunteers to assist
him; every man not valuing his life responded. Two Mexicans held
the remote end of a long pole and pried Damfino's jaws apart,
while several Indians and halfbreeds braced against her sides to
prevent her from kicking and falling.

At length, Doc fastened his forceps on the ulcerated tooth, and,
grinding his teeth and wrinkling his face, yanked with all his
might. He might just as well have tried to pull a tree out of the
ground. He rested a few moments, then sent for some hay wire and a
lariat, and after wiring the lariat to the tooth, tied it to
Damfino's hind feet. We other donks were holding our sides; I
thought I would "bust." Then, when the patient was unbound--that
cantankerous donkey's four legs were roped together to prevent
further excavations in the local cemetery--there was performed the
neatest, cleverest, most thoroughly successful piece of dental
surgery that I ever heard of. That moaning "Old maid" just kicked
the tooth clean out of her jaw. And, s'help me Balaam! the root of
all that evil was three inches long.

Poor Damfino was the last to realize that the trick had been
accomplished, and kept on kicking till she threw off the lariat
and slung the molar half way through the side of the store. When
Pod showed her the tooth, she brayed for the loss of it, and as
evidence of her ingratitude, the shrew turned to me and whispered:
"Mac, since I pulled my own tooth, how can that brutal dentist
have the nerve to ask pay for it?"

"He got the nerve from your tooth, like as not," I said. "You once
told me that the Bible says, 'An eye for an eye, and a tooth for a
tooth,'"--and in a jiffy Damfino made for that innocent,
fleet-footed tooth-doctor, before Pod could have time to settle
with him.

Before long, I was leading the troop up the sage-covered mesa in
step with Damfino's mutterings. When we arrived at Billy Jones'
ranch, Billy was leaning on the picket fence in front of his back
door. His house was once turned around, hind side foremost, by a
cyclone. He was munching pinenuts, and did not budge, at first,
taking us for prospectors. When Pod introduced himself, Billy
almost fell to pieces with surprise. Soon Mrs. Jones came out,
and Pod was almost persuaded to remain over night.

But we did not tarry. It was dark and misty; rain threatened to
descend any moment. When darkness settled, it was as black as
Egypt and almost impossible for me to follow the trail. After a
while a light could be seen through the mist; Pod said it must be
the Tibbits' ranchhouse, where he proposed to camp.

Suddenly, wwhile chuckling over a joke, we donks walked slam-bang
against a barbed-wire fence, throwing the men into a rage. Then I
leading the way, we followed the fence, turned a corner round a
barn, and finally anchored at the back door of the house. Pod
found the doorknob, and made the ranchman's acquaintance, while
Coonskin pitched the tent, unpacked and picketed us donks, then
both men gathered fire-wood with which to cook. Mr. T----, when
once assured that Pod was neither beggar nor tramp, authorized us
animals to be fed grain and hay; but his wife said it was too late
to prepare supper for the men. This did not disturb Pod for he
soon had one prepared.

My, that ranchman was close-fisted! Pod even had to pay for his
kindling wood before starting the fire. The old man was a
plain-looking ruddy-faced Englishman, as snobbish as he was
penurious, but after a time he condescended to "join" the five in
a post-prandial smoke. And not until it was pounded into his thick
cranium, that his strange guests were traveling like princes did
he affect to be hospitable.

Long before dawn, our donkey matin song awoke the natives as well
as our masters, and Pod issued from the tent, half awake, hardly
in presentable condition to face Madam T., who was splitting wood,
while the old man looked on. He now insisted on his "guests"
taking breakfast with him, and afterwards charged for the bacon,
eggs, coffee and bread double the sum charged by other ranchmen
previously. The bill for hay, grain and firewood was also
presented and paid by the amused Prof. Coonskin was rash enough to
hint to Mr. T. that by some oversight no charge had been made for
water, for our party drank lots, but the Briton said no, he'd be
generous.

He accompanied us horseback four miles, nearly to the base of the
mountain, where we turned to cross the pass, and on the way
acquaint us with the superior advantages of country life in
England as compared with the disadvantages in America, and
admitted that, while a squatter in the West, he had for
twenty-five years declined to be naturalized.

The climb over the Antelope Mountains was slow and laborious.
Across the flat valley beyond, mottled with sage and greasewood,
alkali and sand spots, rose the summits of the Kern Mountains. We
trailed through straggly groves of dwarf pines laden with cones,
full of tiny nuts, some of which the men gathered and munched
unroasted. Coonskin said they were a dandy invention, just the
thing to break the monotony of talk, for they kept the jaws at
work just the same; and they were so hard to gather and shuck that
a fellow couldn't eat too many to crowd the stomach.

The valley was about ten miles broad; we crossed it and camped at
the base of another range of mountains, near the V---- sheep
ranch. The boss was away, but his genial wife and son were holding
down the claim. They visited camp after supper, listened to the
Professor's marvelous tales, and next morning the good woman sent
her son horseback to lead us beyond the point of conflicting
trails, to the entrance to the pass to Schelbourne. As the lad
rode off we donks joined in that pathetic hymn: "One more mountain
to cross," just as a sort of parting serenade.

The trail was smooth, but in some places almost obliterated; it
was the old pony express trail of ante-railroad days. Sometimes it
was steep and we donks puffed like engines. There were the charred
stumps of the telegraph poles that the Injuns burned to annoy
Uncle Sam, and occasional ruins of stone or adobe cabins or
saloons, relics of those hot times of savages and fire-water.
Every time I saw one of them I felt dry.

By 11 a. m. we had crossed the summit and were resting near the
great stone barn of Schelbourne. It is built strong, with
sheet-iron doors and shutters, and high enough to admit a stage
coach and four. When the Injuns used to get out for a little
holiday sport, the stage, freighted with passengers, mail and
express, used to drive in at a two-forty gait; and I've heard tell
how the iron doors would shut and give the coach a friendly boost
in the nick of time to receive on their armor a hail of leaden
bullets or a shower of poisoned arrows.

On reaching the plain, I heard my master tell his valet we would
spend that night at Green's ranch. I was glad, for I was hungry;
the savory smell of the nuts the men chewed was tantalizing.
Midway the plain we were stopped to enable Pod to empty a sackful
of cones, which Cheese had threshed by his wibble-wobble motion,
and to refill their pockets with nuts. At length, we arrived at
Green's a half-hour after dark. Here we donks were fed and
watered; then Coonskin proceeded to get camp ready for the night,
while Pod made a fashionable call on Mrs. Green. And--well, he
will tell you what happened.

[Illustration: "_Coonskin and I took shelter behind our
donkeys._"]



CHAPTER L.

BY PYE POD.

    Here, brother Sancho, we may dip our hands up to the elbows in
  what they call adventures. But take note, though thou seest me
  in the greatest danger on earth, thou must not set thy hand to
  thy sword to defend me, unless thou shouldst perceive that they
  who assail me are rabble and low people, in which case thou
  canst come to my aid.--_Don Quixote._


It was early evening, October 5, at Green's ranch. The somber
quiet of the place seemed to indicate a deserted estate, but a dim
light in the window invited me to knock. At once I heard feet
shuffle across the floor, and a bolt slide in the door.

"Who be you?" called a woman, distinctly.

I introduced myself through the key-hole and was admitted. Mrs.
Green extended me a left-handed greeting while holding a
sixshooter in her right hand. It was a most interesting reception.

"What are you going to do with that?" I inquired, smiling. The
idea that a frontier woman should be so easily frightened seemed
ridiculous.

"Haven't you heard?" she returned. "Why, the whole country is up
in arms looking for two desperate outlaws. They shot a sheep-herder
last night in Telegraph Canyon, and after robbing the fellow
of four dollars, left him for dead. Mr. Green went to Egan
Canyon this afternoon for the mail, and hasn't returned. He ought
to be back by now. It is only three miles away." Here the
somewhat perturbed woman glanced at the clock, which indicated
8:00.

I conversed with Mrs. Green a few moments, and she invited us men
to supper and told me to feed my animals from the hay-stack. I
said we were well provided with food and fire-arms, that she might
feel quite safe from the brigands. Now Coonskin called for me and
said our evening meal was under way. So, I bade Mrs. Green a good
night.

Coonskin, whose chief literary diet had been dime novels, listened
to the news with rapt attention, and suggested that I cook while
he prepared camp for a sudden attack.

"Gee! Wouldn't I like to capture 'em, though!" he said
enthusiastically.

"I would like to see you try it," I returned; "you have been
'spoiling' for a scrap with an Indian, or a desperado, or some
wild beast ever since we crossed the borders, and I shouldn't
wonder if this were your opportunity. Something tells me that
we'll meet these outlaws."

Supper over and dishes washed, we retired. Our bed, only separated
from the earth by a single canvas, never was more comfortable. The
night was cool and a gentle breeze was blowing, but there was no
sound, save the braying of the donks. Suddenly I heard Don, who
was on guard, growl, then a sound of wheels and a horse's whinny.

"Will your dog bite, Mr. Pod?" called Mr. Green.

I rushed out barefoot and dispelled his fears, and, after shaking
hands, questioned him how he knew who I was.

"Oh," he chuckled, "anybody would know you by your outfit;
besides, everybody along the trail has been expecting you, even
two desperadoes."

This was interesting. But I explained that his wife had told me
all, whereupon he invited us men to breakfast, and was escorted by
Don to a point which he considered the limit of his master's
domain.

While at breakfast I learned that the Salt Lake newspapers,
containing illustrated accounts of my prosperity, had subscribers
all along the trail; that the shooting at Telegraph Canyon was the
first in that section for sixteen years; that no pay-boxes were
expected at the Egan mill, where a half dozen men were working;
and that, what was of more importance than the rest, it was the
prevailing opinion that Pye Pod was the man the outlaws were
laying for.

"Griswold is the unfortunate man's name," said Green. "The outlaws
pretended to be friendly, lunched with him, and started off on
their horses. But Griswold had no sooner turned his back than the
strangers ordered him to throw up his hands. They took all his
funds, shot him, and galloped away with his good horses, leaving
their jaded ones. The poor fellow regained consciousness, and
managed by morning to crawl six miles to a ranch. Resolute men
hurriedly saddled their horses, and soon thirty were after the
outlaws. I hear Griswold is with them, he having recovered. But
they say at Egan that some of the boys this afternoon gave up the
chase, because it was getting too warm for them; they felt pretty
near the game."

Mr. Green gave me a second-handed description of the desperadoes
and their outfit, and directing me on my route, wished us
Godspeed.

I felt that my route forced me to overtake rather than to meet by
chance two men who set but little value on other men's lives, and
even less on their own; therefore having everything to gain and
nothing to lose, they put up the best kind of a fight.

We soon arrived at Egan, where we were kindly received. The men
showed us about the works, allowing me to take photographs, and
gave me a more accurate description of the outlaws, and the long
trail of a hundred miles to Eureka. At three points only should we
find water, at Nine Mile Spring, Thirty Mile and Pinto Creek, the
latter being seventy miles away. No habitation would we see; only
an occasional coyôte, or a band of wild horses, or possibly some
prairie schooner, or the outlaws, or some of the possès.

By trailing through Egan Canyon we cut the backbone of the
mountain range and now, at an altitude of several hundred feet
above the plain, were climbing higher and higher the rugged
plateau, until we reached Nine Mile, and unpacked. The spring was
in a grassy spot, and Coonskin first replenished our canteens,
then released the donkeys.

It was noon. Accustomed as we were to travel on two meals a day, I
could set no regular hour for them. It was twenty-one miles to
Thirty Mile Spring. So we cooked here.

The desperadoes formed the chief topic of discussion, even Don
showed the bloodhound in him, and, ever since leaving Egan, showed
unusual excitement and was more vigilant. We must have crossed the
tracks of the outlaws, or were following them unwittingly. Taking
everything into consideration, we were in a fair mood to be
startled when the dog sprang to his feet, and growled. Then three
men, heavily armed, galloped up and dismounted. I was relieved
when I saw one of the riders wearing a bandage round his head; it
must be Griswold.

The strangers left their steeds standing, each tying a rein to a
stirrup, then introduced themselves. We had just finished lunch
and were smoking when the possè arrived; but now Coonskin cooked
for our friends, while I did all the honors and gleaned all the
information essential to our interests. They were affable fellows
and resolute, but had set out hardly equipped for the chase. One
picked up a two-quart canteen, saying good-naturedly that he
reckoned he would have to rustle it. I said they were welcome to
anything I could spare.

Before separating on our several missions, Coonskin photographed
the party, and Griswold repeated his description of the outlaws.
Couriers had been dispatched to Ely, Hamilton, Eureka, and other
points; these men were bound for Hunter, seven miles over the
mesa. Before leaving they asked me if I would blaze a sage-brush
fire that night should I reach Thirty Mile and discover any
evidence of the bandits. They also admonished me to hold up and
shoot without considering an instant any two mounted men of the
description given, else we two would never live to tell how it
happened.

With this parting injunction, unofficial though it was, the riders
loped away, and my nervous troop, at half-past two, "hit the
trail" in lively form. I was glad the country was clear and open.
Only an occasional dwarf cedar stood in dark relief against the
sage. About midnight the grade began perceptibly to grow steeper,
and in consequence of the clouds which had gathered the darkness
was dense. I felt we must be near to Thirty Mile. The idea of
passing the spring and having to trace our steps next morning was
not to be entertained. Seeing a bunch of cedars some distance to
the right, I headed for them. And there we camped. Behind the
screen of three small trees and the darkness we spread our
blankets, lunched on bread and cold meat, and went to sleep. The
donkeys were picketed still another hundred yards back, so as not
to be seen from the trail; we did not light a fire.

By ten o'clock next morning we had breakfasted, and were trailing
toward the summit of the plateau. Three miles further on was
Thirty Mile. Here again I unpacked the animals for an hour's
grazing on the grass by the spring.

The noon hour found us weary travelers reclining on a heap of
blankets. To the east, some fifty feet away, stood a tub, obscured
by pussy willows, and brimming with cool water furnished by a
cedar trough which reached from the bubbling spring. The overflow
streamed down a tiny gorge in the hard soil, under cover of the
willows, and finally sank in the earth.

"I'm afraid the fellows ain't going to bother us after all," said
Coonskin disappointedly, at length. "I'd give a farm to get a
whack at them."

He had no sooner uttered the words than he turned pale, and I
turned to behold two small moving dots on the horizon, some two
miles down the trail. "Jove!" he added, "I believe the outlaws are
coming."

Indeed, I could make out two men, mounted on a dark and a
light-colored horse respectively, slowly approaching. Assigning to
my valet the shot-gun and the Smith & Wesson double-action
revolver, I loaded two extra shells with buckshot, tested the
locks of my Winchester and single-action Colt revolver, gave
Coonskin explicit instructions, and awaited events.

When the strange riders rode to within a half mile of us they
stopped and dismounted. It was plain they were cinching their
saddles, probably preparing to do some rough riding. The dark
horse appeared to be somewhat darker than the one described by
Griswold, but I was cautioned that they might exchange a horse for
one on the range in order to mislead their pursuers. They and
their outfit in all other respects tallied with the description
given to me.

My companion in arms, who of late had evinced such courage, now
showed signs of weakening. He protested that it would be better
not to attempt to hold up the fellows until we were sure we were
right, and when I said that I proposed to get the drop on them the
first opportunity offered, and to shoot if necessary, and should
count on him to aid me, he was speechless. Don seemed to
understand, and stationing himself some ten feet before us,
watched the strangers eagerly. I assured Coonskin that if our dog
allowed those horsemen to enter camp, we could rest easy, but if,
when I hailed them, Don uttered a protest, we could mark them as
the outlaws. "Don't let them corral us," I cautioned; "if they get
us between them, the game is up."

Those were anxious moments for me, as well as for the young man
who was ten years my junior. I was seated on our packs, my
Winchester lying across my knees, cocked; Coonskin sat on the
ground at my right, with shot-gun in hand. Our revolvers were in
our belts. Our bearded and sun-burned faces, long hair, and
generally rough attire, added to our unfriendly attitude, must
have puzzled the approaching horsemen. When they had come to a
hundred feet from us, I called roughly, "Helloa, boys! come in.
You're just in time for grub."

Instantly Don leaped to his feet, and with tail straight out and
body trembling from rage he uttered a savage growl of defiance. He
identified the desperadoes.

Instantly reining their steeds, one of them slung some simple
questions at me, designed, no doubt, to throw us off guard.

"Purty nice lot of burros you've got," he began.

"Pretty fair," I replied disinterestedly.

"Which way you traveling?"

"West. Where 're you bound?" I inquired.

"Just lookin' round. Which is the trail to Hamilton?"

I did not answer. Then the man asked: "How far is it?"

"I don't know, and I don't care a d----," I answered coarsely,
with bravado, as if I considered it wasting time to talk.

The smiling outlaw now looked grave, and turning to his comrade
asked, loud enough for me to hear: "Shall we go in and cook?"

"No, better water our horses and go on," said the partner.

Then, quite as I anticipated, while the more slender man rode
direct to the tub of water, to the right of us, the other guided
his horse to our left, to hem Coonskin and me in between them.

Instantly I rose to my feet, and trailing the rifle over my wrist
strode, eyeing him defiantly, in a line at a right angle with the
course of his horse, but the rogue did not go far before turning
his steed in the direction of the tub. There both men dismounted
behind their steeds, took off the bridles with spade bits that
their horses might drink, and regarded us tenderfeet with some
respect and concern. They handled their bridles with their left
hands, which left their right hands free to use the revolvers I
had seen in their belts; in view of which fact, Coonskin and I
took shelter behind our donkeys, three of which were lying down
after rolling, and, aggressive as well as defensive, awaited our
opportunity.

[Illustration: "_Through Devil's Gate, their panniers scraped the
walls._"]

[Illustration: "_Fired their revolvers in the air._"]

Presently the spokesman of this bandit party, inquired: "Say,
fellows, have you seen three armed men mounted, looking for two
fellows riding a grey horse, bare-foot, and a sorrel with a bald
face, they claimed shot a man in Telegraph Canyon?"

"Not exactly," I said with a faint smile. "Don't think I ever saw
THREE armed men." I waited a few seconds for my levity to produce
the desired effect, then added: "There were three determined-looking
fellows armed with double-barreled shot-guns who stopped
here. They were man-hunting."

"That so?" queried the outlaw, quite excitably. "How long ago were
they here? Where'd they go?"

"Oh just a little while ago. They took in a few cans of water," I
here pointed in their direction, and said: "They were going to
cook over there behind that knoll."

At once, as I hoped they would, the desperadoes were thrown off
their guard and looked behind them. And as they did so I raised my
rifle and whispered to Coonskin to pull on them. But "Sancho"
never budged, his courage had left him. The outlaws turned their
eyes upon us so quickly I think they must have overheard my
whispered command. They hastily bridled, mounted, and rode
southwesterly in the direction we were bound, while turning in
their saddles and watching us until they were beyond range of our
guns.

I was in the mood to "jump" Coonskin for not aiding me to hold up
the outlaws. Our one great opportunity to distinguish ourselves on
the journey was lost. "Think of the receptions we would have had
if we had captured and disarmed those desperadoes, and marched
them handcuffed into Ely, the county seat! And think of the
handsome reward," I said.

The thought of a forfeited reward seemed to stagger the boy. I
concluded my lecture with the emphasized mandate that henceforth I
must not detect any unusual display of courage or prowess on his
part, unless it should be solicited by me, and furthermore, I did
not wish to hear any expressions of desire to attack anything more
formidable than a jack-rabbit.

Our donkeys were soon packed for a twenty-mile evening tramp
toward Pinto Creek. I pinned a penciled message on paper to the
tub before departing, for the benefit of the possè, and my caravan
was on the move again. About midnight we made a dry camp at a
discreet distance from the trail, where without building a fire we
made a cold lunch serve for our second meal that day, and retired.

Next morning early we resumed the journey. By two o'clock we had
crossed the Long Valley Mountains and were on the margin of a
sage-covered plain, still probably twenty miles to Pinto. Several
times we were puzzled by forking trails, and were in doubt whether
we were on the right one to Eureka.

I judged the valley to be ten miles wide. On we rode, the plucky
animals swinging slowly along in that awkward yet amusing
hip-movement characteristic of the burro, until I distinguished
across the plain what looked to be a house. I decided to head for
it. We arrived there at five o'clock, to find the place
temporarily deserted, to discover a fine spring and plenty of hay.
Here we cooked our evening meal and were enjoying a smoke when two
men rode up with an air of conscious proprietorship. They were Mr.
Robinson, proprietor of Newark Mines, and his superintendent. Both
were very hospitable. Mr. Robinson invited me to help myself to
anything I or my party needed, regretted that we had not waited to
dine with him, and asked us to spend the evening at his house and
breakfast with him.

When I told them the story of our experience with the outlaws,
they were greatly interested, and it called forth many tales of
adventure from both those frontiersmen. We were treated to a
heaping plate of delicious apples, and it was a late hour before
we sought our tents. It was a relief to feel myself well beyond
the outlaws' domain.

Next day my good host directed his superintendent to guide us over
Chihuahua Pass, which would save us a fifteen-mile journey around
the extremity of the mountain by way of Pinto.

The climb over the pass was rich with beautiful views. After
rising several hundred feet and looking back, the vista between
the summits and the plains glistening in the sun was superb. The
mines were a mile or two up the canyon, and to this point my kind
host accompanied us, after which his man on horseback led us over
the roughest and most puzzling part of the trail.

So narrow was the passage through Devil's Gate that two animals
could not walk abreast, and their panniers often scraped the rough
walls of the winding and rocky gate-way. Having once gained the
summit, a great oval of bench-land spotted with buffalo-grass, we
rested and grazed the donkeys while we lunched; then we shook
hands with the good-hearted guide, and trailed down the long,
pine-covered slope to Eureka.



CHAPTER LI.

BY MAC A'RONY.

    I will feed you to bursting.--_The Fair God._


Eureka is a good old mining town that saw its finish when Congress
demonetized silver. As have some clouds, it has a silver lining;
the earth beneath and the surrounding hills are rich, or rather
poor, in the white metal. A few of the mines were still operating,
and any one could see ten-horse teams drawing ore done up in bags,
like grain, to fool any mule or donk. The night we hungry donkeys
arrived in town we followed a wagon filled with bags of ore a
quarter of a mile out of our course before Prof. discovered the
mistake.

I observed that the populace didn't take much interest in what I
had to say, so I didn't say much, but I thought lots, and stored
away plenty of grain and hay, to say nothing of water. The amount
I drank would make a camel envious. But I wasn't satisfied. I
hadn't tasted fruit for a long time. So I got out of the corral,
strolled to a grocery store, and helped myself to dried apples; I
was about to nab a bacon when I was driven away to a watering-trough
by a kind boy who knew a thing or two, and then led to the
corral.

I remembered having eaten less than two quarts of apples, but
before ten minutes were gone I easily believed I had eaten ten
bushel. To look at me you would have sworn I had swallowed a
barrelful, barrel and all. Most of the day, I spent rolling round
the corral in pain. For the first time in my life I knew what it
was to be really tight.

The kind boy stood innocently by, and a companion of his dared him
to go up first. "Up where?" asked the kind boy.

"Up in the balloon, yo' big idiot!" said the other. "Jest got ter
tie a basket to his tail, and git in, and hang on. Fillin' fast,
he'll rise purty soon."

That mockery was more than I could stand while lying down, so I
rolled on to my feet and made both boys scarce. And if a
horse-doctor hadn't stabbed me, the kind boy would have needed a
balloon to save himself.

That evening saw me well again, but my cravings took a different
turn. I had a taste for a newspaper. Finally a man threw one to
me. Among its contents, I ran across the following squib, and
smiled:

    "MAC TEMPTED AND DRIVEN OUT.

    Some vixen let out one of Pye Pod's burros--it happened to be
  his pet jack--then drove him to Pete Dago's open-air lunch
  counter, where the ass helped himself to that diet which would
  go farthest, yet take up the least room--dried apples. It's a
  sad story, but the worst is over, and save a small doctor's
  bill, and a grocer's bill, and a five dollar bill, and the small
  boy, Bill, who has been placed in the coop for the night, no
  other bill figures in the case. The distinguished party leave in
  the morning, also the nigh extinguished party (meaning me). Adam
  was the first ass to be tempted to eat of forbidden fruit, but
  not the last. Adam blamed Eve. Mac blames a kind boy. Adam
  deserved some commiseration for having perhaps sampled apples
  too green, for we know what it is to be a boy, but no compassion
  can be tendered the 'narrow-gage mule' that is such an ass as
  to pack away a hundred pounds of evaporated apples, gulp down a
  cistern, and expect to fly."

During his sojourn Pod wrote his weekly letter, discussed the
desperadoes with the sheriff, photographed some crippled, dried-up
Piute Indians, and doctored the sick dog, for Don had on the trail
imbibed too freely of alkali water.

We left town the morning of October 11th, and arrived at the
Willows about midnight, after a long forced march through a
wilderness. There Pod pitched camp. Neighing broncos disturbed my
dreams, and daylight revealed a bunch of cowboys on a round-up,
also a bale of hay, which set us all braying so loudly that we
awoke the men in time to start for Austin before the sun got
scorching hot.

The cowboys were a jolly lot. They gave an exhibition of rough
riding which nearly frightened Damfino into epileptics and Don
into hydrophobia. Then the whole lot of 'em fired their revolvers
in the air and skooted through the sage, yelling like mad.

Our next stop was the Blackbird ranch, twenty-five miles further
on, whose hospitable proprietor showed greater interest in the
novel tent than in anything else. Coonskin took it down with one
hand, pitched it with two feet, and while the wondering spectators
pulled their whiskers, bound up the canvas and tied the rope with
his teeth.

The seventy-five mile journey from Eureka to Austin was
accomplished in three days. There, the Professor lectured to an
immense audience.

Austin is another mining town that had seen more prosperous times;
its people, like those of Eureka, were cordial and generous. When
Pod and I led the troop out of town, he was considerably enriched
in pocket and mind.

Twelve mile ranch is twelve miles from the town. Same, I suppose,
as October thirteenth is the 13th of the month. Here was a large
stock ranch, and the thrifty proprietor did his best to persuade
my stubborn master to remain over night, at least until the
threatening storm had passed. He would not tarry, but hustled us
on in a drizzling rain.

By nightfall we began to climb a canyon winding over the Shoshone
Mountains, I think, and about midnight reached the summit in a
blinding snow squall. The wind blew at half a hurricane gait, and
the men were mad because they couldn't light a match to look at
the compass and get their bearings, and Damfino laid down on the
dog that had lain under the donkey to get out of the ice-shod
wind, and the men wasted twenty minutes searching for the right
trail.

You see, my biped friends, that another range of mountains met the
Shoshones at right angles at this point, and it was dollars to
nutmegs that the men would miss the trail in the dark, which
happened; as the result, two hours later, our outfit slid into
camp for the rest of the night some two half miles from the plain.
Breakfast was served at ten. Menu: sage brush for five.

We were on the north side, and the wrong side, of the range, plain
enough. Pod said it was Coonskin's fault, Coonskin claimed the
Prof. was to blame, and the dispute would have ended in the
blessings of the pipe of peace if Coxey and Cheese had not chewed
up the only bag of tobacco while the men were feeding.

We were now in what was, I believe, the Sinkarata Valley. It
stretched many miles to the north, and appeared to be twenty miles
wide at the narrowest point. No sign of habitation could we see.
All day long we trailed through that desolation parallel with the
range until we came to a cross-trail leading to the mountains.
Here the men examined the compass, and headed for the hills.

It was sundown ere we began the ascent, and ten o'clock when we
went into camp half-way to the summit. The air was chill, and we
thirsty animals were left unguarded while the men built a fire. I
smelt snow on the mountain peak, so did my comrades. My instinct
told me that in a moment more we all would be picketed for the
night. Our mouths were parched; but the men had only enough water
in their canteens for themselves.

Self preservation is the first law of nature, I reflected, and to
think was to act. I whispered to Damfino, she passed the word to
Coxey, and all five of us desperate donks stole away unnoticed in
the darkness and followed our noses as fast as our weary legs
could take us in the direction of the peak. The air was so
rarified I could hear the least sound, and the slow-kindling fire
flamed more plainly instead of more dimly as we widened the breach
of confidence between us and our masters.

"Rather hard on the fellows for us to run off with their water,"
observed Cheese, stopping for breath.

Sure enough, the men were left without supplies, water or food.
Not a thing had been unpacked. I loved the Professor, for he had
many times made sacrifices for me, and the thought made me stop
and look back. The men were talking and gesticulating excitedly.
Presently one started up the trail, and the other down, and were
soon lost to view. They had set out on the wrong scent. With some
misgivings I hastened to catch up with my comrades.



CHAPTER LII.

BY PYE POD.

    Then, looking down at the great dog, he cried, with a kind of
  daft glee:

    "_Up an' waur them a', Quharrie_,
    Up an' waur them a', man;
    There's no a Dutchman i' the pack
    That's ony guid ava, man--Hooch!"
                            --_The Raiders._


Never before was I in such a desperate plight, nor was I ever more
frightened than now. I knew not where, but believed we were in the
De Satoyta Mountains, possibly on the trail to pass between Indian
Peak and Mt. Atry. We had kindled a fire, warmed our hands, and
were about to unpack when Coonskin exclaimed, "For God's sake!
Pod, the donks are gone!"

Often had I exercised the importance of Coonskin's picketing the
beasts before leaving them, but now was no time to scold. I
directed him to take matches and examine the ascending trail,
while I retraced our steps and did likewise. Luckily our revolvers
were in our belts, and it was agreed that the first to discover
traces of the deserters should shoot until hearing a shot in
answer. Don went with Coonskin. The lighted lantern was left by
the unreliable fire.

It was difficult in the wind to keep a match lighted long enough
to be of value, even when protecting it with my hat, as I knelt on
the hard trail or on the softer earth in the sage, and strained
my eyes to detect the shoe prints of my runaways. Every few steps
I stopped to listen for a signal shot, and deplored our dire
predicament without food or water.

I had about concluded that the only resort left us was an
all-night tramp over the pass, perhaps to be followed by an
all-day hunt in the next valley for a habitation and spring, when
I heard the welcome signal from Coonskin. Presently through the
still air came the sound of Don's barking, then I knew the
fugitives were captured. With a lighter heart I now gathered sage
preparatory to cooking, for we had traveled all day without a
bite.

Our animals that night were securely roped both to the iron
tent-pins and the tent, so that they could not slip away during
the night without taking us with them.

When I opened my eyes next morning, Mac stood with his head inside
the tent-door, wistfully eyeing the canteen by my pillow. My heart
was touched, but I thought, "Self-preservation is the first law,"
and knew that, if turned loose, all five donkeys would have the
asinine instinct to find a spring in time to save themselves,
whereas a man might fall a hundred feet from a spring and die in
ignorance of it.

One hour after sunrise the breakfast dishes had been cleaned with
a rag, in the absence of water, and the donkeys were standing to
be packed for the disheartening journey. A heap of ashes smothered
some fragile hot coals of sage, which, from all appearances, were
most inviting to any donkey to roll in. While cinching the pack on
Coxey, I observed Mac to steal to the ash heap, look at it
wistfully a moment, circle round it two or three times, and,
kneeling down, flop over on his side, plumb in the middle of the
warm, gray ashes, and still warmer coals. It was his custom to
roll over several times, but he didn't do so this morning. He
didn't roll at all. If he had fallen on a huge rubber ball, he
couldn't have bounded on to his feet with more alacrity.

When Mac once had his balance, he shook himself vigorously and
brayed, then eyed the ash heap as if it were a nest of rattlesnakes.
The air smelled of singed hair. The donkey reached around and licked
his side a moment, then he backed away. When one donkey rolls and
his fellows do not follow suit, you can mark it as most significant.

Two hours later my caravan had crossed the summit and were
marching down the western slope of the range.

Nevada is the home of the wild horse, and now we saw bunches of
these wary creatures grazing in the distance, or running like deer
for the hills at the sight of my outfit, although five and more
miles away.

It was 2 o'clock when, rounding a bend, my searching eye discerned
across the valley, close to the base of the Augusta range, a
building or hay-stack. My heart leaped with joy. Our canteens were
empty, but ere long we might slake our thirst at a ranch well and
give our faithful animals a treat.

On we pressed until, passing the stack, we reached a trail leading
into the canyon. A few moments more, and I saw a wreath of smoke
ascending not far up the pass. My intuition told me it was the
Maestratti ranch. And it was.

We received a hearty welcome. Don, poor thing, was so weak from a
prolonged siege of dysentery that he could scarcely creep to the
house; but, while Coonskin and I unpacked and watered the donkeys,
my faithful dog was fed scalded bread and milk by our hostess, who
ordered a hearty meal for us men.

Mr. Maestratti invited us to a bed in his house, but I declined
it, preferring my own blankets; and now, as I strode wearily to
it, I called affectionately to my dog. Something told me I was
going to lose him, my devoted friend during three thousand miles
and many months of travel. I missed the loving pressure of his
face against mine, his warm tongue on the back of my hand, his gay
antics and playful bark when in his happier moods, and anticipated
the grief I should soon feel. I paused at the tent door and
whistled.

"Don has stolen away to die," said Coonskin, feelingly. "That's
just what dogs do. Let's take the lantern and try and find him."
So saying, the man lighted up, and we began the search.

We found him. He was lying beside a stalk of sage a hundred feet
from camp, uncomplaining, weak, and breathing irregularly. The
flare of the lantern aroused him, and he turned his bloodshot eyes
to mine, as much as to say, "Leave me, kind master, I shall soon
be out of misery. Do not mourn."

Then I thought of his identification of the outlaws at Thirty
Mile, and of his attack on the cowboy in Nebraska who had
playfully lassoed me at my request. I remembered the chill nights
in Iowa barns when he crept over and nestled against me in the hay
that the heat from his great, warm body might keep me comfortable.
I could not restrain my tears. My best friend must not die in the
brush alone. We persuaded him to return with us, and made him a
comfortable bed in a corner of the tent, patted his head, and
retired. But soon the poor fellow stole out into the frosty night.

It was not the rising sun or a donkey's bray that awoke me, but a
woman calling, "Breakfast!" I intended first before answering the
demands of my stomach, to look at my dead friend's face, but to my
surprise and delight I saw the dog lying in the sun, his head up
and his tail wagging, very much alive. He had passed the crisis of
his illness during the night; I had hopes that he would soon be
well.

A fortunate circumstance threw us in the company of a stranger
journeying westward in a wagon. Like everybody else, he showed
great interest in my travels, and when he saw the condition of my
dog, he offered to convey him over the mountains.

We arrived at the summit of the pass by ten o'clock. There we
rested an hour and fed our animals. The journey down the western
slope, while apparently as trying to the donkeys as the ascent had
been, was more inviting to the convalescing dog, and he on the way
surprised us by leaping out of the wagon and making after a
jackrabbit.

At two o'clock Don's Good Samaritan drove away to the south, and
at four we arrived at the Donaldson Ranch. Many courtesies were
extended us here and we were half persuaded to remain over night
with these hospitable people. We cooked dinner early, gave our
animals a liberal mess of barley, filled our canteens, packed and
departed at seven with the well-wishes of all and a fifty-pound
bag of grain, which was donated to Mac A'Rony.

Darkness had set in. Although cautioned about two diverging trails
which we would reach before ascending the mountain, before an hour
had passed I realized we were going in the wrong direction. The
night was chill and pitch dark. Quickly changing the saddle from
Mac to my fleet-footed Skates, I rode back to the ranch. No light
shone through the windows of the house, and I knew that every one
had retired. I could see no expedient left me other than to arouse
somebody to set me straight. Feeling my way to the house, I
shouted with all my might, and soon awoke Mr. Donaldson, Jr., who
came good-naturedly to my relief, saddled a horse, and insisted
on guiding my party to the summit. We did not arrive there until
midnight.

The noonday saw me at Horse Creek, and midnight, at Sand Spring,
where we camped. At dawn, a sweeping glance from my tent door
revealed the most desolate of surroundings. To the west was a
great barren desert, while on every hand were massive sand dunes,
some of them towering a hundred feet.

A breeze had sprung up during the night. After purchasing a peck
of pine nuts from some Piute Indians who had camped close by for
the night, and were now starting out on the home trail, I tied the
door flaps as tightly as possible to keep out the drifting sand,
then went back to bed. In spite of my precautions the sand forced
an entrance, coated our blankets an inch thick, and scattered
seeds of unkindness in our nostrils, ears and hair. When I awoke
and saw the sides of the tent bended inward and half way up the
walls an uneven horizon, where, through the canvas, the sand and
sunshine met, I roused my companion and we dressed. In a few
moments more we might have been buried alive.

How we were to cook breakfast was a serious question. On
unfastening the door, we were immediately blinded with sand and
alkali dust; and it was only with the greatest difficulty that I
could find the ruins of the old restaurant of '49, which at early
dawn I had discovered only two hundred feet away. The floor of
this structure had long since gone to provide camp-fires for many
a traveler, but I kicked off a piece of siding. Then I tried to
find the tent. I groped and stumbled in the blinding storm, and
only by calling to Coonskin and keeping him constantly answering
did I hold to my bearings and succeed in reaching camp.

Saturating a few sticks with coal oil, I got them a-blazing, and
then under cover of our water-pail I ventured out of the tent and
built a fire sufficient to boil coffee. Our bread when buttered
looked as if veneered with sand-paper. Coonskin, gulping down a
half cup of coffee, echoed my sentiments when he remarked, "It
takes plenty of grit to cross these plains."

How we ever packed and drove our half-crazed animals out of that
sandy hurricane is beyond my power to describe. Blinded and choked
with the sand themselves, they could scarcely be made to walk to
the well. Having washed out their throats, Skates was persuaded to
move, and the others followed reluctantly out of range of the
warring elements.

As soon as we were clear of the sand belt, we stopped and made our
toilet. All day long while crossing that broad desert my eyes
smarted and swelled, and they did not cease paining me until we
reached the first habitation, where I procured witch-hazel.

Grimes' ranch at seven o'clock saw my whole party in better
spirits. I declined both the invitation to remain over night and
to stop for supper. Mr. Grimes telephoned to Mr. Len A----n, of
Sinclair, advising him that I was on my way there and expected to
arrive by nine. It was much after that time, however, when my
outfit reached the ranch. When still three miles away and a full
hour's march, we could see a lantern swinging, and when we got
within a half mile the sound of cheers and calls of welcome
greeted our ears. We answered the signals with our lantern and
cheered so lustily that Mac A'Rony paused to bray and led the
donkey quintette in a heartrending chorus.

The day's thirty-mile jaunt thus came to a happy end in marked
contrast with its beginning. A stalwart, broad-shouldered man,
with a smiling face half hidden by a beard streaked with gray,
lifted his sombrero as he grasped my hand and shook it heartily.

"Welcome, welcome, my boy! Now make yourself at home," said Len
A----n.

[Illustration: "_Some Piute Indians who had camped close by._"]

[Illustration: "_Playing Solitaire on Damfino's broad back._"]



CHAPTER LIII.

BY MAC A'RONY.

  "A torch for me, let wantons, light of heart,
  Tickle the useless rushes with their heels;
  For I am proverb'd with a grandsire phrase.
  I'll be a candle-holder, and look on."
                                --_Romeo and Juliet._


Old Len A----n was a jolly old soul, and a jolly old soul was he;
he leaped aboard in the middle of my back, and hollared to me:
"Git!----Haw!----Gee!"

We donks had a great time at that little desert metropolis. Len
owned the place, that is, until Pod's outfit arrived, then Mac
A'Rony owned it. Pardon my seeming vanity. When the nabob of
Sinclair rode me to the corral, the crowd cheered me three times
three, "Hooray fer Mac A'Rony!"

Besides Len, the sturdy pioneer of '49, there were the foremen,
store-keeper, blacksmith, bronco buster, justice of the peace,
postmaster, cowboys, cooks, and numerous wives and daughters and
cousins and aunts all willing and anxious to make our party
comfortable. Pod was at once escorted to the house to entertain
and be entertained by the ladies, while Coonskin unpacked, watered
and fed us donks, like a good fellow. For once on my long journey,
I had my fill.

Finally we were left to entertain ourselves. In less than a half
hour I wanted a drink, for when we were led to the well I refused
to imbibe; now I regretted it. Donks are funny creatures--regular
Chinese puzzles. When you think us thirsty we ain't, and when we
are we must help ourselves, or go dry.

I discovered a rope dangling from a projecting arm of a high
gatepost, nabbed it, and pulled; the gate did the rest--opened. So
I walked straightway to the well trough and drank, then sauntered
to the house to learn how Pod was faring. S' help me, Balaam!
there he sat with Coonskin at a long table, surrounded by men and
women, all talking and laughing and "joshing." But I noticed the
travelers kept their knives and forks busy, and wasted no time. It
made me hungry to see them eat, so I returned to the corral to
finish my barley; but when I got there I found it already
finished. No use talking, a jackass ain't to be trusted, nohow, at
any time. The only thing left for me to do was to go foraging.

Out I went, nosing around, hoping to discover a clothesline with
some shirts and socks hanging on it, or to stumble over an old
gunnysack or cast-off garment. After a little, I observed that the
second largest house was the scene of considerable activity, and I
sneaked up and peeped in the window.

The ground floor was one vast room, presumably the bunk house for
those men not having homes of their own. At one extremity a ladder
reached from the floor to the loft. One half of the ceiling was
boarded, and the other half looked white, as if it were made of
canvas or sheeting. I suppose lumber was scarce out there in the
desert. Now, a donkey's curiosity ain't to be sneezed at. Fearing
lest I might be discovered and locked up, I withdrew to the rear
to another window, when, suddenly, I ran into a heap of bedding
and other stuff. I could arrive at only one conclusion; there was
to be a dance in honor of Pye Pod.

I had devoured half of a hay mattress before the guests began to
arrive for the dance. They came from the various houses and
cabins, clad in their finest, and among them were a fiddler and a
mouth-organ grinder, who at once pitched camp in one corner of the
room and tuned up.

To open the dance, the Prof. led off with the landlord's pretty
daughter in a waltz, Coonskin sailed around close behind with her
black-eyed companion, and soon that bunk-house was as busy as a
stock exchange.

After several dances had occurred, the men excused themselves and
came out to the table beside the luggage, and commenced opening
several bottles of the "real article." I stood stock still at some
distance in the darkness, but within smell of the refreshments,
and noted that some took it straight, while others mixed it with
sugar and water, or milk. Coonskin doted on punches of all kinds
(except one variety reserved for obstreperous donks), milk
punches, rum punches, whiskey punches, claret punches, etc., but
milk punches mostly, and so this was an event for that unbridled
youth. He gulped down several milk punches with great glee, and
then followed the gang into the house and went at the dance again
in earnest. Later on the men came out for more refreshments. At a
late hour that "O be joyful dance" was brought to a sudden finish
by a frightful incident, or accident.

It seems that the cowboys had to rise early to hunt up stock on
the range, and therefore went up the ladder to bed before the
dance was over. As Coonskin had a cot with them, he was asked to
retire at the same time, so as not to disturb them. But that boy
wanted just one more dance--it was one too many.

When he started to climb the ladder I held my breath; once he
slipped through the rungs and only caught himself by his chin.
The rest of the dancers kept their feet as busy as ever, and the
fiddler had just called "Balance ter corners," and everybody
looked to be in good spirits--the best of spirits was in the
men--when all at once Coonskin dropped through the sheet ceiling
overhead on to the floor in their midst. I was glad to see he lit
on his feet like a cat, instead of on his head, as one would
suppose with such a heavy "load" as it must have had. The
frightened, embarrassed fellow chased himself in his shirt tail
round and round that room, passing three doors at every lap, yet
calling: "Where's th' door?" For a moment everybody looked
paralyzed. But by the time the first of them regained his senses,
Coonskin discovered a door and scooted out into the darkness, and
ran plumb over me. Both of us went sprawling on the ground. It
broke up the dance and everybody there. The women gathered in one
corner and laughed in their sleeves, and the men ran out to look
for what had dropped out of the ceiling, or sky--they seemed sort
of dazed like, as if they didn't know. When I got my breath, I set
out for the corral and brayed with laughter all the way.

Finally, I heard a familiar voice whispering to me in the stable
door, and creeping up I discovered Coonskin shivering with a
sheepskin about his shoulders.

"They're after me, ain't they?" he asked.

"Well, I reckon they are," I replied. "How did it happen?"

"Well, it was this way," Coonskin explained. "When I went upstairs
to bed, I found the men had blown out the candle and left me to
undress in the dark-hic-ness. I felt round till I found my cot,
and undressed, all but my shirt, when I found my pillow missing.
Says I, 'Where's my pillow?' One fellow says: 'There it is, over
there; wese had a pillow fight.' So I started to go for it. I
hadn't gone far before I sort o' felt I was treading-hic-on
velvet, but I thought it was the punches and kept right on, till I
struck the floor downstairs. That-hic-'s-all."

Just then the men entered the stables and finding Coonskin huddled
up in wool, had a laugh, and brought him clothes to put on, and
went with him to the deserted dance hall, and saw him safely to
bed.

The more I thought of this accident the more sober I got, until I
thought what a miracle saved Pod's valet, and wondered what he
would have done without him out there in the desert. Then I
tangled up my legs and went to sleep.

Next day Coonskin was the most embarrassed fellow that ever rode a
donk. The good-natured host could hardly persuade him to
breakfast. Everybody was silent at the table, Pod said; but
finally Len began to chuckle, and remarked that he'd been West
nigh on to fifty year, but last night was the first time he had
ever seen the ghost dance. Coonskin said it was no ghost dance,
just a new kind of breakdown.

After breakfast, Len gave Pod a look at his stock and made him
stock up with all necessary provisions. He wouldn't take a cent
for anything, only a few photographs to distribute to his
retainers. He even said he was sorry for the hard times; he would
like to give the Prof. at least a hundred dollars. I believed the
generous old pioneer, for it would be just like him.

Pod began the day in fine spirits. He had been pleasantly
surprised on being assigned to a room in Len's house to notice the
furnishings arranged with distinctively feminine taste; so he was
not surprised, when at the breakfast table he catechized Miss
A----n, to draw from the lips of the blushing maiden the
confession that she had resigned her boudoir to the distinguished
donkey-traveler. Hence Pod had a delicious sleep in the downiest
of beds. And, as a token of his appreciation for the courtesy, he
presented the young lady with a silver scarf-pin which he had worn
across the desert.

I shared some of my master's regrets on leaving. The women hugged
me good-bye, but when the ranchman's daughter put her arms round
my neck, Pod was so jealous that he jammed a spur in my side.

After a time we got started on the trail. Len not only declined
pay for Pod's supplies, but gave me a hundred pounds of barley.
This my comrades offered to carry provided I would divide with
them.

For the three days following there was little else to see besides
sand and sage and basaltic rocks. Ragtown still stands, a squatty
cabin and dilapidated shed with corral adjoining, where old Ace
Kenyon of questionable fame reaped a harvest from the half-starved
emigrants of early days by extorting from them rewards for
recovering their lost cattle, which he had had his retainers drive
into the mountains in the night. Ace would place all the blame on
the innocent shoulders of the Indians. He claimed that such
depredations were often made by hostile tribes, and that only
through the courage of his desperate cowboys could he possibly
retrieve them. After the despondent emigrants had tarried several
days and been forced to pay extravagant prices for provisions, and
some of them induced to throw away their rags for a suit of new
clothes, the cattle would be driven into camp. Then the elated
travelers had to open their purses again. Ragtown, situated as it
was at the extremity of the Humboldt Desert, was a sort of
overland depot, and we were told that thousands of emigrants used
to drift in that direction from other routes when water had given
out and for miles the trail was then strewn with cast-off raiment,
abandoned wagons, sometimes with oxen attached, and the skeletons
of cattle and men who died from thirst. At times we could see the
winding line of cotton-woods that marked the tortuous current of
the Carson in the distance, and again the river would flow slowly
close at hand. Pod spent most of the dull hours playing solitaire
on Damfino's broad back, riding backwards.

We struck camp at the last ranch on the Carson the morning of
October 18, and tried to reach Dayton the same night. Everything
went well until we came to a point where three trails met. Pod had
been cautioned to take the best-beaten one, so, the night being
dark, Coonskin left us donks in Pod's charge and ventured to
examine the trails. It was eleven o'clock. Not a thing had we had
to eat or drink all day except a small measure of barley. To stand
waiting for that slow boy to get his bearings was more than we
donks could bear, and soon Damfino whispered to Cheese and me to
slip away from the outfit and follow her lead.

The suggestion was at once acted upon. Each of us took a different
course to start with, but we soon caught up with Damfino, who led
us a good pace for two hours and ran us all into Six Mile Canyon
about one a. m. There we lay down with saddle and packs on, and,
to our surprise, discovered that faithful dog, Don, lying close
by, on guard. It was not the most comfortable night I had ever
passed, but it was better than standing. When Coonskin found us in
the afternoon he caused me to change my ideas on that question,
but on reaching Dayton, the Prof, was so glad to see me that he
lavishly dined us all, watered us, and let us roll to our heart's
content. So all scores were settled.



CHAPTER LIV.

BY PYE POD.

    It means, monsieur, that a storm is raging at the summit--a
  snow storm--which will be upon us ere long. And, dame! it is
  dangerous!--_Tartarin on the Alps._


We left Dayton at two o'clock. Carson City lay six miles away,
close to the Sierra Nevadas, whose towering heights, on the Nevada
side, rise abruptly from the plain. That afternoon's journey was
the last we were to experience through the monotonous chaparral.

When we trailed into Carson, the sun had gone down behind the
forest-covered mountains, leaving me a little less than thirteen
days in which to reach San Francisco.

The leading hotel was pointed out to me, and a cheering crowd
followed us there and called for a speech from me. While
unstrapping our traps for the porter to take, we men answered
inquiries about the trip, then conducted our animals to a stable,
to be cared for.

I was glad to note that they were generally in good condition,
although Damfino's shoulders were somewhat tender from the rubbing
of the pack-saddle, as the result of her running away. Dr. Benton,
at the stable, after dressing her shoulders, showed me the famous
watch bequeathed to him by Hank Monk, the clever stage-driver of
early days, to whom it was presented for having driven Horace
Greeley over the pass to Placerville, in time to keep his lecture
engagement.

[Illustration: "_Began to plow Snow toward Placerville._"]

[Illustration: "_The Cattle Passed Us._"]

I had just registered at the hotel, and was chatting with the
group of men crowded round me, when a generous, good-natured
gentleman edged through the cordon and grasped my hand.

"I'm going to take charge of you," he said, with a comical wink of
the eye; "you are my guest while in town."

The next moment I found myself launched in an offhand lecture on
my travels. And I should have talked myself hoarse had not my host
led me out to his carriage. After telling the landlord to make
Coonskin comfortable, I asked who the gentleman was who had taken
me in custody.

"Why, he's Sam D----s; you've heard of Sam, of course--editor,
writer and humorist--famous story-teller--the biggest 'josher' on
earth----." But that was enough. I fled.

Indeed, Sam's reputation was known to me long before I arrived on
his stamping ground. I leaped into the buggy, and we drove for his
country home.

"Keep yer hand on yer pocket-book!" shouted one of my host's
intimates; whereupon Sam turned to me with affected seriousness
and observed, "Good advice. But I took the precaution to leave my
money and watch at the office. I heard of your capture for
donkey-stealing back in Iowa."

On the drive my host recalled many happenings of the golden days
of the Comstock, which made me lose all reckoning of the present.
Soon we had reached his ranch. When I met his family I was ready
to believe some of his accounts of the practical jokes he claimed
to have played on his fellows. I was somewhat disconcerted when he
introduced me to his wife as a noted "road agent"--an old friend
of his who had wavered from the path of rectitude--whom he desired
to feed and hide from the sheriff's possè, hot on his trail. But
I was amused when his good wife, who of all would be expected to
know him best, apparently took his word for granted, and,
regarding me with nervous suspicion, started to get me a quick
lunch. But Sam delayed her a moment.

"Dan wants to entrust this $25,000 with me until he has eluded the
possè," he said to his wife, taking my weighty saddle-bags and
passing them to her. "There is no fire in the front-room stove, is
there? Might shove 'em in there." She accepted the trust so
seriously that I laughed outright, and exploded the joke. My
hostess chuckled good-naturedly, and said that most any woman
might take me for a bandit. I did look disreputable.

Adjoining the ranch were a few acres owned by "Mrs. Langtry," and
sold to her by Sam, so he said, but how he made the deal is too
good a story to be injured by my telling. I was up early next
morning. In spite of my host's urgent invitation to remain another
day, I drove to town with Sam after breakfast. There I was shown
several places of interest.

Dark and threatening clouds hung over the mountains and alarmed
me. My friend cautioned me to hasten across, if I would avoid the
storm. By two o'clock my outfit left Carson and began the ascent
of the steep trail over the pass to Glenbrook, a lumber camp on
the shore of Lake Tahoe. Dr. Benton advised me to telephone him
from Glenbrook, if it snowed so hard as to endanger us before
crossing the second summit, in which case he volunteered to
dispatch at once a relief expedition, with horses to break the
trail and render me a safe conduct beyond the snow belt. I shall
always remember the veterinary's thoughtfulness. My friend Sam
must have been interested in the plan.

As higher we climbed the steep ascent, the air became more damp
and chilly, and the heavy clouds looked more ominous. We men were
afoot, for my donkeys were burdened enough. Mac A'Rony and Cheese
were favored, merely carrying the saddles and guns, for Cheese
seemed to be quite worn out, and Mac, while sound and strong, was
the one, if it be decreed that only one should survive, I wished
to take through. The donkeys often stopped for breathing spells,
and not until we neared the summit did they require urging to make
the fatiguing climb.

By this time we were over our ankles in snow. The biting wind came
down over the pass in aggressive sorties and volleyed blasts of
cutting snow dust in our faces, nipping our ears and noses, and
blinding us. By reason of the fast-falling flakes and the
darkness, the donkeys often lost the trail, and the snow obscured
the rocks over which we all continually stumbled and slipped.

At length, when we stood on the summit and looked back over that
battle-ground, I think all of us took courage for the final
conflict awaiting us on the next and higher pass.

We arrived at Glenbrook at eight o'clock and found cozy quarters
for all. The storm having driven everybody indoors, the place
looked coldly uncordial for a time; but as soon as its warm-hearted
people were apprised of my arrival they hastened to welcome
me. When provision had been made for the comfort of my animals,
I returned with Coonskin to the hotel, where a hot supper
had thoughtfully been provided for us. And there we recounted our
adventures, which evidently afforded our auditors the keenest
enjoyment.

Morning revealed a dreary prospect. The snow was a foot deep, and
it was still falling thick and fast. My friends urged me to tarry
until the storm had abated, but I set out, after an early
breakfast, for Myer's Station, twenty miles away. There I hoped to
find feed for us all, and, should the storm be over by that time,
comfortable shelter for the night.

The trail followed the shore of beautiful Lake Tahoe--never more
severely grand and picturesque than now--followed it many miles
before it led into the majestic, white-clad forest. The snow fell
incessantly, while the rays of the sun, peeping through its cold
armor, either melted it into slush or softened it so as to "ball
up" the donkeys' hoofs and render their tramp more difficult.

When we reached Myer's Station it was snowing harder than in the
morning, so I resolved to rest an hour and to cross the pass that
night. The solitary tavern first came into view through the dense
snow-screen, not a hundred feet away. It was four o'clock. Then a
barn loomed up beyond and across the trail, and I felt grateful. I
had great confidence in Skates, Damfino and Coxey; Coonskin and I
had ridden but a little that day, so that, if Mac A'Rony and
Cheese could fortify themselves with plenty of grain, I had hopes
of getting all five over the summit.

Alas! my hopes were soon shattered. There was neither grain nor
hay to be had. The landlord explained that he didn't keep "no
cattle." Even the pantry was depleted, but my host would find a
bite for us men, and "boil" us some tea, which would have to
suffice until the expected supplies arrived. They might be delayed
by the storm until morning. Meanwhile we shouldn't starve. I
didn't intend my animals should starve, either, but bought several
loaves of bread and fed it to them.

"Don't think I am going to stay here over night," I said to the
tavern-keeper.

"You don't mean to cross the summit in this storm!"

I nodded. At that moment a man stumbled in, accompanied by a
frigid gust of wind, and, walking to the stove, stamped the snow
off his high boots, unwound a tippet from his neck, and slapped
his ice-covered hat against his limbs.

"Whose jackasses be them outside?" he inquired.

"Mine," I replied.

"Where ye bound with them?"

"Over the pass to Placerville."

The man laughed, then, looking sober, inquired, "Where yer from,
may I ask?"

"New York," I said, nonchalantly.

"Not with them little burros?"

"With one of them."

"Je-ru-salem! I don't know but ye may cross with 'em!" he
exclaimed, in astonishment. "But I doubt it. Jest fetched down my
four horses--left the wagon up to the hubs in snow half-way up the
trail--snow must be three foot deep on the summit. You'll leave
your carcasses in the snow, if ye try it, I'm tellin' ye."

Said the proprietor, "If you will wait here till to-morrow,
there'll be five hundred cattle cross the pass and break the trail
for you."

"I go to-night," said I, "and will break the trail for the
cattle."

I thanked both men for their kind caution, but said such
impediments had stared me in the face ever since leaving New York,
and never yet one of them proved to be an obstacle. As we moved
off, the men stood in the hotel door, gaping in mute wonderment at
my stubborn resolution.

Darkness gathered ere we began the ascent of the mountain. Slowly
the donkeys climbed the slippery trail, Coonskin, upon my advice,
walking beside Cheese and watching him with utmost concern. The
snow scudded against our faces, although the mountain somewhat
shielded us from the biting gale we had faced all day. The three
stronger animals carrying the packs walked ahead, while close
behind them struggled Cheese and Mac, supporting our saddles and
lighter traps, we men encouraging them the while with kind words
and allowing them a few moments' rest every time they stopped.

Soon I feared lest Cheese would give out. At length, when about
one-third the summit was climbed, he stopped and deliberately lay
down. I knew that meant his abandonment, then and there. We might
induce him to climb a little further, but we might better free him
at once; he would likely find his way back to the station. So we
took off his saddle and bridle, cinched them on Mac, and, saying a
sad farewell, hid our faces in our sleeves, and soon had climbed
beyond his vision. It was no time to indulge in sentiment. Once or
twice Mac, Cheese's oldest comrade, stopped and looked behind,
then with a soft bray resumed the ascent; and from the distance at
once came Cheese's response, causing my eyes to fill with tears.
No two human beings could have shown more tender feelings at
parting than did those two heroic little donks.

Finally we came to the abandoned wagon, half enveloped in
whiteness. I had no idea of the hour, but it must have been eleven
o'clock when my sturdy leader, Skates, began to stop for rest at
every twenty paces.

An hour later we could make only ten feet headway with every
undertaking. I was afraid another donkey would drop at any moment.
Several times I thought we had reached the summit, when a turn of
the Z trail showed a clear space, with Skates far in the lead,
ploughing and dragging her burden through two feet of snow.

Suddenly, when we had all but reached the summit, as we after
learned, Damfino fell with a groan. She was so strong and hardy, I
had not anticipated her giving out. Coonskin thought she had
slipped and broken a leg. We took off part of her pack, and at
length succeeded in getting her on to her feet; but not far beyond
she again fell, when, realizing it was from fatigue, we left her,
with all the supplies on. We had no way to carry them, and I still
had hopes of her resting out and trailing over after us.

It was now a question of life and death. Could I but get Mac
A'Rony through, even by leaving all else behind, I should do so
and fight to the bitter end. Mac was certainly a wonder. After
thirty-eight hundred miles of travel, during a period of three
hundred and thirty-odd days, he was chipper and nabbed at me
mischievously as I kindly twisted his tail.

Eureka! At last we stood on the summit of that high Arctic pass of
the snow-bound Sierras! Man and beast were ensconced in snow and
ice, and my ears and face and hands and feet were numb; but I was
too happy to feel any suffering. Could Cheese and Damfino have
been with us then, I should have been jubilant.

The battle was won. I could now see myself, in my mind's eye, in
company with Mac in Golden Gate Park, gazing out on the balmy
Pacific. After a quarter hour's rest, we resumed the journey
through the two and a half feet of snow, until, after several
resting spells, we began gradually to descend. The air at once
felt milder; the snow had ceased falling; as if crushed with
defeat, the elements had retreated.

It must have been two in the morning when Coonskin, who was in
advance beside Skates to check her impetuosity, shouted, "Helloa,
Pod, I see a house!" I threw my hat in the air with delight. We
had expected to have to wade through snow until daylight. Were we
all to find a refuge in that half-buried cabin?



CHAPTER LV.

BY MAC A'RONY.

    How he trots along on his mule! I declare the beast's ears are
  not so long as his master's.--_The Hunchback of Notre Dame._


The supreme moment of my life had "arrove." Must have come on
Skates. I had crossed the broad continent at last--all but a
little toboggan-slide of one hundred and fifty miles, more or
less, and that would be easy sailing. I felt boastful now. When
Pod wasn't occupied in prodding me over the pass he was quoting
"Hannibal Crossing the Alps" and other heroic adventurers,
imagining his little exploit of the same class. Prof., old boy,
just bear in mind that hobo Hannibal was not so fortunate as to
have five gullible jackasses to help him.

The storm had abated. As I stood waist-deep in snow while the
men-folks were trying to waken the sleepers of an uninhabited
shanty, I looked back where we donks sang "One More Mountain to
Cross" for the last time, and I gave three brays with a gusto.

Standing in snow or water taxes my patience. Coxey brayed to the
men to "get a move on," but Skates and I amused ourselves by
sucking icicles hanging from our bangs. Pod's courageous valet
received first orders. He rode an avalanche bareback down the
mountain and went through the door without knocking until he hit
the other side of the shanty.

"Don't shoot, for heaven's sake, folks;" he yelled. No answer.
"Beg thousand pardons, friends, but couldn't stop," he added. No
answer. Then he picked himself up and called. "Ain't nobody livin'
here? Speak up, I won't hurt you." No answer. The next thing that
boy did was to find the lantern he had lost in the snow slide, and
explore the place.

"The cabin's empty," he called presently.

"Any stove and fuel?" Pod asked.

"Yep," answered Coonskin, "and a hay tick,
and-waow-w-w-w!!!--!--!--!--!--spook! Scat you!--and a gol blasted
cat," he added. "Folks must've left just before the storm." Then
to the dog he called, "Here, Don, sick'em--cats!" and Don sicked.

My elated master next ordered Skates to slide down that chute to
the cabin, and she shooted. He hinted that Coxey and I would
follow, but I wasn't so sure. Judging from Coonskin's experiment,
it looked too swift for my blood. But when I witnessed Skates
safely descend and heard Coxey's whisper, "Come on, Mac, show your
nerve," I was bound to stay with it and follow suit.

We donks no sooner reached the door than Pod began to unpack us.
It was no go. Knots and buckles, everything was frozen stiff; my
saddle felt glued to my back.

"We must fire up, and thaw them out," said Pod, and he led us in
doors. Coonskin converted some shelves into kindling, and soon the
little stove was roaring like a coke oven. When we began to thaw,
one by one the ropes and straps were unhitched, or cut, until we
were all relieved of our burdens--and part of our avoirdupois.

Although the men had tramped almost all the way from Carson in
order to spare us, our wrenching and twisting in climbing the
slippery summits had loosened our saddles, which rubbed into our
shoulders until we were badly galled. Our proud flesh had frozen
to the icy blankets, and when Pod, while near the stove saw our
conditions great tears melted in his eyes, and he rubbed my
frosted nose, I suppose expecting me to purr. We got thawed out by
three in the morning.

That small apartment depicted a busy scene. We donks were so
cramped that we couldn't turn if we had tried. While Coonskin
dried the bedding, the Prof found in the luggage a box of tar, and
gave us a good plastering. Then he put us in the other room,--it
was a two-room house,--and fed us the hay tick, and a wooden soap
box for dessert, and bade us good-night.

I heard Coonskin mention something about supper, but Pod told him
all the grub was cachéd in the snow over the summit and that
Damfino carried the keys; there was, however, a possible chance of
getting a bite later if he would go back for the supplies. Soon
after I heard both men snoring.

As I recall the circumstance, I don't see how we three donks stood
it, cramped up in that small room, eight long hours before the men
got up. First we ate the hay tick; the hay went fast enough, but
it took time to chew the tick. Then we gnawed soap box until dawn.
The latter was savory, but rather tough, and had to be eaten
slowly on account of the bones--nails, Pod called them--which
would get into our teeth. Coxey happened to swallow one, and said
he wouldn't lie down for a week for fear of puncturing himself.
Every time one of us gnawed on the box Don barked, taking it to be
mice. He lay under Coxey with one eye open, ready to vacate at a
second's warning, for that donk pretended he was going to lie down
every moment.

We breathed the air of that cell ten times over, and had begun on
the eleventh course when the door opened. What a magnificent pair
of spectacles was open to our eyes! The mountains on both sides of
the canyon looked like great billows of a frozen sea, while the
fir trees sticking out of the snow resembled the spars of sunken
wrecks with their torn sails frozen to the yardarms.

Coonskin was up first. While dressing he happened to glance out of
the window and his tell-tale exclamation caused Pod to leap out of
bed.

"Well! In the name of Balaam, if there ain't Damfino!" he laughed.

"She's a nervy dame," observed the youth with satisfaction. "She
knows the other donks are here, all right."

Curiosity led me to stick my head out of the door, and there,
knee-deep in snow, stood the old girl, patiently waiting for an
invite to our house party. Skates had to be taken up to pilot down
the half-starved, half-frozen, timid refugee. Damfino slipped on
the way but collected herself, and the "girls" whispered something
to each other, which I could not catch, and laughed. I suppose it
was a joke, so I got off an old one to Coxey, and he brayed with
merriment. Then I told it to Pod, and he gave it to Coonskin, who
snorted like a colt over a horse chestnut.

As soon as Damfino was unloaded the men got breakfast. The dishes
washed and our galls redressed with tar and cotton wool, our
shoulders were padded for the saddles, and we were packed for the
journey. Two o'clock swung around before we got up that
toboggan-slide. Once there, we stopped for wind, then began to
plow snow toward Placerville.

It was a beautiful day, but the glare of the sun on the snow made
us shed tears. Not a sound jarred the air, except the swish-swash
of our pedals hewing away the snow, or an occasional asinine
sneeze, or canine cough, the result of a night's exposure. At the
steep and narrow turn where the stage driver nearly spilled Horace
Greeley trying to take him through on pony-express time, I became
interested, and the spot where Sawlog Johnson was crushed to death
by a giant tree falling on his shadow riveted my attention for
some time. I thought it a good place to rest; the trees were bent
by the heavy snow and ice, and I knew lightning never struck twice
in the same spot.

We reached Hart's shingle camp long after dark. Pod and I were
cordially received and entertained. When about to resume travel
next morning the drove of cattle which we were urged to wait for
passed us. They had crossed the summit in quick time, of course,
after we donks had broken the trail.

Now only small patches of snow dotted the roadside, and we had a
muddy trail down to the Bridge house. The keeper gave Pod a round
reception, and charged him an all-round sum. We left early next
morning.

The scenery on that mountain trail was a thing to out-last a
donkey's memory. One sheer cliff rising a thousand feet marks the
site of a bold exploit. It is said that once upon a time Snowshoe
Thompson, while out hunting above this cliff, was chased by a
grizzly, and only escaped by leaping off the precipice and
striking the frozen river on his snow-shoes, the momentum taking
him down to Sacramento, seventy miles away. On that cliff was
afterwards found a grizzly of 1,220 pounds dead weight with a
hunting knife in his heart. It was the coroner's verdict that the
bear was so astonished at the fearless hunter's brave act that he
committed suicide with the knife the hunter dropped in his hurry.

Although it was near to November, the foliage of the trees was
barely colored. The climate of California charmed me. We were
making fast time down grade, in spite of our jaded condition, and
we did not tarry for lunch. When Placerville hove in sight I was a
most tickled donk. Just one minute after dark we ambled into town,
and were escorted to the famous spot where Horace Greeley first
stepped on California soil.



CHAPTER LVI.

BY PYE POD.

  Who can tell a man from manners?
    Who can tell him by his close?
  Beggars often smoke Havanners;
    Nabobs wear a bottle-nose.
                          --_Dog-eared Doggerels._


Placerville greeted us royally. It was once one of the largest
cities in California, and in those lawless days was called
Hangtown. After describing my journey in my happiest vein, the
thoughtful sheriff passed his hat and presented me with about nine
dollars. Then amid hearty cheers for Mac A'Rony, we were escorted
to a hotel.

That evening Coonskin and I were fêted by the young "bloods" of
the town.

The following morning a jolly party drove me to Coloma, where I saw
the statue of Marshall, and old Sutter's Mill, where he discovered
gold. It was a lovely autumn day. The leaves were turning, but the
verdure of the Pacific slope is more subdued in its colorings than
that of the East, where the change of seasons embellishes it with
scarlet. My genial companions were refreshing to me after being so
long a recluse, but, returning to Placerville, I dined and wasted
no time in starting for Sacramento. Coonskin had shipped to San
Francisco most of our luggage, to relieve our animals, and at two
p. m. my little caravan drifted toward the Sacramento Valley.

The next stop was Folsom, the seat of a state prison, twenty
miles away, where we arrived at midnight. All the inhabitants
seemed to be asleep. We were noisily debating about which street
to follow, when a man called from a chamber window, and directed
us to the best hotel, saying he would call on me in the morning.
He introduced himself after breakfast as an officer of the Society
for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, and asked to see my
donkeys. I escorted him to the stable, but I feared trouble. I
knew three of my donkeys were galled since leaving Carson, and was
so solicitous that I sent Coonskin to have the blankets and
saddles cinched on them for the start, hoping the officer would be
guided by the wisdom of the proverb, "What the eye cannot see the
heart cannot grieve for."

You may imagine how disconcerted I was when the officer uncinched
the saddle on Skates, the one most galled, and lifted the blanket.

"I am sorry to say, Mr. Pod," said he calmly, "I must arrest you
for cruelty to animals."

I protested, and explained that my valet and I had been as tender
and solicitous for our animals' health and comfort as a father
could have been for a child; that we had tramped across both
passes from Carson; and that the galls resulted from unavoidable
loosening of the cinches and the shifting of the saddles. We had
even changed the packs from one animal to another at frequent
intervals to distribute equally the general burden. If he doubted
my word we would show him our feet.

The sight of our sore and bleeding feet caused the "humane"
officer to blush at his threat, and as a sympathetic murmur ran
through the crowd he said: "Professor, I must say, you men are
exonerated. You are as bad off as your poor donkeys, but I cannot
let you take this animal out of town in that condition."

[Illustration: "_Across on the exclusive Solano._"]

[Illustration: "_I pointed toward the goal._"]

[Illustration: "_The Ferry approach in 'Frisco was choked with a
rabble._"]

I was grieved to part with Skates, who had piloted us across the
summits in that heavy storm, but the law must be obeyed. I sold
the donkey to a son of the hotel landlord, who promised to cherish
her as a pet. We were allowed to proceed with the rest on
condition that neither of us would ride.

It was a long day's journey to the capital, upwards of thirty
miles, and we got under way by nine o'clock. Coonskin and I could
scarcely walk, and as we drove our three jaded burros down the
main street we were cheered on every hand. After reaching the open
country Mac A'Rony, observing me screw my face and hearing me sigh
from pain, seemed to say: "I'm sorry, old man, but when we are out
of sight of those meddling officers, get in the saddle and I will
carry you a way." The dear fellow; he could read me like a book.

We threaded a lovely country. The orchards were denuded of fruit
and verdure, but the vineyards were laden with their white and
pink and purple harvest, and the waving alfalfa sent us whiffs
from their fragrant censers all along the trail. We stopped at the
great Sonora Vineyard to rest and enjoy some Muscat grapes; and
shortly after lunch hour, we rested again at a weighing station,
where I received a telephone message inquiring when we might be
expected at the capital.

Handkerchiefs and hats were waving from the balconies of the
Golden Eagle Hotel, Sacramento, and newsboys were crying the
arrival of Pod and Mac A'Rony as we approached. While I had
tramped most all of the way from Folsom, I rode into the city, and
after a brief address at the hotel, sent my animals to the stable.

The landlord welcomed me cordially, and I was immediately assailed
by reporters. The next morning a newspaper man took me driving
about the city. I was presented to several state officials, and
shown through the handsomest state capitol grounds in the Union.
Half the day was devoted to business duties; in the evening I
delivered a lecture; and several times I was asked to escort a
party of ladies to the stable to see the donkey that enjoyed the
unrivaled distinction of having made a 4,000 mile journey from the
Hudson to the Sacramento.

Next day we started for 'Frisco at eight a. m. Just five days were
left us in which to travel the ninety miles to our goal. There
were many who advised me to go by way of Stockton, a longer
journey by forty miles, cautioning me that my donkeys would not be
allowed to cross in the "Solano" ferry at Benicia, which was
reserved strictly for people and passenger trains.

But we started on the shorter route, Mac and I leading the way out
of the beautiful city and along the banks of the Sacramento River,
through the toolies and hop fields towards Davisville.

When yet a mile to town, Damfino while not even carrying a saddle,
staggered and showed symptoms of the colic. The noble beast had
done her duty on the hard trip from Iowa, and being the biggest
and strongest, she had borne the heaviest burden. She had earned
her freedom. I decided to leave her by the roadside. Somebody
would soon find her, and take good care of her; which I afterwards
learned to be the case.

Next morning Coonskin and I set out early with the remaining two
donkeys, Mac A'Rony and Coxey, for Suisun, some twenty-five miles
away, we walking two-thirds of the distance for the sake of our
animals, although augmenting our own sufferings, for our feet
still pained us. My dog, Don, on the other hand, was full of
health and abrim with mirth.

Suisun welcomed us at sunset. That evening a happy idea came to
mind; I would send Coonskin to Oakland by train. Considerable
business must be done there which he could attend to, besides, he
might arrange for hotel and stable accommodations, and engage a
blacksmith to put on Mac A'Rony the silver shoes which should be
at the express office in that city. There was left me three days
in which to travel fifty miles, but now I could ride alternately
the two donks and not overtax either.

I was received with usual courtesies at Benicia, and the hotel
swarmed with townspeople and guests to hear about my trip.

At nine next morning a sympathetic crowd accompanied me to the
ferry, fully expecting to see my party refused passage.

"You cannot board the Solano with your burros," said the officer,
positively; "the boat is strictly reserved for passenger trains
and people."

I did not show surprise, but calmly explained my overland trip,
and emphasized the importance of my reaching 'Frisco with Mac by
noon of November 3.

"Will you send a message to the Southern Pacific's head office at
my expense?" I asked. The officer said he would, and sent it. The
answer soon came directing the ferrymaster to pass Pod and party
across on the exclusive Solano and extend us every courtesy.

The officer seemed much astonished at receiving the message. His
obsequiousness made Mac A'Rony bray. When the expected train
arrived and the Solano left the dock and the passengers realized
that they were the first to cross in the company of four-legged
donkeys, they treated to cigars and fruit and paid Mac A'Rony
exceptional homage.

Landing at Porte Costa, I was directed on the shortest route to
Oakland, and amid cheers and hearty well-wishes started to climb
the trail over the hills which border the river from that point to
some distance south.

It was after dark when, descending the bluffs and trailing a few
miles along the river, I rode into the little village of San
Pablo. The streets were quite deserted, and the few men I talked
with answered my inquiries in Spanish. Finally, I entered a humble
tavern whose Irish proprietor directed me on the right road. Only
a few miles now lay between me and Oakland, and although tired and
hungry I did not stop for supper, but pushed onward over the level
road, now and then walking a half mile to rest my tired yet
uncomplaining mounts or to ease my joints, until I rode into the
city at midnight. Coonskin met me on the road and cheered me with
the information that all the duties assigned to him were attended
to, then piloted me to the hotel and the animals to the stable.
After getting something to eat I retired.

Coonskin had interviewed the reporters, and the morning press
heralded my advent in long and sensational notices. When I went to
the stable everybody seemed to identify me with the traveler
pictured in the papers. I inwardly chuckled when I thought of my
dilapidated garb and general unkempt appearance. I was still lame
and felt that I had walked around the world in eighty days.

My poor little donks were lying down when I went to their stalls.
The twenty-eight-mile tramp of the preceding day had told on them.
Mac rose to his feet and stuck up his nose to be rubbed.

"You have almost earned your pension, too," I said. "But now come
to the smith's to have your new shoes put on. They are of pure
silver, and befitting one that has made such a record in the
field of travel." The little fellow smiled, and playfully pulled
the handkerchief out of my pocket while I adjusted his bridle. And
when he walked out of the shop "in" his pretty new shoes he looked
as proud as any lad in his first pair of pants.

Coonskin and I lunched early. The customary crowd followed my party
to the ferry, and some crossed with us on the boat to 'Frisco. How
happy I felt while drifting over San Francisco Bay! I pointed
toward the goal, and to a bystander, said: "During my 340 days'
journey, I have had only a vague vision of the city before me, but
the day I started from New York I felt as confident of reaching it
as I do now." Several passengers laughed incredulously;
nevertheless I spoke the truth.

The ferry approach in 'Frisco was choked with a rabble. Upon
landing Coonskin and I rode our little long-eared animals up
Market street to a prominent hotel, a cheering throng of men and
street gamins tagging behind or following by the walk on both
sides of the street. And when at two o'clock the glass doors to
its great white court were thrown open to us, I was just
twenty-two hours ahead of schedule time.

The several rows of balconies were crowded with hotel guests and
friends waving handkerchiefs and hats, and cheer upon cheer rose
to the crystal roof and descended to our ears. The court was
packed. I called a porter.

"Bring a rug for my silver-shod donkey to stand on," I ordered.
The darkey looked mystified, and had the insolence to question my
strange request, but he soon brought the rug. The reporters aided
me to urge back the crowd to give the spectators in the balconies
a view of Mac's silver-shod hoofs, all four of which Coonskin
lifted, one after the other, for them to see.

"Three cheers for Mac A'Rony!" some one shouted from the balcony.
It was the signal for a general outburst of applause; and Mac,
Coxey and Don, each, respectively, brayed or bayed his deafening
acknowledgment of the popular ovation.

Then I briefly reviewed my long and tempestuous voyage of 4,096
miles on a donkey's hurricane deck in 340 days and two hours.
Frequently I was interrupted with laughter or cheers, as I cited
some ludicrous experience, and the unbridled throng, many of them
mere street loungers, laughed and yelled and whistled until,
finally, the incensed manager was attracted to the Court. The
police were unable to cope with the crowd, so I was requested to
remove the cause of the disturbance. Indeed I was grateful for the
excuse to get away from that wild scene. Coonskin took the animals
to the stable, and I, after registering, immediately sought a more
exclusive hotel, to whose landlord I bore a letter of introduction
from a distinguished gentleman friend.

I must have looked as if I had crossed Central Africa and had
fought fifty tribes of cannibals. My clothes, hat and leggings
were in shreds, my sleeves were fastened to my coat with
bale-wire, and blue cotton hung in view.

"Do you take tramps at this hotel?" I inquired of the astonished
clerk of the Occidental, as I leaned on the office counter. He
stopped sorting letters and eyed me with curiosity, but before he
recovered his reason, the junior proprietor appeared, and said:
"Sometimes," then with a knowing smile extended his hand in
greeting.

"I believe this is Mr. Pod," he said. I nodded and handed him the
letter. When he had read it the affable young gentleman extended
me the freedom of the hotel and three days later got up a coaching
party in my honor.

I was soon a transformed man. After a shave and hair-cut and bath,
I dressed and appeared at the office attired as a gentleman on
parade, and was hardly recognized by the clerk to be the same man.

Coonskin, too, I had fitted out completely; besides I gave him a
sum of money and an honorable discharge. In a few days he secured
a situation in a hotel, but later set out for a mining camp in the
Sierras to dig for gold.

I presented one donkey to Golden Gate Park, and sold the other,
but I retained possession of my dog. Frequently afterward I called
at the park to see dear old faithful Mac A'Rony.

In conclusion, let me state that I had eleven donkeys on my
overland trip, never more than five at one time. I wore out ten
pairs of boots, and put one hundred and forty-eight shoes on my
animals at an average cost of ninety cents each, and arrived at my
journey's end with several hundred dollars in pocket and weighing
thirty-three pounds more than I did the day I set out from New
York with ninety-nine cents.

  "I am as free as Nature first made man,
  Ere the base laws of servitude began,
  When wild in the woods the noble savage ran."



EPILOGUE


This tale will be hard to swallow, because truth is stronger than
fiction.

The trip was more healthful for Pod than for me.

There are four distinct distances across the American continent,
viz:

Three thousand miles as the crow flies.

Three thousand five hundred as the train steams.

Four thousand by overland trail for a man.

A million miles as a donkey goes.

The most monotonous constant companion for a long journey is a
man.

There are more people who descend to the level of a jackass than
donkeys that rise to the plane of man.

If Pye Pod had been killed or drowned, or had died on the journey
he would have been condemned and ridiculed as a fool by the same
people who now applaud and envy him for his achievement.

If I had died on the first day of the trip the world would have
called me lucky; now that I lived through it, I'm d----d lucky!

  M. A'R.



TRANSCRIBER ENDNOTE:

End-of-line hyphens have been retained or discarded to
maintain internal consistency, when possible.

In table of contents, for page 213, "XXVII." changed to "XXVIII."
For page 219 entry, "Accross" changed to "Across".

Page 49: in "he did it them.", "them" to "then".

Page 50: the quotation mark at the end of the paragraph that ends
with "[...] to his quarters." has no obvious mate, unless at the
beginning of the paragraph on page 49 "Those who were not 'let
in' to [...]" If so, then this would be a long quotation
containing five paragraphs, with only two quotation marks, other
than embedded short quotations. It has been formatted (e.g. by
indentation) as such herein.

Some instances of the odd use of quotation marks have been retained.
Others--which seemed clearly wrong or misleading, have been changed.
Some were changed silently, but a few of these are listed below.

Page 102: one "the" removed from "visiting the homes of the the
great".

Page 107: "protographs" to "photographs".

Page 109: "into his hay loft.." to "into his hay loft." Similar
corrections on page 121 and 126. Also fixed a double comma on page
255.

Page 120: "semed" to "seemed".

Page 130: "Exixer" to "Elixir". Missing quotation mark inserted
after "moral?".

Page 166: "accompained" to "accompanied".

Page 173: period added to the end of "The topography of the
country varied but little".

Page 190: period added to end of paragraph.

Page 193: quotation mark with no mate removed from start of
paragraph beginning with "I did not discuss further".

Page 200: quotation mark with no mate removed from "I recalled how
I had been swindled [...]".

Page 211: "wheeel" to "wheel".

Page 212: in "caught the animated beg before it", "beg" to "bag".

Page 216: missing quotation mark inserted for "a pity to have
[...]".

Page 218: "Fnally" to "Finally".

Page 224: "smaal" to "small".

Page 246: excess quotation mark removed after "companion.".

Page 253: "Hhat" to "That".

Page 258: "I thing the whole" to "I think the whole".

Page 260: "Buy" to "But".

Page 278: "comething" to "something". Also, "house" to "hours".

Page 308: missing quotation mark inserted. Also in illustration
facing page 312.

Page 313: missing "it" inserted.

Page 341: quotation mark inserted after "patient.".

Page 376: "I answered. coarsely," to "I answered coarsely,".

Page 377: quotation mark inserted after "of water,".

Page 381: "to save him-" to "to save himself."

Page 410: missing quotation mark inserted before "Ain't nobody
livin'". Also, extraneous single quote deleted after "blasted
cat,". Also, "wasn"t" to "wasn't".

In this text version, italics that originally served specifically
for emphasis have been converted to uppercase. Small-caps text has
also been represented by uppercase. Italics that seemed merely to
set off titles, words or phrases from the context have been
_marked with underscores_ before and after.





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