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Joe Strong the Boy Fire-Eater eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 136 pages of information about Joe Strong the Boy Fire-Eater.

It was hung from a heavy, slack wire from the brick walls of two opposite buildings, and the banner attracted considerable attention because of a novel picture on it.

Joe and Helen were standing in the street, looking up at the swaying creation of canvas and netting, when a woman’s cry came to their ears.

“Look!  Look!  The cat!  The cat is walking the wire!” she exclaimed.

Joe and Helen turned first to see who it was that had cried out.  It was a woman in the street, and with her parasol she pointed upward.

There, surely enough, half way out on the thick, slack wire, and high above the middle of the street was a large white cat.  It was walking the wire as one’s pet might walk the back fence.  But this cat seemed to have lost its nerve.  It had got half way across, but was afraid to go farther and could not turn around and go back.

As Joe and Helen looked, a woman appeared at the window of one of the buildings from the front walls of which the banner was suspended, and, pointing at the cat, cried: 

“A hundred dollars to whoever saves my cat!  A hundred dollars reward!”

CHAPTER XI

THE RESCUE

The tumult which had arisen in the street beneath the banner when the crowd caught sight of the cat was hushed for a moment after the woman’s frantic cry.  Before that there had been some laughter, and not a few cat-calls and exaggerated “miaows” from boys in the street.  But now every one, even the mischievous urchins, seemed to sense that something unusual was about to take place.

“Come back, Peter!  Come back!” cried the woman, stretching out her arms to the cat from the window out of which she leaned.  “Come back to me!”

The white cat on the wire heard the voice of the woman and seemed to want to return to its mistress.  But either the cat was not an adept at turning on such a narrow support, or it was afraid to try.

And, likewise, it was afraid to go forward.  There it stood, about in the middle of the wire, high above the street, and it clung to its perch by its claws.

The banner was hung from the cross wire by means of several loops of rope, and it was in some of these loops that the cat had stuck its claws, and so hung on.

As the cat remained there, suspended, the crowd in the street below increased in size.  But from the time the woman had so frantically called there had been no more of the cries from the crowd that might be expected to frighten the animal.

“Will some one get my cat?” cried the woman in a shrill voice, which could easily be heard by Joe, Helen, and nearly every one else.  “I’ll give one hundred dollars in cash to whoever saves him!” she went on.  “Come back, Peter!  Come back!” she appealed.

There was a thoughtless laugh from some one at the woman’s anxiety, and some one cried: 

“There’s lots of cats!  Let Peter go!”

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