“Why-e-e-e-e-e!” exclaimed Hercules, and then, “Lord a-massy! Kaiser Bill,” he remarked reproachfully, “ain’t I done fetched you up no better’n ’at?"
“Do you know of anyone who would take him?” asked Nyoda.
The old man considered, with his head in his hands. “Oh, Mis’ Elizabeth, you-all ain’t goin’ ter give dat goat away?” he broke out pleadingly. “‘At goat’s lived here all his life, deed he has, Mis’ Elizabeth, an’ he wouldn’ feel to home nowheres else!”
But for once Nyoda stood her ground and refused to be cajoled.
“Mis’ Elizabeth,” said old Hercules solemnly, when all pleading had been in vain, “you-all ain’ goin’ ter give ’at goat away, because you-all can’t give him away! Ain’t anybody livin’ ’at can give dat goat away! He’d come back just as fast as you’d give him away! ‘At ol’ Kaiser’s a mighty foxy goat. Ain’t no door bin invented ’at he can’t break down!”
The old man’s voice quavered triumphantly, and he winked at the goat solemnly. Nyoda had a mental vision of Kaiser Bill putting on a Return from Elba act every day in the future, and her resolution took a sudden hardy turn.
“You’re right,” she said. “It wouldn’t do any good to give him away. He’d come back. The only way to get rid of him is to kill him. Then we’ll be sure he can’t come back.”
Hercules looked at her unbelievingly, and shook his head.
“I mean it,” repeated Nyoda. “I’m going to get rid of that goat.”
She stood still, waiting for the torrent of dissuading argument that would presently come from Hercules’ lips, intending to cut it short, but the flow never came. Just when Hercules had his mouth open to begin there came a sudden earthquake shock from behind, and he found himself sitting in a flower bed a dozen feet away, rubbing his bruised knees and struggling to regain his breath. His first impression was that he had been run over by a locomotive.
When he could finally be persuaded that Kaiser Bill, base and ungrateful animal, had rewarded his championship of him by deliberately assaulting him with the full force of his concrete forehead, his heart was broken, and he mutely bowed to the decision of the judge.
“‘T’s all one ter me now,” he said sadly. “Kaiser Bill done turn agin’ ol’ Hercules; ol’ Hercules’ heart broke now. Don’ care whether you kill him er not. ’T’s all one ter me.”
“We’ll have a Court Martial,” announced Sahwah.
The Court Martial duly sat, and in a most formal manner Kaiser Bill was tried and convicted of conduct unbecoming an officer and a gentleman, and of traitorously destroying the American flag, and was sentenced to be shot at sunrise the next morning.
“Who’s going to shoot him?” asked Hinpoha.
“Oh, we’ll get Slim and the Captain to do it,” replied Sahwah.
With the death sentence hanging over his head, the Kaiser was led away to await his execution.